As The Replacements sang on “Bastards of Young”:
God, what a mess / On the ladder of success / Where you take one step / And miss the whole first rung
If I had to choose a word to describe our club right now, it would be “beleaguered.”
— Rumors that the coach has lost the locker room, coming off a 3-1 loss at a place at which losing is kind of a habit of late.
— A board that many culers and socis want to burn in effigy.
— A new stadium vote fast approaching, even though there ain’t hint of a model, etc.
— The tax man is calling, saying that the 40+m paid to Daddy Ney is in fact salary to the player.
Here are some tidbits, rumors and other stuff floating around in the world.
Where my money at, yo?
Oh, Wagner Ribiero. Here’s an interesting excerpt from a Dermot Corrigan column over at ESPN (bold for emphasis):
Ribeiro said that, in his view, the transfer had been very cleverly put together, although his explanation for the various components of the deal — which remains the subject of a legal investigation in a Spanish court amid claims of “simulated contracts” — appears to differ from the official explanation issued by the club.
Ribeiro continued: “I will explain — the 40 million added to the 54 million over five years [in wages] makes a total of 94 million. That represents 18.8 a year. Taking away taxes of 56 percent on the net figure, 8.27 million is left a year, which is a much lower salary than he would earn at other clubs, which offered 12 million net.
“For me, Neymar could have signed for another club earning much more than he gets now, but he wanted Barcelona and that is how the operation was fixed, although it financially damaged the kid. This is the best structured operation in which I have participated in my professional life.”
Barca have said that the 17.1 million euro payment to Santos represented the transfer fee and that an additional 40 million paid to N&N — a company owned by Neymar Sr. — was a “penalty clause.” The club announced that additional side deals — for services such as scouting, marketing and development work signed with both Santos and N&N — took the total to 86.2 million euros.
The explanation offered by Barca added: “The total salary cost to the club is 56.7 million euros [gross], which is divided into three concepts: 2.7 million euros as agent commission [five percent, rather than the 10 or 15 percent paid by other clubs], a 10 million euro signing-on fee and a guaranteed salary of 44 million euros.”
However, Ribeiro’s claim that Neymar Jr. will effectively be paid 18.8 million euros a year for five years appears to contradict Barca’s position that the 40 million euro payment is not due to the player but rather a business-to-business “penalty” incurred because the Brazil international moved to the Camp Nou a year earlier than had been agreed.
Barca’s hopes of reclaiming the extra 13.6 million euros that they have paid to the tax authorities are dependent on establishing that the 40 million payment was not a means of augmenting payments to Neymar.
Xavi, appropriately enough, he of the murderface, had the presser today after training and said everything is groovy, Tata is nice and transparent, full support of the players, etc, etc. Cynics say “We will see on the pitch.” I am one of those cynics. I do believe that nabobs like Guillem Balague and alleged mouthpieces with axes to grind such as Sport and MD, don’t like Martino, and haven’t from the beginning.
I also believe where there is smoke, there is often fire, even as I don’t trust any of them. And then Balague, who lambasted Martino for wrong lineup, etc, etc, then says of Manchester United, effectively it isn’t the coach’s fault alone, the players bear some culpability as well. Astute observers would wonder in what significant way United differs from Barça, and scratch their heads in confusion. Just sayin’.
Take a deep breath for me, son …
Speaking of rumors, apparently Ter Stegen has already had a no-longer-secret medical for us, as a prelude to his transfer. The Borussia Mongdenunpronouceable keeper was asked about the potential transfer, whereupon he winked, grinned and said that he didn’t know anything about it. Oh, you coy boy. Price is buzzed to be 12m+incentives, which is a nice bit of business, people, no matter how you slice it.
Don’t let the door hit you in the …
Current keeper Victor Valdes, though pre-contracted to Monaco, allegedly has a new suitor in Manchester City. He is rumored to be weighing life at a jam-packed Etihad in the Premiership, versus playing in front of 5k fans or so on a mediocre pitch in a principality. But hey, no taxes and stuff if you do the whole Monaco residency thang. Whatever. All I care about is that Ter Stegen will be announced once he is done effing around. Yes, that is a bit of my pique at a valuable commodity, one of the best keepers in the world, leaving the club that I love on a free. I have said before and will say again, a player who wants new scenery and to see the world, a player who still loves and respects the club that raised him and made him the player that he is, doesn’t scuttle off on a free. You renew, then set a reasonable buyout fee, so that club makes something from you. Snarl!
Will he or won’t he?
People with good sources are calling BS on the notion that Tata Martino has told the club that he is leaving in June. Sport has taken the liberty, in a continuation of their crusade, of drawing up a list of potential candidates to replace Martino. One of them, Valverde at Athletic, said if effect no way, and you people suck for doing this to a man who is on pins and needles while reading your rumors. Which is true.
Hello, I must be going …
There have been some interesting transfer rumors that include names such as Gundogan and Kun Aguero, coming from sources close to the club. There are even rumors of official club documents with such names on them. Ha! We will see what happens in the summer, but many are predicting a wholesale sell off that might even include a couple of surprises.
The future beckons
Remember this name: Alen Halilovic. He is a 17-year-old wunderkind who is either a done deal to Barça B or still in the negotiation process, in which all parties are trying to make everybody happy. What I do know is that based on match vids etc that are floating around, this kid is a badass. He’s already playing first-team football for Dinamo Zagreb as an attacking midfielder, and looks to be a monster talent. If the deal happens, he will be an addition to the magnificent cadre of young players pouring out of the program, who should ALL be in or nosing around the first team in a couple of years. I like that. For those unfamiliar, here’s a nice YouTube highlights package of Halilovic: