The value of something worthless, aka “The Cesc Fabregas saga continues”

Cesc

Value:
noun
1. the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.
verb
1. estimate the monetary worth of (something).

Value is a fun notion to contemplate. I like to think of it as two cars that passed through my possession. One was a big ol’ red sedan that looked really cool, but had … erm … mechanical complexities. It stranded me once, and I drove from the mechanic’s about a half-mile to the local Subaru dealer to trade that thing the hell in. Didn’t get max value, but part of that value was in having that thing GONE.

The other car, a hotted-up Subaru, I sold for something around 2k over its value, a price I could demand and hold out for because really, I didn’t want to sell it. It was one of those, “If you want to give me this much for it, okay.” And someone did.

Which brings us to players, transfers and in particular, Cesc Fabregas.

If we have a transfer window, there has to be a never-ending Fabregas story. It is the rule. Youth player, Arsenal player, now Barça player. And there is much outrage now as then, in l’Affaire Fabregas. He was “stolen” from us as a youth player. Outrage! We bought him for a bunch of dosh from Arsenal, a base fee of 29m. Outrage! Rumor is that he will be sold to Chelsea for 33m. Outrage!

The first two are done and gone, but let’s have a gander at this latest, in the value context, and try to break it down.

Culer logic

fab

Chelsea sold Juan Mata for 45m, and David Luis for 50m. Fabregas should be worth 60!

Of course, many of these are the same culers who spent the past seasons slagging off Fabregas, which would make his value roughly that of my red sedan, something they should be happy to see the back of. Slow, loses the ball too much, doesn’t score enough, a terrible False 9, can’t defend, doesn’t play enough through balls, etc, etc. And he only plays half a season, taking the second half of the season off every year.

If supporters can see that, what do you reckon scouts, who are professional evaluators of horseflesh, are seeing? So what’s the value of Fabregas in that equation?

Mata and Luiz are interesting, because of the possibilities. Mata came into the market when a team, United, was flush with cash and looking to spend it. He was surplus to requirements, and met the exact need that United had. With some stern negotiation, Chelsea was able to get a price that must have surprised them. With Luiz, the global CB market is rather like the gold market: expensive. When a world-class one comes available, he will be expensive. So again, the 50m for Luiz, once you exclude the animus that people seem to have for the player, makes sense.

But it doesn’t really go to follow that those players prices would have any bearing whatsoever on the value of Fabregas. It isn’t as simple as “That dude sucks, and they sold him for X!”

Clubs and economics

As you ascend the transfer fee scale, you enter the realm of the big clubs. For 30m and up, there just aren’t that many clubs that a top player would want to go to (it should be added) that can pony up that fee. Let’s break them down, and how likely they are to want Fabregas:

PSG: Have the money, but they are set in midfield, and with the FFP sanction they are ignoring, are theoretically out of that ballgame.
Manchester City: Stacked, and facing FFP sanctions that they are actually paying attention to.
United: They just bought Mata. Sure, they would have paid that much for Fabregas, but he wasn’t on the market then.
Arsenal: Homecoming, right? They aren’t interested any longer, because they have Wilshere and Ozil. And they have even said as much.
RM: No way in hell, not that Fabregas would go there.
Bayern: They are almost as busy as we are in the midfield.
Chelsea: They can use a playmaking midfielder to feed Costa, and as they play a more traditional defense, pace not as necessary.

So out of the array of clubs that can play in that big-money stratosphere (we shouldn’t kid ourselves, 30m+ is indeed big money), Chelsea would appear to be the only suitor with any viability. That will, of necessity, affect the value of Fabregas in a way that culers will ultimately find vexing. But value isn’t just selling something, but WHEN you sell that thing. Put Fabregas out there when Arsenal was looking at a dude like Ozil or United was looking at Mata and wondering, and you get different numbers.

Another component of the value equation is wages. While Barça salaries are usually held close to the vest, most of the stuff that I can find has Fabregas in the 6m per season range, which isn’t crazy high, but still a very substantial number. Again, not many clubs are wanting to pay a player that much, again limiting the field. From a Barcelona worldview, having that 6m off the books, particularly if you can get a player who would be knocked out by 3 or 4m per season, is a pretty cool thing.

All of that affects market value.

Buying high and selling low

There is a general worldview expressed by many culers that Barça undervalues its players, overpaying for them at the outset and then dumping them for peanuts when the club is done with them. Someone gave me a laundry list of players from Marquez to Villa that seemed to point to this, but the reality of life at a club that ours, that isn’t a selling club is that when a player leaves, it is usually because he is of zero use to us. In some cases such as Keita, he is allowed to leave on a free as a favor. Henry and Marquez went to MLS on a free, the main value there being added by the salary dump, as with Villa.

The only player that is a separate issue is Victor Valdes. Clearly there was something going on there that I don’t know, so I won’t speculate on.

Thiago was sold for “peanuts” is the common perception, but that is defined by a player such as Isco or Illarramendi, both of whom went to RM for fees in the low 30m range. But the contract situations were dramatically different, and the biggest difference was that in the case of Thiago, the player wanted to go. In fact, 24m for a midfielder that wanted to leave and wasn’t going to renew actually wasn’t a bad bit of business, and one of those transfers where both parties can feel like they got something from the transaction.

Toure Yaya has been the only recent incidence of the club buying low and selling high, but even then it wasn’t high enough for many, even though we bought him from Monaco for 10m and almost tripled that when we sold him to City.

But that is rare for a big club, because big clubs usually aren’t selling clubs. People point to Roma, who made out like a fat cat in the sale of Marquinhos to PSG, and look to do so again with the sale of Benatia, and say “Why can’t we do that?” But we don’t hear about the failures, the low-cost buys that don’t pan out. There is all the talk of scouting, and what are they looking for, but as near as I can tell they are looking for two things: players fit to make our B team for grooming in the system, and players suitable to bring into the first team. That first list is a lot larger than the second one, right? And because we have La Masia, our scouts aren’t too worried about low-cost first team quality players, in part because those players are exceptionally rare.

People craving those low-cost transfers should ask themselves whether they are willing to deal with the failures while the club tries out a bunch of options. More often than not an 8m CB plays like one, and a diamond in the rough will require patience that doesn’t exist in a “win now” situation. Folks didn’t even have any patience with Txigrinski, who was better than legend has it.

fab1

In the here and now

“Value” is a phrase that is often thrown about in the transfer market. In looking at recent purchases, B team players Denis Suarez and Alen Halilovic were each signed for a fee that belies their immense talent and potential. Marc-Andre Ter Stegen was signed for 12m and just today, Ivan Rakitic was signed from Sevilla for 15m+incentives.

In the cases of Ter Stegen and Rakitic, the muttering has started about paying anything at all for a player that is going to leave on a free the next season, a notion that makes me chuckle a little bit. Because again, is there “value” in getting a 30m+ player for 15m is one of the pertinent questions. In the market, the fees of both Ter Stegen and Rakitic, were they under contract for a longer duration, would have been significantly higher. So what is the value in that equation?

Clearly, it’s how you define it. For many culers, Ter Stegen and Rakitic were bad business, because “Next season, they would have left on a free.” As if it was going to get to that point. If we didn’t buy them, someone else was going to, and if that someone was a big club, then would come the question, “Why can’t our board do business like that, copping a highly valued player for a relative pittance?”

As this silly season rolls on, it’s always worth thinking about value and how it relates to the fantasy world of 50 million for a center back, or 57 million for a willowy Brazilian in the last year of his contract as well. The Rakitic deal is as sure a sign as anything that Fabregas is leaving the club. Where he goes and for how much, remain to be seen, as well as the value to the club. But fun times await when it happens.

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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.

179 Comments

  1. Inamess
    June 8, 2014

    The Grass is Always Greener: Fan Site Report

    If you think some cules are upset about the prospect of Fab going to Chelsea for only 33 mil, then imagine what Arsenal fans must think. Their club made a deal that it thought would ensure that if Cesc left Barca then he would go back to them or at least they would get some cash. Now the club gets nothing but having their former captain play with their rival on the other side of town.

    I don’t know if Arsenal fans are still in denial about the Chelsea move, but here is a case of someone trying to convince himself that the deal will just not happen:

    http://www.reddit.com/r/Gunners/comments/27ctzk/heres_why_we_need_to_relax_about_the_cesc_saga/

    Definitely feel for the Gunners fans because they are now the ones who have to deal with Mou again. The guy brings misery to every league he goes to.

  2. Peter
    June 8, 2014

    In true silly season spirit, I began looking at the stats of Alexis and Reus, and just looking at the stats I understand why lots of culers want Reus. However, I wonder, when has Reus ever faced a bus? I looked for whatever recent highlights there were of him, and while his performance vs Real was very, very good, he clearly needs lots of space. Barcelona are increasingly facing double-teams left, right and center, so I really can’t say I’m sure about him.

    Alexis has some offsetting things to offer – tremendous workrate, willingness to track back and close down on opponents and the ability to create space. Personally I don’t want to see him leave, especially if as it looks like he may have a good World Cup and a coach that needs a fast and working mind.

    I would say this though: I won’t mind seeing Reus – if Alexis is given a better contract and allowed to stay deeper to create.

    • Inamess
      June 8, 2014

      From a football perspective I just don’t see any reason why Barca would want Sanchez to leave. I think like Valdes he decided last year that he wanted to move somewhere else. He had a good season and now that he is a hot commodity, he can demand a better contract especially if his talent can be used better on the field.

      I don’t know that much about Reus though other than what I saw in Dortmund vs. Real the last two years. If only Lewandowski played the first leg this year and Mkhitaryan was a better finisher!
      I know they are different types of players, but can Reus be just as valuable or even better than Sanchez at Barca?

  3. Inamess
    June 8, 2014

    A couple of good articles on football transfers. The first stresses the importance of a player’s wages in transfers and explains why teams are more likely to pay players who leave for free or with only 1 year left on their contract much better.

    This might have been why Valdes and Keita wanted to leave as free agents too. The players can demand a higher salary because the club is paying a bargain rate or nothing for the transfer.
    http://www.sbnation.com/soccer/2013/6/25/4462180/football-transfer-economics

    The other good article explains why EPL teams have such an advantage in acquiring transfer talent because of the lucrative television rights that EPL teams get.

    This is one of the reasons that so much Spanish talent has been going to England in the last few years. La Liga sides other than Barca and Real are like minor league systems that feed wealthy English clubs. This makes me want to have a viable Athleti that doesn’t have to constantly sell their best players even more.

    La Liga has to do something that is going to make it more competitive with the EPL. Maybe a strong well-funded Valencia and a now stronger Atletico can help. Barca also must nail this transfer window or face serious consequences.

    At least La Liga may draw more attention and revenue because our two competitors did well. Just looking for a silver lining. 🙂

    • Peter
      June 8, 2014

      When the last team of the EPL gets more money just from its TV contract than Atletico get overall, the exodus of talent shouldn’t be surprising.

      What the LFP must accent around the world is the fact that this season absolutely all European titles went/will go to Spanish teams:

      Europa League went to Sevilla
      Champions League went to Real Madrid
      Youth Champions League went to Barcelona
      European Supercup will go to either Sevilla or Real Madrid

      Unfortunately it’s quite probable that Atletico will not manage to keep this level next year, what with Courtois going back to Chelsea, Costa and Tiago going to Chelsea, Diego possibly going to Turkey and David Villa already going to New York City…

      However, Valencia has gotten its new owner who is apparently ready to clear the debts, invest heavily and finish the New Mestalla(which according to the season ticket waiting lists could be filled immediately, generating +50% income from the stadium);
      Athletic Bilbao is going back to the Champions League, this time with a new modern and complete stadium;
      Sevilla, hopefully minus Rakitic, will be going back to Europa League as defending Champions.
      Villareal, the wonder of La Liga, will be playing Europa League in the season when they came from Segunda.

      Talking about coming from Segunda, Eibar could probably get the cash they need just by selling the rights for a movie about their exploits. A team with a 5250-seater stadium, in a town the population of which could fit four times in Camp Nou, with the finances of a third-division team became champions of Segunda B, then champions of Segunda A on guts and grit alone.

  4. barca96
    June 8, 2014

    Del Bosque (coach ESP): “Sergio Busquets is a coach who’s playing football.”

  5. abuiyad
    June 8, 2014

    And still the most underrated footballer in Europe.

    Cruyff:”He is a gift for any coach. The speed of his passing is perfect and he is the kind of player you don’t need to explain anything to. You just put him in his position and he performs.”

  6. Inamess
    June 8, 2014

    The World’s Most Hated Catalan: A Mild Defense of Cesc Fabregas

    Why is the most hated Catalan the most loved person in London?

    The most talked about move this transfer season is that Cesc Fabergas will leave Barcelona after three non-stellar years with the club. Some are now expressing sellers remorse and think they would have liked Cesc to have another year at the club, but others are saying good riddance. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that Cesc’s move to Barca has been catastrophic. This is no more apparent than in LordMoloch’s exposition on Twitter: the greatest enemy of human thought ever devised. But let us examine some of the premises of this opinion. Will Barca simply become a much better club with the subtraction of a player who has been a misfit and judged to be the root cause of the decline of our club?

    Let us begin to investigate. The Lord’s rant was cute as a rant. He starts with an obvious point: the Cesc signing did not work out and maybe should not have been made in hindsight. But as a piece of thought much of this piece is Twitter porn which may be good for a chuckle but is lacking much in substance. So here is my rant in response:

    1) FCB declined because of Fab. This is moronic. FCB declined for many reasons from many bad administrative and transfer decisions to the simple wear and tear, aging, and illnesses of some of our best players including Valdes, Abidal, Alves, and the team’s legendary leaders Xavi and Puyol . A very good coach who had to step down because of a tragic illness did not help either.

    Had we planned better specifically for the decline of Xavi last year and Puyol two years ago our club would be in infinitely better shape. But the club and its fans can’t face hard truths because we value our aging legends too much and expect that they will perform each year as well as the last until the truth is just too obvious to ignore.

    2) The worst transfer in recent history for Barca was not getting Fabregas but the exchange of Eto’o for Ibra and we have not gotten over that one transfer which was the equivalent of our Pearl Harbor. We lost two world class strikers, tens of millions of dollars that we are still trying to make up for, and it led to a change in our style of play to Messi and Xavi dependency. Compared to this the Fab acquisition and sale was hardly decisive. We just got a player who was good but did not meet our great expectations.

    3) The Fab acquisition may in hindsight be viewed as the wrong decision but it also gave us a player who was fairly good though not great and who all of our last three Barca managers and the World Cup winning coach wanted on the pitch. If Fab had been fortunate enough to score a big goal for Barca say against Chelsea in 2012, fans would not hate him so much. If you remember, he almost did, but Ashley Cole cleared it from an open net.

    In contrast, David Villa, who had a much less successful stay with the club is somehow immortalized for reasons I don’t quite understand. I guess if you score an extraneous goal in a Champions League Final that gives you immunity from prosecution. Nevertheless, to make the obvious point that you are glad that now Fab is sold is a silly piece of self-congratulations. Everyone looks like a genius when they can critique events retrospectively. Nevertheless, what about the following:
    Did the Lord make his doubts known about Fab clear when we acquired him?
    Did he lambast David Villa for costing the club more Euros than Fab and then giving us only one good season?
    Did he make any twitter posts about his concern for Xavi’s decline this year?

    Now that we know Fab is leaving then the possibility that the Lord’s twitter posts are possibly wrong can never be shown. For example, some could make the argument that had Fab stayed, he would have turned into an extremely valuable Barca player. Not a legend but still very good. The only problem is that at the current Barca you have to be one of the best ever or a role player. God forbid if you are somewhere in between.

    4) The loss of Thiago could be a huge blow that will be much more costly than our acquisition of Cesc. But make no mistake Thiago did not get more game time because Tito did not think he was good enough yet to get major minutes and didn’t want to bet on this talent as a future starting FCB midfielder. But, the fact that he was able to leave after a contract blunder is not the inevitable consequence of signing Cesc. Moreover, Thiago may have even gotten a lot more minutes under Martino this year and might still have wanted to stay at the club after this season but, of course, few if any people really know.

    So the Fab transfer may have been costly in hindsight but much of the Lord’s Twitter piece is less informative and thoughtful than watching the Teletubbies. In fact, that Thiago may become great player for Bayern for years to come changes nothing. We just don’t know what our club’s plans for Thiago really were. Some certainly argued that his anarchic high risk high reward style was ill suited for Barca. We will have to watch to see if he will be the world class player that many think he will be.

    5) The fact that fans are angry now that we see how much FCB has declined makes Fab an easy target for fan outrage, but this makes him more of a scapegoat than a deserving fall guy. He was the prodigal son who was supposed to save the club and now the Catalans have banished him back to London. But is all the Fab bashing justified?

    So why is the most hated Catalan the most loved person in London?
    Maybe for the same reason that the most hated Argentinean is the most loved person in Barcelona.

    Both are very convenient targets for those who want quick and easy answers. Make no mistake, I am also distressed about our club’s too soon decline and hold some responsible. In a future post, I will reveal someone who I believe is much more at fault. If you think about it, you know too.

    LordMoloch’s originial post: https://storify.com/LordMoloch/the-cesc-story

    • 86ed
      June 8, 2014

      Was that the game that gave birth to the nickname for our #9 : Alexis “Not a Striker” Sanchez? He was certainly plagued with missing easy goals in his second season, but that’s ok, because he redeemed himself by scoring 17 goals at home this year, right guys?

      Anyway. I don’t hold that game against him nor Fabregas. If anything I would hold it against Messi in the return match who missed some good chances and a penalty. But specifically against the team as a whole for losing to the shittiest CL winner of the last 20 years.

    • Inamess
      June 8, 2014

      This was the first time I could watch highlights from that game. The truth is that it was just a tie in which everything did not go our way and it still brings nightmares.

      But what if Sanchez scores that chip? His career at Barca and what fans think of him may have been completely different. That shot goes in and we are ready to move on to face Bayern in the CL Finals.

      Bayern either becomes the best team in the world a year early or maybe Barca doesn’t have some of the problems that it has this summer. That crossbar messed this club up good in that match and in the return leg as well.

    • ibbe
      June 8, 2014

      I think we beat the fabregas topic to death so i won’t comment on that. But I hope you weren’t referring to messi when you said “the most hated argentine”..really?

      And btw, Sanchez was never “lost” for me. He recieved so much criticism last year but I always believed he would make it. If we end up selling him, then that decision would be the most idiotic decision barca made in the last decade.

    • Inamess
      June 8, 2014

      We’ll see. By July 13th Messi may become the most loved Argentinian since Maradona and Evita Peron. Otherwise, “The Catalan” probably won’t want to go back to his own country again.

      I am hoping for the Maradona/Evita outcome because we need to get Messi back in the right frame of mind.

      Check out “Messi is a Dog” video at the bottom of my post. And remember what dog spelled backwards is:

      http://www.barcablaugranes.com/2014/6/6/5785202/why-it-is-not-always-a-blessing-to-be-elvis-or-the-best-player-in-the

    • ciaran
      June 8, 2014

      The only point that Id like to touch on is the one that a player has to be a deity or a squad player.
      At Real Madrid Coentrao, Illarra & Isco are all €30m+ squad players. Add to that Pepe is another €30m player who started the CL final on the bench.
      I don’t see Madridistas wishing that does 4 get sold, in fact Coentrao, having played only 46 league games in his three years just rewarded with a new contract.

      I don’t suggest that Cesc should be starting every big match or any big match but having on the squad, like Isco, Illarra or Coentrao can’t be a bad thing.

    • ibbe
      June 8, 2014

      I agree. Cesc would be a perfect sub in games in which we are losing. Bring him in and we are ultra offensive. Just like the CL final when real brought in Isco. I highly doubt cesc would be happy about that role though.

    • Inamess
      June 8, 2014

      What makes you think that Cesc would have always been a bench
      player or that he is worse than Rakitić. The truth is that few really know why Fab is leaving. It could just be that he wants to go back to London.

      That fans now assume that the club decided he was terrible after 3 decent years is just one way of looking at the whole ordeal. Like many baffling things about the club, we just don’t know.

      I agree we have to move on, but the idea that we must always give the club the benefit of the doubt that it always knows what it is doing rubs me the wrong way after so many snafus. The club seems to be more than OK with the narrative that “we fell short and now the best way to get better is to get rid of Cesc”.

      I hope that Rakitić works out, but sometimes I think the club has too many politicians and legends making important football decisions.

    • Inamess
      June 8, 2014

      It’s ridiculous and when you think about how our players play almost every minute for Spain and Argentina, the burnout this season makes sense.

      It would be cool if Barca B + a few of Barca’a rising stars like Rafinha, Montoya, and Deulofeu played in all Copa Matches. I think that kind of thing used to happen but now it can’t be done for financial and marketing reasons.

      Also more squad rotation with a better bench!

  7. Peter
    June 8, 2014

    Using some published but of course not verified data for salaries(redacted) and (redacted), and of course with some assumptions about transfers, here’s what the finances of FC Barcelona might be looking like:

    Assumption for transfer budget:
    40 million if using the standard annual budget, without borrowing from next year’s.
    15-16 million unused bonus for winning La Liga

    Transfers, done and hopeful for the moment:

    Marc-Andre ter Stegen: -12 million
    Claudio Bravo: 10 million + Dos Santos
    Marquinhos: 20 to 25 million + Dani Alves
    Mathieu: 12 million?
    Ivan Rakitic: 20 million, assumed gross salary 8 million
    Cesc Fabregas: 33 million
    Supposed: Tello, valued at 10 to 12 million(IIRC Porto tentative offer for 12 million)
    Total transfer price: 34-36 million with Tello, 46 million without Tello
    Total transfer balance 20-22 million with Tello, 10 million without Tello

    Salary reductions, club expenses:
    Cesc Fabregas: 11 million
    Carles Puyol: 9 million
    Victor Valdés: 11 million
    Dani Alves: 11 million
    Dos Santos: 2.5 million assumed(depending on taxes, net salary 1.5 million)
    Cristian Tello: 4 million
    Ibrahim Affelay: 3-4 million(depending on taxes and Beckham tax bracket, net salary 2 million)
    Isaac Cuenca: 3 million
    Pinto: 3 million
    Oier: 0.8 million
    Total salary reduction: 58.3-59.3 million, at least 59-60 million if including staff reduction

    What becomes clear of this little calculation is that Barcelona does not have to perform financial juggling with its bank debts so that it could tap into next year’s transfer budget. We don’t know what will be the expenses for the new signings, except for the rumoured Rakitic salary, which would be 8 million gross expense. Barcelona can afford to pay ter Stegen a nice, if not exorbitant salary and save up on taxes due to the Beckham Law. The same applies for guys like Marquinhos and Cuadrado, and may be even applicable for Bravo and Mathieu.

    Of course, if those transfers are to be completed, they will come with their respective salaries. Assuming an average of 4 million per player for ter Stegen, Mathieu, Marquinhos, Bravo and possibly Cuadrado, as well as Rakitic’s 8 million, that goes up to 28 million, call it 30 including Rafinha. that still means a salary reduction of 30 million Euro, which could be used for transfers. With the previous transfer balance standing at 10 million, that means a 40 million additional budget, allowing Barcelona to sign a number nine like Pipita Higuain or an central midfielder like Koke(if Atletico would budge, which I find unlikely).

    So far, so good, but the clubs whose players Barcelona desires know about that financial cake and would try their best to take as big a slice as possible from it.

    And we go back to Silly Season day one.

  8. June 8, 2014

    Dispatches from Silly Season:

    — A “report” alleged that we were willing to pay Arda Turan’s 40m buyout fee, according to his agent. Almost immediately, his agent weighed in with, in essence, “This is bollocks. My player is happy at Atletico. Nothing will happen.”

    — BeIN Sports has an “exclusive” that the Marquinhos to Barça deal is in its final stages. Know who the BeIN chairman is? Same as PSG president, Nasser El-Khelaifi. Hmmm …

    Marquinhos “favorited” a report that his deal with us was close, then “unfavorited” it shortly after. Go figure.

    P.S. Can’t believe people are still crapping on players. Fabregas is done. To Chelsea for 33m+variables. Save your breath for the next Barça player that culers will hate, is my advice.

    • Rami
      June 8, 2014

      Many of these alleged transfer ‘rumors’ are actually started by the agents themselves, They leak some ‘BS news or intention’ to some reporter to frighten the club of their client so they improve their contracts, An old classic trick.

      In the spirit of the silly season, In the last few days there has been rumors that the PSG administrative are denying their intentions to sell Marquinhos….. Two absolutely contradicting reports, The pinnacle of absurdity.

  9. Peter
    June 8, 2014

    Using some published but of course not verified data for salaries( *www.diariogol.com/es/notices/2014/03/el-barca-actualiza-la-escala-salarial-de-la-plantilla-38986.php and
    *www.goal.com/es/news/27/liga-de-españa/2013/11/14/4407260/el-barcelona-paga-mejor-a-sus-jugadores-que-el-real-madrid), and of course with some assumptions and guesstimates about transfers, here’s what the finances of FC Barcelona might be looking like:

    Assumption for transfer budget:
    40 million if using the standard annual budget, without borrowing from next year’s.
    15-16 million unused bonus for winning La Liga

    Transfers, done and hopeful for the moment:

    Marc-Andre ter Stegen: -12 million
    Claudio Bravo: 10 million + Dos Santos
    Marquinhos: 20 to 25 million + Dani Alves
    Mathieu: 12 million?
    Ivan Rakitic: 20 million, assumed gross salary 8 million
    Cesc Fabregas: 33 million
    Supposed: Tello, valued at 10 to 12 million(IIRC Porto tentative offer for 12 million)
    Total transfer price: 34-36 million with Tello, 46 million without Tello
    Total transfer balance 20-22 million with Tello, 10 million without Tello

    Salary reductions, club expenses:
    Cesc Fabregas: 11 million
    Carles Puyol: 9 million
    Victor Valdés: 11 million
    Dani Alves: 11 million
    Dos Santos: 2.5 million assumed(depending on taxes, net salary 1.5 million)
    Cristian Tello: 4 million
    Ibrahim Affelay: 3-4 million(depending on taxes and Beckham tax bracket, net salary 2 million)
    Isaac Cuenca: 3 million
    Pinto: 3 million
    Oier: 0.8 million
    Total salary reduction: 58.3-59.3 million, at least 59-60 million if including staff reduction

    What becomes clear of this little calculation is that Barcelona does not have to perform financial juggling with its bank debts so that it could tap into next year’s transfer budget. We don’t know what will be the expenses for the new signings, except for the rumoured Rakitic salary, which would be 8 million gross expense. Barcelona can afford to pay ter Stegen a nice, if not exorbitant salary and save up on taxes due to the Beckham Law. The same applies for guys like Marquinhos and Cuadrado, and may be even applicable for Bravo and Mathieu.

    Of course, if those transfers are to be completed, they will come with their respective salaries. Assuming an average of 4 million per player for ter Stegen, Mathieu, Marquinhos, Bravo and possibly Cuadrado, as well as Rakitic’s 8 million, that goes up to 28 million, call it 30 including Rafinha. that still means a salary reduction of 30 million Euro, which could be used for transfers. With the previous transfer balance standing at 10 million, that means a 40 million additional budget, allowing Barcelona to sign a number nine like Pipita Higuain or an central midfielder like Koke(if Atletico would budge, which I find unlikely).

    So far, so good, but the clubs whose players Barcelona desires know about that financial cake and would try their best to take as big a slice as possible from it.

    And we go back to Silly Season day one.

    • ciaran
      June 8, 2014

      Even at that, we said that we had up to €120m that we normally split 50-50 between debt reduction and transfers but could spend it all on transfers if necessary.

    • Inamess
      June 8, 2014

      Peter, I am trying to understand this club better and am wondering if there is a certain “Catalan character” that explains so many baffling things about this club. For example:

      1) Is there a sense that “we will only deal with a an obvious problem when it becomes too big to ignore”?

      2) What about Pep’s characteristic pride, seriousness, inflexibility, and work ethic? Was the Ibra problem in part a clash of cultures between his rebellious ways and a club culture that is characteristically Catalan?

      3)Also, how much is Cesc really hated and what are the chief reasons other than he went away and couldn’t save us when he came back?

      The only thing I came across on the internet was this blog post:

      “Aside from the language, the second biggest difference is Catalans’ personality. Unlike the rest of Spain where work is a necessary evil, Catalans embrace their jobs and put in a full day.

      I’ve never met people who spend so much time at the office and are proud of it. Whether or not they’re more productive is another question entirely, and I often wonder if they’ve heard of the law of diminishing returns. In fact, I sometimes tell my Catalan friends and students – if they really wanted to be different than the Spanish – they’d not work ten hour days, but be punctual and plan. To which they respond: “But we’re Latin. We improvise.

      The difference in personality extends beyond work ethic. The Catalans, in general, take on a more serious and closed demeanor compared to their fun loving and warm Castilian neighbors”

      http://www.expatica.com/es/lifestyle_leisure/blogs_photos/From-Barcelona_-What-is-a-Catalan_-_14974.html

    • Peter
      June 8, 2014

      I´m not the one you should be asking 🙂 Kxevin has had more contact with Catalan culture, as does Lev, and there is one old-ish member of the community who is Catalan himself.

      The gist from what I managed to gather reading an op-ed in El Mundo(a centralist conservative pro-Spain paper, so take that with a spoonful of salt) considers admirable the fact that Catalans pride themselves on their work attitude, leavened with openness to new ideas. At the same time, however, and contrary to expected, Catalan character is somewhat introverted, focused on the inside and not looking beyond the borders of the local and well-known. In other words, new ideas are accepted, but only to improve the efficiency of what is known and considered as the right manner of doing things.

      Sounds familiar? 😀

  10. ciaran
    June 8, 2014

    In a way the potential Marquinhos deal disappoints me.
    On one side I’ll be relieved that we have finally signed a centreback. After years of not signing we’ll finally have a ‘natural’ centreback, one with a name and one that has potential.

    On the other side we are spending close to a €40million valuation on a youngster with barely one season behind him. PSG spent over €30million on a player with 22 Serie A starts under his belt to partner the ‘best’ centreback in the world and in the past season he managed to play a further 17 league starts failing to dislodge the distinctly average Alex.
    He is ranked somewhere like 7th or 8th best centreback, behind Silva, Luiz, Dante, Henrique, Miranda and possibly Dede and Rever.
    He has potential, that’s for sure. He ‘looks’ like a promising player. Due to his lack of playing one must really look at youtube to get an idea of his abilities but that’s never a good idea. What I would say is that our former defender Laurent Blanc watched him for an entire season every day in training and determined his wasn’t good enough to start for PSG but now we deem him good enough to spend most of our defensive budget on him.

    Martin Caceres was a promising defender who had an entire season as a starter with Recre and we deemed it a good idea to spend €16m on him. He is the closest transfer to Marquinhos’ in recent memory and people would have been saying the exact same things about him… lots of potential, good resale value if it doesn’t work out and has the right characteristics to play for Barca. But the problem is that potential isn’t often fulfilled, resale values don’t always work out that way and for defenders, sometimes their defensive characteristics are more important than their ball playing ones.

    A player at 21 or 22 with two failed major transfers will have very little resale value. Betting our future on this or any other unproven player isn’t the smartest move.

    I’ll leave it with one final thought. Even assuming that Mathieu and Marquinhos are both signed, and we got to a CL semi final second leg with the tie in the balance who would we trust to start that match, Mathieu, Marquinhos or Mascherano? To be honest, with how often I have advocated for signings ahead of Mascherano my gut tells me that he is still a better choice than either of those when it comes to abilities at the very highest level. It disappoints me to think it. Would I be asking the same question if the club signed Benatia, Hummels, Garay or any other world class defender? I think not.

    • June 9, 2014

      Completely agree.
      Marquinhos does not convince me too, in a way a Benatia or a Hummels does.

    • Peter
      June 9, 2014

      First of all, I’m quite sure that the same conversation took place when Pique was signed, as well as when Puyol first came to play.

      The fact is that sooner or later gambles have to be made. If the club only signs CBs that are established players, it will be obliged to pay high transfer prices and high salaries forever – and it would also mean that no defenders ever will come out of La Masia. Second, quite a few “established” defenders have come and went bust in their time at Barcelona. The fact is that Barcelona wanted Marquinhos last year. The fact is that Barcelona did not like Henrique and did not like Cáceres, and now one of them is going to the World Cup for the Brazil. The combined value of those two was 27 million Euro, at a time when Barcelona’s finances were much more brittle than today.

      Enough about that. Speaking purely in terms of stats, you need to look at Marquinhos’s season at Roma and compare it with Benatia’s.
      The results are… revealing as to why Barcelona and PSG went bidding for him. In his first season in Serie A and Europe, a Brazilian teen who probably learned to say he’s a player of Roma on the flight to Europe, managed to excel Benatia in everything except percentage of aerial duels won and overall defensive score(which is a bit baffling) – but still won more duels per 90 minutes.
      In comparison, Benatia, in the prime of his age, with three years of previous experience of Serie A and seven more years of learning to ply his trade and also possessing a telling advantage in height and mass, managed to outdo Marquinhos in only two categories, i.e. percentage of aerial duels won and overall defensive score.

      In any case, I’m not really that scared. Marquinhos is a good move not just from statistical perspective, but also psychological view. He’s young and impressionable. He and Bartra are of similar age and signing a young dedicated defender would hopefully mean that Luis Enrique is putting the second CB spot up for grabs. This means that both Bartra and Marquinhos will be trying to outdo one another.

      And finally, about the question whether Marquinhos, Mascherano or Mathieu would be the preferred player to start next to Pique… I would hope that the answer is Bartra/Marquinhos/Mathieu with Mascherano in front. Hell, if they prove good, Barcelona could go the whole eleven yards and play a 3-1-3-3 with Pique, Bartra and Marquinhos behind Mascherano, with say Rakitic, Busquets and Iniesta in midfield and a forward three of Neymar, Messi and Alexis. Tiki-taka fans would probably die of apoplexy 😀 You could have Pique, Rakitic and Bartra hounding the box while crosses rain from left and right.

    • Peter
      June 9, 2014

      Forgot the statistical comparison:

      *www.squawka.com/comparison-matrix#ligue_1/2013/2014/marquinhos/58/58/3485/0/p|serie_a/2012/2013/marquinhos/6/6/3485/0/p|la_liga/2013/2014/marc_bartra/69/69/1576/0/p|la_liga/2012/2013/marc_bartra/69/4/1576/0/p|serie_a/2013/2014/mehdi_benatia/76/76/3041/0/p#tackles_won/tackles_lost/aerial_duels_won/aerial_duels_won_%/fouls_suffered/fouls_committed/interceptions/blocks/clearances/defence_score#90

      Pretty interesting if you ask me. 🙂

  11. June 8, 2014

    Mandzukic, citing an incompatibility with Guardiola, has announced that he is leaving Bayern.

    I would take him, but no. If unhappy with Guardiola, won’t be any happier at Barça. Also major attitude problems this past season at Bayern.

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