Barcelona are facing a big dilemma over striker Martin Braithwaite. The 29-year-old only arrived at the Camp Nou in February on an emergency transfer from Leganes for €18 million but could be set for a swift exit.
Santi Gimenez at AS describes the Denmark international as having been a “resounding failure” at Barcelona and a “transfer disaster.” He’s only scored once in 11 matches for the Catalan giants since signing and is also ineligible for their Champions League campaign.
Barcelona could try and sell but will struggle to find anyone close to meeting their asking price, according to Gimenez. The club are also considering a loan, while it’s not ruled out that he could stay. Either way, Braithwaite is becoming a problem.
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Braithwaite Out of Favor
Barcelona raised eyebrows when they signed Braithwaite from Leganes. They were controversially given permission to sign a striker outside of the transfer window after Ousmane Dembele was ruled out for six months with injury.
Yet the early signs were good. Braithwaite enjoyed a bright debut off the bench against Eibar. He set up a goal for Lionel Messi and was also involved in the build-up to Arthur’s strike in the 5-0 win.
Manager Quique Setien spoke to reporters after the match and was full of praise for his new recruit after the full-time whistle.
“Braithwaite did more than I expected, much more. Honestly, I think we have made an extraordinary signing. He will adapt perfectly to what we do, he was involved in two goals today and he understands the game so well.”
Braithwaite went on to score his first Barcelona goal in the 4-0 win over Real Mallorca in June but since then he’s barely featured. Indeed he only managed 12 minutes in Barca’s final game of the season, despite Setien naming a squad of just 16 players for the match.
What Next for Braithwaite?
Describing Braithwaite as a “transfer disaster” is a harsh call, given he was brought in as cover and then saw the season suspended for three months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Luis Suarez had regained full fitness by the time top-flight football in Spain returned, easing Barcelona’s problems in attack and going straight back into the team. Of course, Barca also have Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, and 17-year-old starlet Ansu Fati in their star-studded squad.
Braithwaite will face more competition for a place next season too. Ousmane Dembele should be fit after a long spell out, while Barca have also invested in youngsters Francisco Trincao and Pedri. There may be even more too if the club are successful in their attempts to bring in Lautaro Martinez from Inter over the summer.
Braithwaite has made it clear he’s desperate to succeed at the Camp Nou and wants to see out his contract that runs until 2024. Yet he may have to accept a bit-part role if he is to stay at Barcelona next season.