Barcelona have completed the signing of German goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen. The 22-year-old, who has four Germany caps to his name, has signed for an undisclosed fee. It will be a massive task for the young goalkeeper, and after 18 years with Borussia Monchengladbach, Barcelona will seem like an alien experience for him.
Speaking to Gladbach’s website, ter Stegen said: “I have been in this club for 18 years. I know that after the summer break life will go on, both for me and Borussia; but it’s a weird feeling, because I’m going to miss Borussia greatly. On the other hand I am, of course, really looking forward to my new challenge.”
The pressure will be on him from the very beginning, as he arguably has one of the biggest burdens in world football being the Barcelona goalkeeper. Even if he does well in his early career, there will be criticism: “Well he’s not Victor Valdes”.
Another factor to get used to will be the Catalan press, as they will look to slaughter him for any mistake he makes, and any failure to meet the conventions of Barcelona will surely be met with scorn. While it is an exciting challenge for the young German, it is questionable whether he can handle the pressure after living in comfort at Borussia Monchengladbach.
Ter Stegen knows life in Barcelona will take some getting used to: “Obviously I have a certain respect for this new phase in my life. It’ll be a completely new experience for me both professionally and personally. Learning a new language and getting to know a new city are challenges I’m very much looking forward to.”
One questions that will loom over him when he arrives will be whether he can adapt to playing with feet for much of the game. Some will level the mistakes he made against the USA and Eintracht Braunschweig as examples of where his ability to play as a ‘sweeper keeper’ has been weak.
The need for Barcelona to have someone strong with ball at their feet is monumental. There is an argument to suggest their title was lost by the loss of Victor Valdes, with Pinto proving to be too weak with the ball at his feet and some aspect of the Barcelona style was lost.
Although ter Stegen is expected to be Barcelona’s first choice goalkeeper, it will interesting to see whether they will sign someone to challenge him. With Valdes, Pinto and Oier all leaving, there will be a need to sign possibly two more goalkeepers this summer.
One factor that may help his cause at Barcelona will be his absence from Germany’s World Cup squad. With much of the Barcelona team gone during the tournament, ter Stegen should have a chance to work solely with the coaches to fully adapt to his new club.