Douglas Signing Is a Gamble as Barcelona Try to Beat FIFA Ban

Rik SharmaFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2014

Douglas has mixed reviews.
Douglas has mixed reviews.Luis Benavides/Associated Press

Barcelona have signed Brazilian right-back Douglas from Sao Paulo but there are mixed reviews of the defender.

Per Marca, he cost the Catalan club €4 million with up to €1.5m in appearance related add-ons, which is not a huge amount and appears reasonably good value for money.

When compared to the €40 million lavished on Jeremy Mathieu and Thomas Vermaelen, it looks a decent deal.

But at 24 years old the defender doesn't have a lot of time left to develop into a player capable of playing at one of the biggest sides in the world.

Douglas will be competing with Dani Alves and Martin Montoya for a place in the side.

Barca have youngster Martin Montoya.
Barca have youngster Martin Montoya.David Ramos/Getty Images

His signing seems like an insurance policy against the two-window FIFA transfer ban imposed on the club.

Unless the Court of Arbitration for Sport takes Barcelona's side, the club will be prevented from signing any players until January 2016.

That means they have had to get plenty of business done this summer and that includes advanced planning.

With Dani Alves' contract set to expire at the end of this season, signing Douglas seems like a move based on security, so the club have a back-up for Montoya next season.

Dani Alves has one more year on his deal.
Dani Alves has one more year on his deal.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

There had been talk of a loan back to Sao Paulo for this season, but Sport say that is now out of the question as the Brazilian transfer market closed on August 15.

The club's primary target to replace Alves this summer was Fiorentina's Juan Guillermo Cuadrado. But according to Mundo Deportivo, h/t Football Espana, the Colombian did not want to feature in that position.

He would have been happy to play at the Camp Nou but preferred to stay as a right-winger rather than convert to a more defensive position.

Juan Cuadrado was a target.
Juan Cuadrado was a target.Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Per's Rupert Fryer, Sao Paulo fans aren't that fussed about Douglas departing. He wrote:

Not that the Sao Paulo fans care all that much. They won't be overly disappointed to see Douglas depart in a deal that could net the club as much as €5.5 million. Since arriving from Goias on a free transfer in 2012, he didn't enjoy the most harmonious relationship with the locals. At the beginning of the year, Douglas was seemingly behind 30-year-old Luis Ricardo in the pecking order.

Something of a 'patinho feio' (ugly duckling), he was often singled out for criticism in an underperforming side that has reached just two of the last five Copa Libertadores campaigns and is without a major title since romping to three straight Brasileirao championships between 2006 and 2008.

That's hardly a glowing vote of confidence from the supporters and if a player can't shine in Brazil, what hope does he have when playing for Barcelona?

Perhaps Luis Enrique and sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta see more in the defender than other people do. He certainly has the physical attributes to succeed at Barcelona, with excellent pace and stamina. 

But it wouldn't be a surprise if he wasn't utilised all that much, at least until Alves departs.