Barcelona have completed the signing of right-back Aleix Vidal from Sevilla, with the player having signed a contract that will run until 2020.
This comes as some what of a surprise as Barcelona have a transfer ban in place until 2016. Vidal will not be allowed to play for the Catalans until January of next year as a result of the ban, but the Spanish champions unveiled Vidal anyway after he passed a medical.
Competition for places
On top of that Dani Alves, who was out of contract with the Catalan giants, has agreed a new two-year deal. This leaves a high level of competition for the incoming man as Barcelona have now three top-class right-backs in Alves, Martin Montoya and now Vidal, who was excellent for Sevilla in the 2014/15 season.
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One wonders how a club can sign players while suffering from a transfer ban imposed by FIFA, for being found guilty of breaching FIFA's rules on the transfer of players aged under 18. Barca signed Luis Suarez, Thomas Vermaelen, Claudio Bravo and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen in 2014 after the ban was suspended while Barca appealed the decision.
Ramifications of the ban
The ban might have been a welcome to the young players of Barcelona who would be looking to get first team experience, however this was not the case during the season.
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Barcelona were excellent and played some fantastic football throughout the season in which they won La Liga, the Champions League and the Copa del Rey. The Barca first-team was consistent over the course of the campaign and there were not many opportunities for their promising youth players to break into Luis Enrique's plans.
In terms of the FIFA transfer ban it has been ineffective and has not punished the Catalan club in any way since it was imposed. Where is the fairness of the signing of Vidal for other La Liga clubs when it proves that Barcelona are being given an unfair advantage?
Certainly one can see that the toothless ban is having no effect on the club and arguably Barca are in their strongest position to date with the size and quality of their squad.
La Liga is dominated by Real Madrid and Barcelona. Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid bucked the trend in 2013/14 when they secured the La Liga title. The wealth of both Real and their counterparts is incomparable with all other teams in La Liga and arguably all of European football.
Therefore the ban which was placed upon Barca should have levelled the playing field to some degree, as it would mean they could not sign the best players and other clubs might have hypothetically been able to capitalise. Barcelona have the luxury of now having three world-class right-backs and their squad depth is unrivalled by any club in Spain apart from Real.
It is not right that FIFA have not imposed the ban properly and with the Catalans in their best form in years it is almost impossible to see them not dominating Spanish and European football again next term.
Football fans, do you think it was right that Barca were able to sign Vidal despite their ban? Let us know in the comments box below.