Barcelona have signed Atletico Madrid midfielder Arda Turan on a five-year deal to the surprise of many given the contrast in philosophy of the club and player. He’s allegedly been a target for the Spaniards for some time, and the interim hierarchy secured his signature before the new club president is unveiled.
Turan was part of the Atleti side that won the 2013/14 La Liga title, and finished runner-up in the Champions League the same season. The Turkish international, 28, cannot play for the Catalans until 2016 due to a transfer embargo, but was still willing to make the switch from the Vicente Calderon to the Nou Camp regardless.
The midfielder’s motives are obvious; Barcelona are coming off the back of having won the treble (La Liga, Champions League, Copa Del Rey), while Atletico Madrid are falling further behind to their fellow Spaniards as well as fierce rivals Real Madrid. Turan acknowledged his best chance of future success lies in a Barcelona shirt, but why the Catalans have signed a player of his ilk is unknown.
Barcelona have long operated with a philosophy of attractive attacking football with high levels of ball retention. It’s a style of play that has seen the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Luis Figo grace the Nou Camp, but a player like Turan would be the odd one out in their current squad.
He has been impressive for Atletico Madrid in the last 12 months, but not particularly outstanding. Given they have recently parted company with the likes of Xavi, Turan is hardly the replacement supporters would have been expecting. The Turkish international is a more robust player, with his best attributes being strength and industry, rather than finesse and creativity.
It’s unknown how much of a say manager Luis Enrique has had in the transfer, as Arda Turan doesn’t appear to be a player that would normally be on Barcelona’s radar. The Barcelona head coach even admitted earlier this summer that his future was undecided with the club, and his words could be based upon his influence in the transfer market.
It’s a near impossible task to improve upon near-perfection, so Barcelona were always going to be under pressure to build on their past treble-winning antics. However, Turan’s arrival on a long-term deal sees many scratching their head as to where he will fit in the side, and how Barcelona will incorporate him in their style for next season. The 28-year-old won’t be able to play until midway through the next campaign either.
Have Barcelona made a mistake in signing Arda Turan?