Now that the transfer window has closed and the international break is over, Barcelona can get back to doing what they do best - namely playing football.
Saturday brings the visit of Espanyol to Camp Nou and also, hopefully, an eagerly-awaited debut for summer signing Ousmane Dembele.
It has been a difficult summer for many reasons, not least the departure of Neymar, but there are plenty of positives in the new players that have arrived at the club and the business that has been done.
Firstly, the club spent a total of €195.50 million (initially at least) on five players. While the money spent on Paulinho has been criticized largely due to his age, fans must recognize the fact that although he had a failed stint in the Premier League, his performances for the current Brazil squad have been impressive (as can be seen below thanks to Squawka).
Paulinho for Brazil under Tite:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 2, 2017
10 starts ▶️
5 yellow cards ⚠️
5 goals ⚽️
3 assists ️
Thriving in that team. pic.twitter.com/Xbxj3poabx
He will need confidence and the fans can be extremely helpful in this, but he deserves a chance and let’s hope he can take it and prove all his critics wrong.
All in all, during a transfer window where average players were being sold for extraordinary prices, the fact that Barcelona gained five players with exceptional capabilities and bright futures is impressive (Dembélé, Paulinho, Semedo, Deulofeu, Marlon).
Yes Marlon has already departed on loan but Josep Maria Bartomeu has claimed that is because Valverde “wants him to get game time and come back in the future.”
Deulofeu has already shown flashes of what he can do in the opening two Liga wins, and hopefully there will be plenty more to come as he adjusts to life back at Barcelona.
And then there’s Semedo, a player who has come in to fill the shoes after Dani Alves’ departure. Since the wonderful Brazilian left for Juventus, Barca have struggled to find a player who could fulfil the role of being an excellent defender and fit the attacking mould necessary of a Blaugrana full-back.
With Semedo’s arrival, Ernesto Valverde seems to have inherited the rightful heir to the position. Semedo hasn’t played a ball wrong since the beginning of the year and looks like he has the potential to unlock great qualities within the right side of the midfield and front line.
Which brings us to Dembele, who has arrived for a huge fee and big expectations and, rightly or wrongly, will probably have to cope with comparisons to Neymar.
The Frenchman is an exciting talent, no doubt about that, and he will be charged with bringing flair and creativity to the attack, and he’s already made it quite clear he is a big Barcelona fan.
Of course he’s still only 20, so patience will be required, but if Dembele can live up to the potential he has shown thus far in his career, he has a hugely exciting future ahead of him.
Dembélé, Deulofeu, Semedo and Marlon also inject much-needed youth, along with a potential plan for the succession of several older Barcelona players.
In addition, Barcelona’s summer transfer market left the club in profit. A club of Barca’s stature actually making money during the window is rare, and means further investments could even be made in January.
Ultimately, while the squad suffered with the huge loss of Neymar, it is important to remember this team is still extraordinarily talented and added several key players who could impact the squad this upcoming year.
Only time will tell how this summer will be rated, but at the moment, Barcelona fans can look forward to the season with real optimism, beginning with Espanyol on Saturday.