Song sung blue, aka “Kari’s back! And was a fly on the boardroom wall … “

(Kari isn’t back, but she is. We’ve appropriated her verbiage for a post, because it deserves to live on in permanence, instead of having to sift through hundreds of comments. Yup.)

Here is some unadulterated nonsense to cheer you guys up (or conversely make you all so angry you’ll rage in happiness. Wait, wha-?)

FCB board discuss Alex Song Transfer

[14:10 GMT, Barcelona board room – Secret Location – Barcelona — Spain]

Josep Bartomeu: Alright, so we need to get around to finalizing the transfer of player X-10924323.

Antoni Zubizarreta: [calmly nods] Yes, yes, of course.

Sandro Rosell: [thinking] Oh God I have no idea what they’re talking about what do I do what do I do [nods confidently] Yes, yes, of course.

Bartomeu: Okay, so I need you [turns to Rosell and hands him papers] to sign these. Then, I’ll fly over to London…

Rosell: [takes papers] Gotcha. [thinking] Now I’ll just casually find out who the heck they’re talking about while cooly examining the papers I am a genius [reads first page]

PL X-10924323: Alexandre “Alex” Dimitri Song Billong

Age: 24

Club: La Masia – London Branch

Position: Unnecessary. Other: DM/CB

Preferred Foot: ?

Hair Level: SSJ3

Power Level: 0.123 Raditz / -10,322 Mascherano

Skill Le—

[Rosell stops reading]

Bartomeu: …so hopefully I won’t be stoned by angry Arsenal fans, though, to be fair, it’s been a crappy couple of days for them. RVP apparently moved to…

Rosell: [interrupts] Oi! What the hell is this?

[Bartomeu and Zubi turn to face Rosell]

Bartomeu: Is there something wrong?

Rosell: Yes! This profile!

Zubi: [confused] What’s wrong with it? I wrote it myself, after consulting some scouts…

Bartomeu: [nods in agreement] Yeah, I don’t see anything wrong with it, really.

Rosell: [stares] There’s clearly a problem with this.

Zubi: And that is…?

Rosell: We’re going after a player named Alexandre “Alex” Dimitri Song Billong.

Zubi: Well, yeah. I thought you knew…?

Rosell: [falters slightly] O-of course I d-do. Did? [recovers] Anyway, the point is: What kind of name is that?

Bartomeu: An awesome one?

Rosell: [slams hands on desk] I will not allow it!

Zubi: Why? We spent so much of our Tapping Up quota to get to this point—

Bartomeu: …though we really aren’t tapping anyone up just so we’re clear…

Rosell: Because we’ll become the laughing stock of Europe with a player with a name like that! Do you know how many puns— how many utterly terrible ones — people will make? I can just see them now: “Barca on Song as They Destroy Real Madrid 5-0” or “Barca’s Song still out of tune”. No! This cannot go on!

Zubi: [considers for a moment] I see your point… but just so we’re clear: you didn’t find anything wrong with the profile itself, did you?

Rosell: Oh, no. It was tight. Good job.

Zubi: Alright!

Bartomeu: But we’re too far gone in this transfer to just say no, though…

Rosell: Then we’ll protract this transfer as long as possible so they get offended and pull out! [thinks] I’m a genius I’m a super genius the greatest genius to have geniused since Genius himself!

Bartomeu and Zubi: Alright. That sounds like a plan.
And there you have it. If Song signs, it’s because Arsenal weren’t offended. If he doesn’t, it’s because they were.
Please, be offended, Arsenal!

By Kxevin

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. HELP!!!! fellow Cule’s. Who if any, is showing la liga in Canada. I have rogers cable with 200 hundred channels and no la liga, ARRRRRGGG! Help me. 🙁

  1. Guys, we can’t sign a player who has french fries for hair, can we? Like, we’re not actually gonna sign a guy who has french fries sprouting from his scalp, right? I’m not exactly sure what’s in Barca DNA, but it sure as hell doesn’t include the French Fry Hair gene – therefore Song doesn’t have Barca DNA and therefore isn’t a good fit for us.

    Sigh, I guess he’ll be easy to spot on the crappy internet streams I’ll be using this season.


    FC Barcelona has agreed a deal with Arsenal FC for the transfer of Alex Song to the Camp Nou #FCBlive

    Song will sign for the next five seasons with a release clause of 80 million euros #FCBlive

    On Monday he’ll have a medical and then join the rest of the squad for the official team presentation at the Gamper #FCBlive

  3. did you say Kari is back? so is she going to write in this space next season? then we can sing Song now!!!

  4. Alex Song, eh? Meh.

    Never thought of him as Barça quality tbh.

    We paid €19m for a player that is in essence a younger replacement for Keita? And Arsenal acquired Cazorla for less than that? I know Song and Santi play different positions but I’m not so confident that we used our scarce resources wisely on this transaction. I’d rather that we got a proven CB instead.

    Just my two cents.

    Hope it works out though. Visca Barça!

    1. More than Keita replacement. It may not happen in the first season, but I think he will be better than Keita. It will also take him a while to adapt to our midfield, a good while.

    2. That’s a concern because will he get enough time to acclimatize to our system? Will Cules, coaching staff, the board, be patient enough for him to assimilate? The length of contract suggests the club will, but supporters are a different story.

    1. Meaning a debut in the fashion that Cesc got, a cameo at the end for the home crowd to see.

    2. Yeah – playing a part in the winning goal, and then being hacked down by Marcelo for his troubles!

      Would like to see Marcelo try this with Song.

      Something that’s bothered me about that Marcelo action since then, is what the hell was he doing waaaaay over on that side of the pitch? Had he switched wings?

  5. It seems like the technical staff & club had targeted adding a defensive player for this summer going back a year ago. Abidal’s health likely made that a more pressing concern.

    The problem with this is that the range of requirements for a CB in the FCB system are so stringent that it’s very, very difficult to find suitable players. Especially now as there simply aren’t many great CBs in the world. One of those phases.

    A CB needs both polish on the ball & pace or outstanding positional intuition to play the high back line.

    I do think the club very much had Thiago Silva in mind as their top target. But PSG blew up the CB market & Silva’s wage demands ruled him out.

    Other top targets – like Javi Martinez or Hummels played on teams that had little reason to sell unless their exact financial demands were met. The budget didn’t support this.

    So in the end the club was had to look for value on the market by taking a risk on a versatile player who could change position.

    Song wasn’t my top choice. But there is a real logic to the club and technical staff’s decision making. Song has real talent. But he involves risk. We’re going to have to give him time.

    1. We could have had Vertonghen (a true CB) for less than we paid for Song.

      Song is a DM that goes on consistent walkabouts. He has played CB but not for a long time and certainly not consistently. His positional sense, pace, and ability to avoid bookings have all been questioned. So, in a sense, he is neither a DM nor a CB but some sort of compromise that can play both? My contention is that he cannot play either position well enough for FCB standard.

      At DM we have Busi that never misses a game. We can also play Mascherano there when Busi needs a rest. Thiago played the position for the Spanish U21s that won the UEFA U21s last summer. Cesc played the position for Arsenal when he first started out there.

      I actually was glad to see Keita go because I saw it as a way to give Thiago more minutes. Now with Song coming in Thiago won’t be getting as many minutes, all other things being the same.

      With Puyol’s consistent injury problems and Abidal’s health situation we only have two proven CBs we can rely on (Piqué and Masch) — one of which is a DM converted to a CB not that long ago (Masch).

      I know the CB market was a wee bit bare. But we just spent €19m on a squad player? Would it not have been more financially prudent to have saved that money and spent it once a viable CB became available? That’s another way to look at this.

      I’m afraid that we may not have spent this money wisely. When I first heard the Song to FCB rumours I just put them off as simple silly season rumours. I even told a friend that the Haitian Space Agency (HSA) will land a man on the moon before Song plays for Barça. Well, I guess I got that one wrong. Unless, of course, we find a tattered Haitian flag on that satellite soon 😉

      I hope I’m wrong about Song too for my first team’s sake. But I’ve watched him often and consistently as a fan of my second team. So, for FCB — buyer beware. I fear we did a bad piece of business on this one and, conversely, Arsenal did a good bit of business on this one.

      Again, I hope I’m wrong.

    2. Plus, Song’s got that French Fry hairdo 🙁

      With a hairdo like that, maybe it was Song himself who planted that Haitian flag on the moon? Space flight without a helmet 😉

    3. “At DM we have Busi that never misses a game. We can also play Mascherano there when Busi needs a rest. Thiago played the position for the Spanish U21s that won the UEFA U21s last summer. Cesc played the position for Arsenal when he first started out there.”
      And what do we do when Masche AND Busi need rest? Both of them are starters. And Thiago didn’t play that position in the European U-21, Oriol Romeu did.
      According to transfermarkt, Song’s market price was 25M euros. We payed 19M EUROS. Or 15M pounds, this info I take from Barça stuff.

    4. “And what do we do when Masche AND Busi need rest? Both of them are starters. And Thiago didn’t play that position in the European U-21, Oriol Romeu did.”

      Simple. Don’t rest Mascherano and Busi at the same time. Rest Masch and play Puyol and Busi (DM). Rest Busi and play Puyol and Masch (DM). Problem solved.

      From what I saw of that U21 tournament Thiago played very deep as deep lying playmaker in a 4-2-3-1. So both Romeu and Thiago played as DMs. Point is, Thiago can definitely play as a DM and Cesc also.

      “According to transfermarkt, Song’s market price was 25M euros.”

      Very dubious valuation in my books. And if it were so, Arsenal would have held out much longer to receive that valuation. They are, after all, notoriously stingy negotiators.

  6. Bahh, I’m in Canada and I can’t seem to find any channel that has the Spanish La Liga season. I though the whole Beintv business was only for Americans.I was about to end my GolTV subscription today but came across this.
    So are all ye fellow Canadians being patient or is there any other carrier that can get the games cause I really do not want to go back to the inconsistent, laggy, cesspool of internet streaming when I was pampered with RayRay and Phil in my room. At least the Copa is still scheduled on GolTV.

    1. That’s my understanding also dean. I’m in the same boat as you. But, like you said, we get the Spanish Supercopa games on Canadian GolTV. That’s better than nothin’, I guess.

  7. Well I was fully expecting us to sign no one. So this transfer has already exceeded my expectations 😀

    Hope he finds a role in our team. And gets a haircut.

    I’ll leave it up to Tito to decide how he fits in. It might not seem so to a few, but he’s in a better position to decide what/who’s good for us, both personally and professionally..

  8. I feel as though almost any addition to the team of quality, big-league experience and potential is a good thing. Last season’s grueling whittling away of energy and fitness left a lasting painful impression, so this might help the squad go the distance.
    Plus, he’s Cameroonian, a place that holds a sentimental spot in my heart.

  9. I live in England – and Song is a great signing for us. He’s more in the Yaya mould than Keita, and signing the 1st choice box-to-box midfielder who can both score & set up goals from the team that finished 3rd in the EPL for 15-million less than they sold their 29-year-old injury prone striker is quite a coup for us. Good deal all round.

    1. I’ve never heard of that? It’ must be ESPN’s overseas network. That said, congrats! Quite a coup for Liga fans. I’ve always wondered why SKY hasn’t tried to penetrate the States with their own network.

    2. Yep. Doesn’t mean a thing for U.S. Liga fans, however, who are still waiting for the other shoe to drop, unless you carry DirecTV, a very complex matter in the Snow Belt. I used to have DirecTV, and would lose TV during heavy rains, snow storms, if ice got on the dish, etc, etc. Got to be pretty frustrating, so much so that I am happy to wait for Comcast to pick it up. They are very competitive with DirevTV, so I can’t imagine it will be more than a season before it comes on line at Comcast.

      Things are REALLY going to be crazy if BeIN does the expected, which is to outbid Fox and ESPN for Premiership rights.

  10. Despite the noise here, I love the Song purchase. He adds diversity to the squad in areas we were lacking. Last season along with RVP, he stepped up and carried Arsenal.

    He has amazing technique, a deft first touch, high work rate, superb marking skills and brilliant positional play. Last season also his long ball passing greatly improved as he mostly assisted RVP in those wonder goals.

    Not to mention last season he alone got more league assists from open play (11) than any other central midfielder in the top-5 leagues.

    With his age of only 24 he can greatly improve within our system, the up side of acquiring him for only 15mill pounds will pay of essentially, especially if he also learn to play as a CB.

    1. Agree here, as well as with Judas Pissed, though my jury is still out on “great” signing, I think that Song is definitely more in the Toure Yaya mold than Keita. For those who were on Keita about not being sufficiently attacking, Song will be your antidote.

      Yes, he has glaring deficiencies, the mental walkabout moments being foremost among them. I do wonder if some of that wasn’t systemic. I wonder if he had the same problems when playing for Cameroon.

      But last season was a breakout year for Song, with 11 assists in 36 matches, and more assists from open play than any mid in all 5 top leagues, a little stat bird Tweeted. So now we wait. How patiently? Remains to be seen.

      I will also say that EUR19m is a very nice bit of business. I think that both sides got something out of deal. Arsenal deals a want-away player for a fair price, and we get a need met, also for a fair price.

  11. I’ve been watching the Newcastle/Tottenham game. I enjoyed watching Newcastle last year and was impressed with Ben Arfa’s ability to dribble around defenders and pick out a nice pass or two. He’s been fantastic in this game and Spurs have been pressing high as AVB would like them to. He just won a penalty and calmly stroked it in soon after Spurs had equalized. I’d love to pick him up in a year or 2. I know he’s another midfielder and we are full of them, but I think he’d fit into our system wonderfully. That’s why I think we could wait a year or two. Xavi would be older and Cesc or Iniesta may slot into his position, leaving Iniesta’s space available for Ben Arfa. I’d love to see it.

  12. Funnier still is how the euros to pounds exchange rate is the gap between good and bad business, and some Arsenal fans sliding from giggling at us to claiming that we ripped Arsenal off. Nothing surprising about that, it must be said.

    1. Thanks for bringing that up. It was on my mind as you mentioned the fee last night. It’s strange when your dealing with different currencies. I’d say we may have overpaid a bit, but not by much. The transfer fees are extremely high and don’t look like dropping much. Maybe with no major international competition this summer they’ll be lower, but it just seems we’ve reached that plateau and there’s no turning back

  13. Loved every bit of Kari’s post.
    Except for some gunners, i guess nobody got offended with the deal. Do Arsenal have the depth in midfield, now that Song has faded?

    I don’t know what to feel about the Song inclusion yet. Don’t fancy a bigger squad but i do trust Tito, so lets see how he fits in time.

    What happens to JDS and Fontas now? Wait till January?

  14. Thanks Kxevin and Blitzen for the idea of sharing Kari’s comment from last post. Have missed reading you Kari!
    So Song it is. I think we got him for a fair price, according to transfermarkt. Alba and Song are not bad signings at all. And no Neymar yet! I’m happy about that. We go for Llorente and every fan will be happy, especially the ones that want a tall striker there to fixate the opponent’s defense. Mou is more arrogant than before, he says that last season his team was the best in Europe. I don’t know about that, we played 6 games and we won 3 of them, 2 draws and we lost only one. And he’s forgetting his “beloved” chelsea, who had a dislikeable but effective defensive style. And he also keeps forgetting about Bayern Munich, who did throw them off the champions league. But it is something to be expected from the only one.

  15. The one good thing this Grinch does see about this Song deal is that it adds to squad depth and helps in an injury crisis situation — like last year. But then again, last year we had Keita and this year we don’t.

    When was the last time most of us on this blog did not like a new signing at the time of their signing? Just curious.

    Also, remember that many well intentioned signings don’t always work out. That Ukrainian CB? Even signings from our feeder club Arsenal. Hleb anyone?

    1. Many people were against Cesc and Masche coming. Cesc because “we didn’t need him, he left early and didn’t wait his chance and he was too expensive” and Masche “cause he would be a card magnet, Busi didn’t need a replacement, and wouldn’t learn the Barça way”.
      I have a question about the squad, we have a limit of 25 official players, we have 26 with Muniesa, who I understand will not be considered as a first team player until january. So we will sell/loan JDS? Afellay? Fontas?
      It would be nice to see Fontas or JDS get more minutes outside our team. But I believe Ibi deserves a chance, a whole season.

    2. Good points about those two signings. Funnily enough I was in favour of both Cesc and Masch at the time. I guess I must be a contrarian 😆

      We did get Cesc at less than FMV. However, I would say that we consistently overpay for players from our farm team Arsenal.

    3. There were 10 on the bench and the little one said, “Move over! Move over!” So they all moved over and one fell off.! There were 9 on the bench and the little one said….


    4. One kind of interesting–and perhaps hopeful–aspect of Song’s experience, is that Cesc might be able to help him adjust to Barca in a successful manner. Cesc being a kind of strange middleman with both an Arsenal and strong Barca background.

    5. I can’t remember much opposition to Alexis? Maybe because not a lot was known about him at the time, unless you followed Italian football and watched him at Udinese.

  16. This is our quality squad according Cristian Pulina from yahoosports:

    Keepers: Valdés, Pinto y Oier
    Rightbacks: Alves, Montoya y Adriano
    Central defenders: Piqué, Puyol, Mascherano, Song, Bartra y Fontás
    Leftbacks: Adriano y Jordi Alba
    Defensive midfielders: Busquets, Song y Dos Santos
    Offensive Midfielders (Interiores(: Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc, Thiago, Dos Santos y Sergi Roberto.
    Wingers: Pedro, Alexis, Villa, Cuenca, Tello, Afellay, Iniesta y Deulofeu
    Strikers: Messi, Villa, Alexis, Cesc, Afellay y Dongou

    WOW. This is a hell of a squad. We will fight for silver and will keep being competitive. That’s all I ask. Please God don’t let us get injured, and we will have a good time this season! Keep in mind Dongou, that kid is good.

  17. Registered first team players:
    1. Messi, 2. Xavi, 3. Iniesta, 4. Villa, 5. Alexis, 6. Cesc, 7. Pedro, 8. Busquets, 9. Mascherano, 10. Puyol, 11. Pique, 12. Alves, 13. Alba, 14. Adriano, 15. Montoya, 16. Valdes, 17. Pinto, 18. Song, 19. Thiago, 20. Bartra, 21. Cuenca, 22. Afellay, 23. Fontas, 24. JDS

    Not registered:
    1. Muniesa (injured long-term)
    2. Tello (registered with B team)
    3. Sergi Roberto (registered with B team)

    Not sure:
    1. Abidal (long-term injury, stated aim of returning by December)

    For me, Fontas & JDS are the only questions. Fontas could stay and get some playing time, but a loan might be better for him. The arrival of Song leaves very little room for Jonathan, and I expect he will be loaned or sold.

    I think we will end up with 23 registered first-team players, with the possibility of Muniesa and/or Abidal coming back in January.

  18. OFF TOPIC 😀
    Been thinking of a fantasy friendly match featuring FCB VS FCB-dropouts.

    FCB-dropouts Starting 11:
    -Pinto(on loan)-
    -GDS–Ibra–Bojan –

    Subs bench:Eto, Van Bommel, Giuly, Deco, Henry, Botia & Zubizarreta.
    Manager: Rijkaard.

    Reserves bench: Hleb!

  19. What a whacky first day of the EPL:

    1) A former Blaugrana, Michael Laudrup, gets his first EPL managerial victory with Swansea’s massive win at QPR.

    2) Liverpool’s troubles continue, even with a new manager, as they get hammered at WBA.

    3) Arsenal’s troubling week continues as they fail to score and drop two points.

    4) At least Arsenal fans can rejoice in a Spuds loss at Newcastle 🙂

  20. We could have had Vertonghen (a true CB) for less than we paid for Song.


    You bring up a number of important points. I fully agree with you that a player more more readily able to play CB would have been preferable. But it’s just so difficult to find a CB that can meet requirements. We’ve found this out the hard way with our experiments with bringing in defenders on prior transfers.

    You bring up Vertonghen and he’s a great example of the trade offs faced. He’s a terrific footballer. In many ways ideal-one of the few backline player who already have the requisite ball skills. He’s L footed and can spread out to the L flank in a back 3. Has experience at DM.

    The issue with him-and why I think we didn’t buy him-is his limited pace. It’s a real issue playing in the high back line. Alone FCB could work out this flaw to some degree. But it would be a acute problem when he’d have to play with Pique. Just think back to when Busi played CB in that run of matches 2 yrs ago. His lack of pace was so badly exposed it compromised solidity.

    On the flip side many other potential CB’s lack Vertonghen’s technique & we might have problems like some of the ones that came up with Caceres.

    This is why Thiago Silva was so high on FCB’s list. He mixes needed skill sets better than any other player in the world (though even he isn’t as tall as would be optimal). But then PSG came in.

    Song really has a box-to-box midfield skill set. But that role has so greatly diminished in the game that those players often have to transition to different regions of the pitch. That’s what’s happened with Song. He started out learning to play deep at DM. Wenger has then gradually evolved his role to play higher up again-last year in particular when Arsenal no longer used him as a DM.

    But as you point out-there’s real risk in this deal. FCB bought him in part based on potential and I’d guess they feel if he’s surrounded by better players he’s going to take his game up to the next level. It’s the kind of risk that you often have to absorb when you’re priced out of a market but have stringent requirements.

  21. Hallelujah!!

    From Barcastuff:
    Andres Iniesta won’t play on the left wing anymore under new Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova, who prefers him as attacking midfielder. [sport]

    If that’s so, I love Tito a little bit more!

  22. I AM SO STOKED! I was calling local bars around the Indianapolis area,(yes, from Naptown) asking if they had DirectTV and beINsport. The 1st one I called is 15-20 minutes away, but has major construction around it. They do have it though! I then called a bar I could literally walk to that has not had GolTv in the past, so I wasn’t expecting them to have it, but, . . . wait for it. . .THEY DO!!! No streaming for me tomorrow! I did a fist pump in the air and basically told the bartender who answered that I love him! 🙂

  23. …don’t worry that it’s not good enough,
    for anyone else to hear.
    Just sign, sign a Song.
    la la la la la…la, la la la la la…la, la la la la la la…

    Yeah, I’m old. And if you remember this song, you are too!

    AND Hooray for Kari!

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