FC Barcelona's 2011/12 transfer window has come to an end, with four players brought in for first team duties and seven who left the club. The only big news for the Catalans on the day was Aliaksandr Hleb leaving to join Wolfsburg on loan.
However, the transfer window's highlights were the acquisitions of Cesc Fábregas and Alexis Sánchez by the Blaugrana. But are they enough to make a run for back-to-back Champions League wins? It appears so.
Before the transfer window started, Barça seemed to need reinforcements in the midfield and in the forward line, but in the end, they got two players for positions that seemingly weren't as important.
The Alexis and Cesc transfer sagas bored us all to death, but are they the players Barça ultimately needed to make another run for it in Europe?
Why were the players that left considered unnecessary?
These questions and more will be answered in this Barcelona transfer window review.
Cesc Fábregas (Arsenal): €29 million + add-ons
Alexis Sánchez (Udinese): €26 million + add-ons
Thiago Alcántara (FC Barcelona B): Promoted
Andreu Fontás (FC Barcelona B): Promoted
Tranfers In Total: € 55 million
Those are the players Barcelona bought for the 2011/12 season, and they will be analysed in full and graded in the following slides.
Kiko Femenía (Hercules CF) - €2 million to join Barcelona B
Rodri (Sevilla CF) - €1.5 million to join Barcelona B
Kiko and Rodri joined Barcelona B, and while they could make an impact in the first team eventually, that's not very likely to happen at the moment.
They both seem like good signings, though.
Cesc picking up a trophy.
Weird, isn't it?
Truth is, he's won three trophies (two official ones, if you want to nitpick) in under two weeks at Barcelona while winning only two at Arsenal.
But more than that, the "feeling" is that he's a fantastic signature.
And more so at the price Barca paid for him.
Paying just €29 million plus add-ons for one of the best midfielders in football and for a player that can really take Pep Guardiola's Barcelona to the next level is just unfair.
I absolutely love this signing, and he has become a fan favorite quickly, too.
The fact the Thiago Alcántara buzz has been quiet since he arrived is proof enough.
I have absolutely no doubt he'll be very successful in his second spell at Barca.
Transfer Grade: A+
I'm going to be honest: I wanted Giuseppe Rossi to be the signing here.
However, that was because I wanted a goal-scorer.
Now I see the true genius in this move: Giuseppe Rossi is very similar to what Pep already has in Pedro and Villa, so he would be the third in that mould already.
Alexis is more of a dribbler, and with a great work-rate while defending and pressing to boot. he'll be Barcelona's Di María, albeit one that dives MUCH less (I hope).
A truly great signing, but next to Fábregas, it's hard to truly appreciate it, I guess. He'll be fundamental depth-wise if Barca is to make a run to win another Champions League this year.
I do expect him to improve his goal-scoring rate, though.
Transfer Grade: B+
Has all the talent in the world, and it's been widely discussed if he should be holding Cesc's role as the first sub in the midfield this year.
As I've said before, if we could get Fábregas for a good price, that would be the best for the club.
Well, it happened. And now Thiago has time to learn the ropes in order to fill-in in a year or two when he's matured the mental aspects of the game like Xavi and Iniesta did before him.
Promotion Grade: A
While I love Thiago in the first team, Fontás in downright awful.
Remember how we dreaded Milito last season? Well, he we have a successor for him in that role already.
It's comforting to know Marc Bartrá and Sergi Gómez are waiting in the wings, because Andreu is just not good enough for Barcelona
Promotion Grade: D-
Bojan (AS Roma): €12 million (enforced €13 million buy back in 2013)
Oriol Romeu (Chelsea): €5 million
Jeffrén (Sporting Lisboa): €3.75 million
Martín Cáceres (Sevilla CF): €3 million
Gabriel Milito (Independiente): Free
Nolito (Benfica): Free
Tranfers Out Total: €23.75 million
These six players are the players that left Barcelona this summer. They will be analysed in the next couple of slides just like the signings.
Henrique (Palmeiras): Loan
Keirrison (Cruzeiro): Loan
Aliaksandr Hleb (Wolfsburg): Loan
And then there's these three lads. Two of them part of the infamous Laporta and Traffic negotiations" while the other... well... it's Aliaksandr Hleb: bust to defeat all busts and wanted by absolutely none.
They'll all be back a year from now, so I can't grade their exits (yet).
He got his chance. And he failed.
At first glance, one could think it's fantastic to get rid of him for €12 million with a buy back clause, but under closer inspection, it's actually a two-year loan deal with the mandatory buy for €13 million.
And on top of that, on the off chance he actually gets better, Roma have can buy him for €28 million.
Anyone out there thinking that's the most complicated transfer ever? Yeah, me too.
In short, I'm glad he's not here anymore, but It will suck to see him back in two years time.
Transfer Grade: C
Much like Bojan, he got his chances.
At least when he wasn't injured, that is.
He's talented for sure, but with legs made out of Swarovski Crystal, he was going nowhere fast.
€3.75 million for him is OK money for Jeffren, and like Romeu, he also has a buy-back clause to his name.
Transfer Grade: A-
At one point last year, he was seen as the substitute holding midfielder next to Busquets.
Then Mascherano arrived.
This season, Thiago gets promoted and Cesc arrives.
I think it's fair to say it got a little bit too crowded, and with Chelsea's offer, it's understandable he was let go.
Barcelona got a good deal getting €5 million from the Blues, with a buy-back clause included in there as well.
Transfer Grade: B+
Getting €3 million is low for Cáceres.
But in times where you can't sell some failed signings like Henrique, Keirrison and Hleb, I'll take what i'll get.
Transfer Grade: B-
He was awful and reeked of Ex-Footballer smell.
Thank you, but no thank you, Milito.
I'm ecstatic he's gone.
Transfer Grade: A+
I always felt he was quite good. Better than Bojan and Jeffrén, obviously.
However, he was never given an outright chance to make it at Barcelona. Which is weird because of all the time Bojan and Jeffrén got to show their stuff (or what they supposedly had).
Nolito left on a Bosman for Benfica, and he's already an idol there and has scored five times in his first five games.
He's the only player I regret leaving this transfer window. Especially for free.
Transfer Grade: D
Transfers In Final Grade: A-
Cesc Fábregas (Arsenal): €29 million + add-ons (Grade: A+)
Alexis Sánchez (Udinese): €26 million + add-ons (Grade: B+)
Thiago Alcántara (FC Barcelona B): Promoted (Grade: A)
Andreu Fontás (FC Barcelona B): Promoted (Grade: D-)
Transfers Out Final Grade: B+
Bojan (AS Roma): €12 million (Grade: C)
Oriol Romeu (Chelsea): €5 million (Grade: B+)
Jeffrén (Sporting Lisboa): €3.75 million (Grade: A-)
Martín Cáceres (Sevilla CF): €3 million (Grade: B-)
Gabriel Milito (Independiente): Free (Grade: A+)
Nolito (Benfica): Free (Grade: D)
Final Grade for the 2011 FC Barcelona Transfer Window: B+
First thing's first: I'm absolutely impressed by the job Barcelona did this transfer window.
Pep Guardiola, Sandro Rosell and Andoni Zubizarreta should all be commended because they achieved something that, quite frankly, many thought would be impossible: improving the historic 2010/12 squad.
Yet, they did it. Fabregas' signing itself would be enough to do that, really, but with Alexis Barcelona's squad once again seems like the team to beat this year.
And when you take into account how well the club performed in letting players go, it just rounds-out a fantastic preseason.
It has to be said that It won't be easy at all to win the Champions League back to back.
But transfer-wise I believe the Club did a fine job to do whatever they could in order to make it happen.
On paper they're set to make a run on the repeat.
In reality, they'll need to perform where it counts and where Barcelona really likes to show their prowess: on the pitch.
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