FC Barcelona transfer window of 2020 was the most-awaited, and it didn’t disappoint. From Messi close to leaving to young players signed and termination of contracts, this transfer window was no less than a roller coaster. After hitting rock bottom after losing 8-2 against Bayern Munich, the team needed changes from top to bottom. With the economic conditions, Barca is going through; it was more than necessary to finalise deals as cheap as they can get, and get the best players. We will be looking at how the Summer Transfer Window went and will be concluding how the overall window went.
With the current economic condition, it was vital for some players to depart so that Barca can approach someone. And that happened. The Summer started with the departure of Arthur, who joined Juventus. Arthur joined Juventus for around €70 million, and Pjanic moved the opposite way for the same fee. As widely reported, the deal was done to balance the books, but as the season started, Barca fans have started to like the deal. Arthur still hasn’t played a single game under Pirlo at Juventus, while Pjanic has impressed so far.
One departure that was inevitable to say the least was the sacking of Quique Setien. And as it happened, Koeman took charge. As soon as Koeman started his tenure, he made sure to speak of his plans and made sure which players he wanted and who he didn’t. The reports started to emerge, and it was clear Koeman had a plan. Koeman informed players like Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Vidal that he didn’t count on him for next season.
But when you want to sell a large number of players, with the economic crisis looming, it is never easy. Ivan Rakitic‘s departure is a perfect example to understand the issue that Barca was facing. Sevilla didn’t have the funds to afford Rakitic, and Barca needed to sell him. The deal was finalised for a minor fee of €1.5m with €9m in variables.
Arturo Vidal was the next in line as he joined Inter. Antonio Conte is a big fan of the Chilean, and he took this opportunity to resign him. The agreement was reached way before the official announcement happened. Inter were settling the departure of Godin which delayed Vidal’s signing. But eventually, on 22nd September, Barca announced Vidal would be leaving for just €1m in variables.
Chaos was kicked in when Barca tried to sell Luis Suarez. As the summer started, there were reports that Ajax can approach him. But nothing happened. Juventus were also interested in signing Suarez, and personal terms were agreed. Suarez also travelled to Italy to sit for the Italian Passport Exam, but after prolonged delays, Juventus ran out of patience and cancelled the deal. Barca was adamant about selling him, and Atletico Madrid took advantage of the situation and signed Suarez for just 6 million euros in variables.
After getting nothing in transfer fees after these 3 departures, Barca got something after they sold Semedo to Wolves for 30 million euros and 10 million in variables. Semedo joined Barca, and everyone was excited after what he did for Benfica before. But he never made it here. It was the best option to sell him. It can be termed as the best departure of the summer, as we got something in terms of the transfer fee.
Concluding the departures, Getafe activated the buyback option and signed Marc Cucurella permanently for 10 million euros. 2 deals went through on the deadline day as Rafinha signed for PSG and Todibo was loaned out to Benfica with a buyback option.
Going into the Summer Transfer Window, Barca knew the team needed a change. Barca was already expecting arrivals even before the end of the season. The best way to do it is to sign young and promising players. And signings wise, FC Barcelona started on the right note.
On 31 January 2020, FC Barcelona announced the signing of Franciso Trincão. The 22-year-old Portuguese was signed for a fee of 31 million euros from Braga. He signed a 5-year contract with a buy-out clause of 500 million. It can be seen as one of the best signings of this summer as he ticks all the boxes for Barca. And after his debut and the minutes he has played so far, this looks like on the best deals.
Talking about the young influx, Barca had an agreement to sign 17-year-old Pedri from Las Palmas since September 2019. The transfer was effective to go through on 1 July 2020, but with the pandemic, it was delayed. Eventually, Pedri joined Barca late August. He can be a perfect midfielder shortly for Barca, and his age is an added incentive as it gives him time to improve and mould himself as the perfect Barca midfielder.
As Arthur left, Pjanic moved the opposite way. At the start, it was a deal which nobody understood. Swapping a 24-year-old with a 30-year-old didn’t make sense, but as the season has started with Koeman playing with 2 defensive midfielders, Pjanic fits in this system more than Arthur if he had stayed. It will be exciting to see how this transfer turns out, and it will be evident in the next few seasons.
After the departure of Semedo and Roberto being the only option at the right-back option, a new right-back was the most prioritised signing. There were many options on the market that Barca could have targeted, but the economic condition didn’t help it. So, Barca found the perfect replacement in 19-year-old Dest of Ajax. After stiff competition with Bayern Munich, Barca’s pulling power worked and Dest signed for Barca.
Rounding off the signings, Matheus Fernandes joined Barca from Palmeiras for around 10 million euros. The Midfielder hasn’t still been presented at the Camp Nou, but he has been given the No 19 shirt ahead of the season.
Other than the signings, Ansu Fati and Carles Aleñá and Riqui Puig were promoted to the first team. Despite Koeman publicly saying Puig was not in his plans and he suggested him to go on loan, Puig decided to stay and was given the No 12 jersey.
FC Barcelona Transfers that didn’t go through
On August 16, Marcelo Bechler broke out news which took the world by storm. Messi wants to leave Barca in 2020. After all that Barca fans have endured for the past some years, this was the most difficult to deal with. LIONEL ANDRES MESSI had decided to leave Barca, and nobody was able to believe it at first. Ten days later, Burofax happened. After twists and turns for many days, on Sep 5, Messi confirmed in an interview about his decision to stay and the biggest story of the summer came to an end.
Messi’s departure would have been the biggest news of the summer, but it didn’t happen. As Suarez left, Barca was back in the market for a new No 9. Barcelona was already approaching Lautaro Martinez for the spot, but the economic condition and a high release clause made it difficult to finalise the deal. As an alternative to Lautaro, Barca targeted Memphis Depay for the No 9 position. Personal terms were agreed between the club and the player, but the wage problem stopped Barca to sign him.
Barca was also in the market for a Centre Back, and Man City’s player and former La Masia graduate Eric Garcia was the 1st priority. Barca spent the whole summer trying to sign him. The deal went from some millions to 18 million euros, but no agreement was reached. The deal went till the deadline day, and Man City demanded 20 million euros, but Barca never increased their offer, and the deal was off.
Transfer Window 2020 – 7/10
The team needed changes in every aspect, and it has happened. First, it was important that the wage bill to be lowered and for that, there was no solution instead of selling players. And with that respect, Barca has achieved it in this transfer window. Yes, the transfer could have been better negotiated, but right now, it was more about lowering the wage bill.
Despite all this, Barca has failed to land a Centre Back and a No 9 this summer. Barca only has 4 defenders for the first team which is never a good sign. With a 4-2-3-1 formation, a pure No 9 could have helped the team much better than playing Messi in a False 9 role. If we don’t consider the depth in the defence and the lack of pure No 9 options, Barca had a good transfer window. Barca can hope the team clicks, and Koeman can get the best of the players we have.