The international transfer window gives fans and pundits ample opportunity to discuss a multitude of teams’ transfer strategies, as well as how the players arriving/leaving will affect the team. While these opinions can vary, one thing certainly cannot be argued about Barcelona’s transfer window - it was busy. From a variety of rumors still swirling around today (Hello, Pogba), Barcelona planted their foot quickly in the summer and also made some savvy business decisions.
The summer started off with a rumor that has persisted for almost two years - Antoine Griezmann. The Atletico Madrid striker has been a target for a while, and many thought this summer was the year for the Frenchman to move. In this case, Barcelona were not able to pull out all the stops. Griezmann emphatically came out and committed his future to Atletico Madrid and then won the World Cup with France. Barcelona fans thought that without Griezmann, the summer would be hopeless, but the club quickly turned it around.
It seemed that each day, the club was being linked to a different player of quality. Swooping in and signing Arthur from Gremio for €40 million may pay huge dividends in the future. This past week, Lionel Messi stated in an interview that Arthur’s style of play reminds him of Xavi and of a player who has been raised in La Masia. That is no small compliment coming from the GOAT - also notable because it is not something Messi often does. In previous years, with signings like Douglas and Andre Gomes, Messi never came out and supported the youngsters, possibly showing his lack of belief in their playing ability. But with the signing of the young Brazilian Arthur, Barcelona were not done.
While they couldn’t see their ideal French transfer in Griezmann, they opted for a different one - Clement Lenglet. The 23-year-old central defender came over from Sevilla. Lenglet has a lot of quality and will only mature under the tutelage of Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti. With two French youngsters in Lenglet and Umtiti, it seems that the board is preparing for an eventual decline in Pique’s form. With two young, powerful, and ambitious central defenders, the board is preparing for the future as well, something that all Barcelona fans should be happy about.
Then, Barcelona swooped in at the 11th hour for another Brazilian, Malcom. Malcom was about to board a plane for Italy to sign with Roma when Barcelona decided he had the necessary quality to play for this squad. In terms of squad competition, Malcom’s signing should be heralded for the fact that it will inspire competition in the front line. His abilities are very similar to Ousmane Dembele, who will now be motivated to make his mark in games and fight for his spot (it seems to be working as of now, as Dembele has made a significant impact in his games). Not only inspiring competition, but Malcom possesses the ability to turn a game on its head - whether as a starter or super sub. Similar to the treble winning season, Valverde now has an abundance of attacking options to pair with Suarez and Messi - imagine dealing with a duo of Dembele for 65 minutes and then Malcom coming in a supersub - good luck to opposing defenses.
Last but not least, Barcelona brought in the seasoned Chilean, Arturo Vidal. Vidal has the pedigree of a winner - playing with Juventus and Bayern Munich, his aggressive style of play is something that has sometimes been lacking in the Barcelona squad. His power in the air is something that we have been missing since Carles Puyol left - hopefully he can help fill the void.
Barcelona also sanctioned a significant amount of sales - from Yerry Mina, Lucas Digne, Marlon, Aleix Vidal, Gerard Deulofeu, and of course the departure of Andres Iniesta. Several players also left on loan - Paulinho, Andre Gomes and Paco Alcacer - it was busy.
But it seems that despite these departures, the board bought not only an ideal amount of players, but players with the necessary quality to challenge for the treble again. Overall, I give the transfer window an A (A+ would have been given if we could have snatched Pogba from Mourinho at the last minute). Visca Barca.