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.

"Say what now?"

“Say what now?”

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

  1. PrinceYuvi says:

    Makes perfect sense, thanks kx !

  2. Inamess says:

    Yet another transfer has not worked out and fans are left to wonder why. In this case, there has not been any more intelligent discussion on why our club has had a transfer problems than in the posts of BFB over the last few weeks.

    But the first step to recovery is for the club to admit it has a problem. I don’t know if the sale of Fab will make us a better team, but we are giving up a very good player for another unknown.

    We can’t afford to make any more mistakes this summer because our once abundance of talent in the midfield and in defense is wearing thin.

    This transfer window will either break us or give us a new beginning. Fans will have to watch optimistically from the sidelines next season to see.

  3. Barka says:

    - Luiz is not a world-class CB. If he was then Mourinho would not let him go. He didn’t even play at CB that much at Chelsea.
    - How many clubs out of the big spenders actually wanted to sign him, let alone wanting to pay more than 40 million for him, apart from PSG? None.
    Then how did chelsea get 50 million from him? Good negotiation skills.

    From migerucb:
    Özil €50m Mata €45m Pastore €42m Javi Martínez €40m Witsel €40m Illarramendi €39m Fellaini €33m Cesc €33m

    Cesc is fine staying at Barcelona. He IS a world class AM, even his haters recognize this. We need to buy more midfielders, not sell them. He’s at least as good as those who have been sold for higher. Selling him to a direct CL contender should mean that we should ask for more. The simple conclusion is, selling Fabregas to Chelsea for 33 million if it’s true is gross incompetence.

    Real Madrid isn’t a selling club either and they have consistenly gotten a lot of money from selling players they don’t need like Negredo, Ozil.. Barcelona is just plain bad at selling players.

  4. Kxevin says:

    So how about dealing with the matter in the post, instead of continuing to argue about cloud formations in the sky? If the only thing that people want is a space to continue ranting, I can just put up a photo with a caption, and open the floor for comments.

    Anyone, and I mean ANYONE including Twitter or social media authorities who purport to “know” anything at all, in fact don’t. The people who know what happened with transfers aren’t talking.

    Fabregas is “another transfer that didn’t work out.” He played a part in helping this club continue a run of excellence that began in 2008 and continued until this season. If that is a transfer that didn’t work out, I’d like to see one that did.

    What we KNOW is that Rakitic is done, to be announced officially any day, and strong sources say that the club is talking to PSG and Valencia, respectively, about Marquinhos and Mathieu.

    So what about what was written above? What about value of a player? What is the value of a player that most culers don’t rate? So many questions.

    As noted above, the only players that Barça has sold with life left in them recently are Thiago (24m, solid business) and Toure Yaya (bought for 10, sold for near 30, great business). The rest were washed up veterans with the exception of Valdes, who had his own reasons.

    Everyone talks about what other clubs did. Few have a single, solitary thing positive to say about what the club that we all support has done, and it has done some excellent business of late.

    Standard narratives have been rendered invalid by actual events. We don’t get players that we need for good prices? We have. We have made our club significantly stronger for less in transfer fees than the bonus paid to Neymar’s father.

    As noted above, there is no what we “should” get for a player. We get what the market demands.

    An argument that this club is poor at negotiating, or is somehow screwing up by somehow conspiring to not get “fair value” for players that it sells or buys just doesn’t hold water. This club has signed in-demand players, one after the other. Denis Suarez, Alen Halilovic, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Ivan Rakitic, Neymar Jr. In every case, even as corrupt as the Neymar dealings might turn out to be, for below the price that would have happened in an open bidding market.

    I think the board is as shitty as the next culer, and I have been thinking that for probably longer than most. But I also have to give credit where credit is due.

    Meanwhile, we have a post to discuss. As for Fabregas, we have zero idea if he is even leaving. If he does leave, and does so for 33m, that will be the price that the market dictates for a player we have deemed surplus to requirements. Fair value? Again, as discussed above, I dunno. So you tell me.

    • agar2515 says:

      I take ” didnt work out” to mean that if he leaves he leaves where I’m sure he wished he could end his career, as a legend. IF Fab leaves Im sure it will be with the regret that he won’t be able to ascend to the Barca Rushmore his fellow Masia mates will one day occupy.
      As you wrote a little while ago, there are very few teams that can afford a player like Cesc and his wages and I’m sure Cesc wants to return to a place he feels will be wholly competitive ( MCFC, CFC), suit his playstyle (EPL vs. say Lique 1 and P$G), and be able to pay him throw the moon.
      There was a very good excerpt from Ibrah’s book on Grantland a few days ago detailing how, knowing he was unwanted by Pep, both he and his agent drove down his price to Milan.
      If Lucho doesn’t want him and has already planned out his signings and budgeted the $ with Zubi then perhaps he just wanted to get the deal over with instead of dealing with a prolonged ” WILL HE OR WONT HE???” saga throughout the summer.
      I’m sure teams interested in Cesc have their ears to the ground and know how unsettled things seem to have become for him at FCB, meaning we have little to no bargaining leverage in regards to demanding a huge fee for him. It’s been 3 years and people need to realize we are NOT going to build this team around Cesc or change or style to suit him. Best for all to move forward. I am excited as hell for Rakitic. He runs and runs, real fire in that man.

    • Barka says:

      Normal transactions of good midfielders in recent years have prices ranging from 33 million for Fellaini(hah) to 50 million for Ozil. That’s the fair value the market dictates for a good/great midfielder. You don’t sell a world class midfielder to a direct European opponent for the price of Fellaini.

      Everyone, including Pique and Bosque, knows this. They know Cesc’s value and they know when a robbery happens. You can just let him stay. He’s fine with staying and I think he’s a valuable player.

      I’m surprised that you used Neymar as an example of solid business deal. Whatever credit they earned was lost when our reputation was dragged through mud and we maybe potentially be handed massive fine by the tax authority.

      As for Denis and Alen, good players sure but it’s weird how you said they were signed below “market” price when you didn’t list any comparable youth signings’ prices by other big teams, and at the same time dismissing transfer prices of players similar to Cesc.

      • Kxevin says:

        Neymar as a business transaction (note that I mention the damage done in other aspects of the deal) is an excellent piece of business. Note that other teams were willing to pay twice what we did in the “stated” fee of 57m.

        Suarez and Halilovic were hot commodities that came to us for bargain prices, irrespective of what else happened. There is no comparable youth signing, or any other comparable signing. I don’t believe in that stuff. Chelsea sold Mata for 45m, which has absolutely zero bearing on what we can sell Fabregas for. Circumstances and market are completely different.

        Suarez and Halilovic were wanted by many, many teams, including RM, Arsenal, etc. They came to us for prices that make them essentially a steal. That is good business.

        As for Fabregas, the Rakitic purchase means that he is out. The only question is where and for how much.

    • Inamess says:

      Kxevin, again I think you have misrepresented almost every word I have written with regard to our transfers and particularly in the matter of Cesc. If you would rather not read them that is OK too. I still like reading what you have to say.

  5. Barka says:

    New York Times has a really nice story about Messi.

  6. lala10 says:

    I have been scratching my head a bit as i seek to understand the Transfer Value of players especially being sold by FCB. Specifically Cesc Fabregas.

    What determines Cesc’s value? His quality has to be measured against the type of players he has a comparison with and the theoretical and REAL value that they(would command). We compare him with Vidal, Mata, Pogba, Racktic, Ozil. Would any of those players trade for 33 million all things being equal?

    I think not. We talk of Fab being a player that we no longer want. True but Madrdid no longer wanted Ozil, neither did Chelsea still want Mata. They were quite clear about that. In sharp contrast except for the noise Fab has the minutes on the field that suggests that he is an important player who for some reasons is no longer wanted. Here is why and how i think Fabregas has to have a value higher than the purpoted 33 million.

    1) He is 27 and likely to enter the prime of his career and he has prior experience of the PL so if they are selling him there they have an xtra bargaining chip.
    2) The guy still has a contract with Barca that is not expiring soon so Barca are not compelled to sell. They have the power in their hands. The player moves if they say so and if the price is right for them. That is why the Mata transfer was so high for a player Mou had categorically labelled dead wood. Ditto Luiz. If you dont want him at this price then no ball.

    3) This is a World Cup year and essentially sales are made after the tournament. Buy early and sell later yourself is the common strategy. What harm will delaying the sale a bit longer do? The market will be crazy in a couple months and his value may as well really jump.

    Lastly Barcelona and i mean the club not Zubi seem a little lost in strategic maneuvering. People say they may be no buyers for him but so what. Create an illusion. Plant false stories in the papers about potential buyers. Its the market and its open to being played. It has been played and it can be played only it seems IT IS PLAYED on Barca. It seems like the Club has no negotiating skills, like it just says here is player X; for Y dollars you can have him without even bothering to look at the field. Its said that good salespeople can sell you dead horsemeat for a fortune. Barca seems like it does the opposite. AND IT RANKLES.

  7. Some folks here are talking about a fair market. I’d just like to point out that no such thing has ever existed. The market is like the weather. You can find examples of this every day, like when I had to buy the lid for my 5 gallon bucket separately at Lowes the other day.

    Besides, if Cesc is leaving Barça then it will be for a lesser value precisely because he is leaving.

    Anyway, 33 mil ain’t a bad days work and I don’t really care what Chelsea/RM sell their players for. 33 mil buys Rakitic squared (who looked solid, albeit I only saw him play three games) with extra. Besides, it seems to me that the Barça treats their players/coaches better than most squads, which is also going to mean that we are less greedy/ruthless as certain Russian oligarchs (read: criminals).

  8. Ultraculé says:

    Barca is the best place to shop for other clubs.
    You can be dead sure of quality, as they have played for THE club.
    You can get Eto’os for throw away prices and help yourselves to champions league titles. You can get a Zlatan at his prime for 20M and help yourselves to league titles. You can also get the greatest spanish striker in history for less than afellay’s fee and win an important title, even coming close to a historic double.

    Timely article, but I don’t agree with your contention that big clubs are usually not selling clubs. EE seem to have no problem getting rid of Ozil for 50M after buying him for <15 and can even ship out people like Albiol, Callejon for big bucks. Meanwhile we sell the best spanish striker in history for Afellay's fee.

    I actually think that in terms of buying, this board has done extremely well. Here's where I think the problem lies. Barca care quite a bit about the player's wishes in terms of where he wants to go and don't just ship him off to a club that will play the club more. We let henry, marquez, valdes etc go on a free. We let Ibra go to his city of choice in milan and we let Villa get his wishes of remaining in spain. of course this seems like a good thing. I can hear you say "but thats noble and all, barca atleast treats their players well and don't care about money". Except that this is misguided. We will never know what really went down with Abidal, Valdes etc and we are now chasing money in every sort of avenue by selling bits and part of our soul to Qatar and what not.

    Barca may never be a selling club and I'm fine with that. But the fact that Barca seemingly willingly allow themselves to be at a disadvantage at various facets of the game completely annoys me. From being played by the market and agents to refusing to plug glaring holes in the squad for the past 3/4 years, the ongoing list baffles a Cule. And Riles an Ultraculé.

    • Kxevin says:

      Well said. I’d still like to know the backstory on Valdes. That is the only departure that vexes me. Prima facie, the club threw away 30m+ in letting him leave on a free. But was he going to veto any transfers out of spite or difficulty? Did any bids come in and if so, were we in the rock/hard place spot by not being able to pull the trigger on Ter Stegen, and not wanting to trust the season to Pinto? All questions that play into the Valdes move.

      As for the has-been vets you can see the value being in the salary dump, which is huge. Villa was on a Liga-winning side, but was pretty much baggage at Atleti for all the effect he had for them. His match in that last one against us was atypical of him this season. We also forget that transfers include player wishes as a key component. Rakitic wanted us, which made everything easier.

      That Ibrahimovic excerpt about how they forced the sale out of spite was fascinating. Again, market forces shaped when and what a player sold for. Obviously, 24m was far below his real market value.

      Are we as astute at marketplace timing as other teams? Nope. And I think that we hold onto players too long. There was a small, and barely noticeable contingent who suggested that this summer would have been the perfect time to sell Messi. You have two players ready to explode in Neymar and Sanchez, and that 200+m can buy a lot of talent. Interesting speculation.

      We gave Messi a raise. Whether that will prove smart or another example of hanging onto a player too long (Ronaldinho another example), only time will tell.

      Ozil is, like Mata, an example of hitting the market exactly right. Arsenal needed a marquee signing and had plenty of money. Ozil was EXACTLY the kind of player they needed. Boom. Perfect.

  9. Ultraculé says:

    That said, Rakitic for 20M is an excellent piece of business.
    The decision to release Fabregas is also an excellent, courageous and forward thinking move. Just that It’d be nice if we get compensated with a sum close to his real value for other clubs.

  10. PrinceYuvi says:

    Since when Mou’s starting XI decides Who’s World Class and Who’s not ?

    That’s just Rodonkulous !

    Mou’s picks are Extremely disciplined Defensive brutes.
    Elegance and Flair (read Mata and Luiz) are not his favourite dishes.

    Just a season ago under Rafa benitez Mata and Luiz were Best of the bunch. After one season later, they’re crap ?

    PSG signed a 37year old Beckham to sell shirts.
    Luiz sells shirts and can defend too.
    They’re still dishing for a dedicated worldwide fanbase. Luiz is perfect for just that, Most charismatic Centre back, mind you.
    Just be happy we weren’t the ones paying that amount.

    Mata ? Man utd would have easily paid 20M for Sergi roberto. They just don’t have any brainy mids around and are desperate. Cesc could have fetched 50 M back then, we decided not to sell him.

    Real madrid ?
    Well, they don’t really have a human face.
    Pure business.
    They’d never let David Villa leave for 1 M like we did.
    Ozil left bruised, so did Higuain.
    The question is, Do we want to turn into an Evil Empire ?

    • Inamess says:

      We don’t want to turn into the evil empire. Just a club that makes better transfer decisions. Making good transfer decisions and getting top dollar for your players just makes your club better.

      • Kxevin says:

        The notion of “top dollar” is again, based on value, that quality defined by the market and what someone is willing to pay.

        Sure, you can value Fabregas at 60m. Now find somebody willing to pay that. If the market says that he is saleable for 33m, then that number becomes “top dollar,” as it is the maximum value extracted from the transaction.

        Was David Villa, by way of another example, worth more than 2m? No. We know this because that’s what he sold for.

        It’s easy for culers to stomp around and say that we don’t value our players, or know how to negotiate transfers, etc. But the fact of the matter is that a club sells its players for what it can get. That depends on need, demand for a player at that position and marketplace reality.

        So, as noted above, sell Fabregas last summer when United was looking, and you probably get more than 33m. This summer? Different circumstances, so no.

        • Inamess says:

          The Fabregas case is just not a great example for market economics. If we played our cards right and went through a summer long soap opera about Fab like the Spurs did for Modric and Bale, then we may have got closer to 45 for Fab.

          But it would have really hurt club and fan morale at a time when the club’s image is down and we only would have gotten half of the transfer price over 33 mil because of our previous deal with Arsenal.

          • Kxevin says:

            The Fabregas case is, like pretty much any transfer, always a perfect example of market economics, because as with anything, players sell for what the market dictates. That situation isn’t malleable based on advantage for the seller.

            It’s a simple question of timing and demand. Bale was 100m because he was widely considered to be one of the best players in the Prem, so his buyer was willing to pay handsomely for the acquisition. I would imagine that Perez, having hoisted Copa and Champions League silver, would deem that fee to have been worth it.

            Same with Modric. It’s also worth factoring in Premflation as part of those market forces. Players from the Premiership are more expensive. You can thank their marketing and perception as best league in the world for that.

            Mourinho would like to have Fabregas. He doesn’t NEED Fabregas. That is the immense difference between his case, and those of Modric/Bale, two pieces that were exactly what RM needed.

            My understanding of the deal with Arsenal is that we owe them half of an overage over 36m, rather than half of the total fee. I could be wrong there. So if we sell him for 50m, we would owe them 7m, rather than 25m.

          • Peter says:

            The way I understood the quoted terms of the contract was that Arsenal get 50% of the overage if Arsenal is not the chosen club despite matching the offer. In other words Arsenal would get an indemnity only if they were willing to pay whatever Chelsea/Utd/Liverpool were offering, but were snubbed.

          • Inamess says:

            That’s my understanding too. So if we sell Fab for 45 mil, then we get 33+(.5 X 12 mil)= 39 Mil

          • Inamess says:

            The assumption that Mou doesn’t need Fabregas is just guess work and could be another example of how Mou has outplayed us at the transfer game and we undervalue our own players.

            You can’t believe everything you read in transfer rumors about what Mou does or does not think.

            Real didn’t “need” Bale but were willing to pay top dollar nonetheless.

  11. Kxevin says:

    By the by, this person, @LordMoloch on Twitter, has a very strong, and unrelenting view on Fabregas that for many, sums up the complexities of the player and his presence on the team:

    https://storify.com/LordMoloch/the-cesc-story

    • BA says:

      amen to Moloch. totally agree.

      we’re left talking about another new coach faced with the prospect of having to “get the best out of him” or “find a system that works for Cesc”, when the whole impetus behind signing him to begin with was that he had “Barça DNA” and would click into place better than other midfield options. i opposed his transfer at the time as a misguided extravagance, and it appears as though he’s set to depart Barcelona a failure. it remains a shame that we’ve lost 2 valuable integrative years (mostly for Xavi to tutor a “replacement”, i.e. a starting CM) and Thiago Alcantara to our Cesc Experiment.

    • ciaran says:

      To me that piece was utter garbage but people are entitled to their opinions. His personal opinion has led to him blaming Cesc for every problem of the past three seasons including Pet’s lack of titles, Thiago’s decision to leave and Pedro, Iniesta and Alexis all underperforming at times.
      It’s ridiculous and has little basis in reality. He suggests that Pep wanted Cesc sold when there is no even anecdotal evidence to suggest this. He says that Cesc forced us to change formations even though such decisions are only taken by managers and Pep was always interested in trying it.

      I’d much prefer if people just said that they want him sold because they don’t like him rather than blaming him for the weather.

      • Inamess says:

        Ciaran, I am with you on this one and the piece shows why Twitter is greatest destroyer of human intelligence ever invented. I could have gotten more enlightenment from reading “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”. The piece was equally entertaining but less thoughtful and informative.

        “Cesc Fabregas is the most damaging signing made by Barcelona in recent history”.

        Great historical pronouncement?

        How about Eto’o for Ibra? That might have been slightly worse.

      • SteveHK says:

        What is hard to understand or believe about that article? Even before Cesc joined the team the issue of where Cesc would play was discussed a lot. Who does he replace without making the team worse? After three years of experience and much experimentation we can safely say – nobody!!
        Basically I think the evidence supports saying that anytime Cesc was on the pitch the team was not as good as it could have been.

      • BA says:

        ciaran,

        while i agree that the rant was a bit overstated, i think the underlying observation is absolutely right and the lynchpin of this argument: that Cesc’s inclusion in the squad, due to his deficiencies as a player (though YES, he does have other great attributes; he’s an outstanding footballer in many respects), unbalances it in ways that are actually quite regressive and harmful to it’s on-field harmony.

        it leaves the manager/team reacting to Cesc, rather than Cesc using his skills for the benefit of the team. though he’s a good player, he’s not good ENOUGH to build this team around… and certainly not at the expense of Leo Messi and Andres Iniesta.

    • SteveHK says:

      @LordMoloch’s twitter rant was perfect! PERFECT!!
      I agree that in it’s effect on the team Fabregas was the worst signing I’ve seen Barcelona make.
      I hope he is gone next year – I think it will be addition by subtraction!

  12. Kxevin says:

    In a 2012 interview, Rakitic said that he respects homosexuals, but wouldn’t want to share a locker room with one. He later, after the resultant firestorm, apologized.

    • BA says:

      he’s a footballer, and he’s from Eastern Europe.

      about par for the course, then.

    • Rami says:

      I’m one of those who care very much about the type of ‘personalities’ in the squad, Something pep guardiola also did, The healthier the locker room, The healthier the team.
      I’ll never accept someone like suarez in team, Even if he was offered to us for a penny, Way too much stain on him to for us to look the other way or forgive, At the same time i won’t marginalize a player for a single mistake, Anyone runs the risk of doing or saying something stupid, And i’m willing to give Rakitic the benefit of the doubt for this one, And judge him once he become part of the team.

  13. providence says:

    Good points there but I beg to differ

    It’s not as if the player in question is surplus to requirement

    it’s not as it he’s performing poorly that we are keen to ditch him

    Fabregas is a top player whom we could easily clock 45m – 50m anyday. The value of your product depends on how your present it. Juan Mata was surplus and cuptied but was sold high, David Luiz spent most of the season in DM but he was sold high.

    Selling Fabregas for 33m because we don’t have club who’re interested is no excuse. Man Utd are chasing Kross, is he not a midfielder? will Bayern not replace Kross if he leaves? If Man Utd lose out on Kross will they consider the Cesc option? Will Bayern not chase Cesc in case Kross leaves?

    Selling Fabregas for €33m is unacceptable, once again Mata was deemed surplus, he spent most part of the first season on the bench, was not eligible to play UCL but was still sold for €45, it depends on how you negotiate.

    • Kxevin says:

      If you want to sell a car at X price but nobody will buy it, and you value that car at Y sum, what do you do? Start there.

      Culers are folding their arms, stomping their feet and saying “But he’s worth 50m!”

      Not if nobody will pay that much for him. That wouldn’t be negotiation. That would be sorcery.

      • BA says:

        it’s unfair to say that “nobody will pay more” for Cesc. of all the myriad things we do *not* know during Silly Season, foremost among them surely has to be what clubs will or will not pay for any given player. we as fans can only go by what the market valuations of players that have been/are being bought and sold are: and in the current market, 33m for Cesc Fabregas is a pitifully low valuation. period.

        to say that “well nobody will buy him for any other price”, is a cop-out. certainly there are clubs who COULD purchase him for 45m. didn’t Man United end up offering almost that much for him last summer? aren’t they in the process of rebuilding, particularly their midfield? don’t they have a new Glazer managing their transfer kitty, and don’t they want to make a couple of marquee signings after their disappointing last season? that’s just a possibility; but a pretty realistic one.

        to throw him to Mou for 30-33m would simply be a(nother) piece of terrible business.

        • Peter says:

          You realize that in order to make a transfer you need three signatures, right?

        • Kxevin says:

          Well yes, clubs COULD pay 40+m for Fabregas, but those clubs have now made their purchases. So it’s a different world in which we are now trying to do business.

          More than a “cop-out,” I would call it an acknowledgement of reality. Why we didn’t sell him last summer, when a bidding war would likely have ensued between United and Arsenal, both itching to spend big on a marquee signing, I have no idea. But we didn’t. So then was then, and now is now.

      • SteveHK says:

        Ah now you are getting into some serious rational economic thinking Kxevin!
        Personally I consider Fabregas more of a liability than an asset, so the question for me is how much would I pay to have someone else take him!
        Honestly though, I think the team should take the best offer it gets for Cesc this summer, whatever that amount is!
        Except if we have two equal offers take the one that helps Mourinho the least!!

  14. Gekko64 says:

    The way the team has been managed after the treble season is absolutely retarted. Eto’o, Ibra, Yaya, Thiago and now Cesc. I’m fuming with rage.

    • Kxevin says:

      Would appreciate the non-usage of words that refer to disabilities. Thanks.

      The club has been mismanaged in ways having precious little to do with transfer dealings. Those are merely icing on the cake. Note also that in the case(s) of Eto’o, Toure Yaya and Ibrahimovic, Guardiola wanted them gone. Management just made it happen.

      In the case of Thiago, the player wanted to leave. The situation was such (playing time, etc) that his value was dictated by circumstances. As for Fabregas, opinion is mixed on him, but my state is hardly “fuming with rage.” I want the team to get better. If they think that selling Fabregas will facilitate that, then let’s do it and move forward.

      But we say “It’s 50m or nothing” for Fabregas, and the seemingly sole suitor says “Keep him, then,” we should be prepared to deal with that possibility. That would mean, unless Xavi moves on, Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Rakitic, Rafinha, Sergi Roberto, Fabregas.

      That’s a lotta midfielders.

      • Gekko64 says:

        I apologize for my poor choice of words.

        Transfer dealings are definitely not icing on the cake, a soccer team is only as good as the players it’s composed of and you acquire/lose those with transfer dealings.

        I consider Guardiola part of the management, and wtf was he thinking with the three you mention?

        He wanted Eto’o out. That alone tells me he has no idea. Here’s a guy who’s scored heaps of goals for Barcelona, always ran like a hound and always gave 100%, particularly in the hardest games, and has been an integral part of the deadliest trident ever. Also perfectly drilled to Barcelona’s tactics.

        Let’s play devil’s advocate and say Pep wanted him out because of his hot-headedness. So you replace him with perhaps the most hot headed player alive, who does not fit the team and is not a big game player. throw in a bunch of cash too while you’re at it, comically undervaluing one of the best strikers in the business in the process. then change your mind after some months and sell the new striker for peanuts money. Inter supporters owe their treble just as much to Pep as they do to Mou.

        And with Cesc? same story. he was bought when he was not needed, because you don’t buy a worldclass player to sit him on the bench or play him out of position ( which in turn pushes other players out of position ) . and now that Xavi is about to retire and we finally did need Cesc, he leaves. Let’s not even mention that this saga also cost Barcelona yet another incredibly talented midfielder, who obviously was too good to be 4th in the pecking order.

        • Kxevin says:

          Well, the word was always that Guardiola had a difficult time with strong personalities. If you look at that “out” list, it’s interesting. And it takes nothing away from what he did for the club and his excellence as a coach, lest someone think anyone is poor-mouthing Guardiola.

          My principal objection(s) to Fabregas were that he was expensive, and what about Thiago? Now, I just hope we get some decent buckage for him. Getting Rakitic for in effect for about half the Fabregas fee, makes me wonder if our board doesn’t in fact cut Euros in half, so 60m real world is 30m to them.

        • Sangoku says:

          Here are some quotes from an interview Eto’o gave to BeIN:

          - “I first of all reminded Guardiola that he’d never been a great player,” Eto’o told BeIN Sports. “He was a good player, that’s true. I told him. As a coach, he had proven nothing. He came in and didn’t even know the story of the dressing room.”

          - “Pep told me how to move like a striker. I told him: ‘You’re not normal!’ The true story is that Pep didn’t respect the things in football.”

          I consider Eto’o as one our greatest strikers. But I don’t care who you are, if you talk like that to the coach, it’s clear you need to go.

          • Inamess says:

            Yes, but what about: “Let’s play devil’s advocate and say Pep wanted him out because of his hot-headedness. So you replace him with perhaps the most hot headed player alive, who does not fit the team and is not a big game player”.

            I think Gekko64 is telling some hard truths. Pep was not a good man manager and also made his share of poor decisions. Some rumors have it that Tito was the one constantly trying to smooth relations between the players and manager.

          • Gekko64 says:

            That would make sense if Eto’o got sold alongside Dinho and Deco, but after that he’s got another season in which his performances spoke for him and he still gets sold. it seems like Pep put a personal grudge above the best interest of the team here.

          • Sangoku says:

            Well, I’m definitely not here to defend the guy. He sure made some mistakes. But taking Ibra aboard was probably debated between him, Tito & Cruyff. Ibra is on record as saying that coming to Barça was his dream. So maybe they thought he’d be supposedly less trouble? I wouldn’t put too much blame on a coach because a transfer didn’t work out. Even SAF made those mistakes.

            What we’ve heard about the Ibra story came from… himself. Would have loved to hear the other side but we would probably have to wait a long long time for that.

            What I remember is that Eto’o was to be shipped out with the rest during Pep’s first season but for some reason or another he stayed.

            Now, let’s take an example: You’re an employer. Your absolute best employee bad mouths you in public. What do you do? Do you retain him because he works so well and risk that other workers start disrespecting you too? Or do you take prompt action, establish who’s Boss and rally everyone else around you? Bear in mind that it was at a time when our team badly needed some discipline after the disastrous years before.

            I’m saying all this while being a firm admirer of Eto’o and Ibra is my favourite striker! But I really believe that no one player should be above the team. Not even Messi.

            By the way, talking about Leo, nice piece on him Inamess!

        • Inamess says:

          Thanks! I was just thinking that he may be the last guy in the world to want to be in the position that he is in. But it all comes from his love of kicking a soccer ball around better than anyone else ever.

  15. 86ed says:

    Bayern handed us a cool 25m or so for Thiago, but 5m of it were charity. The buyout fee was 18m, if I correctly recall, but Rummenigge did not want to embarrass us.

    I’m not ok with saying we’re not a selling club. There isn’t such a thing. All clubs sell. Smart clubs sell at a higher value; silly ones don’t know how to bargain. Take Real. They’re assuredly a buying club, yet they sold Oezil for 52m euros, Higuain for 38m, and even Albiol for 12m. 102m euros earned on three players. That’s good bargaining.

    I thought the idea of bringing Fabregas back as too sentimental back in ’11, so I’m ok with his leaving and our cutting our losses now.
    33m is fine for a player who disappears come February.

    • Peter says:

      5 million of it were definitely not charity. Paying the buyout clause of Thiago would’ve required Bayern to dig deeper in their pockets than the 25 million paid. Of course, apart from the 18m the rest would’ve gone to the Taxman, so paying Barcelona 25m, 20m cash and 5 million in variables and equivalents was a nice compromise.

      That’s the reason why Messi’s buyout clause is 250m and not more, and why if someone were to pay his buy-out clause the Spanish Tax authority would throw a fiesta to make the Decima celebrations seem like tea party in church.

      • 86ed says:

        Well that’s interesting. Rummenigge said at the time they paid 25m to keep friendly relations with Barcelona. To me that’s a keyword for their board’s not wanting to embarrass ours.
        It seems to make sense too, for fear of the taxman did not deter them from meeting Martinez’s 40m buyout clause the previous year.

        • Peter says:

          Actually it did deter them – they paid 40m, but it wasn’t buying out, it was a transfer for 40 million. The buying out essentially works like this: the player has to deposit the money to his club, so his new club gives him enough money to cover all expenses, the Hacienda takes its cut and what’s left must be enough to meet the buy-out sum. Nobody wants to give money to them, so both clubs agree to make it a transfer.

          And it keeps the relations between the clubs above the point of freezing, because Bayern could have decided to pay a couple of millions more, take Thiago and give Barcelona 18 million.

          Of course, that would’ve been like showing Barcelona the middle finger in front of the whole world. I think even the club known as FC Arroganz would think twice before doing that.

  16. Rami says:

    You pretty much took every word out of my mouth kevin, I almost feel i have nothing more to add.

    Other clubs look out for the needs of their squad just like we do, They’re not going to start selling their midfielders left and right and offer ridiculous amount of money just because fabregas is on the market now, We could have sold cesc for 46M euros if we had offered him last summer, Because their were clubs in desperate need of such player (MU and arsenal), It’s not the same case this summer, And i’m not even including other factors like the player’s wishes.

    Refusing to sell a player until a ‘right’ price come isn’t a fool proof strategy, In some cases it is a smart move, Sometimes it’s a gamble, And some times it’s a completely stupid idea, And it all comes down to the ratio between the money offered for him and the player’s salary, For example, Let’s assume that cesc’s salary costs the club 7M euros a season including the taxes, And let’s assume we refused chelsea’s 33M offer because we thought fabregas ‘deserves’ more than that and decided to wait for the next summer, For us to make more money than we would’ve with the 33M chelsea offered, In the next summer we need to sell fabregas for more than 40M euros (33M + 7m in salary)that’s assuming in the next summer someone will actually pay more than 40M and this is where the gamble takes place, And if that didn’t happen and we again decided to wait for another summer, We need to sell him for more than 47M euros (33+7+7).
    That’s not mentioning that we will be keeping a player that doesn’t want to stay which sure will have an impact on his performance on the pitch, And he may not be an important part of the coach’s plan.

  17. Kxevin says:

    DiMarzio says that Fabregas is “very close” to Chelsea. When a source such as that one starts to say it …

    – Also note that Dani Alves is saying nice things about PSG. Big club, who wouldn’t want to play there, they are one of my options should I decide to leave, blablablabla.

    – And scratch Laporte off the list of CB possibilities. Athletic just refreshed his contract and bumped the buyout to 42m. Still not astronomical, but high enough to give a suitor pause.

    • Inamess says:

      Great piece! Shameless plug for something I worked on a few days ago on why it is hard to be Messi:

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

    • Jamal102 says:

      This article is simply brilliant. Argentina’s insistence on extolling Maradona which is somewhat understandable (given his influence in winning ’86 World Cup) while choosing to ignore his use of cocaine, his participation in prostitution and more importantly, his lack of managerial skills which were inexcusably exposed at the World Cup and further exposed at Al Wasl, completely baffles me.

      And this is all in stark contrast to the little boy from Rosario who left Argentina for HEALTH purposes. Messi’s height is already a bit worrying but he more than makes up for it with his technicality on the ball. I cannot even imagine an even shorter version of Lionel had he chosen to reside in Argentina.

      It begs the question. Should he have chosen to represent Spain at the U-20 World Cup?

  18. TITO says:

    When does his contract expires?

  19. I wrote something more lengthy about this a few weeks ago, but one really needs to approach the football market as a luxury market. In a luxury market value is even more ambiguous than, say, the housing market.

    Additionally, I want to re-iterate that I think Barça treat most of their players as family. This is not particularly Machiavellian, but it represents an aspect of this club which made me such a fan originally. This also means that we are more likely to give players what they want. For example, we did not ship Villa out to an English team for more money because Villa wanted to stay in Spain-out of respect for the player. I, for one, am proud of how this team treats players.

    • Inamess says:

      Totally agree with you on the luxury market analogy and you beat me to the punch on that one. I, however, disagree with the notion that our club over the last few years has been more noble than others, but nobility and poorly run could go hand in hand.

  20. Kxevin says:

    More rumors! Please note that Silly Season is the most fun when you don’t take any of that stuff seriously, btw.

    Arsenal has tabled an EUR30m (25m GBP) bid for Pedro, as reported by RAC1. For 30m, I would fly to Barcelona and help Pedro pack. He would be brilliant at Arsenal.

  21. Inamess says:

    I think that there are several different issues that can be kept separate.

    Here are some of my opinions on some of the various issues addressed:

    1) Did we get good value for our transfers from 2009 on ?
    Anyone who thinks that we did is going to have a really difficult time defending that, but they could try.

    2) Is Fabergas’s talent and name worth more than 33 mil in a World Cup year in which he will be highly visible? Yes

    3) Should we sell Fabregas for 33 mil?

    If the club does not think he is a good enough player for Barca and he definitely wants to leave, then maybe. Personally I would have rather Xavi have left for free than selling Fab for 33 mil, but we know that’s not possible. The club has promised fans major changes and selling Fab and Sanchez are the two obvious choices. Will getting rid of them and bringing in new players make us better? We’ll see.

    3) Are high priced transfers well modeled by market theories of supply and demand and the inherent worth of players?

    No, high priced transfers are based on what one of about 7 wealthy teams are willing to pay and for that reason is like the art market. If someone is willing to pay 250 mil for Messi then, like buying a Van Gogh, they are partially paying for his reputation and the cache that comes with owning him as much as his skill.

    Fab is an extremely talented midfielder who is already a proven winner in the EPL and is also extremely marketable. His sale is really bad for club morale but if buying Rakitic instead makes us a better team in the future then it will be worth it.

    But buying Fab at 35 mil + 5 in variables only to sell him at 33 mil three years later was not good for anyone but Mourinho, particularly if you count the loss of Thiago as collateral damage.

    • Kxevin says:

      I thought the base Fabregas fee was 29m+variables?

      To your No. 3, everything that is bought and sold, from a pair of shoes on EBay to a talented midfielder to a Van Gogh, is modeled by market theories of supply, demand and inherent worth. EBay, the auction site, is probably the purest representation of this. Hot items go crazy on bidding. Less-desired ones might have one or two bidders, and somebody gets a bargain.

      Look at the effect that wealthy Japanese collectors had on the art market as a whole, and compare it to how the sugar daddy clubs have affected the player transfer market. Increasingly, players are going for absurd numbers, and teams are wanting more cash up front for sales.

      Even if the available market is limited to 7 teams, it’s still about supply and demand.

      – About that Xavi business, rumor is he has an offer on the table for 10m per for 4 seasons from a Qatari team. A cush, and lucrative retirement plan. The rest of that rumor is that he will decide after he talks to Enrique, but is leaning toward staying at Barça.

    • Inamess says:

      From Wikipedia: “On 15 August 2011, Barcelona signed Fàbregas for an initial fee of £35 million with a further £5 million in variables.” I thought it was lower too, but it could be wrong.

      One of the best examples of the idea of presentation in luxury auctioning is in the amazing film “Up for Grabs”. What should have been a 1 million plus sports memorabilia item goes for about $200,000 because of horrible publicity, marketing, and vendettas. Good analogy for our Ibra situation:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NP8j_X88bSI

  22. Kxevin says:

    Another RAC1 buzz item is that the club is going to offer Mascherano a renewal offer, until 2018, and that he will accept.

  23. TheFullMontoya says:

    The value of a player is determined by the price clubs are willing to pay
    Therefore, the price Barca gets for Cesc is representative of his value

    Circular argument, begging the question, etc.

    • Inamess says:

      You are right but many clubs are fools.

      “The value of Andy Carol is determined by the price clubs are willing to pay for him. Therefore, the price Liverpool paid is representative of his value.”

      You take your chances it the transfer market and pay the consequences.

  24. Jafri says:

    That piece by Lord Moloch, though it’s rather partisan, pretty much sums up Cesc’s impact on the team for me. I can remember being delighted when he was signed, but as great a player he is, he’s been more detrimental to the team than he has been helpful. That line really hit home for me: You simply can’t shuffle around the greatest player of all time I’m order to accommodate him.

    It seems that Barcelona are run by sentiment while the other big clubs are run by cutthroat businessmen. We signed Cesc in an already brimming midfield because we wanted to bring a great player home, we kept him a season too late to retain one of the greatest la masia prospects, and another season too late to sell him at a good price. We let great players go for cheap prices, or even for free, hanging on to them for longer than we should have, past the point where we could have gotten good prices for them. And while most clubs have one or two iconic lampard’s and casillas’ that they keep for longer than they should, we’ve been blessed with a golden generation of legends that we will keep with us for sentimental reasons well past the point we should part ways.

    I think it’s part of the mes que un club philosophy, and it’s one of the things that makes the club so special and what attracted me to Barcelona in the first place. I do appreciate its honor and intent, but I can’t help thinking it has no place in such a cutthroat business. It’s almost like we were the Ned Stark of the football world.

  25. Inamess says:

    How to Win at the Transfer Game

    Public Notice:

    “F.C. Barcelona has now taken its player Francesc “Cesc” Fàbregas Soler into its custody and will shoot this player in both knees if the club does not get a bid over 50 mil by June 18, 2014.

    We are currently accepting bids on Ebay from EPL teams, devoted fans, and the Spanish nation.

    Good luck and Happy Bidding!”

    It almost worked for Tonya Harding. I don’t know why we don’t give it a shot.

    It’s also a ploy Mou would use, but we can beat him at his own game.

  26. Kxevin says:

    Sport is “reporting” that there is a Marquinhos deal, 25m+Alves (explains the Alves comments about PSG), 4-year deal.

    – RAC1 says that club would like to announce next week the Rakitic deal, and the Fabregas to Chelsea deal.

    Rumor and buzz city, but it appears that some dominoes are starting to fall. Sport and MD of course, had all kinds of deals and arrangements with Thiago Silva all “reported” last season, so waiting is best.

    The 25m+Alves is interesting, because it would value Marquinhos at about 40m.

    People are saying that the club is also at work on the Mathieu transfer, while other people are saying now that Valencia have a proper owner who is going to dump money into the club, that they don’t need to sell.

    We’ll see.

    • ciaran says:

      That depends on your valuation of Dani Alves. If you look at the Villa sale you could argue that Alves’ value is as much about getting rid of an older players hefty salary. It’s nice to think that we would get €15m for Alves but you’d never know.
      I’d still like Benatia but beggars…

      • Kxevin says:

        Also in the last year of his deal, which runs until 2015. And the salary jettison is huge.

        – There are also the persistent rumors that we have a personal agreement with Reus, but I just don’t see Dortmund letting its two best players leave in the same summer.

  27. SteveHK says:

    Personally I will be very happy if Cesc is no longer with the team next year – for a number of reasons.
    The first reason is just my eyeball test – when I saw my first and only game at Camp Nou this past summer, it was really clear that Busquets almost never made a bad pass, and Fabregas often did. By the end of the game I was groaning every time Cesc got the ball, since I was pretty sure he would try some showboating thing and lose it. I know this is COMPLETELY subjective and was in the preseason as well (the Gamper Cup game) but still Cesc seemed more a liability than an asset that game (and I give my subjective view some credibility because it was also so obvious how important Busquets was to the team! :-)) That experience does make me wonder what a more complete view of Cesc’s stats would look like if in addition to his goals and assists we looked at how many times he lost the ball off dribble or by a bad pass, and how many times players that were his defensive assignment started or finished counter-attacks? Ten or more assists in a game of basketball is usually a sign of a very good player, but if it comes from someone who doesn’t play good team defense, and who also has 10 turnovers, that is a player you don’t want on your team.
    It seems significant to me that in Cesc’s first year here, and Guardiola’s last, by the end of the season it seemed Pep had given up on trying on trying to find Cesc a contributing role in the rotation. (Earlier this past season, when everyone was praising how great Cesc was doing, didn’t he say how it was so much better playing under Tata who let him be “creative” (does that mean do what he wants?), compared to playing under Pep who was alway insisting that Cesc play as part of a structured organized attack/defense. (Of course even when he did play positionally the way Guardiola wanted him to, Cesc was something of a defensive liability because of his relative lack of pace.) I was glad Zlatan was gone when he said that he thought Pep should have adapted a team style of play that suited his talents – “you don’t buy a ferrari so you can drive it like a VW,” or something like that; and I don’t like hearing the same attitude from Cesc.
    In the past three years of watching Cesc it seems more and more obvious that the way Cesc likes to play, (and the way that gives him the best “stats”) does not fit the way the team played during it’s glory years under Guardiola. (Compared for example with Thiago’s style of play which did fit!)

  28. Archie says:

    Value Equation: Rakitic = Song < Fabregas an alternative scenario to the one being posited by Kxevin is that Rakitic replaces Xavi as a starting Center Mid, and Song gets sold for equal money. Fabregas has more future value to sporting project than song and hasn't played successfully as Xavi replacement. Rakitic is T. Alcantara replacement. And, why would Mourinho sell Mata and buy Cesc? Mourinho craves size and lots of quick twitch muscle. I would expect an offer for Pogba before Fabregas.

  29. KEVINO17 says:

    If Pedro goes, maybe the club can persuade Alexis to stay. I doubt it, because he was treated like s… last year. But what an insane front-line (Neymar – Messi – Alexis) if Messi can be persuaded to be more of an ensemble player.

    • 86ed says:

      Oh yes blame Messi, who scored more than both the other two combined.

      Neymar-Sanchez-Messi trio isn’t insane. Think about it. How many times did they play together? Hmm? How many times, when they did play together, did all three of them score a point (goal + assist)? The Neymar-Messi duo, who played together more often–how many times did they both score in the same match?

      So upon what do you base your statement?

      • Kxevin says:

        I don’t think it’s a question of blaming Messi as much as acknowledging the Messi-centric nature of the team’s attack, and trying to find a way to unshackle, so to speak, the full talents of Sanchez (if he stays) and Neymar.

        When you look at the way Neymar plays for Brazil, Sanchez plays for Chile and Messi for Argentina, the three of them together should be dynamite. But it hasn’t worked out that way, even as we can have the hope that it can.

        • ciaran says:

          I look at that trio and I think that Messi should be playing behind the others in a two with tactical freedom not being asked to stay out wide.
          Alexis got 5 assists in two games from the inside right channel instead of outside right. Neymar for Brazil, Santos and us has been best when he is played closer to goal than hugging the touchline.
          Messi is obviously best when playing centrally but always looks his most dangerous when he has more passing angles and strikers to play off.

          4-3-1-2 looks obvious to me as the next evolution seeing as we have attacking fullbacks, great midfielders and forwards best suited to playing centrally.
          If Cuadrado becomes the new Alves then you give him freedom of the right wing, Alba the left and the midfielders, strikers and Messi can roam out wide to overload a wing when necessary.
          The midfield trio would have less ground to cover seeing as Messi drops deeper so defensively we should stay relatively strong provided that we have better defenders and a front 6 who work hard and chase possession

  30. TITO says:

    So:

    Ter Stegen, Claudio Bravo

    Montoya, Pique, Marquinhos, Bartra, Adriano, Alba

    Masch, Busi, Xavi, Iniesta, Rakitic, Rafinha, Sergio Roberto

    Alexis, Messi, Neymar, Pedro, Delofeu

    Out: Cesc, Tello, Cuenca, Song, Alves, Valdes, Pinto, Puyol, Dos Santos

    That’s a squad of 20 players. We are still short of some names. We need another fullback, one midfielder and a forward will do no harm.

    • Peter says:

      As of this moment the hopeful and complete roster looks like that:

      Ter Stegen, Claudio Bravo, Masip

      Montoya, Pique, Bartra, Marquinhos, Adriano, Alba and hopefully Mathieu

      Mascherano, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Rakitic, Rafa Alcantara, Sergi Roberto, Song

      Alexis, Messi, Neymar, Pedro, Deulofeu

      23 players means two places for guys like Adama Traore, Dongou, Denis Suarez, but still, I expect that one more player will be signed. Barcelona certainly would have the money for him, but even so we shouldn’t forget that Barcelona’s squad is quite multi-purpose and versatile.

      I haven’t ruled out Song, because there are absolutely no rumours about him going back to England, and because since Mascherano and Song aren’t Busquets, there may be a need to play with two pivotes, or at least one pivote and one box-to-box midfielder, with another midfielder-turned-winger out on the left(think Iniesta and Rafa Alcantara) if more creativeness and control are needed.

  31. Kxevin, I wanted to reply to you comment on supply and demand. Unfortunately, I am some 20 comments behind.

    While the market always functions under the principles of supply and demand, what a luxury market addresses is the nature of the demand rather than the more essential economic principles of capitalism/post-capitalism. There is a big difference between the market for essential goods and for non-essential goods, specifically that trends are hard to predict and value can be ambiguous. I am of course, only giving more firepower to your initial post, but I do think that there is a lot of huffing and puffing about prices and costs for players at the moment and it is worth noting that the entire market is based on a game, which, while it makes some few people a lot of money and employes thousands, provides no essential service.

    Also, to respond to Inamess: I do not think that the club’s business as been stellar, specifically it’s refusal last season to address issues with the squad. However, it ain’t that bad either. Consider how much RM has spent over the past five years to get that trophy, which needed a 92 minute header to win. I’d say overall we’ve done some decent business, at least good enough for government work.

    Moreover, I think the club is back in the game AND that a low 30′s sell for Cesc isn’t actually that bad. He’s not in vogue anymore, no matter how good he is, and he isn’t in vogue because he didn’t shine at Barça.

    • Inamess says:

      I tried to address my theory of transfers below. There I wanted to keep the issue of do we do well in the transfer market separate from did we buy the right players.

      Also, did you get a chance to look at the trailer for “Up for Grabs” that I posted above. A 1 million plus sports memorabilia item goes for about $200,000 because of horrible publicity, marketing, and vendettas. It shows the fickleness of luxury markets in that some things have no inherent value except the the cache that comes with owning a rare luxury item.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NP8j_X88bSI

      • Inamess says:

        Also, and I know I am going to be killed for this, but I think that Xavi and Villa at this point are really just luxury items. Both are cpast their prime but have a lot of worth to teams that need the publicity and cache that comes with owning a legend.

  32. ciaran says:

    The fee for Fabregas suggests that there is a clause for selling above €36m as reported. 33 million isn’t good business but if Lucho doesn’t want him then it’s better that he sells him. I don’t agree with it and I firmly believe that his replacement, whoever it is will have a very hard time to outperform him. The nature of transfers is that they invariably don’t work out, if a club buys 5 players they will be very lucky to have 3 successful transfers and that’s why they happen so often.
    I’m a huge fan of Rakitic, I believe he is a great purchase but you still don’t know how it is going to go. He has some positive things going for him though – he plays in the same league and is only a central midfielder so won’t get dragged into playing different positions.

    I am slightly concerned about the possibility that Xavi won’t continue. They spoke about the plan to have a meeting with him to discuss both his and the clubs plans which suggests to me that one or both of them see the possibility of him not continuing. I look at Puyol’s case and think that he should have probably retired or left two seasons ago even though he was in contract. Xavi’s case may be similar and the potential for a transfer ban next summer makes me wonder why we are selling Cesc in this case.
    Relying on Sergi Roberto or Rafinha to take on the role is nice in theory but I wouldn’t bet on them just yet. Potential is one thing and a world class midfielder is another.

    The midfield will only take shape after the world cup in my opinion. Once Lucho has a conversation with Xavi and Cesc it will become obvious where the dealings will go. Rakitic is a good signing either way and Masch as backup to Busquets isn’t bad business either especially if we sign two centrebacks

    • Inamess says:

      My sense is that Xavi will stay at Barca next year because with Cesc gone we can’t lose another midfielder, unless Lucho believes that a combination of Rafinha and Roberto can make up for Xavi’s absence next year.

      Fans are already a bit disappointed that Cesc is leaving and almost none want Xavi to go too. There will too much transition and change in our squad to a point in which our former Immortal team almost won’t be recognizable anymore.

      The club promised changes but may not want too much change so quickly. Do you think fans would be willing to watch a team that is suddenly without Puyol, Xavi, Alves and Valdes now under a new coach? The club promised changes but may not want too much change so quickly.

      Also, I don’t think that Xavi wants to leave and go to Qatar next year.

  33. Kxevin says:

    Hee, hee! Latest rumor is that we had a deal with La Real for Bravo for 10m+Dos Santos, but then JDS decided that he didn’t want to go to La Real.

    I guess that in many ways I feel for him. Barça is all that he’s ever known, and dreams die hard. Training with superstars, traveling to Champions League matches, celebrations, I get all that. But he still hasn’t really begun his career as a player, and won’t if he persists with the illusion that he has a chance in hell at Barça.

    On the value side, he would be excellent value for most teams in La Liga, particularly at the “Please come get him” price that we must be asking, given that it’s his last contract year. He has gobs of talent, just not enough for our level.

  34. Kxevin says:

    blitzen notes on Twitter that Fabregas’ girlfriend is Tweeting messages of support for him on his return to London. So that looks done and dusted, via a couple of rather unlikely confirmation sources.

    • Jim says:

      Hmm, I wonder why the rush to get rid of Cesc before we know of Xavi’s decision about his future?

      Otherwise, things seem to be going well at this early stage.

  35. Peter says:

    An interesting thing that may have escaped our attention is that for one or other reason, Rakitic defends more and better than anyone of Barcelona’s creative midfielders. His height would also be welcome during set pieces in both boxes and for serving down high balls from the back. Rafinha’s return would also make it easier to implement more pressing and running. Their eagerness to help with defending would be more than welcome.

    http://www.squawka.com/comparison-matrix#la_liga/2013/2014/ivan_rakitic/69/69/12/0/p|la_liga/2013/2014/francesc_f%C3%A1bregas/69/69/306/0/p|la_liga/2013/2014/andr%C3%A9s_iniesta/69/69/307/0/p|la_liga/2013/2014/xavi/69/69/300/0/p|la_liga/2013/2014/rafinha/69/69/3950/0/p#tackles_won/tackles_lost/aerial_duels_won/aerial_duels_won_%/interceptions/blocks/clearances#90

    Another thing to consider is the overall increase in height of the team. True, it won’t be noticeable at first, but Rakitic is 10 cm taller than Fabregas, Rafinha is about 5 cm taller than Dos Santos, Deulofeu is a tad taller than Tello, ter Stegen is 6cm taller than Valdes and if they’re signed Mathieu will be about 11 cm taller than Puyol, and Marquinhos would be 9cm taller than Mascherano.

    • Inamess says:

      Still don’t understand what Masch will do next year. I get that he is a good player, but in what way will he be used other than a sub for Busquets?

      Some have suggested that Busi would move to a more advanced position on the pitch, but do you see Masch and Busi on the pitch a lot at the same time given that Masch will no longer be used at CB?

      • Peter says:

        Mundo Deportivo is reporting that Mascherano is going to renew till 2018.

        According to the article, Mascherano wasn’t sure about continuing not because of the financial aspects of his contract, but because he considered he may not be equal to the requirements of the team. If that’s not Captain material, I don’t know what is.

        As for Masche’s role on the pitch, it depends a lot on Luis Enrique’s vision for the team. Rest assured that there will be quite a few games in which a double pivot will be desirable, and there will be games in which physical presence will be needed more than creativity.
        Personally I can see a double pivot with either Mascherano and Busquets, Song and Busquets or even Song and Mascherano, especially if Barcelona start with a “9″ up front. You could have Iniesta/Rafinha/Pedro/Neymar playing on the left wing, Rakitic/Xavi on the right and Messi in the hole behind the striker.

        Another option would be to play three at the back, with a diamond-4 midfield with Busquets at the point of the diamond and Mascherano in the bottom, slotting between the two CBs.

        Or you could go the whole nine yards in games where physical presence is more needed than pure creativity, and start Mascherano/Song in Iniesta/Rafinha’s spot for added steel in order to muscle the midfield into submission. It has worked on more than one occasion.

        Of course, it would rob Barcelona of its coveted possession, but I believe maintaining possession for possession’s sake was never what Saint Pep envisioned. Rather, the Triplete team was about recovering possession, and this is what has been missing in many games. I’ve said it many times, both here and in other Blaugrana sites, Barcelona already has enough ability to maintain possession. It is what’s expected of Barcelona. Teams would defend deep and rely on counters and set pieces. What Barcelona needs to do is put a stick in the wheels of that plan by the simple expedient of giving them the ball to the opposition – and then rushing them like a Zerg attack to recover the ball. Why? Because football is a game of attacking. Deep down every player, every team would rather attack than defend.

        Back in December Getafe managed to score two in the opening fifteen minutes – and they gained a trust in themselves and went forward for the coup de grace, only to be hit on the counter and face a reverse in the space of eight minutes. However, by that time it was already over – Getafe’s battle plan had unravelled and they went out to force the equalizer, only to be hit two more times.

        In the first Clasico Real subbed Benzema and Illara for Bale and Sergio Ramos, changed into fourth gear, started pushing Barcelona, started seeing and playing with the ball, the defence pushed up following the advancing Real midfield – and then were hit on the counter. That happened right after Alexis went in for Fabregas and Iniesta for Song, with Busquets still in midfield.

  36. Inamess says:

    A New Theory of Football Transfers and Recommendations for FCB

    I looked a little into some of the economic thinking about football transfers and have come up with my own theory which is just as much based on what social scientists call “game theory” as market economics:
    According to my patented theory, transfer price is based on several important factors:

    1) Market timing
    2) Competition among wealthy clubs
    3) Panic
    4) Brinksmanship
    5) Marketing

    Let’s look at a few examples of each:

    1) Fernando Torres goes to Chelsea, Juan Mata goes to United, Bale goes to Real (3,4, & 5)
    In most of these examples a struggling club that is in the midst of or after an underperforming year view a player as a “savior’ and are willing to pay inflated prices to a club that does not need to sell. By getting the new “savior”, the team also believes it will restore fan confidence. The selling club then seeks to extract as much money as possible because it is believed it will keep their player otherwise. (See article in the Economist below)

    2) Ozil goes to Arsenal (1 & 2)
    In this case a team has a commodity that several top teams are in need of so it is a sellers market.

    3) Atletico Madrid sell its strikers Agrero, Falcao and Costa (1 & 2)
    Atletico have a great reputation for acquiring young talent and developing them until they become world class players. They decide when is the best time to sell their rising superstar to a wealthy team.

    4) Luiz goes to PSG (1 & 5)
    Chelsea can demand a high fee for Luiz because a few teams are interested but the player is also worth more in a World Cup year. Also PSG want to win the CL and acquire more fans so they will not be as penalized by FFP rules. They simply must get a bigger fan base to remain a top club and a CL winning team with a popular player that will get even more popular this summer may be just the way to do it.

    5) Ibra goes to Milan (3)
    In this case, a team wants to get rid of a player and because of poor planning and an unwillingness or inability to bluff can not negotiate on price. It is literally begging to give the player away.

    6) Fabregas to Chelsea for 33 MIl (3 & 5)
    The team very quickly comes to the decision to sell Fabregas because the club feels that it must make changes quickly to combat fan dissatisfaction and possible defection. It is unwilling to engage in brinksmanship or wait until after the World Cup because it does not want any further negative publicity and fears that it may be stuck with the player. Also, in this case there is only one real buyer. It knows that it will not beat Mou in a bluffing game and is unwilling to play chicken with a madman since they will only get to keep 1/2 of the transfer fee above 36 mil anyway

    However, Chelsea really do want Fabregas because they believe he will make them better and will restore fan confidence after disapproval for Mou getting rid of Mata and a disappointing CL SF loss and finishing third in the EPL. Now not only will they have made a ton of money for Luiz and Mata but now have a even better player in return.

    7) Sanchez Sold after the World Cup for 32 Mil (1 and 3)
    The team holds a hot commodity who is very desirable in the market. He will likely be worth more after the world cup due to his role in a promising Chilean team. Other clubs know that Barca want to sell him because he doesn’t have a large fan base and probably wants to leave. Barcelona can simply tell Sanchez and other clubs that he won’t sold for under 40 mil but doesn’t have credibility in the market for being a tough negotiator or engaging in brinksmanship.

    6) Barcelona get Neymar: (3 and 5)
    After a 7-0 defeat an a clear example of the problem of Messi dependency after an injury vs PSG the club wanted to accomplish three things. It wanted to get a promising player who can reduce Messi dependency, restore fan optimism after a blow to its pride, and increase the marketing image of the club as young and dynamic rather than old and declining.

    The move is promising in that it can potentially help the club’s future greatly and bring in millions of new fans. However, the move hits a few bad speed bumps in its first year because of two Neymar injuries and what can now be called Neymar-gate. In a way, this is an example of the club trying to be daring and ruthless but just not being that good at it. It is like an honest teller embezzling money for his wife’s operation, but the move backfires because he puts all the loot in his own bank account rather than his granddaughter’s.

    Conclusion:
    Barcelona has had a relatively poor record in getting value for its transfers because it is not a selling club and not a respected opponent in the transfer market. Other teams know that Barca will only sell a player when they need to get rid of him and if our club engages in brinksmanship, it knows it will lose because all parties will know it is bluffing and we will not keep the player instead of selling him.

    Recommendations:
    In the future Barcelona should hire someone from another club who is well versed in the transfer game who should put some of our players on the market just to test what value we can get for our players.

    This would also make Barcelona look more likely to be a selling club and make even well regarded players more motivated to play well or risk being transferred out. It would also make us a more credible opponent in that we would seem more likely to engage in brinksmanship in that he won’t always blink first. It also sets a precedent in that the club, its fan,s and players know that Barcelona is willing to sell even their legends as well as any other players who are underperforming

    In essence Barcelona have to be less “More than a Club” and more “A Club”. We have our own rich traditons and style of play but must now adapt to the realities of modern football. In a sense, some of what we must do goes back to the pragmatism of the political philosopher Machiavelli, who believed that it is better to be feared than loved.

    All teams are by definition loved by their fans when they do well, but F.C. Barcelona and its fans want other teams and their fans to love and respect them too, which is ridiculous. Can you see a Real fan caring about the approval and respect of Barcelona after they won their Decima on what was basically a lucky header? They had their parades and the fact that we beat them twice in this years Classicos matter nothing to them and now that much to us. Rather, our goal should be for other teams to fear us. Gentleman and nice guys don’t win in the transfer game. We don’t want a George Clooney type to negotiate for us. So now I have my own proposal:

    Recommended Executive in Charge of Football Transfers for F.C. Barcelona: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSenHoqRvVg

  37. barca96 says:

    I would like a player such as Modric to take over from Xavi but that seems impossible now. Is Rakitic in any way similar to Modric? Can someone who has watched Seville play >5 times shed some light into Rakitic?

    • ciaran says:

      Rakitic plays a very different role to Modric. Modric’s role is ball circulation similar to Xavi’s. Rakitic’s role is to drive the team as an attacking force; creating chances, scoring goals and getting around the pitch. That’s why they are compatible in Croatia’s midfield.
      That’s not to say that Rakitic isn’t as good at passing as Modric it’s just that his natural inclinations are more attacking and more direct than Xavi’s. Sound like I’m talking about someone else…? Yeah well he is a lot more similar to our no.4 than our no.6.

      The fact that he is more physical is going to be a help. I see a lot of people talk about a double pivot of Busi & Masch but the defensive attributes of Rakitic outweigh the attacking attributes of Masch/Busi so if we were to play 2 with Iniesta then it should be Rakitic.
      He will help out in the box defensively with his height but he isn’t really an aerial threat. He delivers a better deadball than any of Xavi or Messi too so should really be taking corners etc next season.

  38. barca96 says:

    I don’t know what’s up with all these injuries. Reus was one of the players I wanted to keep an eye on and he will miss the World Cup. Ribery is also another high profile casualty. I can’t remember a World Cup with so many stars dropping out due to injuries.

  39. Jafri says:

    When you hear stuff like Di Maria is being priced at 50m with Arsenal and Man U interested it does rankle a bit. You can talk about don’t need/ don’t want/ market value etc but Di Maria isn’t 17m better than Cesc and it would be quite bloody annoying if he does get sold at that price.

    • Inamess says:

      I tried to explain my theory in my post above. Barcelona do not do well in the transfer game because they can not engage in brinksmanship. Everyone and their mother knows that Barca want Cesc gone and need the money to such a point that he is 1/7 to go to Chelsea on betting sites. It you bet 70 euro on Cesc to Chelsea, you would only get a 10 euro return at this point.

      Real Madrid on the other hand do not need to get rid of Di Maria. They don’t need the money and its fans don’t want him gone. If Real don’t get the price they want, they can threaten to keep him, which is credible whether in reality they want to keep Di Maria or not.

      Anyway that is the way I look at it.

    • SteveHK says:

      I’d give Cesc and 17m for Di Maria anyday!

    • ciaran says:

      Di Maria had a sensational season and was Madrid’s best player in a number of high profile matches this season.
      You can say that if Cesc is worth €33m then Di Maria is worth X and equally if Bale is worth €100m then Di Maria is worth Y.
      There’s no point comparing.

      • Inamess says:

        That may be true, but my argument has to do with whether getting 33 mil for Cesc is a good piece of business. I would say no because if Cesc was on Real Madrid and had the same performance for that team instead of Barcelona, then Chelsea would probably have to pay 45 mil for him because Real have a much stronger position in the transfer market and are better at the transfer game.

        To say that players have certain innate values which the market reflects is a position that some may hold but I don’t know of any credible economist who would take that position. Look for example at the article I sited above in the Economist.

        http://www.economist.com/blogs/gametheory/2013/02/football%E2%80%99s-transfer-window

  40. PrinceYuvi says:

    Cesc is leaving apparently, he’s not our problem anymore.
    Lets move on.

    • Inamess says:

      I agree we have to move on. But suggesting that Cesc was the worst transfer in our history and that the club did a good piece of business in getting rid of him for 33 mil is just wrong.

      We are just going to have to go through this again when Sanchez leaves and there will be those who will think we did a good job in selling him to Juve for 30 mil as well.

      • PrinceYuvi says:

        I agree our club isn’t the very best at selling players at inflated prices.

        That’s least of my worries.

        Once our mismatched squad gets sorted, I’ll breathe easy.

        I’m more worried about technically lesser teams out-running and out-muscling us.

        Besides we’re not yet Ned stark.
        Being nicest club around increases our Brand value, fattens our 500 M revenue.

        Unicef deal was much profitable than Qatar deal I’d say.

  41. ibbe says:

    Barca babies finished 3rd and E.E castilla got their asses deported to third division. Today was a good day.

  42. Archie says:

    So, Rakitich is a faster stronger Cesc, but not CM or Xavi replacement. Does Busquets move forward, Song start, or FCB makes very big bid for Modrich? What is Modrich worth on the Economist authorized transfer market?

    • Kxevin says:

      As I see it, Iniesta becomes Xavi, Rakitic/Rafinha do the Iniesta job, Busquets moves forward and Mascherano becomes a defensive hammer in midfield. I would clap my hands like a giddy schoolchild at that setup.

    • Inamess says:

      If you want to know a player’s inherent value then you can look at transfermarket.com. But if you believe that real transfer fees reflect those inherent values then that is patently ridiculous.

      Is Andy Carrol worth 35 mil?
      Is Ibra worth 24 mil?
      Is Rakitich worth 15 mil?
      Is Messi worth 250 mil?

      If you want to argue that a good deal on Rakitich compensates for a bad deal on Cesc who you probably don’t value that is fine.
      But I am sure that Chelsea would have paid more if we were better at transfers and wanted a drawn out saga over the summer.

      Some don’t want that and I respect that if that is your position.
      Have a lokk at the Economist article if you want a better idea of where I am coming from.

      • Peter says:

        Chelsea would’ve paid better if Cesc weren’t getting whistled in Camp Nou, if Catalan sport press weren’t headlining Cesc to every club in the EPL ever since April and if Twitter, FB and the Internet in general weren´t filled with angry culers telling everybody who’d listen to them just how useless Fabregas is.

        How much would you pay for a car whose owner says it burns too much fuel, smells like cow flatulation and would manage to pass 100 kmh only going down a mile-long cliff?

        • Inamess says:

          Exactly Barcelona should have gotten more for Cesc and we didn’t because we have an institutional problem with not getting proper value for our transfers.

          • Kxevin says:

            Crosses arms, hangs on to narrative like a limpet …

          • Peter says:

            Not true. Theoretically Barcelona could’ve gotten more, not shouldn’t. I wouldn’t call it an institutional problem, unless you consider the press and the spoiled fans an institution.

            But only theoretically. Reality rears up its ugly head and then theory gets bitch-slapped by things like lack of market, artificial decrease of value due to external influences, price decrease due to lack of competition, price decrease due to lack of consumer trust, decrease by perception etc.

            More than one successful company has been shattered by just one mad hour on the stock exchange. In September 2001 the prices of precious metals fell through the floor and needed something like 6 months in order to get to pre-WTC levels.

          • Inamess says:

            Peter to say that 33 mil is the price that Fabregas gets in the market assumes that markets are rational and can not be manipulated or intelligently played. Like the stock market the transfer market is not rational. Maybe the soybean market is.

            Barcelona is at a disadvantage in the market because of many institutional reasons. For example, we are not a selling club, seem to devalue our transfers over our home grown products and don’t have a lot of money so clubs know we will take less rather than taking a chance that a deal will not go through.

            It’s kind of like John Steinbeck’s The Pearl. We have good things to sell but often don’t get what they are worth.

        • Inamess says:

          Don’t know if I have been called a limpet before. Is that good?

  43. Kxevin says:

    Club just announced that Mascherano renewed until 2018, buy-out clause now 100m. Great news.

    – Also, RAC1, CatRadio both saying Fabregas to Chelsea for 33m+variables. Nice business.

  44. PrinceYuvi says:

    Masche renewed. 100M buyout clause.

  45. Kxevin says:

    People can say what they like about our technical staff, but they haven’t put a foot wrong this year:

    Ter Stegen
    Halilovic
    Rakitic
    Renewals of key players
    Nice business on Fabregas
    Marquinhos almost done

    Now that the coach is running the team, things are moving, and in the right direction. Bartomeu seems to have a Laporta vibe of trusting the football people.

    • Peter says:

      While at the same time looking like he’s trying to stay financially sane. Best of both worlds as far as I am concerned.

      However, let’s not tempt fate with R. F. and especially M. :)

    • ciaran says:

      I’d like a renewal of Alexis too, same contract end date as Masch had and is more important to our first team than he is.
      But hey, what do I know, I still think Cesc should be renewed too.

      Marquinhos for Alves and some cash is good business too but I am unsure if he is the right man for the job. He couldn’t displace Alex in the PSG line up but now is supposed to be replacing both Puyol and Masch

    • morph73 says:

      With Alex going to AC Milan is there a chance that this deal will happen??

      • Peter says:

        With David Luiz and Thiago Silva in center and potentially Dani Alves on the right PSG will be getting 3/4 of Brazil’s defence.
        For the Champions League PSG can only sign 21 players, so something’s got to give, especially since Marquinhos would be getting them about 25m Euro which PSG need in order to balance their chequebooks and follow the FFP rules. Alex can’t give them that money.

        • ciaran says:

          They also need 3 centrebacks. Do they sell a young player with potential that they spent big money on last summer only to have to sign someone to replace him?

          In regards to the FFP, they said as much as that they disagree with the decisions and will proceed as normal… Spending €50m on Luiz would suggest that they don’t care about the FFP at all

          • Peter says:

            Actually according to the UEFA ruling, PSG are allowed to sign one player, spending up to 60m Euro on him. In order to sign more they need to make cash first to balance the expenses.

            Besides, PSG already have Digne, and if they get 25m + Dani Alves they could spend 20m in getting a veteran CB if they feel the need. Hell, they could sell Jallet or van der Wiel in order to accommodate Dani Alves, or just use one of them as a CB in a pinch.

          • ciaran says:

            Actually, City’s spending has been restricted to €60m but PSG’s hasn’t been. They merely have to reduce their losses.

    • Inamess says:

      Our moves this summer in the end may be good ones, but I just don’t know why the club is to be congratulated for:

      1)Buying Cesc for 40 mil and then selling him for 33 mil
      2)Buying Song only to sell him in 2 years.
      3)Buying Masch only to then play him out of position.
      4)Buying Villa for 40 mil and selling him for 2 mil.
      5)Selling Ibra for 24 mil
      6)Soiling our club’s image with Neymar-gate

      Will we say the same if we sell Sanchez for 30 mil after buying him for much more?

      We are not a rich club and we are losing a lot of money and respect because of our transfers decisions.

      • ciaran says:

        You seem to be very certain that Alexis will be sold but we denied it and his value is going to go crazy. No one in Italy could afford him and his unhappiness is speculated.

        • Inamess says:

          I would hate to lose Alexis but I do think he will be sold if another club is willing to pay around 32 for him. If he has a great World Cup then we could get more.

          Do you put any trust in the transfer betting markets? He is 4/7 to go to Juve. If Alexis wants leave and go to Juve then our only options would be to get as much as we can or try to convince him to stay maybe with a new contract.

          • ciaran says:

            But we have no reason to sell him. I understand the viewpoint that he didn’t enjoy the end of the season under Tata but Tata is gone.
            Lucho loves hard working players and there’s no one like Alexis in that regard. I see him continuing, signing a new deal and flourishing even further under Lucho

          • Inamess says:

            Of course we don’t know what exactly Sanchez thinks, but the rumors are that he has already signed a contract with Juve. I would hope that this is a ploy to get more recognition with Barca and Lucho can convince him to stay.

            I just look at things from Alexis’ postion and ask if I was him would I rather be “the man” at Juve or play third fiddle with Barcelona.

          • ciaran says:

            He couldn’t have signed anything. He may have agreed something but nothing happens without our say so. I reckon he’ll stay but we won’t know for definite until September

  46. PrinceYuvi says:

    For once, exciting stuff is happening.

    The only downer is there are no rumours about
    barça trying to sign a Tower of a Center Forward
    from any of the reliable sources.

    Half the world spent half a decade to figure out how to neutralise a false 9/ false false 9.

    It’s time to bamboozle them once again.
    Get a Dzekoish player, Lucho.
    Europeans champions need their manita. It’s been long.

  47. Jafri says:

    What a time for Cesc to miss a penalty.

  48. Kxevin says:

    Rumor is that the PSG president is going to veto the Marquinhos sale.

    • ciaran says:

      If that means a second run at Benatia or Garay I would be happy. PSG are still likely to want Dani so his sale added to the fee we were to spend on Marquinhos should be enough to sign Benatia or at least within a couple of million.
      Garay should cost significantly less

      • Inamess says:

        I fear that if we want Benatia then we are going to have to wait until the very end of the summer transfer window. It could be a risky move.

        • ciaran says:

          The player has made it clear that he is unhappy with Roma in regards to his contract situation and as I’ve said before, Roma are a selling club.
          They signed him for €13m last summer and would make a quick €20m on the transaction. If we are interested then we would be very capable of making it happen

        • Inamess says:

          Man City is also interested in Benatia and are 1/2 to get him vs. 3/2 for us. With City’s problems with their 2nd CB in the CL in the last few years, they might be more desperate to sign him.

          So I don’t know if the Benatia move will come quickly or if we will get him for a reasonable amount. I just hope that FFP rules will deter City from an ugly bidding war.

          • Kxevin says:

            More squabbling over cloud formations. Recall that people had Mascherano good and gone to Napoli. Renewed, with a 100m buyout. Betting parlors are being cited now as a source of potential transfer moves?

            Man, it really IS time to unplug until real, actual stuff starts to happen. Silly Season is that rumors culers don’t want to happen are BS. Rumors they do want to happen are as good as done.

            Rumors are precisely that, until they become actual reality. Treat every one of them as such. The nonsense potential is as probable as the veracity factor.

            If a rumor cropped up that we were selling Messi to PSG for 200m, people would scoff and giggle. Yet a rumor from a single source that Sanchez has a personal agreement with Juve are “We are selling Sanchez.”

            We have had personal agreements with Thiago Silva, Reua and Aguero. None of them will be wearing blaugrana next season.

          • Inamess says:

            Betting sites are markets and reflect what those who are risking a lot of money think will happen including those with some inside information. Why would you trust the wisdom of the transfer markets in valuing players but not betting markets in predicting transfer moves?

            An Arsenal coach who knew his team was going to acquire Ozil last year made a lot of money by playing the betting market: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2522174/No-mercy-Arsenal-coach-Mark-Arber-Mesut-Ozil-betting-scandal–Charles-Sale.html

            What makes betting on transfers profitable for the bookies is that they cancon folks into assuming that the player will make a transfer and thus can collect a lot of money from people who don’t know what they are doing. So basically the people who don’t know what’s happening are given those who do their hard earned money. The betting site just gets a piece of the action.

          • Kxevin says:

            And your last paragraph makes it abundantly clear that the betting on transfers has about as much veracity as the way a hen’s egg lands in the hay being a predictor of the World Cup.

            “They can con folks into assuming the player will make a transfer.”

            You trust the transfer market to establish value because that is the actual transaction. If a player goes for 20m, that is what the market, at that moment, said he was worth.

            Some guy trying to get money from the public by laying odds on a rumor coming to pass, club insiders with real information who capitalize on such things notwithstanding, is NOT a reliable predictor of future transfer activity any more than Sport or MD is.

          • Inamess says:

            I agree with a lot of your points but two things:

            1) Do you think Barca or Man City is more likely to get Benatia? I have not looked at any transfer stories but I would take Man City for now because of the info from the betting sites.

            2) If it is the last day of the transfer window and Roma want 50 mil for Benatia and Barca have not yet signed a CB, would you do it? If you do, then his value is 50 mil and if not then his transfer value is what Roma paid, 14 mil.

            Same with Fab. I personally think that Chelsea really want him more than they are letting on despite planted press reports that Mou is only luke warm about him. I think he could make their team much better.

            Strategy 1 is we take the 33 mil and move on.

            Strategy 2 is we say 40 mil or no sale. Mou knows we are bluffing so he knows we will cave. But what if it were Alexis who we might really want to keep? Then our move has more credibility and if Mou wants him he will probably pay 40 mil.

            So my point is that it is just as much about game theory as market economics. But obviously it is both :-)

  49. Inamess says:

    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.

  50. Peter says:

    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 says:

      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?

  51. Inamess says:

    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 says:

      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.

  52. barca96 says:

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

  53. abuiyad says:

    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.”

  54. Inamess says:

    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

    • Inamess says:

      The game that Cesc and Sanchez “lost” for us. Will they ever be forgiven? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLJBNyfpF9E

      • 86ed says:

        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 says:

          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 says:

      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 says:

      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 says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

        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.

  55. PrinceYuvi says:

    round thoughts » Injured, Stressed, Depressed and Broke http://www.soccerissue.com/2014/04/14/injured-stressed-depressed-and-broke/

    • Inamess says:

      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!

  56. Peter says:

    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.

  57. Kxevin says:

    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 says:

      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.

  58. Peter says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

      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 says:

        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? :D

  59. ciaran says:

    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.

    • Ultraculé says:

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

    • Peter says:

      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 :D You could have Pique, Rakitic and Bartra hounding the box while crosses rain from left and right.

      • Peter says:

        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. :)

  60. Kxevin says:

    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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