Before the opening of the January transfer window, it was clear just how important it would be for Barcelona.
There is no room for error on the pitch because the club simply have to be in the Champions League places at the end of the season. Anything less than that will be seen as a disaster.
To that end, there needed to be some way that the club could make new signings in order to revitalise a squad that has really gone through the mill over the last 12-18 months.
With a reported debt of over a billion euros, any transfers at all were going to be hard to come by, so the fact that business has been carried out, and the team has been improved, has to be seen as a positive.
Talking of positives, anyone that thought signing Dani Alves was a bad idea needs to give their head a little wobble.
Even just as a bit part player would’ve been fine, simply because of his professionalism and attitude around the place. An ideal role model for the younger players. Crazy? Yes. Though you don’t become the most decorated player in history if you’re always playing the clown.
That he’s shown Sergino Dest in just a couple of outings how Barca full-backs play has been a real bonus.
Loaning out Philippe Coutinho was another huge coup for the club. Depending which outlets you believe, the player wasn’t interested in moving on, it’s said because of his monumental weekly pay packet.
That may or may not be true. It may just be clubs weren’t willing to pay it. After all, it seems the only man in the world willing to do so was Josep Maria Bartomeu and we all know what happened there.
In any event, all the whys and wherefores are incidental. Aston Villa have done Barca an almighty favour and the player gets to play regularly. Everyone’s happy.
Mateu Alemany’s nous in being able to get Samuel Umtiti to finally lower his salary deserves the Spanish equivalent of a knighthood. What is the man’s secret?! That astute piece of business allowed Ferrán Torres to finally be registered and, in time, he’ll hopefully prove to be a bargain.
He’s certainly in the right age bracket and has so much potential, so is another tick in the plus column.
Add in the Collado and Demir deals and the only real pieces of business left to be done are concluding Ousmane Dembele’s contract one way or the other, potentially moving Sergino Dest on, and bringing in, perhaps, one more player.
I really can’t see a downside. Can you?