Barcelona: A Chaotic Transfer Policy

BARCELONA A CHAOTIC TRANSFER POLICY

“Barcelona have just announced the sale of Arthur to Juve for €72M. On the other side, Pjanic will join Barcelona for €62M.” 

Yes, we know…. What. The. Hell?! 

What ? How ? Why?

Arthur came to Barcelona in 2018 and was immediately tagged as Xavi’s heir. Having this kind of expectations from Barca fans surely was some kind of guarantee that Arthur was here to stay. Well… there goes that!

This deal with Juventus brings the light once again on Barcelona’s recruitment policy. Many have recently criticized how Barca have done their business in recent years. It seems like the club has developed a tendency to make seemingly wrong choices. What’s happening in Barcelona?

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A brief history of Wrong Decisions

Let us go back to 2013. Barcelona has just won the Neymar signing marathon against Real Madrid and finally got their hands on THE future superstar. They finally had on their hands Messi and Ronaldo’s heir.

Pretty cool, right? 

Well not that much. It all started there.

Due to the heavy cost of Neymar, Barca had to let Thiago Alcantara (one of the most promising midfielders at the time) and David Villa (one of the world’s best strikers at the time) slip off their hands for a combined TWENTY-SEVEN million euros. 

This was just the beginning of a whole new complicated saga in the club’s history.

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In 2014, Barcelona had the opportunity to sign a young kid with a bright future ahead of him known as Asensio. Instead, Barca’s board preferred to invest that money in signing Douglas. Asensio to Real Madrid and rest is history. 

Summer 2016, Dani Alves, the world’s best right back at the time signed for Juventus as a free agent after Barcelona failed to find a new agreement with the player for a contract renewal. 

A similar situation to Ronaldo’s transfer to Inter over 20 years ago. Barca had failed to find an agreement with arguably the best young talent in the world. Inter then jumped on the occasion and paid his release clause. Big time!

Those are just some of the few examples that show Barcelona’s transfer policy leaves a bit to desired. Let’s not even mention the €150M worth Coutinho flop, the continuous injuries of €140M rated Dembele, or the 124M spent on Griezmann to play him as a winger. A spending spree that does have heavy consequences on Barca’s financial situation.

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The Arthur-Pjanic ‘’swap deal’’

Financially, Barcelona had to balance their accounts, mainly due to the previously mentioned transfers and the financial crisis that resulted from the Covid-19 situation. This is a deal that can be considered as creative financial management that the Camp Nou board had to become familiar with.

For both Barca and Juve, the deal represents massive capital gains which would help both clubs comply with the rules of Financial Fair-Play while compensating the losses suffered during the past months. 

The high valuations of both players constitute important capital gains for Juventus and Barcelona. Fishy…

From a sporting point of view, however… It’s fair to say Barca got ripped off.

Why? 

Arthur’s best days are ahead of him while Pjanic may have already reached his full potential. Pjanic has been struggling for the past seasons, especially this one. Playing at Barcelona will require a lot more effort from the Bosnian. A player of quality but one that might be past his best.

A bald move from Barcelona’s board considering the quality of the available options: De Jong, Vidal, and Busquets. Top-quality players, world-class. Then it means Pjanic would most likely be a rotational player. 

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How about Barca’s future? 

LaMasia has always had a reputation for producing some of the best football talents. Xavi, Iniesta, and most importantly Messi… Among other names. A list of players that went from Barca’s school to Barca’s starting XI.

While some have been able to make a name for themselves away from Barca, like Mauro Icardi or Keita Balde, none of them can pretend to be a world-beater. 

Throughout the years, Barca has been known to slowly introduce their young talents to the first team. 

Nowadays, however, it doesn’t look like Barca are ready to start replacing their starters with younger talents. 

Although players like Puig and Fati have been able to break through the first team’s ranks, it is clear that Barca’s policy has shifted from youth development to Mercato domination. 

And they’re paying the price of mismanagement today, by being forced to let go of a player of Arthur’s caliber. 

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