There is one player above all others that Barcelona will regret not securing during this most manic of transfer windows.
A central defender was earmarked as a priority signing, yet Barca president Sandro Rosell spectacularly failed to deliver the same, preferring to concentrate his efforts on bringing in Neymar.
We were led to believe that Tito Vilanova wanted only one player, no one else (per Tom Conn, Inside Spanish Football). Silva by name, gold standard by nature.
Paris Saint-Germain's Thiago Silva would surely have been the answer to Barcelona's prayers.
Strong, quick and agile, Silva's dominance at the heart of a Barca back line may have meant the dwindling contributions offered by the aging Carles Puyol would've been less keenly felt.
With each passing season, the ravages of time are catching up with Barcelona's standard-bearer, and putting square pegs in round holes to compensate for Puyol's increased absences is becoming a thorny issue for Barca fans everywhere.
It's blindingly obvious to all that the Catalans require a natural central defender to complement their roster of attacking talent—cue much head-scratching at the failure of the club to secure the same.
Silva's skill set is right out out of the top drawer and complementary to that of the more nomadic Gerard Pique.
Barcelona have traditionally struggled from high balls into the box, but Silva's 74 percent success rate (per squawka.com) for headed clearances would have seen a vast improvement in this area.
Despite being a few inches taller than Silva, Pique's 59 percent is poor by comparison.
The Brazilian also excels when taking on opponents—an 80 percent success comparing very favourably to others in the position.
Captain of club and country, Silva's leadership qualities are there for all to see. There has been a question mark over the concentration levels at the back for Barca. With the Brazilian in-situ, you would expect this area of concern to be a thing of the past.
Witness his performance against Barcelona in last season's Champions League if further proof were required.
At just 28 years old, Silva is in his footballing prime, and quite frankly it beggars belief that Barcelona did not go all out to secure the player in the same way that Real Madrid courted Gareth Bale.
The decision to accept that the player wasn't for sale shows a lack of ambition on Rosell's part, especially given that Silva himself had told close friends that he wanted to play for Barca, per Sergi Font Marca.com, and after the Blaugrana had agreed terms with the player:
PSG centre back Thiago Silva (28) has reached a personal five-year deal with Barcelona. No progress yet between the clubs. [sport]— barcastuff (@barcastuff) July 9, 2013
With a World Cup on the horizon, clearly the defender would want to reproduce his best work during season 2013-14 to arrive at the competition in the best form.
Potentially we may have had a future Barca captain on our hands, yet the Blaugrana preferred to keep their money in their pockets.
We will know within a few months whether that's a decision that will come back to haunt them.