So, Boat Forever and others have been wondering: Why haven’t we seen The Yaya in two consecutive matches now? Worries about a rift between he and Barca managment have cropped up, etc, etc. And now there are the latest rumors, that Citeh will come charging in with a pigpile of money for The Yaya who, if you believe the Britpress, is “desperate” to play alongside his brother Kolo (who isn’t Toure Kolo, as he is Toure Yaya …. but that’s another musing).
But I wouldn’t worry about The Yaya. He isn’t needed for the Liga minnows, so why not rest him? As we recall from last season, Guardiola was all about platooning players, to keep them fresh and ready for crucial matches. And it worked, right? I’m convinced that much of the reason we were “lucky” with injuries last season, was because the kilometers didn’t accumulate on players’ legs, courtesy of match after match after match. Platooning made a difference, and I think that Guardiola will do that whenever/wherever he can again this season, and DM is one of those positions where we can.
Yes, The Yaya picked up a little knock (I’ve forgotten the opponent), but it’s no big deal. But why not let it heal fully. He will be desperately needed for the big league matches and Champions League, so why run him out against a side who will only rarely cross midfield?
Now, the stories are already starting about how Citeh want him, and it’s all but a done deal, and he will request a transfer and be leaving in January, etc, etc. And as is usual with the footy rumor mill, one little outlet starts a story, some other writer finds it during a Google search and reprints it. And what’s the harm, right? But then it becomes this bizarre game of telephone, and suddenly one of the club’s 4 most important players is rumored to be all but on a plane to England.
Yes, you read that right: One of the 4 most important players, defined for me by irreplacability: Xavi, Messi, Ibrahimovic, The Yaya.
Hey, you turkey! What about Henry, Iniesta, Pique or Puyol, right? We’ve been playing just fine without Iniesta. And we’ve been getting along pretty good without Henry (even though he’s been on the pitch during his absences). Pique is almost there, but you look at Txigrinski and say “Hmmm …. well …. maybe not completely irreplacable. But those big 4: Xavi, Messi, Ibrahimovic and The Yaya, cannot be replaced by anybody on our roster or really, anybody in the world. Look at it this way: Would you make a swap for The Yaya right now with say, Essien? What about Mascherano?
I wouldn’t. No way, no how.
None of which is to say that The Yaya might not one day decide that he does want to play with his brother, on a side that isn’t going to get a sniff of the Premiership title or Champions League glory, right? You could see a player getting sick and tired of having his good match shirts doused with champagne, or being stuck in a traffic jam caused by millions of people, cheering some silly thing called a triplete. And maybe Guardiola has lost his mind when a vein popped after a goal celebration, and suddenly decided that the best DM in the world (yes, that means better than you, Essien and Mascherano), who did a very good job playing at the center of defense in the Champions League final, who has scored crucial goals for us, who has been showing great form as the World’s Largest Attacking Mid, is surplus to requirements. Yep. I can see that.
Makes perfect sense to me. 😀
We are the best club in the world, and our players are coveted by every functioning side whose management has half a brain. Citeh, being the kid in the pond with the most money, will obviously be the rumored suitor in the case of many of our players, from Puyol to Messi. But as is usual with football transfer rumors, believe nothing until the player is shown flying out of El Prat, or standing in the Camp Nou, kissing the crest.
—Sport is saying that Gabi Milito could return to duty in January, after the winter break. He has been training well, with no additional pain, stresses or anything that gives the physios cause to worry. “One of the biggest stories of the year will be being able to say that Gabriel Milito returns to the squad,” said Guardiola, who added “And we sure hope that he’s healthy and can play just enough matches for us to feature him, so that we can sell him and get something for this dude. But I do want that hair band back line first, so expect his first start to be with Puyol, Txigrinski and Maxwell.”*
(*Okay, he didn’t really say that last bit.)
But here’s the question: Milito returns, and what then? Our back line roster will consist of: Alves, Abidal, Marquez, Puyol, Txigrinski, Pique, Maxwell, Milito. And don’t forget that Muniesa and Fontas are almost ready, and Botia has been loaned out because he pretty much is ready, and we want to see how he does with a real club. So even if Milito returns, and is fit and healthy, how long can we reasonably expect him to stay with the club? Just asking.
–Suddenly, the name of Luis Suarez is everywhere, and always linked to us. There is speculation about whether he’s ready to join a side such as ours, blah, blah, blah. The real answer is who knows? Hleb was purportedly ready, with the complete skill set, and he failed. Will we sign the Uruguayan attacker? Who knows. It won’t be cheap, I’ll tell you that much, though. On paper, he’s the perfect solution for when Henry leaves at the end of this season (yes, he is …. I just don’t see him wanting to put out that hard for that long for another season in the Guardiola system). People who say “But what about Iniesta at left wing” should watch the match footage of how well he and Xavi work together, then go get their minds right.
–We still don’t know if Ibrahimovic will feature against Malaga. Guardiola only offered that he has trained well, and will travel with the side. He didn’t need to add “If we need Ibrahimovic to beat Malaga, we’re in trouble!”