As the clock struck midnight in Spain last night, the weekend was welcomed in with disappointment by Culés across the world. The transfer window had slammed shut and despite weeks of promises and bluster from management, Barcelona would not welcome any new players in the final few days of the summer market.
Brazilian midfielder, Coutinho was discarded as a target with his current employers, Liverpool refusing to budge when it came to the sale of one of their star players. Even Angel di Maria, following a late, misguided pursuit wasn't allowed to leave Paris Saint German, perhaps as a result of the frosty relationship between the two clubs.
Other targets were rumoured to be turning heads in Catalunya at one stage or another in the final few days; Mesut Ozil, Riyad Mahrez... the frequency with which the names changed was undoubtedly due in part to guesswork from the tabloids, but it also hinted at the unfocused, scattergun approach employed by Barça management over this tumultuous window.
As a consequence, moral is at a low for Barcelona fans and with further rumours making the rounds regarding the future of star players, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi, the toxic atmosphere surrounding the club threatens to spiral out of control. However, with the window closed and Barcelona’s business concluded, is it time to ask whether things are all that bad?
With political movements against the incumbent President, Josep Maria Bartomeu, some supporters have taken a rather narrow-minded view that those who continue to support the club are supporting the board. Supporting the club and supporting the board are of course mutually exclusive, and the former should rarely, if ever, come into question irrespective of the latter.
Likewise, a disappointing transfer window and success on the field in the coming season can also be mutually exclusive. Just because the club didn’t spend the funds they received from the sale of Neymar, doesn’t mean that they will be unable to compete for titles. In Lionel Messi, the club will continue to hold a trump card that no other team can match, for at least the remainder of the season anyway, and a host of his colleagues remain in their prime and ready to take a run at glory.
Luis Suarez for example returned to the club this summer looking leaner, fitter than he did last season and after a summer without an international tournament, Andres Iniesta may be able to play in more games than he did under Luis Enrique in the previous campaign. Despite the criticism levelled at the club, the acquisitions of Nelson Semedo and Ousmane Dembele are cause for excitement and Paulinho really might not be as bad as everyone assumes he is going to be.
And lest we forget, the invincible Real Madrid have already dropped points even if the race for the La Liga title has just begun. Even fresh off retaining their UEFA Champions League trophy this past summer, the folks over at SBAT footy predictions anticipate that the title race will once again go down to the wire, with, or without Bartomeu in the boardroom.
Continue to campaign for change by all means, but just remember that the players continue to deserve our support and encouragement over the course of this season. We don’t need to go trophy-less to inspire change at this club.