Summer madness in mid-winter, a.k.a. “Already? Really?”

Hmmm .... we must improve, but how?

Is it already that time of the season?

EMD is saying that Guardiola has been asked to choose between Ribery and Silva for our soon-to-be-vacant left wing. Apparently he likes both, but Silva fits the Barca profile better in terms of ball and player movement on the pitch, and being Spanish. Stay tuned for lots more in that shell game. Personally, I’m not sure that my preference sits with either. What say ye?

–Is Keirrison on the move again? The January transfer window is dwindling, and Benfica have made it clear to our recent acquisition that he isn’t in their plans for the coming second half of the season. This means that he can either stay and fight for a place, a losing battle that will undoubtedly end in him having a prime seat to watch Benfica matches, or accept reality and do something else. But he isn’t in our plans, either, making him something of a Flying Brazilian, doomed to roam the earth in search of a nonexistent home. If we still had some Copa matches to play (sighhhh), I’d say bring him home and let’s see what he can do. But the odds of him getting any time with us in our current state, means that even no potential time at Benfica gives him a better shot at pitch time.

–Henry says “Hang on now, the old man ain’t done yet.” The long-standing buzz has been that our Frenchman will flit off to the New York Red Bulls of the MLS at the end of this season. But Henry says “There is nothing concrete being discussed,” and that all he is thinking about is being with us until June, 2011, a reality that is about as likely as me sprouting wings and flying to Barcelona for our next match. He’s gone this summer, the only question is to where?

–This is one of my favorite stories of the day, because it’s just so comprehensively unprovable that it boggles the mind. We have the money to sign Fabregas, and a deal has been reached with the player and the club, even down to when it’s going to happen, the timing, etc. All that remains is to convince Arsenal, and we’re going to throw the bank at them to make that happen. But part of the agreement between Fabregas and us is that everything must be denied, until it is time.

In other words, if he doesn’t come, it’s “Well, he said he wasn’t coming,” but just in case, there’s this pre-existing voodoo agreement in place. Or not. All I know is 50m for a guy who ain’t gonna start for us is festering bullshit. He’s talented, and young, and all that jazz, but 50m? I haven’t seen enough, even in this inflated transfer market, to make him worth my 50m. 30m or so would be a no-brainer.

Stay tuned for the howls from Wenger ….

–Some Barca on Mondays? The LFP have signed off on matches being played on Mondays and Fridays, beginning in February. This doesn’t affect the big four, who have Champions League duty, because a Monday match then a Wednesday CL match would just be absurd.

–Finally, because of the suspension of Keita and the just-coming-backness of Busquets, The Yaya might be named to the squad that will face Gijon this weekend. This is about all from the injury report, except for the strained calf of Dani Alves. Keita, suspended for an accumulation of yellow cards, will not be in the side. But we are getting healthy, with everyone fit, present and accounted for, ready to take on the second half of the season.

Which brings me to luck, and a word about player management. For the second season in a row, we’ve been “lucky” in our injuries, or relative lack thereof compared to other clubs. Look at EE, for example, who have a fairly lengthy list of players who are either knocked, or just coming back from being knocked. Injuries at crucial times can derail a championship hunt, sure as anything. And what I have to wonder, in this second season of “luck,” is are the Fates smiling on us, or is it time to start crediting the training and player treatment structure that has been instituted by Guardiola?

As we all know, he has certain players on special diets, and the club pays special attention to rest, recovery and pre-emptive exercises, all aimed at reducing injuries or the potential for injuries. Usually, when we do have someone injured, they return ahead of schedule. But usually it’s “He’s hurt. No, wait. He’s in the side for the weekend.” 😀 It’s a trend that I like very much, and have to give some credit to our Coach for.

Yes, the Gijon preview is coming, if Isaiah can stop shoving beers down his probably tanned, sun-warmed gullet so that he can write it.


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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. Eklavya
    January 29, 2010

    “Summer madness in mid-winter”

    Are you talking about transfers or your posting frenzy?

  2. Boat Forever
    January 29, 2010

    Keirrison had may be better off coming to us than staying at Benfica!! I mean he’s not gonna get any playing time even if he stayed there… at least here he’d have the best mentors in Henry & Ibra. Need not even mention he’d get accustomed to the system, the language… Not like Chygrynskiy, a 25million signing is getting much of the playing time anyway, so why not risk that with a 15million one!? Moreover he’s a striker, his mistakes won’t be as costly as those of Dima!!

  3. January 29, 2010

    – Silva is a better option than Ribery.
    – I read somewhere that Yaya might not be available for this week.
    – If we signed Silva then 30 M is too much to pay for Arsenal.
    – If we signed Silva, Henry will/must stay. At least there is a higher possibility to keep Henry that signing Villa. Again, if we picked Silva over Villa. Hint: Next season, Imagine Ibra being sidelined for…hm…two months? Silva and Fabregas will not save us.
    – I said it before and I say it now, Regarding injuries, you create your own luck. Or at least you invite it, tempt it, and seduce it. Training, Nutrition, Rehabilitation, Discipline, and Selective rotation are the magical spells.

    – Keirrison is the victim of Pep stubbornness.

    • Kxevin
      January 29, 2010

      Agreed on the Keirrison bit. I can’t for the life of me understand why Guardiola won’t at least look at the kid. From what I’ve seen, and I freely admit that YouTube highlight reels can make any player seem a superstar, he looks the business. First touch, sure shot, great movement. I still don’t get why we signed him if Guardiola didn’t want him.

  4. January 29, 2010

    – Silva over Ribery any day of the week!
    – Kxevin, do you think 30M is good number to pick up Cesc? Would 20M + Bojan be a good deal?
    -Kerrison was a Txiki decision IMO. Doesn’t seem like Pep thinks much of him. Laporta doesn’t talk much about him either. Would be helpful to the lad if he comes back for the rest of the season though. I don’t understand why we send our players to teams like benfica, leverkusen etc when learning the Barca way would be a better way. Sure, there’s the experience gaining part to that story but wouldn’t we prefer if we sent them out to an Arsenal or a Lyon who play our kind of football?

    Silva, Luis Felipe, Cesc and Asenjo for me. Easier said than done though 🙂

    • Kxevin
      January 29, 2010

      Krkic+20m would rock. But it will never happen.

      • Kxevin
        January 29, 2010

        I wouldn’t do Krkic+30, because I think CT has talent. We/he just have to properly harness it. Right now, we aren’t.

    • Eklavya
      January 29, 2010

      Er – who’s that guy next to Pinto again?

      • January 29, 2010

        You know, maybe every team has moments such as the one pictured, but I find it so delightful that the best club in the world, and one under immense pressure, always has moments like that, seemingly in every practice and gathering. I think that it speaks volumes about the atmosphere, togetherness and atmosphere that Guardiola has instilled.

        I like it.

  5. vogy
    January 29, 2010

    I would like to buy cheap in the summer, just read at that we have a net debt at around 250-260 million euros. I don’t think we can continue using 50+ mill€ every season in transfers it’s about time to get rid of that debt!

    • Hilal
      January 29, 2010

      All big football cubs operate with debt, its the nature of the business. Fact is that financially, Barca, is one of the healthiest clubs in the world. If you look at other large clubs (except for Arsenal, who dont spend big, EVER) their debt is double or even triple ours. Madrid and Man Utd are both close to a billion euros in debt! A club like ours can operate quite healthily with 2-300m of debt.

      I think we will see some big spending this summer, more than last summer. Election years usually lead to big signings and I think this summer we are going to see at least two big buys. Personally I think we should spend 50m on Villa and then a few other smaller signings. I definitely do not think we need Cesc and spending 40m+ on a player who will not start every game seems wasteful and silly. Villa would be perfect, he is effective on the wing and spectacular in the centre. He provides cover for Ibra and depth to the front line. We dont need wingers, we have so many young wingers waiting to break through. I would much rather give Pedro, Jeffren and Gai more time on the pitch. A front 3 of Villa, Ibra and Messi would be absolutely devastating.

      • January 29, 2010

        50m on Villa??!! No way. I was against it last summer, and will be against it this summer. I wouldn’t go a single Euro higher than 35.

        • Hilal
          January 29, 2010

          Sorry should have been clearer on that point…UP TO 50m. Ideally less, but in this market i could stomach it. I couldnt stomach 50m for Cesc though and those are the numbers being thrown around in the press. If i had to chose to spend 50m on one of them i would pick Villa. That was really my point, not that i would want to spend 50m on Villa.

      • vogy
        January 29, 2010

        I know that every big football club or company for that matter operates with debt, I just think that now is the perfect situation for us to get rid of some of our debt although we are the best and probably biggest football club in the world we don’t have to spend the most every summer.

        For my stand of view the only position in need of improvement is the left wing. A swoop for Angel di Maria is just what we need, that kid is extreme!

    • Reaper -> the artist formerly known as Reagan
      January 29, 2010

      Vogy, the debt you speak of is healthy debt. The banks are probably perfectly fine with an EAI (easy annual installment) towards it. The troublesome debt is one like the EE probably took up earlier this summer to buy players. That’s money the banks want back quicker because EE is backing themselves to make it up in profits over the next few years and they probably will. Man Utd and Liverpool’s story is different because it’s the owner’s debt and the regular club debt which makes it a bigger concern.

      Laporta boasted about the same thing when we picked Ibra up this summer when he said “not a single euro was borrowed” which probably means they had some 60m in the coffers at the time. Would love to know if there’s any more in there.

      40m for villa would be a good deal. Valencia will probably want players in the deal though – Cheap young players who will try and do the job for them – Jeffren and Bojan seem like the only ones that they might be interested in taking into account Valencia’s style of play.

      Silva seems like an odds on favourite on this blog though.. Good to see

  6. Kelvindtp
    January 29, 2010

    Silva is a way to go i tink his made 4 us.BARCA 4 LYf

  7. Kxevin
    January 29, 2010

    Hmmm….just had a thought. What if Krkic is ready to play left wing by next season? Think about it. He has all the skills: sufficient pace, nose for goal, quick first step, good passer, good ball skills. You’d just have to teach him to play defense and track back like a good little winger should.

    I think that the default setting for us tends to be big star, because we think that, in many cases, someone with that proven kind of pedigree is the only possible option. I do it a lot, as well. But when I think of the young talent that we have at our disposal, I wonder if it isn’t worth taking a shot, and maybe not winning everything in sight for a season, to properly nurture some of it.

    • Reaper -> the artist formerly known as Reagan
      January 29, 2010

      I don’t think he has the pace, he’s quick but not quick enough. Pedro and Assulin are much much quicker in comparison. He has a good burst of pace but can he beat defenders with it.. not so sure.

      Defensively, he seemed sound at the beginning of the season before he got injured. I distinctly remember him tracking back ferociously in the 70th minute or so in a game he started.

    • Reaper -> the artist formerly known as Reagan
      January 29, 2010

      Jeffren our lil speed demon too! forgot bout him

  8. Helge
    January 29, 2010

    I don’t want anyone for the left flank because I believe in our own players and canteranos, but if Barca “has” to buy one of them, I’d definitely go for Silva. He’s younger, he’s possibly cheaper and he’s not as self-convinced as Ribery.

    By the way, Maradona guaranteed Messi, Mascherano and Veron(!) a certain place in the WC. Yap, seems he rates Veron above Tevez, Aguero, Milito, Zanetti, Cambiasso, Di Maria etc…

    • Liza
      January 29, 2010

      Aarrgh! How can Maradona still be in charge?? What is it gonna take for him to be fired??

      … in spite of all that, I have my fingers crossed for Argentina in the WC. I’d like to see them do well despite the disastrous qualifying round.

      • BlaugranaDOOM
        January 30, 2010

        Veron is an underrated legend. At Lazio, he was the best player in the world not named Zidane. The premier league wasn’t a good fit for him. In Argentina, he is still a monster and was the man of the match when he played against us (he played better than anyone on Barca that day).

        I would love to see an Argentinian line up like this:

        Zanetti Samuel Dimichelis LB (not Heinze)

        Cambiasso Mascherano

        Messi Higuain Di Maria

        That team will challenge for the world cup. Maradona wouldn’t pick that team, but…shit, I hate him as a coach.

    • Blaugrana561
      January 31, 2010

      i say bring back juan roman riquelme. after firing maradumber of course.

  9. yogi
    January 29, 2010

    id go with villa over silva or ribery. if not villa, then silva would be ok though my preferance would be giving more chances to pedro and bojan rather then buying some one. i like mauro zarate and angel di maria as well. they would be quite good on our left wing. just to add more names, i like higuain as well. he could be a good addition in place of henry.

    • Eduard
      January 29, 2010

      BLASPHEMY!!! @ the Higuain comment

      • Reaper -> the artist formerly known as Reagan
        January 29, 2010

        not necessarily, he’s easily their best player!

        • Kxevin
          January 29, 2010

          Tainted. Every time I watched him, I’d be seeing that @&#@%ing white shirt.

        • Eduard
          January 29, 2010

          Not only that but he said “I hope Barca don’t win the Fifa Club World Cup”. He has joined the dark side and there is no conversion

          • Tyler
            January 29, 2010

            “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will.”

    • BarcaFan(BiH)
      January 29, 2010

      Eden Hazard. We need to get him otherwise Madrid will and then they’ll have two Ronaldos – 1 big ego. He will be bigger and better star than Silva or Ribery, so why not go for him plus he’s much cheaper anyway.

    • SoccerMom
      January 29, 2010

      I like Higuaín too. Can’t help it.

  10. Eduard
    January 29, 2010

    How bout a 50+ Bojan for Silva+Villa…..we have been buying players in two’s lately.

    Also, does someone have the stats of players bought during election years?

    • Kxevin
      January 29, 2010

      As best I can find, just the past two presidents:

      2000-03: Gaspart

      GK: Richard Dutruel: 12 starts, 0 goals conceded
      GK: Jose Manuel Reina: 19 starts, 0 goals conceded
      D: David Bermudo: Didn’t play a match
      F: Marc Overmars: 30 starts, 8 goals
      M: Gerardo: 24 matches, 2 goals
      M: Ivan de la Pena: 9 matches, 2 goals
      M: Emmanuel Petit: 23 matches, 1 goal
      F: Perez Alfonso: 17 matches, 1 goal

      2003-2010: Joan Laporta

      GK: Recber Rustu: 6 matches, 0 goals
      GK: Albert Jorquera: 2 matches, 0 goals
      D: Sergio Rodri: No matches played
      D: Oscar Hernandez: 7 matches played
      M: Gio van Brockhorst: 34 matches, 1 goal
      D: Rafa Marquez: 22 matches, 1 goal
      M: Ramon Ros: 1 match
      M: Alvarez Pedro: 1 match
      M: Ronaldinho: 32 matches, 15 goals
      M: Quaresma: 22 matches, 1 goal
      M: Edgar Davids: 18 matches, 1 goal
      M: Luis Sanz: 25 matches, 4 goals
      F: Oriol Riera: 0 matches
      F: Sergio Santamaria: 4 matches

      Also keep in mind that Laporta promised Beckham, but we got Ronaldinho instead. We got HOSED!!!! 😀

      • Kxevin
        January 29, 2010

        It is further worth noting that while Laporta oversaw a glorious period in the club’s history, that saw it go from bottom of table to the glory years, Josep Nunez 1978-2000) will almost certainly go down in history as the most successful FC Barcelona president ever:

        7 Ligas, 6 Copa del Rey, 2 Copa de la Liga, 5 Spanish SuperCups, 1 Champions League, 4 UEFA Cups, 2 UEFA SuperCups


        • Kari
          January 29, 2010

          Yeah, but it was only in charge for 22 years 😛

        • Eduard
          January 29, 2010

          27 trophies is 22 years is really good. LaPorta has 11 or 12 trophies in 7 years? Laporta is winning them faster but 27 is pretty nuts.

          • Eklavya
            January 29, 2010

            ROLF hahah nice one

  11. Kari
    January 29, 2010

    Once again, I know who I want for left wing 😀

    When’s the game (man, it really DOES feel like forever. We have 4 more weeks of this?!…I guess this is what EE fans felt like before 😀 )?

    In these transfers, why is it always Bojan + $$$ M 🙁 ? I know this all hypothetical and will never happen, but if that is the case, aren’t there other variations? I’m sure Arsenal would really prefer Hleb + Keirrison + $$$ M .

    • BarcaFan(BiH)
      January 29, 2010

      For the wings, we should get Eden Hazard. We need to get him otherwise Madrid will and then they’ll have two Ronaldos – 1 big ego. He will be bigger and better star than Silva or Ribery, so why not go for him plus he’s much cheaper anyway.

  12. Boat Forever
    January 29, 2010

    Had Txiki really been taking any steps further in finding new clubs for the Brazilian loan-outs as reported previously, there would already have been too much noise, no!?

    I don’t think Racing would like to give up on Henrique now that he’s scored 2 goals for them, that too an excellent one just yesterday(:worthy:) And if Henrique needs to be sent to a new club it shouldn’t be a Spanish one right!? Moreover it’s not like he’s not been getting chances either!! So yeah he’d better stay there

    With just 3 days left for the transfer market I’m really worried about K9:sad: He’d most probably not want to go to some other club for the remainder of the season, he’d either want to remain with Benfica or come join us(he’s been to 4 clubs in 2 seasons, right!? That’s what he said is the reason why he doesn’t want to go on loan to some other Spanish club)… Staying with Benfica is definitely useless, so he has got only one option left and that’s to join us. But how would Pep handle that situation!? Some one whom he didn’t want to sign in the first place and is now forced onto him!! Really a very sad phase going on for Keirrison 🙁

  13. Cesc Blanc
    January 29, 2010

    If we really got 100 Million to spend, I want Rooney for the left side…60 and he should be ours.

  14. Tyler
    January 29, 2010

    I just dont see any way Ribery comes to Barca. With his ties to Zidane and everything I would be very very very surprised to see him dressed in blaugrana. I think Silva is the best option, he won’t produce as much goals as maybe Ribery would but if he can lock on his telepathic powers with Ibra and Messi, oh lawdy, life t’would be nice. Villa is the only other option for me. But age worries me with him. He is one of the best out there, but for how much longer and for what price?

  15. Liza
    January 29, 2010

    On a previous post (or maybe somewhere else), it was mentioned that we are thinking of getting a goalkeeper as well. Seeing as the keeper is to replace Pinto, who do you think we will be targeting? Someone who is younger and improving, or a proven talent?

    I don’t think we’ll be getting any big names, but I’m just curious. It’s an election year, so you never know. I think Valdes is pretty much perfect for our team (and what a season he’s been having!!) but I can’t help but fantasize about some others.

      • Eklavya
        January 29, 2010

        he’s the best goalie in form at the moment evaaaaaaaaaa
        I’m pretty sure he can displace valdes but man you just made my droooool! Aaaaaa!


  16. vicsoc8
    January 29, 2010

    I don’t have a specific names for the left wing, only a few characteristics I would like to see.
    1. Must be a converted forward. (Caveat – if Pep is willing to trust Bojan as our second forward (and he can handle it), then this isn’t necessary)
    2. Must be older and at the prime of their career – the youngsters won’t stay young forever, and its essential that the person brought in doesn’t block their development for a long period of time.

    The longer I look at it, this is my ideal situation:
    – Keep Henry for one more year after this year, but mainly use him as a backup and a substitute. He said he wouldn’t mind playing as a sub, and can anyone say Larsson-like sub? Of course this depends on him regaining his form.
    – Use a rotation system for the LW which is primarily Bojan and Pedro, with a bit of Henry dashed in. This will allow maximal development of these two, who need pitch time to excel.

    This is the best because it:
    A. gives us many options with strong substitutes in the front line.
    B. Saves us a lot of cash which we might not need to spend
    C. Continues our tradition of using youth to build for the future success of the club.

    • Tyler
      January 29, 2010

      I bet this is what will end up happening. All the rumors usually are very far from the truth, and I can see us keeping henry, using him less and less, and let pedro and bojan grow into real starting threats.

  17. auld super
    January 29, 2010

    250m debt is normal for a company with Barca’s turnover. It’s healthy. Forget Ribery ya he’s handy but his talent is totally blown out of proportion. The goal machine ( Villa ) and Silva for 60-65m for me. No Fabregas, he would be a luxury we can ill afford and anyway it was his choice to go to Arsenal so let him stay there at least till Xavi’s knackered anyway.

  18. jordi
    January 29, 2010

    I want to keep thierry hdere for another year atleast, but you can see why they would let him go.Earning as much as he does, 7.5 million euro, if someone gets that kind of money you expect them to play like it and i dont think he can play like it anymore at 33.Maybe we can do a deal where he gets like 5 million or so for the final year.I mean there arent many places he can go that will offer him his current salary, let alone that one, unless he goes to city.Whatever the case i can bet he wants to stay here( who would want to give up that salary, and chance to win a little more), and hes good for the youngsters, so maybe we can work out something that benefits both parties.

  19. January 29, 2010

    Regarding the debt, Get ready. Starting from now till the election, that’s what you will hear about more than anything else, the economic situation and transparency of the club.

    For the first time, Key transfers are not the deciding factor to attract voters. First because the squad is almost perfect. Secondly because none of the candidates will bring a new coach with him, which means they need to coordinate with Pep to pick new signings (that will only happen AFTER the elections). The only two departments to focus on are the Club-fans relationship and how to enhance it, and the economic aspect where the board candidate will show how strong the team is financially and the opposition will raise concerns that we are broke. Don’t take any of them seriously. Take the contradicted numbers, add it together, and divide it by two. You get as close as possible to reality.

    I also think that signing a big name (s) is unavoidable next summer. For a new president that’s like the wedding ring for the bride. No marriage without it. I can think of various strategies where for 50M we can buy players to strengthen our squad more than through paying 90 M for key players. But shopping is not only about football needs.

  20. January 29, 2010

    Ye would much rather have Mata than either Silva or Ribery. But that is just Ye’s opinion.

  21. January 29, 2010

    first of all, i don’t really believe that we need both silva and cesc.
    if cesc comes, iniesta will be moved to LW. right?
    i don’t think that we spend 50mills to bench cesc or the worst crime, bench iniesta.
    is iniesta more effective on LW or silva?

  22. That is very inspirational stuff. Never known that feeling can be this diversified. Thanks for all the enthusiasm to extend such helpful information on this post. . . .

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