Finally, the long summer transfer window is over for Barca. It started with the Messi saga and ended with deadline day transfers of Rafinha Alcantara and Jean-Clair Todibo.
Let’s have a look at what Barca managed to do in this window.
The first departure and probably the most unexpected one was the swap deal of Pjanic and Arthur. The operation costed €72M euros with €10M in variables for Juventus. However, the Catalans did pay €60+5M as part of the deal for the Bosnian midfielder. Pjanic is a quality playmaker, no doubt. But sending a young prospect like Arthur other way makes no sense in any possible way.
There was a change of coaching staff after the Bayern debacle. The new coach Ronald Koeman who stepped in was very clear with the list of players he wanted in and players he wanted to send out. The list included many heavyweights like Rakitic and Vidal.
The deals made to sell these top-quality players could be one of the worst deals made. The current board’s negotiation skills are probably the worst in Europe’s top 5 leagues. The first to leave among them was Rakitic to Sevilla in a deal involving a token of €1.5M with up to €9M in variables. Arturo Vidal was the next to leave, wanted by arguably his biggest fan Antonio Conte. He left for a very small fee of €1M in variables.
Luis Suarez, one of the biggest Barçelona legend said goodbye to his favorite club. His departure was easily the most chaotic and emotional. He was sent out without receiving the respect and dignity that he deserved. Losing such top players for such a minimal fee showed how bad the management was at transfers. But it was also a blessing from the economic point of view considering the high wages of these players. This in turn stressed out the wage bill.
The best business of this transfer window, courtesy of Jorge Mendes was the transfer of Nelson Semedo to Wolves, for a sum close to €40M. This transfer along with the transfer of Cucurella who was bought by Getafe when they activated their purchase clause of €10M brought in some much required funds.
First, one to come in was Pjanic as part of the above mentioned swap deal. The Bosnian midfielder replaced the departingArthur. Although he is older than Arthur, but he would bring in much-needed balance and experience into the squad. Also perfect fit into the system adopted by new coach Koeman in heart of that midfield along with either Busquets or FDJ.
Then comes one of the brightest talents from Portugal in form of Francisco Trincao.The deal cost 31 million. But, fortunately, it was all agreed in last January itself. As a result, no financial problems hindered this deal as they did in this window. After seeing him play in whatever minutes he has got so far, it has seemed to be an encouraging signing for all Barca fans.
Then comes the youngest signing of the window for Barca, the young Pedri from Las Palmas for around 5million. Koeman has praised the Spaniard publicly on many occasions. The midfielder is considered as a key player in his setup. He has been impressive in his cameo performances so far. His versatility is a result of his great understanding of tactical and positional concepts and is surely the future of Barçelona.
The signing which went under the radar was of Matheus Fernandes. The 22-year-old is a midfielder. He comes in as a future prospect, considering Barca’s ageing midfielders in Busquets and Pjanic. But he might struggle for game time this year looking at the long list of midfielders in the pecking order.
The most exciting signing and most desired by the fans was the signing of Ajax Star Sergino Dest. The highly-rated full-back is signed to replace the departing Semedo, with an aim to rejuvenate the right side of the team which is dead at times. The young 19-year old is dubbed to become the next Dani Alves at Barca. He is also very versatile and can play on either side of the pitch. It was seen when he was called in to replace injured Jordi Alba on the left-hand side in the last game before the international break. Sergino Dest could easily become the best signing done under this current board, in future.
Also, players like Coutinho and Alena returned from their respective loan spells at Bayern and Betis. The former has flourished since his return and is playing an instrumental role in the team. While later is still waiting for a chance to impress his coach.
Transfer Window Misses
Barca had many targets in this window to get in but unfortunately missed on some of them. It turned out to be crucial misses. This is because the misses were a centre back and a centre forward, two areas where they needed serious rebuild.
Barça’s defensive problems are open to everyone after the Lisbon debacle. They struggle the most in that part of the pitch. They have only 2 fit center-back and one young academy graduate as 3rd choice. Barca pursued Eric Garica from the start of the window. The saga continued till the final minute of the window. Surprisingly, they still missed out on their target.
After the departure the legend and probably one the greatest no.9 Luis Suarez, it opened up a free spot. Everybody expected Barca to sign a centre forward. Initially, Lautaro was a serious option for the Catalans. However, they ruled him out due to financial issues.
On Koeman’s personal request and desire they went in for Lyon’s Memphis Depay as an alternative. The club agreed personal terms with the player. But, negotiations with the club stood incomplete. It came down to the final day or perhaps into the final hour, when it was too late.
Amongst transfer targets, Georginio Wijnaldum was one Barca ‘s first transfer targets. With just one year left on his contract, one would have expected him to join the Catalans for a very minimal fee. However, after a pep talk with Klopp, the Dutchman looks set to renew with Liverpool.
In the end, the window was a mixed one. While it included some bad calls, it also had some good signings.
The most questionable deals were the deals of Rafinha and Todibo especially because of the fee and the lack of squad depth in those positions. Being adamant about Rafinha’s transfer fee and then sending him out for almost nothing shows how bad planning can be done. The loan of Todibo was probably a poor move, considering the fact that they only have 3 fit centre backs right now.
However, the window also included some good deals Dest, Pedri, and Trincao which helped to bring the average age of the squad down from 29 to 25.5. The signings of these brilliant prospects give the Barça fans something to look forward to.
The overall rating for this window will be 3 out of 5 from our end. It easily could have been a 4 out of 5. However, the last day debacles pushed it down to a 3.
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