In an in-depth interview with La Vanguardia, Deco, the technical director of Barcelona, offered a candid assessment of the club's current transfer policy and its broader strategic direction.
Deco, a former Champions League winner and a key figure in Barcelona's past successes, provided insights into the challenges the club faces in the current football landscape.
Reflecting on the team's recent performance, Deco acknowledged the impact of injuries on the squad's consistency and depth. Barcelona, currently third in La Liga, has faced setbacks this season, including elimination from the Copa del Rey and a loss in the Supercopa to Real Madrid. Looking ahead, the team faces a critical match against Napoli in the Champions League round of 16. Deco emphasized the challenges of maintaining a competitive edge across multiple competitions, especially with a squad that has seen significant changes due to injuries and transfers.
Deco defended the decision not to sell key players Ousmane Dembélé and Sergio Busquets, despite rumors of their potential departures. Instead, he highlighted the strategic acquisitions of Ilkay Gündogan, João Cancelo, and João Félix, who joined the team without transfer fees, alongside Iñigo Martinez and Oriol Romeu. These players, according to Deco, have brought balance to the squad, even though the team has struggled to field a consistent lineup.
Looking to the future, Deco outlined a vision for Barcelona that draws inspiration from the club's rich history. He expressed a desire to build a team reminiscent of Johan Cruyff's Barça of the 1990s or the AC Milan team featuring legends like Frank Rijkaard and Ruud Gullit. This vision, however, faces the reality of a changing football world. Deco noted that the nostalgia for bringing in star players like Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o, or a player of his caliber is no longer realistic given the current market conditions.
Deco's comments reflect the broader challenges facing top football clubs in today's highly competitive and financially complex environment. The market dynamics have changed, with more clubs now competing at the highest level for top talents. This shift, according to Deco, has altered the landscape significantly, making it more challenging for clubs like Barcelona to attract and retain world-class talents under the same terms as in the past.
In conclusion, Deco's insights offer a glimpse into Barcelona's strategy as the club navigates a period of transition. The focus is on building a balanced, competitive squad capable of sustaining success across various competitions. This approach, blending a respect for the club's illustrious past with a pragmatic assessment of the present football market, is central to Deco's vision for Barcelona's future.