Barcelona’s Lineup Changes – Summer 2007October 15, 2007
The summer saw some interesting activity for Barcelona. Thierry Henry finally settled seasons of speculation and made the move from Arsenal. This gives Barca a wealth of opportunities up front but Henry’s versatility and ability to play as a lone striker or on the wings in a striking formation will certainly seem to work to Barça’s advantage.
In the same week the club also signed midfielder Yaya Toure from Monaco and defender Eric Abidal from Lyon. It’s generally thought that Abidal was signed as a direct replacement for Giovanni Van Bronckhorst. Finally, the club also signed Gabi Milito from Real Zaragoza which fills the hole left by the departure of Motta for Atletico Madrid.
Gio Van Bronckhorst made the move back to Feyenoord over the summer. Although he had recently signed a contract until 2008 with Barca, he had a verbal commitment from the club that they would allow him to move back to Feyenoord, the club he supported as a child and where he first played football, if they came in for him.
Maxi Lopez, after a season’s loan at Mallorca, made a permanent move to FC Moscow. The striker didn’t look likely to get a first team chance at Barça, especially after the arrival of Thierry Henry. The same could be said for Saviola who left for Real Madrid on a free transfer after his contract was not renewed in June and Giuly who, with a year left on his contract, made the move to Roma. Both players found it hard to break into the team last season and with the arrival of new players and the emergence of home-grown forward talent, they seemed unlikely to be able to make much of an impact this season either.
In defence, Belletti finally made his much speculated about move to Chelsea. The 31 year old found it hard to compete for a first team place with Zambrotta in such fine form so was allowed to go. Finally, Motta fell out with coach Frank Rijkaard in the summer and was put on the transfer list. The player found it hard to consolidate his place in midfield at Barcelona – a position which wasn’t likely to change given the current talent, new signings and the emergence of youth players – so eventually agreed a one-year deal with Atletico Madrid.
The summer also saw the emergence of two Barça Youth players who may well make their mark on the first team this season. Bojan Krkic has progressed through the youth set up in phenomenal time and, although only 17, is hailed as one of the most exciting striking prospects in the game. Giovani Dos Santos, also a forward player, is also considered a ‘Wonder Kid’ and has been hailed as the new Ronaldinho.
Thierry Henry, Arsenal (£16.1m)
Yaya Toure, Monaco (£6.1m)
Eric Abidal, Lyon (£10m)
Gabi Milito, Real Zaragoza (£12.1m)
Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, Feyenoord (Free)
Maxi Lopez, FC Moscow (£1.3m)
Javier Saviola, Real Madrid (Free)
Ludovic Giuly, Roma (£2m)
Belletti, Chelsea (£3.7m)
Motta, Atletico Madrid (undisclosed)
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