What would YOU do this summer, aka “To hell with Football Manager. Let’s get cray!”

"I'd sell his butt, too. Like THAT!"

Silly Season is upon us. There are those who grab the bottle of Hector Pills and head for the hills, coming down only when the season starts and there are no more deals to be done.

Others of us absolutely LOVE this shit. Let’s do it. The crazier the better, because Silly Season isn’t the time for logic. Barca will be bundling Krkic, Cuenca, Fontas, Dos Santos and two chickens in a package for Griezmann? Show me the feathers. Let’s get real gone.

So your humble mods got to talking about what we would do with Our Summer Vacation, assuming we had control of the purse string and color copier cartridges. And this is more open, simply “What would you do to improve the club next season?” I started with banning bangs, courtesy of The Villa Experiment. Others had saner thoughts. Here we go:


Were I Barça’s coach, what would I do this offseason? I would curl up in a ball and cry for mommy. I’m sure of it. I would need a new pair of pants and—oh, you mean, what off-field moves would I make? Besides dodging paparazzi on my way to the book store to buy tactical guides, of course. Ah, the eternal silly season question.

First, I’d see how Xavi was feeling and try to convince him to skip the Euros. Maybe that’s selfish from a Spanish perspective because who doesn’t want Xavi romping all over Eastern European fields delighting crowds and passing well? Besides opponents, it’s definitely Barça. What’s to like about having your midfield metronome tacking miles of hard running onto his already over-worked ankles? Then I’d buy Messi a lollipop and a summer-long pass to Legoland.

As for the team, I’d make sure that Cuenca and Tello are aware of their less-than-starter role in the coming year, but also make sure to impress upon them that they’ll be instrumental in the multiple front fight. Then I’d buy a left back who can double as a CB. I don’t know who because I’m fairly hopeless at figuring out defenders—can we get Eric Abidal from 4 years ago? Or somehow an opposite foot clone of Dani Alves? We’ll have David Villa back, Afellay healthy, and a series of young guns moving their way up, so the front line is set; with Jonathan dos Santos coming up into the midfield, that line is good to go as well; and Fontas returning and Muniesa moving up will help us out in the back, but I would promote Montoya to be Alves’ official backup. That leaves the left still a bit shaky so someone could be brought in there. Muniesa can play there, but I’m not 100% convinced that he’s the guy for that job. I like him at CB a bit more despite some of his, er, missteps there. Then I’d buy Messi a popsicle and a summer-long pass to EuroDisney.

I’m a big fan of attacking LBs, but it makes sense to play a slightly more conservative player like Abidal if you’re going to be bombing down the right so much that there has to be pretty serious cover on that side. Then again, if were re-inverting the pyramid, we could get Gareth Bale or some other attack-minded fullback who also happens to play on the left. That’s the lefty Alves thing again.

And yet we’re probably going to let Keita waltz out the door and we might sell Adriano and we might spend eighty billion euros on some sort of winger/striker hybrid. These things I would not do. I like Keita. I like Adriano. They play hard and don’t complain; they bring technical quality to the side and they seem to get along with the other players. Yes, Keita is getting up there in age (he’s 32), but another year won’t kill him–or us. After extending Keita’s contract, I’d buy Messi an ice cream cone and a summer-long pass to…wherever Diego Maradona isn’t.

Oh and I’d also definitely buy Javi Martinez just to have him yell more crap at Cristiano Ronaldo.



For once, I’d like to see Barça start the season with a full complement of 24-25 players – and fully fit players at that.

Incoming: definitely need an LB. Maybe they found a way to clone Abi when they replaced his liver, and the Abi-clone is in an accelerated growth program right now.

I’m really not sure that Bale is world class enough to fit into Barça – would definitely love to see David Alaba there (only 19 and plays with the maturity of 29, young, fit, and plays box-to-box), however I highly doubt that Bayern would let him go.

Failing that, Jordi Alba – but he mustn’t be allowed to fall into complacency mode, thinking that he’s made it and now he can relax. I saw the bad side to his play during the first leg of the Europa round to At. Madrid, and the guy was simply awful – think double Maxwell/Adriano combination of awful on their bad days, with some Chiggy thrown into it.

Outgoing: Adriano left the pitch against Espanyol looking as if he was saying thank you and goodbye to Camp Nou. In his after-match interview, he said that he’s like to stay his remaining 2 years. I would like to see him stay too – otherwise we’ll be putting even more stress on the left side of the pitch. Would not like to see Keita leave – at all. I would miss his Keitee-face and his skills and the extra dimension that he brings to the team’s play. Messi would definitely miss Keita, after already missing the Yaya and Abi cuddles after scoring. J

B-teamers already promoted into the first team: Fontas, Cuenca, and I’ll count Tello, and I’ll still include Thiago here because I don’t feel that he’s improved any since his promotion. If they get another season, this will be the one to prove that they have what it takes to stay at the club in the first team. If not, they’ll be sold or loaned out.

Like it or not, a lot of the B-teamers and younger La Masia grads will be getting time in the first team simply to increase their exposure on the world stage, so that their selling prices are increased. If La Masia is the farm house where the prime cattle is raised, the Camp Nou pitch becomes the auction ring where the thoroughbreds are paraded for sale.

B-teamers: with the exception of Montoya who is a dependable and traditional RB, I don’t see any of the B-teamers producing the quality that is mandatory for permanent selection into the first team. There is simply not the calibre nor the consistency of players of the likes of Messi, Puyol, VV, Xavi or Iniesta to be seen in the next generation, and that is what is needed for the first team. Any permanent promotions need to strengthen the team and add value, not drag it down, performance-wise. If there were shining stars, we’d see them standing head and shoulders above the rest of the B-team and in Liga Adelante, despite the performances of the other team members – or their coach. There isn’t the natural talent, nor the intelligence, in their play. I see a lot of lower-level Thiago-like players when I watch the B-team, and I’m not yet convinced that Thiago has what it takes to be a first team player at Barça. Maybe Tito will straighten him out.

I don’t yet consider Dongou to be a B-teamer and think that they are rushing him. The kid has enormous talent, but psychologically if he’s not ready it’s not going to do him any favours to give him an early promotion. I think that he has an exciting career ahead of him and he’s a perfect RW/center attack type player and very strong. But fielding him against the other much older and very physical players in the other Adelante teams is risking injury to him at a vital stage in his development. Give him another half season before promotion is what I’d do – and then I’d nurture him under Tito’s wing, not Eusebio’s.

Euros: I don’t want Xavi to play either – but I don’t think that anything will keep him away, barring a physical incapacity. It may be his last Euro.

It will be Puyol’s last NT outing, I’d wager – he’s already on record as saying that he will retire from the NT in 2012, after giving VdB another 2 years after the World Cup.

I’d like to see Iniesta retire from NT duty too. J

Busquets is playing the Euros AND the Olympics, so he’s not going to get much down-time in this “off-season”.

Tactics: I’m quietly excited about Tito taking over – best thing that could have happened in the wake of a Pep departure. I think that where Pep was stubborn about keeping his tactics pure and all about the Barça-way, I think that we’re about to see the players mixing it up a little. Tito is very strong on set pieces, so I expect to see a lot of innovation in that area. I also think that at times we’ll see a more physical running game when it’s required – like the Rayo game, but more organised when the team plays against better opponents. That was just a small taste of what’s possible.

I would love to see the wing play developed. The left has been neglected since Titi left, and Iniesta is NOT a winger. The right has only really been serviced by hybrid Alves, with Cuenca playing a more traditional role in recent times. But both Cuenca and Tello need more development and need to learn how to retain the ball on the edge of the box and not kill the flow of the plays by stopping with the ball in the expectation of beating the defence from a standing start. Messi can do that – not them. They need to be faster wingers pounding in the crosses. Their skill-sets (or lack of) are perfect examples of most of the B-team players right now – they do one thing well, not a whole lot of things which is what is required to get into the top teams in the world.

. Busquets is going to be the key. He’s going to have to learn to play without depending on others like Xavi and Iniesta, and to make decisions for himself – like we saw him do with the assist for Messi in the Espanyol game. He needs to bring the ball forward a lot more and make more decisive passes. If he’s going to fall over, he may as well do it in our penalty box and get the kick for the team, rather than down the other end of the pitch where, quite frankly, he’s a liability right now.

Masch may score his first goal in the next season too! ;.)

Cesc and Afellay will also be in for some specialised training. I think that Afellay will be drilled and utilised in an area in which he is already strong – the long shots on goal, and I don’t care what anyone says, Cesc is going to be groomed for a Xavi-like role. He has the intelligence, the ability and the speed, and the vision to see the opportunity. When he becomes more sure of his role, and he’s not tripping over or running into the 3 other midfielders on the pitch, Cesc will come into his own. He links really well with the forwards, and is actually better when he can run from midfield into the box to create a scoring op or the assist, rather than when he is standing flat-footed on the edge of the box, waiting for the pass.

I’ll stop now…


I hate Silly Season. I really do. It brings out every know-it-all with a keyboard and a decent knowledge of Football Manager (not YOU guys, of course!). It makes me twitchy. So my contribution to this post will be short and sweet. And possibly a little silly.

I generally assume that the managers and coaches know better than I do when it comes to buying & selling players and making changes to the team for the next season. And I know that Pep has thoroughly discussed the team’s needs and development for next year with Tito, Zubi & Rosell. Tito is his own man and will have his own plans, but he is also very committed to the Guardiola style and the team as it is now. He is not about to start dismantling the team by selling off key players (Dani Alves) or bringing in new signings based on star power (Neymar). I don’t actually see a whole of changes happening this summer. With Villa and Afellay returned to health, it is almost like having two brand new signings.

Who’s leaving?

No one! NOOOOOO!!!!! *ahem* OK.

As our squad stands right now we have 19 fit players (including Villa because he is almost there and certainly will be by the beginning of next season) plus Fontas and Abidal. Fontas should be fit sometime this summer. Abidal we just don’t know about. Looking at the squad list, I just don’t see anyone leaving. Pinto has one more year on his contract, and I expect him to stay for that. He is too important a member of the dressing-room to sell off for the paltry sum we would get for him.

There have been the usual murmurs about Keita leaving. It’s certainly a possibility. At 32, he’s not getting any younger and may be looking for his last big contract at a club where he will get more playing time. His agent has said that they have not and will not talk to any other clubs until after the CdR final when they will meet with Tito to discuss his future. I believe that Tito will want Keita to stay. He brings things to the team that no one else does. He is a reliable midfield destroyer, shoots from outside the box, and has this season successfully learned to play as a DM to give Busquets some relief. He is also plays the Ethical Barometer position. It’s in his technical profile. 😀 The issue is whether Keita will be happy with the amount of playing time he would likely get. My personal opinion is that the lure of more money or playing time won’t be enough to make Keita want to uproot his family and leave the best team on the planet. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Adriano’s name has also been thrown around as a possibility to leave, but why? He has more than proven his importance to the team this year, and he doesn’t give off the vibes of a player who is unhappy and wants to go. He may very well have offers from other teams, but I think we should keep him. It would be very difficult to find another player that can fill in at so many different positions.

Then there is the Dani Alves thing. I don’t see it. He’s staying.

The only first-team player I can realistically see leaving this summer is Fontas. Even before his injury he was never fully integrated with the squad (although off the pitch it seems that Puyol has adopted him and brought him into the moc moc team). He was supposed to be the next Pique, but was never really that convincing on the field, looking slow and clumsy on the ball. We will have to see what Tito’s plans are, but I suspect he might be sent out on loan to get consistent playing time somewhere else. Or sold with a buyback option.

B Team promotions

As always, we should look for new players in our own house before looking elsewhere. The club has confirmed that Montoya, Muniesa, Bartra, and Jonathan Dos Santos will all be promoted at the end of the season, in accordance with their contracts. No word on Tello, but I think it would be hard to send him back to the B team now. The only other B team players I could see being promoted this year are Oier (likely) and Sergi Roberto (unlikely). The rest are either too young (Rafinha, Deulofeu) or just not good enough. Of course, just because a player is promoted, doesn’t mean he will actually play with the first team. Tito will most likely include them in the preseason and then make final decisions on their futures near the end of the summer.

Of the players definitely being promoted, Montoya is the big keeper. He has come up with some big performances when given the chance, and he looks ready to step up. He is a more defensive-minded version of Dani Alves, and can play on the left as well if needed. One thing he does lack is Dani’s killer instinct in going for the goal, but that can improve.

Tello should also be kept. He has proven his worth and earned his chance to be part of the first team. Hopefully he (and Cuenca) will know that the amount of playing time they get will have to be earned through hard work and good attitude in training.

Muniesa, Bartra & JDS: I really don’t know. I like them all as players and can see attributes in each of them that could make them world-class if developed properly. But right now I don’t they are quite at the level of the Barça first team. If Keita stays, there would really be no room for JDS in the midfield. I say he goes, probably on loan. I think we should keep one of the other two. My preference would be for Bartra because I think he is a better all-round player, or would be with the right coach (I’ll be bringing up the topic of Bartra again!). Muniesa probably leaves.

What do we need?

This is the part I hate. I’m not going to start throwing around a lot of names, because I honestly don’t watch enough of other leagues to have any in-depth knowledge of their players. I will just repeat what others are saying: Irrespective of Abidal’s health, we need to sign a LB. We have players who can play in that position, but we need someone permanent there. Jordi Alba is a good option if the price is right.

Graham Hunter has been saying for ages that negotiations with CB Thiago Silva are at an advanced stage. I don’t know if that’s true, but he seems very convinced of it. Others who watch him play more often will be better qualified to comment on that.

I would like to add another squad player in the Adriano mode. Someone who is capable of playing several positions as a winger/wingback/fullback, to give Tito different tactical options.

Lastly, do we need a big man up front? Oh, let’s not start that debate again!


What would you do this offseason?

1. Make sure the preseason is geared towards optimum fitness, not profit.

By deciding not to tour, the board have already made a step in the right direction. As a new, untried manager at this level, Tito needs all the support he can get, and one way to show that support is to make sure he has a good base to build on. The lessons of this past season re: what happens with no proper preseason should be kept in mind, especially since many of the squad will be at the Euros or the Olympics this time around.

2. Buy a defender.

Once again, I believe the lessons of the season just past should be absorbed. We were clearly a defender or two short – in part due to circumstances beyond our control, it’s true, but now we have the chance to change that. The terrible news of Puyol’s knee injury makes strengthening at the back even more important.

No doubt it’s difficult to find players who can play at the back for Barca, given the unique requirements of the role. Zubi and co. should be ready to splash the cash for the right person.

3. Reassure the players who are not being moved on of their place in the squad ASAP.

The inevitable consequence of failing to win one of the two big trophies on offer is a summer of speculation and unrest. It’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s manufactured at this point, and I would hate to see players unsettled for no reason other than the Spanish sports dailies needing to sell papers. The public and the media don’t necessarily need to be told what’s going on – discretion in transfer dealings is a virtue – but the players themselves should know that they have a place to come back to after the summer, if that is indeed the case.

4. Leave the football decisions to the football men.

Dmytro Chygrynskiy (and yes, I did have to look it up) aside, Guardiola’s status meant that he didn’t have to deal with much interference from the board when making decisions about the team. While Tito has nowhere near the same level of clout, he’s got a fair bit of credit stored up from his part in the successes of the past four years, and he has earned the right to try and do things his way. I don’t want to see the board trying to impose any decisions (or God forbid, players) on him.

5. Keep the faith.

In all my time as a Barca fan I have never seen the fanbase/media behave as rationally in response to large setbacks as they have this past month. Tito will probably need some time to get things going. It’s crucial that our new-found rationality continues while his team are trying to find their way. That means no absurd pronouncements, no institutional crises, no over-the-top transfer sagas. It means transmitting a message of patience.

Remember: we know that our way works.


In thinking about what I would do to our club, the short answer is “Not a lot.” The long answer isn’t much more complicated:


Stop messing about, traveling hither and yon to hoover up dollars. The all-European pre season is a very good start. It is also crucial that the club strives to, as much as possible, replicate the training camp of Guardiola’s first year. Yes, between Internationals, friendlies and other extraneous competitions, it’s very difficult to find free time for our players. But the start of last season canNOT be allowed to happen again. We saw the result this season, with the many injuries and out-of-form players. Tito Vilanova, if he does nothing else as coach, can’t let this happen again.

Reach an understanding with Messi. He can’t play every match. Simple as that. I know that he loves the game, eats, sleeps and drinks football, but I’d rather have an all-pitch, fully involved Messi than have to tell him to dog it on parts of the pitch, so that he can play every match without fatigue or injury. It means that at crucial parts of the match, we’re playing with 10 men, rather than 11.

Get flexible with player rotation. Part of what creates fatigue/injuries is lack of rotation. We have a problem in that we have the best or one of the best players in the world at almost every position. You can’t replace that. But you can adapt the system, using squad players against the teams that you are confident of beating. The same XI started too many matches this season, with the attendant fatigue/form/injury issues. You should be able to beat a relegation side with a midfield of Thiago/Keita/Afellay, frankly.

Shooting practice and emphasis. The same quality that made Samuel Eto’o the scoring machine that he was, also made him a pain in the ass to ultimately deal with: voracious, high-energy selfishness. And not selfishness in a bad way. He treated every chance like it was going to be his last. Yes, he missed some sitters late in his last season with us, for a variety of reasons, but when he got a chance, he was heart-attack serious about it. That quality isn’t evident in any of our attackers, including Messi. Vilanova has to make the players understand that scoring goals is about concentration and execution. There might be other chances, but there might not again be another chance as good as the one that was scuffed/spurned. This is an attitude. The first two Guardiola seasons, it wasn’t like that. Reading your own press reports will do that to you. And shoot the damn ball. Note the number of speculative shots that occurred in the treble season via Henry and Eto’o, shots that sometimes became goals as they were spilled by the keeper, or caromed somewhere that allowed the attack to be reset. Of late, we have been striving to pass the ball into the net, which doesn’t work all the time.

To hell with a Plan B. The incessant discussion of a Plan B wearies me so. Chelsea played the exact same way at the Camp Nou that they did at Stamford Bridge, and we could have buried them there, without a Plan B or big striker running around. Our Plan B is, and always will be finish your damned chances. If Messi isn’t going to play all the time, a traditional striker type might be nice to have on the cheap. But I also wouldn’t mind seeing how Keita does as that striker type. He has excellent strength, mobility, a good shot and is a fine header of the ball. Why not?

Stop acting like the system is broken. You can trace the club’s Liga and Champions League failure to, in effect, three or four goals. One in Chelsea changes that tie immensely. A shot instead of a chip at Villarreal, a better PK vs Sevilla and Chelsea and it’s a very different story. I can’t believe the panic and talk of wholesale change. The system is fine. It created chances, and almost withstood almost Biblical injury plagues to come thisclose to having a shot at the Triplete again. The system works.


Basically, we’re fine. This club had one pressing need this season: A player who would be good for 20+ goals per season. We had that player, until his shin went to hell. then ultimately failed. We can look as long as we want in the transfer market, but in terms of finding a player that fits our system better than David Villa, we won’t find one.

Integrate Tello and Cuenca into the first team. Then let’s see how they are. Based on what happens, a loan decision can be made with one or both of them. They are very different players, each one bringing a dimension to the attack. If one has to go on loan, it will almost certainly be Tello, who isn’t as developed a player as Cuenca, even as he is more dangerous in certain situations. His pace is also very difficult to argue with.

Get Pedro! back. Essentially, I would threaten to fine him if he tried to beat any player off the dribble. Ever. That isn’t his game. If you look at the glory seasons, compared to the Pedro of last season (excluding his injury), Pedro! was essentially point-and-shoot. He would run to a spot, get a ball and shoot. Or he would run into the box when somebody else shot, and capitalize on the ensuing chaos. He plays on the wing, but he isn’t a winger. To my view, Pedro! is more of a roving striker. Pedro is a winger who tries to beat defenders off the dribble, and runs around like a chicken with his head cut off. This doesn’t work.

Make a decision on Afellay. His talent is immense. His playing time will be minimal. He has skills as a winger, ball handler and attacker and is a unique player. The question is whether he is a unique player who will be happy with the playing time scraps that he will be getting from us next season. I am in favor of keeping him, as I think he does things that Cuenca/Tello can’t do. But if we keep him, we are going to have to actually use him, and integrate him into the side so that he isn’t Stranger in a Strange Land when he comes in. You could see him as part of an attacking trident that included Villa and Sanchez, or in midfield with Thiago for Copa matches and the like.

Make fitness a priority. I know that Villa and Fabregas have their own ways of doing things, but Villa had his little pooch for too long into the season, and Fabreagas visibly ran out of steam. The more tired he becomes, the more he disappears. Villa gets offside more. They have to be fit enough to run, run and run some more.


Xavi will be diminished. In part because he should be, but in part because age and injuries will take their toll. This, for me, makes the rumored sale of Keita a silly one. As Busquets becomes more evident in a metronomic role, you need that do-everything player filling in space in front of the defense. Keita is that player, who brings something very special to the club.

Figure out a role for Dos Santos, or get a player we actually CAN use. Dude has disappeared from the radar, in part because there really isn’t a consistent role for him on the club. If Afellay blossoms as he has the potential, then he becomes that “other guy,” platooning with Fabregas. Adding Busquets, Iniesta and Keita to that mix, you suddenly have a glut of talent.


Buy a left back. Who it is, doesn’t matter, but we need a starting left back. I don’t believe that Adriano is that player, as valuable as he is. I don’t believe that this player needs to be expensive. Jordi Alba is the right price, the right profile and would fit the system. His height is a complexity for me and frankly, my preference would be an Abidal type. There are scads of them in Ligue 1. But given what has happened during the last matches, the Alba purchase (or an attacking LB like that) is looking increasingly likely. Euler and I noticed a change in the system, as Montoya was the defensive FB as Adriano charged forward to raise hell. I don’t believe the Alves rumors, but I do believe that if the right offer came along, we would sell him. He wasn’t the player that he is capable of being last season, a trend that I don’t see changing. It happens. But no matter what happens, whether Alves stays or not, we need a starting LB.

Make a center back decision. Puyol will be plenty back from his knee surgery, and he was in brilliant form the last segment of the season. But he isn’t getting any younger or more durable. Promotions have come in the form of Fontas and Muniesa, and both will be first team this season. Are they of sufficient quality to earn places on the bench, and start as need be? Good question. I know that nothing that I have seen from either one makes me believe that they are of starter quality. I just don’t see a Thiago Silva purchase happening. For the same money, I could see the more versatile Javi Martinez happening. But we need to essentially acquire three CBs (a starter-quality and two subs). If Fontas and Muniesa are the Copa/minnows players, a high-quality CB will have to be acquired, one who will also have to get accustomed to not playing as much as he did at whatever club he came from as I think that increasingly, Mascherano is going to become among the first choices on the defensive team sheet.

Or not. If I had to go to war with the exact roster (assuming promotions as well) that we have right now, I’d be okay with that. We have one hell of a football team. That Other Spanish Team had a majestic season to beat a clunky, inconsistent us. We’re still the best team in the world. Period.

Yes, there will be more, like from Euler, who will have his own, separate masterclass.

For now, you can all debate, call us crazy, or agree amd think that we’re geniuses. Either way, have fun.

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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.


  1. barca96
    May 30, 2012

    What is the time in Chi-town? Don’t you need sleep?

    1) Left footed, tall & pacey CB who could be converted into LB.
    2) Alba
    3) Keep everyone else, don’t let them leave!
    4) Loan Tello out, keep Cuenca and don’t promote anyone else from the B-team except for Montoya but ideally I would like Montoya to be like Tello this season.

    We don’t need to make a marquee signing this season unlike the past seasons. We nearly conquered everything again. Just gotta get an LB and a left footed, tall & pacey CB who could be converted into LB.

  2. Anonymous_69
    May 30, 2012

    Before I make any comment talking about what I would like to see happen, I need to know how much transfer money Barca has to play with this summer. When Rosell first arrived, he assured at least 50M to start off with each summer, but recently, there have been too many rumours saying only 35M. For now, I will believe Rosell and stick with the fifty number. Now, has the Ibra money been taken into account? Because I’m pretty sure we get around 8M for him. Plus, after doing a little searching, I realized we are getting 1.5M for Caceres’ switch to Juve, and 0.5M for Riverola. So… I’m think we are starting the summer off with 60M.

  3. Josep
    May 30, 2012

    Cheikh M’Bengue
    Jan Vertonghen
    Juan Manuel Vargas
    Yann M’Vila moved to CB
    Domenico Criscito

    Chose two

  4. Ezequiel
    May 30, 2012

    just here to randomly drop couple of names:

    – badstuber: tall, left-footed CB with decent passing range. also played LB for a couple of games
    – hummels: tall, right-footed, good positioning. bit similar to pique
    – sakho: tall, left-footed CB. had quite a hype last year, been less impressive this season
    – azpilicueta: quite attacking RB, had a difficult start in france but rapidly improved last season
    – debuchy: RB, only seen him 2 times in the national team but he looked impressive
    – pisczek: attacking RB, improved greatly over the last two years

  5. agree with nzm on these – Alaba, if possible at all. If not Alba, but I am not quite sure he is very consistent. Keep Adriano, we need a back up.

    a decent centre back – not a high end signing like Thiago silva

    If we can keep Afellay and Cuenca, and have Villa, Alexis and Pedro in playing condition, we dont need any more signing in the front. Pique or Keita could be a striker up front when situation demands.
    It is better to loan out Tello for some experience. right now, he is easily predictable. Cuence has more variation in his kitty , compared to Tello.
    Montoya – excellent back up for Alves
    I would strongly disagree that Thiago is not impressive. We need to consider that he is only 20 and in the next couple of seasons, playing alongside these greats would definitely garner enough experience. What makes me really impressive about him is that, whenever he replaced XAvi or played in the midfield, our passing tempo looked higher, which makes us more dangerous.

    • Josep
      May 30, 2012

      I think a “decent center back” would rather be promoted than bought.

      Barcelona buys big players, or promotes players for their fringe. Very seldom do the purchase someone to fill out numbers.

    • Messiah10
      May 30, 2012

      Agree with you about Thiago. He’s top notch. So young and so good. He’ll be our 2nd midfielder w/Cesc when Xavi and Iniesta can’t put in the miles. He stays no matter what. Period.

    • nzm
      May 30, 2012

      Nope – Thiago hasn’t had a great game since December when he played what was perhaps his best match against…..Al Sadd at the Club World Cup.

      He flubs passes; misses goals and generally puts his team-mates into difficult situations with his lack of control and non-thinking.

      Not a Thiago fan – based upon what I’m seeing, and I was all for him at the start of the season. A brilliant pass here and there does not make up for all the errors that he does make, and all the balls that he loses.

      • Ryan
        May 31, 2012

        Hasn’t Pep asked Thiago to bring a more defensive, composed aspect to his game though? If I think of his performances last season, I think more of timely steals and hustling rather than great passes or shots.

        • nzm
          June 1, 2012

          Yes – Pep did, but I doubt that it was at the expense of the attack side of his game, nor to diminish his retention of the ball. He needs to tidy up this area very much.

          I saw him put a lot of pressure on his fellow team-mates with slack passing and a too casual approach/commitment to ball possession and his team-mates’ welfare.

          One such incident almost caused injury to an already fragile Puyol as he went down in a tackle to recover the ball in midfield from an errant Thiago short pass that wasn’t accurate enough in the close defending situation. Puyol gave him the evil eye and a few choice words about it too!

  6. hammeronmessi
    May 30, 2012

    more than anything else IMO we need an elite cf.

    if we can capture cavani that will be a fantastic transfer.

    we can wait another year for bale.

    if we can get kompany(a dream i know) then i am all for buying him.

  7. psqd
    May 30, 2012

    Agree with the “not much needed but more rotation” tenor of the post. How close was the team this year? You could argue a few key goals, which can reasonably be expected to come from a rejuvenated/returning Villa/Pedro pair OR, on the basis of the copa final, a better rested/rotated squad.
    I also agree with Kxevin, squad rotation has to begin with Messi or it’s going to be, well, not worthless, but worth much less. He shouldn’t play in the copa until you see somebody at least in the top half of the liga. He shouldn’t be putting in 4 or 5 against anyone cause he shouldn’t be left on the pitch that long. Cuenca, Tello, Villa, Pedro, Sanchez, & Ibi all need minutes. Some of those should come from Messi.
    Xavi needed/will need more rest, especially since he’s playing euro’s. I am looking at you Thiago and Cesc.
    Puyol can’t be counted on to play as much as he has and that brings us to transfers…
    Alba seems to be a done deal and I’d take him. He isn’t abidal so there is no point in comparing. The system will have to adapt. I think that what he brings down the left could help compensate for the times when width isn’t coming from player on the left of the front line. That is when Iniesta is playing up there or when anyone drifts centrally to pull people away from Messi.
    Also need a centerback to fit into a Masche, Pique, Puyol rotation. Yann M’Vila or Jan Vertonghen, though the latter seems intent on Tottenham. I don’t see Thiago Silva working out practically, but I guess we’ll see. Botia would be the no color copies choice, but rumors have him moving as part of other transfers.

    B-team/Promotions…From the transfers it’s pretty obvious that I don’t think Bartra, Fontas, or Muniesa are ready to fit into the rotation. I think it’d be best for everybody if Fontas went out on loan. His injury cost him the year he had to prove himself ahead of Bartra and Muniesa, both of whom I think have better longterm prospects. I think those guys should be doing squad duty this year and hope for some copa and CL dead rubber time.
    Montoya, promoted and given time.
    JDS, loaned…simply no room for him to actually get minutes unless Keita leaves. Even then I don’t see it.
    Tello, promoted, if he isn’t getting minutes, loaned in January, but he could use the exposure and squad time to learn as much as he could minutes somewhere that would just ask him to run by people constantly.
    Departures…I’d like to see keita stay. Losing him to the ANC this year was huge. I wouldn’t blame him if he left and I don’t think Tito can guarantee him enough time to sway him if that’s his motivation to leave. I mean he could walk into any other midfield in the world, just ask Yaya.
    I don’t think Alves goes. I don’t think the right offer will come. There may be crazy numbers thrown around, but they’ll be from undesirable locations, Russia, etc. I hope some rotation and Montoya biting at his heels will bring the best out of him again. I also hope that the added depth including actual wingers and Montoya will see him used more commensurate with his skill set rather than an automatic choice regardless of the need. That is to say, I’d prefer not to see him starting up top as a winger anymore and possibly not in a back three either.

    • nzm
      June 1, 2012

      squad rotation has to begin with Messi or it’s going to be, well, not worthless, but worth much less. He shouldn’t play in the copa until you see somebody at least in the top half of the liga.

      Messi missed both games against L’Hospitalet in the first CdR round.

      In the 2nd round, he was on the bench for the home game against Osasuna. In the 60th minute, he was subbed on when the score was 0-0. Within 30 minutes, he scored 2 goals for Barca to win the first leg 2-0.

      In the 2nd leg in Pamplona, Messi was again on the bench. In the 58th minute when Osasuna looked to be getting on top, Messi was subbed on when the score was 0-0. He provided the assist from which Sergi Roberto scored for Barca to win 0-1, seal the win and progress to the next round.

      Without doubt, Messi created the difference and allowed Barca to continue against Madrid and Valencia, and ultimately on to win the trophy vs. Bilbao.

      • nzm
        June 1, 2012

        Amendment: Messi came on at Pamplona when the score was 1-1.

  8. Richzorz
    May 30, 2012

    Barca should buy Alba AND Alaba and get a good discount on printing the names on their shirts!

    Also if Martinez *HAS* to leave Bilbao, get him before Perez kidnaps his family and drives a truck full of euros up to his house…

    • psqd
      May 30, 2012

      I’d buy alaba 1st for dani money, but i don’t think he’s going anywhere. Martinez likewise.

      • Josep
        May 30, 2012

        How many of you knew Alaba before the semi’s? He’s not even a left back.

        • Richzorz
          May 30, 2012

          Ooh! I knew Alaba before the semi’s (albeit mostly due to football manager 2010 and the pre-season friendlies..) 🙂

          Mascherano isn’t even a centre back! (Don’t see him leaving Bayern in any case)

        • psqd
          May 30, 2012

          Yet he played there as often as in the midfield, and Mascherano isn’t a CB.

  9. May 30, 2012

    Vilanova and Mou Mou given a general pardon, so both can coach in the SuperCopa at the beginning of the season. Awfully nice of RFEF to pardon Vilanova for the sin of getting his eye in the way of Mou Mou’s finger. They’re so benevolent that way.

    • Richzorz
      May 30, 2012

      I’m starting to understand why Mourinho signed that contract extension… he’s really found his spiritual home at Madrid!

    • Josep
      May 30, 2012

      He slapped Mourinho, did you forget that or no?

      • May 30, 2012

        Nope. Nor did RFEF, hence the one-match ban for Vilanova. But the catalyzing event remains unchanged. And in the larger context, there was a brawl precipitated by yet ANOTHER ridiculous foul from Mou Mou’s players. Their coach scurrilously used that contretemps as a ruse to reach over and ear twist/eye gouge Vilanova.

        The punishment was insufficient then, and now it’s just ridiculous, as there IS no punishment. It has always been thus with that club. Joey Barton got 12 matches for a meltdown similar to Ramos’ against us, and what happened to Ramos?

        It’s part of a larger trend that almost advocates violence.

        • Josep
          May 30, 2012

          Ramos’ reward was being in most journos team of the season 😉

          I agree, but this is well known. the Spanish RFEF is fucked, basically. It’s terrible, albeit not corrupt (one hopes..), its one of the few places the English FA are strict, but get it right.

    • Messiah10
      May 30, 2012

      Really? When’d that happen? How ridiculous! It’s human instinct to defend yourself if someone comes up and pokes, slaps, punches you in the face, eye, head. How do the positions at the RFEF get filled? Voting? I can’t believe someone hasn’t come around that is capable of running the federation. Surely, this is talked about in Espana? Any insight would be much appreciated.

  10. May 30, 2012

    So we have room for 5 players before we have to start selling/loaning.
    1. LB signing
    2. Montoya
    3. Muniesa
    4. Bartra
    5. Dos Santos

  11. ooga aga
    May 30, 2012

    every summer, the rumors resurface, setting me heart all atwitter. could it be that this is the year that He will come, somersaulting, guns ablazing? could this be the wonderful year in which we see dressed in blaugrana….

    Robbie Keane?

  12. jordi™
    May 30, 2012

    “There is simply not the calibre nor the consistency of players of the likes of Messi, Puyol, VV, Xavi or Iniesta to be seen in the next generation”

    Theres no messi and there will never be another, but as for the rest, most of them lacked the same qualities you describe when they were that age.No need to go that far back anyway, comparing to the recent promotions of Pedro or Sergio, a decent amount of the B team are at or around their level before they were promoted.

    For the record Barcelona B were relegated from the second division with a team that included Arnau Puyol Xavi, Gabri and Luis Garcia. Barca B then didnt come back to the 2nd division till Pep and Lucho came back. That means the likes of Iniesta and VV played in the 3rd division, so did Busi.

    Im just saying its no great sin not to stand out against 32 year old men who delight in kicking you and play out of their skins so as not to be beaten by a subsidiary of 19 year old boys. I also contest that they don’t stand out because at different stages I’ve seen Gerard, Rafinha Barta Sergi Roberto, Tello and Montoya have stellar periods but playing in an inconsistent team lacking proper direction isn’t going to help them, which is why we’ve only seen flashes and not sustained brilliance.

    I view it this way, Isco wasn’t much better than our boys at under 17, 19 or 20 level with the national teams. Valencia didn’t think he was ready for first division football as a starter and had a similar plan for him as they had for Silva.Yet when he went to Malaga he became a starter and out shined even Santi Carzola IMO, earning a full national call up. That happened because he was playing in a consistent team with a solid base.

    If he had signed for Barca B instead, I can’t guarantee, but I suspect he would have only showed flashes of brilliance.You can only judge what they do at first team level.Everything below is them still learning the game.

    • barca96
      May 30, 2012

      Also, once these young players play and train with the first team, their game will improve tremendously.

      I don’t mind if they don’t stand out. As long as they are average and play as much as possible it’s fine to me.

      The interesting part is when they get playing time with the first team. How they perform is really crucial then.

      There are many players who shine in the lower leagues and amongst lower skilled players but fail when they play in the big league and with the big boys.

      • nzm
        May 30, 2012

        As long as they are average and play as much as possible it’s fine to me.

        “Average” has no place in the Barca First Team. No one can be expected to have one of the 25 spaces if they are only average.

    • Messiah10
      May 30, 2012

      Great point Jordi. Thanks for the input

    • nzm
      May 30, 2012

      So – bring ’em up. But which world-class players are you going to sell so that you can gamble the first team’s success on them, while they prove, or may not prove, their worth?

      Only 25 players allowed.

    • nzm
      May 30, 2012

      And, btw, I’ve always believed that Barca B was the test-bed for the up and comers, not the First Team.

      That’s why Barca B needs a coach of the calibre of Lucho or Pep to better these boys and prepare them for the First Team – or get them loaned out to other top clubs to get their experience.

      The Barca First Team is no longer in a position where it can be taking on players that aren’t up to the very best level from the get-go. Every game is now crucial and a must-win – there is no room for bringing in average players in the hope that they will improve, while risking the team’s results.

  13. May 30, 2012

    sighhhh …. And so it begins.

    Cardoner (VP): “Apart from Hamburg and Tanger, we’ll play 2 more friendlies. Maybe trip to Qatar, other offers too.”

    Seems Guardiola was the one insisting on the European friendly schedule, from the sound of this comment.

  14. barca96
    May 30, 2012


    Reach an understanding with Messi. He can’t play every match. Simple as that… It means that at crucial parts of the match, we’re playing with 10 men, rather than 11.

    I totally agree with this. It seems to me at times as if Messi thinks his personal goal is bigger than the clubs, Messi>Barca. This is not the way! I’d rather have him score <30 goals but be an active player rather than a waste defensively.

    Promotions have come in the form of Fontas and Muniesa, and both will be first team this season.

    Fontas was promoted last season. I think you meant Muniesa, no?


    I’m not yet convinced that Thiago has what it takes to be a first team player at Barça.

    He was okay to me offensively but a bit too conservative but sometimes to casual at times. But this season he really improved on his defensive skills.

    • nzm
      May 30, 2012

      It’s the casualness that has me make this evaluation about Thiago.

      Face it, he’s in the FIRST team. He needs to up his game to fit the role. He hasn’t.

      As I commented earlier above, his last great outing was against Al Sadd in the Club World Cup in December. Al Sadd. Since then, his appearances have been mediocre.

  15. barca96
    May 30, 2012

    – Muniesa. I really don’t think it’s a good idea to promote Muniesa. Just tell him that he is simply not even ready to be a 2nd choice starter.

    – Montoya definitely should be promoted. If it wasn’t for Alves he should be a starter!

    – Bartra is good enough to be a back up to me. He can start Copa matches and he has a great potential. I think he could be better than Pique because he has pace.

    – JDS, poor boy, there are simply no space for him in midfield and he was never used to play there. Only times he gets to play with the first team is at RB. Send him out on loan. Too good to stay in the B-team but not good enough to start for a top 6 team in La Liga.

    – Fontas. I’ve never been impressed by him in the first place. Too slow and clumsy. Sell him with a buy back clause.

  16. barca96
    May 30, 2012

    I’ve watched Alba at least 5 times the past season and yes I’m impressed but I don’t think that he is a better player than Adriano.

    I can’t judge his defensive skills because every time I watch him play, he is so high up the field, he looks more like a LM or LW.

    Offensively, he is about the same as Adriano.

    That said, I wouldn’t mind to see Adriano and Alba fighting for the LB spot.

  17. jordi™
    May 30, 2012

    As for the topic, as long we don’t sell Dani and splash out a fortune on Thiago Silva who is turning 28 I wont really complain.One thing that is frustrating is not signing these players right before they make they jump to world class.Right now Dede in Brazil is playing at a similar to Thiago Silva before he left for Milan. We of course will wait till Inter or some team sign him then return to buy him for 10 times his original cost. We would probably do it with Neymar too if his price already wasn’t so much.

    From the current team I would only sell Keita to free up space in the midfield as we have to think about the future and sadly Keita is not it.There are arguments about him being a good person, but we found life after Sylvinho somehow *gasp*. A left back and a central defender and we’ll be ok next season.

  18. Josep
    May 30, 2012

    Am I the only one that doesn’t extremely overrate Montoya on here? He is not ready, and this whole “he could be a starter” thing is nonsensical.

    He’s good, yes, has a lot of upside, but if he wasn’t from La Masia none of you would be praising him THIS highly.

    • jordi™
      May 30, 2012

      He’s not ready for a season starting 60 games but at the very least we can now actually rest Dani so he doesnt burn out by April. Every season by champions league semi final time his crossing is usually gone because he is tired, despite him claiming only his children exhaust him. Montoya gives us the option to avoid that for the first time.Although he will have to work on his link up and passing.

      • Josep
        May 30, 2012

        I think he has a lot more than just that to work on, defensively I find him extremely lacking. Each match he’s played he’s been almost solely responsible for a goal or two, his positioning is way out of sync with the other defenders, and his communication seems to be very poor.

        • May 30, 2012

          Disagree. He showed how far he has come in the Copa final. Alves has his defensive frailties as well, and is trending downward. Montoya is never, ever going to be Alves. But if you have a marauding left back, Montoya is a more than capable starting right back, in the more traditional defensive sense, for us.

          His positioning is out of sync at times, yes. So is Alves. The problem was more acute without Abidal to charge across the pitch and bail him out. Getting in sync comes with playing time. Look at how Mascherano improved as a back line defender with playing time.

          As far as Montoya’s crossing, again …. he was dropping in Alves-quality crossing in the Copa final, against a quality opponent. I’d start Montoya at RB regularly before I’d start Adriano at LB regularly.

          • Josep
            May 30, 2012

            How far he came? I thought he was very poor, and the weak link of the match. Trending downward? Hah.

            I just have to disagree, with all of this. You can judge that he’s ready to start from 3-4 matches at the top level? From what I seen he lacks a lot of the tools needed. Don’t understand what you meant with Abidal coming across the pitch from LB to bail out our RB?

            Alves-quality? I mean…is that good or bad? Alves is an amazing crosser and also a terrible one. He could be Beckham one day and Frankie Hejduk another.

          • May 30, 2012

            I mean Abidal routinely saving Alves as he was caught out of position.

            Can you judge that he’s ready to start? No, that’s what pre-season is for. But you can certainly judge that he deserves a shot. Look at how Mascherano started, what people said about him and what he has become.

            Montoya has all of the tools to become an excellent starting RB. Were that not the case, it’s doubtful he would have been named starter in a match for a trophy. There were other solutions, including a 3-man back line, etc. Guardiola had the confidence in his skill set. Further, I didn’t see a bad post-match evaluation of Montoya.

            I just hope that Montoya’s biggest sin, as he progresses, won’t be that he isn’t Alves.

          • Josep
            May 30, 2012

            Just because no one wrote a bad post match review of Montoya didn’t mean he had a great match. If I could’ve been arsed to write one, he was poor for me, mostly in the first half. No need to compare him to Alves at all.

            A back 3 against Athletic Bilbao wasn’t an option I think Pep would’ve considered, though. He went with Montoya because he was almost forced to. I do agree with the common sentiment that Pep doesn’t rotate enough, but when we struggle against teams like Sociedad, in matches you would expect him to rotate players in a league decided by so few points, you can see why he didn’t want to take those risks too often.

          • May 30, 2012

            To be clearer, everything that I read, post-match, that was written about Montoya was very, very positive. Had I done an actual review, his marks would have been very positive. He also has pace, which is very, very useful.

    • May 30, 2012

      I think Montoya showed he was ready by the way he played in the CdR final and other games he has played in this year. He is young and there is plenty of room for improvement, but as a backup for Dani Alves he brings a lot to the table. And he is free.

    • ViscaCalifornia
      June 6, 2012

      Montoya is ready. Were Alves to be injured for a period – god forbid, I would have no problem with Montoya starting.

  19. Dave
    May 30, 2012

    Club needs refreshing.
    In- Alba (because he is energetic but also the deal is prob nearly done)

    Thiago Silva( defence needs a pacey cb in the abscence of Abi)
    (or Sakho)

    Capoue ( physicality much need in the team and he’s decent)

    Striker to take burden off Messi ( Adrian imo)

    Remember our squad is small already before anyone leaves.
    The Spanish internationals will be tired next season after the Euros.

  20. Josep
    May 30, 2012

    Can someone answer me is Thiago Silva really THAT good? If so, why have no other clubs made a move for him? I don’t watch much Serie A, I just constantly hear how lovely he is, but does anyone actually watch him? What sets him apart? I didn’t know he was even pacey like that. Apparently he’s a good passer. I don’t know.

    At 27 he only has 25 Brazil caps. is he REALLY who people want because they know he’s good or because they hear he’s good? He didn’t play in WC2010, and didn’t excel at all through any of the Brazil youth ranks. He’s rather been a “late bloomer” I guess, but has he even bloomed that much?

    • May 30, 2012

      Thiago Silva is overrated and overpriced. We aren’t serious about his pursuit. Guaranteed.

    • Messiah10
      May 30, 2012

      I will say that not playing for Brazil’s National team or getting caps is not an indicator of how much quality a player has that is Brazilian. Politics play a HUGE roll in who gets picked for the Brazil squad. Players in Ligue 1, Russia, Netherlands, etc. are constantly overlooked for players in the Brazilian league. The public demands homegrown players and the pressure usually becomes to much so coaches give in. I know TS plays in Serie A, but even Serie A is often overlooked. I don’t watch enough Serie A to comment on his quality. I don’t think splashing a lot of cash on a 28 year old would be wise though.

      • Josep
        May 31, 2012

        Err…do we watch the same matches? Brazilian league players are usually only picked when others are available, from what I can tell. Excluding the select few studs.

        No one gets in undeserved. Never seen how Serie A is overlooked, besides Pato who Dunga seemed to have something against, I can’t recall any good serie a brazilians being overlooked.

  21. May 30, 2012

    Hector pills.. *Loud gasp of breath* I need Hector pills *falls unconscious*..

    • May 30, 2012

      Me too! But my last request, before I fall into the state of unconsciousness, is some eye candy in our squad…for the ladies 😀

          • mom4
            May 30, 2012

            Eye candy? Well, “Nando just scored for Spain, we could alway make a bid…
            You know I’m kidding, right?

          • May 30, 2012

            Bartra has beautiful emerald eyes! And I like his hair too (borderline curly).
            Tello is ok, still has some room for improvement 🙂
            Cuenca needs a makeover.

            I know a striker is not a priority, but Olivier Giroud has great skills, great in the air, willing to sit on the bench, and fairly cheap wage/buyout fee. He played well vs. Germany and Bulgaria (better than Benz!). And his look is a bonus 😛

          • May 30, 2012

            Euler and I would LOVE for us to sign Giroud. But he’s promised to Arsenal, apparently. Though I rather imagine we could upset that apple cart. Plus word from on high is that we aren’t going to be signing any attackers, a decision I’m perfectly fine with. Villa and THAT Pedro should be more than enough, provided they stay healthy.

          • May 30, 2012

            Oops, I meant he played well against Iceland (not Bulgaria, Holland played against Bulgaria and lost).

            Agree Kevin, I would love to have him on our team. I thought Bayern was in the mix for him as well.

          • Messiah10
            May 30, 2012

            Word is that SAF wants him. I think he’ll be goign to ManU

  22. May 30, 2012

    3M ripping shit up vs Slovakia today. Best player on the pitch by a mile, folks watching the match say. Anybody here looking in?

    • Kimcelona
      May 30, 2012

      Yep, watching it..was more entertaining than the Spain match.

      I can’t believe people can’t see the use of this player. He is VERY dynamic, especially for a team like Barca.

      I hope we DO NOT sell him. It would be a BIG mistake.

      Quality baller. Not to mention, he’s a fast learner. He’s learned alot training with Barca..it is evident in his play now.

      • May 30, 2012

        Plus his Spanish is so good after just one year (and a half)! He says he wants to learn Catalan too. We can’t sell him now!

  23. Kimcelona
    May 30, 2012

    I mostly agree with Blitzen in that I don’t want and think anyone will leave. I think we’ll make more aquisitions than sales. IF anyone would be leaving I think the most likely are Keita (notthat I want him to) and maybe Fontas (of those already in the first team). As for Tello, I’ve already made my beliefs clear. I think the best would be for him to either spend one more season with the B-team or be loaned out.

    The aquisitions I would like to see are:

    1. A LB/CB or a hybrid- Vertonghen would be ideal. Watched him play alot and I think he’s the best possible in that mold and at a reasonable price. Why we dont push harder for him is a mystery. I dont see his name mentioned in the transfer gossip except for a few quotes from De Boer about him being good enough for Barca. Then again, the Catalan rags are never about whats best for the team or what would be realistic, its all about glitz and glam..hence names like Bale and the like…
    I dont mind Alba but I think he’s the same type of player as Adriano..so basically we would have 2 Adrianos on the left..unless we get rid of Adriano..which I dont want us to do because of his versatility.
    For a CB, I dont get what some have against Thiago Silva and to answer questions I saw posted by someone above, YES there has been numerous enquiries from other teams but since AC Milan has no intention to sell, he’s such an integral part of Milan AND the player has most recently made it clear that he intends to stay at Milan for a long time, there has not been relentless pursuit by teams and there hasnt been a big media blitz ala Eden Hazard.
    He would have been my ideal signing for CB though had he been available for sale.
    Other options, I really dont know as no one stands out quite as much..I’m sure the board and scouts have their eyes on certain players. I see others pointing out some defenders such as Hummels, Sakho(sp?) and the like..I’m not sure they are good enough..

    I’m not in the group that wants another forward or more specifically a CF..we have all we need, as far as I’m concerned.. between a fit Villa next season, Messi, Pedrito, Ibi, Alexis and Cuenca (and maybe Tello, if we do end up promoting and keeping him), I dont see the NEED for another forward. I dont believe in the need for a big CF idea..I think its outdated. IF we somehow lose one of our forwards or somewhere down the line when Villa is past it, I think Cavani would have been ideal. DAMN, I love that guy. He has everything. Not sure how he would cope having to relinquish the spotlight to Messi all the time but he is mobile, big, strong, tall, can actually put his height and size to good use cause he can actually HEAD the ball, is skillfull/technical, has good link up play, is a hard worker as he tracks back and gets involved when the team needs him and he seems humble enough (since that seems to be a prerequisite of Barca players nowadays).

    Anyways, I think we’re good with who we have if they remain fit and in form. Theres no better player than Villa for us as a forward. The best Spanish striker.
    Yes, name me apart of the Villa fan club 😀

    One more thing, I TOTALLY disagree with nzm about Thiago, who lest we forget is only 20, it was his first full season in the first team and he did quite well, IMO. He really improved this season as a player and he can only get better. All palyers are NOT the same so we can’t expect him to be as rigid as a Xavi. He’s Thiago. He has style and skill and I wouldnt want him to lose his flair at all. He can improve his decision making at times and be less lax in possession but I don’t see any alarming concerns with him that warrants a demotion to the B team or a loan. Hells no, sorry.

    • nzm
      May 30, 2012

      Thiago is lax and slack, and needs to up his game. He’s in the big league now and needs to play like he is. This year is time for him to get serious about showing what he can do – and consistently.

      • May 30, 2012

        I just so disagree. Yes, he has had off games and has room for improvement, but Xavi at 21 wasn’t nearly the player he is now either. This is his first full year with the first team and Pep showed his trust in him by playing him a LOT. I think he has tons of potential and will be around for a long time.

        • nzm
          May 31, 2012

          So do I, blitzen, but what exactly are you disagreeing with? If Thiago had played more consistently, he would have gotten even more games. People say that he creates danger on the pitch. Yes, he does – but it’s danger on both ends. His losses of the ball equate to when Messi loses them – the opposition creates great scoring chances out of them. Can’t afford to have a midfielder playing like that.

          I was more pro-Thiago than I was against him at the beginning of the season, but I’m still on the fence about him, as my original comments in Kevin’s post will indicate. All I’m saying is that this is a make-or-break year for Thiago at Barca. The times have changed since the days of bringing in Xavis and Iniestas and allowing them to develop in the first team. The First Team now requires that ALL players are playing at a high level from the VERY start. That’s the extra pressure of pro-football now. You can’t be risking the results (and finances) of the team by playing lesser players in important matches – AND they are pretty much all important matches nowadays.

          • May 31, 2012

            I disagree that he is “lax and slack”. Those words imply laziness, and Thiago works his butt off.

            Also, this:

            The First Team now requires that ALL players are playing at a high level from the VERY start.

            Well, that’s just never going to happen. If we’re not going to allow young players time to develop their skills we might just as well go back to the era of only buying stars and forget about the cantera completely. It’s unrealistic and contrary to the policy of promoting from within.

          • Ryan
            May 31, 2012

            By saying we can’t afford to nurture our best talents like we did Xaviniesta you’re essentially consigning us to never making world class talent again… The no-cantera/only top talent approach sounds more like what the other club in Spain does, no?

          • nzm
            June 1, 2012

            I disagree that he is “lax and slack”. Those words imply laziness, and Thiago works his butt off.

            Nope – you’re reading into my words that he is lazy. If I wanted to say lazy, I would say it. Lax and slack means that he’s too casual on the ball for my liking and too indifferent to the difficulties in which he places his surrounding team-mates with his sudden flicks and inaccurate passing. If he tidies up these elements, he’ll be a better player, however he’s had a whole season in which to do this and is still committing the basic errors. As I said in my original comments within the post, I hope that Tito will work on these elements of his game to make the improvements. He needs to become more consistent and less erratic.

            Well, that’s just never going to happen. If we’re not going to allow young players time to develop their skills we might just as well go back to the era of only buying stars and forget about the cantera completely. It’s unrealistic and contrary to the policy of promoting from within.

            But that’s just it – the ball game has changed. I believe that the days of nurturing the young players is going to become harder and harder – especially with so much at stake nowadays, a cap on squad personnel numbers and barely any games which aren’t important, and where players can be “bedded in”.

            Tell me how many games there were last season where it wasn’t critical who was on the pitch for the team to win? I can only think of the first CdR game against L’Hospi and the second CL pool match against BATE Borisov – and Pep did use B players and second-string First team players for those, but that’s only 2 matches out of the whole season that weren’t win-result dependent. It’s only going to get tougher.

            Until the Osasuna game in which he was injured, Fontas had only managed playing time in about 2 or 3 competitive games, from memory.

            So here’s a guy, newly promoted, sitting on the bench, taking up one of the 25 places and barely used. Then people start talking about trading him. How would he feel about being sent out of the First Team? A lot like Bojan did, I reckon. Rejected from one of the best teams in the world – a great start for the psyche of a young player.

            Barca is being forced to commit young, promising players to contracts before they are even sure whether they’ll be top class and right for the team. This is because the likes of Arsene Wenger can poach these boys at an earlier age, so if Barca doesn’t do it, EPL will.

            It’s making for quite the dilemma at the club, and a see-saw act in diplomacy. They have to promote La Masia players because it’s confirmation of the system working as it should – yet they do so at the risk of the First Team’s success, by promoting 3-5 players per season (out of which there’s a high possiblity that only one of them will succeed and stay), and who take up valuable bench space.

            It also places a huge amount of stress (both psychologically and physically) on those First Team players who are already world-class, if they have to keep playing all important games (with no rest) because there isn’t the depth in the team to comfortably rotate players because the other squad members aren’t up to playing at the required level.

            By saying we can’t afford to nurture our best talents like we did Xaviniesta you’re essentially consigning us to never making world class talent again… The no-cantera/only top talent approach sounds more like what the other club in Spain does, no?

            No, not at all. I like the La Masia concept and fully support it, but the system HAS to produce the world class goods for it to work. Good players shining in lower leagues have to lift their games even further if they want to continue playing at Barca in the First Team.

            But I believe that what we have here at the moment is a conflict where Barca would like to retain the players just in case they do work out, but has to sign them earlier (to stop other leagues from poaching them) in order to keep them around. This means that there will be a lot of disappointments for some of these players who will ultimately be sold, released or loaned, and very few successes in relation to the total number. The law of averages dictates that not everyone from La Masia who is signed into a First Team contract will stay at Barca.

            Just as an example, look at a few who we have lost from La Masia in recent times – Bojan, Jeffren and Romeu. Two promoted to the First Team and 1 not able to make it. Doing well enough (most of them) in other leagues, but not able to cut the mustard at Barca, nor get the playing time that they wanted. Hell, even a non La Masia top player like Yaya left (no guaranteed starts) for the same reason!

            For the system to succeed, the system has to work – for the benefit of all, and especially for the First Team results and financial success of the club.

    • nzm
      May 30, 2012

      And – his age has NOTHING to do with it. He’e been promoted because they believe that he has the SKILLS and the TALENT to be a player in one of the best teams in the world.

      He needs to show that he can live up to that belief.

        • nzm
          June 1, 2012

          Not in my opinion. However, if you read my comments in Kevin’s article again, you will see that I’m hoping that Tito will work on Thiago’s game to make the necessary improvements.

          I like the kid – he simply has to up his game. Otherwise he’s going to be another Bojan case.

      • Josep
        May 31, 2012

        That’s not true, at all.

        Why wasn’t Soriano promoted? Ohhhh, his age? Right. Age has a lot to do with it, he had outgrown the B team at a relatively young age. If you don’t cut him some slack, don’t cut Deulofeu any on his appearances when they happen. Or Dongou.

        I do agree that sometimes he played some bad passes, but defensively he was our best attacking mid. I seem to recall him making a crunching slide tackle in the opponent half that led to a goal in recent games.


        • nzm
          June 1, 2012

          Why wasn’t Soriano promoted? Ohhhh, his age? Right. Age has a lot to do with it, he had outgrown the B team at a relatively young age.

          Too old for the Barca B Team, perhaps, however not for Liga Adelante where most players average about 30 years of age.

          Soriano’s case was different. He was not from La Masia. Don’t forget that he had been bought into the B Team for his maturity, leadership and skills – AND to fill a gap in the B Team which La Masia grads could not fill. Soriano was Pichichi in Liga Adelante for the 10/11 season.

          He was to accompany the First Team on the US pre-season last year, but only got as far as Germany where he was injured in the Audi Cup and had to return to Barcelona for an operation and recovery. That blew his chance to prove his worth for First Team inclusion.

          When the First team was in trouble last season and needed strikers, Soriano was 25 at the time, and Liga rules dictated that for him to regularly appear for the Barca First team required him to be promoted because he was too old to be considered as a youth player.

          Soriano wasn’t promoted because Pep didn’t think that he was good enough for the First Team. End of story. The squad was running at about 22 players at that time, so it wasn’t that there weren’t enough positions – he wasn’t deemed good enough for permanent promotion.

          Please don’t read into my comments any inferences that I’m NOT making. Thiago does have skills and I was quietly (not as vocally enthusiastic as a lot of others around here because I couldn’t see that he would be so great from the get-go) optimistic about him.

          I still am. It’s just that he needs to improve in a lot of areas – and he needs to improve fast. The First Team can no longer afford to be carrying players that don’t get it.

          Foreign players have been rejected for a lot less – there’s no reason why that principle shouldn’t also be applied to La Masia players who also don’t get it.

          Thiago is a long way from not fitting in, but he has to improve fast in order to stay – that’s all I’m saying.

          If you don’t cut him some slack, don’t cut Deulofeu any on his appearances when they happen. Or Dongou. Don’t worry – I won’t. 🙂 The success of FC Barcelona is way more important than any player, and I will be quick to point out where players could improve to better the team, as much as I will be admiring their talents. I’m not a blind fan-girl.

          Deulofeu is certainly beefing up right now in terms of his body – whatever they’re doing with him, he’s filling out. Perhaps they should try the same with Cuenca! Gerard is playing better now than he was at the beginning of the season, but he still has a huge chip on his shoulder about how good he is. Ego is not a bad thing as long as one can live up to the hype, however one could argue that ego has no place at Barca.

          Dongou I think is still too young for promotion – he needs another half season. Putting him into the B team to be kicked around by 30 years olds in Liga Adelante risks injury to him. He prefers being in the Juvenil A team anyway, and will do anything to go back and play with them, as he has often done in recent times.

  24. AJ_10
    May 30, 2012

    Agree with blitzen. I feel we don’t have to sell anyone. We must get an LB and maybe a CB but that’s it. I feel we can make a clean sweep for them (trophies) all again. barring any freak injury crises like we had this year.

    About promotions… that’s a tricky issue. I’d prefer if we loan them all out (including Tello),except for Montaya, but the rest will benefit from more playing time. Or set up Bojan-esque deals for all of them. We can buy them all back later.

    And Kxevin? Is it just me or does the title say “cray”? Or maybe all the pressure of tomorrows’ exam and silly season made me lose it.

    • May 30, 2012

      Yep. “Cray” is a slang term for wild or crazy, as in “Shit be cray, yo!”

  25. Josep
    May 30, 2012

    “Euler and I would LOVE for us to sign Giroud.”

    Is that right? Don’t remember seeing anyone talk about him then again I’ve been visiting here less and less.

    Afellay was nice out there today, and had some good link up plays including a nice 1-2 with Sneijder. Tiki Taka ;3

    Vertonghen wants to go to Spurs(oddly), who are being petty about the fee. Ajax want 3m more than they’ve been getting offered I think its 15m they want 18m (euros). His contract is up at the end of the year so he WILL be moving on, I don’t know why we don’t jump in that.

    Hummels is Germany’s best defender/best defender in Germany. Sakho, after this year, I doubt is even on our radar.

    • May 30, 2012

      Our tactical ogling was in the Twitterverse. Such intelligent movement and occupying of space, which an attacker needs to have in our system, rather than saying “I will be here. Where is ball?” as Ibrahimovic did when he went rogue. Quality finisher, and wouldn’t demand a starting role in a club like ours, which, as with us keeping Afellay in many ways, would be a waste of talent.

        • Josep
          May 31, 2012

          I’ve never seen Giroud play, not once.

          So of course I know how good he is.

    • Messiah10
      May 30, 2012

      Word is SAF is big on Giroud and wants to bring him in after he offloads Berbatov. Could just be gossip but looks like he’s stepped up his pursuit of Kagawa after Hazard slipped through his grasp.

  26. providence
    May 30, 2012

    1. The general Pardon 4 Mou n Tito is jux silly nd a shame for the spanish FA. Im jux hurt hw their decisions aba d incidences benefits EE. By d way does d pardon covers Villa too? 2.no messi rotation,rotation means he might nt b able 2 to keep up d 73 goal standard and also march up with thong boy 3.You can call Kxevin “sell alves activist in disguise” lol 4. Did KARI include a “buy back” option in her departure? I miss her

  27. ciaran
    May 30, 2012

    I love silly season. It’s so much fun.

    Left back – necessary.
    I’d buy Alba for left back. He’s similar to Adriano, yes, but that’s not a bad thing. He’s a Masia graduate and very aggressive going forward. Defensively, he makes lots of interceptions rather than tackles and positionally is strong. He has an engine close to Dani’s and used to play as a winger in our youth teams so tactically could fill in there again. For the €15million that is being discussed it is fairly obvious.
    David Alaba hasn’t proven himself for long enough yet and there’s NO WAY Bayern will sell. Gareth Bale will cost someone €40million, and we are not spending that. Siquera isn’t even at Adriano’s standard.

    Centreback – Necessary
    I’d buy
    Javi Martinez if possible. I reckon we could get him for €25million and he could rotate between CB and DM as he has the physique for both. Plays the ball like Pique, attacks the ball in the air like Puyol, only tactically he wouldn’t be to our standard yet but could easily get there.
    Thiago Silva is world class. Anyone who is unsure of his quality doesn’t watch Milan. He is overpriced but world class players generally are. The problem is that it’s harder to justify big transfer fees for defenders than strikers because it isn’t quantifiable in goals/assists. I wouldn’t spend the money but hey.

    Midfield – sorted
    Forwards – sorted
    I fully expect Neymar to sign for us next summer. I think that the deal is already agreed upon and that all parties involved have settled on it. All other Neymar rumours have gone away, and we all know how many Madrid rumours there were. With Neymar coming next summer, it wouldn’t be possible to sign someone this summer although next season would probably be Villa’s last… allowing Neymar to slot alonside Messi & Alexis for Rosell to have ‘HIS’ strikeforce.
    For that reason, I expect our full budget to be spent on defense.

    • Josep
      May 31, 2012

      Siquera isn’t even at Adriano’s standard.

      I Stopped reading here.

  28. Messiah10
    May 30, 2012

    Elite? How bout Neymar? Tim Vickery, Ronaldo, and other in Brazil think he needs to move to improve his game. If he stays in Brazil until 2014 he will stagnate. There’s perceived pressure from people around him to leave and start learning his craft in Europe. I believe WE have earned his respect(CWC) and admiration and that WE’d be his 1st choice. $40M? I would pay it for him. He’d fit in perfectly w/us. Speed, Vision, Touch, & most importantly, Deadly Strike! Sign him.
    We definitely need a LB as it’s been mentioned since Abi’s black hole sized void. I just don’t think Alba is the right guy. I want some height. Alba just adds liability in set pieces. Forget Alaba. Not gonna happen. Bayern just signed him and I believe extended his contract recently. Unless he demands a transfer he’s staying put. He’s Bayern’s future. I’m against selling Adriano or Keita, but if I had to choose, it’d be Keita because of his age. Adriano filled some serious needs last season. He’s a blue collar kinda player and we need someone with his abilities. Super Sub or Super Squad player. I’m a little worried about Villa. What’s up? He should be going to the Euro’s. Why not? Is the leg not healing like it should? Will that affect him next season? That’s why we need Neymar immediately. Yes, he has a lot to learn. However, putting him in OUR squad will make the goals come easier for him and boost his confidence.

  29. providence
    May 30, 2012

    So is the Spanish FA trying to tell us that what Mourinho did goes unpunished? I never heard of general pardon in football b4,we r nt in a law court 4 God sake. This is a travesty to Justice.Shame on u Spanish FA.

  30. Messiah10
    May 30, 2012

    We open up our preseason against Hamburg? Oh no! The last time we played them in ’77 they beat us 6-0! Look out.

  31. Larm
    May 30, 2012

    i would be hesitant to promote so many players without loan deals lined up for them, a full squad of proven players is nice, but of b-team players…not so much

    In terms of defense like everybody has said, a LB is required. Along with a decent CB. With both of smash, pique and puyol, plus some youngins i think that CB position only needs one more player.

    The midfield seems pretty stacked. I dont see any need bringing people in, or for that matter no need to have people leave. If Keita stays this is a win for the team.

    At the foward position people always talk about plan b. And i have a plan b. Its called plan Berbatov. The dude will be cheap, is kinda lazy but can scored crazy wierd goals in full boxes. We dont need an umpteenth redunt winger/foward. We just need an expierenced Striker whos cheap. ON the plus side berbs has proven sittin on a bench aint the end of the world for him

  32. Oil_Can
    May 30, 2012

    This will sound very unorthodox but I think a player like Branislav Ivanović would be a practical signing.

    Don’t shoot me just yet, he is similar to an Abidal type figure, he can play regularly between CB and RB positions, he is very good in the air, he is a big threat in set pieces and apparently he is decent on the ball. Obviously there are down sides, his pace is questionable and his age being 28 may be a waste of an investment, but again Chelsea are in sort of a transition period and they don’t seem tough to deal negotiations with.

    ok, now you can shoot me.

  33. Messiah10
    May 30, 2012

    Marcelo is acting like the idiot he is against the USA. Just kicked a ball at Chernundodlo. He kicked at him earlier when he was fouled by Chernundodlo. Nothing in it. Just kicked at him. He & Pepe should get married. Sorry for posting here since this is silly season post, but so frustrated by him.

    • barca96
      May 31, 2012

      Unfortunately I can’t find any video of it on youtube. I only watched the 1st half.

      • Messiah10
        June 1, 2012

        To be fair, he had a stellar game. Was constantly pushing up from the left and was by far MOTM. Scored 1 and assisted 1 or 2, but why is he such a hot head? It’s going to cost Brazil come WC ’14. I don’t see how a coach can have faith in him when he acts so recklessly. It’s a shame b/c he is a great player, but as long as he acts like such an idiot I’ll never respect him. Neymar looked good. He did struggle a bit with the physicality of the US defenders. That comes from playing in Brazil. He must get a lot of protection there because some calls he was looking for were minor and nothing in them. However, his runs with and w/out the ball were amazing. One move in particular where he was going down the left. Showed the ball to a defender for a sec. Defender bit, he pulls it back and flicks it past him and uses his speed to get around him. Gorgeous move!

  34. Gogah
    May 31, 2012

    I have to side with Linda when she says that the priority in the preseason must be to focus on attaining the right fitness and mental levels in view of the next year.
    We must show that we learn from our mistakes, we cannot yet again begin another season with a small tired squad of 20 and then suffer in the late months trying to come up with crazy formations that makes Fibonacci look stupid, just so we can fit the fit players in.
    Call me crazy, Even though I’ve supported Spain the past 5 years or so, I’d actually like them to exit early in the Euros just so that we have all our players, back, healthy and we could use the disappointments of the season’s losses to good effect for 12-13.
    So I’d like a full squad of 24+ where as one mod said, reassure the players of their roles in the team.
    This will involve also Tito setting the right expectations with Messi. He’ll need to start to share, some goals and minutes.
    As far as who I’d like to buy and sell and promote…
    I like the squad now as it is. I’ll loan Fontas to a team in La Liga, Tello and Sergi Roberto to teams in the EPL/Liga. I’d promote Montoya and Bartra only for the first team and Dongou to the B team.
    I’d also test Keita in the LB role, as something tells me he’d fill the void left by Abidal very well. He has a belter of a left foot as well.
    In essence we need to add quality to 3 positions – a CB, an LB and a cheap experienced reliable striker. My additions would be Al(ba/aba) + Javi Martinez/Ivanovic + Drogba

    yes i know he’s going for money to shanghai and hes..well, as everyone knows, the injury faking, foul mouthed, crazy character that has infuriated many a cule. but my hatred for him has eventually turned to a bit of respect and If i can set the right expectations with him, I’d go for him and not have him torment us again clothed in white and coached by an arse. maybe he could agree on a one year deal to play for this hallowed team before earning some big bucks in china or the US or wherever.

    • Peterj
      May 31, 2012

      Why the hell do people think barca are even considering DROGBA? he isn’t coming guys

      • Gogah
        May 31, 2012

        This is a comment about what I’d do, not the options the club are considering

  35. psqd
    May 31, 2012

    very disappointed not to see any fabian johnson to barca posts yet. i have it on good authority that he was the best LB in Germany the last few months. 😉

    • Josep
      May 31, 2012

      hahaha I couldn’t believe I heard that on the match. Who the hell said that? Apparently Klinsman, and no one else in the world.

  36. Josep
    May 31, 2012

    Let’s just stop the Ivanovic stuff now, yea?

    So the two players I seem to see everyone being overly impressed with that I don’t find that impressive are Montoya and Tello.

    I don’t think Tello will make it, for us atleast. For a quick, counter attacking team who need to get the ball out wide and play it in fast he could excel. I don’t think he’ll be what everyone expects him to be, and I don’t think he’ll be in the first team next year.

    Afellay’s injury was so unfortunate because he would have gobbled up all those minutes Tello/Cuenca got, even though according to most reports in England he’s “unhappy with his playing time”

    Someone mentioned it above, and Berbatov, if you could get him to reduce wages/fee, wouldn’t be a bad shout. He’s such a fantastic passer. And he wears long sleeves and gloves. I wonder how he’d feel about playing at Stoichkov’s old club.

    • Nik
      May 31, 2012

      Berba is leaving Man U because he wants more playing time. I don’t think he’ll be any happier sitting on Barca’s bench.

      • Josep
        May 31, 2012

        True, but I’m fairly certain we’d actually play him, no? Move Messi in the hole as the 10..regardless, it won’t happen so nevermind 😀

  37. Laurentiu88
    May 31, 2012

    I will sign Toni Soprano to deal with the refs and maybe some of JM yes men … 🙂

  38. mangut
    May 31, 2012

    Ultimately, if you are going to promote B players, which Barca should because they invest so much in their development, the team and its supporters need to accept and expect that the team may take a step back. Montoya, Cuenca, Tello, Bartra and Thiago are quality players but they are not quite ready. They need to be promoted and given consistent playing time to find out whether they will ever be Barca players.
    What about Sergio Roberto?
    Firstly, I do not sell Alves.
    I do not understand the desire to purchase Alba. I have not been impressed with him on Valencia. Maybe he will display more with the Spanish team. I would work harder to discover a young and up and coming player rather than over pay for these known commodities.
    I would buy Adrian. And yes I would pay up for Thiago Silva. I was in the “he is overrated” camp but he is a smart player, young and very athletic. Then we wait for Neymar.

    • May 31, 2012

      What about Sergio Roberto?

      Sergi Roberto is a personal favourite of mine, but he’s not ready for the first team. He has performed very well the few times he gotten minutes, but has been less than consistent for the B team. Besides, with JDS and Riverola (and Carmona) moving on Sergi will be the most senior player in the B team midfield and they will need him as their anchor next season. I really do think he has the talent to make the first team, but he still needs some seasoning.

    • barca96
      May 31, 2012

      T. Silva isn’t young folks. Everywhere I read, people are saying that he is still young. He is in a prime age for football players.

      Although CB’s usually can last until mid 30’s, we play a high line. Therefore we need someone with pace. Players simply lose pace when they reach 30.

    • nzm
      June 1, 2012

      What about Sergio Roberto?

      Sergi is a good player and had a good game against BATE Borisov, but it was BATE.

      In that Liga game at Osasuna where Barca lost 3-2, Roberto was thrown in at the deep end, and although the whole team failed that night, it was Sergi who got too easily bowled over and gave the ball away for the first Osasuna goal. Not saying that it doesn’t happen to anyone else, but the kid was way out of his league that night. It didn’t do him any favours.

      Give him at least another 1-2 seasons to prove his worth and develop his game.

      • nzm
        June 1, 2012

        Sorry – getting my games confused. It was the CdR game in which Roberto easily conceded the ball for the goal, but the Liga game showed him to be out of his depth too, especially when he was surrounded by other non-performing players.

  39. barca96
    May 31, 2012

    All I’m saying is that this is a make-or-break year for Thiago at Barca. The times have changed since the days of bringing in Xavis and Iniestas and allowing them to develop in the first team. The First Team now requires that ALL players are playing at a high level from the VERY start.

    Don’t be so harsh NZM. Thiago still has a lot of time. The players who are on a make or break season are like Bojan, Jeffren, Fontas.

    It is impossible for a newly promoted player to play at a very high level from the get go. Only Messi has ever done that at Barca and Ronaldo at PSV & Rooney at Man U as young players into a new team and as a big signing, of late, Ronaldo at EE.

    Clearly, Thiago is not of their calibre so give him some time. Can you imagine if didn’t give Iniesta and Xavi a chance? I thought that Iniesta was already good enough in 2005 but he kept playing second fiddle which I understand and Im so lucky that HE didn’t quit on us but waited patiently.

    • May 31, 2012

      Thiago is out for two months. Something is wrong with his right leg (swollen?). He was injured in that area a few months ago and was then inactive for about a month. I hope this is not a chronic injury.

      Thiago is still developing. I think he had a better season than Cesc. Yes, there were occasional looseness in his play, but his intelligence and movements were more in sync with the rest of the team compared to Fabregas.

      • barca96
        May 31, 2012

        One beef I have with Thiago is him being too casual with the ball in dangerous areas. But he will learn from those mistakes. He improved on that already if you compare it to the 2010-11 season.

        • nzm
          June 1, 2012

          So I’m being harsh for stating the very same criticism about Thiago’s game that you just brought up? Gimme a break!

          And it will be a make or break season for Thiago – as it will be for any of the players. Why can’t people see this? IF any player fails this season, they will not be considered as Barca players for the next season, or certainly not as starting players.

          If Thiago does not improve or play consistently enough to warrant his inclusion on the team, he will be loaned or sold.

          Simple as that – ask Bojan.

          Stop reading more into it, people!

  40. barca96
    May 31, 2012

    One thing that is frustrating is not signing these players right before they make they jump to world class.Right now Dede in Brazil is playing at a similar to Thiago Silva before he left for Milan.

    We of course will wait till Inter or some team sign him then return to buy him for 10 times his original cost. We would probably do it with Neymar too if his price already wasn’t so much.

    I totally agree with this. I don’t understand why we area always in the sub-sale business instead of getting it direct from S. America. Look at Kun, Higuain, Kaka. They all turned out great! I wish we would take a gamble sometimes with these players from S. America.

    Although I must say we have bad experiences in the past with the likes of Saviola, Henrique, K9. But only Saviola is the failed one to me as he was supposed to be the next big thing but never realized his true potential.

    Kun, Higuain & Kaka met their expectations and gave their respective clubs a good service and cost 10x more now.

    Neymar is definitely going to do well in Europe so I think we should get him!

    • Josep
      May 31, 2012

      Because we’re not going to take a chance on a player unproven like that, atleast not anymore. Unless they’re a Neymar type, and whatnot.

      It’s generally how it goes too. The superstar south americans get snapped up by big clubs, the great ones go to clubs to get their feet wet first, then big clubs go from there. For Suarez to Groningen, Ajax, then Liverpool you have players like Breno to Bayern…and, well, yeah. Look at Keirrison for another example.

      Kun is linked with Madrid because he is a good player. Whether its him, his agent, or anyone else is different though. Any good young talent is linked with Barcelona, Madrid, United, and City nowadays..

      Btw, just putting it out there, that we’ll probably be signing Eriksen after the Euro performance he puts in, for next year 🙂

      • nzm
        June 1, 2012

        So we’ll take our chances with unproven La Masia players intead. 🙂

  41. barca96
    May 31, 2012

    – Speaking of Kun, why is he constantly linked to EE? Why is Maradona, his father in law always pushing him to EE? What business does he have with Perez?

    Doesn’t he want to see his son in law play in the best team of the world with one of the greatest player in Messi?

    – Why are we not linked to Kun? Man.. He’s good!! I love him!

    – I must admit that I prefer Hazard & Muniain over Neymar but now that Hazard is not available and we know that he is a diva now, I don’t mind Neymar providing that he doesn’t cost us >30million.

    Muniain doesn’t score much so I don’t think he will improve us that much. But man, he robbed Messi off the ball 4 times in the Copa final! That player has balls! And he hardly lost a ball while dribbling.
    I love him!!

    – I understand if the Spanish FA want to pardon 1 match of the suspension but 2 matches for Mourinho???!! It’s very unfair to Tito as what Tito did is only 1 match worth of suspension while Mourinho deserves more than 2 matches in the first place.

    – Why does Tito want T. Silva? He didn’t look that fast to me vs. USA. And we have Puyol, Pique and sMasch for CB. What we need a young player to groom for when Puyol retires, someone like Bartra.

    – Why are many people here talking about Alaba? Is it because of his performance vs. EE? I think we should judge a player over the course of a season, not from one match.

    – Hummels is a great defender but he had a stinker while playing for die Mannschaft. And he is definitely not faster than Pique.

    • barca96
      May 31, 2012

      Mods please delete this comment, accidentally pressed enter. Damned touchscreen smartphone! I wasn’t done.

  42. barca96
    May 31, 2012

    – Speaking of Kun, why is he constantly linked to EE? Why is Maradona, his father in law always pushing him to EE? What business does he have with Perez?

    Doesn’t he want to see his son in law play in the best team of the world with one of the greatest player in Messi?

    – Why are we not linked to Kun? Man.. He’s good!! I love him!

    – I must admit that I prefer Hazard & Muniain over Neymar but now that Hazard is not available and we know that he is a diva now, I don’t mind Neymar providing that he doesn’t cost us >30million.

    Muniain doesn’t score much so I don’t think he will improve us that much. But man, he robbed Messi off the ball 4 times in the Copa final! That player has balls! And he hardly lost a ball while dribbling.
    I love him!!

    – I understand if the Spanish FA want to pardon 1 match of the suspension but 2 matches for Mourinho???!! It’s very unfair to Tito as what Tito did is only 1 match worth of suspension while Mourinho deserves more than 2 matches in the first place.

    – Why does Tito want T. Silva? He didn’t look that fast to me vs. USA. And we have Puyol, Pique and sMasch for CB. What we need a young player to groom for when Puyol retires, someone like Bartra.

    – Why are many people here talking about Alaba? Is it because of his performance vs. EE? I think we should judge a player over the course of a season, not from one match.

    Hummels is a great defender but he had a stinker while playing for die Mannschaft. And he is definitely not faster than Pique.

    – What are we going to do with J. Martinez? He is not a great CB. And for the DM position we have Busi & Keita. It’s a different story if Keita leaves.

    – I thought Soldado is not in the Euro squad, how come he was playing vs. S. Korea? Quite a gentleman if he really is dropped but still wants to play a friendly for them.

    • Messiah10
      June 1, 2012

      I think Hummels had a stinker b/c that back line had virtually never played together. All the Bayern players had been given extended holiday after their nightmare in Munich and the back line was essentially thrown together. No synchronization for offside trap. I’ll give him a pass on that game. I like him a lot. He’s probably not going anywhere though.

  43. May 31, 2012

    Can someone with better Spanish please translate this? It’s from an interview with Pep’s close friend Manel Estiarte:

    -Miren, igual Pep no me habla en dos semanas, pero como volvemos a ser solo amigos y ya no es mi jefe, lo contaré. En su última renovación tuvimos una discusión. Quería repartir una parte de su ficha entre mucha gente que ha colaborado. Me negué. Ya teníamos ficha, unos premios, y nos sentíamos recompensados. La lista era larguísima: no solo estaba casi todo el staff, sino también conserjes, otros empleados y gente del Barça B… Pues repartió todo el dinero que cobró del Banc de Sabadell. Y encima escuchamos a un árbitro decir ‘la pela es la pela’ al recriminarle su participación en los anuncios… Pep tiene muchos defectos y no es perfecto. Se ha equivocado en las alineaciones, en la preparación, vale, pero acusarle de según qué cosas…


    I feel like I’m missing something.

    • Lev
      May 31, 2012

      Look, Pep will not talk to me for two weeks, but since we have gone back to be just friends and he is no longer my boss, I will tell you. When he last renewed his contract we had a discussion/argument. He wanted to divide a part of his signing fee among a lot of people who have collaborated. I denied. We had (our own) signing fee already, some bonuses, and we felt well paid. The list was reaaaally long: no only almost all of the staff, but also janitors, other employees and people of Barça B…Finally he shared all of the money that he got from Banc de Sabadell. And THEN we hear a referee say “money talks” when he recriminated his participation in the announcements/declarations (I am not sure what this referee is referring to, can anybody help me with this?). Pep has a lot of flaws and he is not perfect. He has made mistakes with the line-ups, the preparation, really, but accusing him of these things…

      • May 31, 2012

        Pep is flawless. I think the referee was Iturralde Gonzalez. He gave an interview to a radio station(?) shortly after Pep did this Banco Sabadell commercial.


        Basically, he said that Pep is just like other coaches.

        I still love Iturralde though 🙂
        And thanks for translating!

      • May 31, 2012

        Yeah, the ref was referring to the commercials Pep did.

        That’s about what I thought Manel said but I wanted to make sure. Thanks for the translation!

        Pep really is…well, not perfect, obviously, but he lives up to the high standards he sets for himself.

  44. May 31, 2012

    We’re forgetting the most important signing of all: Tito’s assistant.

    Looking for candidates with the following qualifications:

    -Know the Barcelona model inside out
    -Tactically astute
    -Outspoken and articulate
    -Know how to use Catalan/foreign/Spanish media
    -Good at martial arts for self-defense
    -Willing to risk injury on the sideline b/c opposing coach most likely will attack when things don’t go his way
    -Have a forgiving attitude towards incompetent authority

    BFBers, who should be Tito’s assistant?

    • barca96
      May 31, 2012

      I think we should get Joey Barton as an assistant manager.

      But on a serious note, we should get Oscar Garcia.

      • Josep
        May 31, 2012

        Rumors is he already took a job, and is leaving. I forget where, tbh.

      • May 31, 2012

        Errr…Joey Barton only fits one criteria, martial arts 😀

        I like Michael Laudrup.

    • Richzorz
      May 31, 2012

      Can we have the moustache/Borat guy from the Mou eye-poke photos!?! 😀

  45. barca96
    May 31, 2012

    Does anyone else here find that Rondo from Celtics is the Xavi of NBA as Xavi is to football?

    • May 31, 2012

      Rondo is a point guard, and he’s been carrying the Celtics for the entire season. They lost last night in overtime 🙁

      I see him more comparable to Messi in terms of initiating the play and carrying the team.

      • Messiah10
        June 1, 2012

        I can’t stand NBA play. To predictable and slow for me. Used to be great with Larry Legend and Magic, Jordan, Doc J, Dominque “Human Highlight Film”, in the 80’s and early 90’s, but somewhere down the line the NBA lost it’s pure basketball play. Now it’s 1 on 1, 80 point games, and just bad basketball. Some trace it back to Pat Riley and the Knicks. I don’t know where it went wrong but it did and horribly.

  46. May 31, 2012

    Cuenca had his surgery and is out for 3-4 months. Means he will miss the preseason, unfortunately. Well, at least that means we’re probably not selling him.

  47. Archie
    May 31, 2012

    Hello Assortment of Fans of Barcelona Futbol,

    In my own mind, I have asked the question, “If money is a problem, why not sell the high Euro value players who had a shot at playing time and didn’t really ascend or are older, Cesc F., Alexis S., and David V.? Then, use money and international tentacles to find replacements who are 20-22, e.g., Vladimir W.?”

    Humbly submitted,


    • Josep
      May 31, 2012

      So sell the players we just bought in the last two years for younger replacements who may not fit in the same way, and then sell them for younger replacements until it works?

      Sounds like a massive loss of money.

      • Archie
        May 31, 2012

        Dear Mr. Josep,

        Your rephrasing does sound ill considered, but in the specific case of the current FCB roster and the spirit of “cray”, what possibilities arise if less obvious paths are considered? Every player arrives and leaves. What is the goal? How can it be achieved given the messy business under consideration? My assumption was that the players were expensive but also still of value. Can you think of players you would trade for these three? If not, then perhaps there is nothing there.



        • Messiah10
          June 2, 2012

          Selling Alexis would be the worst thing the club could do. He was instrumental in our success last season. His name shouldn’t be mentioned. Cesc is “Cray” but I think he’ll fit in fine. He’s just tooooo talented to give up on after 1 season in which his role was undefined. He’ll be Xavi when there is no more Xavi. IMHO. Villa is the one I’d sell if the club could get a decent transfer fee for him. His age and drop in form before his injury don’t do us any favors for his transfer fee. So if we’d only get 15-20 M for him, I’d be happy to keep him and watch him pour in 20+ this season.

  48. Dani_el
    May 31, 2012

    What about this one?

    Mats Julian Hummels
    Date of birth: 16.12.1988
    Age: 23
    Height: 1,92
    Nationality: Germany
    Position: Defence – Centre Back
    Foot: right
    Market value: 20.000.000 €
    Player’s agent: Beratung durch Familienangehörigen

    Main position: Centre Back
    Secondary position: Defensive Midfield

    National team career
    SN National team Matches Goals
    5 Germany 13 0
    15 Germany U21 21 5

    Contract until:

  49. May 31, 2012

    3-4 months out for Cuenca, making that Afellay sale just a bit less likely (at least in the summer window). Also noise that Keita decided to take his option to leave on a free, after a talk with Vilanova. Recall that his contract had playing time stipulations.

    As Ramzi noted on Twitter, if this is true, those PT goals could easily have been reached. If he leaves on a free, add 15m to the price of Fabregas.

    I just think it would suck to lose him on a free, when we could get 10-15m for him, easily in a better world.

    • jordi™
      May 31, 2012

      But he cost €15M 4 years ago, and we never sell well so 4 years later, aged 32, we would be lucky to get 8-10 for a player that wanted to leave. He played 42 games this season despite reaching the ACN final so saying add €15M to Cesc’s cost doesnt make much sense unless the figure he was supposed to reach was an unrealistic 60 games or something.

    • Josep
      June 1, 2012

      If he leaves on a free, add 15m to the price of Fabregas.


  50. May 31, 2012

    Estiarte: “I’ve only seen Pep cry twice. He called me to tell me about Abidal. He couldn’t stop crying. He couldn’t talk.”

  51. May 31, 2012

    According to the Guardian, Gai Assulin is being released by Manchester City this summer. He never got a single call-up to the first team and was subsequently loaned out to Brighton where he had less than 10 appearances. Wonder where he will end up next?

  52. May 31, 2012

    Hleb (ex-Barcelona): “It was certainly also a mistake not to have learned Spanish. Now I think: ‘Alex, that was so stupid’.” [kicker] (@barcastuff)

    Tears of a clown…

  53. May 31, 2012

    Any medical doctor in the house who would like to explain to me why we have so many injuries this season?

    Fontas – ACL
    Afellay – ACL
    Villa – leg
    Puyi – Knee
    Cuenca – Knee
    Thiago – leg
    Xavi – Achilles/and another part of his leg?

    Muscle injuries:
    Cesc, Pique,Pedro, Adriano, Iniesta and Alexis.

    What is going on?

  54. barca96
    May 31, 2012

    The build-up to USA’s only goal vs. Brazil was superb! The through ball was majestic.

    • Ryan
      May 31, 2012

      And who doesn’t enjoy an attack finished off by a guy named Hercules? 😀

  55. rileypowell
    May 30, 2013

    Diablo 3 : Literacy: Blue strange, elite strange and rare and strange

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