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Where are they now? Barcelona’s most expensive signing of every season since 2010

Barcelona have spent money recklessly over the past decade and we’ve checked in on their most expensive signing from every season since 2010-11.

Spending big sums of money is certainly no guarantee of success as Barca have proven beyond doubt since the mid-2010s.

To illustrate this, we’ve checked in on their most expensive signing from every season to see where they all are these days.

2010-11: David Villa

Fresh from his starring role in Spain’s 2010 World Cup glory, Villa signed for a fee of €40million and everybody agreed it was great business.

La Roja’s all-time top goalscorer had proven himself in La Liga with Valencia and immediately looked right at home. He struck up a brilliant front three with Pedro and Messi and was fantastic during his debut season, winning both La Liga and Champions League.

Injuries meant he wasn’t quite as prolific in subsequent seasons, but he did recover to help deliver Atletico Madrid the La Liga title at Barcelona’s expense in 2013-14. Spells in the United States, Australia and Japan followed before retirement in 2020.

Nowadays he’s focused on his DV7 Group business, which manages youth academies around the world.

2011-12: Cesc Fabregas

After years of starring at Arsenal, La Masia’s prodigal son eventually returned home in 2011 after years of tabloid speculation.

Fabregas was relatively underwhelming during his three-year stay back home but offered a reminder of his class on his return to the Premier League with a superb stint at Chelsea.

After seeing out the final year of his playing career at Como, he’s now serving as an assistant coach with the Serie B club, who look a solid bet to get promoted this season.

Cesc Fabregas in action for Barcelona against Real Betis, Camp Nou, April 2014

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name the 24 players Barcelona have signed from the Premier League?

2012-13: Alex Song

After an excellent season at Arsenal, Barca returned to north London to snare Song to Spain and the midfielder was part of their 100-point 2012-13 La Liga-winning squad.

But the €19million signing was distinctly cr*p during his short stint in Spain and never looked like staking a claim for regular starts. After nomadic spells at West Ham, Rubin Kazan, Sion and Arta/Solar7, he retired in 2023.

2013-14: Neymar

Lured from Santos for a fee of €88million, Neymar was worth every penny during four swaggering seasons at Barcelona.

Dovetailing brilliantly with Lionel Messi and, later, Luis Suarez, the Brazilian scored 114 goals for the club and is probably best remembered for his heavenly performance in the 2017 remontada against PSG.

It was probably that display that convinced PSG to pay a world-record €222million for Neymar that year.

The player himself was hoping for a Ballon d’Or and PSG were hoping he’d deliver them a Champions League. The fact that neither happened has meant that Neymar’s time in France will be remembered as a disappointment.

Last summer he made an inauspicious move to Al-Hilal, but a cruciate ligament injury has reduced him to just five appearances for the Saudi Pro League champions-elect.

READ NEXT: Where are they now? Barcelona’s XI from their unforgettable 6-1 remontada against PSG in 2017

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name Barcelona’s top 30 goalscorers of all time?

2014-15: Luis Suarez

Barcelona spent a club-record €65million to sign Suarez in 2014, despite him having been served a four-month football ban by FIFA for biting Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.

But the Uruguayan had just come off that season at Liverpool and proved to be a brilliant signing.

Suarez’s long-awaited inclusion around Christmas 2014 swiftly turned Barca’s season around, as he clicked with Lionel Messi and Neymar and helped deliver the treble.

The striker scored 195 goals and notched 113 assists in 283 appearances for the club and won four La Liga titles with the club, before claiming a fifth with Atletico Madrid.

Nowadays he’s reunited with old pal Messi at Inter Miami and loving life in the States.

2015-16: Arda Turan

Once a brilliant winger for Diego Simeone’s title-winning Atletico Madrid, Turan was signed amid the transfer embargo of 2015 for a fee of €34million.

He wasn’t a blinding success at Camp Nou, but he registered a better-than-you-remember return of 15 goals and 11 assists in 55 appearances.

Turan retired in 2022 after a spell back at boyhood club Galatasaray and several off-field controversies. He’s now the manager of every Yorkshireman’s favourite Turkish side Eyupsor.

2016-17: Andre Gomes

Gomes was signed from Valencia for €37million, but he struggled as the club unconvincingly tried to look ahead to a post-Xavi and Iniesta future.

The Portuguese midfielder is still somehow at Everton. Not even out on loan or anything. Just quietly collecting his wages and beefing up 5-a-sides at the training ground.

2017-18: Philippe Coutinho

You can’t really blame Barcelona for thinking Coutinho was worth the £146million they paid Liverpool in January 2018; at that point, he was comfortably one of the best players in the world.

But the Brazilian always felt like a square peg in a round hole, never really found his groove and then had to deal with injury setbacks, making it near-impossible to live up to an astronomical price tag.

It also turned out Barca couldn’t afford such a high signing anyway. Disaster all round.

After flopping at Camp Nou, Coutinho spent time on loan at Bayern Munich – scoring against his parent club in that thrashing – and was briefly Steven Gerrard’s shiny toy at Aston Villa.

He now finds himself on loan from Villa in Qatar at Al Duhail, aged 31. It feels like a waste.

Philippe Coutinho prior the Trofeu Joan Gamper match between FC Barcelona and Juventus FC at Estadi Johan Cruyff in Sant Joan Despi, Spain.

READ: Revisiting the 6 Philippe Coutinho alternatives Barcelona considered

2018-19: Malcom

Malcom was on the verge of joining Roma – to the point where fans waited in the airport to greet him upon his arrival from Bordeaux – before Barcelona swooped in and hijacked the deal in 2018.

He didn’t prove worth the €41million fee and was sold to Zenit a season later, with Barcelona recouping most of what they paid.

Last summer, he cost Al Hilal a staggering €60million. For a player who failed to live up to the hype, he’s commanded some pretty hefty transfer fees.

2019-20: Antoine Griezmann

Chastened by a humiliating Champions League defeat to Liverpool, Barca spent big again in 2019 and paid Atletico Madrid €120million for Grizemann’s services.

As pointed out by Spanish football writer Sid Lowe, the World Cup winner went to the only club where there was a better player in his position in world football – Lionel Messi – so it was no major surprise to see it never happened for him at Camp Nou.

Griezmann also had to watch from afar as his former club won the La Liga title in 2020-21. He’s since returned to Atleti and refound his best form to become the club’s all-time top scorer – underlining how he really never should have left.

2020-21: Miralem Pjanic

Barcelona decided to swap a 23-year-old Arthur Melo, who was very promising back then, for a 30-year-old Pjanic from Juventus, whilst both clubs ‘paid’ each other £60million to balance the books in 2020.

Fishy doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Pjanic played 30 times in his one season at the club, although most of these appearances were from the bench, and made a negligible impact.

He was loaned to Besiktas in Turkey, before joining UAE Pro League club Sharjah on a permanent basis in 2022.

Barcelona lost Arthur and forked out high wages for Pjanic, for one season, zero goals and zero memorable performances from an ageing player. No wonder their finances are f*cked.

2021-22: Ferran Torres

Torres showed flashes of quality at Manchester City but the Spain international jumped at the chance to move back to his home country when Barca came calling in January 2022.

He’s had his moments but ultimately failed to really justify the €55million that Barcelona paid for his services. A lot of money at the best of times, let alone during their financial precarity.

Barcelona's Ferran Torres celebrates scoring against Eintracht Frankfurt at the Deutsche Bank Park, Frankfurt, Germany, April 7 2022

READ: Where are they now? The 10 best wonderkids of 2018 according to GOAL

2022-23: Raphinha

Having signed for newly-promoted Leeds back in 2020, Raphinha established quickly established himself as one of the Premier League’s most exciting wingers.

Sure enough, Barcelona came calling, with a move brokered by Raphinha’s agent, former Barca midfielder Deco. The La Liga club beat off competition from the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea to get their man, paying a fee in the region of £55million for his services.

Raphinha didn’t always convince in his debut season at Camp Nou and his second season has been marked by flashes of brilliance rather than sustained productivity.

He’s often been linked with a return to England and we wouldn’t be surprised if it happened this summer.

2023-24: Vitor Roque

Barcelona fended off competition from several clubs across Europe, including Manchester United and Tottenham, to sign Vitor Roque in a €61 million deal from Athletico Paranaense in January 2024.

but has struggled to make an impact in his first five months at the club, starting just two games plus making a further 11 appearances off the bench.

‘Everyone thinks that Vitor Roque has to have more minutes and no one understands why the coach [Xavi] doesn’t give them to him,’ Andre Cury, Vitor Roque’s representative, said in an interview on RAC1.
‘Xavi has never spoken to the player. I do not understand this situation and I think it is not good for either party.

‘I have told the boy that what he has to do is work even harder and wait for the opportunity, but I have also seen matches to give him minutes and prominence and thus avoid this unpleasant situation.”

Chelsea, United and West Ham are all thought to be interested in rescuing Roque from Catalonia.

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