Riddled with debt and rife with mediocrity: How many deserve a place in a team like Barcelona?

Barcelona players, Memphis Depay, Gerard Pique, Gavi, Riqui Puig, Luuk de Jong against Granada CF-La Liga
Barcelona players, Memphis Depay, Gerard Pique, Gavi, Riqui Puig, Luuk de Jong against Granada CF-La Liga

“Es lo que hay” – The Spanish phrase for ‘It is, – what it is‘, has never been more apt for a club like Barcelona

The Spanish giants are currently languishing in 7th place as far as the La Liga table is concerned, and they were comprehensively beaten in their Champions League opener against Bayern Munich.

Barcelona’s decline this season has hardly been a surprise for fans who have followed them over the last few seasons. The Catalan giants might have been fighting towards the top of the table in recent years. Still, they were a completely different unit compared to the juggernaut they were under Pep Guardiola and the days of Messi – Neymar – Suarez. 

The signs of decline were always there, and the departure of Lionel Messi has now brutally exposed the lack of quality in the side. The Argentine did all he could to paper over the cracks with his genius, but those days are gone now. 

Barcelona are suffering because of years of mismanagement and poor financial decisions. The Spanish club have brought in several mediocre players over the years for massive fees, and they are now struggling to offload them. 

Furthermore, the debt has risen to almost €1.4 billion, and the club were struggling to comply with the league’s salary rules earlier this summer.

Under normal circumstances, a club like Barcelona would have several world-class players at their disposal, and there would be a seamless mix of experience and youth in the side. Instead, Ronald Koeman’s side is currently filled with pensioners and mediocre players.

The likes of Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique are a shadow of their former selves, and the lack of inexperience in the squad was evident after the game against Bayern Munich. Pique cited the lack of experience in the side by pointing out that there were multiple teenagers on the pitch against the German giants. 

As far as the lack of quality is concerned, one only has to look at Barcelona’s transfer business recently.

The likes of Luuk de Jong are not bad players, but the Dutchman is certainly not good enough to lead the line for a club of Barcelona’s stature.

Poor financial choices from Barcelona management over the years have led to this. Barcelona have no other option but to rely on mediocre individuals instead of signing the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland. They are actually fitting additions for the Spanish club.

Back in their pomp, Barcelona would never have players like Martin Braithwaite, Philippe Coutinho and Samuel Umtiti playing for them. Neither would they rely on 17 – 18-year-olds to bail them out on a weekly basis.

The likes of Ansu Fati and Pedri have been run into the ground already, and the two prodigious talents will have to be managed carefully, or Barcelona would risk burning them out.

Barcelona will have to shoulder the majority of the blame for their decline; some of it has to be attributed to the timing of the coronavirus pandemic as well. Without fans in the stadium, revenue streams dried up and only made matters worse for clubs who are under financial duress.

Barcelona are currently a long way away from their European rivals, and it will be a long and arduous journey back to the top. The revival will take years of careful planning and patience. It remains to be seen whether Joan Laporta and the club hierarchy can sort out this mess over time.

As for now, it is what it is.