FC Barcelona is a club known to recruit youngsters from their youth system. It is a conscious policy that is encouraged and in fact, the club hires coaches who are ai???pro La Masiaai???. However, like all clubs it is extremely difficult to get a full squad only from the youth set up and still be competitive. Most coaches (including Pep Guardiola) and the president of the club realise that the more feasible option would be to make the core of the team from La Masia and invest on other players to complete the squad. The idea is to gradually increase the number of players promoted from the B team.

It must be noted that Barcelona still spend quite a lot of money on buying players and not all of that money was well spent. This is a look back at some of the big money signings that the club has done over the years which turned out to be massive flops.

Martin Caceres

The Uruguay international had a difficult time in Spainai??i??s La Liga in general. When FC Barcelona decided to buy him from Villarreal for 16.5 million Euros, the defender was expected to be one of the big signings of the summer.

The year was 2008 and Pep Guardiola was hired as manager of Barcelona. The club was in a sticky situation with their top stars losing focus and players like Ronaldinho, Deco were seemingly losing focus. The young inexperienced Guardiola had never coached a big club until then (he was coaching Barcaai??i??s B team) and was looking to make some major changes in the first team to reinvigorate the squad.

Martin Caceres, however, was a defender and he had the likes of Carles Puyol,Rafael Marquez and a certain Gerard Pique (Barca bought him back from Manchester United) to compete against to earn a start. Due to injuries and technical decisions by the coach, the Uruguay international did not see many minutes during his year at the Catalan club. The defender was on the bench during the Champions League final against Manchester United in what turned out to be a huge year for the club. Barcelona went to win all 6 titles and became the first in Europe to do so.

However Martin found minutes hard to come by and went down the pecking order. FinallyAi??Barcelona loaned him out to Juventus the next year and Sevilla the year after that. Sevilla decided to buy him in 2011 for 3 million Euros. The Catalans lost a reported 13 million on a transfer that turns out to be one of the worst in recent times.

Alexander Hleb

This Belarussian player has become infamous in and around Camp Nou. Without a doubt, one of Pep Guardiolaai??i??s worst signings if not for a certain Swede. Hleb was an attacking midfielder/winger who was supposed to be paired with the other Arsenal teammate Thierry Henry and for a cool 15 million, he was expected to continue the great form he showed in London.

Unfortunately, the player himself made the mistake of taking his place for granted since the price spent on him was not humongous by the club’s standards. The Belarussian didnai??i??t seem to realise that he was part of a new project in Barcelona and that ego didnai??i??t help team spirit. Recently the player himself admitted that his transfer to Spain was the biggest mistake of his career and that he was ai???childishai??? in expecting to start when the rest of the squad was setting aside personal ambition. In total (including bonuses for winning titles) Barcelona gave Arsenal 17 million Euros and included a 90 million buy-out clause for a 4 year contract.

Transition From London To Barcelona Was Anything But Smooth

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Hleb has become so infamous that Cules use the term ai???Hlebbedai??? to refer to a situation when a club simply cannot get rid of a player. Alexander was loaned out to various clubs that included Stuttgart,Birmingham and Wolfsburg before finally releasing him from his contract last summer. Without a doubt, one of Barcelonaai??i??s top 5 flop signings under Pep Guardiola.

Dmytro Chygrinsky

This is an odd signing to say the least. Pep Guardiolaai??i??s search for a defender who was good on the ball, fast and more importantly with a great positioning sense has continued. Dmytro Chygrinsky was the latest in that search after Martin Caceres.

Chygrinsky was bought for a mind-boggling 25 million Euros from Ukrainian club Shaktar Donetsk in 2009. This was a player that the coach had faith in and Chygrinsky himself tried extremely hard to overcome language barriers, a new playing style and a huge price tag to justify the faith that his coach had in him.

Unfortunately, Dmytro managed only 14 games that year and Barcaai??i??s president Sandro Rosell sold him back to his former club for 15 million Euros(a loss of 10 million) after the members of the board realised that the club was in dire state of affairs as far as finances were concerned and budget cuts were required.

Ironically, Chygrinsky didnai??i??t do too well in Shaktar and we will leave it to you to decide if selling him was such a bad thing. Considering the financial loss and extremely huge price tag that the club bought him for, Chygrinsky is definitely among the top 5 worst transfers in Barcelona.

Keirrison

This is one of those transfers that still baffles most Cules. Ask a fan of the Catalan club on what he/she thinks about Keirrison and most will reply ai???what was the club thinking?ai???. Keirrison was a young brazilian forward bought from Palmeiras in 2009 for 14 million. Fans believed he was supposed to be the next big thing.

Unfortunately, Keirrison makes this list for an oddity about ai???his time with the clubai??i??. The Brazilian is probably the only signing in the history of the club to have never worn the famous ai???Blue and Redai??? shirt. Yes, you read that right, Keirrison has not even worn Barcelonaai??i??s shirt in preseason and they paid 14 million for him.

The Brazilian was immediately loaned out to a number of clubs including the likes of Benfica,Fiorentina,Santos and Cruzeiro. It might surprise many of you that Keirrison is still technically a player of FC Barcelona. A candidate to take the top honour for worst signing under Pep Guardiola if not for the next name on this list.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Based on tactical choices that a player can give, Zlatan made sense. After all, this was around the time when everybody (except fans of the club) were clamouring for a ai???plan Bai???. So it seems Pep Guardiola gave in and decided to buy a tall(extremely tall), strong and technically sound player who could hold up play if required and gave a short side like Barcelona another option-cross from the wings to be headed in.

Despite all these dimensions to his game, 69 Million Euros never seemed a realistic price for the Swede. What was really depressing is that fortune included Samuel Etoai??i??o is probably among the top 5 no.9ai??i??s Barcelona has ever had. In fact, in 2009, Etoai??i??o was probably the top striker in the world. It was well-known that Pep Guardiola had issues with the Cameroon striker’s attitude as he was known to mouth off every once in a while but the ex-Inter marksman bettered Eto’o on that ground too.

Doesnai??i??t matter how you look at it, nobody including the club can justify a 60 million price tag for Ibrahimovic. Most canai??i??t justify selling Etoai??i??o for 20 million either. Inter went on to win the treble under Jose Mourinho with Samuel Etoai??i??o being a beast in attack whereas Zlatan brought his ai???Champions League Voodooai??? to Barcelona (who ironically got knocked out by Inter).

Barca's Loss Was Milan's Gain

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Performance wise, Zlatan did well. He scored goals and was in general capable of playing with Barcelona. However most people agree that after Etoai??i??o, the big Swede was a huge step down. That fluidity was lost and worse, Zlatan did not like the fact that Lionel Messi was the central striker. If that wasnai??i??t enough, Ibra also got into a fight with Pep Guardiola and threatened to physically assault him.

Without a doubt, the worst transfer under Pep Guardiola and maybe in the history of the club. Something, club president Sandro Rosell has also admitted. Ibra was loaned to AC Milan and the Italian club bought him the next year for a Ai??reported 24 million Euros. You do the math.

These players have definitely deserved their spot on this list. Either because of the nonsensical price tag, their egos or the stupidity of the club’s board. Pep Guardiola has made some brilliant transfers as well but these are the ones he would love to forget.

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4 Responses to “High Five: Barcelonaai??i??s Transfer Flops Under Pep Guardiola”

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  1. Ronit says:

    Zlatan Decided an El-Classico, All the players in this list except Zlatan could not even make the Barca bench. Zlatan is an awesome player, but if you play even Messi as a defender, he would suck. Its clear that Zlatan was used out of position. And more-so, Pep had avoided talking to him.

    Look at Zlatan now, he provides assists, scores goals, beautiful gaols and even defends in crunch matches.

    With all due respect to the writer, Zlatan and pep was just an odd case in the world of football :)

    Grande Ibra :)

    • Inder Methil says:

      oh no doubt…i agree that hes a great play and performed with Barca as well. but he’s still considered a flop for the amount of money the club paid for him and moreover,selling eto’o for way below what should have been his market price….but yes,zlatan does score and provide as well
      Cheers

  2. Pavneet Gill says:

    There could be some players in that list that left the club also which is also considered as a transfer. Letting go Bojan Kirkic was not a good decision I think.

    • Inder Methil says:

      Well, Bojan is an odd case. first off, Barca didnt buy him..he was a part of the youth system and just didnt perform as expected even though he got more than enough minutes. Second, although the club sold Bojan to Roma, the fine print shows it to be more like an elaborate loan deal than anything else. Although he was quite the fan favourite, most people would agree that Bojan simply didnt perform well enough to get a spot in what is arguably, the world’s best attacking team