A summer that started with a failed attempt to re-sign club legend Lionel Messi should now be a bit simpler for Barcelona.
There are still financial pressures which may lead to more departures but the challenge of staying within their salary limit for the 2023/24 season won’t be quite so difficult without the Argentine.
Xavi will be hoping for a few new arrivals who can add strength in depth in key positions. That was Barça’s Achilles heel last season and while the starting XI performed consistently well in a title-winning campaign, cracks did invariably show when key men were missing and that contributed to another poor season in Europe.
While big-money signings appear unlikely, the Catalans will be looking to do some smart business this summer.
We’ll keep track of all the signings and potential deals as they develop. The confirmed transfer ins and outs at Barcelona are as follows.
- 1 Barcelona new signings: Summer 2023 arrivals
- 2 Barcelona’s transfer departures
- 2.1 Ousmane Dembele – Winger – PSG
- 2.2 Sergio Busquets – Inter Miami
- 2.3 Jordi Alba – Released
- 2.4 Antoine Griezmann – Atlético Madrid
- 2.5 Trincão – Sporting
- 2.6 Ansu Fati – Winger – Brighton
- 2.7 Clement Lenglet – Defender – Aston Villa
- 2.8 Franck Kessie – Midfielder – Al-Ahli
- 2.9 Abde Ezzalzouli – Winger – Real Betis
- 2.10 Nico Gonzalez – Midfielder – Porto
- 2.11 Samuel Umtiti – Defender – LOSC Lille
- 2.12 Sergino Dest – Defender – PSG Eindhoven
- 2.13 Eric Garcia – Defender – Girona
Barcelona new signings: Summer 2023 arrivals
Oriol Romeu – Midfielder – Girona
Barcelona has had a relatively quiet transfer window concerning new signings. In fact, they haven’t really put in a successful bid for any high-profile player, despite being linked with several big moves like the Joao Felix Barcelona transfer. However, Oriol Romeu is one such transfer that has proved to be a success for Barcelona. Romeu has been signed from Girona for a sum of just €3.4 million, which is a modest fee when compared with the Barcelona departures – as shown below.
Then again, this is all part of Barcelona’s rebuilding process, although with Romeu being 31 years of age, he’s not likely to play a long-term role at the club. Instead, he will no doubt play more of a supporting role, and he will likely be utilized as a sporadic first-team player should some of the top guys need a rest. Yet when you dig a little deeper into this deal, recent reports suggest that Barcelona has set a €400 million buy-out clause on Romeu’s three-year contract.
So while he might not be a critical first-team player, they are clearly keen to keep him at the club for the duration of his three-year deal.
Inigo Martinez – Defender – Athletic Bilbao
If you look at the transfer balance for Barcelona this summer, it currently sits just below €95 million in income. This means that they have brought in significantly more cash than they have spent, which is why many believe that Barcelona is planning to secure one big signing before August is over. However, coming back to the confirmed Barcelona new signings, one of the more recent additions to the squad is Inigo Martinez. Barcelona managed to sign Martinez on a free transfer since he was out of contract at Athletic Bilbao, and Martinez has signed a two-year deal with the club.
Interestingly, Martinez is another signing that is in his twilight years. The Spanish player is 32 years of age, yet he does bring plenty of experience with him. In fact, he played for Athletic Bilbao for five seasons before agreeing to this deal, so he is clearly familiar with the top level of Spanish football. And given his defensive talents combined with his ability to make things happen from set pieces, Barcelona has snagged a great bargain here.
The first of the new Barcelona signings is Ilkay Gündogan, who arrives on a free transfer from Manchester City. Fresh from winning the treble, the 32-year-old still has plenty to offer, and his experience will bolster a young midfield that features the likes of Gavi, Pedri and Frenkie de Jong. Finding the best system to get all of those players into the team will be a challenge for Xavi, but on the surface, it’s an excellent piece of business for Barça, who are getting a proven big-game performer.
Joao Cancelo – Defender – Manchester City
Unneeded by Spanish manager Pep Guardiola, Joao Cancelo boosted Catalan giants Barcelona in the summer of 2023. Joao was a key part of the Citizens’ lineup during the last couple of seasons but he fell victim to the infamous Pep roulette.
After four wonderful seasons for Manchester City, Joao Cancelo fought for Bayern Munich during the 2022/23 season. He scored once and assisted on four occasions in the 18 Bundesliga games he was featured in for the Bavarians. However, the club from Munich deemed him unworthy to wear the jersey on a permanent deal.
It was Barcelona who benefited from Manchester City’s and Bayern Munich’s lack of interest in the 29-year-old Portuguese. The Catalans’ financial issues are no secret, but Joan Laporta managed to poach Cancelo on a season-long loan deal that expires on the 30th of June, 2024. There is no buyout option for Cancelo but should the 29-year-old prove to be a valuable asset, Barcelona will surely do their best to supply Citizens with a can’t-miss offer.
Joao Felix – Forward – Atletico Madrid
Another Portuguese maestro to boost coach Xavi ahead of the challenging 2023/24 season. Joao Felix’s market value at the moment is set at a whopping €50m. However, Barcelona didn’t pay a dime for his services. Laporta snatched forward Felix on a season-long loan as well.
Before signing his temporary contract, Joao Felix put pen on paper for a new Atletico Madrid deal. It seems that if Barcelona want to have Joao Felix on a permanent deal, they’ll have to dig deep to book his services after June 30, 2024.
Joao Felix spent the 2022/23 campaign playing for both Atletico Madrid and Chelsea. During his spell with the Blues from London, Joao made 16 Premier League appearances, scoring on four occasions. For Atletico Madrid, his stats were a tad more convincing, with four goals and three assists in 14 league appearances.
Seeing as Ousmane Dembele switched Barcelona for Paris, Joao Felix’s presence will surely come in handy this season.
Barcelona’s transfer departures
Ousmane Dembele – Winger – PSG
Of all the Barcelona transfer departures mentioned here, Ousmane Dembele is the biggest. The 26-year-old Frenchman was sold to PSG for the grand price of €50 million, which has contributed heavily to Barcelona’s current financial position. Furthermore, when you break down the terms of this deal, this transfer was a good move for both Barcelona and Dembele. On the one hand, Barcelona has obtained a decent transfer fee while freeing up space in the wages department to pursue a superstar. And for Dembele, he has secured a five-year contract that will give him a new challenge as he heads into his late 20s.
Therefore, it looks like a suitable move all around, and I’m sure Ousmane Dembele will relish the challenges of Ligue 1 football.
Sergio Busquets – Inter Miami
This summer marks the end of an era at Camp Nou with the last of the golden generation that starred under Pep Guardiola between 2008 and 2012 departing. Even last season, Sergio Busquets remained an important player for Barcelona in the deep midfield role. However the need to slash the wage bill has partly sparked a move that will see the 34-year-old leave on a free transfer this summer to join Messi in Miami.
Jordi Alba – Released
Unlike Busquets, Jordi Alba had one year to run on his Barcelona contract. However with the emergence of Alejandro Balde, meaning he is no longer the first-choice left-back, the club convinced high-earning Alba to also move on. He has been released from his contract after more than a decade at Camp Nou and has also been linked with a move to Inter Miami.
Antoine Griezmann – Atlético Madrid
Although the deal was agreed early in the 2022/23 season, Antoine Griezmann will also officially leave Barcelona this summer to join Atletico Madrid in a €20m deal. That still represents a huge loss in the region of €100m on the fee Barça paid for the French international in 2019 but it’s still useful money that will help the Catalan club as they seek to comply with La Liga’s financial regulations.
Trincão – Sporting
Trincão is another player to depart Barcelona this transfer window, this time on a permanent deal after two loan spells away. The most recent was in Portugal with Sporting and that’s where he’s heading this summer with a €7m fee sealing the winger’s move to Lisbon.
Ansu Fati – Winger – Brighton
Constantly plagued by injuries, Ansu Fati is no longer Barcelona’s top asset. The 20-year-old up-and-coming winger was often considered ‘the new Leo Messi’, and while he did have a tremendous 2022/23 season during which he scored seven goals and provided three assists in 36 league games for Barcelona, coach Xavi opted to send him on a season-long loan to Premier League’s Brighton. The two teams will share Ansu Fati’s wage during his spell with the Seagulls. Ansu will get a chance to prove to his manager that he still has a vital role to play for the Catalan club.
Clement Lenglet – Defender – Aston Villa
Desperate to get rid of Clement Lenglet in order to soften their financial issues, Barcelona sent Clement Lenglet on a season-long loan to Premier League’s Aston Villa. Following the footsteps of Ansu Fati, Clement Lenglet will get a chance for some first-team action under coach Unai Emery’s rule. Barcelona were hoping to sell their player due to their huge financial debts but this loan will have to do for now, as Aston Villa will have to pay most of Lenglet’s salary.
Franck Kessie – Midfielder – Al-Ahli
There’s no doubt Franck Kessie was a top player for Barcelona during the 2022/23 season. He joined the club on a free transfer from AC Milan but now, Barcelona are getting a massive €12.50m pay from Saudi Pro League’s Al-Ahli. Franck Kessie was deemed unneeded by coach Xavi, and getting such a massive sum for a player no longer featured in your plans is definitely a bargain and a half.
Abde Ezzalzouli – Winger – Real Betis
Real Betis are the latest team to exploit Barcelona’s financial misfortune. Los Verdiblancos poached Abde Ezzalzouli on a €7.50m transfer. The 21-year-old Morrocan-Spanish player will get the chance to get back on the right track, as he wasn’t getting enough minutes under coach Xavi’s guidance.
Nico Gonzalez – Midfielder – Porto
The Catalan club managed to negotiate a €8.40m pay from Portuguese giants Porto for 21-year-old Nico Gonzalez. The box-to-box midfielder was one of those players for Barcelona who simultaneously had the skills but wasn’t given a real chance to prove his worth in the starting XI.
Samuel Umtiti – Defender – LOSC Lille
After a decent first season with Barcelona, French defender Samuel Umtiti’s career went south very quickly. Injuries never stopped to bother him, and as a result, Barcelona’s managers through the last couple of years couldn’t count on Umtiti’s full set of skills. He spent the better part of the last couple of seasons either on the bench, injured, or on loan. Perhaps a free transfer to Ligue 1’s LOSC Lille was the best move for both the club and the player.
Sergino Dest – Defender – PSG Eindhoven
Right-back Sergino Dest is going wherever the wind takes him in the last couple of seasons. He is definitely not getting minutes for Barcelona as long as Xavi is in charge, so sending him on a season-long loan at PSG Eindhoven was the right call to make.
Eric Garcia – Defender – Girona
Desperately needing minutes to book his ticket for the 2024 Euro in Germany, Eric Garcia opted for a change of scenery by swapping Barcelona for Girona. Xavi was hoping to keep the Spanish defender as a backup to his stars at the back, but the former Manchester City star was having none of it. Laporta negotiated a good season-long deal with Girona, as the two teams will go 50/50 on his wage.