Martin Braithwaite, former Middlesbrough star and Denmark international, is on the verge of a post-January transfer window move to Barcelona.
It is a bizarre move considering the 28-year-old forward's career path so far and looks for all the world like Kevin-Prince Boateng 2.0 - an ill-fitting transfer doomed to failure before it's even completed.
Though while Barcelona's recruitment team will bear the brunt of social media damnation and wry memes (possibly produced in-house) for the curious emergency signing's inability to fill the void of Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele, the Spanish champions are not the ones who stand to pay for their own mistakes.
Leganes, sat bedded deep in a relegation battle (1
For those unaware, Barcelona were granted permission from the RFEF (Spain's FA) to make an emergency signing of a new forward outside of the normal transfer window, after an injury crisis left them without both Suarez and Dembele for the remainder of the season.
The Spanish champions were given 15 days to recruit their new player - but only from within Spain or on a free.
After the likes of Angel (Getafe), Loren Moron (Real Betis) and Cristhian Stuani (Girona) were touted, it appears Barça have landed on the versatile Braithwaite - with the star's agent arriving in Catalonia on Monday to finalise a deal.
Pagarían 18M por un jugador al que pretenden ¿usar? 3 meses y luego vender— Santi Duque (@Santi_Duque) February 18, 2020
️Provocarían un huracán y un daño terrible e irreparable a un equipo que pelea por salvarse, al que ya le quitaron a EnNesyri y que no puede reforzarse
Aguirre, pese a todo, transmite confianza
By law, all La Liga players have a contractual buyout clause (€18m in Braithwaite's case), meaning Leganes - affectionately known as the Pepineros, or 'Cucumber Growers' - can do little but stand by as Barcelona harvest their star man, potentially crippling their season and even ending their status as a top-flight club - all with no recourse.
Journalist Santi Duque describes Braithwaite-gate as causing a 'hurricane' in Leganes, with the club left 'impotent and incredulous'.
From the player's perspective, it is easy to understand Braithwaite - who has scored a third of all Leganes' goals this season - having a desire to go to Barcelona. It's highly unlikely he'll ever get the chance again under normal circumstances. Though with Barça's current recruitment policy who really knows?
After the club's other key forward Youssef En-Nesyri was sold to Sevilla in the January window, it's pretty hard to argue that Leganes are not in much worse position in terms of available attackers than Barcelona - who even before Braithwaite's signing can line up with Antoine Griezmann, Ansu Fati and, oh yeah, Lionel Messi.
El Barcelona ficha por emergencia. ¿Y el Leganés?— Sid Lowe (@sidlowe) February 17, 2020
Leganes' remaining team have a combined eight goals between them this season in La Liga. Barcelona are the division's top scorers by 11.
But Lega are being punished for Barça's mismanagement.
While one can't legislate for long-term injuries (though in Dembele's case maybe there should be a certain expectancy by now), Barça's decision to sell both Carles Perez and Abel Ruiz in the January window, while failing to sign a target in the proper timeframe has left them with an 'emergency' of their own creation.
In need of a new 'number nine' but desperate to avoid repeating the Boateng episode, Barça went after Valencia's Rodrigo Moreno but - with limited funds despite shipping off Perez and Ruiz - failed to find a compromise on price.
The 'emergency' situation that followed is the equivalent to shooting yourself in the foot and then demanding your neighbour's for a transplant.
Whether Braithwaite - who will in all likelihood be cast aside for Lautaro Martinez or Neymar this summer - performs ably in attack at Camp Nou for the remaining three-and-a-half months of the season as Barcelona chase down a seventh league title in 10 years won't be the measure of the success of the transfer. It'll be whether Leganes can stay alive without him.