From Pjanic to Trincao: Rating all of Barcelona’s 2020/21 signings

Martin Macdonald
From Pjanic to Trincao: Rating all of Barcelona’s 2020/21 signings

When Ronald Koeman was announced as Barcelona boss in the summer he likely would have expected more money to spend in the transfer market ahead of the 2020/21 season.

However, only one signing would actually be made under the Dutchman at that time, as Barcelona had already spent big on previously arranged transfers that had been concluded prior to his arrival.

Koeman asked the Barca board to sign Memphis Depay of Lyon and Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool, whom he believed would be available at a knockdown price due to the pair being in the last year of their respective contracts.

Barcelona’s dire financial situation meant that they could not afford extra funds for these two players, with only a right-back bring brought in.

Miralem Pjanic (€60m), 3/10

How to untangle this deal.

In June of 2020 Barcelona announced the acquisition of Miralem Pjanic from Juventus for an initial fee of £54 million (€60m), which at that time was seen as an exorbitant amount considering the Bosnian would be turning 30 in April the following year.

It seemed initially like this was a straight up club-to-club transfer, but it was complicated by the fact that Barcelona and Juventus were effectively undertaking a swap deal involving Pjanic and Arthur, with the Brazilian set to move to Turin.

The transfer fees were exchanged for creative accountancy reasons.

On the pitch, Pjanic has struggled to break into the Barcelona XI. Koeman initially started with a two-man midfield of Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong in the roles, but due to the emergence of Pedri he has switched to a 4-3-3.

Even with the change, Pjanic still can’t really get a look in and has only started six La Liga matches since his arrival at Camp Nou, with no goals or assists to his name.

Francisco Trincao (€31m), 5/10

Like with Pjanic, the deal for Francisco Trincao to leave Braga for Barcelona had already been completed before Koeman was manager, which begs the question as to whether the Dutchman would have wanted him originally.

The Portuguese winger, at the moment just 21-years-old, was undoubtedly made as a signing for the future, having dazzled over the last couple of seasons in the Primeira Liga.

He has impressed on occasion but has spent his entire season on the bench more or less, making 27 appearances as a substitute compared to nine starts in all competitions.

Trincao has started just two games in the league, but does have three goals and two assists to his name.

He can flatter to deceive at points with his tricky footwork, but there’s a player in there.

Sergino Dest (€21m), 6/10

When Barcelona were embarrassingly defeated 8-2 by Bayern in the Champions League in the summer, a major issue for them in that match was the performance of Nelson Semedo, who was torn to shred’s by Alphonso Davies and Kingsley Coman.

It highlighted the fact that Semedo was simply not up to the level required to play for Barcelona, and so the search of a new starting right-back became a priority – even ahead of Depay and Wijnaldum.

Dest has since became the first American to play for Barcelona in La Liga and the Champions League and the first American to score for the club.

He is by no means the finished article and most definitely needs to improve if he is to make the right-back spot his own for the next 10 years.

Much like Barcelona as a whole this season, he has slowly but surely improved, even if his tally of one assist is nowhere near good enough.

Matheus Fernandes (€7m), N/A

Yes, Barcelona have indeed signed another Brazilian who will probably hardly ever feature for the club.

The purchase of Matheus Fernandes from Palmeiras was made in January of last year and only a few hours after the deal was announced, it was also announced he would play on loan at Real Valladolid for the rest of the campaign.

He would go on to make two starts Valladolid in La Liga, return to Barcelona in the summer, and he hasn’t been heard from since.

Fernandes has accumulated 17 minutes of football in his Barcelona career so far.