FC Barcelona made two secret signings in the recently closed January transfer window, it has been suggested.
Due to Financial Fair Play issues, the Blaugrana failed to make a single new acquisition in the winter market.
Barca thought that there might be around €5mn ($5.3mn) to spend after Memphis Depay’s departure to Atletico Madrid on a €3mn ($3.2mn) deal and Hector Bellerin leaving for Sporting Lisbon, plus the November retirement of Gerard Pique.
This proved to be inaccurate, however, and Barca instead focused on registering the new contract of midfield sensation Gavi. After La Liga blocked this, Barca won a court ruling allowing the 18-year-old to be registered and receive the number ‘6’ jersey formerly worn by his manager Xavi Hernandez.
La Liga president Javier Tebas has revealed that he plans to appeal, but whatever happens with that, it has been suggested that Barca were still allowed to make two new signings in the January window that were right under their noses.
According to Mundo Deportivo and their popular columnist Xavier Bosch, these were namely Sergi Roberto and Ferran Torres.
As noted, the two players have been left out in the cold as of late amid Xavi’s first team dominating La Liga and opening up an eight-point lead at the summit over bitter rivals Real Madrid.
While Roberto went six games without earning a single minute, Torres had not started a single match since pre-World Cup times.
Roberto came on for the injured Pedri in last Thursday’s thrilling 2-2 draw with Manchester United in the Europa League, but both men got the nod from the offset when Cadiz visited Camp Nou at the weekend.
Sending a message to Xavi ‘that he can count on them’ as Bosch said, they took their chance to shine with both hands.
As Roberto scored a goal and provided an assist in the 2-0 win, a tireless Torres who believed he played his best minutes in a Barca shirt since joining in a €55mn ($58.7mn) deal in winter 2021 went home with the MVP award.
It now remains to be seen how Xavi uses them going forward as Barca fight for three trophies. Yet comments the manager made about each player post-match showed how much he thinks of them.
While calling criticism of Roberto one of the ‘most unfair’ things he has ever seen in football, Xavi acknowledged that Torres had taken a ‘step forward’ with his display.