FC Barcelona’s cursed position
Barça are once again exploring the market to sign a right-back after unsuccessfully spending over 70 million euros in seven years on Douglas, Aleix, Semedo and Dest.
There are few more obvious ways to mark a failure than to be forced to say yes to the return of a 38-year-old six and a half years after his departure because none of his replacements have performed to the best of their ability. It happened to Barça last winter with Dani Alves, who returned to help out in a position, right-back, that has been a headache for Barça since the Brazilian slammed the door in 2016, hurt that Barça were beginning to doubt him.
Since 2014, Barça have spent more than €70m on players who have not made the position theirs and have not succeeded resoundingly, with cases such as Douglas (€4m paid in the summer of 2014) and Moussa Wague, who arrived for free in a bizarre deal in 2018. Aleix Vidal was a request from Luis Enrique after the treble. Sevilla sold him to Barça for €17m. The Catalan could not play until January 2016 because of the FIFA sanction on the Blaugrana and, from the start, he showed that, despite having played games as a full-back in Emery’s Sevilla team, that was not his position. He suffered defensively, and Luis Enrique ended up playing Sergi Roberto in that position, waiting for a new signing who didn’t arrive until he left.
In 2017, and coinciding with the arrival of Valverde and the departure of Neymar, Barça signed Nelson Semedo from Benfica for €35m. A player who had also been brought up as a right winger, he had been changing his position to become a full-back. Semedo did not perform poorly but neither did he justify his price tag and ended up becoming a victim of the club’s financial situation, which needed to balance the books and ended up selling him to Wolves in the summer of 2020.
Semedo out, Dest in
Semedo’s departure left €32m in the bank, which was used to buy Sergiño Dest, a request from Ronald Koeman. Coming from Ajax, who were paid €20m, much was expected of the US international, but he has also disappointed. With somewhat limited technical ability despite his two-footedness and problems in understanding the game, Xavi has decided he is not in his plans.
Bellerín and Foyth linked with Camp Nou move
Now, for the umpteenth time, Barça are looking for a starter at right-back. The priority was Azpilicueta, a full-back who was not coming to make a career but to perform immediately, but he decided to renew his contract with Chelsea. Now, at Barça, names such as Bellerín, Foyth and Meunier are being bandied about. Anything to cover a cursed position.