Saturday musings: The Yaya and being in the crosshairs

Baby please don't go! Everybody, hold him down!
Baby please don't go! Everybody, hold him down!

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!”

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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. Achraf
    September 26, 2009

    And kxevin comes in to save the day.

    Well I was expecting a comment but a full-nlow is better so ya thanks for claryfying. But are you expecting to see him today or for Kiev or both

  2. Achraf
    September 26, 2009

    Correction* I was expecting a comment but a full-blown post is better”

  3. ElShowDeJason
    September 26, 2009

    forgive the Blasphemy, but if Chelsea offered us Essien for Yaya, it wouldn’t be an automatic “no”.

    Have you seen Essien?

    But still, I suppose in the end I would just marginally pick Yaya.

    • Kxevin
      September 26, 2009

      Last season, before the ascendancy of Keita, it would have given me more pause. This season, with Keita doing the box-to-box thing, I’d still come down on the side of The Yaya.

      Could Essien play center back or attacking mid? Maybe. Can The Yaya? Yep, and very well. I just think that his versatility and intelligence with the ball make him a DM nonpareil right now.

  4. Achraf
    September 26, 2009

    Hey btw I think the guys at are doing a good job at being the “succesor” to pep’s blog. If they maintain a high standard of daily barca news this blog can start working with them like we used to with pep”s place. You know being complementary and + kxevin could use less work finding and translating the news for us he already does enough

    • Kxevin
      September 26, 2009

      I like what they’re doing over there. Smells like Pep, though, unless someone just decided to mimic the structure of his place in a WordPress format.

      Either way, it’s good to have more providers out there. If we see Ramzi’s Ramble return, then it will really be smelling like Pep.

      I wonder, however, about their label of the Cruijff’s Corner translation as “exclusive,” unless they’ve worked a deal with El Periodico to carry the column. But if someone is translating his weekly blog posts, that’s really cool and worth a read, but not “exclusive.” But that’s just the journalism nerd in me coming out.

      I’ll be curious to see how the site continues to grow and improve, for sure, and thanks for letting us all know about it. I was wondering what would happen with the ghost of Pep’s Place.

  5. Boat Forever
    September 26, 2009

    LOL Kevin… I knew those rumors but I didn’t allow myself to believe that 😉
    I was only worried if the Yaya had some knock or some thing. Plus he’s been some what off the form lately, so give the required rest to Keita and some play time for Yaya if he’s fully fit, so that he regains his form back by the time we roll into CL.

    • Boat Forever
      September 26, 2009

      More on Luis Suarez… Frank de Boer, a certain ex-cule recommends him to us. And the speculation is all over with coming up with an article whether the player is ready yet to jump into a major European team. I’m all pumped up, been waiting for this 😉

  6. BA
    September 26, 2009

    “Barca are a young team and if they make two or three clever signings every year they could enjoy a lengthy period of success, because their approach is very good.
    “It seems to me Barca’s strategy is very intelligent whereas we’ll have to wait and see with Madrid.”

    – Fabio Capello, yesterday.

    • Helge
      September 26, 2009

      And this comes out of the mouth of a former RM coach 😀

      But no doubt about his knowledge, he is one of the best coaches. Hope he is right with this prediction.

    • Kxevin
      September 26, 2009

      Somebody step up, because Kxevin’s going to the opera again. 😀 I know. Barca IS high culture, but every now and again, you have to go and hear the fat lady sing, so to speak. And “Tosca” kinda kicks ass.

  7. Jnice
    September 26, 2009

    I like the way Tenerife are playing. They pass the ball so well.

  8. Boat Forever
    September 26, 2009

    Some one please provide some streaming links, it’s frustrating not being able to watch Barca live in India. For my proxy settings only maxxed tv worked till now, only once, now it shows max number of streams being used for your country 🙁
    PLEASE do help

    • yogi
      September 26, 2009

      well, you will find the links at and most of chinese ones work well. if you got highspeed, then veetle is quite good too for gol tv.

      • Boat Forever
        September 26, 2009

        thanks man, will try one of those

  9. ballbeav
    September 26, 2009

    is it me or is GolTV suddenly not available on the TVU player?

  10. Criminally Bulgur
    September 26, 2009

    I doubt this is the reason why he’s been sitting, but I worry about Yaya’s conditioning with the weight he’s added over the last 9 months or so.

  11. Cesc Blanc
    October 2, 2009

    good article…people have to consider that Yaya will play African Cup of Nations, very probably make it to the final with Cote D’Ivoire, very probably play ever damn game and due to his physics, he is not a player for 100 games a year. So as usual Pep follows the Spike Lee joint and does the right thing. I don’t think that you can in any way or form rate a player more highly than with what Pep did, when in need for a centerback trusted Yaya more with the role than anybody else.

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