The summer transfer window is still young. So far, though, FC Barcelona has been linked with more players than I’d care to count. It appears that we are close to our first singing of the summer. It has been reported that a transfer fee worth 30 million Euros has been agreed on with Udinese for Alexis Sanchez and all that is left to do is to get the player’s signature.
Last summer Barca did some pretty good business in the transfer window signing three players; David Villa, Adriano, and Javier Mascherano. There were very different expectations for each of these players coming into the team, and their seasons played out very differently.
David Villa was the first signing of last summer. He transferred to us from Valencia for 40 million Euros. Villa was signed to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the clear expectation was for him to make an impact in the starting XI. Although Villa’s preferred position is more central Pep had him starting in a wider position than he is used to. Villa didn’t have the best first season at the club. He suffered poor run of goal scoring form. It wasn’t for lack of trying; David Villa was the most offside player in La Liga last season.
Maybe it was him trying a little too hard to get on the score sheet. He got 80 shots on goal in all competitions. In spite of his desire to end his goal drought he remained unselfish in his play combining with his teammates to create goal scoring chances. Villa racked up 11 assists in all competitions and scored 23 goals. Some fans called for Pep to bench Villa during his goal drought but Pep kept faith in Villa which likely helped him gain enough confidence to end his goal drought. Villa had 48 starts in all competitions making an impact in some very important games with goals and assists.
Adriano was signed from Sevilla for a reported 9.5 million Euros. In his first season at Barcelona, Adriano made 31 appearances and was the first choice on the left. After being sidelined with a thigh muscle injury, he did not regain his position in the team. It’s unfortunate that Adriano couldn’t have made a bigger impact during his first season at the club. Adriano is a very versatile player. He plays at both fullback positions and can play across the midfield as well which makes him very valuable to the club.
Javier Masherano was bought for 21 million Euros from English club Liverpool. There was some controversy surrounding the move because of the way Mascherano left Liverpool. Some Barca fans questioned whether Masch was worth it. He wasn’t first choice defensive midfielder. Sergio Busquets has that position sewn up. Mascherano was not expected to be a starter this season but incredibly he made a big impact. He couldn’t implant himself into the starting XI in his own position, but while Barca were suffering defensively with injuries to key players, Masch stepped up and filled in.
He made 35 starts this season. His contribution in defense this season was huge in comparison to what the expectations were for him at the start of the season. Defensively Mascherano is very strong; in all competitions his ‘balls won back’ count is 355. Even out of position and having played very few games Mascherano worked hard for the club. His problem is that he doesn’t ball distribution is not as cohesive as it should be. It is only his first season with Barca, he should adapt more to their style of play.
Tell us what you think. How would you rate last summer’s signings? Leave a comment below.
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