Transfer Window Failings Latest Episode In FC Barcelona’s Historic Striker ‘Soap Opera’
Barcelona´s Danish forward Martin Braithwaite (C) celebrates with Barcelona’s Argentine forward … [+]
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In the end, Ronald Koeman didn’t get the man he wanted.
Stating in public that the Blaugrana needed a striker, while confirming his interest in former Netherlands national team charge Memphis Depay, La Liga stepped in at the last minute to kibosh a move from Lyon on transfer deadline day.
Without Ousmane Dembele heading to Manchester United, Barca would have been in breach of Financial Fair Play rules in relation to their outgoings on salaries, and any interest in Depay will have to wait until the turn of the year when the window reopens.
This development saw Martin Braithwaite take the number 9 jersey left behind by Luis Suarez following his switch to domestic rivals Atletico Madrid. Yet as the Dane is frozen out by Koeman and clearly not in his plans, this, coupled with the way El Pistolero was driven out of the club despite not having a suitable replacement has led Marca to dub the Catalans’ handling of strikers a “soap opera”.
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Like any telenovela, this history is laden with twists, turns and backstabbings.
Though Atleti have drawn their last two outings 0-0, there were genuine fears that this could be David Villa Mark II when the Uruguayan came off the bench to score two and provide an assist during a 6-1 drubbing of Granada recently.
In 2013-2014, Villa was also mistreated and forced to switch to Diego Simeone’s squad, but the move came back to bite Barca when they lost the Spanish top flight title to Atletico at the Camp Nou on the last day of the season.
Before that, in the reign of Pep Guardiola, the master tactician never got a firm grip on neither Villa, Samuel Eto’o and definitely not Zlatan Ibrahimovic – though the mercurial talents of Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta guaranteed that this never became too much of an issue.
Allowing Ronaldo to leave to Inter Milan definitely was, however, and helped usher in an era of Real Madrid dominance as Barca fell behind both domestically and on the continent to their bitter rivals.
Maybe it is only by finally landing Lautaro Martinez from the Italians, as was originally the plan when eyeing a long-term successor to Suarez pre-pandemic, that can rectify these missteps for once and for all.