Andoni Zubizarreta has defended Barcelona’s work in the transfer market so far, commenting on Neymar’s purchase and the loss of Thiago Alcantara.
The Catalans have so far brought in the young Brazilian forward for a fee of €57m, having sent out a number of players on loan again, released Eric Abidal, sold David Villa and seen Thiago opt for a move to Bayern.
Beginning with Neymar, the club’s sporting director has today run through this summer’s work so far.
“The operation is extraordinary, an operation of €57m is extraordinary,” defended Zubizarreta when discussing the 21-year-old’s price, despite having entered the final 12 months of his contract at Santos.
“I will not make public the specifics behind the deal due to the confidentiality clause between the four parties involved. I look to the overall operation and the expectation heading into negotiations.
“If the expectation was a valuation of nearly €100m and we paid €57m, then the operation has been extraordinary.”
Zubizarreta was asked if Thiago’s sale to Bayern for a total fee of €25m was good business or not.
“I do not approach that as business, he wanted to evolve as a professional. We received €22m, plus two more in variables, which Bayern will certainly pay, and €1m more for a friendly.
“The €25m are for us, that’s what I know. It is a good agreement for the circumstances that we faced.
“The clauses in our players’ contracts allow for a negotiating point if a player wants to leave, they are a reference point from which to work.
“At no time has the Coach been told to play someone or not.”
The club have faced scrutiny for their handling of various graduates from La Masia in the past year.
“If Thiago goes and up comes Sergi Roberto, that’s the response of the club. We have many more good players who offer us alternatives.
“We have not sold them, nor used them to reduce the price of a signing. We continue to count on them. In the first team they have not had minutes, it is good to play, and they are measured by it in the professional game.
“The model is not unique, the philosophy is flexible and transforms. It is not the same as it was 10 years ago, nor will it be the same in another 10.”
Barca also raised eyebrows this summer for the sale of David Villa to Atletico Madrid for a total fee of €5.1m. Today he was asked to compare that to the €10m Real Madrid pulled in for Jose Callejon.
“Each club is responsible for their operations and are accountable to their partners [club shareholders]. In the case of Villa, we sought a good solution.”