Barcelona star Andres Iniesta has been ruled out of action for the next six to eight weeks with a knee ligament damage injury according to the official UEFA website.
Barca boss Luis Enrique must now decide who will replace the Spanish international midfielder. The reigning La Liga champions have options in midfield with Denis Suarez, Andre Gomes and Rafinha all able to fill in but we are going to focus on Arda Turan.
Turan is a strong candidate to replace Iniesta and he also happens to practically worship the 33-year-old, proudly calling him his ‘idol’. The Turkish international midfielder is – statistical wise – having one of his most productive seasons in Spain. Turan already has five goals and four assists this season which is more than he achieved over the last campaign although it is worth pointing out he missed the first six months of the 2015-16 season.
Turan has established himself as one of Enrique’s favourites. The 29-year-old with one of the most iconic beards in world football is a managers dream as he is willing to play in any position without causing disharmony in the squad. He also happens to have the ability to play in just about every midfield and attacking position.
The experienced winger come midfielder has already played in just about every role in the attack, midfield and even as a right-back this season.
Turan excelled early on when he was called upon to replace Neymar while he was on international duty and did a decent job when he had to fill in for Messi while he was out injured.
The former Atletico Madrid man is well drilled in carrying out defensive duties from his time under Diego Simeone and he has the technical ability, work-rate and passing accuracy to try and fill the void left by Iniesta.
Turan actually has the highest pass accuracy at Barcelona among players that have played regularly this season, managing to complete an outstanding 92 percent of his passes – averaging 42 per-game. In terms of creating chances only Messi, Neymar and Sergi Roberto have better stats than his 1.6 key passes per-match.
The work-rate of Turan has been called into question recently but the official figures showed just how misleading public perception can be. Turan ran the most kilometres during his last appearance against Deportivo covering 10.87km as a right wing back according to Sport [via Marca]. In fact only Gerard Pique has covered more distance this season (68.47km) over Turan’s 67.39km.
The bearded one has put on his best performances in more attacking roles this season but if Enrique gives entrusts him with playing in the ‘Iniesta role’ he will be hellbent on making his ‘idol’ proud.