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Aguero, Eric Garcia and Memphis Depay: Three luxury players at zero cost

Published on: 23 June 2021

Barcelona announced their third free-agent signing of the summer just a few days ago in the shape of Memphis Depay.

The Netherlands forward joins Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia as the new free-agent recruits for Barcelona this summer, while the club have also bought Emerson Royal from Real Betis.

There may well be an economic crisis in the world of football at the moment, but there is no doubt that the backroom staff at Barcelona have been doing some fantastic business in recent weeks.

The three free-agent arrivals will lay the foundations for Barcelona next season, and the hope will now be that they can sell some players in order to pay off a portion of their hefty debts or to put it towards funding more signings.

Koeman gets his man

Ronald Koeman has been trying to lure Memphis Depay to Catalonia for around a year now, as he asked the club to sign the forward when he was first appointed last year.

He knew him well after they worked together with the Netherlands, and Memphis was viewed as a player that will guarantee goals following the departure of Luis Suarez last season.

Barcelona tried to get the Lyon star in the January transfer window, but the club's dire financial state prevented a deal from being struck.

After failed attempts, Koeman didn't lose sight of his target and managed to get the player to verbally agree that he would come to the Camp Nou, ignoring offers from elsewhere in the process.

The instability of Koeman's position at Barcelona could have derailed the deal, but Memphis stayed true to his word.

Laporta pressurised Eric Garcia

Barcelona's long-standing interest in Eric Garcia came to fruition shortly after the January transfer window, as the club agreed terms with the Manchester City centre-back.

There was the chance to sign the Spain international for a knock-down price in January, but Joan Laporta blocked the move as he didn't believe it was prudent, given Barcelona's financial difficulties.

The meeting between Messi and Aguero

The third free transfer came in the shape of Sergio Aguero, another player from Manchester City.

The arrival of Aguero is expected to be a huge factor in persuading Lionel Messi to renew his contract with Barcelona this summer, but the six-time Ballon d'Or has not yet put pen to paper, with his deal set to expire on June 30.

Laporta knew what he was doing when he brought one of Messi's closest friends to the club, and it may also have an effect on Argentina when the 2022 World Cup in Qatar comes along.

Laporta seduced Aguero by showing him the opportunity he could have at Barcelona, as he could still play at the highest level but also be alongside his friend and fellow countryman, Messi.

Aguero signed a contract worth around 14 million euros a year, a salary that is almost half of what he was making at Manchester City.

The two that got away

Two other players that had finished their contracts this summer were also in Barcelona's sights but didn't arrive at the club.

David Alaba from Bayern Munich was quickly discarded because of the demands the player was making economically, with the player eventually joining Real Madrid.

Another player who was very close to signing was Georginio Wijnaldum.

It would have been yet another Dutch player in the Barcelona ranks, but the uncertainty over the future of Koeman proved to be decisive, with Paris Saint-Germain making a much higher offer, one that Laporta refused to match.


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