Andre Cury, Barcelona's former scout in South America, has spoken exclusively to SPORT about some of the deals he was involved in during his time at the Catalan club.
If you have so much knowledge of the South American market, why have none of the players signed by Barça B worked out?
To be clear, I look, I propose and I show [Barca] what's good. The decision is never mine regarding who is signed, what they're paid... I scout, I show opportunities and solutions for the academy, the B team and the first team.
There are signings that are difficult to understand, like Robert Gonçalves or Matheus Pereira.
When the club went to sign the first one, I explained that he wouldn't play a game. Matheus came from Juventus. It was nothing to do with me.
So what operations did you do?
Marlon, who left nine million euros of profit, Vitinho, Gabriel Novaes, who was a request from the sporting directorate. They all came on loan with an option to buy. Why? Because the integration of the players is difficult, there's always a risk.
I was still at the club, but they didn't consult me on the sporting or the financial part of the deal. I think the club made a mistake, paying 4.5m for 70 percent of his rights... it's an operation not in line with the market. Gabriel Novaes, who is a forward and a better player, we brought him from the same team in more favourable conditions.
Did any of these players have Barça DNA?
To insist: who chooses the players is the sporting directorate, where there are around 50 people working. I am an executor. They tell me the player and I try to negotiate the best deal for the club. Obviously, as a scout, I also put names forward.
When I saw in the Champions League we lost 4-0 to PSG and 3-0 to Juventus, I proposed and fought for the signing of Paulinho, who was in China. There was a resistance to his signing. He was there one season and won two titles. When they lost against Levante and in the Champions League against Roma, he didn't get on the pitch. He left a profit, too. Another case is Arthur. I put him forward, I insisted Barça came to see him and they took six months. When Robert Fernandez came, he fell in love with the player and they signing him.
What do you make of the swap deal with Pijanic?
It is one of the biggest aberrations I have seen in the history of football. It's absolutely absurd. You change Arthur, who is only 23 and earning €2m net, for a 31-year-old on €6m a year, increasing your wage bill. It's normal that he still hadn't played his best football because he arrived at a great club like Barca and had two injuries that interfered with his progression. In the first year he wasn't completely focused, but after that he was.
Is it true he liked the nightlife too much?
No, I wouldn't say that. When he arrived, he wanted to know the city, maybe he kept some bad company. But after the Neymar party, when he was wrong to go to Paris, he spoke with the club. He realised his mistake and was growing. He was going to be a great player for Barcelona.
What about the deals for Yerry Mina and Emerson Royal?
They were both signed for the first team. Yerry's the best Colombian centre-back and when the club sold him, within six months, they signed Jeison Murillo, who must be the fifth best Colombian centre-back. If Barça had been better off financially, I think Yerry would have stayed, even with an offer of 35 million, because he's young, has quality, scores goals... and now they suffer at the back in big games.
And Emerson Royal?
The agreement with Real Betis is really good. The player's in his third year at a really high level, creating and scoring goals at 22 years of age. You have Semedo and Sergi Roberto at the time... the idea was to sell one to bring in Emerson. This season, they signed Dest and broke the plan. There's a lack of strategic planning there on the club's part.
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