I’m sure a lot of football fans were quite surprised (no more so than Middlesborough fans) when Martin Braithwaite moved to the current La Liga champions.
When one of the biggest teams in football come calling, you RUN. Especially if you are playing for Leganès.
No disrespect to Leganès, but they are not Barcelona.
Braithwaite moved to Barcelona in February 2020 when said club triggered his release clause of 18M euros.
Barcelona made the purchase outside of the Spanish transfer window and the La Liga champions got special dispensation after the long term injuries of Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele.
La Liga give clubs special exemption to purchase players outside of the transfer window if they can prove that a player will be injured for longer than 6-months and that they will need a replacement.
In the Barcelona inner circle, Braithwaite is impressing everyone within the club including manager Ronald Koeman.
Braithwaite is impressing with his speed of thought and his ability to intelligently anticipate the thought process of defenders. The Dane’s hard work and seriousness is lifting the team on and off the pitch. This is a forward who is at the top of his game and who believes in his ability.
This has shown in his last 3 games where he has started, he has scored 4 goals out of the 11 scored and the team have kept 3 clean sheets also.
Braithwaite also broke a 5-year curse where the number 9 shirt (worn by Luis Suarez) hadn’t scored away from home in the Champions League.
The confidence that Braithwaite has shown since he has arrived is lifting the whole team and as soon as he knew Suarez was leaving the Nou Camp, he asked to take the number 9 shirt, which in itself, shows the confidence he has in his ability.