FC Barcelona had a good transfer window this summer as manager Luis Enrique brought in much needed depth as well made some key signings for the future.
It might be too early to say, but FC Barcelona probably had one of the best summer windows in all of Europe. Spending a tad higher than £100 million, manager Luis Enrique roped in a number of decent signings, to bolster the already glorious roster at the Camp Nou.
Due to a FIFA imposed ban in 2014, this was the first summer window where Barca could sign players who could immediately represent them. Last season, Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan were roped in by Enrique, but had to wait until January to make their debut for the Catalan side.
His first roll of the dice was a pretty obvious one as he turned his eye to Villarreal and exercised his buy-back clause on Denis Suarez. Barcelona paid only a mere €3.25 million for a player who has the ability to become one of the best midfielders in the world.
An ageing defence is never a happy sign for the manager, no matter how good the players he may have at his disposal. Spanish defender Gerard Pique and makeshift centre-back Javier Mascherano have formed an exquisite pairing at the heart of the defence for the Catalan Giants.
But, with Pique nearing 30 and Mascherano already 32, it was essential for Enrique to make a couple of signings at least, in case their age begins to catch up with them. The Spanish tactician studied the window perfectly before he began pursuing his transfer targets.
Thus, Barcelona decided to sign promising French centre-back Samuel Umtiti from Olympique Lyonnais for a sum of €25 million. The defender showed tremendous promise at Euro 2016, and even in the La Liga where he was picked over Javier Mascherano.
Umtiti is already begun to show signs of a typical Barcelona defender. He is good with the ball at his feet, and an adept passer and has the ability to dribble past opponents. Given the Blaugrana style of play, the 22-year-old perfectly fits the bill and ticks all the boxes for Luis Enrique.
Next through the door was Umtiti’s French compatriot Lucas Digne. Much like the central defender, Digne too, was a part of the Euro 2016 squad that reached the finals. However, the then PSG full-back did not feature for Les Bleus due to the omnipresent Patrice Evra on the left side of defence.
With Adriano no more a part of the Barcelona setup, it was necessary for Enrique to bring in an understudy to Jordi Alba. Thus, Digne was signed from PSG. Not particularly impressive in the French capital, the 24-year-old was loaned out to AS Roma.
A surprising move, to say the least, by the Barcelona board. It may take him a bit of time to adopt, but the fans will be hopeful that he flourishes as left-back Jordi Alba has at the Camp Nou.
Next in line was another questionable, but quality signing in Andre Gomes. Linked all summer with a move to rivals Real Madrid, Barcelona decided to table an offer at the eleventh hour to complete the signing of the highly rated Portuguese midfielder.
An initial €35 million was paid for the player, with the possibility of another €20 million in add-ons. Much like Suarez, he brings a certain presence to the midfield and could be just the ideal man to replace Andres Iniesta who is already 32.
Barca let Claudio Bravo go to Manchester City, but announced a replacement in Jasper Cillissen hours before they sold the Chilean. It was good business by the Spanish side, as Marc Andre-ter Stegen can now be the undisputed number one while the Dutch goalkeeper can serve as his understudy.
A similar situation arose in the Paco Alcacer and Munir El Hadaddi swap. Looking all summer for a viable understudy to the MSN front three, Barcelona roped in Valencia forward Paco Alcacer. But, they also let Munir go in the other direction on a one-year-loan deal.
Alcacer has been impressive for Valencia and has also showcased his credentials on the international stage. A calm and composed forward with an eye for goal, the 23-year-old has everything needed to become a great at the Camp Nou. Once given the chance, the Spaniard will have to prove his worth or else see the similar fate as many below-par strikers have faced in the recent past.
Apart from that, the other sales were of Alex Song, Marc Bartra, Thomas Vermaelen and Dani Alves. With the first three failing to break into the first team, it was probably the right decision to let them go.
Dani Alves, 35, is nearing the end of the road, and thus shipping him off to Juventus makes perfect sense. In Turin, the Brazilian will undoubtedly clock more playing minutes than in Spain, and could decide to call it a day within the next few years.
All in all, it’s been an absolutely rollicking transfer window for Barcelona. Covering all bases, Luis Enrique has brought in just the ideal number of players needed for his side to win a third successive La Liga title.
Also, with an already power-packed squad, it seems the Spanish side will once again challenge the European elite and go for domestic as well as continental glory this season.