Fans of the once mighty FC Barcelona have endured a frustrating time, especially since the club last won LaLiga in 2018-19. Although there was the Copa del Rey success in 2020-21 to celebrate, the following 2021-22 campaign was beset by massive financial problems, ultimately leading to iconic superstar Lionel Messi departing for Paris Saint-Germain.
Now the club appears to have pulled a few important economic levers, as club president Joan Laporta seeks to bankroll the renewed charge for silverware, aiming for nothing less than catching and surpassing eternal rivals Real Madrid. The summer transfer window has been interesting to say the least, given that Barcelona has managed to make several exceptional signings.
Buoyed by the new additions, the side coached by Xavi Hernandez are tipped as genuine title contenders ahead of the 2022-23 campaign. Real Madrid are considered to be slight favourites at some online betting sites, although the odds are even for Barcelona at numerous others, amidst predictions of a tight race.
Given the huge support for these two Spanish giants is massive throughout Asia, such tight margins merit seeking out the best football betting sites in India, for example. And there’s no need to emulate the financial juggling of Barcelona this summer, providing expert advice and reviews are followed carefully, getting an informed viewpoint on betting markets.
Laporta means business
There is no doubting that ever since losing Messi because of the club’s financial problems, club supremo Joan Laporta has been working hard to balance the books. The strict economic fair play controls in LaLiga severely hampered Barcelona last season, limiting possibilities in the transfer market, resorting mostly to free transfer arrivals. This hardly helped the cause of then head coach Ronald Koeman, who vocally and repeatedly expressed his discontent.
Results were poor and the Dutchman continued to complain, eventually leading to him being ousted at the end of October 2021. In early November Koeman was replaced by Xavi Hernandez, an absolute legend at FC Barcelona during his playing days. Thankfully, he inspired improved performances and results over time, as Barcelona pushed themselves back up the table, going on to finish second in LaLiga.
The biggest disappointments arguably came in the domestic cup competitions and Europe, with Barcelona eliminated from the Copa del Rey by Athletic Bilbao, which followed the 3-2 defeat by Real Madrid in the Supercopa de España. Further misery came in the Champions League after finishing third in their group, then bumped into the Europa League, the Catalan outfit were ousted from that competition by Turkish side Galatasaray.
Nevertheless, the 2022 winter transfer window did bring two positive signings. Laporta had found some financial space to manoeuvre, landing hugely talented Ferran Torres via Manchester City for €55 million, joined the following day by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Arsenal, who arrived on a free transfer. Both went on to excel throughout the remainder of the 2021-22 campaign, bringing some renewed hope for the future.
2022-23 summer transfer window
Much to the great satisfaction of many Barcelona fans around the world, Laporta has managed to leverage various club assets, enabling the arrival of several exciting transfers during the summer so far. The first to join at the start of July was 19-year-old Pablo Torre, an exciting attacking midfield prospect from Racing Santander. Initially registered with the Barça B side, he is tipped to get some valuable first team experience.
Just a few days later on 4th July, Barcelona announced the double swoop for two free agents. Powerful midfielder Franck Kessi joined from Serie A champions AC Milan, while towering centre-back Andreas Christensen arrived from Premier League outfit Chelsea, providing excellent additional strength to the defensive line. But the best was yet to come.
On 13th July the Blaugrana club swooped for Brazilian international Raphinha, landing the exciting winger for €58 million plus add-ons from Leeds United. Then Barça announced the signing of Robert Lewandowski, eventually signed for €45 million despite resistance from Bayern Munich, given the German club was keen to keep the Polish goal machine. Understandable, as the 33-year-old struck 344 goals during 375 appearances in all competitions.
Finally, shoring up the defence even further, the icing on the cake was undoubtedly securing the services of Joules Koundé, widely considered to be one of the best central defensive talents in the world right now. After plenty of haggling with Sevilla, the 23-year-old Frenchman cost an initial fee of €50 million. Barcelona could yet make other moves before the transfer window closes, although on paper, they already have a squad capable of challenging for top honours.