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Barcelona's £1BILLION black hole: The 32 bad transfer buys since 2014

Barcelona's £1BILLION black hole: The 32 bad transfer buys since 2014

Barcelona may well look back upon the halcyon days of 2014 and wish they could take back the six years of transfers they have since gone on to waste.

That year saw the superb signings of Luis Suarez, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and Ivan Rakitic, with all three still part of the first team six years on.

While Suarez was a pricey £75million acquisition from Liverpool, Rakitic cost just £16m from Sevilla and Ter Stegen was even less at just shy of £11m from Monchengladbach.

Since then, the club have gone on to spend 10 times that collective amount to buy a whole host of players who have done very little for the club and their unwavering desire to win trophies.

In the 32 permanent deals that have come since - including the four players arriving this summer - Barcelona have spent nearly a billion pounds - £996.5m to be precise - but now have a worse team than the one that Suarez arrived into in

July 2014.

Big names have left, the likes of Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Dani Alves, Neymar and Javier Mascherano, serial winners that cannot simply be replaced.

The likes of Antoine Griezmann, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele are among the mega-money arrivals through the door in Catalonia, but current boss Quique Setien finds himself in a difficult position with a squad that is arguably worse than that of their rivals Real Madrid. They trail Real Madrid by a point having played  one more game than their rivals and have just five matches left.

Above Setien, club president Josep Maria Bartomeu must take considerable blame for the incredible events that have seen the club haemorrhage money over the last six years.

In each of the seasons that have been played since Suarez's arrival, the club have spent more than they've brought in in transfer fees, despite the huge exits of the likes of Neymar, Arthur and Alexis Sanchez.

Here, Sportsmail takes a look at each season, to see just how the biggest club in the world have got it so wrong in the transfer market...


As previously mentioned, there were three great deals for Barca in the summer of 2014, with Suarez, Rakitic and Ter Stegen through the door.

Even in the three purchases in the weeks that followed though, there were some dodgy decisions being made as they shelled out £18m for Jeremy Mathieu and £17.1m on Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen.

Carles Puyol's retirement was a blow, while Victor Valdes was released, and Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas were two high-profile exits to the Premier League.


It was a quieter season in terms of transfers, but even with just two through the door Barcelona managed to spend £46m and lose one of their best ever players for nothing.

Xavi departed to finish his career with Al Sadd, while Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal arrived. Turan is a free agent this summer after being frozen out of both Barca and his loan club Istanbul Basaksehir, while Vidal played just 30 times in LaLiga across three seasons before being shipped back to Sevilla.


Again, there was a big-name departure as Dani Alves left for Juventus on a free transfer. Another serial winner out the door, with Andre Gomes the biggest arrival of the summer.

The now Everton man arrived from Valencia alongside Paco Alcacer and there were high hopes placed upon their shoulders, but neither could reach the heights expected of them.

Samuel Umtiti was one positive arrival, his £22.5m fee looking like a snip four years on, but overall it was another disappointing year. £112m was spent with just £30m recouped, and the team did not improve.


Potentially the biggest summer in Barcelona's history came in 2017 when Neymar left and Philippe Coutinho arrived from Liverpool. Incredibly, despite earning nearly £200m from the Neymar deal, Barca still managed to spend £142.3m more than they brought in.

Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele - the two £100m-plus signings that year - are both still on the books but have flopped massively, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see them both elsewhere come the start of the 2020-21 campaign.

In the outgoing category were both Neymar and Javier Mascherano, two more big names with a whole host of trophies under their belts at the Nou Camp. A huge amount of money spent, but still the club went backwards.


In 2018, Barcelona gambled massively on Bordeaux wonderkid Malcom, splashing out £37m to bring him to Spain. Clement Lenglet, Arthur and Arturo Vidal also came through the door as the club spent £113.3m on their four new arrivals.

In fairness, both Lenglet and Vidal still play regularly for Quique Setien's side, while they have just made a significant amount on Arthur, selling him to Juventus for £75m. Malcom, though, only lasted a year before being shipped out to Russia.

In terms of departures, Barca got rid of a fair bit of dead wood, selling Paulinho after a year, while Yerry Mina, Lucas Digne and Marlon were among the other exits.

Andres Iniesta also left, another legend out on a free, joining Vissel Kobe. He is perhaps the most missed of any player ever to leave Barcelona, along with Xavi.


And so to the current campaign. Antoine Griezmann's arrival ended one of the longest sagas in transfer window history, as he finally pulled on the red and blue of Barca two years after they first tried to sign him. Frenkie de Jong was another big name through the door.

Overall, £242.1m was spent across both transfer windows - plus the emergency signing of Martin Braithwaite from Leganes - while they made just half of that from outgoings despite nine players leaving permanently.

The jury is still out on Griezmann and De Jong, while £23.4m for back-up keeper Neto - who has made one LaLiga appearance - seems reckless to say the least.


Four players have already been signed up for next season, with nearly £100m spent before the window even opens. Pjanic comes from Juventus as part of the Arthur deal, with Barcelona buying a 30-year-old midfielder to replace the 23-year-old leaving the club.

Trincao, Matheus Fernandes and Pedri, meanwhile, may all turn out to be incredible signings for Setien - or whoever it may be in the Nou Camp hotseat by the time they arrive.

Overall, though, it's fair to say that given the club's track record, it would be little surprise to see them go the same way as plenty of others that have come before them.

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