Barcelona arguably had the most decisive transfer window of all the top European clubs. The Catalans not only lost their talisman, Lionel Messi, due to the financial implications of La Liga, but they also had to deal with a chaotic deadline day.
With the transfer window closing in four months, Barcelona will have to make do with their current roster for at least the first half of the 2021-22 season. Barcelona experienced a number of personnel changes.
However, financial constraints quickly turned the tide, with Lionel Messi's departure signaling a wave of misfortune. The sale of Junior Firpo and the aforementioned Royal did recoup €40 million in transfer fees, but it left Camp Nou's full-back positions completely exposed.
Barcelona also said goodbye to contract rebel Ilaix Moriba and promising winger Francisco Trincao, who joined Wolves on loan for the season. However, things were taken to the next level when Atletico Madrid confirmed the loan signing of Antoine Griezmann, with an option to buy him for €40 million.
This ordeal left the Catalan giants flustered, and they responded meekly by signing Luuk de Jong on loan as the Frenchman's replacement.
After such a disappointing transfer window, Barcelona will have to shift their focus to the current season while licking their wounds. With no room for error, the Blaugrana will have to be extremely astute in selecting the first team. On that note, let's look at four players who, in an ideal world, should never play for Barcelona again.
At the time of writing, Samuel Umtiti is probably the most despised man in Catalonia.
Umtiti, who was once a highly-rated defender and a mainstay in the Barcelona first team, has seen his reputation plummet due to a string of injuries. Furthermore, whenever the French center-half has stepped onto the pitch recently, he has appeared to be highly error-prone.
However, with a plethora of mediocre defenders on their books, Barcelona's apparent incapacity at the back is not their primary concern. In fact, even if Umtiti is excluded, the Catalans are well stocked at center-back. Instead, it is his exorbitant wages that are constantly crippling the club. Umtiti's annual salary at Camp Nou is appallingly higher than his actual worth.
With a market value of €8 million and a yearly salary of close to €13 million, the Frenchman continues to burn a hole in Barcelona's pocket.
The Blaugrana have six registered first-team center-backs, which is more than enough depth but of mediocre quality.
Barcelona's defensive options are no longer considered world-class. However, given the club's financial situation, adding a seventh defender is easier said than done. As a result, a sacrifice at the back is a much-needed request from Barcelona, and Samuel Umtiti's current situation makes him an ideal candidate for the chop.
Neto was a surprise inclusion on this list for many, but he has proven to be a capable backup to Marc-Andre ter Stegen when called upon. The Brazilian shot-stopper was acquired from Valencia for a hefty €26 million fee and has since kept seven clean sheets in 19 appearances for Barcelona.
Nonetheless, it would be in the best interests of all parties involved if Neto never played for the club again.
At 32, the former Juventus goalkeeper is expected to be in his prime, which he is currently spending on Barcelona's bench. The more time he spends in the wilderness, the greater the hit to his current market value.
Neto remains a sellable asset for the club and has the caliber to bring in a decent amount of cash. Given the Catalans' current financial situation, selling a valuable asset with only 1,740 minutes to show for his two years at the club should be a no-brainer.
Furthermore, no other goalkeeper will be able to make a dent in the given spot while Neto is second fiddle to ter Stegen. Inaki Pena, a talented 22-year-old goalie, is a prime example. Despite graduating from Barcelona's prestigious academy with obvious talent, Pena has yet to prove himself at the club level.
With the young Spaniard almost ready to take over as ter Stegen's backup, Neto's immediate departure could be a blessing in disguise for both Pena and Barcelona.
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