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Marc Vivés’s productivity: Barça Femení transfer window looks to the future

Barça Femení’s former sports director Markel Zubizarreta will be remembered for his astute transfer business to build the best team in the world. Now, Marc Vivés’s job is to maintain it and, if even possible, make it better.

Marc Vivés / CCMA

Vivés does not have the job of bringing in talent to produce a top team, nor to find squad players for an ideology. His job, for the moment, is a relatively novel task in women’s football: handling high wages and higher profiles in the art of negotiation to keep world-class blaugrana stars at the club, while convincing (as Zubizarreta did before him) talent that could bolster the team that the long game will be worth it. Managing finances and persuading players who could be nailed-on starters elsewhere that developing at Barcelona is better for everyone won’t be the easiest task – though Barça Femení’s trophy haul should help with the latter.

As Blaugranagram recently reported, the women’s first team transfers that need to happen over the summer are all but done: Alexia renewed, Bronze in process, Ellie Roebuck arriving (the grapevine suggests she’s already in Catalunya), and Ewa Pajor putting pen to paper.

Ewa Pajor / VfL Wolfsburg

The only big question mark was whether Mariona would renew, go to Arsenal, or pick another destination. We were able to confirm that the forward is set on Arsenal, which opens the possibility for Barça Femení to make another signing for the upcoming season. Marc Vivés’s shortlist of targets has not been short since he joined Barcelona, but in this case he would look to bring in an attacker who could jump right into the first team dynamics, with an eye for a bigger name player.

His summer will not be so quiet, though. Barça Femení’s current transfer market is getting quieter, but that only means there’s space for the sports director’s mind to turn to the future.

Looking to contracts expiring in 2025, the club has two priorities: renewing Aitana Bonmatí and Keira Walsh as soon as possible – as Blaugranagram was able to report at the start of the year – and securing Giulia Dragoni, something confirmed today by Sport’s María Tikas.

Giulia Dragoni / Getty Images

Dragoni has had fewer minutes with the first team in the 2023/24 season than many expected, and it is now probable that like many La Masia players on the verge of breaking through, she will continue her development out on loan. And before Barça gives its young players these apprenticeships elsewhere, the club wants to lock them down.

The immediate priority for Vivés’s team will be to get Dragoni locked into a long-term and likely first-team deal, giving the club as much of the summer as possible to decide when and where they may loan her out. Suggestions point to a return to the Serie A, but at Roma rather than her native Milan, possibly taking the back-up attacking midfielder role behind Giada Greggi. This idea has only been strengthened with new speculative reports that Köln in the Bundesliga want to buy Laura Feiersinger, who currently fills that position at Roma.

Aitana Bonmatí and Keira Walsh / Getty Images

Then there’s Walsh and Aitana, two impressive parts of the best midfield in the world, whose contracts will come to an end in 2025. World class players by themselves, they, like Alexia and Patri who both renewed this season, are even more important as part of the Barça machine. It was at the start of 2024, with the previous priorities hanging in limbo as the club looked to Jonatan Giráldez’s replacement, that Vivés and his team starting mapping out the priorities for the upcoming season. And sources told Blaugranagram the decision was to get started on the renewals incredibly early. A possible reason for this might be if Vivés anticipates that the deals won’t be easy: both players will be in high demand from clubs all around the world. Of course, offering them improved deals could, ironically, be easier: Barça will have paid off Walsh’s transfer fee in 2025, and may see fit to redirect a similar amount into salary offers.

Vivés may want to get their contracts extended ahead of the season, as with Dragoni. This would be incredibly ambitious, but there are indications that the sports direction would starting biting their fingernails if the pair weren’t renewed by Christmas.