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Barcelona spring surprises in busy January transfer window

Ins and outs aplenty at the Camp Nou

Netherlands v France - UEFA Nations League A Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

The January transfer window has closed and Barcelona head into 2019 with the squad reinforced after springing a few shocks in the January market.

The first to arrive was Jeison Murillo on loan from Valencia. This was a move that made plenty of sense, with Samuel Umtiti struggling with injury and Thomas Vermaelen’s pretty patchy fitness record.

Murillo is an experienced centre-back who knows La Liga, yet he’s only made one appearance so far, in the Copa del Rey win over Levante, and surprisingly was left out of the squad altogether for Wednesday’s cup clash against Sevilla.

FC Barcelona v Levante - Copa del Rey Round of 16 Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

There have already been some unkind headlines that he’s the next Yerry Mina (brought in and quickly despatched), but let’s hope he’s given a real chance before judgement is passed.

Another defender followed swiftly afterwards with Barcelona announcing they have agreed a deal with Toulouse for 19-year-old Jean-Clair Todibo, who was due to arrive at the end of the season on a free.

However, that deal has been brought forward, and he’s due to be unveiled on Friday and has been handed the No. 6 shirt.

The youngster is a highly-rated defender, who can also play in midfield, and is clearly one for the future. Manchester City and Juventus were also reportedly interested in his services and, for now at least, it seems a bit of a coup for Barca to have landed the teenager.

While the Todibo signing was a bit of a surprise it had nothing on Barca’s move for Kevin-Prince Boateng. Initially it seemed like a far-fetched rumor, but it quickly became reality as the well-travelled 31-year-old signed on loan from Sassuolo until the end of the season.

Sevilla v FC Barcelona - Copa del Rey Quarter Final Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

The deal also includes an option to sign Prince permanently for €8 million if he impresses over the new few months at the Camp Nou. It remains to be seen if Barca will take up the option with Prince basically having been brought into cover Munir’s departure for Sevilla.

Munir’s exit left Barca short of options in attack and Prince is the latest player tasked with being back-up to Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi in attack. It can be a tough job and basically means he’ll spend most of the season on the bench and then be under pressure to bang in some goals on the rare occasion he does play.

Barcelona also waved goodbye to Denis Suarez in January. The midfielder has barely featured this season and will be hoping he can enjoy some regular game time at Arsenal.

The moves sees Denis reunited with Unai Emery, who he worked with during a loan spell at Sevilla. Emery is in his first season at Arsenal after replacing Arsene Wenger and has the team in contention for a top-four finish and still on track in the Europa League.

Barcelona also announced the capture of Brazilian right-back Emerson deadline day. The defender will join on a five-year deal in the summer and has cost the champions €12 million.

He’ll spend the rest of the season on loan at Real Betis in what is a bit of an unusual deal all round. It’s also a little difficult to see where he fits in at Barcelona with Nelson Semedo and Sergi Roberto in the squad and Moussa Wague tipped to progress from Barcelona B.

Yet Barcelona saved their best for (almost) last in the January window. The rumors surrounding Frenkie de Jong had been going on for some time but it had started to seem as though Barca were set to miss out on the Dutch star.

Ajax v Royal Standard de Liege - UEFA Champions League third round qualifying match Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

PSG were rumored to be favourites but a late intervention by president Josep Maria Bartomeu and colleagues managed to convince De Jong his future is at Barcelona. He went on to sign a five-year deal and will arrive in the summer.

De Jong’s arrival offers huge excitement for the future. The 21-year-old is one of Europe’s hottest properties and looks a perfect fit for Barcelona.

He also joins a raft of exciting young players at the Camp Nou, joining fellow starlets Arthur, Ousmane Dembele, Malcom, Clement Lenglet and Todibo as Barca invest in the future.

What do you make of Barcelona’s business in the January transfer window? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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