The Catalan giants had a disappointing transfer window, according to most fans.After a big signing early in the window, La Blaugrana did not do enough to overcome the weaknesses in the squad, which had been exposed in the 7-0 loss to Bayern Munich last season. Barcelona can be excused for not completing the targeted signings due to the illness of Tito Vilanova and the subsequent arrival of manager Gerardo Martino, but Cules will be watching the season nervously at least until the winter transfer window opens.
The complete analysis of the transfer window is given below:
Neymar (€57 million):
The wonder-kid from Santos finally made a move to Europe, following speculation for 3 seasons. After being linked with Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Bayern Munich in recent seasons, and Santos rejecting every bid that was made for him, the club finally announced on 24th May, 2013, that they had received and accepted an offer for Neymar. On 27th May, Neymar announced he would join FC Barcelona. The most marketable athlete in the world for 2 years running, according to Forbes, signed for Barcelona for an official transfer fee of €57 million for 5 years, with his buyout clause set at €190 million. The 21 year old left winger has been eased into the team, playing in all 5 matches, including 2 starts. He has also scored his first official goal for the Catalans, scoring a precious away goal against Atletico Madrid which helped Barcelona lift Supercopa Espana.By the looks of things, Neymar and Barcelona are a perfect fit for each other.
Thiago Alcantara (€25 million):
The kid touted to be the next Xavi for La Blaugrana was sold as a consequence of a loophole in his contract. Thiago Alcantara’s contract required a certain playing time each season for his buyout clause to remain at €90 million. This contract was not fulfilled which resulted in the buyout amounting to €18 million only, till 31st July. After the earlier part of the window was spent in speculation about him moving to Manchester United or staying at Barcelona, Pep Guardiola came out with a statement that showed he valued the player and wanted him at Bayern Munich. Attempts to keep him at Barcelona failed, after manager at the time, Tito Vilanova, was unable to guarantee him a permanent place in the starting XI.Thiago moved to Bayern Munich for an amount of €25 million, with €20 million paid directly to Barcelona and the remaining amount to be covered in friendlies between the 2 clubs. Thiago signed a four year contract with Bayern Munich, on 14th July, 2013. He has yet to make an impact in the team, having only appeared as a substitute, and getting injured subsequently.
David Villa (€5.1 million):
El Guaje left Catalonia’s capital and moved to Spain’s capital after Neymar was acquired by the Catalan giants. A transfer fee of €5.1 million was involved in the move from Barcelona to Atletico Madrid, which is to be paid over the next 2 seasons if he is not sold by Atletico Madrid. Los Colchoneros signed a gem for a very cheap price, as Villa showed by scoring against his former side in Supercopa Espana. The player did not get a regular starting place after his leg injury, which proved to be the reason for his transfer.
Eric Abidal (free – contract completion):
Barcelona’s refusal to extend the contract of Eric Abidal came as a surprise to many, given his accomplished performances as a left back and centre back. After the defender had spent almost 3 seasons fighting cancer, he returned to the starting XI in April, 2013. The club and fans supported Eric throughout his recovery, and given his assured performances at the centre of defense, many expected he would be offered a contract extension. This was not how things panned out, as the club refused to renew the contract of a 33 year old player who had gone through a severe illness. Abidal left with his head held high, earning respect from fans and rivals alike. He joined his former club Monaco on 8th July.
Andreu Fontas (€1 million):
Fontas was bought by Celta Vigo and signed for three years, after Celta spent €1 million as transfer fee. Barcelona included a buyback option in his clause. He joined team mate Rafinha, and former coach Luis Enrique at his new club.
Marc Muniesa (free – contract completion):
Muniesa was another surprise of the transfer window, seeing as he was touted to be the next big thing in the centre of defense. Following his injury on 24th July, 2012, Muniesa had to miss the first six months and could not make a place in the squad after recovering. Muniesa signed for Stoke City after completing his contract with FC Barcelona.
Gerard Deulofeu (loan):
The 19 year old winger was loaned out for the 2013-2014 season to Everton as an attempt to provide him experience of top division football and satisfy his needs for playing time. The winger is expected to be given a place in the senior squad of Barcelona if he impresses at Everton.
Rafinha Alcantara (loan):
Rafinha Alcantara who plays as an attacking midfielder was loaned out for the current season to Celta Vigo to give him experience of top division football. He joins former manager Luis Enrique at his current club.
Bojan Krkic (loan):
Bojan was again loaned out, this time to Ajax Amsterdam, after he failed to impress at AC Milan. The kid should start looking for a permanent move as these loans are not good for his career. He will get another chance to impress his parent club as Ajax will meet Barcelona in group stages of Champions League.
To sum it up, FC Barcelona did not solve any of their problems; no goalkeeper was bought, no centre back was bought, and no permanent replacement for the star player “Lionel Messi” was bought. The club did manage a huge signing in Neymar, but they lost more quality than they gained. The return of Afellay and Cuenca from loans mean the squad is very deep on the wings, fitness permitting.Afellay is injured though, which does not look good for his career. Cules all around the world should pray that there are no injuries to the squad, or the season will unravel like the last. Another worry for La Blaugrana should be the additions Real Madrid have made during the summer. Are the Catalan giants ready for the season? That question can only be answered after a very long season for the fans.