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No Risk, All Gain: On Arda Turan's Arrival at FC Barcelona

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The arrival of Arda Turan has caused quite a commotion in Catalunya and amongst Cules across the globe; however, given the unique situation under which he has been signed, could the Turkish star represent a "risk-free" signing for the Blaugrana?

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Plus ça change, right? Transfer ban and presidential elections be damned, it’s been business as usual for FC Barcelona this week as the Blaugrana dipped into the transfer market for the second time this summer to announce the capture of Arda Turan from La Liga rivals, Atletico Madrid. In truth, we’d all seen the move coming; by the time the announcement was made we had suffered through days, perhaps even weeks of speculation regarding his future. The question was no longer if, but when the signing would be made official.

And of course, there was also the small matter of the fine print to consider and confirm; when the dust settles, it’s likely that Barça will have shelled out €41 million to secure Turan’s services, while his annual salary is rumoured to be in the region of €8 million. All in, excluding bonuses and assuming he stays the course at the Camp Nou, that’s a €81 million outlay over five years on a 28 year-old midfielder.

Well, that’s how some individuals would present this transfer – a "let’s use the highest figure for maximum shock value" approach designed to demonstrate the club suffering yet more incompetency at the hands of former President and Presidential candidate, Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Perhaps there is an argument to be made in that respect; but consider the financials in context and maybe the reality is a little different.

Season

Total Transfer Expenditure

Turan Fee vs Total Expenditure

2014/15

€165 million

24.6%

2013/14

€99.7 million*

41.1%

2012/13

€33 million

124%

2011/12

€71.5 million**

57.3%

2010/11

€71.5 million

57.3%

2009/10

€85.5 million

48%

2008/09

€88 million

46.6%

*based on €86.2 million final cost of Neymar transfer as reported by the club, plus additional tax payments to Spanish Authorities, excludes cost of Bojan Krkic buyback

**Inclusive of variables on Alexis Sanchez transfer

While €41 million of expenditure would represent a budget-busting deal for most clubs, Barcelona are – in financial terms – mes que un club. As such, the deal to bring the Turkish captain to Catalunya will in all likelihood merely scratch the surface of Barça’s summer transfer budget; a cursory glance at pretty much any of the past seven seasons with one exception will show that Barcelona probably have plenty of funds to spare – and if last year is any indication, we could bring in the equivalent of three more Turan’s before the summer closes.

The concept of opportunity cost would usually factor in at this stage, but Barça are in a unique situation: their recent treble win coupled with the transfer ban essentially renders the whole idea moot. Just where else should Barcelona be spending money to improve their squad, and does their spending make much difference knowing that any potential arrival will not feature until January 2016?

Even from a wage bill perspective, Turan’s arrival does little to impact the club’s bottom line; the departure of club captain Xavi Hernandez more than compensates in that respect. But if the financials aren’t the issue, then why are some people so worked up?

Clearly, Luis Enrique is an admirer of Arda’s talents and believes that he will add quality and depth to our squad. Sure, from Bartomeu’s standpoint this signing has had a political agenda and he hopes that this signing will help him secure another term in office, yet any anger directed towards him for this is somewhat misplaced.

Undoubtedly, everyone is now aware of the cancellation clause that has been implemented into the deal to account for the result of the upcoming elections – so the whole authorisation issue is a non-starter. Moreover, if he does go on to win the election after this transfer, Bartomeu should hardly be held accountable – any vitriol should be directed to the socios that re-elect him, or to the other candidates for failing to secure the votes required against such a supposedly abhorrent incumbent.

One would hope that the Presidential elections will not be decided by something as trivial as transfer targets; rather the breadth of their candidacies should be considered, including any past transgressions. At least, if I were voting for Joan Laporta, I would be casting my vote with the future of La Masia and with Qatar in mind; not his grandiose promise to bring Paul Pogba to the club as soon as possible.

Arda Turan’s arrival from Atletico Madrid isn’t going to decide the upcoming elections, nor is it going to break the bank; all it serves to do is improve the overall quality and depth of our squad, not to mention demonstrate our ongoing investment and support in a treble-winning coach.

No risk, all gain – what’s not to like?