It hasn't been an easy summer for Barcelona. There were many problems with Financial Fair Play, an obstacle that has often blocked the club due to an economic situation that is anything but stable.

Each new signing must be weighed with a calculator, with maximum attention to the budget and no excesses because the situation with La Liga continues to be tense. Summer 2023 for Barça began with the disappointment of Leo Messi's non-return: both parties tried in every way to find a solution but it was not possible to proceed.

But in the end Barça's summer was very good: new high-level signings for very limited costs in terms of transfers, however excluding salaries and commissions which remain high.

This is the only possibility for Barcelona with the current financial situation, to invest more in long-term salaries than in transfer costs because in that case it is very difficult to complete top signings.

Barça started their summer with Inigo Martinez on free transfer from Athletic Bilbao, a deal prepared since February which will allow Xavi Hernandez to have one more experienced center back.

Oriol Romeu cost around €4m, despite Barça having tried to enter the race to sign Marcelo Brozovic it was almost impossible to match Al Nassr bid and the negotiation collapsed.

Romeu has had an excellent impact, the clause in his contract has helped Barcelona and even these types of solutions are smart and key to help the club not to spend big transfer fees.

This was also the case for Ilkay Gundogan who chose Barcelona despite bids from Saudi and Manchester City as they wanted to keep him, a top-level free transfer.

That is a crucial part of the strategy: having players on their side, pushing their clubs to leave as they only want Barça.

After a month and a half of stand-by but with the sale of Ousmane Dembélé to Paris Saint-Germain in the middle which greatly helped the club's financial situation, Barça's masterpiece was the end of the transfer market.

With the departures of Abde, Eric Garcia, Clement Lenglet and Ansu Fati the club managed to free up an important part of wages in order to receive the green light from La Liga to sign their two top targets since June: Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo.

Due to the restrictions on Financial Fair Play, Barcelona were unable to insert an option to buy clause in these two deals otherwise they would be counted as two permanent signings by UEFA.

And then Barcelona approved two straight loan deals: Joao Cancelo was Xavi's first choice as new right back since January, Cancelo never negotiated with other clubs because he only wanted Barça and the deal was completed with Manchester City who no longer wanted Cancelo as part of the squad.

Joao Felix, on the other hand, had even been clear in public since July 18: "I want Barcelona, it's my dream", he told me in an exclusive interview that Barça then used... as an announcement of the deal.

No other possibility has ever been taken into consideration, only Barcelona... on loan from Atlético where by now Joao 100% could no longer stay. Two masterpieces for the new Barça in a slow and difficult market, but ultimately excellent.

Fabrizio Romano is an Italian sports journalist. He was born in 1993, he lives in Milan and has over 30 million followers in total on the major social networks.


He collaborates with 888sport, CBS Sports, Sky Sport, The Guardian and has been a transfer market expert since 2011. He will take care of a column dedicated to some "Behind the Scenes" of transfers.