FC Barcelona, for all intents and purposes, is a desperate club right now. The Neymar transfer debacle has ended, and now the team wants to sign players to reinforce the squad and replace him.
So why are they so bad at it?
The board’s main targets since the Brazilian’s departure have been Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembélé. Both have been “a few hours away” from signing for about, oh, five days now. The board is obviously having trouble getting things done. Likewise, they seem to be going for high-profile targets when there are other options available, which further complicates things.
Part of the problem regarding those two is the timing of Neymar’s leaving. With August turning the corner and the preseason almost over, teams like Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund have all the leverage. They can ask for whatever they want because they know these signings have to be made as soon as possible (or at least that the current Barça board deems them necessary).
This is why Dortmund, according to reports, have valued the 20-year old Frenchman at 150+ million. He’s good, don’t get me wrong, and I do believe his signing would be amazing, but he isn’t worth that as we speak. Not even in this current transfer climate.
He also hasn’t helped his own situation at all by skipping training without notifying anyone at BVB. Despite L’Equipe reporting his signing is imminent, the team must now be trying even less to facilitate this move. Put yourself in their shoes. If I was Peter Bosz, I wouldn’t appreciate Ousmane dipping for hours without me knowing anything about him. If it is Dembélé’s dream to play for Barcelona, there are better ways to push for a move your team doesn’t want.
But Dortmund are willing to sell him, if only for the right price.
Difference between Dortmund is BVB willing to sell, it's all their phrasing! PAY UP @FCBarcelona
— Mujtaba (@MujtaBATMAN) August 10, 2017
Liverpool, however, and the enigmatic German Jürgen Klopp, refuse to sell Coutinho. They feel he is too important to their team and, quite frankly, they’re right – he is their best player. While some believe those above Klopp in the team’s directors would approve a sale for monetary reasons – he’d most likely bring at least 100 million – nothing to prove that has materialized. And with Klopp now saying “we will not sell Philippe Coutinho at any price”, it’s looking like a third Barcelona bid won’t be much help.
On top of this, the board seems hell-bent on signing players that, while they admittedly have quality, will ultimately make a splash. Names like Iñigo Martínez and Jean-Michaël Seri, by all accounts, would like to join Barcelona. They are very good players that could fit in well here, with a price tag much less cumbersome than Coutinho’s or Dembélé’s. So why aren’t those deals happening? The board should at least be working on those transfers, as a way to cover all their bases.
The deals aren’t happening because those players aren’t as famous, won’t make as much of a splash, won’t sell as many kits, and won’t bring in as much revenue. They should be happening though. It could very well occur that by focusing on such sensational signings, we miss these smaller, sensible ones and we end up signing nobody because we’ve taken too much time.
Another angle to the issue is if we really need to sign anyone at all. There are some who believe Gerard Deulofeu with some Denis Suárez will be just fine filling in on the left side, while others heap praise on Dembélé and insist we need him. Signing Coutinho won’t add anything new to the side. He might be better than anyone we have right now, but is he 100 million euros better?
I don’t pretend to have the answer to these questions, although I do have my opinions (I would pay up for Dembélé, but I wouldn’t for Coutinho). Only time will tell, if they are signed. But if we are unable to sign them, I do think it’s worth giving time to players like Sergi Samper, Munir el Haddadi, and Deulofeu. We might not be sure of what they can do yet, but that’s because the team hasn’t given them a chance to show us yet. Homegrown talent has been in short supply lately, and I’m not alone in voicing my displeasure towards this growing trend of commercialism the board is preferring. At the end of the day, the worst thing we could do with the 222 million euros of Neymar money could be to actually spend it at all.
And of course, the current system doesn’t help either. Teams have all the leverage to retain their player without buyout clauses, even if the player wants to leave (look at Coutinho). They can slap an exorbitant price tag on players (look at Dembélé) and dare us to pay it.
It doesn’t help when #NextFewHours is a thing either. Reports have stated three times already that the Coutinho deal was done, and we were supposed to unveil a signing before the Gamper match against Chapecoense. This, along with rumors of Dybala, Mbappé, and even Isco will always be there. After all, people can say whatever they want on the internet, regardless of truth.
Fans are disappointed, and with good reason, but there’s also a reason why nothing is happening. There’s also a reason why teams aren’t cooperating, just like there’s a reason this isn’t all the board’s fault. There’s also reasons why we shouldn’t sign anyone, at least not the ones we’re trying hardest to sign. So please curb your enthusiasm. On the other hand, try to tone down your frustrations.
On second thought, maybe you’re angry. That’s ok. Everyone has different opinions.
This situation is all a matter of perspective. Because perspective matters.