FC Barcelona Given Transfer Ban: What Comes Next?

Juergen Schwarz

FC Barcelona have been handed a heavy punishment by FIFA. While it's clear Barca will attempt to appeal the ruling, it's time to start making some backup plans.

Barcelona was planning some major renovations this off-season, but those plans may be put on hold. FIFA is adamant that the Catalan club has breached rules regarding the international transfer of under-18 players and hit the club with a transfer ban lasting two windows.

A Barcelona source in the Spanish paper AS said the club was "calm" and ready to appeal, but there is lots of uncertainty still. It's time to start engineering contingencies.

Marc-Andre Ter Stegen Deal

With Victor Valdes injured and set to leave the club, Jose Manuel Pinto's deal expiring soon, and Oier Olazabal not trusted, Barcelona dearly need a new goalkeeper.

The signing of Gladbach's Ter Stegen is widely believed to be a done deal, but will it go ahead as planned? And if the transfer is permitted. will the player be eligible to be registered?

If there is any problem, it's time to prepare.

ACTION PLAN

1. Re-sign Pinto: This is obvious. Pinto is the current starter and will remain so until another one is picked.

2. Beg Valdes to stay: Valdes's future could be undecided now that he is carrying a long-term injury. Barcelona could attempt to retain him for one more year, helping him rehab, and keeping him as an option. Even still, he'd be rehabbing for quite a while.

3. Sign a goalkeeper now: Already discussed as a possible strategy before the ban, now it might make even more sense. Barcelona can make an emergency signing of a Liga keeper as a replacement for Valdes's injury. Levante's Keylor Navas, Malaga's Willy Caballero, and Valencia's Diego Alves seem the most attractive choices.

Alen Halilovic Deal

It's a similar situation. Halilovic's deal is already agreed, so will FIFA let it through? It's not as critical a deal - after all, he was going to play for Barcelona B.

ACTION PLAN

1. Bring back Rafinha from loan: It was probably going to happen anyway, but now it's a no-brainer. The youngster has been great for Celta and would give additional cover.

2. Other details: Jonathan Dos Santos will be returning from injury, and Barcelona B's Denis Suarez can also give depth.

Forward Signing

Barcelona had considered making a big splash by signing a forward. No pre-deal was set.

ACTION PLAN

1. Bring back Deulofeu: Gerard Deulofeu has progressed during his loan at Everton, and while he doesn't offer the profile of a tall pivot forward, he does increase depth.

2. Other details: Bringing back Bojan Krkic is also an option. Don't forget that Ibrahim Afellay and Isaac Cuenca are still with the team. Technically, Brazilian player Keirrison is still Barca's, but he's never seemed to fit into the team's plans. Rodri Rios is another returning player from loan. Jean Marie Dongou and Adama Traore are the reserve options from the B team.

Defender Signing

With the looming exit of Carles Puyol, and the dissatisfaction some had with Javier Mascherano playing CB, this summer was supposed to be the window in which Barca finally strengthened central defense. What will they do now?

ACTION PLAN

1. Beg Puyol to stay: It's a big ask, but one Puyol probably would say yes to if he felt he was needed.

2. Other details: There are no defenders coming in from loan. However, Sergi Gomez, Macky Bagnack, Carles Planas, and Edgar Ie are the B team's main CBs.

Unanswered Questions

If the ban is not rescinded nor reduced, can Barcelona suspend it? If so, Barca can make lots of signings quickly, and then, it wouldn't be so bad if the ban sticks for future windows.

Can out-of-contract players be signed? One could say these are not transfers, but I suspect FIFA may ban registering new players entirely.

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