On the 23rd of January 2014, FC Barcelona elected Josep Maria Bartomeu as the president following the resignation of Sandro Rosell. He was the 40th president to lead Barça. Six and a half years have gone past since his appointment, and Bartomeu undoubtedly has been the worst president that ever presided over Barça. We have lost our identity under him, and he is to blame for the mess that Barça is going through. Some problems that he is to blame are the decline of La Masia, Weak Management, No Tough Decisions, and the list goes on and on.
This article will deal with his decisions in the transfer windows. We will be looking into every player he has signed, and what that player has done for our club.
BIG MONEY SIGNINGS:
1- Luis Suarez: Liverpool (€82.3 million) – 2014
He was the in-form striker at that time who every team wanted to buy. But Barcelona nabbed him. He is undoubtedly the best signing under Bartomeu, as he has been a great player for us. He is going to touch the 200 goal mark for us, and he was also the part of the trio MSN. His partnership with Messi has always been fantastic and has helped the team on many occasions. But recently, his scoring and overall play have declined, and he is not the player who we bought six years ago. So, a decision should be made, as his time at Barça looks very less.
2- Ousmane Dembele: Dortmund (€105m+40m) – 2017
He was the joint-most expensive player alongside Pogba when Barça signed him in 2017. And for a young player to carry that pricetag is always tricky. This has taken a toll on him. He is a great player, but to pay a sum of around €150m was never the Barça way. He had shown flashes of how talented he is, but the injuries have not helped him. Messi defined him as a “phenomenon” who can become “one of the best.” He is another one of our signings who is always injured alongside Umtiti. But he is far away from fulfilling that tag.
3- Phillipe Coutinho: Liverpool (€160m) – 2018 (On Loan at Bayern)
After making several attempts to sign the playmaker, Barça signed him in January 2018. He was the 2nd most expensive player at that time. He never found his place in the Barça squad. His struggle was there to be seen for everyone. Coutinho is a playmaker, but Messi’s presence in the team stopped him from playing his natural game. He has been tried on the left-wing or as an attacking midfielder, but they didn’t work out for him. Since then, he was loaned out to Bayern, and he has won the Bundesliga and the DFB Pokal.
4- Antoine Griezmann: Atletico Madrid (€120 million) – 2019
Griezmann was always the prime target for Barcelona. Barça approached him last season, but he rejected them after releasing a video paying allegiance to Atletico. The next season Barça signed him. He is still struggling to find his place in the squad. He has played most of his games as a left-winger, and he has been ineffective. Tough decisions have to be made, and he should be given more time to play and adapt. What will you expect from a player who doesn’t even play? You can’t judge him with just 10′ cameos. His latest performance against Villareal just shows he has a lot to contribute to this team.
The above-mentioned players barring Luis Suarez were part of the process of filling the void that Neymar left. Neymar left for PSG, giving Barça a whopping €222m to spend. A total of around €385m has been spent to fill Neymar’s void, and no one has really worked till now.
Under Bartomeu, Barça has signed four goalkeepers. It is the position where we can say Barça have done a great job. Claudio Bravo was decent for us in the net. Ter Stegen has been the best signing under the Bartomeu era. He has been an amazing goalkeeper for us and has been the reason we have not lost. He has come to our rescue several times. Cillessen was bought to be the backup for Mats, and he also had great games for us. When he left for first-team football, Neto was signed from Valencia to replace him.
After Puyol left, it was high time we get a defender who can accompany Pique. For a long time, Javier Mascherano filled that place, but there was no replacement for him either. And then who Barça bought, neither was Barça quality nor they fit in the team.
Samuel Umtiti – 2016
When Umtiti was signed, there was optimism in the Barça fans as a young defender was coming who would be the future. Umtiti was great, and his physicality came in handy for Barça. His distribution of the ball was also amazing. But that all changed when he suffered a knee injury. The world cup winner never recovered from it. After the world cup, he has played few matches for Barça and is mostly sidelined. He explained his injury problems in an interview. And I think the best thing to do is to sell him. You can read about him in this article.
Clement Lenglet – 2018
One defender who looks like can be a long time replacement in the defense is Clement Lenglet. He has shown flashes and has given performances where he looks a very mature defender. He has been a great defender for us till now. But he still has a lot to improve. The only problem is his consistency. He is way far from his best. What quality he lacks is the distribution of the ball. He has a lot to improve from that perspective.
Nelson Semedo – 2017
He was signed as a permanent player at the RB position. Roberto and Semedo have both played at RB, and Barça still hasn’t found the right replacement till now. Semedo has shown flashes that he can be a great RB, but most of the time, he is out of position. His attacking play is better than his defense. He can be a good RB for us, but he has to improve his game drastically.
Douglas, Vermaelen, Mathieu, Aleix Vidal, Mina, Todibo, Firpo, Digne, Wague.
The above-mentioned players were brought in the hope that our defense will improve. But they never had the chance to make it big. Vermaelen was bought despite his injury problems. Digne, Aleix Vidal played some good games for us, but they never made it big. Firpo looks like on the same path as them. Mina, Mathieu, Wague, Douglas were never Barca quality. Todibo has a lot to prove and needs playing time. 2m euros were wasted on buying Douglas.
Ivan Rakitic: Sevilla – 2014
As Fabregas left for Chelsea, the former Sevilla captain was brought in. He was seen as a natural replacement for Fabregas, but he had a different style. From Scoring the 1st goal for us in the Champions League Final, his performances have dropped since past seasons. There have been calls to sell him as the latest reports claiming Rakitic can be on his way out. But, since the restart of the season, he has been a standout player for us. It is the best time to sell him to make way for players like Puig to be a starter. Read more about him in this article.
Frenkie De Jong & Arthur Melo :
De Jong was bought after a great season for Ajax and is the heir to Busquet’s position. He is a great player who is known for his ability and calmness on the ball. But he hasn’t still fulfilled his expectations at Barca. He still isn’t playing at his full potential. The same goes for Arthur. A player when he first stepped on the pitch, he was compared to Xavi. His control and the ability to resist the press are some of his qualities for which he standouts. But he is going to join Juventus that shows he was never given time to settle in the team and was pushed out.
Paulinho & Vidal:
Nobody could have imagined players like Paulinho and Vidal will ever join Barca. But they did. This proved something. Barça’s style of play has changed. Two midfielders who are known for there physicality and not the passing play. But to the surprise, Paulinho played well for Barça. He was impactful whenever he played for us. Vidal hasn’t been on the same level as Paulinho. Another signing shows that we are not the right path. This is the time that Barça prioritizes players that have the Barca DNA in them.
Denis Suarez, Andre Gomes, Arda Turan:
Barça has paid more than 70m euros for the three above-mentioned players, but nobody made it big. Their signings simply prove that we have wasted out funds on players who didn’t even have a chance to make it big. For a team like Barcelona, the midfield is the part where most of the game is played. And signings like Turan or Gomes just show that Barça is slowly losing there DNA.
Suarez, Griezmann, Coutinho, and Dembele will not be discussed here as they are discussed under Big Money Signings. Paco Alcacer, Gerard Deulofeu, Malcom, and Brathwaite are players that Barça signed to be part of there attacking force. Yes, the players signed here are of good quality but are not Barça Quality. They all failed to make an impact. Players were not signed, keeping the future in mind. Malcom had some good games, but Valverde didn’t give him enough chances to prove himself. Paco Alcacer never worked for us. Right now, he is playing for Villarreal.
Deulofeu is a former La Masia player. He was dubbed as the next big thing from the academy. Despite being good on the ball and his direct approach, he never made it big for Barça. Martin Braithwaite was bought in for 18m euros in an emergency signing after Dembele got injured. But he has still not got playing time. He has a release clause of 300m euros, which is astonishing despite him not playing regularly.
Only players who have worked under Bartomeu, are Mats, Bravo, Suarez, Cillesen, and Paulinho. Lenglet and De Jong still have too much to prove, but they are still in a better position than many signed players.
Barça has lost there way. Instead of promoting young talent and prioritizing young players, we are looking to sign stars. And those stars have still not proved themselves. According to research, Barcelona has spent over €1 billion from 2014-2015 till the Griezmann’s transfer. 1 BILLION!!