Recapping Barcelona’s Deadline Day Moves

Fans of FC Barcelona wave flags. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Fans of FC Barcelona wave flags. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images) /

Well, how was it for you?

The busiest transfer window in Barcelona history finally closed yesterday, and did so with a flurry of activity around the Camp Nou that was very much in keeping with the manic comings and goings of the summer. Having already recapped the early part of the clubs dealings, let’s recap what has happened over these last few days.

Barcelona terminate Martin Braithwaite’s contract; This one had been coming. Having joined the Catalan giants two and a half years ago, the Dane had been deemed surplus to requirements under Xavi’s revolution. Showing a heavy reluctance to leave, things started turning ugly as fans turned on Braithwaite, booing him at every available opportunity. Apparently with strong business ties in the area, Braithwaite’s desire to hang around was allegedly not entirely football related. Yet, he did have a contract, so he was well within his rights to stay. Perhaps his signing a three year contract at cross town rivals Espanyol, allowing him to stay in the region, will prove a satisfactory conclusion for all involved.

Sergiño Dest joins AC Milan on loan; Another player who has found minutes hard to come by under Xavi, the 21 year old American right back will now look to get playing time with the Serie A champions. Milan are said to have a €20 million option to buy should they decide to keep Dest after this season. Hopefully a fresh start will revitalise him, and playing in a different country and league will certainly add to his experience and all round game.

Barcelona sign Héctor Bellerín on free transfer; Replacing Dest at right back will be a familiar face to culers everywhere. Another contract termination, this one between Bellerin and Arsenal, returned the Spaniard to the place he spent his youth career, a product of La Masia, before departing for North London in 2011. He spent last season on loan at Real Betis, so is familiar with today’s La Liga. While Betis couldn’t quite manage to stump up the cash to take him to the Villamarin permanently, Barca swooped in and settled personal terms with the player, who agreed to a significant reduction in wage to come return to Catalonia. Welcome home, Héctor!

Chelsea sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Barcelona; This is the one that hurts. Despite previous reassurances from Xavi that he would stay, Aubameyang has now been allowed to depart Camp Nou just seven months after he arrived, almost singlehandedly resurrecting Barcelona in the process. Finding the club in a previously unimaginable lowly ninth position, Auba hit 13 goals in just 23 appearances to end the season as his team’s joint top scorer, helping to rocket them back into the Champions League and restoring them to prominence after some of the clubs darkest days. What he achieved here will never be forgotten by those who witnessed it. it shouldn’t be, at least. Perhaps becoming an unwitting victim of his own success, Auba departs Catalonia with Barca owing him a huge debt of gratitude, and the love of culers everywhere. The streets will remember. Good luck in our next venture, Auba, and thank you.

Barcelona sign Marcos Alonso on free transfer; Yet another termination of contract (are they even worth the paper they’re written on?) this one concluded one of the more protracted drama’s of the summer. Alonso was rumoured to be Catalonia bound as far back as the spring, but Barca turned their attentions to securing other targets and the move never materialised. Once they opened up dialogue with Chelsea over Aubamayeng, the wheels were greased regarding Alonso, and the left back duly completed his long awaited move.

So, there it is. Barcelona now have their squad fixed in, at least until January, when the transfer window opens again. What is here now will be the team that make or break the season. Death or glory? Title charge or carnage?

Get ready, culers. The real ride is about to begin.