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FC Barcelona Summer Transfers 2016 Wrap-Up

Barring some last-minute addition, the transfers are done. How did Robert do?

Alex Caparros/Getty Images

The transfer window has closed, and while an addition or subtraction is theoretically possible, chances are that this FC Barcelona squad is finalized for the moment.

The sporting director himself, Robert Fernández, said that the squad was "closed." So, let's review how Robert did in his first big transfer window as sporting director.


Sandro Ramírez (FW, Málaga)

Cost: Free

The young forward was cut lose as Luis Enrique considered him surplus to requirements. While a good player, Sandro was always a backup and behind even Munir El Haddadi, another youngster, in the pecking order. His departure is unsurprising.

Dani Alves (RB, Juventus)

Cost: Free

Alves's breakup with Barcelona was a long time coming. At 33, the player's best days are behind him, but his salary is still massive. It ultimately came down to those two factors, as Alves moved on to Juventus. Barcelona are relying on two somewhat unproven options to replace him: Sergi Roberto and Aleix Vidal. If Roberto can keep a high level (and he's done well so far), this move might be seen as quite sensible. If not, it could be a disaster. However, signs are good so far.

Marc Bartra (CB, Borussia Dortmund)

Cost: €8M

Bartra showed promise quite often for Barcelona, and many fans clamored for him to become a regular. His biggest problem is the team already had Gerard Pique, so no way was he going to be a starter. Even then, the case could be made that he didn't play enough (with Luis Enrique often shifting Javier Mascherano to the right and bringing on someone like Jeremy Mathieu to the left.) Dortmund may come to see this deal as a bit of a steal, but for Barcelona, the time had come to cut him lose. Bartra could yet prove he is more than capable, but clearly the situation wasn't favorable for either the team or the player.

Alen Halilović (MF, Hamburg)

Cost: €5M

Halilović was sold with a buyback option, which makes it most similar to a loan. The club hopes he goes the way of Denis and comes back a player who can fight for a spot in the rotation. Some would have said that Alen deserved a chance to prove himself at the club this year, but truly, another year for him to get more experience is probably wise.

Adriano (LB, Beşiktaş), Martín Montoya (RB, Valencia), Alex Song (Rubin Kazan, DM), Thomas Vermaelen (CB, Roma), Cristian Tello (FW, Fiorentina) and Douglas (RB, Sporting Gijón)

Cost for all of them: €0.6M

This is what you call getting rid of dead weight. The only upfront money was for Adriano. Now Adriano had been a faithful servant for the club, but clearly his time was up. Thank him and move on. Montoya is a more frustrating case. Since Luis Enrique's arrival, his career has spiraled downwards after showing much promise. Hopefully, he starts to deliver on that at Valencia, but don't hold your breath. Tello is a decent player, but one without a very high ceiling. Very fast, but lacking in many ways. It's technically a loan that he's on, but he's probably gone for good. Same with Vermaelen, who never fit in at Barcelona. He's on loan but barring some kind of craziness, he's gone for good. Song was let go, after nothing but disappointment at Barcelona. Finally, Douglas was loaned out. Some within the club still talk about him like he might come back, but don't count on it. He rarely ever featured for Barcelona, and when he did play, he was quite shaky.

Sergi Samper (DM. Granada)


Samper is one of Barcelona's most prodigious young talents. Some were calling for him to get a chance to back up Sergio Busquets this year, but clearly Luis Enrique thinks he needs a bit more experience before he's ready. Samper will surely dazzle, and hopefully, be ready next year.

Claudio Bravo (GK, Manchester City)

Cost: €18M+€2M variables

Bravo established himself as one of the top keepers in the world splitting time with Marc-André Ter Stegen as Barcelona's #1 keeper. Still, because he's 33, it made sense to keep the younger Ter Stegen. And given his age and position, the fee was quite high. It's not a player Barcelona enjoyed parting with, but clearly it was necessary as both he and Ter Stegen wanted to be the undisputed starter. And given that, the team got a decent payday out of it.

Munir El Haddadi (FW, Valencia)

Loan with an option to make the move permanent

Munir has always had promise, and sometimes we saw flashes of his full potential in the past two seasons. But he's inconsistent and lacking perhaps in psychological fortitude. A loan would help him, especially with the arrival of Paco Alcácer guaranteeing he would have little playing time had he stayed. The only question is that 12 million buy option. Reportedly, there is no buy-back clause but Barcelona do have a right of first refusal. A lot of people saw Munir as a player who could become a huge star. Have the Catalans made a mistake in giving Valencia the chance to snap him up permanently? Or is he just unlikely to be needed at this point?

Total income: €31.6 million


Denis Suárez (MF, Villarreal)

Cost: €3.25M

Suárez was brought back on the cheap thanks to a buyback clause, and it's a no-brainer at this point. He is a talent who proved his worth with a big Spanish club. He helps Barcelona's midfield rotation and will hopefully ease into taking more and more responsibility.

Samuel Umtiti (CB, Lyon)

Cost: €25M

Umtiti was among a few defenders Barcelona were considering, and time will tell if he was the best choice. However, his performances so far have drawn plaudits and he's bound to keep improving. The purchase of a young central defender has been a long time coming, and Umtiti fits the bill without breaking the bank.

Lucas Digne (LB, Paris Saint-Germain)

Cost: €16.5M+€4M variables

Digne performed well on loan to AS Roma, and it caught the attention of FC Barcelona, who sought a replacement for Adriano. Digne is another young player who has drawn good reviews in his first few games for Barcelona. He fills in a weak spot in the squad as a backup to Jordi Alba. Another signing that solidifies the squad and adds depth.

André Gomes (MF, Valencia)

Cost: €35M+€20M variables

Gomes was a standout performer for Valencia, and he's Barcelona's most expensive signing this window. He's quite young and quite good, but because of the cost, he also has the most to live up to. Barcelona has a load of good midfielders now, so it'll be difficult for all of them to shine, yet constant rotation seems the key. The question remains whether Gomes will become a starter, a 12th man, or just another rotation option. The transfer is a bit risky, but Gomes has the skills to be up to the task.

Jasper Cillessen (GK, Ajax)

Cost: €13M+€2M variables

After the departure of Claudio Bravo, Barcelona needed a top quality keeper to back up Marc-André Ter Stegen. Cillessen is a natural fit for Barcelona, having spent his career with Ajax and the Dutch national team in a very similar system. He should be more than capable for a backup, poor penalty stopping record aside. The only question might be cost. He's a tad expensive for a backup keeper. On the other hand, people said the same thing about Bravo when he first arrived...

Paco Alcácer (FW, Valencia)

Cost: €30M+€2M variables

Alcácer is proven and young and comfortable sitting on the bench with Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suárez all starting. He ticks all the boxes for what Barcelona were looking for, although they may have had to sacrifice Munir in the process. His cost is, again, high for a backup, but that just seems to be where the market is headed. The transfer fees are all ridiculous now. Still, on football alone, Paco could be a huge boon to the Blaugrana.

Total spending: €122.75M


Net spending: €91.15 million

Barcelona put in a lot of money into transfers this season as a way of fully rejuvenating the squad. Players who were too old or didn't have the full confidence of the coach were shifted out, and in came young players with proven track records. The only exception is Bravo, who Barcelona clearly valued, but was ready to leave and was sold at a good price. Early performances by most new players are encouraging, and suggest Barcelona has the necessary depth to win everything.

The question, however, is whether the investment pays off long term. A lot of money was spent, and in the end, Barcelona did not actually purchase any new starters, maybe with the exception of Umtiti if he can get past Mascherano.

Of course, depth and good substitutes are incredibly important, and the signings were all done with an eye towards the future. Someone like Gomes or Alcácer won't start probably, but the likes of Andrés Iniesta and Luis Suárez won't be around forever.

That's why this window's true value won't be known until years in the future. It'll depend on how the young players who left perform, and how the young players who came in improve.

However, there's reason to believe that Barcelona has done themselves a world of good long-term this summer.

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