The summer of 2022 was huge for FC Barcelona. A number of financial levers were pulled in order to rebuild Xavi’s squad. In came the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde and out went a dozen players to make room.
Lewandowski and Kounde have been successful signings for Barcelona, but will they have any regrets about the players they let go?
We’ve taken a look at the 12 players that left Barcelona last summer, or shortly afterwards, and judged how they’ve fared after leaving.
After spending the second half of the 2021-22 season on loan at Villa Park, they promptly snapped up the Barcelona playmaker in the summer. After a bright start with Aston Villa, the Brazilian has struggled to find his flow during this campaign.
A reoccurring hamstring injury hasn’t helped things, but Coutinho has somewhat faded into the background since Unai Emery has taken over.
His reunion with Barcelona was fairly short-lived as he spent just over half a season with the Catalan Club. Alves joined the Mexican side UNAM in the summer but is once again a free agent after having his contract terminated in January.
The Spanish forward had an excellent record for Barcelona B as he scored 19 goals in 32 Primera Division RFEF appearances. Jutgla also scored a couple of goals for the first team prior to his move to Club Brugge.
Since moving to Belgium the 24-year-old has continued to impress. With 10 goals scored across all competitions, he is Club Brugge’s top scorer for the season as things stand.
Manaj, on the other hand, hasn’t quite found it as easy in front of goal. Watford signed the 26-year-old on a three-year deal in the summer for an undisclosed fee.
He only lasted a matter of months with the club though as his contract was terminated by mutual consent in January. He scored just one goal for the Hornets and otherwise struggled to adapt.
— Sam Ucko (@Sam_ucko) February 8, 2023
The Senegalese defender joined Croatian side Gorica in the summer but now finds himself as a free agent after his contract was mutually terminated in December last year.
From Barcelona to Bournemouth, Neto has had quite the ride. The Brazilian goalkeeper rarely got his chance to shine at Camp Nou as he often played a supporting role to Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
He’s proven to be a solid pair of hands for the Cherries this season though. With 2.8 goals prevented in the Premier League and a save percentage of 77.5% to boast, Neto has done well on the south coast.
The 23-year-old has been in and out of the Celta Vigo side since his move last summer. The versatile defender struggled to fit in at first, but he has been given more opportunities since Carlos Carvalhal’s arrival in November.
The Spanish defender racked up 66 appearances for Barcelona across his two seasons with the club and he has been slowly settling into life at Celta Vigo.
The La Masia graduate, still just 23, made the eyebrow-raising decision to move to MLS after being left out of Xavi’s squad for Barcelona’s pre-season tour of the United States.
Puig registered a brilliant assist just 14 minutes into his LA Galaxy debut and scored three goals in a further nine league appearances as Greg Vanney’s side finished an underwhelming fourth in the Western Conference last season.
He since played 90 minutes as the Galaxy kicked off their 2023 campaign with a disappointing 3-1 defeat away to FC Dallas.
Having been brutally booed by Barcelona fans during the curtain-raising Joan Gamper Trophy against UNAM back in August, the writing was on the wall for Braithwaite’s Barcelona future.
Sure enough, a few short weeks later Braithwaite’s contract was terminated by mutual consent. But the Denmark international remains in Barcelona, having signed for their city rivals Espanyol. He’s scored a respectable eight goals in 19 La Liga appearances, including five in his last six.
He was back at Camp Nou on New Year’s Eve as Espanyol ground out a 1-1 draw.
Given the trajectory of his career in recent years, it’s easy to forget that Aubameyang’s half-season sojourn with Barcelona was actually very successful. The 33-year-old striker scored 13 goals in 24 appearances for the club before being moved on following the summer signing of Robert Lewandowski.
Aubameyang joined Chelsea for a £12million fee but has failed to prove his Premier League critics wrong. He’s only scored three goals for the Blues and now finds himself on the periphery of Graham Potter’s plans and out of the Champions League squad entirely.
Having failed to pull up any trees out on loan at Besiktas last season, Pjanic has left Barcelona for good in September. His contract was terminated by mutual consent and he has since joined UAE club Sharjah.
“Xavi wanted me to stay, it was me that decided to leave,” the Bosnian told BeIN Sports.
“I was there for the first games, the coach spoke with me a lot, but I wanted to play more. I would have liked to have done better at Barca.”
The midfielder has notched five goals and four assists in 16 appearances for Sharjah, who currently sit fifth in the UAE Pro League, five points off the top of the table.
The legendary defender suddenly called time on his playing career prior to the World Cup break back in November. In doing so, he’s saved his financially beleaguered boyhood club a lot of money in wages.
“Football has given me everything,” he said in a statement. “Barcelona has given me everything. You, culers (Barcelona fans), have given me everything.
“And now that [this] kid’s dreams have come true, I want to tell you that I’ve decided that now is the time to bring this journey to its end.”
Barcelona have done alright in his absence, while Pique remains in the media spotlight – most notably setting up a seven-a-side ‘Kings League’ for YouTubers and ex-pros, while getting boided by Shakira.
Don’t be surprised to see him as club president one day.