Neymar has developed into one of the best players in the world since joining Barcelona in 2013, and replacing him is a challenging task. He signed a world-record deal at PSG in 2017, and the club reinvested the money in five signings this summer. We take a look at how they have fared over the last four years.
This summer, Dembele was signed as an equivalent replacement for Neymar and the most expensive of the five new signings, initially costing €68.9m from Borussia Dortmund. Dembele known as one of Europe’s brightest young talents, and Dortmund was the real winner of the deal.
Injury problems plagued his time at the Nou Camp, he was inconsistent, and there were concerns about his attitude on the pitch. Dembele has started to recover his best form in the 2020-21 season, but he faces an uncertain future as his contract expires in 2022.
Eyebrows were raised when Barcelona signed former Tottenham flop Guangzhou Evergrande from the Chinese Premier League side for £36million. The Brazilian, who struggled at his unveiling with Keepie-Uppies, silenced his doubters by scoring nine goals in 49 games as Barcelona completed the 2017-18 League and Cup double. He joined Guangzhou in 2019 after a solitary season in Spain, winning his third Chinese Super League title. He was released in 2021 by mutual agreement from his contract and moved to Saudi Arabian Premier League team Al-Ahli on a free transfer.
Semedo, who impressed Benfica, joined Barcelona for €30million and has been seen as a long-term replacement for Dani Alves. During his time at the club, he made 124 appearances in all competitions, winning two titles in the La Liga and the Copa del Rey. However, he was criticized for his performance in the 2019 / 20 season when Alphonso Davies ripped his trousers off in the 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich.
Barcelona recouped some of their money by selling him to Wolves for an initial £27.6m, a deal that later increased to £36.6m. Semedo endured a difficult debut season at Wolves, which finished 13th in the Premier League and is hoping to start after Bruno Lage.
“To be honest, it was a normal season, not a good season for me,” he told the club’s official website in April 2021. I know I have to do more, it’s my first year in the Premier League, and I’m going to another club; it will be challenging, but I will work and try to improve and help the club. ‘We didn’t work well with Deulofeu.
The La Masia academy graduate was on loan at Everton and Sevilla before moving to the latter in 2015. Barcelona opted to re-sign him in 2017, giving him 10 La Liga appearances in his second year at the Nou Camp. After Philippe Coutinho moved to Barcelona in January 2018, Deulofeu was deemed surplus to requirements and returned with Watford to the Premier League.
The Spain international became a fan favorite at Vicarage Road before joining Serie A club Udinese following Watford’s relegation from the Championship in 2020. Coutinho joined Barcelona on loan from Fluminense for a year in 2016, making three appearances and playing for Barcelona’s B team. He was impressed enough to earn a permanent move worth £5million and was sent to Nice for the 2017-18 campaign. The midfielder was sold to Sassuolo in 2018 for €6million and played 66 games for the Serie A club before moving to Shakhtar Donetsk three years later.
‘All my stops in Barcelona were beautiful, ‘he told Sport in April 2021. ‘I arrived at a young age, and the clubs relied on me. I learned a lot at Barca B and progressed to the first team under Luis Enrique. I have the best memories of being there.