Cruyff claims Barcelona arrivals rejected bigger offers, hits out at transfer criticism

·3-min read

Barcelona sporting director Jordi Cruyff insisted the side's host of new additions joined in order to "follow their dream" as he hit out at criticism of the Blaugrana's transfer policy.

Despite concerns regarding the club's finances, Barcelona acquired Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Jules Kounde, Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen, Hector Bellerin and Marcos Alonso during a busy transfer window.

Xavi's new-look team have impressed this season, taking 13 points from their first five matches in LaLiga, but many onlookers were surprised by their ability to outmanoeuvre their rivals in the market.

Raphinha and Kounde, for instance, were both strongly linked with Chelsea before arriving at Camp Nou. Cruyff, however, insists Barca retain a unique draw.

"Barcelona has a magnet, it is beautiful," Cruyff told Guillem Balague ahead of the Cruyff Legacy Summit.

"You can see the pride in the eyes of the players when they get a chance to sign for Barcelona and that has helped a lot, being able to compete with clubs with bigger budgets and better salaries.

"They wanted to sign for Barcelona, and we are very grateful for these players because, believe me, they had better offers than us.

"And still they chose to follow their dream to be part of history. When you see the eyes shining in these players you know you are in a special place."

LaLiga's strict salary controls meant Barca were forced to wait to register some of their new signings, with Kounde sitting out the club's opening league game as they attempted to streamline their squad.

However, Cruyff believes those who criticised the club's transfer policy lack understanding, adding: "I have noticed 99 per cent of the people don't understand Spanish financial fair play, how to fit that puzzle.

"It is something you won't understand in one hour, it is more complex and complicated. Even when you have money, you can't spend it.

"The news that has come out about us is not always accurate, and I understand people listen to that and think what Barcelona has done is maybe not elegant.

"That is a question of understanding fair play. Our job was to, inside the strict rules of Spanish football, improve the team. Now we have a squad that can compete with everything."

Cruyff also believes Barcelona's purchases were made with the future in mind, adding: "Most of the players we have brought in have a lot of years in front [of them], have a transfer value.

"We have made financially good decisions because you can see in the last week of the window how values have gone up.

"We have a squad for the future. The future is here and the present is here. We have things we need to improve, but the club had to make that decision in the summer.

"January 2022 was not a moment to buy four or five players and repair what we needed to repair. In January we looked at the short term, now we looked at short, middle and long term.

"The team has started really well, with the manager doing a really good job. He has a positive headache... he has a good squad to choose from.

"If that continues the right way, the city is alive again. Even for the smaller games, it's a sell-out and that shows the mood. You see how the people are so happy with the players that have joined. You feel it is alive again, and this club needed that."