Long gone are the days of Barcelona dominating the market purely because of their seemingly unlimited influx of La Masia graduates. Alas, that is no more as Barça are now mostly just lost in the transfer market.
Still, with a steady production line delivering world-class talent to the first-team squad, there was no need for the Catalans to actually get into bidding wars with other European giants.
But the golden generation that birthed the likes of Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta and Sergio Busquets is the exception rather than the rule, which is something many people fail to realise.
Of course, that is not to say the current youth teams in La Masia are not good or in any way exceptional but to believe each generation will produce a new Xavi is simply ludicrous. In order to stay relevant in the European pecking order, however, Barcelona had to step into the market themselves, pushed by the unexpected and painful departure of Neymar Júnior, and soon realised it’s not as easy as it may seem.
Just having enough money, which they obviously had following years of successfully conquering football, was clearly not enough. In fact, it was something teams often used against the Catalans, requesting incredible sums for their own stars and in turn, paying nothing but ‘change‘ for the players failing to perform at the Camp Nou – as if that was an easy thing to do.
In the last couple of years, the club bought three players whose combined fees almost amounted to half a billion euros and yet, one is almost guaranteed to be sold in the upcoming window after spending a year on loan at Bayern Munich, the other has been injured for the majority of his stay in Catalonia and the third is still struggling to adapt after a full season of performances donning the Azulgrana colours.
Of course, the players in question are Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembélé and Antoine Griezmann respectively. The Brazilian has been the main character of many transfer stories so far this summer and each and every one of those are saying the same thing: he has no future at the Camp Nou and will likely head back to the Premier League. Don’t forget that he’s also Barcelona’s most expensive transfer in the history of the club.
The two Frenchmen are somewhat safer than their teammate but according to some of the latest reports, the club would indeed accept an offer for Dembélé if a good one arrived and would even not hesitate to pull the trigger on Griezmann as well.
Unfortunately, these failed incoming transfers are just the tip of the iceberg that tells you just how lost Barça are in the transfer market. Many of their key players like Lionel Messi, Marc-André ter Stegen, or even Ansu Fati are yet to extend their contracts with the club, and even though Barcelona are trying their best to get those over the line, it’s still a worrying sign that it’s taking them so long.
And yes, the recent outbreak has to be taken into consideration since it has affected every team on the planet and delivered a harsh financial punch to the gut. But this would’ve happened for the Catalans even without a deadly virus making our lives miserable outside of the footballing world. Is it possible that the club’s bad leadership is affecting their decisions to renew? Or to be more precise, their decision not to renew.
Not to mention that giving many players long contracts and then failing to shift them afterwards – since, of course, why would they leave when they’re enjoying such lucrative deals at the club? – has been their bane in the transfer market for years now.
Josep Maria Bartomeu will have to work hard to steady a ship that’s slowly but surely sinking due to bad leadership, even worse deals, and catastrophic decisions. The fans, the members, and even the players, however, are seemingly starting to realize a change is needed and it’s needed fast.
It’s normal that not all transfers are spot on and some players don’t succeed in Barcelona. After all, their system is probably the most difficult one to adapt to. But something seems to be wrong with their recruitment policy and it’s clearly visible in how they act in the market.
And for a club their size, that is unacceptable. Let’s hope they find a way to fix it soon.
Messi looks far from his best but continues to break records
Lionel Messi continues to break records despite coming close to the twilight of his career, making fans jump in the match against Ferencvaros. Every football fan knows that for the Argentine, team performance is more pivotal than personal acclamation. However, lately, Barcelona’s talisman was struggling a lot in the new system. Just when the fans were about to believe that the alien magic might never happen as part of Ronald Koeman’s Barca – it happened.
The abysmal start of this season showed a lack of thrill in Barcelona’s captain under Barcelona’s new boss. The speculations had already begun that the relatively cold Messi-Koeman relationship will affect both the captain and the overall team’s performance. These conjectures got more hype when Messi magic failed in La Liga’s four matches so far.
Slow start of the season
While struggling in a new role, Lionel Messi was able to score only one goal, which too was from a penalty. It is needless to say that the key caveat behind this was Argentine staying at Camp Nou against his will.
His performance in the league raised questions over his passion, and his keenness to be a part of the team anymore. Fans predicted that Messi would not be able to blossom under the new coach’s tactics. It was not about physical and technical challenges the talisman was mentally struggling too.
Messi looked to struggle initially. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images)
During this chaos, things got worse when the forward failed to save Barcelona from Getafe as they fell 1-0 to the Madrid outfit in La Liga on Saturday. This defeat was the final nail in the coffin full of opinions that the best ever is not dedicated enough to save the Catalans anymore.
When the Blaugrana’s savior is constantly struggling in new positions and the overall team’s atmosphere is woeful, it is natural to lose hope. However, whenever the world doubted the king, he has proven it wrong. Thus, the talisman’s loyalists kept praying for the miracle.
Tuesday night came with that long-awaited miracle. Barcelona’s superstar continues to break records, stealing the headlines. He once again managed to prove the world wrong in a 5-1 victory game against Ferencvaros in the Champions League.
3 Records in 90 minutes
Lionel Messi had the fans and the opposition both left in eye-gazing awe, as he broke three records in a single game against Ferencvaros.
Barcelona’s captain opened the scoring from a penalty while leading the team on the four other occasions. Back in 2005, at the age of 18, Messi scored his first goal in the Champions League, and as now equalled Ryan Giggs’ record for scoringi in 16 seasons straight.
Messi also further pushed his own record of scoring the most goals in the Champions League group stages by scoring his 69th goal yesterday, pushing him six ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, who is second in this list.
Additionally, with his goal, Ferencvaros became Messi’s 36th victim team in Champions League. He was previously the record holder at 35 games, which makes it even more bizarre.
Three records down in one game – just Leo Messi things. (Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images)
Barca boss admitted before the game that their superstar is struggling and could do better. However, Koeman’s prediction came true when he was full of praise for the Argentine after the game.
All these records add to the impressive Champions League collection of Lionel Messi. Putting the records aside, his performance during this match was pleasing to see. This game came as a signal that the curse has been broken and good things are on their way. Now, this can be further strengthened against Real Madrid this weekend.