With Barca now, the future has become a luxury concept, so they focus on the short-term. Ilkay Gündogan is the beginning of that.
In a week, Real Madrid and Barca created a big contrast in the transfer market. “Los Blancos” spent more than 100 million euros to recruit Jude Bellingham, a 19-year-old midfielder. Barca successfully persuaded Gündogan – who is almost 33 years old – to join the club on a free transfer. A team with riches is using money to build the future, and the opponent is only aiming for short-term value.
The competition in the transfer market between Real Madrid and Barca really reversed. It’s no longer a hand-to-hand battle of the rich and rich teams, where any party can trigger a blockbuster contract that shakes world football. The era of euros thrown at the same time by two clubs at the player shopping market is over.
Barca’s signature quality
Recently, coach Xavi Hernandez told SPORT that Barca needed to strengthen in midfield. A quality upgrade on the offensive front. The Camp Nou team owns a great goalscorer, Robert Lewandowski, but lacks a decisive pass for the Polish spearhead.
Xavi also added that Barca need more quality pieces than currently. A world-class contract. “The replacement for Sergio Busquets has to score 9 or 10,” said the Spaniard. At the end of the day, Barca welcomed Gundogan to join the team. A quality central midfielder. The owner of the treble in the 2022/23 season (Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League). More importantly, the representative of Catalonia did not spend any money on this deal.
Xavi could hardly be more satisfied with reality , even though he wanted more. Spanish media reported that Real Sociedad’s Martín Zubimendi has long been targeted by Barca. However, Barca did not have the money to recruit this player. Guido Rodriguez with Real Betis is also a candidate approved by Xavi. After all, this midfielder continues to become the only “dream” contract that the Camp Nou team can reach. The problem lies in Barca’s tight budget that makes them unable to reach the goal.
Joshua Kimmich is also the perfect piece for Xavi to build a high-class midfield. However, where does Barca get the money to sit at the negotiating table with Bayern Munich?
In 2021, SPORT analyzes that Barca is having to “eat rice and fish” when entering the transfer period. They now have to get used to breadcrumbs, instead of delicious treats. What the representative of Catalonia experienced reminds fans of the story between a woman selling bread with “no longer fresh” food and the poor. That is when the item is no longer suitable, even with breadcrumbs left, it is still difficult for buyers to refuse.
Gundogan comes to Barca with a great resume. In theory, the presence of the German midfielder helps the club to leap in quality. The middle line of the Camp Nou home team appeared a big name. The person who asserts his class at Man City, the strongest club in the world at the moment.
The Spanish media has analyzed a lot about Gundogan ‘s role in Barca, predicting that this player can side with Pedri and Frenkie de Jong, thereby helping Barca to be more creative in the game. Lewandowski is probably the happiest when he reunites with his former teammates. Recently, when the Polish team faced Germany in a series of friendly matches, journalist Tomasz Włodarczyk revealed that Lewandowski was trying to persuade Gundogan to join Barca. During 2011-2014, these two players were teammates at Borussia Dortmund. Lewandowski knows well how good Gundogan is and how much value this player brings.
Gundogan is almost 33 years old, his legs are also ruined because of the pain in the knee joint, his biggest problem. However, for many seasons, the German midfielder still won the trust of Pep Guardiola at Man City. Etihad Stadium has welcomed many visitors and said goodbye for more than half a decade, only Gundogan’s position is impregnable. Proof of how important the former Borussia Dortmund star is to “The Citizens”.
With Gundogan in the squad, Barca have more than one central midfielder. The German player is very comprehensive, playing in many different roles throughout his career. At Dortmund, Gundogan tends to kick like an organizer thanks to his great technique. Going to Man City, this midfielder is allowed to rise higher, playing the role of a “box-to-box” player, the second attacking card after the striker.
Xavi prefers the classic 4-3-3, so he can have Gundogan play alongside Pedri, turning them into two creative cards. The receivers are tasked with providing the final pass to Lewandowski. If Barca plays with a system of 4 midfielders, Gundogan can drift to the left or move into the center next to De Jong.
Barca can hardly ask for anything more in Gundogan
There is a lot of joy and optimism surrounding Barca after they successfully signed Gundogan. A consolation for the cules in the context of the club’s failure to recruit Lionel Messi this summer.
Amidst the gloomy financial cloud has not been dispelled, Barca suddenly got the signature of the world-class midfielder. That is really a commendable effort of the leadership team at Camp Nou. From an objective perspective, “Blaugranes” still wants to upgrade the quality of the squad, to bring the club back to the right position of one of the most powerful football names in the world.
In the past, Barca used to easily trigger blockbuster missions. The closest are Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann. But then the club was beset by financial troubles, which prevented them from registering players. La Liga president Javier Tebas made it clear that Barca needed to reduce their salary by 200 million euros before thinking about “legalizing” the ability to play for rookies.
Recently, Spanish media reported that Gundogan could completely leave the club if the team failed to register him in the new season. The problem lies in the Financial Fair Play Law, which causes pain for Barca.
Back to the Gundogan mission, fans believe that this is a quality signature for Barca. However, there is a long way from theory to practice. The best of the German midfielder has been left at Man City. Gundogan still needs time to adjust to the new environment and no one knows exactly whether he will be a successful or a failed signing.
If Gundogan disappoints at Barca, this is probably very normal. He arrived at Camp Nou at the age of 32, full of titles and simply left Man City because he wanted to “find a new challenge”. On social networks, fans think that Barca should have recruited the German midfielder earlier, when he was still at the best age of his career.
Xavi wants that. So is the Barca board. However, the Catalan club is different now, they don’t have much money to comfortably buy players. Even Martín Zubimendi or Guido Rodríguez, the club still has many difficulties in accessing, let alone Gundogan. Therefore, the German midfielder is really becoming the biggest bargain with Barca. Because he did not cost the team any transfer fees.