Besides Bayern Munich, Barcelona arguably had the best summer transfer window in all of Europe. They had to have one, as they are just now starting a two year transfer ban. I know many will question why I say they had an excellent window when Victor Valdes has left the club, Carles Puyol has retired, the next Xavi is gone because he never played in the correct position at Barcelona, and one of their best forwards- Alexis Sanchez- has been sold.
They still do not have a world beating center back, and Luis Suarez can’t even play until October following his biting incident in the past World Cup. All of this being said, I would go so far as to say that Barcelona have improved on the players they have lost and are in position to be one of the best teams in the world again.
Valdes has been replaced by two of the top goalkeepers in the world game– Claudio Bravo and Marc Andre Ter-Stegen. Maybe only Chelsea can say they have a goalkeeping pairing that is more talented.
Futher up the pitch, Puyol has been replaced by the likes of Thomas Vermaelen and Jeremy Mathieu. Admittedly, Vermaelen is injury prone, but when fit he should be an excellent replacement for Gerard Pique. Plus, his passing ability fits the Barca way. Mathieu, at 30 years old, could end being one of the signings of the season. He is extremely versatile, experienced, and not as error prone as the likes of Pique.
Not only did Barcelona sign center backs to strengthen their defense, they signed a right back as well. Douglas Pereira, the 24 year old former Sao Paulo player, is seen as the long term replacement to Dani Alves. These three defensive signings are not too shabby for a team that too often last season had to rely on defenders – Pique, Jordi Alba, and Alves- who were much more adept at attacking then defending.
A position where they were already outstanding, yet still managed to improve during the window, is in the offensive front. Ivan Rakitic is now being seen as the next Xavi, and was one of the best players in La Liga last year. The Croatian took Lionel Messi’s place in La Liga’s best XI and has already shown in two games that he can make killer passes, but maybe more importantly he can track back as well; with him, Barca won’t have to worry about being top heavy. And I don’t need to tell you that Barcelona signed Suarez and that the trio of Neymar, Suarez, and Messi is probably the best in the world.
In all, Barcelona have signed two goalkeepers, two center backs, one right back, and two world class attacking players. Many expected Barca to buy more players during the summer, but with La Masia products ready to step into the first team every season, all the Blaugrana really needed to do was make sure they had enough proven players in key positions. They have done just that, and on all areas of the pitch Barcelona are better off than where they were last season.