Why Barcelona Have Been Allowed To Sign Martin Braithwaite While Leganes Are Fuming
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In case you hadn't noticed, the transfer window is closed - yet Barcelona have confirmed the February signing of an unlikely £15 million new recruit, to complement Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann in attack.
Yes, it's 28-year-old Dane Martin Braithwaite, who you probably won't remember scoring eight goals in 36 games for Middlesbrough in the Championship.
:large_blue_circle::red_circle: @MartinBraith, the newest Barça player!
:wave: Welcome! pic.twitter.com/nycwVPP3hb
- FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 20, 2020
The reason this curious transfer at an equally weird time has been allowed is simple: La Liga rules allowed Barcelona 15 days to sign an emergency replacement for Ousmane Dembele, who's joined Luis Suarez on the long-term injury list.
Rather than making do with their £107 million French forward or their Argentinian No 10 - who our scouts say is pretty decent in attack - Barcelona activated the £15 million release clause in Braithwaite's contract.
It's important to state that Barcelona have operated entirely within Liga rules, while Dembele recovers from his hamstring surgery.
But none of this makes it any easier for Leganes, currently 19th in La Liga and in the middle of a relegation battle. They could do nothing to prevent Braithwaite leaving and - unbelievably - they are not allowed to sign a replacement, as they have no injury crisis.
Perhaps not, but they clearly have a striker crisis. Braithwaite scored six vital Liga goals this season, while the rest of the Leganes squad have just eight between them.
That's partly because they already lost striker Youssef En-Nesyriin to Sevilla in January, leaving Leganes with an uphill fight for survival.
Of course, if Barcelona had also made this move in January, Leganes would have had at least a chance at replacing Braithwaite, but where's the fun in that?
It seems perhaps that Lionel Messi has a point: there are some pretty strange goings on behind the scenes at Camp Nou right now.
Topics: Football, Barcelona, Martin Braithwaite, Leganes