Philippe Coutinho became the latest player to swap the Premier League for Barcelona when he completed a £142million transfer from Liverpool in January 2018.
Since 2000, Barca have signed 14 players from Premier League clubs, and we’ve taken a look at the footsteps Coutinho is following in.
Much is expected of Coutinho, who has even been tipped to eventually replace Andres Iniesta at the Camp Nou.
Playing in a slightly more withdrawn role compared to the one in which he generally played at Liverpool, the Brazil international has made a steady start to life in Spain, scoring three times and providing a further assist.
— ﮼شريفه،الراشد، (@s_fabulous) March 10, 2018
Deulofeu has trodden a bizarre career path to date. After initially impressing on loan at Everton from Barcelona, he was then sent to Sevilla, but he underwhelmed and was named in Marca’s ‘Worst Team of the Season’.
As a result he returned to Everton, this time in a permanent deal, and again showed glimpses of quality, albeit paired with inconsistency. Eighteen months into his second spell with the Toffees, he was sent on loan to Milan, where he caught the eye to such an extent that Barcelona chose to exercise their buyback clause on the winger.
Ten La Liga appearances followed in the first half of the season before he was loaned out yet again, this time back to England with Watford. And now we are left with no idea whether he’s any good or not.
At the end of the day he has made 23 appearances and scored two goals for Barcelona, which is more than you.
Suarez made just two first-team appearances for Manchester City before joining Barcelona and spending a season with their B team.
A year on loan at Sevilla followed and Villarreal actually bought the midfielder, only for his performances to persuade Barca to take advantage of their buyback clause.
Establishing himself in the side has not been an easy task, but the 24-year-old has still made 54 appearances over the past two seasons.
Despite joining Barcelona on the back of yet another ban for biting, Suarez has slotted in seamlessly to establish himself as one of the best players in the world.
He’s scored 145 goals in 186 appearances, and has two La Liga titles, two Spanish Cups, one Spanish Super Cup, the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup, the Club World Cup.
You could say it has gone alright.
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) March 13, 2018
Another player to be selected in a ‘Worst Team of the Season’ by Marca, Vermaelen made just one appearance in his maiden campaign at Barcelona after joining in a £15million move from Arsenal due to a host of injuries.
The defender was more involved in his second season before spending a year on loan at Roma and then returning to the Camp Nou in 2017-18 and featuring more regularly.
It’s easy to forget Song actually played for Barcelona, especially considering he was released by Rubin Kazan in January of this year and remains without a club.
Two of his four years in Spain were spent on loan at West Ham, but we’ll always have this moment at least.
Noticed Alex Song is still a free agent.
A great excuse to use the GIF…
— George Pitts (@GeorgePitts_) February 26, 2018
It was always a matter of when, not if, Fabregas returned to Barcelona from Arsenal.
However, though the Spain international is undoubtedly a special player, he was not the star player at the Camp Nou and had to adapt to different roles given Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets were already established at the club.
A return to London with Chelsea in 2014 seemed to be the best move for all parties.
Mascherano was signed from Liverpool as a midfielder but given Barcelona’s embarrassment of riches in that area went on to thrive as a centre-back, winning 18 trophies in total before leaving for China in January.
“It has been a spectacular dream,” he said upon his departure. “It is a very special club and I feel privileged to have been part of it. Barca is much bigger than you could ever imagine.”
We’re not saying it didn’t go to plan*, but the fact Hleb burst into tears when he realised he was leaving Arsenal was portentous for his time at the Catalan giants.
Hleb failed to settle in Barcelona and fell out with Pep Guardiola after failing to make the matchday squad for the Champions League final. Still, at least he got to live at Thierry Henry’s gaff.
* we are saying it didn’t go to plan.
Sir Alex Ferguson had made up his mind on Pique after seeing the defender bullied by Kevin Davies in Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat to Bolton in 2007, and he was allowed to join Barcelona in a £5million deal the following year.
While Barca saw the potential in Pique, he has quite possibly surpassed their expectations, establishing himself as a crucial player during their decade of dominance.
The Henry Barcelona eventually captured from Arsenal may not have been peak-Henry, but he still managed to help the club win the Treble in 2008-09.
His transition to Spain was not straightforward, and he told Sky Sports that he had to learn how to play football all over again at the age of 30 when Pep Guardiola took over as manager.
He said: “I suddenly saw the game in a different way – understanding space, understanding staying in your position, understanding you have to give 100 per cent at everything.”
We’re big fans of Gudjohnsen, an excellent footballer who we wish we could have joined on a night out with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
The Iceland hero replaced Henrik Larsson at Barcelona, and while he was never truly a key figure in the starting XI, he was no doubt a useful squad member, and was rewarded with the Treble.
Another player who was forced to adapt to a new role at Barcelona, Van Bronckhorst was initially signed on loan from Arsenal, where he had usually operated as a midfielder.
The Holland international switched to left-back in Spain and established himself in the side before the move was made permanent for only €2million.
Two league titles, two Spanish Super Cups and the Champions League suggest it was an incredibly shrewd move.
Overmars became the most expensive Dutch player in history when Barcelona splashed the cash to sign the winger in a £25million move from Arsenal.
Injuries and Barcelona’s indifferent form, which led to a number of managerial changes, meant Overmars never recaptured his form for the Gunners and he retired after four years due to persistent fitness issues.
In total he scored 19 goals for the club, less than half he managed for Arsenal, despite being in Spain for one year longer.
Petit arrived at Barcelona as part of the deal which also involved Overmars, but the Frenchman suffered a similarly frustrating spell, claiming that coach Lorenzo Serra Ferrer did not even know his position when he moved to the Nou Camp.
Unsurprisingly, he lasted only a season before returning to London with Chelsea.