Supposibly, this summer’s transfer window was about to to be Josep Maria Bartomeu’s shopping spree. It was his last chance to make significant executive decisions in the transfer department. And to make the headlines before his seemingly never-ending term as the Barça President came to an end. However, all the speculation over marquee signings like Lautaro Martínez was instantly dismantled due to the COVID pandemic. With a non-existent transfer budget and an overwhelming wage bill, the focus went to players like Memphis Depay and Eric García.
The signing of the 19-year-old was essential, especially due to the calamities in the defensive division of the squad. While the desired acquisition of Depay was a luxurious one, as he was wanted by the new manager Ronald Koeman. Although, in the end, none of them ended up coming and in this article, I’ll explain why.
The Case of Eric García
It is no surprise that both Eric García and Barcelona wanted to have a permanent reunion this summer. The La Masia product hadn’t got the game time he desired at Manchester City and the Catalan club desperately needed a centre back at their disposal. Even though the deal made complete sense and was deemed to be crucial, it didn’t happen. As Manchester City’s high demands caused Eric failure to return to Barcelona. Even if the Spaniard’s contract expires next summer and Barça can sign him for free, City was adamant in not giving up their player to a direct competitor.
Due to the financial crisis and City’s arrogance, the move was hard to execute – even though it theoretically wasn’t. All Barcelona had to do was pay €10m upfront + €10m in easily achievable variables. But unfortunately, they fell short by €2m. Their last-minute bid of €10m fixed + €5m easy and €3m complicated variables, respectively, was not enough. As this leaves the Blaugrana with only 4 centre backs: a reliable Lenglet, an ageing Piqué, a young Araújo, and an injury-prone Umtiti.
Here’s a look at Barça’s rumoured rejected offers for Eric García during this transfer window:
- €8m + €2m in variables
- €8m + €2m in variables + Rafinha.
- €5m + €10m in variables.
- €10m + €5m easy and €3m complicated variables.
The Case of Memphis Depay
Like the situation with Eric García, the contract of Memphis Depay expires in the summer of 2021 – allowing Barcelona to get him for free next year. With this into consideration, along with Lyon’s excellent relationship with Barça, there was never an issue about finding an agreement with the player and the club. However, the main stumbling block for the Catalan giants was La Liga’s salary limit.
According to reliable sources and Depay himself, Barcelona and Lyon had reached an agreement on deadline day. The deal was for around €8m + add-ons, but it didn’t materialise because of La Liga’s salary cap. This is why Barça wanted to offload Ousmane Dembélé to either Manchester United or Juventus. So they could free up their wage bill and bring in the Dutchman as soon as possible. Culers witnessed and experienced the pressure placed on Dembélé by the club and the media, as even Koeman himself came out in an interview urging the board to sign Depay. But, in the end, Koeman’s wish didn’t come true.