Transfers

Barcelona's transfer window has been bizarre, and worrying

The Catalan giants reported a £95m loss on the same day the window closed without doing any more business

 
12:05am on Wednesday 7th October 2020
By
Paul Macdonald

It was somewhat poetic that Barcelona announced a £95m loss on the same day that the summer 2020 transfer window closed.

The stark financial situation onset by the coronavirus crisis has led to the Spanish giants tightening their belts significantly and focusing more on outgoings rather than incomings.

Barca's financial report was clear: coronavirus has destroyed commercial deals and their capacity to generate revenue for the rest of the year.

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Barcelona announce huge £95m loss

And a summer that started with Lionel Messi threatening to leave ended with minimal positive business and the jettisoning of expensive talent for next to nothing.

Barcelona: Transfer INs

Barca 20/21 Deals

PlayerFromFee (£)
Miralem PjanicJuventus£47m
TrincaoBraga£27m
Sergino DestAjax£19m
Matheus FernandesPalmeiras£7m
PedriLas Palmas£4m

The Miralem Pjanic/Arthur 'swap' deal has been well documented and was largely carried out for accountancy reasons. Pjanic is a tidy player and will definitely get minutes but he simply wasn't an essential purchase and the deal was done to help both Barca and Juventus cook the books.

Trincao is a deal for the future but he's already receiving minutes in the side and Ronald Koeman seems keen to integrate him as much as possible. Likewise Pedri, at just 17, is already playing and the Dutchman is at the very least giving youth a chance.

Matheus Fernandes is registered with the first-team squad but it's difficult to see him playing, while Sergino Dest's arrival from Ajax was arguably the only deal conducted that fulfilled a positional requirement. All in all, it's another £100m spent but the team hasn't really had a significant upgrade.

Barcelona: Transfer OUTs

Barca 20/21 Outs

PlayerFromFee (£)
ArthurJuventus£64m
Nelson SemedoWolves£35m
Luis SuarezAtletico£2m
Arturo VidalInterFree
Ivan RakiticSevilla£1m
Rafinha AlcantaraPSG£1m
Carles PerezRoma£9m
Marc CucurellaGetafe£9m

As described above, the Arthur deal was purely financial and in the process Barca traded a 23-year-old for a 30-year-old. Nelson Semedo's disastrous performance against Bayern Munich in the Champions League sealed his fate and the club did well to get most of their money back on that deal.

But the most bizarre business was seeing the trio of Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Rafinha Alcantara moved on for such paltry fees. There was a desire to remove these salaries from the wage bill but such was Barca's obvious desperation that they were prepared to let them go for ludicrously small fees.

This is not a seller's market - far from it - but to recoup less than £5m for three excellent players is borderline irresponsible. What's more - two of them signed for direct rivals. Arturo Vidal's move to Inter was merely to get his salary gone.

Barcelona: Transfer MISSES

Barca 20/21 Misses

PlayerFromFee (£)
Eric GarciaMan City£10-15m
Memphis DepayLyon£25m
Georginio WijnaldumLiverpool£20m

Barcelona were linked with a slew of other players but only very loosely. The idea that a deal could have been done for Lautaro Martinez this summer was absolute fantasy considering the financial concerns.

But Koeman did want Wijnaldum and Depay and while the former became difficult from early on, with the midfielder seeking assurances from Jurgen Klopp and ultimately receiving them, Depay is a deal that could have been done quite easily under other economic conditions.

Lyon wanted to sell, Depay wanted to go, but Barca simply couldn't raise the funds and it's a sign of the times that they simply couldn't get a deal done.

Likewise, Eric Garcia. Their pursuit of the Man City defender was decidedly small-time, pressuring the player into pushing for a move and then low-balling City with a derisory offer. In the end their £10m bid plus add-ons just wasn't sufficient to convince the Premier League club that the terms were worth it.

Conclusion

Barcelona's business across the past decade has been perplexing at best, but this window is surreal in so many ways. Assets stripped of their value in order to get them off the books, deals done to serve those same books, lowballing teams and dragging their heels on other deals.

Barca still have immense talent in their ranks but this was not a window to repair the years of damage have done to this squad.

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