Grading Barcelona's Transfer-Window Signings
The summer transfer window has officially come to a close and that means all eyes are on the campaign for Barcelona. With the Catalans now unable to purchase anyone else until 2016, this summer was vitally important.
Though the new faces at the Camp Nou will all play a role in the squad this season, they will be just as important moving forward.
In this article we will recap Barcelona’s transfer-window signings and grade each new arrival. Also, note that players who were purchased for the first team will be the only ones in this list, meaning those returning from loan like Rafinha will not be included.
As always, feel free to get involved in the discussion in the comment section below and tell us how you would grade the new faces at Barcelona!
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen
Marc-Andre ter Stegen was a badly kept secret for a quite a while. The former Borussia Monchengladbach had already made a name for himself in Germany despite his young age and it was only a matter of time before he made the jump to a much bigger club.
Needing to replace star keeper Victor Valdes, Barcelona was looking for someone young who was also a similar player. The 22-year-old German fit the bill nicely due to his passing ability and comfort with the ball at his feet.
At this point it is uncertain if Ter Stegen will be able to earn a start in the regular starting lineup, but he will certainly get plenty of playing time. While he may not be the unrivaled starter right now, he is the future of the Barcelona goal.
Due to his young age and incredible potential, Ter Stegen is a solid signing for La Blaugrana. Yet, it is still yet to be seen how he will pan out at a giant club like Barcelona.
Victor Valdes wasn’t the only keeper to leave Barcelona this summer with Argentine Jose Pinto also saying his goodbyes to the Camp Nou. It was clear that Barcelona needed competition for Ter Stegen, and they immediately looked to Real Sociedad’s Claudio Bravo.
Bravo is more than familiar with La Liga and is a proven leader. At 31, he was a wise purchase for the Catalans who needed to bring in a keeper that could start right away, as well as mentor for the likes of Ter Stegen.
After a great showing at the World Cup, it was clear that Bravo was underrated for the talent and leadership he possesses. Making the move to Barcelona was a natural step for a proven talent and he is sure to be handed all the chances necessary to fight for a starting role in the club.
Unlike Ter Stegen, Bravo’s impact at Barcelona will mainly be felt on the present. He will likely not be at the club in the long term, but what he does bring now is important for the Catalan squad.
Following a Europa League-winning campaign with Sevilla, many top clubs had their eyes on Ivan Rakitic. The Croatian midfielder had proven that he was the real deal and Barcelona wasted no time in pulling the trigger.
After watching Thiago and Cesc Fabregas leave the Camp Nou, Barcelona needed to bring in someone who could eventually replace Xavi. That player needed to be an expert passer and someone who could orchestrate play easily—which just so happens to be what Rakitic excels at doing.
Unlike Xavi, Rakitic is also known for being able to provide defensive coverage. He has a large frame and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty which could add another dimension to the Blaugrana midfield.
Based on pure talent, Rakitic was an excellent purchase for any club. His strengths will help him find success at Barcelona for sure, but replacing Xavi may be asking a bit too much of the 26-year-old.
For the last few years fans have not been happy with Barcelona’s refusal to address the glaring need for defensive help. Finally, the Catalans brought in a new center-back in Valencia’s Jeremy Mathieu and it was a wise purchase to say the least.
Mathieu has made his career on being a fast defender who is able to make insane tackles. At the same time, he possesses the ability to pass the ball better than most center-backs and is always willing to muscle an attack away.
His passing ability fits Barcelona’s system perfectly, while his speed was something the back line desperately needed for some time now. He may already be 30 years old, but Mathieu brings everything Barcelona needed in a new center-back.
Whether or not you support Luis Suarez due to his issues and drama, no one can deny that he is one of the best players on the planet. Barcelona were willing to forgive him for his antics at the World Cup and are poised to put together the most deadly trident in all of football when they team him up with Lionel Messi and Neymar.
Suarez is a proven world-class striker who can do it all. He’s capable of scoring goals in every way imaginable and is also able to provide plenty of assists for teammates. His talent alone makes him a brilliant signing, and the thought of him playing beside Messi and Neymar already brings joy to Blaugrana fans the world over.
While it is true that his ban and the drama are not favorable, what Barcelona will be getting in Suarez is unquestionable. He will thrive in the Blaugrana shirt and will only make the Catalans a much better team.
Barcelona could not afford to bring in only one center-back this summer, making Thomas Vermaelen their second defensive addition this summer. The former Arsenal man made the switch to the Camp Nou and is expected to soon become a regular face in the squad.
Vermaelen has the passing ability to succeed in the Barcelona system and is already an experienced defender. In addition, he brings aerial coverage, which is something the Catalans have lacked in recent seasons.
However, Vermaelen's last season at Arsenal was in and out of the lineup, with injuries playing a part in that as well. While he is an experienced player with a lot of talent, no one is expecting him to cement a place in the weekly lineup.
Most likely the 28-year-old will provide depth for the back line and play as part of a center-back rotation. Barcelona needed more defenders and Vermaelen is talented, but without being able to make any purchases until 2016, fans would have liked to seen the club bring in someone who would immediately challenge for a starting role and significantly upgrade the team.
Until Barcelona brought in Sao Paulo right-back Douglas, most fans had probably never even heard of the 24-year-old. Though he was arguably the best player at the Brazilian club last season, the move still seems questionable at best.
Douglas is a defender first who excels at being able to take the ball off an opponent. He is also competent going forward and can create chances when streaking down the wing.
However, Douglas is no world-class right-back. At 24, the Brazilian is likely finished developing as a player, which means the Catalans already know exactly what they have gotten with this move.
Still, bringing in Douglas raises concerns.
It is obvious that Dani Alves will not be around much longer and Martin Montoya has yet to prove that he is the heir apparent, but Douglas is also not expected to compete for the spot anytime soon.
Based on his form in Brazil, it is totally possible that Douglas surprises everyone and becomes Barcelona’s next great right-back, but that is very unlikely. Again, Barcelona are unable to bring in anyone else until 2016, and signing Douglas just isn’t how you would expect the club to close out their summer transfer window.
What do you make of Barcelona's signings this summer? Will the Catalans be alright until 2016? Leave your thoughts and comments below!