Playing with Messi but not in Koeman's plans - Who is Álex Collado, the Barcelona man linked with Sheffield United?

Sheffield United have been linked with a winger from Barcelona as boss Slavisa Jokanovic looks to continue reshaping his squad ahead of Tuesday night’s 11pm transfer deadline.

Monday, 30th August 2021, 4:00 pm
Alex Collado replaces Antoine Griezmann during the Joan Gamper Trophy match between FC Barcelona and Juventus (Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

Jokanović has experimented with a 4-3-3 shape since taking charge at Bramall Lane, but has had to utilise his traditional strikers wide because of a lack of wingers in the squad he inherited from Chris Wilder earlier this year.

A move for Amad Diallo of Manchester United looks dead in the water, but at least signalled Jokanović’s intention to bring more wide men into the building to arrest his side’s poor start to the Championship season.

And the latest name to be linked with United is Álex Collado, the 22-year-old Barcelona man.

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What’s he like?

Described as an attacking midfielder who can also play wide, the links make sense in that Collado could strengthen United in a couple of areas – out wide if Jokanović goes with a 4-3-3 and potentially in the No.10 role if he sticks with 3-5-2 and tweaks it slightly to accommodate an attacking midfielder.

Collado is described by Barcelona as “a left-footed midfielder with Barça DNA. He has excellent vision and is a superb reader of the game.

“Very good at selecting the right option when passing, he’s also very skillful when attacking, has a great shot and is difficult to beat in one-on-one situations.”

Sounds good… why is he available?

The 22-year-old does not appear to feature in Ronald Koeman’s plans, at least judging by the Barca boss’s recent statement: "Collado knows his situation perfectly, there is a lot of competition for him and he has to find something to play with.”

Collado is under contract at Barca until the summer of 2023, and a loan move would appear to suit all parties. He clearly has some pedigree – his two appearances for Barca’s first team so far have come off the bench, but still came in the colours of arguably the biggest club on the planet – and playing alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Antwoine Griezmann, however briefly, is only going to have a positive impact.

A member of the Barca side that beat Chelsea 3-0 in the final of the 2017–18 UEFA Youth League, Collado was named captain of Barcelona B ahead of last season.

What are the chances?

According to a report in Barcelona-based newspaper Mundo Deportivo, Collado has received the approach from United – who are reportedly willing to cover his entire salary – but the player himself was waiting to see if he received a “better” offer before the transfer window closed.

Perhaps understandable, considering both United’s current situation – they sit second bottom of the table after five league games – and their Championship status. But if those so-called “better” offers don’t arrive, Collado and his representatives may see a season in the English second tier as a learning experience.

As an added bonus, we would also get to find out of the boy from Barca could do it on a cold night in Stoke, too…