Former Barcelona adviser Ariedo Braida has opened up on why Barcelona did not want to sign players such as France midfielder Paul Pogba or Borussia Dortmund attacker Erling Haaland.
World Cup winner Pogba has been regularly linked with a move to the Camp Nou over recent years but remains at Premier League side Manchester United.
Braida was asked by Marca if it was true he had been appointed so that he bring Pogba to Barcelona from Juventus, before he rejoined Manchester United in 2016, and offered an intriguing response.
It’s not a lie. It is true that Albert Soler and I went to Milan and met with the Juventus board, but despite the talks, there was no real intention to sign him. In fact, Pogba ended up staying in Turin that summer and did not go to another club. I said he was a great player, I was talking about it with Albert Soler, with whom I believe we had a good personal relationship, but again, professionally, we couldn’t work together because I wasn’t allowed to.
It seems unlikely that Pogba will ever move to Barcelona. He told a news conference earlier this month that playing for Real Madrid is “a dream of mine,” as reported by The Guardian.
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Barca Turned Halaand Down
Braida also revealed that Barcelona wasn’t interested in signing players such as Haaland, Nicolo Barella, and Nicolo Zaniolo. The former adviser recommended all three players to the Catalan giants but saw his ideas rejected.
I was studying players and I wrote down some names like Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, when he was still playing in Norway. But at the club they told me no, that he didn’t have the Barcelona profile. I also suggested other players from Italy, like [Nicolo] Barella, who is now at Inter, or [Nicolo] Zaniolo, who plays at Roma. But if you don’t have the responsibility to do this because it has been given to others, you can’t do anything. I was isolated.
Haaland went on to move to Dortmund from Red Bull Salzburg in December 2019 and has proved to be a huge hit in the Bundesliga. The 20-year-old netted an incredible 16 goals in his first 18 appearances for BVB.
The 20-year-old has continued his prolific form in 2020-21, scoring 13 goals in as many appearances for club and country. Haaland is one of the favorites to win the coveted Golden Boy Award for 2020, handed to the best Under-21 in Europe.
Barcelona’s Transfer Window Failings
There’s no doubt that Haaland has been a huge hit for Dortmund, and Barca may be regretting not moving for the talented forward. The Catalan giants have spent heavily in the transfer market in recent seasons but have struggled to get value for money.
Philippe Coutinho, Antoine Griezmann, and Ousmane Dembele have all been brought in for huge transfer fees but all three players have struggled to impress at the Camp Nou so far.
Barca has also signed players such as Paulinho, Nelson Semedo, Yerry Mina, Malcom, Arthur Melo, and Arturo Vidal in recent windows, yet all six players have since departed after failing to make an impression.