Here’s what I know that I know: What I don’t know. This is true of all of us, right? As true as what we know being able to quite effectively deceive us into thinking that we Know.
At the end of last season, one bereft of major silver, people knew that we needed defensive help, a Plan B and a sandwich. Time went on, the antsiness grew and grew. The throngs wanted SOMETHING ….
And we got a squirrel. “Too small,” “We are going to be in trouble with he and Alves on the pitch,” etc.
What has happened? Without even being at all integrated into the club, Jordi Alba has done exactly what he was signed to do: provide a pacey defensive presence on the left, and open up the side offensively in a way that Adriano can’t.
“Bartra isn’t ready,” is another thing that we “knew.” And all he did was roll out a series of calm, intelligent, assured defensive performances that have put the lie to what we knew. Yes, some will still say no, because that is the Way of the Cule. Every incoming CB has to be the next incarnation of Carles Puyol, or “What the HELL, yo!”
But Puyol wasn’t Puyol when he first rolled out.
Recall Abidal and the Cule Chorus that greeted him. Or Mascherano. “Card magnet,” “Bad passer,” “Will leave us a man down all the time.”
Unlike the Catalan sporting press, I don’t “know” that we are going to sign Song. I know the headlines can be fun:
–New Song, same tune
–Song not yet on the same key
What I do know is that I don’t know as much as the FCB coaching staff about assessing football talent and suitability for the system. Alba wasn’t on my radar, until he was. And by all indications, he is going to be brilliant. With Song, we know what we see at Arsenal, which doesn’t exactly warm hearts and convert minds. But with Abidal, what we saw at Lyon didn’t exactly warm hearts and convert minds, either. He grew into the role and the system, to the point where healthy, he is one of the best LBs on the planet.
I don’t know what is going to happen with Song. I do know that often, not always, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Sometimes, stories start and fizzle in the Catalan media. Other times, the rest of the world picks them up and if the conflagration gets big enough, one club or the other calls B.S. on the rumors. This hasn’t happened, and dollar figures are starting to float around. If those numbers are to be believed, as usual Arsenal will, if rumor has any truth, be doing a nice bit of business.
You can visit YouTube and find a video of pretty much any player, that will make said individual look like the second coming of Lionel Messi. Song is no different. People who tout him mention versatility, physical presence, etc, etc. Whatever. Here is one of them:
And it doesn’t mean a thing. Look at Ibrahimovic. The best striker in the world didn’t fit because he was a douche. So, simply enough, what I am suggesting is that we sit tight and let our coaching staff do what it does. Do they make errors? Yep. As we know, not every signing has worked out for the best, though I would suggest that none of them have been for purely talent-based reasons. Txigrinski deserved more of a shot, Hleb and Ibrahimovic were asshats, which couldn’t honestly have been predicted. Caceres blossomed into a fine defender, who I kinda wish was still sitting on our bench.
And now, still, we wait. Depending on who you ask, we have one or two massive needs: defender and natural forward. Maybe. I don’t know. I do know that if the club needed a player, there is too much riding on this season with the looming specter of Laporta, for RoSELL not to get Vilanova anything he needs. So we will discuss, and we will debate, and we will say that X or Y player isn’t suited for the club for X or Y reason. But at the core of it all, we know what we don’t know.
P.S. Few things speak more eloquently to the state of La Liga than the fact that to date, our 14m acquisition of Jordi Alba has been the most expensive transfer in Spanish football. Yow.