analysis | 2017-07-14
Reviewing Barcelona's signings for the 2016/2017 season
One of the most active transfer windows in the club's history brought positives, negatives and left many questions
Let's be straight and admit that the signings were a mixed bag, Denis Suárez and Umtiti were our best additions. Denis hasn't had much playing time and has been inconsistent at times but with the price we paid there was no risk as we know his potential.
Samuel Umtiti quickly became one of our finest signings this century, you could go on to say the best signing in Europe for the past summer. Everyone has sung his praises, there is little need to expand on that. He’ll only get better in the coming years, which is mindblowing.
Jasper Cillessen was a good acquisition and put in some really strong performances, but his signing could be considered unnecessary, Ortola is on loan at Alaves and coming back to first team this coming season. He's a solid backup, and we could've used Masip in the Spanish Cup this season and have Jose Suarez at Barça B to call up when needed. €15 million could've been saved and and the long term situation is already sorted since MAtS will be #1 for many years to come. Was it really necessary?
André Gomes was a luxury signing, and the opinions are mostly negative after his first season. At first I was sceptical of his signing, but I could see why he was bought. The issues come with how he was used by Luis Enrique, with no defined role, rather than being a utility midfield man and even right back (!). He has the abilities to be developed into a proper central or deep lying midfielder. Criticism is somewhat warranted as he has put in some shocking performances, but it was overblown since it isn’t easy to play in a broken system in which the likes of Busquets and Iniesta struggled. Given his agent, if he fails he can be shipped off for a sizable fee.
Lucas Digne was nothing more than a squad player, he was the backup to a player that we sold years ago (Maxwell) and it never made sense at all. Competition to Alba was needed but he wasn't the correct choice. Digne isn't a poor player by any means but I don't think he has the ability to become a starter for us. Wolfsburg's Rodriguez would've been a better option, he is smarter, taller and can play as a centre back if needed, even considering his poor form as of late in a Wolfsburg that is playing relegation play-offs in Germany. It would've been good to have different profiles in the squad. The only physical attribute he lacks is pace but then again Digne is not the fastest player. Digne is the type of LB that can play LB and wingback. Rodriguez however, is the type that can play LB and centre back. We’ve already got Alba for what Digne can do.
This could’ve been avoided if we had just promoted Grimaldo. We could’ve saved us some money by promoting the La Masia product and we could’ve had a player who has world class potential and can play in multiple positions, much like BVB’s Raphael Guerreiro who should’ve been considered during the summer that we opted for Digne. The Grimaldo situation was handled poorly, at the very least we should’ve renewed his contract and then loaned/sold him off to a Liga team with a buyback option. Five months after we sold him to Benfica, we shipped off Adriano. It’s just abysmal sporting planning, especially as other top clubs would've signed Grimaldo back in January if it wasn't for fitness issues.
As for Paco Alcácer, most of us preferred to keep Munir and still stand by this. The cost was excessive and he wasn't the right profile either. However, I feel he wasn't being used correctly for most of the season. Pairing him with a another striker could've led to better results than what we've seen. Lucho signed him thinking we needed a #9 but ended up playing him on both wings and then figuring out what he really needed was a winger. The same was done with Sandro and then ended up letting go for free just to stand out as a lone striker for Málaga and to cost us the league. We spent €30 million on a backup striker after sending one on loan and letting the other one leave for free when either of them would’ve been happy with the role Paco has. Hard to understand.
Anything wrong? Send your correction.
WRITTEN BY: Sulaiman
Sulaiman is a Barcelona fan since 2005. He loves discussing anything related to the club. Sulaiman is currently studying Accounting and Finance and has a keen interest in Statistics.