Seven of Barcelona’s best bargain buys since Pep Guardiola joined in 2008

Quick Reads

Barcelona haven’t exactly been the thriftiest team in the transfer market in recent years, but they’ve still managed to bring in some bargains. 

In among the likes of Neymar, Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann are some absolute gems, and some that went on to become brilliant club servants after joining for a modest fee. 

We’ve gone back to 2008, when Barcelona became the team to beat in European football as Pep Guardiola led them to the treble. They might not have enjoyed such dominance, winning eight of the last 11 La Liga titles, without this lot.

Samuel Umtiti (£24.6m)

There was a time when any fee of £24.6m couldn’t possibly be considered a bargain, but we’re living in an era of £80million centre-halves.

At just a fraction of that, Samuel Umtiti showed potential as one of the best young defenders in Europe at Lyon, and he has subsequently lived up to that as he played a key part of Barcelona’s 2017-18 title win and that summer’s World Cup for France.

He’s suffered a bit of a setback through injury of late, but as his best he’s a world-beater.

Ivan Rakitic (£16.2m)

A firm favourite of Luis Enrique and subsequently Ernesto Valverde, Ivan Rakitic is a coach’s dream of a player. A selfless and tireless hard worker, he proved a better fit in Barcelona’s midfield than La Masia graduate Cesc Fabregas, who he replaced.

Helping the club transition as Xaxi declined is no mean feat. But the Croatian lifted the treble in his first season, and a glut of domestic trophies have since followed.

He’s not shown quite as much in an attacking sense as he did at Sevilla, but he’s still scored some rockets in his time.

Javier Mascherano (£18m)

Loved by his team-mates and a cult favourite among the fans, Mascherano was a far cry from the technically-gifted types produced by Barcelona, but his doggedness, determination and versatility made quite the impact.

He was never going to usurp Sergio Busquets to play in his natural defensive midfield role, but he certainly made himself handy at centre-half.

Jordi Alba (£11.2m)

The La Masia academy product had staked a claim as one of the best left-backs in Europe while at Valencia, something he underlined with brilliant performances for Spain as they won Euro 2012. 

His transfer was confirmed a couple of days before Spain thrashed Italy 4-0 in the final, and the trophies haven’t let up from there.

In seven years at Barcelona, he’s won five league titles, four Copa del Rey, and the Champions League in 2015. He’s developed a brilliant, almost telepathic, understanding with Lionel Messi in that time.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen (£9.7m)

The young German goalkeeper’s supreme confidence and ability with his feet at Borussia Monchengladbach marked him as an ideal candidate to shepherd in the post-Victor Valdes era at Barcelona.

He had to bide his time, at first only playing in the cup competitions, winning the Copa del Rey and Champions League, as Claudio Bravo played in the league.

But he’s since established himself as a capable No.1 for Barca, as well as one of the finest goalkeepers in the world.

Claudio Bravo (£7.2m)

The goalkeeper’s weird spell at Manchester City, where every single shot seemed to go past him, has unfortunately tarnished the reputation of a solid La Liga stalwart and Chile legend.

Always reliable at Real Sociedad, he was similarly dependable when he joined La Blaugrana alongside Ter Stegen in 2014.

A key part of back-to-back titles won under Luis Enrique, the club then made a £6million profit when they sold him to City after two years. A brilliant bit of business.

Gerard Pique (£4m)

An integral part of the backline in Barcelona’s treble wins of 2008-09 and 2014-15, Spain’s World Cup and Euro 2012, Pique also won the Champions League in 2011, a total of eight league titles and six Copa del Rey in 11 years.

He’s gone from partnering Carles Puyol to Mascherano to Umtiti and Clement Lenglet and never been anything less than a leader. Not bad for £4million, which was all it took to take the homegrown talent back from Manchester United in 2008.


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