It was announced earlier today that the Spanish giant Barcelona faces a two-window transfer ban due to violations regarding transfers of non-Spanish minors. The violations called into question the registration and participation of certain players in national competitions as well as the transfer of “young players who are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse” while abroad. Despite the ban, Barcelona should remain competitive in Spain and continue to contend in the Champions League. The real impact of the ban reverberates through England, Germany and other European countries.
Barcelona will still have Messi and Neymar as well as many other stars to fuel their team. They also have a great academy and youth system that will allow them to identify future contributors from within the system. There are some questions on defense, including aging Carlos Puyol‘s impending departure. Now he will likely have to stay with the club, so the staff must decide if it is too early to give Marc Bartra the starting job. In general for Barcelona, this ban makes it harder to lower the average age of its team.
However, in a global sense, this ban has ripple effects. Mönchengladbach keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and young Croatian phenom Alen Halilovic were set for moves to Spain this summer. Now the bidding wars will open up. David Luiz has been linked heavily to Barcelona, so now the other clubs that are interested in his services have one less team to outbid. Diego Costa is another target that will likely go elsewhere.
There are also a few players who seemed to be on the way out but will now likely have to stay with Barcelona. Alex Song was expected to leave this summer given his lack of playing time. Xavi and Dani Alves are much more likely to stay with the team. Barcelona also wanted to revamp the back line yet find good deals for Puyol and Gerard Pique. The teams and leagues that were interested in their services are out of luck.
Expect Barcelona to remain competitive based on their talent and youth system, but remember the ban as you watch the summer silly season kick off. Barcelona will fight the charges from FIFA, who has yet to truly investigate many clubs for these types of infractions.