Martin Braithwaite joins Barcelona after the culés pay his release clause of €18 million. He joins until 2024, will have a buy-out clause of €300m, and he reinforces an attack that had been hampered by injuries and exits.
Braithwaite joined Leganés in January 2019, when they were in a similar situation as now, fighting to avoid relegation. In the end they managed to remain in the top flight quite comfortably, and Martin recorded 5 goals and 7 assists in half a season. He established himself upfront with En-Nesyri, forming a key partnership.
The Dane has been crucial in their system, having spaces and pace to run. Now he will have to adapt to a very different context as the 28-year-old is expected to give an energy kick to Barcelona and provide the speed, variety and goalscoring threat we had been lacking.
Inside Barça some executives acknowledge that “he’s a beast” – more in terms of his agility than of his strength or height, 1.77m –, and that he’s not a “natural goalscorer, we know that”. This course he has 6 goals in 24 games, while his best goalscoring seasons came in the 15/16 and 16/17 with Toulouse: 11 goals in each. From there he moved to Middlesbrough, where he wasn’t successful and left on loan to Bordeaux and Leganés. The Pepineros bought him permanently last summer for €5m.
Honestly, I feel sorry for Leganés. We have stolen them one of their two stars – the other, En-Nesyri, left to Sevilla – and we are condemning them to Segunda. Even if we chose to sell Carles Pérez and Abel Ruiz a few weeks ago, now we get the possibility to sign a sub, while ‘Lega’ have no option to buy a replacement to an indispensable figure. We make an emergency signing, but there’s no greater emergency than the one Leganés are in.
A priori, Braithwaite is a quick fix, but from Barcelona they say that this is “an exam for him. He will have minutes and chances and, if he convinces us, he could stay”. His Euros with Denmark could increase his value, but for now, while the price is too high for a back-up, I think he could be quite useful and is one of the best names linked with us. I have the feeling that he could even surprise us.