Editorial

Barcelona since 2008

On the field – 10/10

In the transfer market: 5 hits, 7 misses

Total loss: £206.6m

By CHRISTOPHER DAVIES

PEP GUARDIOLA is hailed as the best young manager in world football. No one can doubt his Barcelona Dream Team are one of the greatest of all time.

Yet Barcelona’s dealings in the transfer market in the three years since he was appointed have proved much less successful than Guardiola’s on-field triumphs.

Since taking over from Frank Rijkaard in the summer of 2008 Barcelona have spent £220m in the transfer market with the list of flops far outweighing the Nou Camp hits.

The European champions, who have relied on home produced players rather than imports for their success, have recouped only £13.4m – a loss of £206.6m in three years. In the Barclays Premier League only Manchester City – £311.5m) – have fared worse in income/expenditure. Arsenal show a profit of £25.7m to the frustration of many Gunners fans.

2008/09

Gerard Pique Manchester United £5m – HIT
Sir Alex Ferguson did not want the promising defender to return to Barcelona. The young Pique never had the chance to make a major breakthrough at Old Trafford but Fergie knew it was just a matter of time. Unfortunately for United, Pique was ready to resume his career with Barcelona and has since won Primera Liga, Champions League, Club World Cup and World Cup winners’ medals.

Alexander Hleb Arsenal £14.7m MISS
Arsenal got their money back on the ex-Stuttgart midfielder whose versatility was greater than his effectiveness. Has one more year to run on his Barcelona contract but has spent the last two seasons on loan to Stuttgart and Birmingham City.

Martin Caceres Villarreal £14.3m MISS
Signed for Barcelona in 2008. Made just 15 appearances for the club, was loaned to Juventus (2009/10) and Sevilla (2010/11). Signed for Sevilla last month for £1.1m.

Henrique Palmeiras £9m MISS
Has yet to play for the Catalan club. Spent the last three years on loan to Bayer Leverkusen and Racing Santander. The defender is set to return to Palmeiras this summer.

Dani Alves Sevilla £30m HIT
Swashbucking right-back who spends much of his time as a right winger. Has a low threshold to pain at times but the Brazil international is an established member of Pep Guardiola’s Dream Team.

2009/10

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Inter Milan £56m plus Samuel Eto’o who was rated at £20m MISS
The Swede would no doubt say he was worth every penny but British observers are puzzled as to why Europe’s leading clubs have courted him despite his prolific goal record. Scored 16 goals in 29 games for Barca before he fell out with Pep Guardiola (among others) and in Aug 2010 joined AC Milan on loan, the Italian champions having an option to make the deal permanent for £21.4m.

Dymtro Chygrynskiy Shakhtar Donetsk £22.3m MISS
Never made the grade at the Nou Camp and returned to Shakhtar for £13.3m after one season, making the Ukraine champions a nice profit on the defender.

Kerrison Palmeiras £12.5m MISS
The striker joined Barca in July 2009 on a five-year contract. Five days after signing for the Catalans, Kerrison was loaned to Benfica with subsequent loan spells at Fiotentina and Santos. Yet to make his Barcelona debut.

Maxwell Inter Milan £4.5m HIT
Full-back who has never claimed a regular place but is seen to do a solid job filling in for established first-teamers when injured or suspended.

2010/11

Javier Mascherano Liverpool £19.6 HIT
Was a regular substitute until injuries to Carles Puyol and Eric Abidal saw the defensive midfielder play alongside Gerard Pique. Fortunate to be part of such a good team and got away with playing out of position but the Argentina international remains more effective in midfield.

Adriano Sevilla £12m MISS
The defender or midfielder spent most of his first season at the Nou Camp as a substitute. Missed the last six weeks of the season with a groin injury.

Ibrahim Afellay PSV £2.5m HIT
Joined Barca during the January transfer window, the Holland international has done enough in his 16 appearances to become a valuable substitute – the most he can hope for with the MVP – Messi, Villa, Pedro – strike force.

Christopher Davies

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