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Barcelona’s Arda Turan transfer little more than a vanity purchase

Barcelona, 10/3 favourites with Coral to become the first side in the Champions League era to retain the European Cup, cannot field any players they sign this summer until January 2016, but that has not stopped them spending almost £25m up front on Arda Turan.

The 28-year-old Turkey attacker has penned a five-year deal at the Nou Camp and follows Sevilla right-footer Aleix Vidal in committing to the Catalan club, despite their transfer ban that renders new faces ineligible until next year.

It begs a big question; what is to be gained from taking Turan from La Liga title rivals Atletico Madrid other than weakening Barca’s opposition? Some might say that is an overly cynical approach, but it’s not just domestic foes that can no longer get hold of him.

Rumour mills mooted Chelsea might consider Turan as an upgrade on Brazil international grafter Willian for the right flank. Suggestions were made that having him link-up once again with Atleti expats Diego Costa, Thibaut Courtois and Filipe Luis would be beneficial for all parties.

Turan has taken a different path, however, opting to stay in Spain, but he does not look a natural Nou Camp fit, neither in style nor temperament. Barcelona are in the run-up to presidential elections, and those politics may have played their part.

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Quarter Final - Second Leg - Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid - Atletico Madrid Training and Press Conference - Santiago Bernabeu

We associate vanity purchases more with El Clasico rivals Real Madrid. Their global brand and business model demands a marquee signing, sometimes for the sake of it. Turan’s transfer smacks of this, and being compared to their enemies from the capital will not sit well with Barca ultras.

Seasonal stats of three goals and six assists at Atleti last term, the former tally way down on netting nine during the title-winning campaign of 2013/14, are hardly encouraging. Turan is not the first Turk to play for Barcelona either.

Goalkeeping great Rustu Recber had an ill-fated spell with Barca between 2003 and 2005, playing just four times in La Liga. There’s a real danger Turan will barely see more action himself.

Have Barcelona’s powers-that-be thought where Turan, complete with fiery temper as outlined above, fits into their first-team squad? The attacking triumvirate of Lionel Messi and Neymar flanking Luis Suarez broke all goal-scoring records going.

No room for Turan in attack then. What about the midfield? Magnificent metronome Xavi Hernandez has moved on for a Middle East payday you can hardly begrudge him, but Luis Enrique had the sense to relace him with Ivan Rakitic as a starting regular before he left.

Dislodging him or Nou Camp clubman Andres Iniesta when they, alongside anchorman Sergio Busquets, won the treble this last term seems so unlikely. Here’s hoping Turan will take to being an impact sub.

Soccer - La Liga - FC Barcelona v Real Sociedad - Camp Nou Stadium

One fair assumption to make is the Turk’s arrival in Catalonia means La Masia graduate Pedro Rodriguez’s own future almost certainly lies elsewhere. He’s set to be on offer for a cut-price fee, so we should see the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool linked with him once more.

To those of us with longer memories, there’s something of the Zlatan Ibrahimovic about this Turan transfer. The Sweden superstar switched from Inter Milan in the summer of 2009, but had to play second fiddle on the Barca billing behind Messi.

A bust-up between infamously self-confident player and then Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola followed. Turan is no shrinking violet either, and this combustible element will either be received as refreshing in a close-knit dressing room or act as a divisive and disruptive influence on such harmony.

That notwithstanding, Barca are odds-on at 8/13 to retain their La Liga crown this coming campaign. It remains to be seen how much of a role Turan plays in the Catalan club’s trophy defences.