5 of the most shocking Barcelona transfers in history
Barcelona is one of the most instantly recognizable football clubs anywhere in the world and as such have had some of the greatest players in history turn out in its colours.
The Blaugrana's status as one of the biggest clubs in the world means that they are always expected to go after the best players, hence it largely does not come as a surprise to see Barca sign the most in-demand players in the world.
The likes of Ousmane Dembele, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Neymar are among more recent examples of this, while players like Johan Cruyff, Hristo Stoichkov, Ronaldinho and Romario are among the greats of the distant past who were bought by the club.
Barcelona also has a distinct playing pattern which emphasizes close control and places a premium on possession football, with players who fit this mould (if they cannot be found in La Masia) sought after.
When Barca go after players who fit either of the two descriptions above, it largely does not come as a surprise.
However, every now and again, the club completes a shock transfer which no one saw coming. In this piece, we would be taking a look at five of the most shocking transfers in Barcelona's illustrious history.
Honourable mentions - Arturo Vidal, Alex Hleb.
Having impressed significantly in Brazil with Corinthians, Paulinho completed a big money move to Premier League side Tottenham. Despite being a regular in the early part of his Spurs career, the midfield powerhouse largely failed to impress, being effective rather than spectacular for the entirety of his two-year stay at White Hart Lane.
He was once more on the move again, where he became one of a number of high profile influxes to the revamped Chinese Super League, joining Guangzhou Evergrande to team up with former coach and long-term admirer Luis Felipe Scolari. He went on to win six trophies in his first two seasons at the club.
Despite being under the radar at China, Barcelona apparently saw enough in the Brazilian to sanction a €40 million transfer for Paulinho.
The move was unexpected to say the least, as Paulinho went against everything Barcelona sought in a midfielder, lacking the natural finesse and technique that Barca fans are accustomed to seeing in their players.
There was a lot of scepticism prior to Paulinho's arrival, but the 30-year-old silenced his critics, putting in solid performances for the club, scoring nine goals in 49 appearances in all competitions for the Catalans.
After just one season at the club, Barcelona sanctioned his loan transfer back to Guangzhou and his strange transfer was further mystified by the club's decision to sign Arturo Vidal who is a similar player to Paulinho (albeit on a higher level).