Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta once signed Thierry Henry, the Arsenal superstar who had dominated the Premier League for years and had now joined a squad with players like Ronaldinho, Xavi, Iniesta, a young Lionel Messi, Carles Puyol and Samuel Eto'o, among others. Henry became a star at Barça as well, and the signing proved right.
Why did Laporta sign Henry? He was one of the best players in the world, obviously, but that was part of Laporta's transfer policy. Not his, the club's. Laporta said once about the Henry signing:
"We brought him here to add even more quality to the squad. This team would only take players either from the Academy, or, if they came from outside, they had to be exceptional. Otherwise, they couldn't play here."
"This team would only take players from the Academy. If they came from outside, they had to be exceptional". Ah, I miss those days. I'm not campaigning for Laporta because I hate politics and even though I know they are important, I just don't want to get involved. However, I really miss the days where we set high standards for Barcelona players.
Let's look back at recent signings, shall we? Is Neymar exceptional? Yes. Is Luis Suárez exceptional? Yup. Is Ivan Rakitic exceptional? No, but he's pretty close. Will Samuel Umtiti be exceptional? Oh, yeah. These were all recent signings, by the way, but that's about it.
We've signed players like Denis Suarez, Arda Turan, Lucas Digne, André Gomes, Paco Alcácer and others, and we keep trying to convince ourselves that they might be good. And while we spent absurd amounts of money to sign those players, we sent Sergi Samper, Alex Grimaldo, Munir and Sandro Ramírez away. Are we really sure these Academy products aren't Barcelona quality? You might think they're not, but have we signed exceptional players that are worth denying Academy products the chance to play in the first team?
I'm not against spending money, we are a very rich club and we absolutely must make great signings to keep the squad at a world-class level. But we are spending money and not making great signings, and while some may want to blame it all on the coach (LUCHO OUT, BABYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY), the truth is we have very few exceptional players in the current squad. Who are they? Exceptional signings and... and... and... Academy players!
So, I ask again: what the hell is going on with Barcelona's transfer policy? Why is this happening? Why is Robert Fernández and his team of scouts ruining La Masia and bringing good players to a team that should only accept great ones? Where are we going with this? I'm truly worried. If we don't fix this, 4-0 losses in Paris and 3-0 losses in Turin will become the rule, not the exception.
Something has to change. Quickly.