FC Barcelona

Barcelona's transfer window has been shambolic and it shows how far they've fallen

Max Parsons
Lionel Messi in tears as he says goodbye to Barcelona
Lionel Messi in tears as he says goodbye to Barcelona / PAU BARRENA/Getty Images

From struggling to register new arrivals to treating current squad members without respect, and from shifting flops for a fraction of the price originally paid to losing their greatest ever player, Barcelona's summer has been nothing but shambolic.

Inheriting what can only be described as the utter chaos of Barcelona's finances, Joan Laporta's main priority since regaining the presidency in March has been to balance the books.

And, in fairness, the club's net spend - in transfer fees - has been around a positive €80m this summer. But that's nowhere close to a solution and it's come at a price itself.

Joan Laporta
Joan Laporta has a tough job to balance the books at Barcelona / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Previously regarded as the pinnacle of footballing class, it's safe to say that dignity has well and truly been lost at Camp Nou over the course of this transfer window.

It started with the first deadwood to be shifted: Matheus Fernandes. The 23-year-old Brazilian midfielder had realised a dream upon signing for the Catalan giants in 2020 but, after just a year and a few minutes of on-field action, he was let go via email. No personal touch, no conversation, no respect.

Dumped by text. Classy.

Then came the signings of Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero - the latter of which joined with the promise of playing alongside international team mate and friend Lionel Messi. The struggle to register their new arrivals was difficult to see, and the realisation that 103% of the club's total income represented its player wage bill was shocking to hear.

It led to desperate decisions being made in regards to some of the club's most high profile assets. Antoine Griezmann is arguably the most suitable example.

Antoine Griezmann
It's been a tough two years at Barcelona for Antoine Griezmann / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

The Frenchman arrived at the club in 2019 as a superstar and a coup from a fellow La Liga title challenger for a whopping €120m. The stage was set for an heroic affiliation.

Two years later and Griezmann has secured a move back to Atletico on a season-long loan with the obligation to buy for a third of what Barça paid for him, having just spent two underwhelming - to say the least - seasons at Camp Nou. It stinks of desperation and it's testament to just how deep the water in which they find themselves is.

Until Aguero recovers from injury, the departure of Griezmann means that Ronald Koeman has a forward line of Martin Braithwaite and deadline day acquisition Luuk de Jong in partnership with Depay. It's just not Barcelona, is it?

Of course, the epicentre of the Catalan giants' catastrophic summer was the emotional goodbye to their captain, leader and icon.

Messi's departure was not a proud moment. It wasn't a bitter sweet ending to the greatest love story in football, rather he was ripped from the club's adoring arms because of its staggering mismanagement and financial turmoil.

FC Barcelona v Real Sociedad - LaLiga Santander
Lionel Messi will always be adored at Barcelona / Alex Caparros/Getty Images

La Blaugrana's inability to re-register their legendary forward following the expiration of his contract was the culmination of an embarrassing and unbelievable situation, and undoubted proof of their demise.

The club has been brought to the point where its identity and heart is being tortured and ground down.

It's hard to describe just how bad this summer has been for one of the greatest clubs in footballing history, but shambolic comes close.