Barcelona have reportedly reached an agreement with Sao Paulo regarding the transfer of Brazilian full-back Douglas, and such a move would be the wrong kind of knee-jerk reaction to the news the club's transfer ban will be upheld for the following two windows.
SPORT's Joaquim Piera knows the deal has already been completed, with Douglas joining the Catalans for a fee of €6 million and the club waiting until after the match against Elche to announce the news:
Barcelona will announce the signing of Brazilian right-back Douglas next week, complying with Luis Enrique's wish that nothing disrupts his team's preparation for the opening weekend of La Liga.
The player is ready to come to Barcelona as soon as the move is made official: The operation between Sao Paulo and Barça is totally closed for a fee of €6million and the two clubs are now just waiting for the moment when they can officially announce the deal.
The reported price tag is low, making this signing a low-risk, high-reward move that will add depth to a squad that won't be strengthened with new signings for the foreseeable future.
As reported by Sky Sports (for Fox Sports), FIFA released a statement in which they explained what the ban will entail for the Blaugrana:
FC Barcelona is to serve a transfer ban which will see the club prevented from registering any players at both national and international level for two complete and consecutive transfer periods, starting with the next registration period (January 2015).
Barcelona has also been ordered to pay a fine of 450,000 Swiss francs (£296,000) and been given a period of 90 days from today in which to regularise the situation of all minor players concerned.
Given the transfer ban, signing depth players for a small transfer fee makes sense. Barcelona have been very active during the 2014 summer window, and, as it stands, the squad looks well-equipped to deal with FIFA's sanctions in 2015.
The Blaugrana missed the boat with Douglas, however. European fans of the game seem lukewarm at the prospect of the Brazilian joining the club, but even avid followers of Brazilian football question his fitness and ability to perform on the highest level.
Sky Sports' Paulo Freitas was quite harsh in his assessment:
Douglas is nowhere near Barcelona's level, this is probably the oddest transfer story involving Brazilians this window.— Paulo Freitas (@Cynegeticus) August 14, 2014
@migerucb Yes, I would feel depressed even if Flamengo (a much worse team than Barcelona) were linked with Douglas.— Paulo Freitas (@Cynegeticus) August 14, 2014
Spanish insider Rafael Hernandez shared his sentiments:
Di Marzio confirms Barcelona are in for Douglas. How bad is he? Not much better than André Santos.— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) August 14, 2014
Douglas isn't a bad player by any means. He plays with the same tenacity as Dani Alves, the man he will supposedly replace, and he has the physical tools to be a very effective player out on the wing.
He's not a bad player, but he's not a particularly good player, either. The 24-year-old has limited room for improvement and will likely never develop beyond being a solid backup who can contribute to the attack.
Signing a player like Douglas simply isn't Barcelona's identity. They rely on their excellent youth setup and add star players or proven veteran performers through the transfer market, ensuring the squad is always filled with talent and potential.
A year-long transfer ban shouldn't change that philosophy. Sure, adding depth is a smart idea, and as shared by Spanish insider Sergi Dominguez, Luis Enrique won't rule out even more signings:
Luis Enrique says Barcelona are still monitoring the transfer window: "We signed great players, but I don't rule out another signing."— Sergi Domínguez (@FutbolSergi) August 23, 2014
But players like Douglas simply don't add enough to the squad to justify the investments. This transfer is a step in the wrong direction for the Blaugrana, and more similar arrivals is something the club should avoid at all costs.
There is talent in the youth setup. The starting XI is more than solid, and the system has worked for Barcelona for the better part of the past decade. The ban will do limited damage in the long run, unless the Catalans allow the threat of said ban to impact the way they've always handled the transfer market.