Josep Bartomeu finally resigned almost a fortnight ago from his post as Barcelona president, bringing an end to one of the most interesting tenures in club history. The Spanish entrepreneur had taken the reigns of Bluagrana in 2014 following the resignation of Sandro Rosell.
Despite the initial success, Bartomeu was always guilty of paying exorbitant amounts to sign players. The Spaniard's decision to sign global superstars instead of providing chances to players from La Masia caused heavy financial strain.
As the sports industry crippled due to the pandemic, the Blaugrana were hit extremely hard. Their huge wage bill, exorbitant transfers in the last couple of seasons, and the pandemic left the club's finances in tatters.
Now, as the dust finally settles in following the controversial reign of Josep Maria Bartomeu, we look at the most expensive signings made by the Blaugrana under the former president.
The Most Expensive XI Bought by Barcelona Under Josep Bartomeu
The most expensive goalkeeper in the history of FC Barcelona, Neto arrived in the Catalan capital in 2019 as part of an unusual swap deal with Valencia. To balance their books, Barcelona signed the Brazilian for a fee of €35 million(including €9 million add-ons), and sold Cilessen to Valencia for the same fee.
Bought as a back-up for Marc-Andre Ter Stegan, Neto has rarely featured for the Bluagrana. But, when called upon, the Brazilian has been up to task. In two seasons since his move, Neto has made 12 appearances in all competitions.
One of the last signings made in the Bartomeau era, Dest joined the Spanish giants this summer for €21 million (excluding add-ons) from Ajax. He became the first American to play in La Liga for the Spanish giants after he made his competitive debut.
Despite his initial impressive performances, Dest is yet to feature regularly under Koeman, but the early signs show much promise for the full-back. Adept at playing on both flanks, he has already played on either side for the Blaugrana in his short time.
The full-back was arguably one of the better players for the Blaugrana during their recent 3-1 El Classico loss. If Dest can build upon his early promise, Barcelona would have finally had one-half of their long-term answer to their full-back troubles.
Arguably the best defensive signing made during the Bartomeu-era, Lenglet joined Barcelona in 2018. Upon his move, the Frenchman became the most expensive defender in the history of the club after the Catalan giants. The Blaugrana paid €35.9 million release clause to Sevilla to secure the service of the defender after an impressive season with the Andulasian club.
Clement Lenglet has already proven himself to be a steal for that amount. He has been a regular at Barcelona since his move, and arguably their most consistent defender. Since joining the club in 2018, the Frenchman has already made 92 appearances and scored six times.
The Frenchman is the classical case of injuries ruining a promising career. Umtiti joined Barcelona in 2016 for a fee of €25 million. The defender almost immediately hit the ground running. He was a regular in the Barcelona squad and was thought to be the long term replacement for Carlos Puyol.
But, injuries deprived him of reaching his potential. A recurring knee injury saw Umtiti struggling to stay fit. The arrival of Clement Lenglet in 2018 further deterred his chances of reclaiming his spot.
Since his debut in 2016, Samuel Umtiti has made 116 appearances for the Blaugrana and has found the net on two occasions. This season has been a similar scenario for the Frenchman. Umtiti is yet to start a game under Koeman, with the defender once again struggling to stay fit.
The only player in this backline not currently playing at the club, Nelson Semedo, arrived in the Catalan capital after completing a €35 million move from Benfica. Brought in as a long-term solution for Barcelona's right-back problems, Semedo failed to establish himself in the starting lineup.
His defensive frailities saw Barcelona suffering on several occasions. Despite being brilliant going forward, Semedo's poor defensive performances finally saw Barcelona opting to sell the full-back to Wolves this summer. In the three years he was at the club, Semedo made 124 appearances and scored twice.