Barcelona are now free to register summer signings Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal after the transfer ban imposed by FIFA expired on Monday.
Barca were prohibited from registering new signings for two consecutive transfer windows after breaching FIFA rules on youth transfers but they bought Turan from Atletico Madrid and Vidal from Sevilla in the summer with the intention of registering them on Jan. 4.
Barca’s five trophy haul in 2015 was all the more impressive given the sanction on fielding new signings that ends when the transfer window opens on Monday but, while they have coped well, reinforcements will boost Luis Enrique’s stretched squad He admitted his side failed to match the work-rate of the Espanyol defence in Saturday’s 0-0 La Liga draw that cost Barça top spot although they do have a game in hand.
The Catalans are unbeaten in 18 games but, aside from the two wins that saw them lift the Club World Cup last month, they have just one victory in five matches in all other competitions.
The Cup holders now face Espanyol in the first leg of their last 16 clash at the Camp Nou.
“Being unbeaten is fine but if we want to win trophies then we have to win and score goals against any rival,” technical secretary Robert Fernandez told reporters after the Espanyol draw. “If we’re going to be champions it’s necessary to win.”
Vidal has not featured since June while Arda Turan has played six matches for Turkey since the start of the season, but Catalan newspaper Sport reports that both players are fit and ready to play against Espanyol.
“It has been a difficult four months as we have had two players who have been keen to play and we have wanted to see them in action” Fernandez added.
“Still, these months have worked well in letting them get to know our style of play and the system.”