Somewhere in a super-secret underground lair…
Josep Bartomeu Look, I can’t keep stalling things with my fantasies about being able to buy and store players. What are we going to do?
Toni Freixa Hey! Not the hair! Um, we could leave them at their clubs until we need them? They would like that, and it worked with that German kid.
Bartomeu But then we can’t have a party at the Camp Nou! I like parties!
Freixa Do you know anyone named Kevin, JoJo? He says he can help us solve all our problems.
FC Barcelona has a transfer ban in place. It can’t register players until January, 2016.
But as its president, “Please Vote For My Ass” Bartomeu is quick to point out, the club can indeed purchase players. It is only that pesky regulatory hurdle of registration that is causing the complexity. Bartomeu says that it’s simple: purchase the player and leave him at his club, as Barça did with Marc-Andre Ter Stegen. That way, everybody wins: Barça get their man, and the club gets to use the player on loan, so to speak.
Great minds have called nonsense on this notion, raising questions such as why in the heck would a club have a player of Barça quality on its roster and not use him in competitions such as Champions League, thus making a player cup-tied. And what about injuries, and who pays his salary while the player is at his home-away-from-home club? The nightmare scenario raises its head of Barça buying a player only to have said athlete blow out his knee, or get an appalling haircut. Then what? The club has to deal with the athletic and ocular detritus.
Because I always have the club’s best interests at heart, I have a suggestion: Barça vacations.
Footballers, from an early age, live, breathe and sleep the game. They train, work and play, becoming professionals whose dedication continues. But what if, like a rich person of leisure, they took a 5-month vacation, from August to January? Think of the delights that await, and the transfer inducement that might work to draw a recalcitrant player.
“Mr. Pogba, have you ever been to Disney World? Messi met Mickey, you know … You want to take a picture with Mickey Mouse? Ride the Space Mountain? We can help.”
“Hi. Mr. Aurier? What do you think about living the cafe life in Paris, perhaps learning to write short stories, maybe take a shot at painting? As you know, the Parisian sky is an unusual blue that is not duplicated anywhere in the world. We can help with that.”
Who needs Sandro Rosell’s powers of seduction when you have BarçaCruises? Shuffleboard, all the foosball you can handle and a futsal court amidships. It’s genius! Why the club hasn’t thought of it before now is just another reason that we need to toss these bums out on their monied hindquarters. Forward thinking is what builds great things, not regressive notions such as putting players on layaway or leaving them at their clubs. Where’s the fun in that?
Frolicking in Monaco with no fear of club reprisals, lounging in the Bahamas … If you want to put them to work, and we can’t imagine that Luis Enrique wouldn’t, wintry cities in Japan have snow shoveling vacations. Or how about Outward Bound, where the players can help youth and learn how to white-water raft?
Getting Bartomeu on the phone right now …