Though it’s yet to be confirmed, all of the signs are pointing to Leganes’ Martin Braithwaite being the emergency signing to cover for Ousmane Dembele’s absence.
Sharp intake of breath time.
Given the circumstances, I guess the board are stuck between a rock and a hard place in terms of trying to get value for money and quality at the same time, but there has to be better options surely?
The Dane has six goals in 24 La Liga appearances (three as sub) this season, which is hardly going to fill the opposition with dread.
By contrast, Angel Rodriguez of Getafe has 10 and, as he showed at Camp Nou last weekend, is a threat in and around the box.
Braithwaite is a rugged centre-forward yes, and perhaps Barca are looking for a similar model to Luis Suarez in that he’s bullish on or off the ball, isn’t frightened to go in where it hurts, and will work hard throughout.
But a one-in-four goals to games ratio and he doesn’t have anything like the same quality of movement and anticipation as the Uruguayan... for an outlay of roughly €20m?
It smacks of a panic buy.
It’s a hire that makes little sense. Much like the transfers out of Todibo, Abel Ruiz and Carles Perez made no sense either. It really has been a pretty pathetic transfer window to be honest.
And let’s not beat about the bush either - Braithwaite was far from being the first choice.
Cedric Bakumbu was left hanging after believing he was on the way to the club. Discussions with Rodrigo Moreno came to nothing.
It’s almost as if we’ve gone back 12 months when Kevin-Prince Boateng was brought in as cover and did sod all whilst he was at the club. Completely out of his depth and disinterested.
The Braithwaite signing, if it happens, smacks of being another square peg in a round hole. A lack of insight and planning from the powers that be.
And what will happen to the player in six months’ time when Dembele is on the mend or, perhaps, Neymar is ready to return?
Will we recoup anywhere close to the €20m for a player that will be 29 by then. Not a chance. If he is successful, it will be more by luck than judgement
The reality from a supporting point of view, however, is that once he pulls on that Barca shirt, I will get behind him and hope that, somehow, he finds the goals to help fire us to success.