When it was announced just over a year ago that Barcelona wouldn't be able to sign any new players until January 2016, it was assumed that the Catalans would be also rans at the top table of domestic and European football during the intervening period.
Every single team has to evolve on a continual basis to keep the squad fresh and hungry.
Luis Enrique took the job knowing that he would, or so it appeared, only be able to work with the players already in-situ.
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However, FIFA's "punishment" appeared to not be worth the paper it was written on and certainly wasn't water-tight in a legal sense.
In some ways the ban actually helped the Blaugrana. Let's take a look at why...
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When your backs are against the wall and there is nowhere else to go, what are you to do?
Barca just had to dust themselves down and front up any opposition that came before them knowing that the staff in situ were the only ones able to bring success to the club until January 2016.
It gave rise to a real siege mentality from Enrique and his players. A sense that they had been wronged through no fault of their own, but that a "batten down the hatches" approach was as good as any.
Us against the world type scenarios always bring out the best in people. Given the option of fight or flight, most would plump for the former.
Although still under the auspices of Enrique's squad dynamic and his final decision, the players at least knew at the beginning of 2014/15 that there would be no shenanigans in the January and summer transfer windows and as such we saw a relaxed side taking the field in most matches.
Winning 50 out of 60 played scoring 175 goals speaks volumes.
No real punishment
When all is said and done, Barca have hardly felt the full wrath of FIFA have they.
Seven players initially signed during the appeals process, almost all of them playing a significant part in Barca claiming the treble last year.
Then, the unexpected arrivals of Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan.
No, Barcelona weren't actually banned from signing players at all. Merely registering them to play. If the club could get footballers willing enough to sit on the sidelines for six months or more, then the signature was a formality.
Dependant on your point of view, Turan and Vidal are showing a distinct lack of ambition by taking themselves out of the equation for half a year, or they are showing incredible professionalism by keeping fit over such a sustained period knowing that they won't get anywhere near the first team until January 2016.
With other teams including Real Madrid said to be under investigation for the same breaches as Barca, FIFA have scored the biggest of own goals because in being so lax with Barca, they've set a dangerous precedent going forward.
La Masia focus
The ban also forced Barca to look at themselves again internally. Just how well was their famed La Masia academy working? Was it even working at all?
Who was coming through the youth ranks to challenge the seniors?
In throwing wads of cash at "galactico" type purchases, Barca were conveniently beginning to ignore matters closer to home.
Perhaps the club and its technical staff won't have liked what they saw, given that a number of youngsters have been moved on during the window.
Denis Suarez, Gerard Deulofeu, Patric Gabarron, Adama Traore and more have all departed.
But the ban afforded the club the opportunity to reassess priorities, and that's invaluable in today's fast-paced environment.
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