Who is he? Where does he play?
He's the latest product of the designer conveyor belt of talent at Barcelona that relentlessly sprogs up possession loving genius' that pass, and pass, and pass, all day until you're bored of it and switch over to watch Antiques Roadshow on a Sunday night, though unlike the usual mould that La Masia churns out, Bartra is not a Xavi, an Iniesta or even a Fabregas, the guy's a rather cute looking defender......
A defender!? At Barca...?
Yeah, a defender at Barca, a centre-half in fact. Don't look at me so nonplussed, they did create Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol and that lad who's now at Chelsea who everybody has forgotten about, so they're not truly averse to making lads at the back. Plus it will do them some good instead of shoe-horning the likes of Javier Mascherano and Alex Song back there as they show contempt to such a modern football commodity as having a defence.
The Vilanova influence?
To an extent yes, Barca have been far more within the realms of basic football since the tiki-taka passing utopia of Pep Guardiola passed into sabbatical and all part of that has been an inclination to actually set up with designated defenders.
Whilst to an extent no, Bartra had already dabbled in first team duty under Mr. Guardiola, registering eight performances up until this season where he has been given a more prominent role under Tito, appearing 5 times. He hasn't done too badly.
Hasn't done too badly? Elaborate...
Okay, well he was given 90 minutes in the home Champions League win over Celtic where he impressed with neat passing out from the back, but that work was undone as he struggled in the cauldron of Parkhead (he was withdrawn after 71 minutes) in the return fixture. His passing percentage of 95% from two La Liga games suggests Bartra is a dab hand with Barca's old fetish of caressing the ball out from the back with zero fuss.
Anything else worth knowing?
Not really, although he did once have to fan the flames after clattering golden Barca boy Lionel Messi with a heavy challenge in training, "nothing happened" he said, like the young child standing suspiciously next to the spillage on the floor.