FC Barcelona: A successful window for winter transitions … but that also raises questions

Continuation after this announcement by Dani Alves, Ferran Torres, Adama Traoré and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. We will have to wait for the next few months to see if the four players mentioned can benefit Xavi Hernandez, but on paper, Barca has reached a rather interesting transition window. Especially in the conditions we know, ie the winter market, which is unfavorable for large transfers, and the particularly difficult financial situation, with La Liga being the lowest euro spent in Bars. The relatively low salary cap – the time the club is back on track financially – has not promised anything good in the last days of December. But the hard work of Joan Laporta and the club’s football director, Mateu Alemany, paid off. With financial engineering, greatly aided by incoming players who donated a lot of salary to join Bars, two thoughtful FC Barcelona executives were able to offer a gift to Xavi. It is no coincidence that on Monday night we saw the boss of Barcelona escape the joy when he signed a contract with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who had completed a month of jumping on all sorts of puzzles and huge obstacles. Especially since next summer’s La Liga FPF rule, which prevents the club from spending more than a quarter of its earned income on the transfer window, will jump, giving the Laporta-Alemany duo more room to maneuver. Sustainable profiles? However, we can still ask a few questions about recruited players. Not necessarily by their quality, but by their profile. If Ferran Torres seems to fit in perfectly with Barcelona’s philosophy of play, as demonstrated in virtually every match with Luis Enrique’s Roja, Adama Traoré raises some doubts. True, the Barcai needed a balancing player in front – Xavi insisted – but it’s hard for many observers to see how he adjusts to the team. And first of all, on the side of the Wolves, he was dropped by a certain … Francisco Trincão, who was ousted by Barça because he was considered unwanted. A little paradoxical, some will say, even if they are of different profiles, and Spanish actually seems more useful and necessary than Portuguese at the moment. Another thing that may surprise you is the arrival of Aubameyang. It can also be a challenge for the profile here, as at first Xavi didn’t look like what he was looking for. According to Spanish media, the Barcelona coach wanted the striker to be able to take away, unite and take part in the game, so there was a lot of interest from Alvaro Morata, who was introduced as a tactical priority. The former midfielder preferred a fulcrum in front, which the Juve player did well in the selection, exactly with Ferranu Torres and Fati. Obviously, the Gabonese have a completely different style, more based on depth or the search for a good position in the last meters. “Aubameyang is killing you for having space in front of you, but Barca needs players who feel comfortable in small spaces,” he explained in 2020, advising not to come when Barca became interested in a former ASSE member. There are always flaws. At the moment, it is also possible to mention some congestion in the attack, and on the contrary, some positions seem rather poor both qualitatively and quantitatively. At the beginning of the transition window, the two positions of the defender got the impression that they were a priority. After the transition window, it is clear that Jordi Alba, who has not been very bright in recent weeks, has no substitute or a reliable alternative, and Alejandro Baldé does not fit into the coach’s plans. Also on the right, where there really are more players, but where Dani Alves is ultimately the only player to convince his former teammate, Mingueza and Destas didn’t convince their coach. Similarly, in a smaller register, certain positions, such as midfielder positions against the defense or even the central hinge, may have required one or two entrants. As mentioned above, the winter context and the financial situation of the club are not necessarily appropriate for this, but Sergio Busquet’s level of performance and recurring defenses in the second half of the season may still hinder it. than the offensive sector, which was not necessarily the main problem for the team. Poorly handled files If arrivals were fairly good to negotiate, the same cannot be said for departures. FC Barcelona had a list of unwanted people the length of your hand, and could only stand out with two – Philippe Coutinho, who went on an Aston Villa loan, and Yusufu Demir, who was returned to Vienna. And the first player Joan Laporta was going to stand out with was Ousmane Dembélé. An agreement was reached neither on the extension nor on the departure this winter. Some will say it is not necessarily the fault of Barcelona’s leadership, but it is clear that communication between the Catalan boss, who has publicly confirmed that Dembélé was better than Mbappé, has not helped to win the clash. That’s not all, as many of the players that could have been sold to make room for some space didn’t find players. Neto, Clément Lenglet, Riqui Puig, Alejandro Baldé, Oscar Mingueza, the list is quite long. One can also single out the case of Samuel Umtiti, which has been extended for savings, even if no one could have foreseen the injuries of the French defender for three months. A few sites that are simply being relocated in six months as a result, where Barcelonaers should have more purchasing power and try to hijack Erling Haaland caliber players. Now that Joan Laporta and Mateu Alemany are back with a pretty good mention, Xavi has to do the same on the pitch.
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