Is this the end for Halilović?

OSIJEK, CROATIA - MARCH 23: Alen Halilovic of Croatia looks on during the International Friendly match between Croatia and Israel at stadium Gradski Vrt on March 23, 2016 in Osijek, Croatia. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

On Thursday the 21st of July, Barcelona and Hamburg reached an agreement for the sale of 20-year-old Alen Halilović for 5 million euros. Barcelona have the option to buy the Croatian back over the next two seasons for 10 million euros as well as the first option to purchase the player for as long as he is at the German club, but is this the end of Halilović’s Barça dream?

The little attacking-midfielder, nicknamed the Croatian Messi by some (how many times have you heard that?), joined Barça in the summer of 2014 for 5 million euros after spending his youth career and one senior year with Dinamo Zagreb.

Alen joined Eusebio’s Barcelona B, which then became Vinyals’ Barcelona B, playing 29 matches as the B team got relegated, putting in the odd impressive performance and showing glimpses of talent, but under poor management and a disorganised team he failed to show consistency.

Luis Enrique decided the time was right for Halilović to make the jump to La Liga for the 14/15 season, when he joined Sporting Gijón. Playing 37 games for the Asturian club, Halilović often showed he could provide assists and even chip in with a goal, but playing as an central attacking-midfielder in a 4-2-3-1, it didn’t really show anyone how he would fit in at Barça.

When Halilović joined Sporting, they were one of the main candidates for relegation, and they just avoided the drop by a single point, now he joins Hamburg, another club who are odds on to go down to the second division, and it’s difficult to see how he is going to benefit from these relegations battles in the long run.

By selling Halilović to a team that doesn’t resemble the Barça style in the slightest, not to mention that they don’t even play the same system, it seems that his Barça fantasy could be close to its end, especially with the packed midfield at the club.

At a club like Barcelona, it’s difficult for all of the talented players to get their shot at first team football with superstars like Andrés Iniesta, Leo Messi, Neymar Jr and so on taking centre stage. In another era, Alen Halilović could have been a teenage sensation in Barcelona’s first team week in week out, but unfortunately some players have to face the harsh reality of the FCB back-door, but it’s a shame that the Croatian isn’t joining a bigger club that I am sure he is capable of being a part of.

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  • Savo Kraljević

    Was it the end for Denis Suarez?

  • Travis Morphy

    Certainly not he is at the best stage to get his career going and him being an barca was not certainly not good thing, time for him to get the regular games he will come back as beast.

  • Steven Rogers

    Basically a glorified loan… Barca will have to pay to get him back, but in the meantime his salary is off the books. If he makes it, getting him back will be a good deal. If he doesn’t, no loss. With Andre Gomes now in the mix he wouldn’t get playing time at Barca anyway.

    • Victor Gusila

      Precisely. We currently have the same kind of deals going for Deulofeu and Adama Traore, neither of whom seem to be ready for Barca yet. With Barca B in the Segunda, sending 20-year-old players there is counterproductive, so loans and sell/buyback deals are the way to go.

  • Eivind Niclasen

    The midfield just became even more packer with the club announcing the signing of André Gomes from Valencia. It will be interesting to see if that means Arda Turan is on his way out. Does anyone know if Rubin Kazan paid any money to sign Alex Song?

    • Naman Jindal

      Song left on a free transfer.

      • Pete Masiti

        This club will be run to the ground in a few years. They get no new better deals from sponsors they have no clue how to sell players and make money.

        song on a free transfer? why was he bought for 20?

        • Steven Rogers

          You do realize that the point is to win games, not trade players for fun and profit…?

          • Eivind Niclasen

            It´s all part of the same process. Moving on players, that don´t add anything, replacing them with more suitable options, while (hopefully) also doing good business. Don´t forget that at the moment it looks like the team is finally going to have options on the bench. We haven´t had that since Pep was in charge. What´s not to like?

        • Jamie

          We’ve just signed a new Nike deal that triples our money. We’re getting Qatar off the books after this year for Amazon. Alex Song is more of an exception than the rule — his wages were so high it was really hard to get rid of him (same goes for Adriano). His deal from the start was a mess, but he’s gone now.

          We’ve brought in 20 million for players that wouldn’t see 5 games worth of action this season, and that’s before we get rid of Verm for the bones of another 10. Pretty much every deal we’ve done this summer has been fantastic, Sandro and Douglas aside.

          The club are also clearing out off-field problems, and we’ve given contracts to Neymar, Busi, Samper and Munir. That one small guy from Argentina next.

          Our squads got more than depth than….god knows when. Even more than Pep’s teams, and at younger ages. I won’t say the B is in great shape, but they’ve made notable signings to fix it.

          We’re on the upswing.

  • Steven Rogers

    So the transfer budget is spent and there’s still no right back. However, some things might change. Some possible sales (value is a very rough estimate)…

    Bravo is a great keeper and has done great things for Barca, but ter Stegen is the future and you can’t keep him waiting in the wings forever. 15 million, more if rumors of Man City interest are true. Of course that means looking for a new #2.

    Selling Turan would leave little experienced backup in midfield, but Rafinha and Sergi Roberto are no longer kids and Denis Suarez and Andre Gomes are in the mix. Time to take the chance and go with youth. Another 15.

    Vermaelen did well at the Euros and somebody might still take the chance. 8.

    Tello is fast and has some skill, and the EPL has money to burn. 5 at least.

    Adriano… maybe something, not much. Ok, 2.

    That’s 45 million, minus whatever you pay for the new #2 keeper, which makes a RB move very possible… and you’re dropping the average age of the squad a lot while retaining the core capable veterans. There’s risk in that of course, but there’s risk in everything…

    • Eivind Niclasen

      I would go for Jordi Masip as the second choice in goal, if Bravo was to go to Man City. He is a good keeper, though a bit unambitious with having no problem only getting one or two official games every calendar year. The club might not sign a RB this summer. That´s the reality, so Aleix better grab the opportunity during the upcoming pre-season.

    • Pete Masiti

      So basically we buy at insane amounts but sell at the shittiest amounts possible? Halilovic is the next big thing and is only 20 but we sell him for 5m euros. Why would we sell tello for such peanuts when he was quite good in porto and EPL has a lot of money now to burn after the new deal.

      So if vermaelen had a good euros shouldn’t we sell for atleast 15-20m? to any EPL team.

      There is a reason this club is in so much shit financially because they know jack shit about doing business the right way. Even Madrid sell their players for big amounts……Juventus, bayern…take notes from them.

      • Eivind Niclasen

        Halilovic was sold for the same amount that the club paid for him. André Gomes had a release clause on the wrong side of 50m euros, and yet Barca signed him for 35m. Bad business? We´ll see. This summer´s signings are different to players signed by the club in recent years. 1. They are all in their early 20s. 2. Two defenders have already been signed, which is outrageous for a club like Barca, that usually has a stingy attitude towards the back four. Add to that the fact that André Gomes is 1.88cm tall.

        The club has in recent years had a strong tendency to sign expensive players in their late 20s. It´s usually brought us immediate success with the likes of Villa and Suarez. I am convinced that Luisito will be great for the club for years to come, but El Guaje stands out as something approaching a flop signing given his price, wages and how he performed in 2 out of 3 seasons at the Camp Nou. Not exactly a world beater, if you know what I mean. If one of the latest acquisitions shouldn´t work out to plan, that player would still be young enough to be sold on for a good price.

      • Steven Rogers

        Vermaelen’s age and injury record are serious concerns; without the good Euro performance it would be hard to move him at all.

        Tello is young and meets the EPL profile, so it might be possible to get more I also wonder if they are thinking f keeping Tello to address the 4th forward issue… seems no point in big spending for a player who will see a lot of bench time.

        Bravo and Turan might be worth more than what I suggested under some circumstances, but I was being conservative on purpose, and age is a factor. Moving older players on not just about the money you sell them for, it’s also about getting their salaries off the books and opening space for the players of the future.

        Halilovic could have sold for more if it was a final sale without the buyback provision… Barca is using these “sales” as modified loans… bring in a little money, put the salary on someone else’s shoulders, give the player some minutes, if they look good bring them back. Worked with Denis Suarez.

    • Jamie

      We’ve already confirmed we’re not looking at RBs and count on Sergi & Aleix there. And it’s more than understandable, given Aleix’ troubles last year. Like replacing Xavi & Puyol, there is no replacement as such for Dani and you just have to get on with it. I do get the concerns that the position is up in the air, but I think if Sergi plays regularly and improves on his chemistry with Messi, he’ll be a star. He’s already super-fit, has honesty in effort, he can cross, and he can defend. Just needs to work on dynamism. And if that fails, we’re in a good enough position to spunk our next summer’s budget on Bellerin.

      I do agree re: Bravo, though. If he was to go to City, it would solve our pecking order which is bound to be an issue, it would help Pep (hey, it matters to me), and we could cash in nicely on the English market. We can’t rely on Masip, though; he’s a poor player. I’d be plenty happy to bring in Pepe Reina or Diego Alves as some have touted.

      All that really matters at this point, though, is just getting a backup forward.

  • Pete Masiti

    I don;t know if it’s the end for alan but it will surly be the end for this club in say 10 years. They spend insane amounts to buy crap players and then let their good players for peanuts.
    They have no clue how to get great deals…..The management has ruined this great club.

    5 years it’s been neither Puyol or Abidal has been replaced in any way, Not even close. some may say Umititi but there is nothing to say he will be a top player unless he plays the season very good and we are certainly not replacing Abidal.

    Selling players like song for free when West Ham wanted him and was ready to pay atleast 10 or 8m for him. Just sick of this club’s bullshit everyday.

    Now they go and buy Gomes for 60m when he is not even going to play as somehow iniesta is still the same he was 4 years back but he is nowhere near the play he once was and only shows up against average or bad teams (proven in Euros again).

    Gomes is going to face the same consequence as Arda coz he won’t be let into the first team coz iniesta won’t let that happen. He is a legend and all but face facts – Iniesta not even close to the player he was…He performs in 1 game out of 20 and that to against a garbage team.

    If somehow Suarez or Messi don’t show up then the entire team is nowhere. Most team rely on their defense to get the job done when their star forwards aren’t peforming but Barcelona can’t even do that as they have the worst defense of all the big – decent teams.

    I will hail the lord when i see the day Pique plays in Barcelona no more. Ever since this guy become the main CB of the team the team has just been ruined. Ever since 2011 we have only 1 CL to show for and it’s all thanks to a stinking defense.

    Atletico know how to beat us by just booting long balls and heading it into the path of their strikers and bombing players forward which they can’t do with Madrid because Madrid have excellent tall players who are great headers of the ball.

    • Serkan Savas

      man you are so full of sh.t it’s not even funny. go cry me a river. and i am one of the more critical and skeptical people around, but you are just apesh.t crazy

      • Pete Masiti

        Do you really think your opinion matters jackshit to me? Why should i cry you a river retard? are ya gona drown in it and commit suicide? then tell me when, i will do it.

        Most of what i wrote is the truth but worthless turds like you are too blind to see anything through those fanboys cum filled eyes. Now go complain somewhere where it matters and someone would heed your opinion you schmuck.

        • Serkan Savas

          F.ck you are dumb lol spoilt entitled trashbucket

    • Kneowell Anyanwu

      Who’s this idiot people?

    • Victor Gusila

      Oi dumbass… how many games has Atletico won against us since Luis Enrique took over?

    • Steven Rogers

      In the last 2 seasons Barca have won 5 of thee 6 major trophies they have competed for… so clearly they suck. You were expecting maybe a treble every year? You don’t expect to replace a Puyol or a Xavi with a like-for-like player… there aren’t any.

      Two summers ago, facing a transfer ban, thee team had to run out and fill places with short-term solutions. Last summer they could only acquire players willing to skip half a season. These are huge constraints and of course they have a big impact on business. Now we’re seeing the club bring in young players with the potential to fill long term gaps. Maybe not all of them will work out, but that’s always the way it is. Gomes knows perfectly well that Iniesta and Rakitic will be ahead of him this year. He also knows that Iniesta will need rest and that Barca will be grooming a long term replacement. No player that age expects to waltz into a club like Barca with an assured starting spot.

      Barca had a late season slump last season that saw them leave the CL and put the league at risk. I put that down to fatigue. The transfer ban plus a raft of injuries left the tam unable to rest key players and as a result the team was just worn out by the last third of the seaon. Under the circumstances they did pretty well. Now the team is buying youth and depth… and you whine. I guess somebody always will.

    • Kang

      oh hell, so barca is basicaly dead, we can all leave now. gosh.

      MatS: 12m
      Bravo: 12m
      Rakitic: 18m (I’m still laughing my ass off)
      Suarez: 81.72m (and worth every euro-cent)

      otherwise no good deals, so why see the good things if you can focus on the negatives am I right?

    • Pius Kamau

      Real fan??…you might consider them.
      I can hardly make any sense of all this crap talk you just posted above.
      Puyol blossomed when he was approaching his 30s…Umtiti is 23..loads of potential for growth.
      Just to prove that your statements are bs…this……………//..Atletico know how to beat us by just booting long balls and heading it
      into the path of their strikers and bombing players forward which they
      can’t do with Madrid because Madrid have excellent tall players who are
      great headers of the ball………..//….????
      Dude??? out of 8 meetings with Simeone’s men since Lucho took over, we (Barca that is) have lost only ONCE…we beat them 7 TIMES….not just beat them but OUTCLASSED THEM, the club your voyeuristically envy is the one which has problems beating Atletico..I really don’t know what you’re on here mate..

    • Travis Morphy

      With all your crab been said barca has still gone on to win the treble season after season which barca exactly were you supporting all these years you have to understand barca style is different don’t compare us to your garbage barca because we all know barca is an offensive team right from the off when i mean right from the off means right from the centre back so you should be understanding the number of risk we are taking in the process but at the end of the season we still go on an win a trophy what else do you damand from a team like these? Maybe you should support AC milan or Inter milan and see how it feels.

  • Abdullah

    You don’t know that much about HSV, do you? They are a big club in Germany, one of the biggest actually. They just have two difficult season in 2014 and 2015. Before that they always finish in top 8. Last season they finished 10th. They have a project to become again a top club. They are bu no means at all, a relegation candidate.

    • Jamie

      Yeah, but 2 seasons is what they have to be judged on. I think it was only 5 or 6 points off relegation last year.

      • Kang

        so were 6 teams below HSV. (regarding 5 points off relagation)

  • Jamie

    It’s a shame because, unlike Adama who we sold to the highest bidder, Alen DOES fit in here. He played in the middle of a 4-2-3-1, but he played for long periods from the right too (not sure why you didn’t mention that).

    There isn’t room for him this summer, but he would of been the ideal backup for Messi on the RW, and in the future when Messi moves centrally, he could be perfect playing from the right. Think of a 4-2-3-1 with Samper/Andre Gomes and Busi deep, Messi at #10, Neymar and Alen wide, and maybe we break the bank on a new striker in 2018 again (Gabigol, Gab Jesus, Icardi). A very doable long-term approach. And I guess it still is, but such a shame on wasting him on a club that isn’t much progression from Sporting. Tells you we’re not serious about him.

    • Eivind Niclasen

      Not sure about Halilovic filling in Messi´s boots on the right wing. He lacks both Leo´s physical strength as well as his ferocious dribbling ability.

  • Pius Kamau

    OFF-TOPIC: Guys are these rumours about Gameiro joining Barca for real??

    • Victor Gusila

      There was talk of Gameiro all summer long, but the latest I’ve seen is that Barca cooled interest, mostly due to the combination of price and age. Right now, all the talk is about Luciano Vietto, though Sevilla want him, too.

  • Ayanfe Dada

    Hopefully, Halilovic will return to Barca just like Dennis Suarez

  • Eivind Niclasen

    Montoya has officially joined Valencia. Prior to him going to Los Che, the board made sure to cancel his contract. Perish the thought of the club actually getting any money for letting him go.

  • Eivind Niclasen

    The club has just terminated Alex Song´s contract. They just made sure that an overpriced and completely unnecessary signing brought in absolutely nothing as he departures. Who may be next to leave for free – Mathieu or Vermaelen?