The summer of 2017 marked a tumultuous period for FC Barcelona, with the record-breaking departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain for a staggering €222 million, making it the most expensive transfer in football history. In search of a worthy replacement, the Blaugrana embarked on an ambitious market campaign. Ousmane Dembélé arrived to fill the void left by the Brazilian superstar. Not long after, Coutinho arrived for a record fee as well. However, little did they know that these acquisitions would turn out to be the most expensive signings in the club’s history.
Philippe Coutinho’s tenure at Camp Nou was relatively short. It included a loan spell at Bayern Munich and eventual transfer to Aston Villa. Ousmane Dembélé’s journey, however, lasted six years.
Although his reluctance to renew, Dembélé eventually extended his contract in July 2022, committing until 2024. However, a year later, we’re marking the conclusion of his chapter at Barcelona.
Transfer Price Breakdown
At the tender age of 20, Dembélé joined FC Barcelona from Borussia Dortmund, having garnered significant interest from the Catalan side a year before his signing with the German club. The fixed transfer fee for Dembélé’s acquisition stood at a staggering €105 million, complemented by performance-related variables. Although not all the variables were fully achieved, they contributed to an increased total cost of €135 million, as reported by Transfermarkt.
During negotiations with Dortmund, it was disclosed that the variables amounted to “a maximum equivalent to 40% of the transfer amount,” reaching up to €42 million. Had all the variables been realized, FC Barcelona’s maximum payout would have reached €147 million.
To understand the full scope of FC Barcelona’s investment in the French winger, there are more things to talk about. The salaries disbursed over the six seasons he has been an integral part of the first-team squad. Owing to injury woes, Dembélé featured in 186 matches during this period.
Taking these remunerations into account, the total FC Barcelona investment in Dembélé escalates to a whopping €230 million, a substantial amount that can’t be recouped.
As FC Barcelona navigates the negotiation process for Dembélé’s exit, the club faces a critical decision-making juncture. Balancing financial considerations and squad restructuring should be the focus to ensure a prosperous future for the Catalan giants.