Barcelona signed eight players in the summer, but the first of them has been largely forgotten. No, it was not Franck Kessie. It was, in fact, Pablo Torre, acquired from Racing Santander for around €5 million.
Real Madrid were also in contention to sign him, but the Catalans beat them for his signature. As such, it was believed that the 19-year-old would break out quickly under Xavi, and likely receive similar treatment to Pedri, who received a first-team kit number in his first season as a 17-year-old.
However, that has not been the case for Torre. He was asked to participate with Barcelona Atletic but refused to do that initially. In fact, he was close to joining Racing back on loan, but the move did not transpire.
The teenager has received a mere ten minutes of game-time for the Barcelona first team so far this season. In search of more time on the pitch, though, he eventually folded and made his debut for the reserve team against Real Murcia.
With Frenkie de Jong injured, Torre was expected to receive minutes against RCD Mallorca and Inter Milan but eventually warmed the bench for three hours across the two games.
His fortunes might change soon, though, as Barça are undergoing sort of an injury crisis. The midfield looked largely sorted with Franck Kessie still fit, but the Ivorian has picked up a hamstring strain and will miss the next week or two of football.
There are still doubts over de Jong’s fitness, and in light of the same, Torre could get the nod against Celta Vigo on the weekend, at the very least. He may not start the game but could be called on to add some offensive dexterity to the midfield.
Furthermore, Sergio Busquets has been playing regularly for club and country, which means, even if de Jong is given the medical clearance, he could be used as the pivot to preserve the captain.
Gavi suffered an injury scare of his own against Mallorca, and Xavi could be forced to bench him on the weekend, paving the way for Torre’s participation.
As an attacking midfielder, the Spaniard is hailed for his eye for goal and his vision. Barcelona looked in desperate need of both of those qualities on the pitch against Inter and Mallorca.
The midfielder might not have Pedri or Gavi’s work-rate, yet, but Xavi must make the bold call and put his trust in Torre, even if the prospect of it sounds risky.
As of now, though, it seems borderline improbable that the former Racing Santander man does not get to grace the pitch this weekend. And should he put in an impressive shift, it opens up the door to a cameo against Inter and potentially even Real Madrid.