FC Barcelona v Real Sociedad de Futbol - La Liga

Towards the tail end of last season, the La Liga champions lost momentum when it mattered most; losing to Atletico Madrid in the 2nd leg of the Quarter Finals of the Champions League, and without a win in 4 games on a roll in the league, closing an early 10-point gap over 2nd-placed Real Madrid to 1. Their aim of becoming the first club to win back to back Champions League (new format) title faded and the La Liga title wasn’t decided until week 38.

Many put the blame for that collapse in the club’s unbeaten and formidable streak to the accumulated fatigue on the squad, most particularly on the MSN triumvirate. The trio were involved in action every other weekend, during the week and for their countries in the qualifiers and friendlies. Nature replied in the long-run, and they watched helplessly as Barcelona fell, unable to replicate their explosive forms when needed most.

Due to their transfer ban just lifted this summer, the club couldn’t bring in backups and options to help the forwards, making the work load on their attacking department near unbearable. This summer transfer market was supposed to change all that, but from the look of things, the MSN will have to triple their powers as they will likely go the whole of next season playing without rest.

Apart from the fact that many forwards won’t consider going to Camp Nou due to a sure lack of regular playing time, the club doesn’t have enough funds to land most of their desired targets. €60million was budgeted for transfers this summer, and a ample of that has gone to landing Samuel Umtiti (€25million), Lucas Digne (€16.5million) and Denis Duarez (€3.25million).

They had hoped a new shirt deal was going to come handy in equipping them financially for transfer and other purposes, but it didn’t quite work out as imagined. It was revealed that Pogba’s signature wasn’t pursued by the club despite earlier interests for him due to financial reasons. Players like Mahrez, Gabigol, Luciano Vietto, Kevin Gameiro and Angel Correa are still being considered, but given the size of the club’s pocket, they might have to resort into going for Tello who is able to comeback for free.

The Qatar Airways, for another season has agreed to sponsor Barcelona and the club will adorn its name on their Jerseys. But this time around, only €35million has been eventually agreed upon after months of negotiations. The club was in search of another shirts sponsor, but none was forthcoming, and they had to settle for less. Last year, the €70million Qatar Airways agreed to pay was considered small, given the club’s exploits at home and on the European scene. This will definitely have its toll on a club that has much to spend at the moment.

An improved deal has been agreed for Neymar and Busquets, meaning a larger chunk of that 35m will go into funding that and paying other wages. The search for a right-back to replace Alves still continues, and if there is any quality option out there, he won’t come cheap. So at the end of the day, we might see Barcelona calling time on their summer transfer shopping earlier than expected; not out of willingness but out of sheer financial inability and incapability. If that happens, then it is very likely that they will pick off from where their struggle ended at the end of last season somewhere along the road as the new campaign gets busier. Bartomeu hasn’t done enough to help the Catalan giants start off the season on a good note financially, that will surely backfire.

Paul Koroma

I learned all about life with a ball at my feet. Soccer allows me to push the limitation of creativity and express myself without saying a word. Soccer is my addiction. I train. I play, and I repeat every single day.

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