Barcelona’s academy has played a crucial role in their success in the 21st century.
It’s produced football’s greatest ever player in Lionel Messi and many more world-class talents, including Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique.
And they’ve complemented their homegrown talents with marquee signings including those of Ronaldinho, Luis Suarez and Samuel Eto’o.
But they’ve not always hit the mark in the transfer window, particularly in recent years.
The list of signings under current president Josep Maria Bartomeu leaves plenty to be desired.
There have been many more misses that hits, with Lucas Digne, Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho and Denis Suarez among those to struggle during Bartomeu’s reign.
They’ve taken into account price tag, reputation and excitement surrounding their arrival when deciding on the team.
GK | Richard Dutruel
Barcelona have done pretty well when it comes to signing goalkeepers, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen the pick of the bunch.
But Frenchman Dutruel, who arrived in 2000, was a disappointment, falling behind a young Pepe Reina in the pecking order and lasting just two years at the Camp Nou.
RB | Martin Caceres
Uruguyan defender Caceres failed to deliver on lofty expectations after joining Barcelona in 2008 at the age of 21.
Injuries affected him, and he was loaned out for the final two of his three years at the club.
CB | Dmytro Chygrynskiy
Easily one of Barcelona’s worst signings of the 21st century.
Signed for €25 million in the summer of 2009, Chygrynskiy lasted just one season at the Camp Nou and wasn’t Barcelona quality.
CB | Yerry Mina
Another centre-back who didn’t last long at the club.
Mina arrived from Palmeiras in January 2018 and was sold to Everton six months later.
However, Barcelona did make a profit of nearly €20m on the Colombian.
LB | Thomas Vermaelen
Injuries limited Vermaelen to 53 games for Barcelona before he completed a permanent move to Japanese side Vissel Kobe in 2019.
CM | Alex Song
The first memory that comes to mind of Song in a Barcelona shirt is when he thought Carles Puyol was presenting the La Liga trophy to him instead of Eric Abidal.
The Cameroonian had talent but Barcelona supporters didn’t see enough of it.
Song spent two of his four seasons at the club out on loan at West Ham United.
CM | Andre Gomes
Another player with talent who just didn’t produce his best at Barcelona.
The Blaugrana spent €35m to bring him to Catalonia from Valencia in 2016 but he left for Everton, initially on loan, in 2018.
Marca readers voted Gomes the worst signing of the 2016/17 season in La Liga.
RW | Ricardo Quaresma
If only Barcelona could have made this work.
Quaresma has gone on to show his immense talents but he lasted just one year at the Camp Nou after arriving as a 19-year-old in 2003.
The Portuguese winger left after falling out with boss Frank Rijkaard, denying us a partnership with Messi that had the potential to be amazing.
CAM | Juan Roman Riquelme
Like Quaresma, Riquelme didn’t get along with his manager.
Louis van Gaal described the Argentinian as a “political signing” and he would spent just one season at the club before joining Villarreal in 2003, initially on loan and then on a permanent deal.
Barca missed out on a special one – Riquelme was even nominated for the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2005.
LW | Philippe Coutinho
Barcelona will still hope that they can get something out of Coutinho.
He’s currently out on loan at Bayern Munich after struggling in his first 18 months in Spain.
Barcelona splashed out a whopping €160m to sign Coutinho from Liverpool in January 2018 and they’re in real danger of being left with egg on their face.
ST | Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Ibrahimovic makes Marca’s XI despite winning the La Liga title with Barcelona in 2009/10.
The Swede’s goal return of 22 goals in 46 was also nothing to complain about, but he’s included in the side due to his strained relationship with Pep Guardiola and his teammates.
It meant Ibrahimovic was loaned to AC Milan after just one season with Barcelona, and he would never return.
Dembele’s omission from the team is surprising considering his price tag and contributions to Barcelona.
But the team is evidence that even one of the biggest clubs in the world can get it wrong.
What’s interesting, though, is the number of signings that didn’t work purely due to the player’s relationship with his manager.
Ibrahimovic, Quaresma and Riquelme were fine players, but didn’t get on with their managers for whatever reason.
That probably hurts more than a player who simply didn’t have the talent to succeed at the Camp Nou.
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