It’s the beginning of the Joan Laporta era, but don’t expect him to make a splash just yet.
This summer will be a financial puzzle, because in the short-term nothing big is coming in without something big going out.
In the meantime, all the club can do is tinker around the edges with low-risk signings.
Sergio Aguero is exhibit number one, and on May 31st, he signed a two-year contract with a €100m buyout clause.
Laporte isn’t throwing the bank at him, making this a low-risk, high-reward proposition for the club. Before performance variables, he’ll be taking home a salary of €6 million, down from the astronomical €23 million he was making at Manchester City.
That’s still a lot of money for a club experiencing serious financial problems, so what exactly should Barcelona be expecting of Aguero?
Is Laporta just trying to make Messi happy by bringing in a new friend to replace an old friend, or does he think that Aguero can still contribute at a high level?
In the best-case scenario, at 33 years of age, Aguero could have the type of season that Luis Suarez just had at Atletico Madrid last year.
Most recently, he scored two goals versus Everton, to help Manchester City to a dominant 5-0 thumping, showing that he can still deliver when given the opportunity.
His future success will depend in large part on the manager.
Diego Simeone was intentional about bringing in Suarez, and new specifically the role he wanted him to play.
Suarez was a veteran leader, and still had the ability to score on command if his teammates could get him the ball in dangerous areas. He was also given a vote of confidence after falling out of favor at Barcelona, and it was made clear that he would play a big role.
On paper, it seems like Aguero could have a similar experience.
Pep Guardiola clearly lost confidence in him, even while acknowledging his professionalism and class in front of goal.
But what does Ronald Koeman think of Aguero?
Will he be a super sub who comes on late to help the team close out games?
Could he be the starting number nine, a direct replacement for what Luis Suarez was giving?
I’m not sure he has the legs to play so many minutes, but Suarez may be counter evidence that under the right conditions, Aguero could indeed play a big role.
But could he play well alongside Messi and Antoine Griezmann at the same time?
These tactical questions are more interesting, and difficult to answer.
With Ansu Fati coming back, and Ousmane Dembele, Martin Braithwaite still on the roster, not to mention the arrival of Memphis Depay, there will be a lot of competition and options for Ronald Koeman.
The signing of Aguero doesn’t cost the club much relatively speaking, so it’s a risk worth taking.
Now it’s up to Koeman to find a way to make it work for the team.