Transfers: Barça's summer hits and blows (1/4)

A reminder of the past transfers in Barça's history. Some of them were great investments, others... not so much.

Transfers: Barça's summer hits and blows (1/4)
Transfers: Barça's summer hits and blows (1/4)

A reminder of the past transfers in Barça's history. Some of them were great investments, others... not so much.

Dani Alves defensa

The summer's transfer window is for some Blaugrana fans the best way to spend their holidays, speculating on which star player will join their team, who will leave and how many it will all cost. Banned from any signings in last year's summer frenzy, and since the club already signed Samuel Umtiti from Lyon for 25 million eurios, Barça have now 43 million euros to spend on the market, which could go up with any transfer of a Barça player to another club. The twice holders of La Liga, and winners of La Copa del Rey during the 2015/16 team will look to slightly reinforce the squad bringing in and a fourth striker, keeping in mind what happened when rash decisions were made in the past. Indeed, all Barça's transfers weren't as successful as the recent arrivals of Neymar and Luis Suárez, and sometimes the Blaugranas paid way more than they should have paid for players that didn't deliver. On the other hand, there were some spectacular additions that enabled the club to move forward. Here is a reminder:

Good Deals:

Éric Abidal (from Lyon, July 2007) - 15 M€

The trajectory of the Frenchman is amongst the most remarkable there is in modern football, in terms of talent on the pitch, professionalism and greatness outside of it. Calm, composed and very wise, Éric Abidal began his professional career at Monaco, but he realised his future lied in a more modest team: Lille OSC, where he soon became the number one left-back, defending well on the ball, and using his pace and his stamina to bring danger on the left side and distribute crosses. At that time, Lyon ruled the French kingdom, and didn't want another team to benifitiate the qualities of such a brillant full-back. They bought him in the summer of 2004 and made him a 3-time winner of the French Ligue 1 as well as a Champion's League quarter-finalists in 2005. Barça saw the great potential of this player, and his technical ability had him integrated very quickly among the Blaugrana team. Winner of the Champion's League twice, in 2009 and 2011, Abidal then went on to win another battle: the one he had with his kidney tumour. Missing only two months of football after his first of two operations, he quickly regained his position, being offered to lift the 2011 Champion's League trophy by captain Puyol. A great gesture for a great man, that will never be forgotten at Camp Nou.

Eric Abidal's stats with Barça: 193 games, 2 goals, 11 assists

Dani Alves (from Sevilla, July 2008) - 35.5 M€

The recent announcement of his departure was quite a shock to some of Barça lovers. He is still to this day the one that made the most assists to living legend Leo Messi. A statistic that says a lot about how well the two players get along. And not only on the pitch. Dani Alves is famous for his interventions on social media, and tv talk-shows. He never hesitates to say what he thinks, even in a clumsy way sometimes. When it comes to playing, there is no clumsiness involved. Considered for many years as the best right-back in the world, Dani Alves came from Sevilla in the summer of 2008. Only 11 months after he arrived at Barça, he won the Champion's League being undisputed in the starting eleven. The techincal abilities of the Brazilian defender, mixed with his very offensive spirit, made him a key piece in Guardiola's system. With the Catalans, Alves won it all, and showed to the world he was an absolute beast. He redefined what the role of a full-back was, and actively participated in creating vocations amongs his younger admirers, soon-to-be pros that got inspired by his profile. His crossing quality gave him a lot of assists, and even his failures made history, just like the cross at Stamford Bridge that resulted in the Blues losing the ball, Blaugranas recovering it and Iniesta sending the whole of Barcelona in the Champion's League final. The Camp Nou will miss him surely.

Dani Alves' stats with Barça: 391 games, 21 goals, 102 assists (42 to Messi) / 8 years

Bad Calls: 

Marc Overmars and Emmanuel Petit (from Arsenal, July 2000) - 40 M€ + 15 M€

There was a time when between Arsenal and Barcelona, the Londoners were the bigger team. In 2000, just after France won the Euros, Emmanuel Petit was amongst the most experienced and solid midfielders there were to buy. On his end, Marc Overmars was known as a quick, skillfull left-footed winger, that could absolutely destroy a defence from the side and offer assists to his partners of the offensive line. Together, they had a tougher time after the 1998 title, since Arsenal couldn't get past the group stage in the Champion's League, and failed twice to win the Premier League title. They ended second each time, one point behind Manchester United in 1999, and 18 points behind the Red Devils the following year. Arrived at the same time at Highbury, Overmars and Petit were not in Wenger's first team plans, so Barça took advantage of the opportunity - and Figo's resounding transfer to Real Madrid for 60 M€ - to join the Catalonian club for 40 and 15 M€ respectively. Unfortunately, the 2 for 1 deal didn't work, at least not as well as expected. For the Dutch winger, it was mostly due to injuries, that prevented him from playing at his best level while at Camp Nou. His high price was a big con for Barça fans, as he was the most expensive signing in the club's history until Ibrahimovic came to Catalonia. As for Petit, he simply didn't fit in Llorenç Ferrer's system and had trouble finding his place, despite playing 31 games in his first and only season with the Barça shirt on. He then went back to England, and joined Arsenal's enemy Chelsea, where he had an honorable end of course. Overmars, stayed at Barça until 2004.

Emmanuel Petit's stats with Barça: 33 games, 1 goal / 1 year
Marc Overmars' stats with Barça: 132 games, 17 goals, 2 assists / 4 years

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (from Inter, July 2009) - 69.5 M€

Sometimes, you end up doing a transfer you weren't necesarily meant to do. It was the case with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, even if 69.5 M€ seeems like a lot of money for a rash decision. The story is juicy: while at Donetsk to sign Shakhtar defender Dmytro Chygrynskiy, President Joan Laporta faced more difficulty than expected when the time came to decide the transfer fee with the Ukrainian officials. They don't want to sell their star centre-back for a bargain. Upset and decided to come back at Barcelona with some interesting news, the capricious president made a halt at Milan. There, he met with Inter's president Massimo Moratti and agent Mino Raiola. The object of the meeting: Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Even if some talkings were said to have happened between the two entities, it was a major surprise to see Barça had signed the Swedish machine for 69.5 M€. Especially when the initial objective was a defender. Then, because of a few frictions with Guardiola, and trouble adapting to the Catalan's new system, with Messi in the centre of the pitch, Ibra dropped progressively and isolated himself from his coach. Zlatan let once again his ego do the talking and it resulted in a loan to Milan the following season. He scored quite a few goals, but far from his standards from Serie A and Ligue 1. Ibra would never wear the Blaugrana shirt again. He left to Milan for good, where he became great again.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's stats with Barça: 47 games, 22 goals, 14 assists / 2 years (1 on loan to Milan)

Dmytro Chygrynskiy (from Shakhtar Donetsk, August 2009) - 25 M€

More often than not, players that shine with surprising underdogs on the European stage, struggle to prove their worth in bigger clubs. And on the transfer market, especially in the summer when teams have to be re-built in a short amount of time to ensure the quality of the pre-season, some rash decision might be taken. In this case, just like stated above, the negotiation talks between Barça and Shakhtar Donetsk for the transfer of defender Dmitri Chygrynskiy led president Joan Laporta to make a rash decision on a whole other level. When you considered he was upset because the price of the Ukrainian defender had suddenly gone up, it is funny to imagine Laporta would put 69.5 M€ in Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Certainly appeased by this resounding transfer, Joan Laporta then went back to talking to Shakhtar and finally accepted their proposal. Here was Chyrgrynskiy, arriving at Barça with many doubts from the part of Spanish football observers, and mixed feelings from the fans, between excitement and surprise. Still, they trusted the powerful mind of Guardiola, who had demanded himself to bring Chygrynskiy at Can Barça. Hardly integrated in Barça's defence, and with very few games on which to build confidence, 'Chygry' got more famous for his imitation in the Catalan satirical tv show 'Crackovia' than for his performances on the pitch. Although Guardiola wanted him to stay the season that followed, he was transferred back to Shakhtar, for 15 M€

Dmitri Chygrynskiy's stats with Barça: 15 games, no goals / 1 year

Gerard López (from Valencia, July 2000) - 24 M€

He is probably the least popular name in this list: Gerard López. The long-time fans of FC Barcelona have a very good idea of who he is, the more recent ones will have trouble reminding. Here is a little bit of context to help. Formed in La Masia, Gerard López never really had his chance in the first team. Talented, promising but not solid enough, he was transferred for free to Valencia in 1997. Once again, he had a hard time convincing the 'Ches' that he was the right person for the job, therefore he was loaned out to Alavès. And in the Basque Country, he did a very good season, and continued so when back at Valencia. It drew the attention of the Barça Board's eyes, who decided to go for it and buy him back, for 24 M€. The price was maybe the biggest mistake, especially for a player they had let go for free a few years before. Maybe he felt the pressure of the price that was spent to get him back, maybe his sense of partying got the best of him, but Gerard never really showed worthy of the expectation, and he left Barça again, in 2005, to Ligue 1's side Monaco. For free, obviously... Now, he coaches Barça B.

Gerard López's stats with Barça: 124 games, 8 goals / 5 years