The Hard Tackle analyzes Barcelona’s transfer business in a summer filled with unexpected chaos and frenzy which only intensified as time progressed.
The Spanish giants embarked on trading in the summer window with sky-high expectations. They were being heavily linked with moves for Philippe Coutinho, Alexis Sanchez and Marco Verratti. Although they did sign those players, Barcelona did manage to complete moves for a couple of new faces. The big question remains: Will they be worth it?
INS: Nélson Semedo, Gerard Deulofeu, Paulinho, Ousmane Dembélé.
OUTS: Jeremy Mathieu, Cristian Tello, Neymar Jr.
MVA (Most Valuable Addition) – Ousmane Dembele
Ousmane Dembélé is touted as one of the best young players in the world, and with good reason – the French winger stands out for his pace and versatility. In fact, he has demonstrated the full extent his quality with Rennes and then Borussia Dortmund. He can play on either wing in attack and is known for his great dribbling skills.
Besides his fierce talent, Dembele will also bring in assists for the club, which is what they need, particularly after Neymar’s exit. Replacing Neymar is not easy but the young Frenchman did provide 10 assists for Aubameyang last season. The Barca future does look bright since his assists can prove to be vital for Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
Player that left which benefited the club and the player – Jeremy Mathieu
Jeremy Mathieu is one player that managed to unite Barcelona’s fans and critics alike, since both sets agreed that it was time for him to go. Lethargic and sluggish, Mathieu often seemed like a liability for the Catalan giants and failed to add any sort of value to the squad. His performances not only affected the club, but also his own form.
Mathieu has joined Sporting CP now, and the move could not have come at a better time. The Catalans have a lot of work to do after a not-so-great season last time. Having a player like Mathieu continue with them could have potentially wrecked their progress. At Sporting CP, however, he can be an asset due to this age and experience.
One player who should have left – Andre Gomes
Much of Barcelona’s failures last season can be attributed to their lacklustre midfield. Things are clearly not working out in that area and Andre Gomes is a player who can contribute by actually exiting the club. Although he was brought in for a hefty amount, the midfielder has failed to make any sort of impact.
What Barcelona missed the most last season was solid control in the midfield and a player who could dictate the pace and nature of a game. Andre Gomes should have been the man for the job but he simply could not live up to his billing. With Valverde failing to sign Coutinho, Barca’s woes look likely to continue if they continue with Gomes.
Final Verdict: POOR
In a nutshell, Barcelona perhaps had to endure one of their worst transfer windows ever. Neymar’s departure will only worsen their troubles as they look to make up for their previous season’s blunders. A deal could not be struck for Philippe Coutinho, thus dumping more pressure now Dembele to deliver.
Although he is gifted and talented, Dembele lacks experience since he has only spent two years as a professional. Other additions like Paulinho do not seem to inspire confidence for the post-Neymar era. Their midfield area still looks shaky, and it remains to be seen how Valverde deals with all these issues in the new season.