Connect with us

Opinions

Opinion: Rating Barcelona’s 2022 summer transfer window

Published

on

Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona bore witness to one of the biggest transfer windows in their history. The Blaugrana brought in seven players, two of whom were signed on the final day of the window. On the other side of things, the garnet and blue were on hand to effectuate a staggering 18 departures, some of which were years in the making.

In light of this dramatic, yet mostly encouraging transfer window, join Barça universal as we rate every single transfer that Barcelona made, both into and out of the club, while also giving our opinion on other deals that could have taken place.

ARRIVALS

Franck Kessie: 8

Having been signed on a free deal, Kessie is one of the best bits of business that Barcelona could have undertaken in the transfer window. The Ivorian was one of AC Milan’s best players last season, and was instrumental in their push for the title. To have such quality in the midfield is a heaven-sent for the Blaugrana.

Kessie has so far taken a role as a substitute, however, his technicality, much more than his supposed physical presence, will be seen soon enough.

He provides an excellent option in the central midfield, and in the event that Sergio Busquets is out, he can – though not very well – fill the role of a holding midfielder. Xavi’s substitution of the Spaniard for his Ivorian counterpart is evidence of this.

All in all, he adds depth and quality. No queries there.

Andreas Christensen: 7.5

Coming from Chelsea, where he hardly had the most relevant last season, Christensen was not expected to be a world beater. In fact, this signing probably divided Barcelona fans the most.

Despite the slight negativity that surrounded his signing, the player has turned out to be quite a surprise. His performances reek confidence, and so too his character on the pitch. The Dane fit the Blaugrana like a glove, but perhaps this is one ball-player too many?

Make no mistake, Christensen is playing very well and adds to the squad depth, but in a five-man central defence, he is one of four players with more or less the same profile. At least he adds to the competition, and in a season as jam-packed as this, the depth he provides is absolutely going to bolster the team.

Raphinha: 8.5

Given his sensational season with Leeds United, Raphinha is one of Barcelona’s best signings of the season. The Brazilian’s flair, poise and dexterity, regardless of his position on the wing, makes him an excellent addition to the team.

With him, Barça go from having wings with virtually no competition to one with tactically interchangeable players all around.

So far, his season is taking a very good shape. The former Leeds man has an assist from his opening three games, while having created two other goals as well against Real Sociedad. His understanding with Ousmane Dembele, one never expected to work, is turning Barcelona into quite the terrifying team this season.

Robert Lewandowski: 9.5

LewaGOALski. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Best pure striker in the world, and he is entirely Barça’s; Robert Lewandowski is the signing of the season. The Polish striker broke all expectations by vehemently requesting a move away from Bayern Munich, all so he could join a new project under Xavi Hernandez.

The new season has treated him rather well. Lewandowski has scored four goals in his last two games, all while being the creator of two others as well.

His understanding with Ansu Fati, his instinctive movements inside the penalty box, all of these are to be admired. There is no doubt he will only improve as the season progresses.

Jules Kounde: 9.5

Much like Robert Lewandowski, the signing of Jules Kounde is one which can do nothing but bolster Barcelona’s chances of success this season. The Frenchman is without a doubt one of La Liga’s best players, and with his move to the Catalan capital, all that awaits is a tenure of success.

His debut was just last week, and what a start to life in the Blaugrana! Kounde’s versatility was on full display as he played at right back, effectuating with simplicity not only his defensive tasks but his offensive ones too. He passed with diligence and positioned himself such as to always create an advantage.

Hector Bellerin: 5

On his return to Barcelona, questions linger around the future of Bellerin. The former Arsenal man had a decent season with Real Betis, but is he of such brilliance that he merits a place in the squad over Sergino Dest? Perhaps not.

The American excelled at controlling the ball in tight spaces, a facet essential in Barça’s style of play. While Bellerin is commendably attack-minded, Xavi Hernandez clearly desired someone with more of a defensive acumen than an offensive way of doing things.

Marcos Alonso: 3

This is one of the most questionable signings on this list. The Spaniard is coming off a decent season with Chelsea, but he is neither here nor there. Alonso is just two years younger than Alba, and definitely is not a better footballer.

With regards to Alejandro Balde, the former Chelsea man only exists as an inconvenience to the team, as he adds unnecessary bulk to a team in some need of trimming.

This signing was entirely unnecessary, and it only unbalances the team. Barça will obviously hope that the signing works out well

DEPARTURES

Philippe Coutinho: 10

The egress of Coutinho is one that needed to take place merely a year from when he signed for Barcelona.

The Brazilian was never made for this team, yet, through a crude mix of poor squad planning by the previous board, as well as spinelessness from the then manager to refuse the deal, the Copa America winner made his way to the Camp Nou.

Coutinho will be remembered, though not for anything positive by culers. His two biggest goals between 2018 and 2021 were against Barça for Bayern Munich. Bar that, his horrid form, injury woes, and complete immiscibility with the infamous “Barça way” led to his downfall.

Dani Alves: 8

Having returned to Barcelona in the winter, Dani Alves was hardly expected to rock the world with feats of brilliance. The Brazilian is on the wrong side of 35, and naturally comes a complete absence of physicality needed to play at the highest level.

More often than Barcelona could bear, the Brazilian was caught out of position. His defensive acumen, while there, in theory, could not physically be emulated.

Many fans must have felt hard done by seeing him leave on a free deal at the end of a decent season, however, Xavi must be lauded for his bravery in letting go of a club hero long before he turned into a villain.

Ferran Jugtla: 7

Jutgla has adjusted to life in Belgium well. (Photo by TOM GOYVAERTS/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Having come up the club’s ranks, Ferran Jugtla was expected to perform longer than he eventually did. The Spaniard was perceived to be one of the best attacking prospects out of Spain, and it is quite bizarre how little he was allowed to progress.

Xavi Hernandez had injury issues on numerous occasions in the final third, and despite needing to rotate players, he hardly counted on Jugtla. Everything about the B team player pointed towards him playing a role, pivotal or not, in the team’s future.

He was in every way possible a match, stylistically and financially, to what Xavi Hernandez wants in a player. Notwithstanding the fact, the Puppet Master seemingly preferred going the expensive route than following the one that would consume his time at the lowest cost.

Francisco Trincao: 8

While having been purchased in the summer of 2020, Trincao was expected to have an excellent future with Barcelona. Despite being seen as the next Messi, the Portuguese only failed in that regard. He struggled to get minutes in Barcelona, and when sent out on loan to Wolves, despite a promising start to life, he never quite hit the mark there either.

An exit was always on the cards, and while the cost of the deal is far lower than how much he actually cost, it is ultimately what is best for both parties.

Riqui Puig: 9

A fan favourite for many years, this is hardly a transfer that was expected to happen, but one that was simply necessary.

Riqui Puig was one of the biggest things that never happened, and this is partly due to his own doing. The Spaniard is an avid supporter of the club, however, his undying love for the garnet and blue badge came at the expense of his career.

He was, on multiple occasions, told to leave on loan and seek minutes elsewhere, but his adamance on staying, while admirable, was uncalculated.

The former Barça number 6 needed game-time to develop and rid himself of his many tactical flaws. This is time that no manager was willing to give him, and understandably so. The season does not have room for experimentation or risk-taking that could result in a severe loss of points.

Riqui had many players above him and could not cope with the competition. While the move to the United States is one that might hurt some fans, it is for the best of both parties that it happened.

Oscar Mingueza: 8.5

Brought up from the ashes in a perilous situation in the 2020/21 season, Mingueza was hardly expected to shine as a Barça player. His debut season was, despite the odds, a quite fantastic one. His second was the exact opposite, and not necessarily because of factors that he could control.

Xavi routinely played him in positions where all his weaknesses could be looked at with a magnifying glass, instead of maximising on what it is that gave him those chances in the first place. Given this is a move that benefits a stacked Barcelona defence and Mingueza, this is a solid transfer.

Neto: 9

Having signed for Barcelona from Valencia, Neto was thought to be a decent second-choice option for Barcelona. Amazingly enough, even that he could not be. The Brazilian’s ball playing ability was mostly poor, resulting in high-pressure situations for both him and the defence.

Neto always wanted to play more consistently, and Barcelona always needed a better goalkeeper as the second choice. This is an exit that works for the good of everyone involved.

Clement Lenglet: 8

Having enjoyed his best seasons in 2018/19 and 2019/20, Clement Lenglet was expected to grow as a player. His torrid stint in a completely demoralised 2020/21 season sealed his fate as he hardly got any game-time last season. An exit was always going to happen, especially with five players above him in the pecking order.

Perhaps if he has an excellent campaign with Tottenham Hotspur, then he can be good enough to sell to another club.

Alex Collado: 8

Loan deals are hardly ever useful, but this is especially the case when it comes to Barça players. With Collado, however, there is some degree of promise for the future, thus why we consider this to be a good move for all parties. Collado will make his case under Francisco with Elche, while Barcelona compete for everything possible in the Spanish top flight.

The young man has already scored a goal for Elche, one many hope marks the start of a possible return to Catalunya.

Samuel Umtiti: 9.5

Despite having been at the pinnacle of defending just four years ago, Samuel Umtiti became one of the biggest nuisances in the game, partly by his own doing. The Frenchman suffered due to injuries, and despite having been offered the possibility of getting surgery, he chose against it, and subsequently killed any chance he had of having a career with Barça.

His form was as bad as his knee, and the World Cup winner could sadly never get back to his own ridiculously high standards. The best decision he made was moving away, and the only thing keeping this deal from being a 10/10 is the fact that it is only a simple season-long loan, and not a sale.

Sergino Dest: 2

Dest leaving Barcelona is one of the worst deals that Barcelona have made in recent years. The American is one of the world’s hottest prospects in that role, and with good reason. He is dextrous well beyond his years, and was perceived to be Barcelona’s best bet at creating a long lasting legacy in the right-back role.

Despite his inventiveness, ability to gel with wingers, pace, and versatility, not only in position but also role within the same position, it seems as though Xavi sees nothing of value in him.

Dest is young and has a lot to offer under the right tutelage. That the Puppet Master thinks it would be better to rely on centre-backs, and other right-backs who have weaker technical profiles, is always going to be baffling.

Fortunately, this deal is a loan, albeit with a purchase option. Hopefully, he performs well in the San Siro and finds a way back to Catalunya.

Martin Braithwaite: 9

The signing of Braithwaite is one that never should have happened, both for sporting and moral reasons. Having joined the Blaugrana, he received a contract of a length is never should have been, eventually turning him into a nuisance.

Towards the end of his tenure with Barcelona, he made ludicrous demands, making him seem hungry for money rather than rational in thought.

Barcelona had a cruel plan to cancel his contract at the final minute of the window, leaving him without a club for the conceivable future. Despite the anger between player and club, they settled their differences, and the Dane made his move to Espanyol – of all clubs – to finish his career.

Ez Abde: 8

For a player unbeknownst to a significant portion of the fanbase before 2021, Ez Abde truly set Catalunya ablaze with his first few games as a Blaugrana. Once the honeymoon period was over, however, reality set in and he descended into irrelevance.

While having been expected to perform like Dembele and even succeed him in the event that he left, Abde lost his chance at a future with Barcelona.

Xavi Hernandez suddenly chose not to trust him, and one could argue that it is for the greater good of the team and himself that the two are no longer together.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 6

Fan-favourite in six months. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Despite being the very reason that Barcelona even made it to the second spot in the league, Aubameyang bids farewell to Barcelona. The decision makes some sense, as the Blaugrana already have Robert Lewandowski in their ranks.

Notwithstanding, this leaves the garnet and blue with not that much to go on in the event that Lewandowski does get injured.

The Gabonese international averaged little under a goal per 90, and scored the most non-penalty goals in the team. That he is departing for so little (€12 milliion given the ‘swap deal’ with Alonso) and at this of all times, makes this far from the best decision that Barcelona could have undertaken.

Trending Articles