What does Vitor Roque’s arrival mean for Robert Lewandowski at Barcelona?

Vitor Roque has arrived. The Brazilian will take part in his first training session in the coming days and may be in the squad for Barcelona’s first game of 2024 against Las Palmas. Xavi will hope that Roque will be able to add a little extra to a forward line that has thus far struggled to score and has meant that Barcelona trail the league leaders by seven points.

The main question surrounding the 18-year-old’s arrival is, what will it mean for Robert Lewandowski’s and Barcelona’s forwards? The answer to that question seems to be that the Polish international’s place in the team is safe for now. Marca are reporting that Barcelona see Roque as complementary to the starters rather than competition.

Lewandowski has so far struggled this season since returning from injury and has scored just once in his previous five games and was part of Barcelona’s woeful first-half performance against Almería that was dubbed “unacceptable” by Xavi. However, Roque’s arrival does not signify a major problem for the 35-year-old or the rest of Barcelona’s forward line.

Barcelona plan to allow Roque to settle in rather than throwing him in at the deep end. He is just 18, arriving in a new country, at a club with high expectations, and nobody wants to put the pressure of being the main man on him quite yet. While the Brazilian’s natural position is in the central position, he can also play on either wing, making it possible that we will see Roque and Lewandowski in the same lineup.

While Roque’s arrival certainly does pose a threat to the likes of Lewandowski, João Félix, and Raphina, the hierarchy insists that Roque will be able to work within the team and remind us that Barcelona are in multiple competitions for which a big squad is necessary.

GSFN | Finn Entwistle

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