How Barcelona’s seven summer signings have fared so far this season
To say Barcelona had a turmoil-filled summer would be an understatement. Lionel Messi, perhaps the greatest player of all time, left for free with Barcelona unable to register him due to their financial difficulties which stifled any potential major squad changes.
The club had to rely on free transfers to make changes while attempting to move on as many players as possible to cut their staggering wage bill.
Out went Miralem Pjanic on loan to Besiktas and Antionne Grizzeman was back to Atletico Madrid on a loan deal which will become permanent. Young talent like Junior Firpo, Ilaix Moriba and Konrad del la Fuente also left in order to help the club finance what few incoming transfers they could.
But how have those seven summer signings been faring?
The young Spanish centre-back was a Barcelona youth prospect and had long planned on returning to the Nou Camp once his contract with Manchester City ran out.
He made just 13 appearances at the Etihad, a number he is already close to surpassing at Barcelona where he has been in mixed form. He has earned two red cards already, against Athletic Club in the league and Benfica in Europe, but has also shown signs of the quality, ball-playing defender he can become.
Considering Pique’s age and the lack of defensive options for the Catalan side, Garcia will surely be a mainstay for years to come.
Aguero also signed from Man City for free, excited at joining up with his best mate Messi.
Of course, soon Messi was off to Paris and, whilst it looked as if Aguero wouldn’t be able to be registered for a while, Aguero opted to stay in Barcelona regardless. Fitness issues limited his playing time but he did score off the bench for Barca in the El Classico.
Yet disaster soon struck when he collapsed during a game from cardiac arrhythmia. Such is the condition’s seriousness, all sources suggest that Aguero will soon announce his retirement from the game for medical reasons, a sad way for one of the greatest strikers of his generation to bow out from the sport.
Sergio Aguero’s goal today! Man scored on his El Classico debut. pic.twitter.com/BJ0Wlq5FjY
— Saz (@SazMCFC) October 24, 2021
How many players can say they joined a club and then left it the same transfer window? Emerson Royal did just that in the summer when he joined Barcelona but then moved on to Spurs.
In truth, he was already part-owned by Barcelona. When he moved from Atletico Miniero to Real Betis, Barcelona part signed him as well and had a clause in the contract that allowed them to buy him outright come summer 2021 which they activated last window.
He made three appearances for Barcelona at the start of the season before the club’s money problems meant that when Spurs came in with around £20million he was off to North London. A bizarre one, but technically a Barcelona summer 2021 signing nonetheless.
At Lyon, Memphis restored his reputation after his disappointing United period. Now, his challenge is to become a Barca talisman in their worst team for a generation.
He has begun doing so well, with seven goals so far this season.
Normally loans involve a player from a big club moving to a smaller one for game time and development.
But with Barcelona’s financial situation, the chance to add anyone to their roster without paying a fee is one that cannot be turned down, such is the case with the young Austrian winger Demir.
He joined on loan in the summer from Austria Wien with an optional future fee arranged and has so far featured in the league and Europe, showing only glimpses of his promise.
But it seems Xavi has faith in him, explaining to Barca TV home he plans to use him and why he started him against Benfica in the Champions League.
“Demir has trained very well and can generate chances and lead with the ball,” he told the club’s official channel.
It will be interesting to see if he can now kick on.
Luuk de Jong
Yeah, not quite as exciting this one.
The Europa League winner with Sevilla joined fellow Dutchman Koeman by coming on loan to the Nou Camp in order to provide the former Netherlands boss with another attacking option, but now with Xavi in charge, his chances might be limited.
They had been stifled before anyhow, only making nine appearances so far and being a bench player. He did, however, score and assist against Levante.
Reports suggest that there is a buy option included, but we wouldn’t bet on the Catalans activating it.
Fine, this one isn’t a summer signing but we still had to include it.
November saw a sensational return to Barcelona and European football for Dani Alves, the most decorated player in footballing history, on a free transfer after he left Sao Paulo when they mutually terminated his contract.
He can’t play until January and there might be a possibility he can’t even be registered but who would let that get in the way of a good story?