The blockbuster deals of 2020: Miralem Pjanic to Barcelona (£59m)

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner Updated: 17 May 2021 19:51 BST 2 min read
The blockbuster deals of 2020: Miralem Pjanic to Barcelona (£59m)

Miralem Pjanic has been one of Europe’s outstanding midfielders for the best part of a decade, yet it still came as something of a surprise when he traded Juventus for Barcelona in the summer.

He finished his time at Juventus out of form but would move to Catalunya as a replacement for Arthur, who had failed to impose himself at Camp Nou after so much was expected of him when he arrived from Gremio in 2018.

Barcelona’s motives for completing the transfer, however, were not simply driven by those on the football pitch.

How the deal went down

Miralem Pjanic’s deal was settled early on, with Barcelona announcing that they had captured him for €60 million (£54m) plus bonus payments of up to €5m on a four-year contract as early as June. Indeed, neither Barcelona or Juventus had finished their domestic seasons by that point.

If this was a relatively straightforward deal on the face of it, in reality, it was a good deal more complicated. This was because it was engineered essentially as a swap deal with Arthur Melo going the other way.

The clubs conducted the moves as two separate transfers to allow them to put into their accounts the full amount of the transfer fee for the players they were letting go. Conversely, accounting methods allow them to amortise the payments that they will make over the course of four years.

In doing this, their financial figures for this year will have been significantly massaged. Both teams are known to be toiling on this front.

What they said: Pjanic on Barcelona move

“I would have liked to have signed earlier for Barca: I have dreamed of this since I was young and I am very happy to form part of this extraordinary club. I’ve come to the biggest club in the world and I will give everything so that people will remember me. I will be happy that way.”

Pjanic to Barcelona – hit or miss?

Grade so far: C-

Although there were certainly financial motivations behind Miralem Pjanic’s move to Barcelona, there was an expectation that he would be able to play a significant role for the Catalans.

After a slow end to the previous season with Juventus, though, he has yet to regain his best level at Camp Nou.

He has yet to score a goal or gain an assist for the Catalans, while he is posting less than 25% of minutes possible in La Liga. Although he has featured prominently in the Champions League, Ronald Koeman has often left that to his second string, indicating where the Bosnian presently standings in his thinking.

A fine performance against Valladolid just before Christmas suggests it is too early to write him off, however.

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