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How Josep Maria Bartomeu Turned Wine To Water.

I’ve been wanting to write this piece for over a month now but haven’t found the strength to write without swearing until now.

Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of Barcelona. However, I’m against mismanagement of funds and trust by executives who seem to be over their heads whenever they are in charge of organizations with near limitless finances.

Josep Maria Bartomeu was voted in as the 40th President of Barcelona after the resignation of Sandro Rosell who was under investigation at that time. Since his ascent, he’s spent approximately €1 billion on 36 players of which a large chunk of those transfers have rarely made any sense in his six years as the President of Barcelona.

The case of Josep Maria Bartomeu warrants an investigation to know if he’s actually an impersonator because the decisions that have been taken by this man with regards to squad building since he became President has been mind boggling.Of all the players signed by Bartomeu, only Luis Suarez and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen have turned out to be outright successes. Frenkie De Jong might still turn out to be a good signing and there ends the list.

TWO ∓ ONE out of THIRTY-SIX. That is a success rate of just over 8%.
For a club like Barcelona, that is atrocious.

Since the 2014/2015 season till date, Barcelona have had a positive net spend in one season only (2018/2019 –  €4.95m). Now let’s put the finances aside for a minute and look at the players signed.Jeremy Mathieu (€20m), Thomas Vermaelen (€19m), Ivan Ratikitic (€18m), Arda Turan (€34m) and Aleix Vidal (€17m) were signed in the first two seasons. Only Rakitic can be said to be an above average signing. I still don’t understand the reasoning behind the signing of Arda Turan and Mathieu.

2016/2017Andre Gomes (€37m), Paco Alcacer (€30m), Samuel Umtiti (€25m), Lucas Digne (€16.5m), Jasper Cillessen (€13m) and Denis Suarez(€3.25m). Inasmuch as Bartomeu can not be faulted for players’ fitness or lack of, we can all agree that Umtiti has not panned out as expected. Denis Suarez was bought from manchester City, loaned out, sold, bought back, loaned out again and sold again. Try making sense of that.

2017/2018Phillipe Coutinho was signed for €145m. A player they had no immediate need for, played him out of position and eventually loaned out after destroying his confidence. Ousmane Dembele was signed for €138m as a direct replacement for Neymar when they could have easily gone for Kylian Mbappe before he eventually teamed up with Neymar at PSG. The signing of Paulinho (€40m) I still can’t understand, although he had a decent season but was money well spent? Nelson Semedo (€35.7m).

During the Champions League Quarter Final game against Bayern I said Semedo should be sued for advertising himself as a right back. I think the same can be said about Bartomeu who makes the decision to sign these players. Gerard Deulofeu (€12m), for Deulofeu, read Denis Suarez. Yerry Mina (€11.8m) and Marlon (€5m) completes the disastrous summer when the mask fell off and it has been one misstep after another ever since.
2018/2019Malcom  (€41m) was signed and sold the following season.

At least he fulfilled his dream of playing for Barcelona because that’s what Bartomeu is there for, helping average players fulfill there dreams of playing for either Barcelona or Real Madrid. In this case, Barcelona. Jeison Murillo (loan), Kevin-Prince Boateng (loan) Jean-Clair Todibo (€1m) and Clement Lenglet  (€35.90m) make up a list of players who can proudly write in their CV that they played for dream club, again thanks to Bartomeu. Arthur (More on him later) €31m.

2019/2020Antoine Griezemann (€120m) was signed into a team that plays 4-3-3. If any thought was put into this signing, Bartomeu would have known that Griezmann flourishes in a two-man attack line-up playing alongside a target man. Frenkie De Jong (€75m) who is an undoubted talent and might still turn out to be good value for money spent. Neto (€26m), Junior Firpo (€18m) and Emerson (€12m) make up the numbers with the exception of Marc Cucurella. Marc Cucurella came from the Barca B team to the senior team.

In August of 2018, Cucurella loaned to fellow Liga side Eibar for 1 year with an option to buy for €2m and a buyback clause of €4m. Eibar exercised their option to buy at the end of the season. Sixteen days later Barcelona exercised their own buyback option only to loan him to Getafe two days later with an option to buy for €6m. It is worth noting that Cucurella is a left-back and at a time they needed a backup left-back for Alba, they went for the more expensive option of signing Junior Firpo for €18m. Absolute madness.

But that’s not all.As at January 28th, 2020 Barcelona had Carles Perez, Ansu Fati, Abel Ruiz and Alex Collado as backup strikers/wingers. January 30th Carles Perez was sent on loan to Roma with an obligation to buy for €11m. February 4th Dembele got injured and was said to be out for 6 months. Rather than build with the players they have on ground, Bartomeu chose to disable another team by filling for a disabled player exception, signed Martin Braithwaite for €18m thereby giving Leganes no time to find a replacement.

Fun fact – Braithwaite played a total of 403 minutes out of 1260 available. It seems destroying one team wasn’t enough for Bartomeu so he decided to make it two because Leganes ended up being relegated. Whether they would have stayed up with Braithwaite or not is a story for another day and like I said earlier, Bartomeu fulfills the dreams of players just the way you thought about it.

Transfer fees as provided by

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