FIFA's decision to hand Barcelona a ban on activity across the next two transfer windows will change the future of players within the Camp Nou's confines and beyond.
The Spanish club were expected to bring in plenty of fresh talent during the summer, but Barca's misuse of players under the age of 18 looks likely to stifle their chances of making a transition. FIFA's official statement confirms the details of a punishment that places La Blaugrana's immediate future in doubt.
Rob Harris of the Associated Press suggests Barca could bypass the ruling, but at the time of writing, their penalty stands:
Court of Arbitration for Sport could halt Barca's 2-window transfer ban during any appeal. Would allow them to strengthen in summer at least— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) April 2, 2014
Which players are likely to be affected by the decision? Let's take a look.
Players Potentially Affected by FIFA's Shock Ruling
Marc-Andre ter Stegen
The first and most obvious deal called into question is the transfer of Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Pilar Suarez of Goal.com recently confirmed Borussia Monchengladbach had agreed to sell the young goalkeeper at the end of the campaign, a move that may not go ahead if FIFA's decision is upheld.
Despite needing to add consistency to his game to be considered one of the world's elite, Ter Stegen is an excellent 21-year-old who is likely to rapidly improve in the coming year. Already a key member of Monchengladbach's squad, the confident starlet would have been purchased with a decade of service in mind.
Crucially, Ter Stegen is viewed as the replacement to Victor Valdes. The Spanish veteran has repeatedly confirmed his desire to leave when his contract expires in the summer, per Alex Richards of the Mirror, but he may now be convinced to remain in Catalonia.
Unless, of course, Gerardo Martino believes 38-year-old Jose Pinto is finally ready to lead. Judging by the stopper's enigmatic performances across six years at the club, this is rather unlikely. Pinto is the type of character who can dig Barcelona out of a deep hole before accidentally backing himself into said chasm with a major mistake.
Valdes may now be offered a one-year contract extension, highlighted by Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC:
Would imagine Victor Valdes [for one] might come under pressure to resign for another year at least should Barca not get ban overturned.— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) April 2, 2014
Many Barcelona fans will have whispered the name of David Luiz across the past few months. He continues to be linked with the club, per Jason Burt of The Telegraph, perhaps as a replacement for the outgoing Carles Puyol.
Matt Law of the same publication also suggests Jose Mourinho is ready to offload the Brazilian defender, whose natural passing game and inventiveness would be welcome in Spain. Chelsea may need to find another buyer if they are hoping to spend funds raised by Luiz's departure elsewhere—a necessary strategy in the age of FIFA's Financial Fair Play rules.
FCB recently tied up a deal for Alen Halilovic, as reported by Rik Sharma of the Daily Mail. The much-fancied Croatian 17-year-old, who already has two years' experience with Dinamo Zagreb, may see his move cancelled if the ban isn't rescinded.
This poses something of a problem. Should Barca miss out on Halilovic, they may struggle to land his services during the summer of 2015. Elite teams are sure to swarm on the player if they know his signature is up for grabs, an extremely worrying prospect for Tata and Co.
Aleksandar Holiga compared the impressive starlet to Lionel Messi in his article for The Guardian:
As almost anyone who has seen him play will testify, Halilovic really has that something special about him and could become one of the best players in the world in the coming years.
A "Messi-type", then? Well, if there ever was one ... Halilovic will never be that good and probably no one will be. But the Blaugrana just may have found themselves a very decent understudy for the great Argentinian.
It may turn out Barcelona haven't secured their latest prodigy after all, a devastating prospect if Halilovic goes on to become a great.
As a sidenote, Tancredi Palmeri of beINsport suggests both the transfer of Halilovic and Ter Stegen could go ahead:
It will be up to Fifa to decided if Ter Stegen and Halilovic signings can go through. Signed in advance, but will be registered only July 1— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) April 2, 2014
Other Notable Players Who May Be Affected
Barcelona were sure to be linked with a plethora of world-class players across the summer. Martino desperately needs to improve an aging squad, especially considering the progress made by Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid this season.
Mats Hummels was touted by many as the perfect candidate to shore up Barca's defence. He rejected claims of a transfer last year, as reported by Thomas Zocher of Sky Sports, but he won't face any further speculation if the La Liga club fails to battle its ban.
Manuel Pellegrini recently suggested Sergio Aguero won't be heading back to Spain, reported by Hannah Duncan of the Metro, an assertion that is looking increasingly likely with Barcelona's ban.
While Barcelona's name continues to receive a good kicking with FIFA's ruling, the extremity of their ban will decide how the club runs their business across the coming 12 months. Expect the situation to evolve quickly, unlike Martino's squad if the original decision is upheld.