Twenty of the weirdest signings Barcelona have made since 2000


Barcelona’s signing of Martin Braithwaite has raised plenty of eyebrows.

Firstly, the timing. Barca were given special privileges by La Liga to sign an emergency striker outside of the transfer window despite relegation-threatened Leganes not being allowed to replace him.

Secondly, the player himself. The 28-year-old scored eight goals in two seasons in the Championship with Middlesbrough a few years ago and had scored six in 24 matches for Leganes this season.

The £15 million deal is just weird.

But Barca are becoming renowned for making rather strange signings.

So, with inspiration from Planet Football, we’ve ranked the 20 weirdest signings Barcelona have made since 2000.

20 | Malcom | £36.5m | 2018

Barcelona basically stole Malcom from under Roma’s noses in 2018. They’ll be wishing they didn’t bother.

He scored just one goal in 15 league appearances for the club during the 2018/19 season before signing for Zenit St. Petersburg.


19 | Yerry Mina | £10m | 2018

Not the first player Barca signed from Brazil with no European football experience, while handing him a massive five-and-a-half-year contract.

Mina lasted just one season and played six times in all competitions before Everton splashed out on him.

New Barcelona Signing Yerry Mina Unveiled

18 | Jeremy Mathieu | £15.8m | 2014

At almost 31, Mathieu signed a four-year deal with Barca after the club spent more than £15m on him from Valencia.

To be fair, he played 41 times in his first season and 34 matches in his second.

But his age soon caught up with him and he left for Sporting.

FC Barcelona Unveil New Signing Jeremy Mathieu

17 | Emmanuel Petit | £7m | 2000

Petit had just been part of France’s victorious 2000 Euro squad when Petit signed him from Arsenal.

But in his 2008 biography, Petit revealed how then Barcelona manager, Serra Ferrer, didn’t even know what position he played.

“Richard [Dutruel] was translating and he was translating normally when he suddenly stopped and after five minutes he turned to me and I saw ‘Mayday, Mayday’ flashing in his eyes," Petit wrote.

“He told me, ‘The coach wants to know in which position you play.’ We’d just finished the Euro. I looked at the coach, looked at Richard, and said, ‘Is he joking?’ Richard replied, ‘He’s not joking.’”

No wonder he only lasted one season then.

Emmanuel Petit

16 | Alex Song | £15m | 2012

Barca love raiding Arsenal but nobody expected them to spend £15m on Song back in 2012. They handed him a five-year deal but he only lasted two campaigns.

He left to go on loan to West Ham which just about sums it up.

But he'll always be remembered for the awkward moment when he thought Carles Puyol wanted him to lift the 2013 La Liga trophy when he was trying to give it to Eric Abidal - who had recently undergone a liver transplant.

15 | Gerard Deulofeu | £10.6m | 2017

Can you imagine Barcelona signing a winger who had scored five goals in 62 appearances for Everton before being loaned out?

Of course, Barca only signed Deulofeu because he had graduated through La Masia and had Barcelona DNA.

Barcelona DNA means very little when you manage two goals in 17 appearances upon your return to the Camp Nou though.

He lasted six months before moving on loan - before eventually signing permanently - to Watford.

Barcelona v Real Betis - La Liga

14 | Alexander Hleb | £11.9m | 2008

Barca purchased Hleb from Arsenal, signing the 27-year-old on a four-year deal.

But the Belarussian only lasted one campaign, playing 19 league games during the 2008/09 season. He was then loaned out to a host of clubs, including Birmingham before having his contract cancelled January 2012 transfer window.

(From L) Barcelona's technical director

13 | Juan Pablo Sorin | Loan | 2003

In a career that includes spells at Juventus, Lazio, Paris Saint-Germain and Villarreal, Sorin spent six months on loan at Barcelona during the 2002/03 season.

Sorin tackles Maxi

12 | Rustu | Free | 2003

Who could forget the eccentric Turkish goalkeeper? Well, you may have forgotten that he played for Barcelona.

After spending nine years at Fenerbahce, Barca signed the goalkeeper on a free transfer. However, it soon became clear that he was second choice behind Victor Valdes and only played four league games before returning to Fenerbahce.

Turkish goalkeeper Rustu Recber (L) and

11 | Aleix Vidal | £13m | 2015

We’re not quite sure why Barcelona didn’t just wait until January 2016 to sign Vidal from Sevilla. Instead, they purchased him in the summer of 2015 and made him wait until their transfer ban had passed to play him.

When the ban was over, Luis Enrique didn’t really fancy him and the right-back only played 30 times in the next three seasons before returning to Sevilla for half the price he was signed for.


10 | Arda Turan | £24m | 2015

The same situation to Vidal as Turan waited six months to make his club debut due to the transfer ban.

When he could eventually play, he only managed 36 league matches over two seasons before leaving on loan to İstanbul Başakşehir, where he remains despite still being contracted to Barca.


9 | Douglas | £3m | 2014

Douglas was barely Sao Paulo’s first-choice right-back when Barcelona decided to spend £3m on him - giving him a four-year contract.

But he had to settle for third choice right-back behind Dani Alves and Martin Montoya, playing just three league goals in two seasons at the Camp Nou.

Now plays for Besiktas.


8 | Keirrison | £11m | 2009

This is surely one of Barca’s worst signings in their recent history.

Signed from Brazilian side Palmeiras on a five-year contract as a 20-year-old, Keirrison failed to play a single game for Barca.

He went on unsuccessful loan spells at Benfica and Fiorentina before returning to Brazil.

Barcelona's new signing Brazilian Keirri

7 | Martin Caceres | £14m | 2008

Let’s get this straight. Villarreal signed Caceres from Uruguayan club Defensor Sporting, loaned him out immediately before Barcelona signed him for £14m without him playing a single game for the Yellow Submarine.

Thirteen La Liga appearances followed before moves to the likes of Juventus, Sevilla, Southampton, Lazio and Fiorentina.

Barcelona's new signing Uruguayan Martin

6 | Thomas Vermaelen | £15m | 2014

Vermaelen signed for Barcelona in August 2014 and made his debut in May 2015 due to a series of injuries.

Injuries continued for his entire four seasons at the Camp Nou and he made just 34 league games during his time at the club.


5 | Paulinho | £36.5m | 2017

Nobody saw this signing coming.

Paulinho was enjoying his latter years in China with Guangzhou Evergrande when Barca came calling.

To be fair, his nine goals in 34 league appearances helped Barcelona win the 2017/18 league title before he returned to Guangzhou.

Weird? Yes. A complete failure? No.


4 | Demetrio Albertini | Free | 2005

Albertini was a legendary player on his day for AC Milan, playing at the San Siro for 11 seasons.

But it’s fair to say Barca signed the Italian a little bit too late.

The midfielder had spells at Atletico Madrid, Lazio and Atalanta before Barcelona decided to sign him as a 33-year-old. He played five times in the league before retiring.

Barcelona v Athletico Madrid

3 | Dmytro Chygrynskiy | £22m | 2009

Another baffling defensive signing from Barcelona.

The club signed the Ukrainian from Shakhtar, penning a five-year-deal at the age of 22.

Guardiola got rid of him after one season and he returned to Shakhtar.

Barcelona's new signing Ukranian Dmytro

2 | Kevin-Prince Boateng | Loan | 2019

Barca were desperate but 31-year-old Boateng wasn’t really the answer. Three league games. No goals.


1 | Martin Braithwaite | £15m | 2020

This might be the weirdest one yet.

A 28-year-old, who played two seasons in the Championship for Middlesbrough for £15m.

His skill failure during his unveiling might give us a good indicator to how his Barca career will pan out.

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