Barcelona: don’t repeat the mistakes of the past

Barcelona's former president Sandro Rosell (L) and Barcelona's president Josep Maria Bartomeu arrive to attend Spain's national court in Madrid on February 1, 2016. A Spanish judge on May 13, 2015 ordered Barcelona football club to stand trial over alleged tax fraud linked to the signing of Brazilian star striker Neymar. The National Court in Madrid ordered the trial of Barca's president Josep Maria Bartomeu, his predecessor Sandro Rosell and the club as a defendant in its own right. AFP PHOTO/ JAVIER SORIANO / AFP / JAVIER SORIANO (Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)

Barcelona is about to make the same mistake it made when it signed Neymar 4 years ago. And it’s painful to watch.

If reports from Liverpool are accurate, the club is ready to splash out 120 million Euros for Philippe Coutinho, making him the second most expensive player in football history.

Coutinho is certainly an exciting prospect, but he has done little to justify this price tag. Further, the player has no personal investment in the sporting project at FC Barcelona, and there is little to guarantee against his premature departure. This is especially relevant in the face of evidence that Neymar is agitating for PSG to buy him.

The idea that club deficiencies can only be resolved by multi-million dollar transfers is the wet dream of the worst elements of the sport: businessmen, marketers, player agents, Neymar’s Dad. People exactly like Sandro Rosell and Josep Bartomeu. These are the real beneficiaries of the absurd player arms-race that has driven this market.

There is an incredible appeal in telling these parasites to take a hike. Resist the temptation to capitulate to the marketers. Invest in homegrown talent. Use intelligent coaching and tactics to get the best out of the squad. We understand that this is pure fantasy, but it’s an opinion that seems to be gaining some traction against the tidal wave of BUY EVERYONE NOW.

Our point: Neymar’s departure does represent the end of an era at Barcelona. And we say, please let that era die!

Thanks to Ramzi [@footballmood], @Zizouology, and @AnfieldHQ for inspiring and informing this post.

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  • Dave Stevenson

    This writer is amazing; love his stuff.

  • Oleguer Presas

    “The idea that club deficiencies can only be resolved by multi-million
    dollar transfers is the wet dream of the worst elements of the sport:
    businessmen, marketers, player agents, Neymar’s Dad.”

    Mr. Stevenson, this is maybe the most ridiculous hogwash i have ever read about Barcelona or football in general. According to your opinion Barcelona mustnt sign any big players for big sums. But tell me: How can Barcelona win trophies and challenge Real Madrid if they dont sign big players ? La Masia is a joke nowadays and today it can only produce a bunch of hopeless amateurs like Munir, Roberto or Samper. In football you have to spend if you want glory. But the message you spread with this article sounds like: “Barcelona, dont spend on big players. Its ok to be a loser club getting dominated by Real Madrid. Its ok watching Real Madrid win the UCL while we dont win anything”. What the hell is going on with you. How can any Barcelona fan publish this kind of bullshit ? Wake up dude: We need those multi-million transfers if we want to keep up with Real Madrid or if we wanna win trophies.

    • Dave Stevenson

      Thanks for your comment; not sure why you feel the need to insult me instead of simply presenting your point of view. I wouldn’t argue that we should give up on signing players. But my post was a reaction against an absurd transfer market, and a suggestion that looking to our youth, and to making more of what we already have through intelligent coaching and tactics might be a different way forward. Cheers.

    • Micheal Young Moguls Farquhars

      While i dont agree that barca shouldnt sign any big players, I’ll be the first to call you an idiot for ur comment about Samper and Roberto. U mean the same Sergi Roberto that won us that PSG match, and was a rock in RB even tho he isnt a natural RB? Or Sergi Samper that is possibly one fo the best young DM’s to ever leave la masia? Idiot. La Masia is the way it is because of the board’s stupidity. When you can have a talent like Alex Grimaldo leave in frustration and then spend ACTUAL money to sign someone in Lucas Digne who is no better than Grimaldo you see the leadership the club is under. A bunch of muppets. There needs to be a balance in signings and pulling on youth players. THe same youth system that nurtured Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Puyol, Pique, Busquets, Cesc and the lot. Stop being an idiot.

      • Oleguer Presas

        I rather sell Roberto and Samper for free than selling Neymar for 1 Billion € !
        Sergi Roberto is a No Name outside of Barcelona. Not even Real Madrid fans know him.
        He is a joke and doesnt have enough quality for Barcelona. Real Madrid have super talents like Kovacic and Casemiro, Barcelona have Samper and Roberto. This is a joke !
        Grow the f*** up dude. Those La Masia talents are totally overrated. Dont idolize Roberto just because he scored a tap-in against PSG. He cant even dribble or assist goals. Penaldo is going to win his 5th Ballon d’Or, because he is supported by world class midfielders like Modric or Kroos. And who does Messi have ? Roberto and Busquets This is just pathetic.

    • Kneowell Anyanwu

      There has to be a balance for now, i believe our current set of la masia products are shitty except for alena and samper who has shown prospect and a near sensational halillovic who needs the right tutor than he needs more time.
      Seeing delofeu try to cut back each time he’s through on goal made me grimace, we need someone there that can take more shots on goal and precisely too and not try to cut back to messi everytime, if he manages this i can tell you he will tally more goals per season than Neymar ever did. Its impossible for us to find a player of neymars standards even if it means splashing all that cash but we need someone who can make up for what neymar lacks in taking chances and scoring those vital goals (mbappe? Dybala?)
      So for now la masia just cant sustain us so we have to look elsewhere and with the sale of neymar at that price no club will let their best player go cheaply, they all want a huge chunk of it, our bad.
      What the club must do however is to handpick a coach passionate about barca and our philosophy and willing to work with the youths, this is where i believe xavi should come in, xavi should be given not just the coach of the B team but also spear head the whole youth project cos i believe no one understands it better than him having come through the lowest of ranks. If the club does this, we will start reaping dividends in the next 2-3 seasons, by then xavi would be more than ready to manage the first team, then iniesta can continue with the B team. Its really a no brainer, but obviously its rocket science to this board