Barcelona’s transfer activity insufficient


Barcelona were defeated 2-0 on Wednesday by bitter rivals Real Madrid as they fell  5-1 on aggregate  in the Spanish Super Cup.

The four goal difference between the two sides just about sums up Real Madrid’s superiority at the moment. In terms of the run of play, Real were well above their opponents, even despite Ronaldo’s absence for most of the tie.

However, such a gap is also evident in the depth of the two sides. While Real Madrid were more than capable of a performance without Ronaldo, Isco, Modric, Bale, and Casemiro at multiple points in the tie, Barcelona had no answer to Neymar’s absence.

Gerard Deulofeu posed no threat to his opponents whatsoever. Barcelona had no attacking options on the bench over the course of the tie. The change in formation in the second leg that saw Messi partner with Suarez up top in front of a five man midfield, brought no improvement.  

Neymar’s transfer depletes plenty of quality in the attacking third, even if Messi and Suarez remain in the side, but the fact that Barcelona lacked an adequate alternative is troubling for the Catalans. If Barcelona are to keep up with not only Madrid, but European rivals, the addition of attacking players is an absolute necessity.

However, while Neymar’s exit and the search for attacking players grabs mos of the headlines, Valverde has plenty of work to do in plenty of other areas of his squad as well. Barcelona’s midfield struggled this season, but were poor throughout their last campaign as well.

In Barcelona’s 4-0 and 3-0 losses to PSG and Juventus, their midfield was powerless. While they did ultimately progress against PSG, the issue of their midfield struggle remained and troubled them once again in Turin. That time, there was no way back.

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Their three first choice midfielders are not the issue, but when inevitably, one of their midfielders are unavailable for selection, Andre Gomes has done little to assert himself as a reliable backup. The search for attacking options should not mask the concerns of the Catalans’ lack of depth in the middle of the park.

They cannot possibly hope to form a strong challenge in Europe without a boost. It’s a wonder that they have shown little interest in this regard. And no, after Paulinho’s awful spell at Tottenham and move to China, the Brazilian alone is far from enough.

Barcelona’s struggles with defense have been frequent for quite some time, but right back in particular is concerning. Dani Alves’s free transfer to Juventus a year ago brought plenty of criticism onto the Catalans after his magnificent performances in Italy and rewards for a lack of a replacement is unlikely.

Sergi Roberto has been solid as a makeshift, and despite Semedo’s signing, Barcelona have yet to fill Alves’s void with a world-class player.

Even if they are to make signings, the late arrival of reinforcements is puzzling. When improvement is so dire a concern, with Barcelona’s resources activity must be instant when the transfer window opens. Instead, rather than strengthen their squad, their only major move was to sell one of the best players in the world.

At this point, Barcelona’s status as one of Europe’s elite is under serious threat. The prospect of boosts in multiple areas of their squad is slim as the transfer window’s conclusion is imminent and potential signings will not have had preseason to gel and settle in to the team.

Next: Real Madrid forced Neymar to leave Barcelona

It could be a rough ride for Barcelona this season.