This week, Barcelona might have complicated their fight for the Spanish title for good. The team’s poor technical and tactical moment of form raises questions about managers and about the club’s board, with the absurd investments on the past couple of seasons.

IS QUIQUE SETIÉN WHAT BARCELONA NEEDS?

The 19/20 season has not been very good for Barcelona, right from the start. Ernesto Valverde was being heavily criticized by the Spanish media and the club’s fans, since they were oscillating in the league and had very weak displays in the Champions League.

What had an impact on Valverde’s dismissal were the two consecutive eliminations on the European competition. On the disasters against Roma and Liverpool, the team had managed to get excellent results in the 1st leg, but then was not able to manage the advantage on the decisive leg.

His dismissal was very celebrated by the fans, even after 2 Spanish titles conquered by him. Quique Setién was hired for his replacement, coming off Real Betis, but he was almost a desperate alternative, after so many negative answers from other managers.

Before Setién, they tried to hire Xavi Hernández, Ronald Koeman, Mauricio Pochettino, Robert Martínez, Gabriel Milito, Marcelo Gallardo and Thierry Henry.

Barcelona’s decadence being criticized in Spain

Setién was not unanimous and it seems like he is not able to bring what Barcelona needs to the pitch. News rumours say that the manager has problems with the roster, with maybe the lack of good performances contributing towards that, or maybe that bad relationship is the cause of their poor displays.

Quique Setién maybe does not have the necessary status to coach Barcelona, right now, and his historical record is not a good calling card and therefore, a well-managed team should be his trump card. That is not the reality though, and Barcelona only has Messi, being a predictable and slow team otherwise.

BARCELONA: 1 BILLION IN SIGNINGS

Other heavily questioned aspect within the club is the exorbitant investment they have made on the past couple of seasons. Although many of these signings were celebrated heavily by the fans, the performance of these athletes on the pitch was underwhelming.

On a report from the Brazilian website Globo Esporte, the catalan club spent a total of 952 million euros since July of 2015.

This season, Barcelona has made some purchases, with the highlights being the midfielder De Jong, who was signed for 75 million euros, and their previous ambition, the French attacker Griezmann, who was signed by a “mere” 120 million euros.

On the previous seasons, more than 230 million euros were spent to sign the attacker Dembele and the midfielder Philippe Coutinho, both of them to supress the need after Neymar’s sale.

Besides these, purchases like Vidal’s, who was never able to consolidate himself at the club, Arthur and Malcolm, who were actually sold already, show that the club has a midst of poor choices and bad luck.

It is true that Barcelona is still leading as one of the highest earning teams in the world. Still, they have managed to make some important sales, with the biggest one being Neymar’s, who reached 222 million euros. Arthur and Malcom, who did not produce much, have earned them more than 110 million euros.

The problem is when this analysis combines investments and technical performances. Neymar cost Barcelona 88 million euros and in 186 matches for the club, he scored 105 goals and had 58 assists, besides winning the Champions League title.

As for Griezmann, Coutinho, Dembele, Malcom and Deulofeu, combined, they cost a total of 448 million euros, they have almost 300 matches combined and a bit over 60 goals scored, and less than 50 assists made.

BARCELONA IN CRISIS HAVE A CHANCE IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE?

A lot is being said in Spain, that besides a complicated relationship between the roster and manager, the relationship with the board is not good at all either. A cut on the very high player salaries was not well received, besides the controversy between the club director Abidal and Messi.

There was even public criticism to the president, after 6 directors resigned from the club. It is a combination of aspects that do not corroborate the theory that the team might have strength on this final stretch of the Champions League.

A poorly managed team, looking lost without tactics and not looking like they are putting in a lot of effort, with a dissatisfied roster with the manager and board. It is very clear, in my opinion, that Barcelona must be underdogs here.

But the Champions League will be different, on a neutral ground and no fans. Maybe in just a couple of matches, they might pull out a miracle, and right now only one person can do that: Lionel Messi.

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