Typically reliant on their incomprehensibly world-class youth network for success in recent memory, Barcelona are not all that associated with the Hollywood-style business that arch-rivals Real Madrid undertake.
La Blaugrana have of course, however, dipped more than just their toes into the transfer pond over the years – even risking the January window.
While it’s always a gamble to add to your squad halfway through a season, Barcelona – who have been reluctant in winter windows gone by – have seen some of their acquisitions pay off. 90min ranks the club’s best January signings below.
The Catalan giants have done such little business in January that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang might as well make the grade as one of their greatest winter arrivals ever.
Following a bitter conclusion to his Arsenal career, the Gabonese striker joined Barcelona midway through the 2021/22 season and, in fairness, hit the ground sprinting.
However, he left Camp Nou in a flash.
Before joining Chelsea in the summer of 2022 – just a few months after arriving in Spain – Aubameyang notched 13 strikes in 24 games for Xavi’s side, contributing 12 goal involvements in just 17 La Liga appearances as La Blaugrana rallied to earn a second-placed finish.
You might never have heard of Miguel Reina, but he boasted a brilliant record between the Barcelona sticks over his seven years at the club after joining from Cordoba in the winter of 1966.
It took the Spanish shot-stopper three years to actually make himself the club’s first choice in goal but, when he got there, he was incredibly solid.
Over the course of his time with La Blaugrana, Reina kept 73 clean sheets in 161 appearances, conceding just 134 goals. The highlight of his Camp Nou career came when he kept a whopping 20 clean sheets and conceded only 21 times in the 1972/73 La Liga campaign – although he never won a league title with the club.
After lifting two Cope del Rey trophies (or Copa del Generalisimo as it was known in those days), he’d finally go on to win La Liga with Atletico Madrid after leaving Barça.
By no means the most flashy or long-standing of Barcelona’s January signings over the years, Edgar Davids has been one of the club’s most important.
The iconic Dutchman arrived in Catalonia from Juventus halfway through what was progressing into a truly dismal 2003/04 season. Languishing in the mediocrity of mid-table and boasting just five wins from their opening 15, it would seem impossible for then-Barça boss Frank Rijkaard to set the club onto its next cycle of domination that campaign.
He did so, however, with the aid of the rugged and tenacious character of Davids, whose arrival in Spain was a significant turning point in the club’s season. From the holding midfielder’s debut, Rijkaard’s side went on to lose just two of their final 19 La Liga fixtures while winning 14 – Davids’ injection of grit and backbone at the base of midfield was pivotal to their eventual second-placed finish.
Despite a brief six-month spell at Barcelona, he was undoubtedly a vital figure in the establishment of the club’s prolonged success in the 21st century.
A prominent figure during the club’s success just before the turn of the millennium was Frank de Boer, who signed for Barcelona from Ajax in January 1999 alongside his brother Ronald – who didn’t fare quite as well.
De Boer would go on to start all but two of La Blaugrana’s 1998/99 La Liga fixtures after his arrival as the club topped the league. The coming years would prove to be eventful for the defender.
Either side of a ban – due to testing positive for a prohibited substance and a subsequent successful appeal – De Boer was a regular in the side throughout his four-and-a-half-year stint at Barcelona.
He left having featured 214 times for the club, becoming a well-loved component of the back line courtesy of his attacking flair that proved reminiscent of Ronald Koeman’s legend at the club.