Last week’s news became official today when the 24-year-old Brazilian Douglas Pereira dos Santos signed a five-year contract to become Barça’s seventh signing of the summer. The fee has been reported as €4 million +€1.5 million in variables which will be divided between Sao Paulo where Douglas played 95 games scoring four goals in the last three seasons, and the company Traffic who owned part of the player’s rights. When this signing was originally revealed last week there was talk that Douglas would remain another year on loan at Sao Paulo but it now appears that the player is joining Barça’s first team squad immediately and that he will wear the number 16 shirt worn by Sergio Busquets until he switched to the number 5 this season.
Douglas has played primarily as a right back but his ability also to play on the left makes him seem more like an eventual replacement for Adriano rather than for Alves who as we now know has a contract until 2016. Given that Luis Enrique already has Dani Alves, Adriano, Montoya and Alba in his squad this season one wonders where Douglas is going to fit in. Curiously, on Barça’s official webpage he is described as both a right-back and a wing-back while it is also stated that his signing is “to add depth to the right hand side of Barça’s midfield”.
While this may turn out to be an absolute bargain it is difficult to understand why a loan deal for his first year hasn’t been arranged. Who knows, there are still a couple of days left of the transfer window so maybe we’ll hear something new before it closes. The possibility that we cannot sign again until 2016 may be another reason behind Douglas’s signing and perhaps doubts over Adriano’s health and fitness also played a part. The best reason of course would be that Douglas is a fantastic player who is going to leapfrog Montoya and Alves into the first team. For now, I’m not overly optimistic about that happening but the player is an unknown quantity and I wish him all the best for his time at Camp Nou.