Before the 2021/22 La Liga season began, all of the talk seemed to centre around Leo Messi’s expected final contract with Barcelona.
We all know how that one played out, so then the soap opera surrounding Erling Haaland began.
Depending from which outlet you get your news, the Norwegian was either never going to have the blaugrana adorn his torso, or he was destined to become the highest-paid player at the club.
As it turned out, the former scenario has been the more accurate prediction.
Whether there was ever any genuine interest is difficult to gauge, suffice to say that Joan Laporta appears to be staying true to his word that he has only the sustainable future of the club in mind.
It’s worth pondering if Haaland was ever going to be the right type of forward for the club in any event.
No doubt that he’s a goalscoring machine, but he’s more of a battering ram and ‘traditional’ centre-forward, as opposed to a player that might more readily fit into the Catalan club’s way of playing.
The ‘‘Barca way’ more often than not doesn’t include an old school number nine.
Those of us with slightly longer memories will recall the abject Zlatan Ibrahimovic signing. One of the major mistakes of the Guardiola era.
Fast forward 13 years and yet another ‘big man’ is being linked to Barcelona now: Robert Lewandowski.
It’s acknowledged that the goalposts have certainly changed since 2009, and the Polish international would appear to represent a good deal financially, if not necessarily from a playing perspective.
He will get goals, absolutely, but he is, essentially, still a target man.
If that’s what Barca are looking for and they’re just going to be pumping crosses into the box, why not keep hold of Luuk de Jong - even if he’s a little more unfashionable to the football connoisseur - and save a packet in wages, perhaps to spend on someone like Dani Olmo.
Lewandowski will also be 34 at the start of next season and, whilst others have shown that age isn’t necessarily a barrier to excellence, it stands to reason that his sharpness won’t be where most culers would like it to be.
What’s of most interest to me though is that Xavi has already contended that he sees Ansu as the centre forward for the club, so does this decision mean that, for the foreseeable future at least, that idea has been shelved?
Is Xavi also willing to sacrifice Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the main man at this point? Another ‘elder statesman’ but one who has earned the love and respect of the hard to please Camp Nou faithful.
Signing a big name is understandable for commercial purposes, though just as in the case of Ibrahimovic, I’m not sure this move is one that’s destined to work for Barca.