Barcelona: Who are the club's biggest transfer flops?

Barcelona: Who are the club's biggest transfer flops?

No football club on the planet has attracted more attention with their summer transfer dealings than Barcelona.

Despite seemingly not having more than two pennies to rub together, La Blaugrana have managed to recruit the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen and Jules Kounde.

As a result, Barca boss Xavi Hernandez has an impressive squad at his disposal, although whether all of the club’s summer signings will be able to be registered to play in domestic competitions remains to be seen.

In modern times, Barcelona have rarely been afraid of splashing the cash. However, over the years, some highly promising signings have ended up being complete flops.

In recognition of Barca’s latest spending spree, we here at GIVEMESPORT have decided to put together a full XI of Barca signings that didn’t live up to the hype. All figures quoted have been taken as per Transfermarkt.

To be fair, a few of these lads never even got a real opportunity to prove themselves.

Ballon d’Or quiz: Can you name the missing player?

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The 2018 winner – easy peasy

GK: Richard Dutruel – Free – 2000

Having starred for Celta Vigo for a number of seasons, French shot-stopper Dutruel arrived at Camp Nou with a sizable reputation.

He failed to nail down a first-team place, though, making only 22 appearances for the club before departing in 2002.

Richard Dutruel at Barcelona
13 Sep 2000: Richard Dutruel of Barcelona in action during the UEFA Champions League match against Leeds United at the Nou Camp Stadium, in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona won the match 4-0. \ Mandatory Credit: Phil Cole /Allsport

LB: Thomas Vermaelen – £13.5m – 2014

Due to injury, it took Vermaelen nearly a year after he signed from Arsenal to make his Barcelona debut.

In total, the Belgian made just 34 La Liga appearances in his five years at the club. He joined Vissel Kobe on a free transfer in 2019.

CB: Yerry Mina – £11.16m – 2018

Barely played a game after arriving from Palmeiras. Sold to Everton less than seven months later – with Barca somehow bagging themselves a £16m profit in the process.

CB: Dmytro Chygrynskiy£22.5m – 2009

La Blaugrana obviously saw big potential in Chrgrynsky in part with £22.5m – a considerable sum in 2009 – but quickly realised it wasn’t going to work out.

The Ukrainian international returned to Shaktar Donetsk within a year, having made just 12 La Liga appearances.

Dmytro Chygrynskiy after signing for Barcelona

RB: Emerson Royal – £12.6m – 2021

A casualty of Barca’s desperate need to raise funds last summer, Royal joined the club from Real Betis on July 1 for £12.6m. Within two months, he was on the move – sold to Tottenham for a profit of close to £10m.

Royal’s Barcelona career lasted a mere three games.

DM: Alex Song – £17.1m – 2012

Song’s Barca career is probably best remembered for the awkward moment where he thought Carles Puyol was beckoning him to help lift the La Liga trophy instead of cancer survivor Eric Abidal.

On the pitch, the Cameroon international never really fit with Barcelona’s style of play and the team was often said to be worse when he was a part of it. He left for West Ham after a mere two seasons.

Alex Song at Barcelona
BARCELONA, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 02: Alex Song of FC Barcelona runs with the ball during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Valencia CF at Camp Nou on September 2, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

CM: Philippe Coutinho – £121.5m – 2018

Barca broke the bank to sign Coutinho from Liverpool – so much so that they still owed the Reds money for his transfer fee in their most recent accounts.

Based on his form at Anfield, though, it was no mystery as to why the La Liga giants were so keen to land the Brazilian.

Philippe Coutinho at Barcelona
BARCELONA, SPAIN – OCTOBER 30: Philippe Coutinho of FC Barcelona looks dejected during the LaLiga Santander match between FC Barcelona and Deportivo Alaves at Camp Nou on October 30, 2021 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Coutinho was majestic on Merseyside. In Catalonia, not so much.

Having grown frustrated with his inconsistent performances, Barcelona loaned Coutinho out to Bayern Munich in 2019, only for him to stick two goals past his parent club in the 2020 Champions League quarter-finals.

Coutinho’s Barca nightmare finally came to an end this summer after he joined Aston Villa in an £18m deal.

CM: Andre Gomes – £33.3m – 2016

Voted the worst player in La Liga during his debut campaign, Gomes didn’t even manage 50 La Liga outings for Barca before moving to Everton.

LW: Antoine Griezmann – £108m – 2019

Having made his name at Atletico Madrid playing just off of a central striker, Griezmann was immediately posted out of the wing at Barcelona and never truly adapted to it.

After making a nine-figure investment in a player, it might have been wise to play to his strengths.

Ultimately, the Frenchman has returned to Atletico on loan, where he’s looked considerably more effective.

Antoine Griezmann at Barcelona
BARCELONA, SPAIN – AUGUST 29: Antoine Griezmann of FC Barcelona looks on during the La Liga Santader match between FC Barcelona and Getafe CF at Camp Nou on August 29, 2021 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

RW: Ousmane Dembele – £112.5m – 2017

Dembele’s Barca career got off to the worst possible start when he suffered a hamstring injury on his La Liga debut which ruled him out for four months.

Truthfully, he’s never really recovered the form he showed prior to that blow.

When his contract expired at the end of last season, La Blaugrana had the opportunity to cut ties with the winger after a dismal four years.

Instead, they recently re-signed him on a bumper new deal – even though their finances are an utter mess.

Barcelona have no hope of recouping the £112.5m that they paid to Borussia Dortmund in 2017. However, any transfer fee they do receive must now be split 50/50 with Dembele under the terms of his fresh contract. Absolute madness!

Ousmane Dembele at Barcelona
BARCELONA, SPAIN – APRIL 14: Ousmane Dembele of FC Barcelona looks on during the UEFA Europa League Quarter Final Leg Two match between FC Barcelona and Eintracht Frankfurt at Camp Nou on April 14, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

ST: Martin Braithwaite – £16.2m – 2020

We reckon even Braithwaite himself was a little surprised when Barca came calling in February 2020. After all, just months earlier he had been playing for Middlesbrough in the English Championship.

The Danish frontman has scored just five La Liga goals since. With names such as Lewandowski, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ferran Torres now part of the Barcelona fold, the club are desperate to shift Braithwaite off their massive wage bill.

Unsurprisingly, the player himself is keen to receive every penny he is entitled to from his current deal, which runs until 2024.

Check out the line-up in full below.

Barcelona flops XI
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