News you can sorta use

"I only look stunned because I'm so happy."

The big news of yesterday came direct from the horse’s mouth, as ZubiZa said that Martin Montoya, Marc Bartra, Jonathan Dos Santos and Marc Muniesa will all be promoted to the first team next season, “according to their contracts.”

Now as usual, I’m going to do some reading between the lines here, particularly as it pertains to the quoted portion of what ZubiZa said.

Many players who renew with a club’s lower-tier side will include a “promote mah ass” clause in the new contract, aka the “play me or trade me” clause. When that clause comes due, the club then has two options (more, but let’s just say it’s two): promote the player, or sell him.

The only player on that list who I think is ready to make a significant, consistent first-team contribution is Montoya. Dos Santos is with the first team already, so he will just stay put. But he’s reached a complex phase of his development.

We all know Muniesa as the super-fast red card, about 9 seconds after his first-team debut. Bartra has talent galore, which has yet to be realized.

All of which means what? Loans, baby …. loans! Look for a couple of these folks to be sent off for some seasoning, to clubs where they can play a lot, and really get a feel for what first-team footy is like. We can also watch their development, and see whether we want them to come back.

Speaking of …. Despite what various media and agents are crabbling on about, ZubiZa (a rather talkative lad of late, isn’t he?) has said that we have no plans to bring back Oriol Romeu. In specific, “We have a first option on Oriol Romeu, but at this moment we don’t plan to re-sign him.” So Chelsea can relax, as well as its fans. Or is there such a thing as reverse tapping-up, or the old double Magilla, where we say we aren’t going to sign him, then turn around and do precisely that.

I ask, because …. Bartomeu said the other day, regarding Robin van Persie, that “Nothing exists with Robin van Persie,” said Bartomeu after Saturday’s 2-1 win over Real Sociedad. “They are rumours that appear in the newspapers. We have not contacted Arsenal, nor his agent.” And yet, his name keeps coming up. Further, EE is rumored to be considering a bid for him, just because we are, even though we aren’t. Crikey! I know we aren’t supposed to need Hector Pills during the season, but I’m not going to have my bottle far from my side.

NEYMAR!

Stupid is as Liga does We’ve made the Plat del Reig final against Athletic Bilbao (is anyone else quaking in their boots about this matchup?). A meeting will be held on Monday to decide where the final is going to be played. Now, I don’t mean to seem like I’m slagging the brains that run La Liga, as that would be wrong. I mean, we all know what a bastion of intelligence and quality management our league is, right? They schedule matches far in advance, crack down with alacrity on miscreant players and are constantly taking steps to make sure that the pub …. crap, I confused Liga with the Prem. Sorry ’bout that.

Our jackasses will be meeting to decide where the Plat final will be played. Athletic Bilbao want to play it at the Lair of Evil, and we’re down with that program, as well. Which means it will be probably be played at El Molinon, out Hee Hon way. Is there another league that still, not very long before the match, hasn’t a clue where its Cup final will be played?

Whenever one begins to think that the Liga, with its quality of play and dogfight below the big two, can make steps toward actually being considered the best league in the world, you realize that its stone-age management will always, always preclude that possibility. And onward.

The pain …. oh, the pain Team sources say that Pedro will get the green light before the weekend’s match against Osasuna, but probably not Busquets, which means that the sick bay includes: 3M, Pepe Le Pew, That’s My Seat and My Face! My Face!. Not bad, given that just a few weeks ago, we were grabbing Camp Nou vendors to complete a training roster.

I know, I know Where the hell is the Valencia review? Euler is working up some magic. And as any good conjurer will tell you, true magic just can’t be whipped up, or pulled out of thin air.

Speaking of signings I would like to lobby for no signings this summer. I know. I’m crazy, right? Particularly since we are probably going to lose Keiteeee, maybe Villa (yes, I do think so), 3M and another surprise name or two. Why? When I think of the quality that our club has, the depth and quality of its B side and the intense difficulty required to break into the nucleus of our starting XI, I wonder about wasting money. This is what I mean:

Valdes, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal, Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Messi, Fabregas, Sanchez

In looking at that XI, a player to work his way in will cost a lotta lotta dosh. Meanwhile, we also have Cuenca, Tello, Pedro, Mascherano, Montoya (who will stay), Fontas, Adriano, Dos Santos (will also stay), Thiago and a breakout Killer B or two, means that we still look a great side for next season.

Names such as Thiago Silva (overrated) are being bandied about, and I wonder if anyone here would rather have Silva in our back line over Mascherano? I wouldn’t, not from what I’ve seen from Milan matches this season. And certainly not for the price. Llorente might be hitting the market this summer? Tempting, right? But where does he play, and when? Messi isn’t sitting. All that money for a Plan B? Really?

Greatness is a complex thing, meaning that it’s hard to bump up that formula. Look at Ibrahimovic. If anyone has been watching Milan this season, when he isn’t being an ass, he has been pretty spectacular for them as far as overall integration into their play. He was our last mega-signing (no, I don’t think Villa or Fabregas were mega-signings), and absurdly expensive. He had the quality to work in the side, but not the mentality. This team needs a spectacular player who doesn’t mind fitting into the system and taking his chances where they come.

Usually, that doesn’t come as part of the M.O. of a spectacular player who is at the youth and quality level necessary to make a significant expenditure worthwhile.

Then we can also go back to making color copies at the Camp Nou. Yep.

And that’s what I know, kinda sorta.

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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.

72 Comments

  1. Lev
    February 10, 2012

    Mmm, no signings next summer? That’s a brave statement, especially seen how short we are on players this summer :s

  2. blitzen
    February 10, 2012

    Kxevin, you biased idiot! Villa isn’t going anywhere this summer, except to the Euros. With our current shortage of forwards, what reason would the club have to sell him? Pep loves him, he knows the system, he is an asset to the dressing room. I don’t think Keita will leave this summer either, although that is a more reasonable speculation. His only reason for leaving would be to get more playing time, but he has had a fair amount of minutes this season. He could certainly walk into another team’s starting XI though. Afellay I hope stays. He deserves a chance to make up for this season. I think his performance once he returns from his injury will be crucial in deciding his future.

    Agree that a couple of the youngsters will be loaned out, most likely Bartra and/or Muniesa. Or maybe Muniesa stays and Fontas is loaned (once he is recovered). Montoya almost certainly stays, and probably JDS too, since he seems to be a favourite of Pep.

    Is there another league that still, not very long before the match, hasn’t a clue where its Cup final will be played?

    Not very long? It’s months away! I agree that in general La Liga is run as competently as a fish farm in the desert, but in this case they are at least somewhat ahead of the curve.

    Oh, and welcome back. 😀

    • February 10, 2012

      Bastards! They moved it just to vex me. The end of May? Jesus. Still, the FA already knows where NEXT year’s Cup final is going to be played, by way of example. If you’re (shudder) planning to be anywhere except Spain and want to see a match, never mind a big match, good luck planning it. “It’s the 23rd. No, wait, it’s the 26th. Time? Uh, we’ll get back to you on that one.”

      –Villa’s value, once he gets healthy, will never be higher. Even if he returns and has a dazzling season, buyers will still think “That’s one less season on the clock.” I agree on Keita, but I just don’t see him being part of this club’s plans, as much as Guardiola likes him. As for 3M, Cuenca and Tello spelled out his future more capably than I ever could.

      • blitzen
        February 10, 2012

        Villa’s “value” has nothing to do with it. If Pep wants a player, he’s going to stay. If he wants him gone, he’s gone. I don’t believe RoSELL would dare to turn Villa over for cold hard cash at the risk of Pep leaving. He did that with Chygrynskiy, true, but that was a different time and Pep wasn’t as invested in that player. Not going to happen with Villa, and you are naïve if you think it will. I hope you are wrong about Afellay too, but I agree his future role on the team is in danger now that Cuenca and Tello are around. Although Tello was not one of the names Zubi mentioned as being promoted. And unlike those two, Afellay can also (in fact prefers to) play in midfield, so he has that in his favour.

      • psqd
        February 10, 2012

        Tough to say on villa. Much could ride on Euros. Kxevin is right on that his value will never be higher. I would qualify that with IF he gets fit and has a decent Euros. If he does that, you will never again get that much cash for him. If he doesn’t, then I think he has something to prove next year, and teams would expect a bargain.

        I also agree that cuenca and tello have sealed 3m’s fate. They have the advantage of the youth system so that they are more assimilated than 3m was before the injury, let alone after. Again, anything he can show this spring becomes about price. An honest guy sells him for a decent price this spring or loans him next fall to prove he’s fit and worth a decent price.

        I’d be surprised to see Keita next fall. Unfortunately, the time he could have proved most useful and possibly turned that tide, has passed with him at ANC. Also think that promotion for jds is a factor here. Not that they are the same, but there are only so many minutes.

        I am biased, I think there is a much bigger upside to Bartra than Fontas. So possibly for that reason, I think Fontas should go out on loan next fall. Also, another case of putting him in the shop window with a factory refurbished sticker on him. I just don’t think he fits with the way barca is playing at the back as well as the other prospects.

        I agree that montoya should stick around and is the heir apparent on the right. I have been very surprised at how few times he has made the match squad though. I know they have a progression plan that is methodical, but that has still surprised me.

        • mom4
          February 10, 2012

          Fontas on loan for sure. JDS stays especially if Keita goes. Montoya stays for RB tutelage (but just what is a right back any more in this system? Alves isn’t even assured of a starting spot anymore.). Dunno about Bartra. I’d hate to see him wasting away on the bench or in the stands like Fontas did. There’s only so many minutes if you’re trying for a 3-man back line.

        • Roberto Senyera
          February 10, 2012

          Also, wrt Keita, there is another ANC next year as they are realigning the years in which they’re played. I think Keita will move in the summer, all things considered (not least of which are his age and the fact that Thiago can play as the holding mid).

      • mom4
        February 10, 2012

        From what I’ve read it’s May 20th or may 25th depending on whether on not we’re a bit busy with that CL final gig.

    • mom4
      February 10, 2012

      Hafta say I agree with almost everything Blitzen says here. Villa stays, works himself into a rotation or accepts, as an older player might, a role as an impact sub. Keita has is good here with us and we have learned(over and over and over again and still we are likely to forget) how valuable he is to us and it would be incredibly stupid to let him go(especially since he won’t fetch that many bucks for us being 32). How relieved would we have been if, with the current injury crisis, we knew we had him to turn to? The kids are good, but for a few more years I’d like to have Keita and his experience to turn to. I dunno about 3M though. He’s young and might want more playing time than he’s likely to get here. Deserves a shot if he wants it.

      La Liga, played by geniuses, run by idiots. But really, aren’t there stadia other than Camp Nou, Mestalla(that place scares the crap outta me), or The S. Bernabe-ew that would work. What about the Vincente Calderon (the Basques or the Catalans still get to party in Madrid mwahaha)? It doesn’t hold that many less than the Mestalla. Would’ve liked the Bernabeu though; we own that place. 😉

      • barca96
        February 10, 2012

        Since when does the club cares about the resell value?

        They let Marquez, Henry, Milito etc. go for free. They don’t care about the money! As long as Pep wants him, he will stay and I don’t see a reason for him to leave or Pep not wanting him anymore.

        Same goes with 3M. Tello & Cuenca ain’t got shit on 3M! Those 2 are so one-dimensional and predictable.
        And 3M can play in midfield too.

        • mom4
          February 10, 2012

          um…I was the one arguing for them staying as in deserves a shot…redirect anger maybe

      • Roberto Senyera
        February 10, 2012

        I heard that the Calderon is out since a concert is scheduled then. It should be a neutral place and not the Camp Nou. I want the Bernabooboo but can’t see both EE & Spanish FA ‘allowing’ that. One of my greatest regrets as a cule is that we couldn’t win the 2010 UCL Final in the House of Evil (our second home).

        Mestella is the logical choice for both sets of fans in the CdR Final. The Sanchez Pizjuain would also be a good neutral site but it’s much further away.

  3. February 10, 2012

    Glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks Villa may be leaving.

    I don’t think we’re going to actively try and sell anyone. But there is a short list of players who I think we would sell for the right price. Keita, Afellay, and Villa are all on that list.

    I also think Fontas needs to be mentioned in the mix of possible sales.

  4. blitzen
    February 10, 2012

    Funny to see the same people putting players on the auction block are the same ones complaining about how small our squad is…

  5. Lev
    February 10, 2012

    Yeah, count me among the not-so-convinced-ones that think 3M has more talent than Cuenca (of whom I am not yet convinced) and Tello (who I simply haven’t seen enough). Ibi has to show it though. I already thought the purchase of Alexis would mean that Ibi will never be a starter, but after his injury it is going to be really tough for him.

    • Jim
      February 10, 2012

      Interesting conversation folks.

      Never been convinced by Affellay as I’m not sure what he brings -everything is tidy but not sensational and that’s what Barcelona needs. Villa must stay. Although he was on a poor streak it will turn around. He suffered from us stuttering a little. We’re now criticising Messi for the one on ones we were having a go at Villa for. Too much of an upside to keeping him. He’s a goalscorer.

      After his performance the other night I’m a Jordi Alba fan and I won’t say no to Neymar but I don’t think he’s essential. I’d take Bale in a minute but not at the likely price. If we don’t think Pedro can return to his scoring ways then we need another forward. Cuenca isn’t it. He doesn’t strike a ball well at all. Tello is technically better in this regard for me but it’s way too early to be able to say he’ll make it. Bit predictable with the stepover and dash to the byeline. He’ll need to develop the cut inside if he’s to make the grade.

      From the young defenders I actually like Muniesa. I watched him a fair bit way back when he got his red card for the A team and thought he showed a lot of promise but I can’t pretend I watch the youngsters much so I’ll be guided by others on that.

      I’m not sure JDS will ever make it. He’s tidy in possession but loses the ball in simple situations, for me. I’m still unconvinced by Adriano (maybe a hangover from my Maxwell advocacy?). He’s not great defender and I’m seeing less of note in his attacking play than I thought I would at one point. I have to also say that Abidal has had his shakiest season in a long time although here has been the odd gem of a performance.

      Finally, for me a big centre forward would just never settle in this team. He needs to be mobile, quick, defend well, have lightning feet and accept that a five foot midget will outscore him by 2-1 at least. . Not many of them about !

      • Roberto Senyera
        February 10, 2012

        Largely agree with this.

      • Messiah10
        February 13, 2012

        I agree and disagree. Villa scores goals and when he’s on, he’s ON. If his form dips then Cuenca and Tello could fill his spot. I really. . . I mean REALLY like Tello. True, it was the FCWC that he did well his 1st showing, but man he has speed and the natural born instincts and daft touch to place a ball where he wants it in the back of the net. Cuenca is a great provider of service but not much w/technique on the shot. Loan JDS and make him prove him self. I don’t see much there. Vehemantely disagree about Affellay. I think he can play multiple positions, which we require, and how can you forget the service he provied Messi last year at EE. That speed was quicker than Cuenca, maybe not Tello. Good thoughts through out comments though and shows what Pep may do and what he may not. We’ll see???

  6. nzm
    February 10, 2012

    I don’t want anyone to leave, and I want Pep to start thinking about who’s going to start filling big boots as Puyol, Xavi and Abidal reach their mid-30s.

    • nzm
      February 10, 2012

      Damn – my comment got posted before I finished.

      Add:
      Granted that those 3 will be around for a while longer, but it’s imperative that they sit some games out in order to prolong their effectiveness.

      • Lev
        February 10, 2012

        Well, Xavi is irreplacable by anyone other than Messi (if Messi would replace Xavi than nobody would EVER replace Messi of course), but I think that with Iniesta, Cesc, Busi and Thiago we have 4 midfielders that other teams can only envy.

        Puyol and Abidal is more difficult. Masch can only replace 1 of them. I personally don’t like Fontas all that much. Adriano did have a stretch of games where he played REALLY well before he got injured last season (I thought he was one of the best players on the field in the 1-1 at the Bernabeu). Maybe Bartra will work out?

    • Roberto Senyera
      February 10, 2012

      Thanks for sharing that one. No chance Perez & the Spanish FA are allowing a repeat of that there (the Spanish anthem would be whistled at by both sets of fans, Basque and Catalan alike). It would have been an even more glorious night if the Final were there though.

      • nzm
        February 10, 2012

        It will be interesting to see if Juan Carlos actually turns up – given his frailty, and the crowd performance when Bilbao and Barca last met in the CdR final. He was ‘just’ there at the Davis Cup tennis final. But then it will be May which will (hopefully!) have warmed up from what it is now!

    • Roberto Senyera
      February 10, 2012

      The Barçabeu. I like it.

      Like Miami and Stallone, the Bernabeu, our second home.

  7. Helge
    February 10, 2012

    I completely agree with your rant about the liga management. The schedule is the smallest problem, albeit the easiest to solve.

    I’ve also read that there is a new player’s strike looming on the horizon. Wouldn’t that be awesome? We could finish la Liga during the first matches of the Euro 2012 then!

    And what did you want to say with your exclamation of Neymar? Is that your way of wishing him a happy birthday? 🙂

      • mom4
        February 10, 2012

        Can we wait until summer to start throwing his name around please. There’ll be a worldwide shortage of hector pills if we start too soon.

        For the record, I’d take Van Persie(and I don’t even like him much) over Neymar *runs and hides*.

        • February 10, 2012

          I don’t want either one, but I think that if Guardiola can get the kid to stop being silly, Neymar’s up side is colossal. Van Persie is going to be what he is right now. Neymar still has much, much improving to do.

          But in both cases, too expensive, too many questions about integration, etc. Going from general to soldier is a difficult adjustment, particularly for players who have been generals their whole lives.

          • Helge
            February 10, 2012

            And note that RvP would, after one season, be as old as Villa is right now. So RvP would be an investment for practically 2 seasons.
            I don’t want either one, too – nonetheless Neymar is a better deal on the long term. And I believe that Pep & Co. are seriously interested in him, even Xavi apparently sent him a birthday SMS. So if Xavi and Pep want this kid – can we still be against it?

          • mom4
            February 10, 2012

            I’ll be quite content, for next year, with keeping everyone we have and promoting some key babies. After that, who knows?

  8. February 10, 2012

    Now, what’s scary about this whole deal is that we have players at almost every key position who canNOT be replaced. Spot by spot:

    Valdes: Okay for now
    Alves: ditto
    Pique: Head out of butt and he’s fine
    Puyol: No way, no how, no idea
    Abidal: ditto
    Busquets: Okay for now
    Xavi: No way, no how, oh lord, we’re doomed
    Iniesta: Okay for now
    Messi: Okay for now
    Same with the rest. But those three key positions, that control so much of what we do offensively and defensively, are staffed by once-in-a-lifetime players. Going to be interesting.

    • Jafri
      February 10, 2012

      Agreed. Also there’s no one I would transfer into the Barca side right now… No single player in world football today (available for transfer or otherwise) that I think could bump any of these guys from their spots.

      • Messiah10
        February 13, 2012

        Silva anyone??? Mezut???? I know their not available but you said anyone. Silva has made Man C what they are this year…oh yeah, and a former FCB player…who was that guy???

  9. Laurentiu88
    February 10, 2012

    i think we will also have Bojan back? or is it in two years? i dont think Roma will pay 28 mil for him…

    • February 10, 2012

      Booooo, for that reminder. I haven’t seen what I would label signs of glowing improvement from that one. I suppose time will tell but yes, like an unwanted penny, he is defo coming back. I still want to know why he kept getting shots and Keirrison never did.

      Mind you, that’s a naive question, because I know the answer.

    • Ryan
      February 10, 2012

      That goal he scored recently by squeezing through 4 defenders and then beating the keeper was pretty nice though.

      • February 10, 2012

        But he would do stuff like that when we had him, only to return to being …. Bobo, as many have affectionately nicknamed him.

        • Ryan
          February 10, 2012

          Yeah, chief among them the thundering goal vs. Inter that should’ve counted. 😛

          If he could’ve maintained the kind of form he had when he replaced BANGS, he would’ve been such an asset for us.

  10. February 10, 2012

    Also if Keita were to leave, we could buy back Romeu from the Blues to back Busi. The future is indeed bright. As much as I think Xavi is one in a gazillion, I think with time Thiago will get there, perhaps even with a further dimension or two to his game. We have to remember Xavi was no where near Thiago’s level at the latter’s age. Neither was Iniesta for that matter.

    Puyol will be tough because heart and soul can’t be trained or taught.

    • Laurentiu88
      February 11, 2012

      this is a good point, even if i may not have a perfect recollection of both xavi and iniesta i can agree that they were not close to where Thiago is now; then again the whole team play may matter…

  11. TITO
    February 10, 2012

    Kids, if you can call them kids, won’t have a problem with a substitute role, until they reach or fight for a place in the starting line-up.
    It’s the others (Villa, Keita, Afellay, Pedro, Masch…) which i’m not so sure will they want to stay and play a substitute role, cause, let’s be honest, some of them got a lot of minutes this season due to injuries of the first team players. Puyol, Pique or Busquets will always be picked ahead of Masch, same with Cesc and Villa, same with Sanchez and Pedro or Afellay, same with Xavi or Iniesta and Keita or Thiago.
    And if you have Neymar coming the next season and you still have the others in the team…i mean, how the hell is Neymar going to be satisfied with a bench role? As someone else mentioned earlier, i can’t think of a player that could walk in in our starting line-up, not at this moment. Maybe Maxi Lopez as a lone striker. And bring back Oleguer for Puyol.
    More of them will stay, Villa,Keita, Pedro…they will stay, baring in mind that they are more or less guarantied trophies with this team.

    • Roberto Senyera
      February 10, 2012

      I’d say Neymar would be in our best XI as a winger along with Alexis as the other winger with Messi as a false nine. Not right away mind you as he would need time to integrate. Just my honest opinion. And he’s only 20. Can you imagine the half decade of ridiculousness with those three playing together as our three best forwards? Insane. I know we don’t need Neymar right now but Pep isn’t the type to just stand pat.

  12. Roberto Senyera
    February 10, 2012

    Haven’t read the comments yet but thanks for the article and congrats on your new pad.

    Once Fontas recovers he has to be loaned out to get starting minutes. He almost never played this year. Absolute slam dunk he’ll be loaned out.

    Can’t believe we won’t sign anyone in the summer. I’d be happy with either one or two of the following: Alba, Thiago Silva, Neymar, RvP. Don’t need mids. We need cover at LB, CB, and forward (goal scoring threat).

    What the hell is the x in your handle? Are you a PT pharmacist when you’re not writing? I was always curious about that :roll:

    • February 10, 2012

      I just thought that now-gone sports director Txiki B was awesome, as the architect for so much goodness, so way back in the day, I decided to adopt an “x.” And there you have it. You thought I was Basque, didn’t you? 😀

      • Roberto Senyera
        February 10, 2012

        He he. A Basque pharmacist 😉

    • Roberto Senyera
      February 10, 2012

      Oh, and Bale too. With his killer pace he’d be a very interesting LB for us. Tough to get English speaking footballers to play here though for a variety of reasons. Who was the last one at FCB? Mark Hughes? And he was a fine Welshman also.

  13. February 10, 2012

    Hi Everyone,

    I just wanted to apologize for not getting the Valencia review up. I started it on Wednesday evening after the match but then got swamped at work with somethings that I had to get done. I just didn’t have time to write it all up.

    • Roberto Senyera
      February 10, 2012

      Ronnie’s a Barça Legend in my books. His reputation isn’t tarnished from where I sit. His last year with us was regrettable but he’s just human, the locker room wasn’t the same then, and most importantly Pep wasn’t the mister.

      I still smile like a giddy schoolboy every time I watch clips of Ronnie. Best in the world for a couple of years while he was in our colours. Gotta love Ronnie 🙂

      • nzm
        February 10, 2012

        I watched him play in the Copa Libertadores the other night which Gol TV (Spain) broadcasts. He was absolutely wonderful to watch. Still miss him, and I think that he’s just a wonderful person as well.

  14. simple_barcafan
    February 10, 2012

    so what happens to Keirrison? We have paid 14 million for him!..I cannot believe that we pay so much for a player, never to play him ever..

  15. Josep
    February 10, 2012

    Speaking of signings I would like to lobby for no signings this summer. I know. I’m crazy, right? Particularly since we are probably going to lose Keiteeee, maybe Villa (yes, I do think so), 3M and another surprise name or two. Why? When I think of the quality that our club has, the depth and quality of its B side and the intense difficulty required to break into the nucleus of our starting XI, I wonder about wasting money. This is what I mean:

    lol. without reading the comments all I have to say is you have absolutely no clue about transfers and should just leave it to someone else.

    • February 10, 2012

      There’s absolutely no need to be insulting simply because you disagree with someone else’s point of view.

      You haven’t even made an argument – which is really ironic given the nature of your comment. You’ve just made a fact free assertion and mixed in some rudeness. Snark is just a bland crutch people use on the internet. It doesn’t add anything.

      The vast majority of football sights are crippled by the nasty tone and culture that pervade them. That’s something we have no interest in reproducing here.

      If you feel the need to be insulting rather than making a legitimate argument there are plenty of other outlets to do that through.

    • blitzen
      February 10, 2012

      I agree with Euler. You can certainly disagree with Kxevin (I did), but if you aren’t going to A) Bother to read the entire thread, or B) Put forward a well-reasoned argument of your own, then keep your snarkiness to yourself.

  16. February 10, 2012

    A note on all of these promotions – I have some real concerns about these contracts their implications.

    Watching the B team – I really don’t think either Bartra or Muniesa are ready for first team action. I don’t think they are necessarily even that close to being ready.

    That’s not really a big deal. Both are very young. Bartra is talented but still raw.

    And Muniesa has been hurt so often he hasn’t even played enough. And this season has become complicated for Muniesa as he’s now playing DM for the B team given that JDS has been promoted. That’s unlikely to be his long term position. So even this season he may get less experience at his long term position than anticipated.

    But their contracts have now forced their promotions. That’s not an ideal way to facilitate their development.

    Montoya is ready. JDS probably is as well – although how and whether he fits long term is unclear.

    But Bartra and Muniesa could use more time.

    So this sets up a potential situation where either Bartra and Muniesa stay with the team and rarely play or they are loaned out and/or sold.

    Perhaps a loan will be the best step for their developments. But it would have been much better to reach that decision independently. Now it is almost being forced.

    If Bartra and Muniesa were interested in getting first team football as soon as possible at some team then these contracts made sense. But if they wanted to stay at Barca I don’t think these contracts really did them many favors.

    I just don’t think these are good precedents to be setting – though the club really didn’t have much it could do as the players were holding out for those clauses. Perhaps what those two really wanted was to just find first team football by the start of the 2012/2013 season even if that meant a loan. But if not – their agents didn’t do them many favors.

    • nzm
      February 10, 2012

      Agree with all that – plus the fact that the B team is going to be severely depleted.

      A couple of posts ago, I wrote a comment about it being important that the B team also continues to do well because it’s a stepping stone, and something to aspire to, for all the boys coming through La Masia. If the B team isn’t at least in the 2nd league, it makes offers from other teams more attractive to the young kids to accept before they become of a legal age for Barca to commit to a contract.

      I’m also concerned that Jean Marie Dongou will be promoted ahead of time into Barca B – like Deulofeu. He’s simply too young and needs at least another year in Juvenil A. This week, we saw what happened to the young kids when they came up against Ajax youths a couple of years older than them. Dongou in the B Team will be coming up against players more than 10 years older than him, in most cases.

      • February 10, 2012

        This is really an excellent point. Very important one. Having the B team in the second division is critical to development. Without that its going to force the club into earlier promotions to the first team and/or more loans.

        With all of these promotions its going to be difficult for the B team next season unless they buy players to compete. Which sort of defeats part of the purpose of having a B team.

        I also agree with you that players are being promoted too fast in certain cases. And the lack of coordination across the club concerns me as well.

        What was the point of promoting Deulofeu this season? He’s 17 and hardly plays. I just don’t get it. It makes little sense.

        They could have just left him in Juvenil A and then called him up from time to time to get him more of a sense for better competition.

        And the same thing holds for Dongu.

        It’s unclear even what the advantage of pushing them forward faster is given how difficult spots are to find on the first team when players have to take that final transition step.

        Are Dongu and Deulofeu going to be important contributors to the first team at 18? At 19? It seems unlikely. If so why accelerate them to the B team at 17 when you don’t even have definite plans for them to get minutes?

        It would be better for them to err on the side of caution to make sure a Bojan situation isn’t repeated. Especially now when the first team is filled with so much brilliant talent.

        • blitzen
          February 10, 2012

          What was the point of promoting Deulofeu this season? He’s 17 and hardly plays. I just don’t get it. It makes little sense.

          Um, Euler, I don’t know how much you follow the B team, but Deulofeu has pretty much played in every game in the last few months. With Tello taking on some duties for the first team, Geri has become essential for Barça B. He is exactly where he needs to be and developing very well.

  17. Josep
    February 10, 2012

    oh my god just read these posts. besides blitz and barca96 you’re all insane. your bias is incredible are you all catalan?

    afellay isn’t as good as Tello and Cuenca? LOL. Afellay is good enough to start for Netherlands but these kids are better? Yes, our youth system is amazing but lets be serious.

    you all have these insane football manager-esque posts. no one even mentioned Botia being rebought? these posts are so whack. ridicule me for ripping y’all, but you’re crazy. Villa’s value won’t ever be higher than it is now? Oh my, an aging player is losing value? We wouldn’t purchase a player like him for the price we did if we planned to sell him out a loss in such a short time.

    these afellay might be done jokes are good. like tello will replace him lol. afellay has had how much time to learn the system? we bought him last january, so been here 13 months and been injured for how many of those?

    you guys need to tone it down. tello isn’t ready, cuenca has deteriorated recently but because his first appearances were so glowing we think he’s just in a slump now, sounds like bojan.

    yes the future is bright but these posts sound arrogant. of the starting XI only Abidal (omg blasphemous) could possibly lose his spot next season. think about it, its extremely doubtful we’ll by a;
    GK
    RB
    DM
    MID
    RW/ST

    So only the left side could be changed. A CB possibly, and who fits both categories?

    • February 10, 2012

      What is it with you and these comments? They are completely fact free assertions. And they’re bizarrely pedantic.

      This is exactly the kind of comment you’d read on Goal.com or soccernet.

      • February 10, 2012

        Further, I don’t reckon that calling everyone in the space a jackass is the way to inspire intelligent debate. The other opinions are every bit as valid as yours. None of us have real-world jobs as football managers, right? So you have an opinion. Everyone else does, as well. There is a way to express it without rolling into the room, giving everyone the finger, calling them stupid and leaving. Not cool, and not in keeping with the tone of this space.

        Someone could poke just as many holes in your suppositions, and with just as much bile-drenched “authority.”

        But really, what’s the point in that?

    • blitzen
      February 10, 2012

      I mean, I agree with your point about “insane football manager-esque posts”, quite frankly, but you just come off as rude and trollish.

      You can disagree with people while still having an intelligent discussion, you know.

    • Ryan
      February 10, 2012

      While some people may be saying that Cuenca and Tello are more talented than Afellay, it isn’t up for debate that they know the system much better than the Dutchman. I for one hope that he stays with the club, but for the short-medium term the youngsters probably will have more of an impact than 3M. (especially considering his bad injury) Not taking anything away from 3M and his great cross to Messi for the goal against EE though.

  18. K_legit in Oz
    February 10, 2012

    I hate to be hipster about it but..I was a fan of Tello before it was cool to be one 😀

    • February 10, 2012

      Oh, go watch “Portlandia,” ya hipster, ya.

      P.S. I was a fan of Cuenca’s mother, before he was even born. 😀

      • Miguel
        February 10, 2012

        It’s true. I was backstage when Kxevin was making a plaster cast of Tello’s daddy’s…. Ok, I’m done.

      • K_legit in Oz
        February 10, 2012

        Hahaha, fuck I love Portlandia..plus the theme song of the show is ‘Feel it all around’ by one of my fav bands Washed Out..the episode with the dog tied outside the restaurant is awesome! I actually know some people like that..plus Melbourne’s hipster central lol!

        But it is true..have been a big fan of the kid..pestered @Youngcules on twitter a lot regarding him since last year!

        😀

      • Lev
        February 10, 2012

        Well shoot, Kxev, I was Cuenca’s dad! :p

        • Lev
          February 10, 2012

          (Damn, I meant Kxevin – I now remember a post in which you said you didn’t like that abbreviation at all)

  19. Kimcelona
    February 11, 2012

    I agree with Blitzen and I believe, Barca96(?). No way are we selling Villa unless he wants to leave, which I doubt is the case. The guys says he wants to retire here (whether that actually happens I don’t know) so I think he will see out his contract..which is 4 years! Villa is a HUGE asset IMO. I know some don’t like him for whatever reason but he is still THE goalscorer and other than that his game has improved so much since arriving at Barca. Tracking back, link-ups, creating space, creating width, is but some of what he brings for the team. We TOTALLY miss him this season. That is why I went into a cacoon as soon as I saw him not move after falling on the field at the WCC.

    And here endeth my Villa advert 🙂 …

    About the B-teamers, this is where I agree with Kxevin. Monti is staying, he’s Dani’s light under the ass and then eventual successor. JDS is pretty much already a first teamer but the others I think will be loaned out. If it were up to me though, I’d loan out Fontas (whenever he gets fit) and keep Bartra, whom I believed should have been promoted instead. Munieas has the potential to be great but I don’t think he’s ready yet.

    Ibi- I reaalllllllllllyyyyy want him to stay and be a force to be reckoned with. For now I think he will, but for one more season.
    Keita aint leaving, unless he wants to and I dont think he does.

    This is the first time in a really long time where I think we don’t really need to sign ANYONE at all and I feel like the club won’t make any. Really, who do we need?

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