Analysing Barcelona's struggles in the transfer market in recent seasons | La Liga 2019-20
Barcelona end the January window without having signed a backup striker, yet again, only this time it could seriously derail their season, but at least they have signed a scapegoat in Quique Setién. Their search for a backup striker took them to Cedric Bakambu. The striker was so close to his dream move, but only as close as Hong Kong and Barcelona.
But in an embarrassing twist, before he could complete the second leg of the journey from South Korea, he was informed by Barcelona’s sporting director Eric Abidal that the club had changed their mind.
It seems as though Barcelona players find the transfer window a prospect more daunting than even facing Liverpool. In contrast, the transfer chiefs at Barcelona probably relish each transfer window as a window of opportunity to spread disconcert amongst its players. Just ask Ousmane Dembele, Ivan Rakitic, Philippe Coutinho or Antoine Griezmann, the list goes on. Bartomeu might as well tag them ‘The Expendables’.
Barcelona signed Dembele and Coutinho as replacements for Neymar. But to throw in Rakitic, Coutinho and Dembele as a deal sweetener to bring in Neymar without even asking them is a betrayal of trust. How sick would Dembele or Coutinho feel, to be brought in as replacements for Neymar and then to be offered in exchange for him without their consent? Around the same time, Griezmann was left feeling unwanted as it became well known that he was not the star player that his teammates wanted, Neymar was.
Barcelona have been hunting for an understudy to Luis Suarez for a long long time. Last January it was Kevin-Prince Boateng from Sassuolo, this time it was Cedric ‘Nearly Barca’ Bakambu. It was widely reported that Rodrigo's transfer from Valencia was done, his coach Albert Celades even publicly admitted that he was packing his bags. But Barcelona failed to meet Valencia's valuation and they enter February weaker than before.
"Rodrigo is a player who can make the difference, that's why Barcelona want him.We all know there are negotiations in progress and we're not going to hide it. - Albert Celades, Valencia's manager."
The last time the transfer chiefs got it right was in 2014, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Suarez and Rakitic. They have been riding on it ever since. Messi and Suarez alone have scored 25 goals of their total 50 goals in the league.
Since 2014 they have spent a whopping €973 million on players like Paco Alcacer, Samuel Umtiti, Clement Lenglet, Gerard Deulofeu, Arda Turan, Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, Arturo Vidal, Aleix Vidal, Malcom, Paulinho, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong and so on.
Most of them are not here anymore and while Griezmann, Dembele and De jong may yet be good, one has to wonder how Barcelona have managed to get it so wrong for so long.
They have even managed to make a miracle factory like La Masia look like a failure. In a famous victory at Levante in 2012, Barcelona fielded a team completely of homegrown talent. For a long time now, La Masia products have found their path blocked by expensive recruits who turn out to flop anyway.
Suarez's injury could have been the perfect opportunity for Carles Perez and Abel Ruiz, 2 promising La Masia graduates. Barcelona's decision to sell them looks ridiculous. Now the mere thought of Barcelona as a team with a unique blend of traditional values and a clear philosophy seems far fetched.
Barcelona look like a headless chicken wading into murkier waters with each passing transfer window. Not even the world’s best player can sweep the dirt under the carpet. Do they even deserve him?Published 03 Feb 2020, 20:43 IST