Wednesday, October 20

Barça’s winter market: from Coutinho to zero

  • The extreme poverty that Bartomeu has left in the club prevents allocating three million for Eric Garcia

  • After three winters with signings of the former president, it will be the first year without reinforcements for the coach

  • Coutinho cost 120 million plus 40 and arrived accompanied by Yerri Mina, which later was a great sale

  • Murillo, Boateng and Todibo landed at a very cheap cost but their contribution was residual with Valverde

  • Braithwaite was the last to arrive, with Setién, for 18 million: the same that all the clubs have spent in 2021

Not three million have Barça to make a winter signing. Not even three million has the club wanted to spend to cover the need expressed by Ronald Koeman to have one more footballer. No one wants to assume three million – not the president of the Manager nor two of the three presidential candidates – seen the wasteland that has left Josep Maria Bartomeu in the club.

The zero spending, zero signings, of Barça in this winter market reveals the situation of extreme poverty that the entity has reached, harassed by a debt of 1,173 million euros, that he has not even been able to hire Eric Garcia, a young 20-year-old youth defender (from Barça, not Manchester City, who took him away in 2017) who would be the sixth center-back, although in Koeman’s hierarchy he would become one of the two headlines. Or not. The name of Memphis Depay, the striker the coach wanted has long since disappeared.

Millions thrown away

The times of opulence were left behind by the millions that Bartomeu and his board squandered. Banknotes thrown in the gutter (120 plus 40 were paid by Philippe Coutinho in the same 2017) that would have allowed Garcia’s incorporation to be brought forward four months, from June to February, if there were three million euros in cash (plus seven in variables).

The postponed term has not been the claim to hire Eric Garcia, who would be the sixth center-back of the squad

Neither does the caramelito of the deferred payment of another apparently superfluous expense – necessary to eliminate PSG, according to Victor Fuente– so that Carles Tusquets, the Chairman of the Manager, dares to undertake the operation. Its predecessor in 2015 Ramon Adell, He uncompromisingly committed 34 plus 7 for Arda Turan and 18 plus 4 for Aleix Vidal.

Perhaps the apparent redundancy of signing Eric Garcia when Piqué, Araujo, Lenglet and Umtiti are on the squad, plus Mingueza, converted for a few days as a right-back, to protect Ter Stegen’s goal, and the precedents of the signings winter, each more useless. Ineffective, sorry.

Koeman’s apology

The trend of Barça in winter signings certifies the wayward side of Bartomeu, who since 2017 has been uninterruptedly at the Christmas market. Ronald Koeman, the spokesman for Barça, threw another blow to the former manager, apologizing. “With covid-19, all clubs have a lot of problems. If you look at the big ones in Europe, there are very few who have spent money.” It barely reaches 20 million among all. Martin Braithwaite, last year, cost 18.

“With the covid-19, all the clubs have many problems. If you look at the big ones in Europe, there are very few who have spent money”

Ronald Koeman, Barça coach

Punctual, by urgent, had been the purchases of the Barça mid season. Ibrahim Afellay It was the last (2011), until the arrival of the last former president, for a squad of four forwards. Preceded him Jose Manuel Pinto, in 2007, after Albert Jorquera tore his cruciate ligaments in his knee. And before, also with Joan Laporta, they signed to Demetrio Albertini and Maxi López in the 04-05 season, where there were four cruciate ligament tears: those of Motta, Gabri, Edmilson and Henrik Larsson, one of Koeman’s assistants.

Yerry Mina has been the only successful purchase. It cost 11.8 million in winter and was traded for 30.2 in summer

From summer to winter

But in 2017, and with the portfolio full with the millions deposited by Neymar, and pride wounded by Liverpool’s first refusal in the summer, Bartomeu signed Coutinho’s mortgage. I had already paid for Ousmane Dembele (105 plus 40 in variables), and the Frenchman had started his chain of muscle injuries. Just like Arda. Rafinha was still broken. As Javier Mascherano was leaving, from Palmeiras he arrived Yerri Mina in exchange for 11.8 million. Fruitful investment because the great World Cup he made with Colombia allowed him to collect 30 million from Everton.

Todibo, signed from Toulouse in 2019, has just been loaned out for the third time: Schalke, Benfica and Nice

In December 2018 there were more winter signings. Three. But spending was cut brutally. The box was empty. Jeison murillo was loaned by Valencia (1.2 million), Kevin Prince Boateng it was loaned by Sassuolo (1) and Jean-Clair Todibo it was acquired from Toulouse (1 million plus two in variables). Umtiti and Vermaelen were always in the infirmary and Alcácer and Munir were transferred, tired of being in the shadow of Luis Suárez. Murillo and Boateng only played four games from January to June, and Todibo, two. The Frenchman has been loaned out for the third time. After going through Schalke and Benfica, he goes to Nice.

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And last winter, casualties were brewed with Ernesto Valverde and signings with Quique Setién were undertaken. Barça yielded to Todibo, Wague, Rafinha and Aleñá and Dembélé was out. Bartomeu delayed the reinforcements until Luis Suárez did not break when returning from the Super Cup. Then, the president, overwhelmed by emergencies, signed a striker for B (Rey Manj, from Albacete, 2 million) and one for A: Suárez’s replacement was Martin Braithwaite, for whom 18 million were paid to Leganés.

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