Barcelona wrapped up the Spanish title this weekend capping yet another remarkable season of domestic success. The Catalan giants have now won four of the last five La Liga titles and eight in the past 11 seasons. Boss Ernesto Valverde deserves immense credit too, losing just three league games across his first two campaigns at the helm.
Yet there still appears to be a certain disconnect between the club’s board and the coach when it comes to pursuing transfer targets. Managers at Spanish clubs do not have a definitive say on transfer targets, who are negotiated by the club’s sporting department. However, they equally should not be ignored, and this has proven to be the case with one particular player.
The Blaugrana signed Malcom from Bordeaux last summer in an eye-catching €41m deal. Not because the price was particularly notable or the quality of the player, but the nature of the transfer. Both the French club and Roma had reported they had agreed upon a deal, only for an eleventh-hour swoop which saw the player move to the Camp Nou.
Yet the Brazilian was not wanted by Valverde, who did not appear to have any knowledge of his arrival until after the deal was completed. Such a disconnect has meant the 22-year-old has been a complete fringe player at the club this season, starting just three La Liga matches of which two have come in April, when there were heavy rotations. Across the Spanish top flight and Champions League this campaign, he has played fewer than 400 minutes.
The talented winger 12 goals in Ligue 1 last season but one wonders how beneficial this move will prove for him, and if this will actually lead to a stagnation in his development. Players of his talent need regular football and he appears almost certain to be heading towards the exit door at the club this summer.
English trio Everton, Tottenham and Arsenal have previously been linked to a deal while there have also been reports in the Spanish press that there is interest from the Chinese Super League. There are reports across the media that Barca are open to a sale should they be able to recuperate the €41m they spent on him a year ago.
Malcom’s move should act as a warning for others about the dangers of moving to an elite club where they have not been met with the approval of the coach.
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