When the summer transfer window closes, fans of clubs all over the world will analyse what their club has done well, and what they think could have been done better. Following that, attention will turn to the January transfer window, as their hopes of even more additions will be aired to the world.
The excitement of signing players will once again take hold this winter for fans of every club in the world. Every club, that is, except for Spanish giants Barcelona.
The Catalan club have had their two-window transfer embargo upheld by football’s governing body FIFA, despite appealing for it to be rescinded. And Barcelona have still not given up hope of overturning the ban, as they hope to take their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The ban relates to Barcelona’s activity in signing players under the age of 18 without following the regulations for such transfers. The club are permitted to sign a player that is under 18 if their parents are moving to the country for non-football related matters, they are from another country in the European Union or they live within 100km of the club.
However, earlier this year FIFA found the club guilty of breaching these rules on ten instances between 2009 and 2013. FIFA banned the club from signing players for two transfer windows in April, but an appeal from Barca meant that the embargo was postponed.
This allowed the club to spend around £120million this summer, signing eight players. They have brought in several big names, including Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia, Thomas Vermaelen from Arsenal and Ivan Rakitic from Sevilla. They also smashed their transfer record to sign Liverpool forward Luis Suarez for £75m – although Barcelona claim the figure was actually £65m.
To add to those signings, they have been linked with a sensational move for Angel Di Maria. The Argentine winger plays for bitter rivals Real Madrid and would be a massive coup for boss Luis Enrique ahead of their transfer ban.
The embargo is a massive blow for Barcelona as they aim to compete with domestic rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, as well as in Europe. Real Madrid have already showcased their financial power this summer and will have the freedom to spend more money whilst Barcelona can only watch on and dream of doing exactly that until 2016.
However, the Catalan giants have a fantastic squad that will undoubtedly be able to compete this season and next, even without any more signings. Whilst there is always room for improvement, Barcelona can take comfort in the knowledge that their squad is still looked upon enviously by the majority of the rest of the world.
Having a forward line of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez is the stuff of dreams for 99% of football clubs in the world. And with players such as Vermaelen and Mathieu coming in, they have been able to strengthen at the back as well.
Barcelona’s world famous motto is “Més Que un Club” meaning “More than a Club” – with their players being known for having immense emotional connections to the side. They have been developed to play football the right way and do anything to preserve the honor and pride of FC Barcelona.
With their current squad, the transfer embargo could end up being a blessing in disguise. This current crop – given time to settle – could make Barca the best in the world once again. Looking at the quality and balance in the side, they may not even need any more signings.
In Luis Enrique they have a manager that has moulded a top class squad in his short time at the club, and even the departure of Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas hasn’t dampened the mood around the Spanish giants.
You would have to be a fool to write them out of the race for silverware this season, and the squad has the potential to kick start another era of dominance at the club.