FC Barcelona is a club that has an illustrious history. It is not just a football club which changed the landscape of the game with its style of play but it is also a major symbol of Catalonia and it’s culture. Thus, the legacy, the success and their fair share of unreal talent is the evidence for the club’s motto, which says “More than a club” (Més que un club).
Being one of the finest clubs in the world, the expectations from the players who are transferred to the Catalonian side are always towering. Not every player, irrespective of his market value has been able to handle the pressure donning the Barcelona uniform. In this piece, XploreSports takes a look at Barcelona’s 10 worst signings of all time.
10. Philippe Christanval- From Monaco
During his time with Monaco, a young, energetic and agile centre- back, Philippe Christanval played like one of the most energizing adolescents around. Barcelona preferred what they saw, and struck a £6.5m arrangement to sign him in 2001.
On his trip over, it appeared Christianval lost his consistency, and he didn’t look anything like the promising youth who Barcelona saw at Monaco. He looked unbalanced with the ball, ended up out of position frequently and just fell out of his profundity by giving the ball away in crucial positions. In two years at Barcelona, the Frenchman couldn’t concrete a customary first-team birth and he left the Catalan club to join Marseille in 2003.
In the wake of neglecting to dazzle back in France, he went on a preliminary trial at Arsenal, yet Arsene Wenger ruled against his marking and he joined Fulham eventually. Furthermore, in spite of a promising beginning, he became dim of the image at Craven Cottage as well and resigned in 2009 at only 31 when he was not able to find another club. He makes it to the list of top 10 worst signings by Barcelona.
9. Dmytro Chygrynskiy- From Shakhtar Donetsk
A bizarre transfer by Barcelona in 2009 as Dmytro Chygrynskiy spent only one season at the Catalan club, and it was a frustrating one for the Ukrainian. After laborious negotiations with Shakhtar Donetsk, Barca finished a €25m bargain for the centre back in the late spring of 2009.
Acquired for his aerial ability and ball-playing aptitudes, Chygrynskiy never matched the standards to play for Pep Guardiola‘s side, and the club chose to cut ties with him after he made only 14 appearances in the first team and the Ukrainian makes it to the list of Barcelona’s worst signings of all time.
8. Douglas Pereira – From Sao Paulo
In the summer of 2014, along with signings like Luis Suarez, Claudio Bravo, and Ivan Rakitic, Barcelona signed Douglas in a €4m move from Sao Paulo which also included around €1.5m in add-ons. The Brazilian right-back showed up in two seasons and was broadly disparaged after an awful debut against Malaga in La Liga. From that point forward, he was generally utilized in the Copa del Rey. Douglas played a grand total of 378 minutes across 8 matches in the league and Copa Del Rey.
Since it was clear that he was nothing but a meme, he was sent on loan in 2016/17 to Sporting Gijon. His charms won Barcelona the treble in 2014/15, but sadly he couldn’t save Gijon from relegation.
7. Arda Turan- From Atletico Madrid
Arda Turan’s €34m move from Atletico Madrid in 2015 could have barely got off to a more awful start. Barcelona were amidst a transfer boycott, so Turan was not permitted to play for the club until January 2016. He was signed as a replacement for Andres Iniesta but he instead turned out to be a disappointment.
Officially he is still a Barcelona player but is out on a long-term loan with Istanbul Basaksehir. In 2018, Turan made it in the headlines after he received a 16 match ban for shoving an assistant referee. Recently, he also received a suspended jail sentence of nearly three years for firing a gun in a hospital after a fight with a singer. The midfielder who is 32 now has been in the news only for controversies and we will not be surprised to see Arda Turan ending his footballing career in decline.
6. Andre Gomez- From Valencia
Subsequent to acknowledging Turan was not the man to replace Iniesta, Barcelona signed Valencia playmaker Andre Gomes, spending out around €35m to carry him to Camp Nou in 2016. Once more, the move failed big time and the Portugal international was voted as the worst signing of the season. Although with all due respect, he didn’t get an excess of time to substantiate himself, and he was even utilized as a right-back often but, couldn’t make a lasting impact.
He oversaw two seasons at Barcelona, before joining Everton on loan in the mid-year of 2018. He now looks like a totally changed player at Goodison Park and was as recently remunerated with a permanent contract.
5. Alexander Hleb- From Arsenal
Alexander Hleb sealed a €17m move to Barcelona in 2008. With a €90m buyout clause in his contract, Barcelona expected big things of Hleb. The winger simply couldn’t find his place in the first team and was bitterly disappointing on the rare occasions that he played. He was part of their treble-winning season but played a very meagre role and that is when things fell apart.
The Belarus midfielder had impressed in his three seasons at Arsenal, but his 36 appearances for Barca were quickly forgotten and he failed to score in his time at Camp Nou. He was loaned out to Stuttgart, Birmingham and Wolfsberg but his consistently poor performance made the club cancel his contract in 2012 and he makes it to the list of Barcelona’s worst signings of all time.
4. Alex Song- From Arsenal
What is it about Arsenal players that just doesn’t work for Barcelona? Another unlucky player was Alex Song. He was one of the best players in Arsenal at the beginning of the decade, enchanting everybody with his performances, especially Barcelona. Teams were back and forth about Song’s future, but Barcelona eventually could get the polyvalent Cameroonian.
Unfortunately, Song was never able to adapt to Barcelona and his frequent injuries were a constant concern for the team until two seasons after his arrival, he was loaned to West Ham United.
He was very close to being cut by the Hammers due to his muscular issues and after failing to recover his level in London, he rescinded his contract with Barcelona and went to play for Rubin Kazan, where things didn’t get any better for him. Right now he plays for Swiss side FC Sion. Undoubtedly he was one of Barcelona’s worst signings of all time.
3. Kerrison– From Palmeiras
Keirrison resembled as a promising player when Barcelona carried him to Catalonia, following a couple of great seasons in Desportivo Brasil and Palmeira and was being viewed as perhaps the best Brazilian prospects at the time. That is the point at which the Spanish monsters turned their eyes to him and chose to get him for €14 million.
He landed in Spain as a player to have in consideration after his good performances in his country, but none of that happened. Less than a week after Keirrison signed with Barcelona, he was loaned to Benfica, then six months later he was loaned to Fiorentina. When he was in Italy the club prematurely ended his contract, leaving the youngster without a place to go or play.
As far back as that his profession went downhill, as he played in more awful and more regrettable groups since he left Barcelona – without playing a solitary game there. At this moment he plays for Brazilian Serie B side Londrina.
2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic- From Inter Milan
Zlatan has enjoyed stellar success wherever he has travelled in his career, with one glaring exception – FC Barcelona. In 2009, Barcelona gave up everything to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic. They paid Inter Milan £40m, on top of giving them Samuel Eto’o to bring the Swedish international to Camp Nou.
There were many reasons why Zlatan failed for Barcelona. It is fair to say that relations between Zlatan and Lionel Messi were far from warm. The tipping point came when Messi allegedly demanded a change of tactics from Pep Guardiola which saw Ibrahimovic regularly dropped from the team. Zlatan also had an ego collision with Pep Guardiola which turned the atmosphere even bitter. He was ultimately sent out on loan to AC Milan just spending one year with the Catalan club. Summarizing all the above points, Zlatan also makes it on the list of Barcelona’s worst signings of all time.
1. Philippe Coutinho- From Liverpool
Liverpool sold the Brazilian playmaker for a reported €120 million fee, which could increase to €160 million with bonuses to Barcelona who chased him for 6 months. Barça failed to figure out what Coutinho was. Coutinho didn’t know what he was supposed to do and it ended in a million euro disaster.
He only managed 21 goals in 76 appearances and his relatively poor performance regularly attracted the criticism of fans who felt he was only getting into the team because of his high price tag. In the 2019/20 summer transfer, Coutinho was the subject of the transfer market and Barcelona offloaded Coutinho to Bayern Munich on a 1-year loan with a view to a permanent move. With such a hefty price tag and relatively low performance, Coutinho ranks top in the list of Barcelona’s worst signings of all time.