BARCELONA

Barcelona: Setién and team form is the tip of the iceberg

The change of manager and current state of the team is the tip of the iceberg at Barcelona with erratic direction to blame for a lot of the club's recent woes.

Barcelona: Setién and team form is the tip of the iceberg
RODOLFO MOLINA DIARIO AS

On top of the current state of Barcelona's first team squad, shook after the change of manager recenty, the whole building is showing signs of fatigue. The situation that saw Quique Setien arrive as the manager of the club has its origin in a lacking of direction from the top. It is an ongoing issue and what led to Ernesto Valverde's appointment in the first place.

The problem with Barcelona is not about who is sitting on the bench at the Camp Nou. It won't change with the arrival of Setién either. The poor squad planning and recent departures of Carles Pérez, Jean Clair Todibo along with the swap deal of Alejandro Marqués for Matheus Pereira point to problems at a higher level than simply who the manager is.

Since Barça won the treble in 2015, they have spent €1 billion on 24 signings. 10 of them are currently in the squad and only three of them have played 70% of minutes this season. The rest (Umtiti, Dembélé, Semedo, Arthur, Arturo Vidal, Neto and Junior Firpo) have not been able to lock down starting places.

Those who were signed but have since left include: Arda Turan, Aleix Vidal, André Gomes, Paco Alcácer, Jasper Cillessen, Denis Suárez, Coutinho, Paulinho, Yerry Mina, Malcom, Todibo, Jeison Murillo and Kevin Prince Boateng.

Barcelona's erratic sports model

This erratic business in the transfer market can be explained by the people who have come and gone under Bartomeu's reign. First there was Andoni Zubizarreta, who was sacked after Barcelona were banned from transfer market activity. During the Rosell years, Zubizarreta answered directly to Bartomeu as the vice-president of sporting affairs.  

After they won the Champions League in 2015, there were elections called (the club signed Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal with no official president in place, a first in the club's history) and Bartomeu won. He hired Robert Fernández, who was sacked and replaced by Pep Segura, who only lasted a year. The club now have Abidal and Ramon Planes carrying out the role in tandem.

This way of running the club has led to newly-hired employess undoing the work done by those who went before them. A signing like Alcácer, for example, is sold and someone else is brought in. One renewed Marqués with an option for another renewal in the future and the next people brought in sends him to Juventus to sign another player to balance the books while signing Rey Manaj from Albacete to play in the B team.

Nobody seems to want to assume the responsibility for the Todibo signing, Wague or the departure of Aleña while the lower categories of the club aren't doing much better. They hired Victor Valdés to manage the juvenil team and sacked him when Patrick Kluivert arrived to take over the academy with no previous experience in the role.

And that's where we stand. Neither Setién or Valverde before him were able to give the building the stability it needed.