‘We can’t sign myself or Ronaldinho these days’ – Deco defends Barcelona business in transfer market



Barcelona Sporting Director Deco has defended their movements in the transfer market over the past 12 months, claiming that despite the economic difficulties, Xavi Hernandez was given a competitive squad. However he did admit that it was too short for all the competitions they were in after the injuries they had suffered.

Over their last two games, Xavi has been able to pick from just 12 senior players, relying youngsters for the most part in their teens to fill in. The likes of Lamine Yamal, Pau Cubarsi and Hector Fort have featured regularly in recent years. Deco told La Vanguardia that Xavi did not like some of the sacrifices that were made.

“Without levers, more balances had to be made for fair play, but it was done well. It is true that the coach did not want to sell Dembele or for Busquets to leave, but Gundogan, Cancelo, Joao Felix at zero cost, Inigo and Oriol have come to balance the squad. Injuries have taken their toll on us. We haven’t had two whole months with the same team. That’s no excuse, but in the end that’s how it is. We have been left with a short squad with so many competitions.”

He was asked whether Barcelona had failed to bring in the best foreign players to pair with their La Masia talent, but Deco argued that their talent was comparable with anyone else’s though.

“But let’s see. If I’m not mistaken, Lewandowski was the top scorer last season. Chelsea and Arsenal wanted Raphinha and he played more minutes than Dembele, scoring goals and giving assists… I detect too much nostalgia. It’s been 20 years.”

Two decades since he joined Barcelona almost, when in his view the market was much easier to navigate for the Blaugrana. Now, he will not be able to bring in similar players to the ones Joan Laporta and Txiki Begiristain did.

“I would like to sign Ronaldinho and Eto’o today. Even Deco. But they neither exist nor are they on the market. Times have changed, football has changed. These days I couldn’t have signed for Barca.”

“I wouldn’t have spent five years waiting in Porto. Not even Samuel in Mallorca waiting for Barca. As much as I wanted to, I would get so many offers from so many clubs that Porto would charge much more and it would be much more difficult. Today a player scores goals like Eto’o for six months and all the clubs are fighting for them.”

Recently Barcelona missed out on signing talented 17-year-old Swedish midfielder Lucas Bergvall, and Deco’s explanation of the market in part refers to the depth of competition for players nowadays.

“When Barca went on the market 20 years ago they had competition from Real Madrid, Manchester United and little else. Now all the Premier League teams have the capacity to sign. And there is PSG. And there was no City, as powerful as the one today. Teams are better organised and players can choose from more clubs. But Barcelona still has power, we can seduce players and we are capable of bringing in important players.”

Nevertheless much of the press has picked holes in Barcelona’s transfer strategy as well as Xavi’s management. The signing of Felix was not top of Xavi’s wishlist, and with the departure of Ousmane Dembele, it’s been shown that while Raphinha may have good numbers, he does not threaten opposition defences in the same manner. Equally, with only Oriol Romeu to replace Sergio Busquets, this weekend Xavi played a fourth central defender in midfield to try and find an answer to the gaps left by his exit.





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