Barca Blaugranes Awards: Best Signing: The Nominees

Way to spoil the photo Cesc :P - David Ramos

Here are the two nominees for the 2012-2013 Barca Blaugranes Award for Best Signing

Last summer was a relatively quiet one for FC Barcelona, who conducted the majority of their business early when it became apparent that club legend Pep Guardiola would not be returning for a fifth season as Blaugrana coach. Guardiola’s long-time assistant Tito Vilanova took the reins, and his first real action as manager was the signing of then-Valencia full-back Jordi Alba. Despite losing the La Liga title in 2011/12, and crashing out of the UEFA Champions League in ignominious fashion at the hands of eventual winners, Chelsea; Tito Vilanova kept his transfer activity to a minimum, finally following up the signing of Jordi Alba with the procurement of Arsenal midfielder, Alex Song.

This €33 million total was the lowest spend by the Blaugrana in a single summer since 2006, when Barça bought Icelandic international Eidur Gudjohnsen from Chelsea and took advantage of the Calciopoli scandal to sign Gianluca Zambrotta and Lilian Thuram from Juventus. However, unlike the disappointment of 2006/07, Barcelona went on to secure the La Liga title at the expense of free-spending rivals Real Madrid, which just goes to show that money doesn’t necessarily lead to success. Here are the two nominees for signing of the season:

Jordi Alba – €14 million from Valencia CF – Left-Back

A former member of the fabled La Masia academy, the decision to "repatriate" young full-back Jordi Alba was a universally popular one amongst Culés across the globe – particularly after the 2012 UEFA European Championships, where Alba’s marauding runs up and down the left-flank were influential in Spain’s eventual success. In the final, Alba scored a superb fourth goal against an Italian side that frustrated La Furia Roja in the group stages; and that form translated into the regular season, where Jordi Alba quickly established himself as Barcelona’s number one left-back. Effective in defense, and spectacular in offense; Alba added another dimension to Barcelona’s free-scoring attack, stretching the field with his trademark lung-bursting runs down the left flank. Unfortunately, there were moments in the season when the Blaugrana were ultimately weakened by Alba’s presence on the left-hand side of defense – in the infamous defeat against Bayern Munich for instance – but overall, there can be no denying that Jordi Alba was yet another impressive signing for Sandro Rosell.

Appearances

Minutes

Goals

Assists

Yellow Cards

Red Cards

44

3757

5

5

7

0

Compared to 2011/12

-6

-212

+2

-1

-10

-1

Alex Song – €19 million from Arsenal FC – Defensive Midfield/Centre-Half

After recording the best season of his career in 2011/12, Cameroonian midfielder Alex Song was rewarded with a surprise summer transfer to the Camp Nou, where he would join the likes of Lionel Messi and Andrés Iniesta at FC Barcelona. While many were taken aback by the signing – particularly given Barcelona’s weaknesses headed into the 2012/13 season (i.e. the centre of defense) – it’s safe to say that Alex Song eventually proved the doubters wrong – at least to an extent. Over the course of the season, Alex Song established himself as a credible back-up for Catalan maestro Sergio Busquets and even started the second-leg of Barcelona’s UEFA Champions League semi-final against Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. However, Song struggled on the rare occasions he was forced to play in the centre of defense, and at €19 million, one could be forgiven for expecting more from the former Arsenal midfielder.

Appearances

Minutes

Goals

Assists

Yellow Cards

Red Cards

34

2399

1

1

5

0

Compared to 2011/12

-12

-1676

N/A

-13

-8

N/A

Note: This poll will close in one week's time (from date of publish) at which the point the winner will be revealed

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