Transfer grades: Barcelona a B+ for Torres


The coronavirus pandemic continues to impact football’s finances, but unlike recent times, the January window will be open as normal for Europe’s top leagues. (Find out when each league’s window opens and closes here.)

Clubs across Europe in Italy’s Serie A (€550 million), Germany’s Bundesliga (€415m), France’s Ligue 1 (€375m) and Spain’s LaLiga (€295m) spent a lot less over the summer, but the Premier League went big and splashed €1.1 billion on players, according to Deloitte. January is usually a quiet month, but will global events see some different strategies for the top sides?

Here are the grades for all the major deals. The most recent write-ups are at the top; each day is in order of highest price. If you don’t see a grade for a move that has been completed, check back later. All fees are reported unless confirmed with an asterisk.

Jan. 4

RB Leipzig grade: D+
Ajax grade: C

What a strange move. After leaving Ajax on a free transfer when they signed another attacker (Sebastien Haller) this summer, Brobbey will return after struggling to make an impact in Germany. The 19-year-old has two assists from nine Bundesliga games, but it feels like he’s given up too easily after just six months, and Leipzig haven’t seen anything to suggest keeping him.

Ironically, Ajax need a replacement for Haller when he departs for the Africa Cup of Nations in January. Brobbey knows the club, knows the style of play, but it’s a bit of a gamble considering how he left. Ajax aren’t taking too much of a risk with a six-month loan, but the fans may not be so keen to see him back.

Jan. 3

Man City grade: A-
Barcelona grade: B+

Just over a year after signing the Spain forward from Valencia for around €23m, City opted to move him on for over double that fee. Pep Guardiola does have a plethora of attacking players in his position, so they have cover, but it seems an odd decision to let him depart midseason. Also, at 21, he was a player who could have represented the future of the club.

With €1.4bn of debt, how Barca managed to come up with €55m to spend on one player is interesting. Evidently it came from a bank loan, which is a road they went down spectacularly badly when signing Antoine Griezmann for €120m from Atletico Madrid in 2019. Barca also can’t register Torres until they move some current players off the wage bill, so it seems a gamble. Terrific player, but is he worth it amid Barca’s financial woes?

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