Former Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has defended the decision to sign full-back Douglas.
The 25-year-old was signed from Sao Paulo in 2014 for a fee in the region of €6million, but the Brazilian has made only eight senior appearances in two years at Camp Nou.
Zubizarreta was sacked in January last year after after receiving criticism for some of Barca’s decisions in the transfer market, but the former goalkeeper insists signing Douglas was not a mistake.
“We didn’t sign him with the idea that he would be a starter. I’m surprised at the noise that’s been created around him,” he told ARA.
“We believed he had the level for Barca and, for the investment it represented and given the figures in football, it was worth it.
“It can’t be that we criticise because Luis Suarez is a finished product and we criticise because we bring products that are just starting out.
“We signed Douglas just as we signed Denis Suarez, or [Alen] Halilovic – they look like they have options. We didn’t sign Douglas with the intention that he would win us the Champions League.
“He was a player to add to the squad, to develop. We’ll see how far. In no other club would it produce a debate like this.”
Zubizarreta was similarly criticised for his decision to bring in Thomas Vermaelen from Arsenal, with the Belgian defender missing almost the entirety of his first season at the club despite Zubizarreta’s assurance that he would be fit enough to play almost every match.
“They cut the phrase,” he explained. “I said he was ready to perform immediately when he recovered and when he played, he did not need time to adapt.”