Life comes at you fast, Gerard.
Philippe Coutinho’s £142million transfer to Barcelona is all but confirmed and the deal marks a significant shift in philosophy for the Catalan giants.
Ousmane Dembele’s arrival at the Nou Camp in the summer made the Frenchman the second most expensive player in history — topped only by the man he was recruited to replace, Neymar.
Coutinho now holds that honour, at least until Kylian Mbappe officially joins PSG on a permanent basis, which means Barcelona have forked out two of the three most expensive transfer fees ever.
Rewind a few years and the club prided themselves on their relatively low spending with many of their key players being La Masia graduates.
Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol, Victor Valdes, Pedro, Cesc Fabregas and Pique himself were all taught the beautiful game at Barcelona’s famous academy.
Gerard Pique has never missed an opportunity to stick the knife into Real Madrid but the Catalan centre-back may be regretting his comments about Los Blancos’ spending back in 2013.
Speaking about the difference between the rivals’ transfer policies, he said: “Real Madrid had a year without winning titles and spend €160million on three players – Illaramendi, Isco and Gareth Bale.
“Barcelona doesn’t have to do this. We know we are different because we can compete with them without spending that money.”
That’s not the situation these days, is it?
Real Madrid’s notable signings in the last few years have been Mateo Kovacic, Marco Asensio, Theo Hernandez and the return of Alvaro Morata — all for relatively low fees given the way the market has exploded.
Plus, they recouped £58m by selling Morata to Chelsea.
Pique’s assertion that Barca ‘can compete without spending’ no longer rings true following the signings of Dembele and Coutinho.
After years of sly digs at Florentino Perez’s willingness to open his chequebook, Pique and Barca fans may have to find a new line of ‘banter’ to pursue.