BarçaVacations, the cure for the transfer ban blues

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!

Phone ringing

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 …

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

72 Comments

  1. April 3, 2015

    This exact same thought had crossed my mind, too. What’s better than getting a new job that pays you millions of dollars per year? For your employer to give you a 4-month vacation first. I’d sign up for that deal quicker than you can say “duh.”

    Who wouldn’t?

  2. luisthebeast
    April 3, 2015

    Omg now a company from Brazil want 22m for Neymar transfer.I cant believe how much money in the end the club will pay for one player.

    • ciaran
      April 3, 2015

      Less than another paid for a welshman. Just relax and don’t believe everything you read. If they had a just Cluain then it would have come out over a year ago

    • ciaran
      April 3, 2015

      *claim

    • April 3, 2015

      Here’s the thing:

      DIS, that brazilian company, has claim on nothing but the transfer price. IF the trial manages to prove that the 40 million paid to Neymar Sr. as representative of N&N are “salary to Neymar Jr.” then DIS has nothing on them, because that’s salary. In which case Barcelona would have to require Neymar Sr. to get back his taxes on the money, already paid in Brazil, in order to give it back to Barcelona.

      If the 40 million is reparatory payment, then DIS cannot claim anything on them, because that’s a separate contract between Barcelona and N&N.

      It is as simple as that.

  3. April 3, 2015

    I quite like the idea of sending them to Qamp Qatar where they can sit around a fire & sing “El Qant del Barça”.

  4. April 3, 2015

    As much as I’d like the idea, it wouldn’t work. See, a player on standby draws basic salary.

    A player playing draws a considerably higher salary due to minutes played. Players who score goals get premiums, and victories increase that bonus.

    Furthermore, players who get to play and get to score get to get noticed and are good investment for advertising, which increases their income, substantially in some cases. Their performance means increased interest in terms of future contracts and signing bonuses.

    Third, players who get to play and perform get noticed by their national team coaches and get to play for the national team – and if they are good, and their team is good, they get to play in international tournaments, which mean additional income from the proceedings the national federation gets both from the pool and the advertisers, who attach themselves onto the national team

    But above all, most of these guys are footballers. They actually want to play, want to feel the rush as they perform and hear thousands of people scream their names. They want to test themselves against the opponent, they want to best their opponent and see the recognition in the eyes of their peers and betters. They want to make a name for themselves and if possible, leave a legacy – and they have a short time to do that, with injuries waiting on every turn, potentially crippling, career-ending injuries.

    In short, it’s for the money, the glory and the fame. No vacation gives you that. 🙂

  5. lovell
    April 3, 2015

    Perfectly put. @Peter
    Although I believe Vermaelen and Douglas will RELISH the idea (kxevins’)

  6. April 3, 2015

    Meanwhile in Madrid…

    http://futbol.as.com/futbol/2015/04/03/primera/1428023958_318225.html

    For those who cannot understand Spanish, Danilo’s signing is reaching 39.3 million Euro, because Oporto are not paying anything of the additional fees.

    € 31.5 million is the transfer fee to be paid to Porto.
    € 1.8 million to Santos, Danilo´s old club, which was going to receive 10% of the difference between the price Porto paid for him and the price he´s been sold. That difference is 18.5 million.
    € 1.5 million being the 5% of the transfer fee, to the clubs that have formed Danilo as a player from age 12 to 23. Porto have renounced their claim, so the sum goes to Americo Mineiro and Santos FC.
    € 500 000 for an insurance in case Danilo suffers a long-term injury in the remaining time with Porto(8 games in the League as well as the Champions League QF)
    € 4 million mediators’ commission.

    A total of 39.3 million. Interestingly enough, sources confirm with absolute certainty that there aren’t objective-based bonuses amounting to 5 million.

  7. luisthebeast
    April 3, 2015

    And Peter if i am not wrong he had a contract until 2016 with Porto.So Perez spend another 40m just to take a player from us.But yeah madrid are proactive:-P

  8. April 3, 2015

    The Danilo rumors were only that. Porto only owns 100% of some 7 players on its roster. The rest are a morass of third-party chaos.

    For the rumors to be real, that would mean valuing Danilo the same as when we bought Alves. When I watched Porto, I didn’t see a player worth as much as Alves. When I watched Alves play for Sevilla, my reaction was “Man, I wish we had that guy!”

    What’s funny is that back then I defended his purchase price from the “That’s too much!” crowd. Time will tell with Danilo. But the idea that RM paid that to wrest a player from Barça just isn’t accurate. 20 would have been a viable number. Not close to 40m. Barça is not going to pay that much for a mostly unproven RB.

  9. luisthebeast
    April 3, 2015

    Hahahahaha Lazio want at least 80m for some Anderson!!!!Ok it s official,we are going into
    mad years where the prices will be crazy!!!!Please fix La Masia as soon as possible!!!!With Perez PSG and the English teams in the market we will need new Xavi Puyol Iniesta e.t.c:-)

  10. Inamess
    April 3, 2015

    So who killed Pep’s Barcelona? How could the enchanted team that many consider the best ever in 2010-11 have such a turn of fate a year later?

    Here is the game that started the downturn, the bad karma, and the beginning of the end . . . Anoeta September 10, 2011. After a 5-0 drilling of Villarreal in a match before the International break, this game turned into a disaster. In the first half, Barca went 2-0 up and the a newly transferred, dynamic Alexis Sanchez looked to be the all they said and more, but a malicious tackle in the second half put him out of action for the next 2 months. Later in the game, his substitute, one David Villa made a backpass that made Dani Alves’ one against Malaga this season look good. The game ended 2-2 and somehow the team was never quite the same, had lost its air of invincibility.

    Questions:
    Had that tackle on Sanchez never happened, would his career at Barca been largely different? I always thought so.

    Did Pep tinker too much with this team in 2011-12? 3-4-3, Starting 8 midfielders in some games. It’s like he wanted to make some brilliant tactical innovation every season. Sometimes it worked. This season it didn’t.

    Anyway, I just wanted to exorcize some of that bad Anoeta Karma, so we can go into the business end of the season purified of some previous baggage. Hopefully, we are about to enter a new Golden Age under Lucho and any bad memories of that unfortunate year will soon be washed away.

    Highlights: Real Sociedad 2- FC Barcelona 2
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tntkZ_nM1I4

    • Jim
      April 4, 2015

      Well, easy to see who LE gets it from. A bench with Puyol, Abidal, Mascherano, Iniesta, Villa and Messi ? Busi and Fontas in the middle of defence ? No Pique anywhere. Was that when Pep had his falling out with him or was he injured ?

      Can’t believe we fielded that team. It wasn’t the end of any invincibility for me with them on the bench . . . . Unless possibly for Pep himself. His tinkerings were odd and detrimental to the team, imo, especially his dabbling with three at the back.

    • Jim
      April 4, 2015

      Mind you, there was something of a golden time gone by in the view of Pep and Tito on the bench 🙁

    • Jim
      April 4, 2015

      If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Charlie Adam’s goal of the season contender against Chelsea. Can’t believe where he hit it from.

    • Jim
      April 4, 2015

      And as I watch the taped game, now Diego Costa’s hammy has gone – again. These tears will be creating a lot of scar tissue and even weaker hammies for the guy. And from the previous post look how that ball is pinged and commentator has just reminded me that Courtois is 6ft 7in ( in our money) !!!

    • Inamess
      April 4, 2015

      Just saw it from a highlight reel. A beautiful strike. Courtois does, I think, get part of his hand on it. I guess we are supposed to feel sorry for Costa, but the good news for Chelsea fans is that Costa’s injury will probably have zero impact on their CL and FA cup ambitions. Also they are still a lock for the Primer League.

      Going back to Courtois though, if rumors are to be believed, Atleti could could have bought him from Chelsea for 20 mil. I don’t know why they didn’t. It seems that goalies are undervalued in terms of transfer prices these days. In another age, Juventus paid 50 mil for a young Buffon, and Courtois could have been equally valuable to Atleti.

  11. luisthebeast
    April 4, 2015

    I still cant understand why people are so afraid of Bayern.Good team but not that good like Jupp Heynckes Bayern.And all that fuss about Pep s work there.Without Robben they will be in big trouble against Porto.Oh and Thiago is back after summer.

  12. luisthebeast
    April 4, 2015

    Mark TS will be better than Courtois.Patience.

  13. luisthebeast
    April 4, 2015

    I dont want to create a twitter account but sometimes i want it so bad.Then i know that i will go in big fights with Pep fanboys.I read things like that today it was a huge win for Bayern against a team in the middle of the standings.I am sure if tommorow we play crap like Bayern today and win 1-0 people will say that Lucho sucks.Also we are stupid that we bought the injured Vermaelen but Bayern are genius.They bought Thiago and in 2 years he played 25 games…..The truth is that i must not care about the opinions of people that i dont know.But i cant accept the fact that people dont give credit to Lucho and the team.

    • Inamess
      April 4, 2015

      Right Luis. The cule affection for Pep and Thiago at Bayern is some twister version of Stockholm syndrome. It is a sickness and it must stop. I hope Tello scores a hat trick against them.

    • georgjorge
      April 5, 2015

      I really don’t think that appreciating a player/coach from another team who used to play/coach for us is a “sickness that must stop”. It is totally fine unless you’re taking the view that a “true” fan isn’t allowed to find anything anyone outside the team does good in any way. Which sounds very narrow-minded.

    • Inamess
      April 5, 2015

      Barca fans are free to root for any team or player they want. However, I have no admiration for Pep’s Bayern for several reasons:

      1) They are Bullies of the Bundesliga and since they just keep buying their competitors best players (particularly from Dortmond) they are destroying a league.

      2) What are people rooting for Pep to accomplish? Since winning the German league is pretty much a given nowadays, the only way he can be successful is if he can win a CL, and since he is one of our main competitors for this prize I hope most Barca fans will be actively rooting against him in this competition.

      3) Thiago, like Luis Figo, is a traitor. If he wanted to move to a major competitor for big bucks, it’s his prerogative. His move, however set a terrible precedent and will probably make holding on to our young talent more difficult in the future. So no, I am not rooting for him to be a success at Bayern since we have our own talented Alcantara brother to root for on our own team.

    • barca96
      April 5, 2015

      1) we also buy from Liga competitors

      2) Pep gave so much for the club as a player and manager. I’ll root him wherever he goes to unless he’s playing vs Barca.

      3) Thiago joined a team from another league. I don’t see that as a traitor. And Bayern is our competitor only in CL and that is if we meet them.

      Like Pep, he joined a better team.

  14. luisthebeast
    April 4, 2015

    And ofcourse the same people who are still crying about Thiago are the same who say:Montoya is crap,Roberto is a joke,Pedro must leave,Bartra is average,Rafhinia is just ok…Well in 2006 we won the CL with my favourite Oleguer in the final..He was not top class but he was a cule.When someone leave Barca he is done for me.Bye bye and when i face ur team we will destroy u.

  15. luisthebeast
    April 4, 2015

    I know why i am mad.If we win the treble they will not give credit to Lucho.They will say that Messi made it and all that.And will forget that with the same logic Pep without Leo maybe now woulb be coaching Las Palmas.If we win Liga and CDR they will say who cares,we lost CL.And if we win only CDR u know the rest…..sory for the number of my comments:-)

  16. ciaran
    April 5, 2015

    So Madrid are beating Granada by a bazillion goals and now I bet the press will have them as favourites for everything and out of their crisis.

    • ciaran
      April 5, 2015

      And I suppose Ronaldo is the best player in the world again because he scored four goals even though he’s been allowed take a dozen or so shots.

    • Valdemar II
      April 5, 2015

      Oh yes. He hasn’t been a top 10 attacker for three months, but now he is probably the best player *again*.

    • barca96
      April 5, 2015

      I don’t dare to open any sport news pages. It’s going to be ugly.

      I really hope Nessi will sit out this match. I know it’s Celta and it’s going to be tough but if we can’t beat Celta without Messi, I don’t think we deserve La Liga.

  17. April 5, 2015

    ———Bravo
    Alves-Pique-Mathieu-Adriano

    –Rafinha-Busquets-Iniesta-

    –Messi—Suarez–Neymar—

    Hardly any surprise, except Rafinha for Rakitic. Rotations continue wherever possible, except at front line.

    The three tenors will play, if they’re capable.

    • ciaran
      April 5, 2015

      Rotation in the front three would be possible if we had more of a match winner in Pedro. Don’t expect changes unless we open a bigger gap to Madrid

    • barca96
      April 5, 2015

      Poor management to start Messi. Even if he’s ok now I still think he should sit this one out. Look at the bigger picture. Why is there a need to risk Messi? Doesn’t Lucho have confidence in the squad?

    • April 5, 2015

      Because if Messi is okay, he has basically had two weeks of not playing. And even if Messi doesn’t fire at all cylinders, he is still more than a handful for any defence. His mere presence on the pitch stretches the defence – and he needs just one or two opportunities to turn around the game. That’s why.

  18. April 5, 2015

    Celta coming out as confident – their midfield consists of players that at least by definition are creative and attacking mids. Still, Tucu Hernandez is young, tall and strong and will probably present quite a bit of a problem.

    The attacking trio of Orellana, Larrivey and Nolito has scored practically all goals for Celta this season. They are accustomed with each other, and frequently combine.

    Nolito often is given the ball on the left, where he can use his dribbling to draw opposing players, while Larrivey makes a diagonal inside run from the right to draw the defence. This creates vacuum and space behind him, where Nolito can switch the ball to the on-rushing Orellana, who uses the space created by Larrivey’s run.

    The result is danger, and each one of the three can finish it from that position – if Orellana doesn’t score, Larrivey and Nolito are waiting to pounce – Larrivey at the far post, Nolito behind in the center. Make no mistake, those three can combine very effectively. Pique, Mathieu, Alves and Adriano will need to be focused.

    Celta don’t score a lot of goals, due to their lack of tall players, but they have still scored five of those. Yet, it’s their possession football and combinations that give them the majority of opportunities and goals.

  19. Huckleberry
    April 5, 2015

    sometimes impressive how unorganized the new Barça looks, especially in midfield…

    • ciaran
      April 5, 2015

      I wouldn’t blame the midfield when the forwards aren’t showing for the ball in most cases

    • Jim
      April 5, 2015

      Nah, midfield is coming up short yet again and the forwards just aren’t bailing them out, yet. The answer, as usual, is sitting on our bench…

    • ciaran
      April 5, 2015

      The midfield are being matched man for man when our defenders are in possession and the forwards are just standing around up front. Our midfield trio are not playing well but aren’t being helped

    • Jim
      April 5, 2015

      They’re just not showing at the right time for me, Ciaran. There isn’t a lot of time or space and the best player in the last ten years at creating both is idling on our bench. It’s chickens without heads at the moment. We need some order to proceedings.

    • lala10
      April 5, 2015

      so true. And Neymar has desperately been poor.

  20. ciaran
    April 5, 2015

    Adriano looks fairly rusty

    • Jim
      April 5, 2015

      He’s never been great at defending for me. Much better going forward but he isn’t at the moment. We’re now starting to lose any shape we had. Messi leaving his wing berth too early because we don’t have enough possession, Pique already starting to feel he has to venture upfield and they are finding a lot of gaps. We need to tire them out. They are getting far too much possession for our safety. Still, half time only a couple of minutes away.

  21. ciaran
    April 5, 2015

    For once Suarez made the absolute wrong decision in where to pass to Neymar. A ball to feet and Neymar was through

    • Jim
      April 5, 2015

      Yeah. Shame. I get the feeling Suarez has the bit between his teeth but Neymar is way short and Messi has lost discipline already and is almost running about without purpose with two following him everywhere.

  22. Huckleberry
    April 5, 2015

    … and since when does Barça play in blue shirt?

    • ciaran
      April 5, 2015

      I really see little to Celta’s game to pay them that compliment. They are pressing well but that’s it.

  23. ciaran
    April 5, 2015

    I would bring on Xavi for Iniesta and Rakitic for Rafinha early in the second half.
    Xavi tto bring control and Rakitic to exploit the spaces between the line.

    • Jim
      April 5, 2015

      For me Rafinha would get the hook so we can get enough possession nearer their box but whatever it takes to get Xavi on I’d sign up to right at this moment.

    • ciaran
      April 5, 2015

      There has been very little progression in Rafinha’s game from when he was in the B team. Tactically he looks like he doesn’t know where to position himself and just follows the play around.

  24. georgjorge
    April 5, 2015

    Very disappointing up until now from almost anyone not playing in defense. Still, I’m a huge believer in second halves from that team in general and Lionel Messi especially, and think they might still win that game.

  25. lala10
    April 5, 2015

    The problem is a dysfunctional midfield that does not support the forwards. If Messi is not involved in the build up then the ball does not go forward more threateningly. Xavi should be in as soon as possible.

  26. Jim
    April 5, 2015

    I’d settle for one flash of brilliance right now. With those three up front surely that’s pretty likely. If we go behind this will be v difficult.

    • Jim
      April 5, 2015

      That just wasn’t off !

  27. ciaran
    April 5, 2015

    Even though that was ruled out for offside that will do Neymar’s confidence the world of good

  28. Jim
    April 5, 2015

    And now Pique not looking great after that clash with the keeper. Wincing at the end of moves.

  29. ciaran
    April 5, 2015

    Spaces opening up now in the Celta defense

  30. ciaran
    April 5, 2015

    Messi isn’t at the races at all

  31. Jim
    April 5, 2015

    Yessss !!!

    • ciaran
      April 5, 2015

      Pique saves us at one end and Mathieu at the other

    • georgjorge
      April 5, 2015

      Pique. Interceptions this game: 14

    • Jim
      April 5, 2015

      And what a ball from Xavi 🙂

  32. Ryan
    April 5, 2015

    Our defenders saving us there – Pique with the great challenge, and Mathieu with the gol!!

  33. ciaran
    April 5, 2015

    Winning a match like that is as important as winning 9-1

    • Jim
      April 5, 2015

      Absolutely. And isn’t it great to have a top notch defence at last ?

    • Ryan
      April 5, 2015

      Indeed! Good to have the Fifa virus behind us for a while.

  34. Inamess
    April 5, 2015

    Merci Mathieu! A huge win in a game that we really needed.
    Xavi cleaned up our midfield and also provided the beautiful assist.

  35. G6O
    April 5, 2015

    1) Extremely valuable three points

    2) The midfield was not entirely to blame for the poor play, as pointed out above. There was very little movement from the forwards

    3) But that does not mean the midfield was not a problem – it was a huge one, and the fact that after Xavi came on, he not only brought some order to the game, but also was probably the best defensive midfielder says a lot.

    Let’s hope for the best until the end of the season, but I am deeply worried about what happens between the start of next season and the January transfer window. With Xavi gone, we’re down to two reliable midfielders for two spots, one of the aging quite fast. You can’t expect to play half a season at the required level with such scarce resources. Given the midfield situation and what I see in La Masia at the moment, I would just pay the money for Pogba, but that only solves the problem from January onwards…

  36. Davour
    April 5, 2015

    Let’s not read too much into this, it was one game, not a trend. But it did not look very good. Really hope Rafinha finds his mojo, because he was sloppy at best, and Ini gave away some easy passes again – though this is partly due to lack of movement up front. Xavi gave a short masterclass upon entering the game, raised Busi’s game, too. I will miss the master so much; his movement and control are simply amazing. And Messi, I’m sure, was bothered by CR’s explosion… or perhaps his foot? We must stop missing these sitters – Ney, Messi, Alves… BUT: great, great win. Thanks, big Mat!

  37. luisthebeast
    April 5, 2015

    That is what i call HUGE win.And we must remember La Liga is the best league in the world;-)After the International break and with 4 players without a game for two weeks it was obvious that it was gonna be a tough game!9 games to go!

  38. Ttemple
    April 5, 2015

    Hope Neymar doesn’t pull a Cesc. Frustrating.

    Not so good game, but huge points, by the by.

    Pique, Mathieu. Pfft.

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