The European transfer window has not even opened and Catalan giants Barcelona have already secured the signatures of two players in the shape of Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia. Both players arrive at the club from Manchester City as free agents.
Reports from European media outlets suggest that the Blaugrana could also be close to also signing other free agents in the shape of Lyon’s Memphis Depay and Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum.
Free transfers make sense in the present climate
Even a super club like Barcelona are not immune from the financial impact caused by the global pandemic. They were already reported to be in major financial trouble before Covid. Some media outlets suggest that they are in fact £1billion in debt.
That means that they can no longer go out into the transfer market and spend big on star players. Signing free agents is a way of strengthening their squad without having to splash out major cash this summer.
All four of Eric Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay would strengthen the Barcelona squad in key positions for next season. If all they cost is their signing on fees and wages, then there is no real case against signing the quartet.
Avoiding the mistakes of the past
Barcelona have quite frankly made some massive blunders in the transfer market in recent years. One of the biggest mistakes was allowing veteran Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez to leave for title rivals Atletico Madrid. He helped Atleti claim the Spanish league title by scoring 21 goals in La Liga.
However, some of their biggest mistakes have been with players arriving at the come. Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho arrived from Liverpool and Ousmane Dembele came in from Dortmund for big fees. Both players looked like good signings at the time.
They have turned out to be poor signings, though. Coutinho has been loaned out to Bayern Munich after less than a season with the club. He has also made just 12 appearances in the Spanish top-flight this season.
Dembele is undoubtedly talented but has been so inconsistent in his Barcelona career that he has been linked with moves away from the Catalan club on several occasions. His time in Catalonia has of course been blighted with injuries too. The players cost Barcelona a fortune in transfer fee and wages. At least with the new signings, they have not dug them into a much deeper financial hole.
Barcelona will expect to challenge for next season’s title
Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona team will likely be back to challenge for the Spanish title next season, with or without the former Netherlands head coach at the helm. The new signings are certainly not going to hinder their title challenge.
In fact, the signing of Aguero may well lead to star man Lionel Messi signing a new deal, as the pair are close friends. The prospect of playing with his friend may just be enough to persuade Messi that he should stay at the Nou Camp. That would be a massive boost to the Blaugrana’s title challenge.
From the outside, looking in the deals that Barcelona have made so far look to make complete sense. It seems that they have learnt from their previous mistakes in the transfer market and are operating differently in this transfer window. Even if it out of necessity, it could be the way forward for the Catalan giants, at least in the short term.
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Is Barcelona being shrewder in the transfer market this summer?