Reports from over the weekend suggest that the board of Barcelona is now divided over their 2020 summer transfer business, with some preferring to go after former Barcelona man, Neymar, and some preferring to go after his Paris Saint-Germain teammate, Kylian Mbappe.
Mundo Depotivo has claimed that Barcelona’s board is divided over Mbappe and Neymar, as the Mbappe faction see the 20-year-old superstar as one for the future, a better goal-scorer and also as a name that would not divide the fans of the club, even though talks during the summer transfer window revolved very much around Neymar.
Mbappe turned 20 this year, and Neymar turned 27. It is understandable where the sentiments stem from, as Mbappe is really one for the future and the present as well, but the move for Mbappe will be even more complicated seeing that Clasico rivals Real Madrid have long had their eye on the French youngster. Mbappe has also reportedly declared his intentions to join Madrid next season according to Spanish website Defensa Central, which even makes things more complicated.
The former Monaco man was an option for Barcelona in 2017, but the Barcelona board opted for Ousmane Dembele instead. Mbappe also nearly moved to the Spanish capital when he decided to leave the principality two years ago but instead ended up at PSG. The report by Defensa Central claims that Mbappe hopes to win the Champions League this season before joining Real Madrid.
In recent years, Barcelona has adopted a transfer policy similar to that which their Clasico rivals adopted in times past, splashing out the cash on players and inadvertently affecting the transfer market, as players linked to Barcelona suddenly get their transfer values increased significantly. However, most of those signings have been in the attacking department, which has posed a problem for the technical team of Barcelona.
Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, Antoine Griezmann and, possibly, Neymar or Mbappe looks to be their squad going into the 2020/2021 season. The problems that having such a line-up poses are enough to crash a team.
Firstly, there is the issue of wages – can Barcelona actually afford to have all those people in the books in the first place? Even with Barcelona’s brilliant finance team who are almost always in the news signing one deal or the other, or launching one project or another, this kind of squad is unsustainable.
Secondly, these guys are all world-class, high-profile superstars who occupy similar positions on the field. Mbappe can play on the wings, as a supporting striker, and as the main striker. Neymar can play on either wing and as a supporting striker. The current issues which Barcelona manager, Ernesto Valverde, is faced with, is getting Griezmann, Dembele, and Suarez ample playing time in the team alongside Messi (although Suarez will likely be retaining his position at the head of Barcelona’s attack). Bringing in either of Mbappe or Neymar – with Coutinho who will be returning from his season-long loan at Bayern Munich – into the team next season will be a nightmare, if not impossible, even.
Thirdly, figuring out which of these guys to offload and getting a good bid which will not make them run into huge losses when trying to finance the move for either Neymar or Mbappe would be hectic. They have no choice but to sell if any of the two PSG men are to wear Blaugrana colours next season. All of this could lead to issues with UEFA and FIFA as regards financial fair play rules.
Lastly, the obsession with the attack will do nothing but hurt the general balance of the team. Barcelona have spent a lot more buying attackers but have neglected the defence, and this has the potential to dull the sharpness of the available defenders – if they are not worn out due to too many games, they will slow down due to a lack of adequate and quality competition which will affect their game generally.
With all of those £100m+ players being the subject of discussion at transfer meetings, and the Barcelona board more than willing to squeeze out more of such amounts in the future, Barcelona are slowly but surely turning into their rival – the Galacticos, and this has the potential to hurt the team much more than we know.