Mascherano? 40m? Where did I put my Hector Pills?

Right-o, kids. The freakin’ January transfer window isn’t even open yet, and we supposedly have a deal with Javier Mascherano for just north of 40m. Or we don’t. It might only be about 34m. One complexity is that we want him in January, but Liverpool don’t want to have him leave until the summer.

Crikey! Oh, wait …. we should pause here, to allow Ramzi enough time to do his dance of joy.

Okay. The real question is where did the initial rumor begin, and how long will it take for all parties to deny that they even have each other’s telephone number, much less have struck a deal.

Here’s what we (don’t) know:

–It seems to have begun with the Sunday Express, one of those “sure, whatever” publications.
–We have struck personal terms with the 25-year-old Argentine defensive midfielder.
–Those terms are (ready for it?) about 112,000 per week. Per week! Curse my gene pool!
–Nobody, but nobody has said anything even vaguely, remotely official.

What are the implications:

–Well, remember all those “unsettled Yaya” rumors? They kind of get a bit of strength, right? Can anyone in their right minds see a club carrying Busquets, Keita, The Yaya and Mascherano?
–But what about the craziness that we are willing to trade The Yaya for Balotelli? The King of Catalunya, with one of those “Yeah, I know your mama” grins, said that we have a fine relationship with Inter, and that the two clubs will be doing more business in the future. Since his term is fairly limited, we can define future as “Oh, in 6 weeks or so.”
–If the implications of The Yaya having a falling out with the club are true, what happened? Because this seems, if any of this festering bollocks is to be believed, a lot of money to be spending on a January replacement/sub for our Main Man, the Cote d’Ivoirean colossus.
–Baby Kxevin is very confused.

Every report that I can find is citing the Sunday Express, and here’s an image of the sterling bit of journalistic excellence:

I'm in for the shaving foam!
I'm in for the shaving foam!

As to what this all means, we will have to wait for the official word, denials, obsfucations and whitewashes. Meanwhile, I’d reckon that “Pond Scum” Seluk already has his machine rolling full-bore.

Here is my personal view: It’s either nonsense, or The Yaya is no more in Barcelona. If the former is true, it would be typical of this transfer season at the best club in the world. Everybody wants everybody to play for us, and the Mascherano to Barca rumors have been rife for some time.

But if it’s the latter, is it good business? We just gave The Yaya a contract sweetening. Was it with the intention of raising his price to make him more sellable? Personally, and I know that Ramzi will disagree, if we sell The Yaya, we are out of our minds. Some believe that we can replace him for less money, in about two seconds. The alleged Mascherano fee isn’t less money.

Just saying. But enough from me.

What say everyone?

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Written by:

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


  1. Kari
    November 15, 2009

    No. freaking. way.

    I have nothing against Mascherano, but if it means selling The Yaya…

    Nope. No way. I’m with Kxevin all the way. We’d be out of our ever-lovin’ minds!

  2. Kari
    November 15, 2009

    David Silva however, I would take in a heart beat. Didja see him with Iniesta! The chemistry is already there, he’d fit in our system like a glove, AND (unlike Suarez (not that I have anything against him, he’d be good too)) Silva is proven and tested in La Liga (obviously). I also prefer him over Ribery, who is great and all, but seems to be headed over to EE.

    Of course, he’s loyal to Valencia (which I seriously respect) and he had a chance to come last summer, like Villa, but, unlike Villa who I still feel sorry for, chose to not come.

    Still, a girl can dream…sigh.

    • Alexinho
      November 15, 2009

      Hear, hear. I’d rather have Silva than today’s hottest property in Holland.

  3. Hilal
    November 15, 2009

    Hmmm, why does buying Mascherano mean selling the Yaya? Surely the whole point is to ADD depth so replacing one with the other puts us in no better of a position, except maybe for the ACN, but then we wouldnt be able to use Masch in the CL so it makes no sense whatsoever. Now, if he is coming to add depth to the midfield, that i can understand. All dure respect to Busquetz, who is a very useful player, he cannot hold down the DMF spot in our team, I even question his abilities as a consistent backup. He is a lot of potential and he will one day be great, but he needs at least another 2-3 years before he should be really holding down a regular spot in the team. Maybe Pep has recognised that and thats why he wants Javier now. Also Yaya is more versatile than Mascherano, hence more useful overall. He owns the DMF position and he can play both CB and the a more forward midfield position as well as most. Mascherano, as good as he is, is not versatile and he really is much more suited to a double pivot system. Only an idiot would sell The Yaya and Pep is no idiot.

    • Alexinho
      November 15, 2009

      Remember how last year Busquets played LM most of the time? That’s two midfield spots that he could third-string in an injury situation to Iniesta/Keita or Yaya/Mascherano.

      Wishful thinking? Maybe. But the way I see it is if we get Mascherano, we might very well sell BUSQUETS, not Yaya.

  4. BA
    November 15, 2009

    if we buy Mascherano we have 4 defensive midfielders (or 3 if you count Keita more and more as an offensive option), 2 of whom will expect automatic starts (Yaya and Mascherano). after all the Yaya brings us, i couldn’t imagine buying his replacement in the middle of the season, and ESPECIALLY for that kind of money. 40m? that’d very nearly pay for David Silva AND Luis Suarez. sounds like crazy talk.

  5. barca96
    November 15, 2009

    yes kari
    i would also prefer silva/villa
    they both play in the spanish team..
    so they know each other’s style of play
    it would be a dream to see them all 3 in barca next season
    but that is of course just my dream..

    back to yaya..
    its really freaking me out now..
    does pep really want to get rid of yaya?
    if so, WHY?????

    • Kari
      November 15, 2009

      Seriously, why waste media pressure and newspaper space with Masch when we have (in my opinion) a way better, and more versitile player in The Yaya? Obviously, Pep knows this (The Yaya, correctly me if I’m wrong) has played in the big games this season, when we REALLY need him. TBH, why waste the Yaya against clubs like (no offense, but I’m probably going to offend them 😛 )Cultural? They also just offered him a contract extension.

      I think in the case of transfer rumours, you really have to look at the source. Marca, AS, British tabloids, will all want to (to quote Laporta) destabilize the club and will do anything to give their teams the edge. Heck, our newspapers do it too. Everytime the British tabloids link us to Mascherano, “we” (Sport, EMD) bring up Cesc to Barca. It makes sense, right?

      I feel like starting a campagain to sign Silva. Forget Cesc! We need a versitile left winger that would be a guaranteed sucess and NOT an experiment! We all know Silva would probably fit in our system, c’mon he plays with Xavi, Pique, Puyol, Iniesta (Barca pratically IS the national team (well not really, but the really important players are predominately Cule)), and he would cost less money than apparently Mascherano, and Ribery.

      Okay, mini rant over. 😛

      • Kari
        November 15, 2009

        *just GAVE him a contract extension

        • Kxevin
          November 15, 2009

          Kari, I would kill for Silva. But I can’t see him coming for less than crazy-ass dosh, probably in the 30m range.

  6. Kari
    November 15, 2009

    Well, watching Masch during the Spain-Argentina game, he seemed to be really physical, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but I don’t think it’d fly in La Liga like it would in the Premiership.He really likes to do sliding tackles from what I’ve seen (which, admittidly, isn’t much. Feel free to correct me!) He’d have to tone down his game somewhat, and develop more aspects. With all due respect to Masch, he seems like just a pure destroyer and that won’t work here. He has to pass well too.

    The Yaya can do both, AND score/join the build-up play if he wanted too. He can play centre back pretty darn well (Champions League final/last few games of the season) and attacking midfield.

    Just saying.

  7. jordi
    November 15, 2009

    But Harry Harris and his “source” assured we we were broke and couldnt even afford to loan Robinho.Who ever will i trust now 😉

  8. Kxevin
    November 15, 2009

    I just want to know if my free shaving foam is in the post or not! 😀

    Seriously, we can’t treat these rumors at all seriously, until the official site says something, and the player is sighted at El Prat.

    But it does give us something to fill some time during the Internationals break, right?

    I’m with BA on that DM thang. If this rumor is true, let’s look at the roster:

    Busquets: A Guardiola project, so he isn’t going anywhere.
    Keita: Box-to-box roamer, bangs in goals like crazy, a Guardiola buy, so he isn’t going anywhere.
    The Yaya: Came during the Rijkaard era, would demand a starting XI role via his rat-faced agent.
    Mascherano: For the price, if the rumors are true, how can we not have him as a fixture?

    It’s why I’m still liking the idea of a low-priced temp DM such as Vieira or somebody (remember, this could be the looming business with Inter that Laporta referred to), to fill in during January. Then they’d finish off the season with us, and be cut loose in the summer.

    • Alexinho
      November 15, 2009

      How can we not have him as a fixture: good point. But I don’t buy it. You’re paying the money for his abilities, primarily, but also for what he allows for the roster. Meaning, you’re paying him to give rest to one player: Yaya. On the other side of the coin, say he is a fixture: he runs around game-in, game-out, then picks up an injury that takes him out for a month. I’d rather sub him in/out, or play him on odd/even dates, or both.

      By the way, awesome video. It’s highlight reels like these that make me argue against you, even though I also love The Yaya.

      • Alexinho
        November 15, 2009

        AND, you see in that video how Mascherano owned KAKA and RONALDO??

    • Boat Forever
      November 15, 2009

      They already lose Muntari for ACN & also losing out on Vieira I don’t think they would be so confident having only Cambiasso, especially for being in the Italian league… bloody Chiellini 🙁

      • Random Juve Fan
        November 16, 2009

        What’s wrong with Chiellini??!

  9. Alexinho
    November 15, 2009

    My biggest question is, why is rotation no longer viable? We complain all the time about players getting worked too hard, having to play game-in, game-out, and falling victim to injury more often. But when the idea of a purchase comes up, suddenly we’re too stacked in that position and it seems we must sell to buy.

    Why? First of all, I believe we have the money, and if we don’t now, the benefit that comes from having both Yaya and Mascherano will mean more wins and more revenue in the future. The only thing that gets in the way is egoes…but why? More rest means a greater probability of better performances with every appearance. And, they stay healthier longer.

    There’s so many possibilities…DM, RM, LM. Yaya, Xavi, Iniesta. Mascherano, Xavi, Iniesta. Mascherano, Yaya, Iniesta. Mascherano, Xavi, Keita. Yaya, Xavi, Keita. Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta. Busquets, Xavi, Keita. Yaya, Iniesta, Keita. Mascherano, Iniesta, Keita. AND, we might even see more subs, rather than playing the starting lineup for 80-85 minutes.

    It doesn’t mean we need to sell Yaya, it means we get to rest Yaya! Of course when egoes get in the way, things stop making sense. So if it does mean one or the other, I’ll take the Yaya…but like with Fabregas, I’d like to see Mascherano come in the future, Masch earlier than Fab.

    • Kxevin
      November 15, 2009

      Nice thought, but I just don’t see it happening, in part because of ego, and in part because lineups like to solidify with certain players in them. Most sides have an “A” lineup that they would go to any war with. Ours, right now, is VV, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal, The Yaya, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Henry, Ibrahimovic.

      Busquets, Keita and Mascherano would demand too much pitch time, and would any of them (Keita would) be satisfied, long-term, with being a mainstay in the “B” lineup? Doubtful.

      • Flippy
        November 15, 2009

        I disagree with you Kevin, because if we have multiple options for a “A” lineup doesn’t that make us more dangerous and unpredictable?
        Ours could be:
        Alves Pique Puyol Abidal/(and hopefully Maxwell could be too)
        Xavi/Yaya Iniesta/Keita/Yaya/Busquets
        Messi Ibrahimovic Henry/Iniesta

        and there are more options we have. Right now we are too predictable it seems…

        • Alexinho
          November 15, 2009

          I see Kevin’s point, but I think the definition of “wars” that we go into would change. We would go into Last-16 CL, or against Real Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia with the lineup he listed, which is undoubtedly the best. And I don’t doubt that Masch would have to take some time to integrate into the lineup properly. I think that the mid-level games…the Mallorcas, Osasunas (I can’t believe they’re mid-level this year), Atleticos, early-stage CLs…will be much more winnable with our “weakened” lineup, which would feature quality like Mascherano.

  10. Jose44
    November 15, 2009

    Catalunya vs. Argentina confirmed. December 22 @ Camp Nou.

    Should be interesting… Cruyff vs. Maradona, 2 of the 3 top footballers of all time facing off as managers. That ever happen before?

    • Boat Forever
      November 15, 2009

      Looks like your wish is not granted… Maradona is banned from managing for 2 months & so can’t be any where near the Argentina squad during match against Catalunya

  11. drew
    November 15, 2009

    SPORT is calling BS on this story already, which for some reason kinda makes me believe the story even more…

  12. Ciaran
    November 15, 2009

    Whenever I was sick as a kid, my older brother used to either punch me in my shoulder or pinch my arm so that I wouldn’t be thinking of my sick stomach. Now it worked, for all of two mintues it worked. The main problem with that solution is that it doesn’t fix the problem, merely give you another one.

    So you have a lack of depth in midfield… you may think that buying another automatic starter would mean that everything is rainbows and stuff. Unfortunately not. There are agents and egos in our beautiful game.
    I am against the Mascherano signing if we keep Busquets. And frankly I don’t think that, long term, swapping Busquets for Mascherano is worth €40m.

    • Kxevin
      November 15, 2009

      And as we all know, Busquets isn’t going anywhere.

  13. Jnice
    November 15, 2009

    Abidal has picked up a thigh injury and has returned to Barcelona.

    • Kxevin
      November 15, 2009

      Saw that. Not panicking yet, because there isn’t any data on the duration of the injury. But yhe timing is terrible. Alves and Maxwell at wing backs? Potentially for both the Inter match, and the Clasico. Ouch. On the up side, it gives me one more reason to hate Dumbenech. If he does his job, these playoffs aren’t happening.


      • Alexinho
        November 15, 2009

        Meh. We’ll survive. At least we’re not Arsenal. In three weeks, in Gunnerworld, we’ve lost Bendtner for a month in one game, Clichy for six-eight weeks in a practice, Diaby in a game for about three weeks, and the coup de grace, Robin van Persie…for THREE MONTHS…to international duty.


        • Kxevin
          November 15, 2009

          EMD is saying that team folks think Abidal might be out until the end of the year. He’ll be checked out by our medicos on the ‘morrow.

          I guess now we get to see what Maxwell is really made of. The other bummer is that last year, when he came back from his injury in the Champions League, he wasn’t the same player. It took him quite a while to come back into form.

          Stay tuned.

        • stowe
          November 16, 2009

          RVP is saying it’s now 4-6 weeks. he didn’t break his ankle. so I guess he should be back at the end of the year. Shame to see him get hurt when he was so hot. Hopefully he makes a full recovery and doesn’t spend the rest of the season in and out of the training room.

          Does Mascherano offer enough offensive abilities for our system? I also think that would be too many big names in our squad. would rather see a solid player that wouldn’t be a big name

  14. Kxevin
    November 15, 2009

    As noted above re Mascherano, Sport is citing their “official sources” and calling BS on it, but recall that they were citing official sources when they said that Villa was signed, sealed and delivered. 😀

    EMD is ignoring it altogether.

  15. Eduard
    November 15, 2009

    chemistry wise it makes sense. But I like the Yaya too much. Plus who will give Bojan horsie-back rides.

  16. jnelson
    November 15, 2009

    I say if the Yaya (and not his agent) is truly unsatisfied with his role, his pay, and/or the team, then we should grant his wish and sell him, in turn buying a veteran replacement to complement Busi. In a couple years, Busi will be the DM anyway and Yaya’s period of stardom will be over, that is if you go by Kevin’s 3 year rule. Technically, this would be his last year, but 3-5 is reasonable. 1) Pep did not buy Yaya 2) Yaya is not from the youth system 3) Yaya’s supposed demands cannot be met. 3 strikes and your out 3-5. Our you can hleb it and, well you know where I’m going…

    • November 15, 2009

      Word, jnelson. In many ways, you wonder if the “Yaya on the outs” rumors might have some truth, given their persistence. Can’t for the life of me figure out why, but not being a fly on the Camp Nou walls, I reckon I’ll never know.

  17. Boat Forever
    November 15, 2009

    First off, I think I know where the rumors about Masch started… During summer, I think it was EMD who said we already have the personal deal with Masch set & the figures mentioned were remarkably similar… Then the only stumbling block was Benitez who might demand ‘exorbitant’ amount, we were told! Now this new source in ‘Sunday Express’ seems to have sorted out how we could get past that stumbling block!!

    No offense meant to Ramzi at all, I love the guy’s analysis & respect him for his experience… But ever since Masch said all his relation with Pool & Benitez now is just professional & he has no love of any kind left for the club, I started to think he’s just another mercenary no matter how good a player he is!! This is the same guy who kept repeating he had all the respect in the world for Benitez because it was him who saw the talent hidden inside Masch and gave him his chance! All of a sudden when the best club in the world seemed interested in his services he lost all his respect for the guy & the club that gave him his chance!?! Do you guys think we want such a player at our Camp Nou!? Yeah he’d get a lot more quality to our bench & hence to the squad but at the same time he’d also get the dressing room troubles & more rants from The Yaya’s douche manager!!

    Now before going into explaining what kind of buy would suit us best to add depth and solve our problems during ACN, I’d like you guys to remember what was the role Iniesta & Keita played in their most remarkable performances off late… Iniesta in CL final – He spent as much time in our defense area, helping out Sylvinho & easing off the pressure on the dude assuring his forward movements don’t risk a counter, as much as he spent before ManUtd box helping out Messi & Xavi. Now that was one hell of a Box-To-Box performance!! Keita against Zaragoza – Remember how he tackled a guy just before our box, started the attack & finished it off making it an extra-ordinary goal!? That day he was truly our MOTM and he had been so doing the Box-To-Box role to perfection!

    So all I want to say is that we need such a player, say some one like Essien or Hernanes or Marchisio(Juventus,) who is a good Box-To-Box MF & can bail out Busi during ACN. Essien is totally impossible so let’s take Hernanes. He is already a good DM so could be quite handy during ACN providing the required depth for the squad. And each of these guys are also known for their creativity, so could directly provide some much-needed rest for the general. And could play the role I’ve been discussing(again BtB :P) to provide rest for Iniesta. In signing a MF we are to keep our confidence in Henry that he’d still be good until the season ends. Even if not, Iniesta could still be that make-shift winger where he was so good at being last year & according to Ramzi, would reduce the chances of us conceding the goals by retaining possession more than what Henry does & so reducing the risk of losing a match. At the same time by sending Iniesta to wings we still retain some of the MF quality that Iniesta generally provides, because Hernanes is no dick-head! So more or less we may not be needing a winger until summer! Keita is already 30 and I don’t know how long he’d be able to make those aggressive runs through out the pitch! So we are signing basically a replacement for Keita first, instead of signing a replacement for Henry. And wasn’t Keita signed because we couldn’t get Hernanes in the first place!? I know Iniesta had not been so good on wings this season & I myself always wanted him to be back in MF alongside the general but he had been so good there last season & was also not in his best form during the starting of the season!! So IMHO we could take such a risk…

    And thanks for not getting irritated for it being such a long post, can’t help it! My English is piss-poor 🙁

    • Boat Forever
      November 15, 2009


      This is to rub some Hernanes on you guys 😀

    • jordi
      November 15, 2009

      Pool will still have Lucas Corrine 😉

  18. Hector
    November 15, 2009

    Guys and girls: RELAX.

    If its true then we’ll know in January. Its the bloody Sunday Express! Judging by its front cover it makes the Daily Mirror seems like the Guardian.

    My stance on Masch is well known (full disclaimer: I have a man crush on him) although I do think a guy like Hernanes or Suarez will ultimately add more depth (and youth). The fact is that it will not surprise me at all to see us add more depth at midfield in the January transfer window. We’ve been bragging a lot about how La Masia is a superstar factory. However, we have to admit that having THIS particular group of talents, in their primes, playing together is a once in a generation type of thing. I have not doubt that Messi, Xavi, Zlatan, and Iniesta are once in a generation type players and we have them together. Thus, I can’t blame the management for saying “screw it, lets win now!”, and spend a boat load on getting Mascherano and somebody else for the front line. We’ll see what happens.

  19. Boat Forever
    November 15, 2009

    And for all you Silva fans, we can’t sign Silva in the winter because he has already played more than 5 matches in the league this season… so even if we do sign him in January he can’t be eligible to play in the league due to some dumbass rule by the Spanish FA!! So just forget Silva or Villa or Mata or Guardado or Perotti… at least until summer

    EMD said Busi showed he’s no less than any crack DM out there, while he played against Argentina… And at the same time reported we might already be having our deal set with Masch. Ironic!?

    • Boat Forever
      November 15, 2009

      Is the guy very tall or the Messiah is too short!? 😀
      Seems like Messi is drunk whenever his heart is filled with joy huh!? Bud, telling this with some serious experience, please stay away… PLEASE

  20. Kxevin
    November 15, 2009

    The Daily Express (M-S sibling of the Sunday Express) will not let the bone go. Now they’re saying that Robinho will also be headed our way, for a similarly silly sum to Mascherano.

    I’m starting to get a little worried. Recall when everyone was denying the Ronaldinho to Milan rumors, and there he was, practicing his Italian on teammates and saying that his days with us were numbered.

    Waiting is seeing, right?

    I will remind everyone that whatever happens, football is mostly a bloodless, dollar-centered game. Who knows why players and their agents, not to mention clubs, do what they do. It’s part of why I don’t get too attached to any of our players. Not only does it prevent my dispassionate appraisal, but it would break my heart were a favorite to be sold.

    The transfer window gun goes off in 7 weeks, so we wait and see.

  21. November 15, 2009

    Oh. Iniesta on the “friendly.”

    “That was no friendly, there have been many ugly challenges. The referee is one who has to dispense justice. I was thinking about it but was trying not to get hurt. I had to jump a few times, especially in a tackle from [Fabricio] Coloccini, if I got caught….

    “There are no friendlies, but the team has shown that we have returned to work fine. We have beaten Argentina and it is a good feeling. It’s a good lesson for the World Cup.”

    • SoccerMom
      November 16, 2009

      Yeah I couldn’t figure out that one either. There are no friendlies, o.k. But what was Heinze so angry about all game?

  22. Tajh
    November 15, 2009

    I 2 really hope that Barca and Trafic can get an agreement for Hernanes..always been a fan of his..

  23. barca96
    November 16, 2009

    as mush as i would like to start an online petition for villa like i did last summer, i prefer to do a campaign to let yaya stay.
    if i was living in barcelona, i would make a huge banner screaming
    then he will know that we the fans really dont want him to leave..

  24. Alexinho
    November 16, 2009

    Seriously off topic, but…


    I am so, so, indescribably happy.

  25. November 16, 2009

    I won’t get myself into a Maschrano Vs Yaya circus by any mean. I will just make some general remarks:

    First regarding Ramzi 😀 :

    “Crikey! Oh, wait …. we should pause here, to allow Ramzi enough time to do his dance of joy.”

    I said it before and I say it now, I do not read these reports and can’t care less. When he pulls the club shirt then we can all go emotional (Hail or curse).

    Personally, and I know that Ramzi will disagree, if we sell The Yaya, we are out of our minds.

    Well…what? Last season, I insured that Yaya will stay with us twice (During summer and before the winter break), because we can’t afford losing him. You disagreed saying that he is closer to exit door as all rumors are claiming, his agent, the club sources etc…etc…etc… And if anyone can find any note or hint I made as being supportive to selling Yaya, I will eat my words. So this current belief in Yaya importance is my very early conclusion. Just saying…

    Now regarding “If mascherano comes half of our squad has to leave”:

    – We do not have four DM. Keita is not a DM, and Busquets will develop more either as Box2Box midfielder or as a Xabi-type midfielders who act best as a supportive defensive mid. For Spain I can see him sealing the holding midfielder position. For Barcelona he can as well, but it doesn’t seem to be his natural position. So here we are: We have Yaya whom we customized to play as a DM, and we have Busquets (and even if he is a DM)who is too young and inexperienced to complain about playing time. His position will be the same as that’s of Pedro (even better than pedro position if we signed an additional wing). So if no one has worries about pedro, then no worries about Busquets.

    – Ego clash: Again, are we supposed to sign a new wing soon? If so, then there will be a rotation there, right? Are we going to sign a midfielder? If there will be no ego problems for Henry, Xavi, Iniesta and the new signings, then the concern about Yaya vs Mascherano ego is not valid. None of them has (or must have) more ego than the mentioned names. Mascherano knows that he is signing for a team where Yaya plays, and Yaya understands (or has to understand) that he is playing for a big team. Or else, let’s all wish that Busquets sucks big time all the time, because if he improved then there will be a clash of ego with Yaya. No sense.

    40 Millions is too much to pay (though I am not so sure about it after we paid 25 M to get chygsomething whom I thought will cancel the need of getting Mascherano). But if Yaya wants to leave then we have to pay that amount of money. Noting that if he decided to leave then it’s his own mistake, I can’t say it’s the board mistake. 1) If it’s about playing time, that’s not his business. Period. There is a coach. Regardless of the fact that he is playing enough games in number and quality so he must not complain. Why doesn’t this one sound like Hlebbing? He still had it easier than the likes of Iniesta-who had to wait for years under the shadows- and Keita who had a sick patience and discipline last season. 2) If it’s because the amount of money we are paying him, he agreed on a new contract few months ago. Regardless of the contract conditions, if he felt that contract wasn’t fair, no one forced him to sign. If it was fair enough, then nothing happened in the past few weeks to make new demands sound like “Rights”. Its true Ibra pulled the contracts standards up, but it’s not that all the players contracts were pulled up except that’s of yaya. So he has no point here. 3) If its just that he felt he can get more money someone else, then it’s up to him: Money and secured position or titles and prestige. Edgar was in the same position once and he chose money, what a waste! Even though Davids was much older so his priorities sounds more reasonable the way he put it. We can’t get ourselves hooked in this “He can get more somewhere else” as it’s an endless cycle. Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, and even Keita can get more money if they move. They didn’t.

    Again (I think I need to repeat it more often), I don’t want him to go. But the club comes first for me over any sentiments . If there are any truth in the reports of his agent shits (and I doubt), then the club must not be taken as a hostage by ANY player, and should look for alternatives. Yet, if Yaya stays, getting Mascherano will be enough to complete the midfield department. If Yaya leaves then we will need two players. Especially if we are not willing to give more chances for some youth where it’s possible.

    • Kxevin
      November 16, 2009

      Record corrected, Ramzi. But do you think that The Yaya and Mascherano can exist in terms of available playing time? That’s my biggest concern. Seluk is comparing The Yaya’s playing time in a pool that contains Keita and Busquets. Which I find interesting.

      When Iniesta is partnering Xavi, that means 4 guys for that DM spot, which could be complex.

      • November 16, 2009

        The latest news I read is that he will not play the following game for France but the extend of his injury is yet to be determined.
        So no news yet.

      • November 16, 2009

        Kevin, I wrote a comment, but its too long.I have few things to do now. I will try to brief it later and post it.

  26. November 16, 2009

    3) If its just that he felt he can get more money somewhere else….

  27. anon
    November 16, 2009

    Catalan sports paper Sport today reports that Ukrainian and Barcelona central defender Dmytro Chygrynskiy, will possibly be benched again in Ukraine’s home-leg play-off match against Greece this Wednesday because of a slight strain in his patella tendon (ligament that joins the kneecap to the shin bone) and will undergo tests to determine its extent.

  28. Khairallah
    November 16, 2009

    France: Where injuries happen..

  29. Khairallah
    November 16, 2009

    El Mundo says he’s out for 3 weeks although the clubs medics will be trying to have him fit for the clasico..

  30. November 16, 2009

    Yep, the word is 3 weeks out for Abidal, which puts him done and dusted for both Inter and the Clasico.

    That’s an interesting rumor, Hilal. I might actually think about that one, if the Mascherano thing has some truth to it. (I know …. blasphemy!)

    • Hilal
      November 16, 2009

      Yeah i think the idea with this rumour is that we get rid of Bojan and the Yaya and get Cesc and Mascherano. Hmmmm, well at least it makes more sense than some of the other rumours floating around. Although I dont think any of this would ever happen in Jan, probably summer if there is any truth at all to any of it.

      I still think for Jan we need us some Robinho and a capable DMF backup. Somebody with experience who may not be in their prime anymore so that they dont cost an arm and a leg…

  31. vicsoc8
    November 16, 2009

    First of all if we were to let go of Yaya we would be crazy. However if we did in my mind the only acceptable replacement is Toulalan.

    If Abidal is really out for the rest of the year we have a problem. I don’t think Maxwell is ready to hold the position long term. Am I the only one who sees Maxwell as a replacement for Sylvinho? A player who can go out and deputise without too much of a problem (although admittedly not at this point) and act as a calming figure in the dressing room, while not complaining for time.

    If Abidal is out for the rest of the season it’s time to start looking for a new left back, and soon.

    • Achraf
      November 16, 2009

      Duuude end of the year means end of 2009.If u think about it thats not that much actually so no need for a new signing Maxwell can handle 1 month and a half.

      I am not likkin all of the Yaya Rumors I know everyteam in the world wants every barcelona player but still he should like come out and just put an END to all of it just like he does on the court 😀

  32. barca96
    November 16, 2009

    i also really dont like these yaya rumors achraf..
    its scaring me..
    but i dont get it why yaya’s agent compares yaya and keita
    because yaya plays DM while keita plays CM..
    pep should explain to yaya that he doesnt get much playing time because he wants to keep him fresh for the big matches..
    but every footballer wants to

    now that abidal is out injured and prolly take half a year to regain form, we should sign lahm..
    he is having problems with bayern right this is the right time or davide santon from inter..he is also having problems with mourinho

  33. November 16, 2009

    The 4 DM points I commented on before, and will be clarified more within this comment. But if at the moment, and before signing an additional DM pep is not counting on Keita as a DM, how will he do so after he sign Mascherano is beyond me. At least we can pull Keita name out of the pannel when we count our DMs. When Iniesta partners Xavi, Keita will be where he usually plays, on the bench, what is new about it that I can’t figure out? When that partnership is not accomplished, then Keita plays. If Iniesta is not available for midfield (either injured or playing as a LW), then Keita is the ONLY option for the midfield beside Xavi (even if Iniesta-god forbids vanished for months) as long as Busquets is not as reliable as he will be soon. We can’t consider Yaya as a good option beside Xavi because it means compromising the quality of the holding mid position, something we can’t do. Oh wait, we have Mascherano, well then we have the luxury to choose then. So as you see, its not only the quality of the player that we must weigh when we decide his worth, but how far his presence can enhance the functionality of the team .
    Trying to brief where it’s possible as I am aware this will end up being long, the best player to buy depends on Pep rotation strategy. No rotation is catastrophic. If we analyze any big team in the continent we will notice that the coaches do rotation sometimes with the risk of compromising the quality of the selection. But they have to do so because only rotation wins you titles (luck may cover for it sometimes but not all the time). There was a belief last season that Iniesta-Xavi partnership is a must in order to win. I understand that belief. But now after the team proved –for the second time- that we can win without considering that powerful partnership as a must, I can’t understand sticking to that belief as it sound now more as an obsession. If we are not willing to consider rotation, then we have to sell players, instead of buying. If we agree on the rotation part then lets take it step by step in a calm manner:
    Let’s all agree that we need one more midfielder. Deal? Deal. Obviously, based on our tactics the player in the midfield either has to be a Box2Box midfielder (Keita type) or Defensive midfielder or Sexy midget (Xavi/Iniesta).

    Box2Box midfielder is not a popular option. We all know Keita story. And he is not a valid buy now that we have Keita as a first option and Busquets whom I have a huge hope he can develop in that manner and Yaya who was born for that (I am not excluding him as a DM, but weighing the options). So we end up with either a Mascherano or a Cesc. Or both?
    Getting them both may cost around 90 M. the romured 40 M for Mascherano (I still doubt), and 50 M for Cesc (not sure if that will be his price or his monthly salary with all the election craziness). Paying that amount of money for the best midfield department in the world is not the smartest strategy. So let’s agree on the fact that we need either, not both. Now to the key question: Will we sign Mascherano or Cesc? (you know my answer, but this is why):
    1) Assuming we bought Cesc, next year we will have Cesc, Xavi, Iniesta, Keita and JDS to rotate on two positions. If Henry leaves we will most probably get a robinho/Silva kind of players who can’t act as a second striker in the box –Henry way. If that’s the case, then playing two midgets in the midfield with Robinho and Messi on the flanks will not work, as we will not be able to score goals. The need of Keita-type midfielders will end up being more vital than it is now while playing Henry (Just to refresh, I was always stressing that having Iniesta on the flank means starting Keita in midfield, just to make things clear). If Henry leaves, we will have one new LW there to rotate with the youth we have now. So we will be stiöö in square one. Iniesta will need to play some games on the flank anyway, But not enough games to release the pressure of rotation in midfield. Let’s put the situations in numbers which is NOT valid as a realistic scenario but more as a relative indicator. Assuming that the team will play 60 games per season (the less we play the more the rotation get while the numbers decrease relatively), we will have 3 big names/signings in Cesc, Xavi, And Iniesta. If they will rotate on the midfield positions alone then every one of them will play 40 games. But that’s not the case, If Keita will stay next season (anyone wish the opposite?) then every player involvement will decline to 30 games. If we all agree that Xavi will most probably play at least 50% of the games, then the three remaining players will have 75 starting opportunities to share 25 start for each one more or less. That’s 42% of the games regardless of its number. I can’t predict that any of the three players will actually reach that percentage. First because Xavi will be needed in more than 50% of the games, which will decrease the staring opportunities of the rest, and because if one of them started more, the other two will start less. That won’t be satisfying.
    Besides, in the big games, its Keita who will get the node in henry left and we added one more midget on the flank. And such kind of games count most for the players. If Henry stays, Cesc and Iniesta inclusions may sound more realistic in the midfield, but again it means that all the starting opportunities of Iniesta will be in the midfield (the flank is closed between Henry and the new signing), so we are back to the 42% of games for each.
    If we add JDS to the panel, something we must do if we don’t want to madridize our football, then that 42% will decline at least to 40%. For example, in 38 league games, Cesc will play less than 16.
    If we ignored the need of having Keita in the midfield and made the risk of pulling him out of this panel to put him in the DM panel just to release some pressure there, If Xavi starts only 50% of the games then there will be 24 games for Cesc to play, and the same for Iniesta. If JDS played 8 games then each of Cesc and Iniesta will play 20. Again, I believe that Xavi will play more than 50% of the games next season, and that Keita will be an unavoidable need there, which means less than 20 games for each of the two players.
    In return, Yaya will have to rotate with both Keita and Busquets. I wonder what will his agent say about it. We didn’t sign Mascherano so he doesn’t compete with Yaya, but we ended up pulling Keita out position to compete for a holding midfield role.

    So in this scenario, either Keita will stay where he is playing now and the playing shares will not be realistic (Yaya playing 23 games in the league while the 50 M signing Cesc plays 16?), or we move Keita to act as a DM and we will end up having 3 DM to rotate in a compromised system that will not deliver out the best of the squad quality. But as a conclusion, signing Cesc means automatically withdrawing Keita to a DM position. Will he work there as expected? That’s another question.

    2) If we signed Mascherano: Compared to the first scenario (signing Cesc) If we kept Keita in his position as a CM then we will have three DM to rotate: Mascherano, Yaya and Busquets , instead of counting only on Yaya supported by Busquets. Will that mean more pressure for positions? Lets compare the two options: With Mascherano: DM(Mascherano-Yaya-Busquets) ACM( Iniesta-Keita-Xavi-JDS) with Cesc: DM(Yaya,Busquets) ACM (Iniesta-Cesc-Keita-Xavi-JDS) where do you think the rotation will cause more troubles (without talking quality based as I will come to that later, here we are talking pure game-sharing values)? Now If in Cesc scenario we decided to pull Keita back as a DM (most likely as mentioned before) then how far the (Yaya, Mascherano, Busquets) rotation will be more harsh than a (Yaya, Keita, Busquets) rotation? And is it true that Cesc-Iniesta-Xavi combination as being the options for CM/AM is better than the Iniesta-Xavi-Keita option in terms of functionality? We know how far the team dynamics change if we use Iniesta-Xavi or Keita-Xavi so we can imagine where the first one work more and where the second is more recommended. But what kind of added value the Cesc-Xavi will add to the already established Iniesta-Xavi?

    That’s why I can’t see the added value of having Cesc over Mascherano. Neither for the rotation dynamics, nor for the squad quality in any department. Of course he may come and do some good stuff, the question is not if Cesc has enough quality, but if spending our money on him is the best option.
    3) There is a very important factor that we ignore when we talk about strengthening the midfield. The belief that we will also sign a player for the left wing. The player that we will sign will most likely be a Silva/robinho/Ribery kind of players. If we do not take that in consideration when we structure out midfield then we are out of our minds. First this king of wings (While having Messi on the other flank) dictates a Keita/Yaya kind of players beside Xavi or Iniesta. Secondly, and it’s here where we need to shed a light, a player like silva can actually do the Cesc job if needed. Hell even Pedro can play there to some extent. So the question is, which of the following alternatives cover more the needs of the team in terms of various functionalities (and here I am listing the midfielders with:

    – Mascherano-Yaya-Busquets-Keita-Xavi -JDS-Iniesta -Silva-Henry
    – Yaya-Busquets-Keita-Xavi- JDS- Iniesta-Cesc-Silva-Henry

    Regarding Seluk words about Keita, Busquets and Iniesta. Last season he said:”Who will command Barcelona midfield if Yaya leaves? Hleb?” I think the club and Yaya did a mistake for not shutting him up for this insulting comment. Yaya had to apologize publically for his teammate, something he didn’t do.
    Pep needs Busquets to be back in form before January for obvious reasons. The coach thinks about the team interest, not individuals. If Yaya can’t understand that, then he can play Tennis. Forget about team-sports. Keita is performing better than Yaya this season (Yaya praise is more for the momentum it gained after his impressive performance since January 2009 till the end of the season rather than his actual performance this season). And the Seluk is not allowed to talk about Iniesta. As simple as that:”Not allowed”.

    • drew
      November 16, 2009

      Damn right! you make so much sense!
      if we get a robinho type for the wing along with starting xavi iniesta, we have all flair and no grit and goal. much better is if we have a robinho type we need keita in midfield rotating, or better yet, yaya as the horse with masch the DM! we would dominate!
      even more…

    • nic
      November 16, 2009

      so,who will start CL finals or classicos?will yaya or masch accept being benched on these games?yaya’s agent is complaining about the lack of playing time and youre saying add masch to the mix?the best and the secend best DM in a team,fighting for a place?sorry but i dont see that happening.
      regarding your cesc argument and the lack of playing time for xavi,iniesta and keita…you missed a point,if we ever sign cesc,its obvious that we will not gonna sign someone like ribery or silva for LW,couse iniesta will be our first choice left winger when cesc and xavi are healthy to play and keita will have enough playing time(in summer txiki admitted if they fail to sign ribery THEN they will go for cesc)
      so the only possible way to have masch in the team is by having yaya out of it

      • November 16, 2009

        – I thought Iniesta is not good enough for the left wing 😉
        – If Iniesta is good enough for the left wing, the in a CL final I prefer Mascherano as a DM with Yaya beside Xavi and well…Iniesta on the left.

        1) Physical dominance in the midfield.
        2)Posession dominance through having Masche and Yaya to gain back the ball and both with iniesta-Xavi-Messi-Alves to run the show
        3)More threat in the box with the two towers of Ibra and yaya meeting Iniesta and Alves crosses which will force the opponent to defend more in numbers on these two giving the likes of messi more space.

        Cesc, cant offer any of that. So as you see, no matter how you see it (beside the emotional way), Cesc over mascherano doesnt make sense 😉

        • nic
          November 16, 2009

          i dont think pep really like the idea of having yaya as a box to box midfielder,just take a look at the games that both yaya and busi play together,yaya always plays DM.and i dont think thats because pep just dont trust busi as a DM,couse even against weak teams like cultural or whatever he played yaya there.
          but ofcourse you may think its because of busi’s crappy performances that pep always play yaya as a DM not yaya’s inability to play as good as keita as a box to box midfielder.but even last year which busi was playing pretty well he didnt use yaya as a CM,but as a CB.i think pep trust yaya’s defensive quality far more than his ofensive qualities.
          yes he have played CM in monaco but comon,monaco is NOT barca.there must be a reason that after a year and half,pep only used yaya as CM once(against man city in pre season)

          • November 16, 2009

            – Pep said it himself last summer when he was demanding Mascherano that he want to try Yaya in a more offense role.

            – Busquets has never been reliable enough to be an automatic starter as a DM. Yaya playing as a Box2Box will not compromise the lack of solidity we will suffer if we put Busquets instead of him as a DM. So pep had no choice. And never will will till he get a first class DM or till Busquets raise up to the challenge, which I doubt may happen before two years from now. By then, I am sure Busquets will be a quality. Wheather he will be a quality as a DM or as a Box2Box, that need time to know.

            – Yaya is still playing in a more offense oriented position for his national team, and he is doing great. Trust me, playing in an african qualification group is not as easy as most may think. For a midfielder its as demanding as the Liga. There I said it.

  34. barca96
    November 16, 2009

    thanks for the long post ramzi..

    i prefer i we keep this midfield and get silva for the LW position.
    i find signing mascherano quite unnecessary.
    i would rather keep yaya at all cost..
    if we get mascherano can only defend, so DM
    yaya can play DM and CM and…CB!!!
    so signing masherano isnt gonna help busquets and yaya and our scoring opportunities.
    id rather splash money on cesc and silva.

  35. stowe
    November 17, 2009

    i don’t see cesc coming until xavi is close to retirement.

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