When one thinks about the best clubs in Europe, Barcelona, inevitably, is mentioned among the top three. It has prestige, along with a proven track record of winning every trophy over past decade. Whether under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, Tito Vilanova, or Luis Enrique, Barca always remained one of the most recognizable teams in world football. That trend is continuing this season with Ernesto Valverde at the helm.
However, the situation is far from perfect for the Catalan giants. Arch-rivals, Real Madrid has won three of last four Champions League titles. Not too long ago it was Barcelona ruling Europe, but things changed. The club must correct several ongoing issues to reclaim its position at top of ladder, notably the signing policy. Some recent Barca recruits have failed to perform as expected. In fact, several can be called flat-out disappointments.
One example is Andre Gomes. The Portugal international is among the most talented box-to-box midfielders in Europe, and his displays for the national team have been decent. He hasn’t replicated those performances playing for Las Blaugranas though. Gomes often looks tired, lazy and, at times, physically lightweight in both La Liga and the Champions League. Maybe he’s simply not on the same level as his Barca teammates, resulting in the midfielder looking like a worse player than he actually is.
Barcelona might sit top of both La Liga and UEFA Champions League standings, but serious issues affecting the club remain. One being its signing policy. Andre Gomes is a culprit in that regard.
Andre Gomes not the only disappointment, though…
In recent times, there are other cases which indicate that Barcelona hasn’t spent its money wisely. Thomas Vermaelen and Jeremy Mathieu never settled; both defenders spent more time off the pitch than on it. And Lucas Digne, former Paris Saint-Germain left-back, hasn’t provided strong competition to Jordi Alba.
Although it’s still early to analyse Paulinho and Nelson Semedo, as both joined Camp Nou during summer, the initial assessment isn’t positive. Semedo has played regularly but is outperformed by his teammate, Sergi Roberto – who isn’t even a natural fit at right-back – and Paulinho has been unable to compete with Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic for a starting spot in central midfield.
Barcelona might sit top of both La Liga and UEFA Champions League standings, but serious issues affecting the club remain. One being its signing policy.
Additionally, Barcelona’s lack of activity in summer transfer window must be noted. After receiving over £200 million when Neymar jumped ship to join PSG, the hierarchy failed to adequately replace the Brazilian star. Los Cules couldn’t strike a deal to land any of their preferred targets -Philippe Coutinho and Paulo Dybala both rejected a move.
Gerard Deulofeu did rejoin, but his arrival was eclipsed by Ousmane Dembele’s £97 million transfer to Nou Camp. The French youngster looked like a decent signing, however, the former Dortmund star played only three games before getting injured. Sometimes bad luck plays a factor too.
The Catalan giants possess some of the world’s best footballers, but the team’s core won’t last forever. One thing is clear: the club must take action, quickly. Unless the transfer strategy is improved, Barcelona risks losing its long-established privileged position among Europe’s elite clubs.
Source: Its Round and Its White