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Transfer Talk: How Real Madrid and Barcelona swapped business agendas

Could their new approach to the transfer window have an effect on the season?

Barcelona v Real Madrid
Zinedine Zidane, (A Galactico) and Andres Iniesta (A La Masia Graduate) fight for the ball.
Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

During transfer season, a clubs business agenda is usually a private affair but some have developed very predictable ones. Two of those clubs are Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Over the years, Real Madrid have made themselves known for signing extremely talented (and very expensive) players to their club as opposed to developing a squad through their academy like league rivals Barcelona.

But now, the tides have turned.

As both clubs approach the window using unusual tactics, will the altered business approach have an effect on the club’s future seasons?

Galacticos vs. La Masia

Starting in 2000, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez focused on signing one “Galactico” (otherwise known as a superstar player) per season and made little to no other transfer deals in the process.

From 2000-2003, Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham all came to the club costing the club 220 million Euros.

Sining superstar players eventually became the symbol of Real Madrid and remained a very distinct tactic for the club.

After spending some time away, Perez eventually returned to the club with a new batch of Galacticos in 2009.

The likes of Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso all joined for a total of 230.5 million Euros. Another Galactico era was now introduced and others were soon to follow.

Barcelona, on the other hand, were taking more of an interest in developing their own talent through their youth academy, La Masia.

While Madrid was emptying their pockets, Barcelona was developing players such as Thiago Motta, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets.

These youngsters who started off as nobodies managed to etch their names into the history books while wearing the decadent red and blue jerseys.

The way the two clubs approached the transfer window every season remained a staple to their identity.

Shift in gears

It is without a doubt that the business agendas of each club were very predictable in the football world.

Galactico signings a top priority became the epitome of Real Madrid and Barcelona’s world-renowned development academy was their prized possession.

However, throughout the last few years, each club has changed their approach.

Barcelona, for instance, have focused on building their club by buying players who have already established themselves on the football pitch.

Since the 2017/18 season, Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, Paulinho, Arturo Vidal, Arthur, Malcom and the recently signed Frenkie de Jong have all joined the club for a total of 460 million Euros.

With the pricey purchases, Barcelona have announced themselves as the new Galactico club as they once again look to win everything in their sight.

The team in the Spanish capital however, has drifted away from their usual superstar signings.

Bringing in talented players for millions of dollars is still a part of Madrid’s identity but they have recently been introducing more youthful, undeveloped talent into their club.

Starting in the 2017/18 transfer window, the club has brought in players such as Alvaro Odriozola, Brahim Diaz, Andrii Lunin, Dani Ceballos and Vinicius Junior spending only 133 million Euros in the process.

Additionally, they have been promoting many players from their Castilla team including Federico Valverde, Luca Zidane, Sergio Reguilon, Raul de Tomas, Mariano Diaz and Marcos Llorente.

Building a youthful squad that can develop the club’s future is now becoming more of a priority but winning trophies still remains one as well.

Despite swapping business approaches, both Real Madrid and Barcelona have remained very successful clubs in the world of football.

In the 2017/18 season, Barcelona won LaLiga, won the Copa del Rey, were runners up in the Spanish Super Cup and made it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Madrid managed to win the Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup, finish third in LaLiga and make it to the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey.

As the 2018/19 season approaches the halfway mark, both clubs are still viable in all three major competitions with their new business approach in full swing.

Barcelona sit on top of LaLiga with 46 points while Madrid is in third with 36 and both have made it to the Copa del Rey quarter-finals and the round-of-16 in the Champions League.

How either of the clubs finish the season, nobody can predict.

But while fans once wondered which star will join Madrid or what youngster will emerge onto the stage of the Camp Nou, the agendas of both clubs have taken a twist that could re-write their history.

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