The La Liga table current champions were authorized to make an emergency signing, following the injury of Ousmane Dembelé who will miss the rest of the season. The club was only allowed to sign a player within the same league and they went for Leganes striker Martin Braithwaite.
Allegedly, Barcelona paid around €18M for the Danish international. Braithwaite has 6 goals in 24 La Liga games and 2 assists. The 28-year-old signs until 2024, with a release clause of €300M.
Quique Setien will now have another attacking option, although Braithwaite can not play in Champions League, as the deadline for the squad list expired last week.
Barcelona has, however, been slammed by public opinion for this emergency signing. Pundits have been claiming the club should have prevented this situation before the end of the winter transfer market.
Plus, La Liga has not authorized Leganes to replace Braithwaite with a signing of their own. The club is currently battling relegation.
Who is Martin Braithwaite?
Martin was born in Esbjerg, in Denmark, to a Guyanese father and a Danish mother. He started playing in the academy of Esbjerg fB, until 2009 when he made his professional debut in the Danish League.
In total, he scored 12 goals in 63 appearances for Esbjerg, between 2009 and 2013. He won the Danish Cup with the club, scoring two goals in the final and clubs around Europe started bidding on him.
Braithwaite joined Ligue 1 team, Toulouse, in 2013, for a fee of roughly €2 million. He stayed 4 seasons in the club, making 137 appearances and scoring 35 goals.
In 2017, Championship side Middlesbrough decided to gamble on the Danish prodigy. They paid nearly £9 million, but in late January he was loaned back to Ligue 1 (this time to Bordeaux).
Returning to the club in Summer, Braithwaite expressed his desire to leave and join La Liga. However, Middlesbrough denied his request and he stayed for half a season, scoring 3 goals.
In January 2019 he joined CD Leganes. He scored his first goal for the club in the Copa del Rey, helping the team to eliminate Real Madrid (1-0). He scored a total of 4 goals in 19 league appearances in 2019.
Leganes made his signing permanent in Summer, for a fee of €5M, making him the second most expensive signing in their history. Less than a year later, the club sees their investment tripling, as Barcelona activated Braithwaite release clause.
However, as it was mentioned before, Braithwaite’s numbers show that he is unlikely to succeed in a club with high demands as Barcelona. The player has never averaged more than 10 goals per season, not even in the Danish Superliga.