Every first-team and academy player Barca sold in 2020 & how they’ve fared
After a humiliating 8-2 Champions League exit at the hands of Bayern Munich in August 2020, Barcelona decided the time was right for a full squad cleanout.
In the transfer window that followed, Barca shipped out players old and young, simultaneously trying to free up space in the squad and reduce the wage bill in light of their impending financial doom.
But how did their transfer decisions work out? Were they justified in sending this lot packing or was it a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater?
We’ve run the rule over all of Barcelona’s 2020 summer sales and looked at how they fared at their new clubs.
Well be honest, we’d forgotten that Turan was still technically a Barcelona player up until last summer. His move there from La Liga rivals Atletico never really worked out, and he was sent out on a two-year loan to Istanbul Basaksehir in 2018.
While with Basaksehir, the gun-slinging former Turkey international was handed a Turkish record 16-game ban for pushing a linesman in 2018 (later reduced to 10 on appeal), and he eventually had his loan deal cancelled six months early in January 2020 after he was handed a suspended prison sentence for shooting a hospital floor.
After six months getting paid to not play football, his old club Galatasaray saw fit to take a punt on him last summer and it has gone surprisingly well. Turan scored four goals in 28 Super Lig appearances as Gala painfully missed out on the title, finishing behind rivals Besiktas on goal difference.
The ‘new Xavi’ tags proved premature – after moving from Gremio to Barca in 2018, Arthur did not settle and, frankly, did not show the levels of commitment expected of a top-level professional footballer.
After partying with Neymar in Paris, failing to turn up for a routine Covid test and sometimes appearing overweight, he was shipped off to Juventus last summer in a deal that involved Miralem Pjanic going the other way and some interesting financial maneuvering.
The Brazil international has not done much better in Turin, so Barcelona’s decision may have been the correct one in this case. Mind you, Pjanic has not exactly been pulling up trees in Catalonia.
Having made just six league starts in the Blaugrana shirt, Pjanic took to Instagram in May and wrote: “This season leaves me with a bitter taste and questions that still need answers.”
After coming through Barcelona’s famous La Masia youth academy and making a few La Liga appearances in 2018-19 and the first half of the following season, Perez was loaned to Roma in January 2020 with the obligation to buy for €11million come the summer.
In his 18 months in the Italian capital, Perez has managed just 11 starts. Unless Jose Mourinho can turn the 23-year-old winger’s fortunes around, it seems Barca got the better end of this deal.
Another La Masia product, Ruiz also left Barcelona in January 2020 – having made just a single La Liga appearances for the Catalan giants.
He went on loan to Braga for the second half of the 2019-20 campaign, before moving permanently for €8million in the summer.
The 21-year-old might not have had a massive impact in the Primeira Liga, but he did well as Braga finished runners-up in the Taca da Liga, scoring in the final against Sporting. That was clearly enough to impress Spain’s Under-21 manager Luis de la Fuente, who included Ruiz in the squad for the final stages of the European Championships in Slovenia.
Rakitic became a favoured target for the ire of Barcelona’s Twitter fans over the latter part of his time at the club and the club had been attempting to rid themselves of him for a while. In 2019, Barca directors tried to include him in a failed bid to get Neymar back from PSG, prompting Rakitic to remind them in an interview that he is “not a sack of potatoes.”
Despite that disrespectful end the Croatian won it all with Barca and was an incredibly dedicated servant, playing 50 or more games in five of his six seasons in Catalunya, so his former club Sevilla were delighted to have him again for a mere €1.5million in the summer of 2020. Back where he is loved, he slotted in nicely, becoming a fixture as Sevilla finished fourth in La Liga.
Rakitic was on the losing side in the Copa del Rey semi-final, though, beaten by his old mates at Barcelona despite getting on the scoresheet in the first leg. That would have stung.
It just had to be…Ivan Rakitic! 😱
An outstanding finish against his former club doubles Sevilla's lead and puts them in the driver's seat in this semi-final tie 👀 pic.twitter.com/c6nZBMZyU5
— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) February 10, 2021
Cucurella made just one senior appearance for Barcelona before season-long loans at Eibar and Getafe – the latter, in 2019-20, with an option to buy for €6million.
After he started 37 of Getafe’s 38 league games in 2019-20, they exercised that option and Cucrella went on to start 37 of their 38 league games as they finished 15th in the league. Decent business for both clubs, we’d say.
Vidal never fitted in particularly well at Barcelona, too brash and all-action for the club’s refined self-image and playing style. And after he’d prefaced the 8-2 Champions League embarrassment by telling the press that his old club Bayern Munich should “be ready for us” because they weren’t “playing against some random Bundesliga team,” he was destined to be one of the high-earners making way come summer 2020.
A reunion with Antonio Cote at Inter Milan was arranged and in Italy, Vidal has taken his ninth league title in the last 10 seasons. Individually though, the campaign was not all that great.
His lack of goals led to serious criticism in the Italian press, as did kissing the Juventus badge on Giorgio Chiellini’s shirt before the Derby D’Italia.
In all, he made 30 appearances for Inter, scoring twice. Now, they too are looking to offload him, with Jorge Sampaoli’s Marseille reportedly interested.
Ladies and gentlemen we give you Arturo Vidal…
Appears to kiss the Juventus badge on Chiellini’s shirt before kick-off! 😳
Opening the scoring in the Derby d'Italia. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/vHIKD5Hxtw
— Soccer Manager Games (@SoccerManager) January 17, 2021
Young centre-back Cuenca was sold to Villarreal in the summer of 2020 for €2.5million and immediately loaned out to Almeria, thus missing out on the Yellow Submarine’s glorious Europa League campaign.
But Cuenca did get plenty of game time in the Segunda Division, and, at 21, still has time to develop. If Pau Torres leaves Villarreal, he could get his chance next season.
Wolves fans, look away.
Semedo was sold to the Midlands club for €30million in September 2020. The fee may or may not have had something to do with Jorge Mendes being Semedo’s agent and Jorge Mendes also representing Wolves in the negotiation – difficult to be sure, but like we say, possible.
Nine months later, the Portuguese wing-back cannot be looking back too fondly on his first season in the Premier League. Wolves finished 13th, Nuno Espirito Santo left the club and Semedo has come in for some heavy criticism for his wayward defending.
Oh, Barcelona. What did you do?
‘We’re getting rid of a top earner,’ they said. ‘Suarez is over the hill’, they thought. And then El Pistolero turned up at Atletico – for a paltry €6million – and brutally demonstrated just how wrong they were.
When he left, Lionel Messi called it “madness” – and it really, really was. Suarez got the bit right between his oversized gnashers at the Wanda Metropolitano and led Atletico to the La Liga title, scoring 21 goals and sticking a great big middle finger up at the Barcelona hierarchy.
After Atletico secured the title, Suarez broke down in tears on the pitch and after the game told Marca: “It’s tough. The situation I had to live through, the way I was looked down on, but Atletico opened the door for me.”
“A lot of people have suffered with me – my wife, my children. Day by day, they are the ones who have suffered the most from my many years in football.”
But, he added: “We’ve had a great year. Despite the difficulties, we were the most consistent team and we’re the champions.”
The 28-year-old has had the oddest of careers. At times, he has looked like the next big star off the Barcelona production line, then he has been hampered by recurring injuries and poor form. And when he finally left Barcelona permanently in 2020, after 90 appearances and three loan spells at two different clubs, it was not a surprise. The destination, however, was.
Rafinha turned up at PSG, where he has again struggled to nail down a consistent place in the team – which is little wonder with the attacking midfield talent at Thomas Tuchel’s and then Mauricio Pochetitno’s disposal.
A couple of positive performances in April looked like they could signal something of a resurgence – and Rafinha has generally done well when given the chance – but just 15 league starts is not the return he was hoping for when he left the Camp Nou.