Life comes at you fast

“Life comes at you fast” has become a Twitter meme, usually dragged out when circumstances rear up like a great white shark, to bite somebody in the ass.

It wasn’t that long ago that Marco Verratti, the best player at PSG, was on culer lips being talked about like he was a birthright. It was only a matter of time before he comes, “next Xavi,” just throw enough money at PSG and he will leave that little club, etc, etc. Barça president Josep Bartomeu went to Paris in an effort to talk to PSG about the player, and returned saying, “They won’t talk about it. We will wait and see.”

Yes, we will. And life comes at you fast. Not that long ago board members as well as Bartomeu were saying that Neymar would stay at the club, “200 percent.” Today, Bartomeu is saying that if a club pays a player’s release clause, that player can leave. A lot changes, but here’s something worth considering:

This wretched shitshow is no less than we deserve.

Neymar came to Barça during a late-night drama that involved numerous contracts, some boondoggles, some shady deals that involved tax lawyers and ritual sacrifices and finally, Sandro Rosell’s marquee signing was in the house.

When Neymar came few wanted him, talking about selfishness, hair, marketing and all the other stuff that is part and parcel of a modern player. We scoff because we are seduced by goat farmers, mushroom raisers, absentee vineyard owners and newlyweds who do headers in a pool with a teammate on video.

There was a turmoil over the real cost of the operation, then a soci action that forced the club to “reveal” the “real” transfer figures in a deal with more twists and turns than a corn maze. Third parties wanted their hunk of flesh. Santos was salty because of the tranfser value of Neymar versus the real value of the contract. There was that 40m payment to N+N, and was that salary or transfer fee and who knows, really? The tax man wanted his cut, in Brazil and Spain. Rosell resigned, and the legal party kept on rolling, all as a result of a shady transfer for a player whose entourage was always rumored to be a sideeye away from another bag of money.

And now the player that so many didn’t want is leaving. So what’s the problem? Mad because he’s going to a lesser club? What do you care? Someone else will have to deal with his marketing, and trips on private jets to family functions.

Today, instead of Verratti talking about coming to Barça, he has starred in a PSG-produced video that talks about how happy he is, and Neymar is having dinner in Miami in a restaurant named Paris, amid rumors of 25m “loyalty” payments due on the day he announces that he will be leaving Barça for PSG. It’s more layers of shady transactions happening as the originator of the grand design, Rosell, watches it all from jail.

Life comes at you fast, indeed.

So much of this contretemps is illogical, and what isn’t illogical is probably bullshit. But that won’t stop the rage, because it’s the drama we crave. “He’s leaving. I told you. Cruijff was right. Two captains can’t coexist.” “I never liked him anyway.”

And at the end of a nasty, tempestuous period that started with Rosell’s presidency and Neymar’s transfer to Barça, a time during which the team won another treble, a double and pulled off the must stunning comeback in the history of the Champions League, it’s fair to ask is the club where it and its fanbase deserve to be.

The club sucks, the board sucks, we’re a small club, we can’t do this, we can’t do that, everyone is incompetent. Okay. Twitter fights, factions, contempt and tempests are all part of parcel of a shitshow where entitled people snarl about a team not wanting to sell its best player to us. How DARE they? And doom. The board will bring doom, its president will bring doom, doom is right around the corner, doom and gloom. It’s greatest player should leave because the club sucks and its board doesn’t deserve him. By association, can we presume that we don’t either? Predictions come to pass, and life comes at you fast.

The club is saying it will report PSG to FIFA if they pay the buyout clause for Neymar, given that the total cost of the operation would approach a half-billion Euros and be in significant, holy crap violation of an already defanged FFP. The latest, of course, is that Javier Tebas, head of La Liga, the man rumored to be in the bag for Real Madrid, is pledging to fight for Neymar every bit as hard as Barça is fighting. This, too, is nonsense, as PSG isn’t part of La Liga. What Tebas can do is snuffle indiganantly, just another empty gesture in a situation filled with them.

The doom that so many have crowed about, seemingly welcomed with open arms and Twitter browsers, would appear to be here. The second best player in the game will, by all reports, be wrested from Barça not by force, but by player desire. Neymar wants to leave Barça, even as people claim he is torn and conflicted. But if his people approached PSG, it beggars description how that could be the signal of a conflicted player. Neymar wants to leave. If he didn’t, none of this would be happening.

Does he want more money from the club, and a bluff is now a point of no return? Sure, why not. Just more crap to add to the shower of it. None of it makes any sense at all, so why not this, as well?

At the end of the friendly against Real Madrid, the handshakes as Neymar was subbed off had an air of finality. He sat by himself at the end of the bench, looking for all the world like a man on his way to somewhere else, who no longer feels part of the group that he just celebrated the winning goal with. The drama we deserve.

And so many dire predictions are coming to pass as a club becomes the festering hell that so many foretold. Censure vote efforts are on, ex-presidents (another one, that is) in jail. Tax scandals. Neymar had a fight with a teammate and was kicked out of training by the new coach. Iniesta said it was no big deal but no, it was more doom. Neynar was shoving security guards. Neymar was partying with Demi Lovato. Neymar will make a promotional appearance in China, jetting there directly after the U.S. tour. From there to Paris? Rumor has it.

Appreciate what you have is one of those weird things that is always said with a rueful tone by someone who understands, only now, why we should. Neymar was capering, dancing, getting kicked and bleeding for the cause. He was growing as a player under the companionship of the best the game has ever seen, and fluffing his feathers in the PSG comeback.

But through it all, he was wrong for his boot shenanigans, wrong for loving his sister enough to want to be at her birthday party, wrong for hair, wrong for marketing, wrong for not taking the game as seriously as so many in a fanbase demanded he take it, unless he took it too seriously and got wound up. Then he was a hothead and an idiot, who kinda brought being kicked on himself by showing up opponents with those silly tricks and flicks.

Now that he’s about to leave, people are angry. Why? If you say the club is going somewhere then it ends up there, what’s the problem? At least there will be more than 200m Euros coming out of it. Neymar could have engineered leaving on a free, or sitting until the next-to-last year of his deal, then jacking the club with a diminished fee from a desperation sale. When your prediction becomes truth, what’s the point of rage?

A lot of the anger is because players like that don’t leave Barça, they come to Barça. But Neymar came to Barça as a young player, looking to grow. He’s grown so yes, it’s time for him to leave. Is PSG the best, most logical destination? Not from anyone’s worldview except his father and his banker. It makes so little sense that at the end of all this, it could be revealed as a bluff and he could end up staying. But there it all is, along with the rage, and culers demanding he get out, and never darken our doorstep again.

“Oh, but the board will do something stupid with that money, just you wait.” Like buy another Semedo, Umtiti or Cillessen? No, those can’t be the template. It has to be the worst, because everything is the worst. So they will take that 222m and buy 40 Douglases — a squadron of failures to mate with a legacy of failure. Never mind that the next great president that Barça has will be the first.

Isaiah wrote a lovely piece about the human side of this, and it’s excellent. You should read it. But from this chair, this whole thing is a circus. People predicted it, people seemed to want it to come to pass, and yet there is no joy in the reality, no joy in a massive, irreplaceable talent leaving a club that is reeling on so many fronts. Even youth football, once the vaunted pride and joy of the club, is now a source of doom. Player is scum, father is scum, PSG is scum, board is scum, Bartomeu is scum, everybody, scum.

In “Exactly What You Wanted,” Helmet sings:

I let you down again / What’s another harmless lie between friends / Now you can’t be disappointed / I thought I gave you just exactly what you wanted

So what next? Recriminations against the player who is doing nothing more than securing his future. Not a moment will be spared for a toxic atmosphere that didn’t contribute to Neymar leaving, but is certainly part of the overall circus that the club has become since the glory days of Pep Guardiola. We scream, we demand, we carry our placards that read, “The World Will End.”

And now it is. What next?

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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.

40 Comments

  1. Víctor
    July 30, 2017

    I thought Pique’s tweet was the statement that would put an end to all of this nonsense.

    It wasn’t.

    Either way, I don’t like the idea of Neymar leaving but if he wants it that badly then so be it. Barça should always be above any player… even Messi.
    Is it gonna be hard to replace Neymar (in the case he leaves)? Yes, it will. However, it isn’t like if he is absolutely necessary for the team to succeed.

    • Hamid
      July 31, 2017

      «Barça should always be above any player… even Messi». You said it all Victor. I think the terms that the Board agreed on to renew Messi were too generous and might have contributed to the current situation. To what extent? We don’t know. But a million a week seems to me excessive. Unless we are talking ruppees.

  2. CentreBackJockey
    July 30, 2017

    Thanks for the piece Kxevin.
    I guess once the transfer is done it will be a symbolic beginning of the end of the circus and I guess looking at the bright side of things, it’s a chance for us to adjust and find the right path for the club’s future.

    Of course losing Neymar will be like losing a leg. But we still have a team and coach who are motivated and more than capabale of achieving anything. We might not win anything but if we do than overcoming problems makes it all the more satisfying.

  3. omoh
    July 31, 2017

    Honestly barca should be grateful we have a player like messi. His presence has covered many flaws of the people managing the club over the years.

    Since the coming of rosell, almost every player that has left the club has one or two bad experience with the board. From Ibra to Abidal to Alves to thiago. In now looking forward to neymar statement after leaving. He sure is not Personally happy to leave the club(his entourage definitely is, cos of the money) but I know something in the back ground is wrong.

  4. TITO
    July 31, 2017

    Neymar is replaceable. What he was doing with us is a replacing feature.
    Maybe we wont get a player with the same attributes, but surely we can combine with some great prospects in the market, and there a plenty of players that will fill the gap left by his absence.
    I’m more than certain that if Valverde and the board play smartly in the market we will be seeing a new Barca. Personally, i would buy Hazard and Verratti but if that doesn’t happen, there are other options.
    Anyway, what PSG is doing to us, playing a non-selling club, i think is just trying to tell us that the tables have turned and once a selling club is now one of the world strongest.
    As for why is Neymar going there when there’s no sporting reason for it, just ask the same question to Cavani, Lavezzi, Di Maria, Pastore and others, there must be something.

  5. Davour
    July 31, 2017

    This is what you get when you combine hard-core business with the logic and egos of entertainment industry with the addition of the self-serving, megalomaniac attitudes of super rich oligarchs: real life circus. I would laugh if it didn’t concern these sickening amounts of money, and if it didn’t drag my club through even more dirt. Enough.

    I can’t be that they’re getting back at us for taking Ronaldinho from them all those years back? 🙂

    • July 31, 2017

      Davour, if they are getting back at Barca, they probably do it due to the constant Thiago/Marquinhos/Veratti debates. It´s as if the Qatari saved up money so that they’d be prepared to show Barca (and the football world in general) that they are here to stay and become this champion they portrayed themselves to be. Nobody would be laughing at them again – as a matter of fact fans and clubs would begin to be at least a bit fearful of the wagonfuls of gold that the PSQ can throw to sway them.
      Even more so – if it turns out that Qatar is prepared to give Neymar 300 million so that he would pay his clause, without actually legally involving PSG – if that is true and passes the legal hurdles, then practically no club/player is safe from that “siren’s call”

      • omoh
        July 31, 2017

        Honestly what PSG is about to do will make the purpose of FFP useless.

        Club owners like Abrahamovic can get one of their numerous companies to fund the transfer of a player and get the player the want.

    • georgjorge
      July 31, 2017

      Great comment, Davour. Football, like so many other things (politics among them), is turning into yet another show to provide entertainment and cheap thrills to us. For the first time since I was mesmerized by the football under Guardiola, I’m seriously considering moving on, not because of FC Barcelona in particular but because the whole business of high-level football is just getting too absurd.

      As for the article by Kxevin, are there really so many of us who didn’t want Neymar to come, and then didn’t want him to stay? I’m not sure about that. Myself, I never doubted that he fit in very well, and until this summer also didn’t doubt his commitment to the club on the pitch.

      • Davour
        July 31, 2017

        I know how you feel about moving on; only, I can’t help but still enjoying the hell out of watching our team, even in friendlies. Beyond all the bullshit, Messi, Iniesta and Busquets are still giving me so much joy, reminding me of why I like the sport. Genius is above all the dirt.

  6. Inamess
    July 31, 2017

    What is missing from this piece is that Neymar is no longer a player.. For Barcelona he is an advertising magnet. But for Qatar he is evern more–a Geopolitical weapon. If Qatar can spend hundreds of billions for a few week World Cup then paying hundreds of millions for Neymar is no big deal. The last 6 months for Qatar has been one long humiliation. A 4-0 triumph turned in to a 1-6 humiliation. And now

    Qatar is in a a crisis with its neighbors as the Middle East becomes even more unstable than it already was. To have Verratti taken away and ruining another chance at a CL crown would have been too much. So Qatar needed a win. A win that in the end represents a fraction of a fraction small percentage of their national wealth. And there you have it. The message that the country wanted to send was don’t mess with Qatar.

  7. Rami
    July 31, 2017

    Neymar departure has been given more attention and spotlight than it deserves, You look at social media and it’s filled with shouting and rants: “Traitor”, “Money wh*re”, “The board sucks”, “Greedy father”, “We’re doomed” Bla, Bla, Bla.
    An outsider with very little football knowledge will think looking at our reaction, That’s we’re just a small club, That lost it’s only star player, And now we’re very salty and mad, And afraid our team will fall apart.
    We love boosting how our club is the biggest and greatest, But our demeanor as fans surely doesn’t reflect the status of a club as FC Barcelona.

    Neymar came to us through very shady deals that threw our club in courts, But despite that, In his 4 years with us, We were able to win a historic treble followed by a double, And now he’s leaving us and putting 220m euros in our pockets, So the way is see it, There is nothing for me to complain about.

    So how about we all move on, And give our attention and time to those who matter, The ones who still wear our shirt.

    • georgjorge
      July 31, 2017

      Amen to that, especially the last paragraph.

  8. RT
    July 31, 2017

    I think it’s two things. There are the fans who considered Neymar “the chosen one” – the one who eventually takes Messi’s throne, thereby securing the club’s future.
    The the other aspect is the manner in which this whole thing happened/is happening, well into preseason, seemingly out of nowhere, with total silence (interpreted as disrespect) on Neymar’s end. Even the pragmatic fans who never expected Neymar to retire at Barca are upset by this.

  9. Messiah10
    July 31, 2017

    I want him to stay, but if they want to throw $200 at it then be my guest. You can buy 3-4 players who could start at any club with that money. I don’t hate Ney or think he’s a traitor for wanting a new experience & earning more than we’ll ever know. He wants to be the Man on his team. He will never be the Man at Barca. Won’t happen. Then when Messi finally leaves or retires Ney would always be compared to him as the standard. That wouldn’t be easy. The kid is 24, owns a jet, lives in Barcelona, may live in Paris, then who knows? How can you be seething with rage at that? More power to him

    • Davour
      July 31, 2017

      On this page, I have seen little hate, but sure, disappointment. Many, myself included as I’ve stated, understand his wish for a new challenge – we have grown too accustomed to loyal superstars, perhaps – but loathe the way it is happening because it disrupts the club’s focus and planning. If he leaves for 220m, I am fine with that. I am worried that it will be hard to get the players we want, not least due to other clubs’ knowledge of our dire need and our cash, but also see good things coming out of Neymar’s departure. Not a return to “the way”, which is a vague concept, but to focus on balancing the team at large, rather than an attacking three. Spent wisely, with an eye on what we have in our team and on the upcoming youth, this can be a good thing. I love watching Neymar and appreciate the quality he has brought, but I also see that he was too eager to impress (not talking about those tricks), sometimes to the detriment of the team. We will miss him – but hopefully not for long. This is, however, a hopeful, rather than very likely, scenario…

  10. Doug
    July 31, 2017

    I hate that this has been dragging on for so long. Supposedly, if the sale is not official until after 7/31, then Barcelona has to pay another $25-30MM to Neymar’s father? I’m not sure if that’s true, but I have read that in a couple articles.

    I don’t have a problem with Naymar making the decision to transfer – he’s going to be the highest paid player in the world, and be the main man at PSG. I just hope he’s not delaying this decision to leverage more money out of Barca.

    • hereiam
      July 31, 2017

      That money has been agreed when he signed his contract last year.
      Unless he handed in a transfer request, which he didn’t, Barca have to pay the amount in full before he leave Barca.
      Another sign that the board can’t negotiate even if their lives depend on it.

      • August 2, 2017

        The money was agreed with the player’s agent. for the whole contract. So when the player’s agent looks for the player to sign for another club, not even one year after renewing, he’s not due the complete sum.

        Even more so, Barcelona can point to the activities of the player’s agent and allege negotiating in bad faith, which would make the player’s father ineligible for the sum and viable for penalty fees.

  11. nonsoo
    July 31, 2017

    basically I feel the media is playing alot in this deal…….it seemed far fetched at the beginning but it’s really looking likely.I just read that his heading for his medical when a fee hasn’t been agreed, and neymar isn’t helping matters. The most pivotal part of this deal if where he goes after his trip to China because I don’t really understand why psg is taking soo long, maybe they are trying to gather the money.two things that seembodd is the if psg had this money all along is that why have they not triggered messis release clause all this years and the second is they are going too break the current record transfer fee with two times the current value.That doesn’t seem right. I doubt the deal Will happen at the end of the day due to the money involved. PSG camp is very silent and making barca to go into self destruct the next month is going to be really important

  12. PPos
    July 31, 2017

    This whole Neymar business is giving me an ulcer. I really hate how everything has been handled. The media is overblowing it. Neymar hasn’t said a word. Now the word on the street is that he isn’t going to Doha to do his medical but instead he’s flying back to Barcelona after China to report to training on Wednesday.
    If he does leave, it might suck, but its not the end of the world. The money that his sale brings in should be enough to re-inject some new names into the club and morph into a new era at Barcelona.
    But remember friends, its not about spending a lot of money. It’s about spending it wisely. I hate to keep bring RM but they bought their entire second string with all of the money we spend on Gomes and Aleix Vidal. Our club has been asleep since the Guardiola glory years and the Evil Empire has come roaring back, with lines out of our own playbook! It’s ludicrous.

  13. Jim
    August 1, 2017

    Just watching Bayern being shown up by Liverpool at home ! Worrying for them is that Thiago has had to go off yet again after missing most of the preseason games with a calf injury. This time it looks like his stomach or groin. Guy can’t catch a break . Seems to run in the family. Liverpool cutting them up at will here. Bayern still going nowhere with that defence. On the other hand I’ve not been too impressed by Coutinho’s work rate either. Interesting game.

    On our favourite topic someone needs to get a hold of Neymar and tell him that nothing he says can make things better now. All anyone wants to know is if ( when) he’s going. Implying in comments that he’s not moving for money or funny snaps ain’t gonna endear him to either set of fans I’m guessing. On the other hand I’m slightly worried that we seem to be withholding an agreed payment to the dad much as it pains me to say so. Don’t need more trouble.

    Like Davour I’m not seeing any hate for him. You can’t hate someone who brings so much skill and enjoyment to our side. Wasn’t aware there were many here who didn’t want him and suspect that is Twitter rearing its head again. I certainly don’t want him to go but he is trying my patience and I’m not sure he will ever make it to best in the world if he’s going because he doesn’t want to keep working hard on his game. Lovely contrast with Suarez who says he wouldn’t move for triple the salary, maybe gently hinting at why he thinks Neymar is moving ?

    Anyway, more pleasant things coming up. A reminder of what our club is capable of on August 7th when Chapacoense come to town. Apparently the only survivor will play a part in the game . . .

    • Rami
      August 1, 2017

      Well i can’t believe i’m saying this, But this saga is no where near over.
      Reports have surfaced that the LFP with it’s president Javier Tebas will not accept the buy-out clause of neymar, provisionally speaking at the very least, Due to the unresolved contractual problems between the club and the player (the 23m issues), And because of concerns that it doesn’t comply with the FFP rules of UEFA.

      Which means that at the very least, This whole debacle will drag on for more weeks, Or maybe halting neymar transfer permanently

      There are good and bad parts to this.
      The good part: PSG may have no choice but to negotiate for the transfer, As we will have more leverage, Maybe demanding verattii to be included plus a big amount of cash, That depends on how much the qataris are desperate to get neymar,
      The bad part: It may only delay it for a few weeks, Leaving us with very little or no time to find a replacement with that 220m, And if it causes the stoppage of the whole transfer, Then we’re left with a player that already had burned bridges with the club, The fans and his team-mates, We can imagine the booing that’ll happen in camp nou every time neymar touches the ball, Yikes..

  14. Chiu
    August 1, 2017

    – I respect whatever the reason Neymar want to move to PSG (money, main man or else). I’ts just remind us that loyalty is expensive. We should appreciate more the kind of player like Pep from the 90’s, Puyol, Xavi, Busi, Iniesta and Messi in recent years that stay loyal to our club, even some big money calling during their prime age. They love the club and want their legacy stay in Barca. Same like Totti of Roma, Del Piero of Juve, Gerrad of Liverpool, Maldini of Milan, Zanetti of Inter, Lahm of Bayern, and so on. I have huge respect for their loyalty.

    – If Neymar want to go, let him go. The club is bigger than any player. Its no use to keep a player that his heart is somewhere else for any reason. We were great before Messi, we were great before Ronnie, we were great before Rivaldo, we were great before Pep and Zubi and will will be great after Neymar, and we will be great after Messi. Barca would still one of the best club in football excellence for long time with or without Neymar, I have seen many great players come and go, and Barca remain excellence. Dont worry cules.

    – Lots of great player out there “begging” to play for us, even better if we have that 220 mill. . Visca Barca!

  15. G6O
    August 2, 2017

    That so many fans were so quick to turn on Neymar and want him out is frightening — not so much because he isn’t a greedy traitor (he is) but because of what it reveals about the fans and their inability to grasp the long-term consequences of what is happening.

    First, there is no proper replacement for Neymar, that should be immediately obvious to anyone who knows the state of the game at the moment, thus we will be worse off after this unless we can turn the money we get into a combination of a world class midfielder plus a competent young winger, for example, Veratti + Dembele. But Veratti isn’t happening and the only other midfielder who could fill this hole (Thiago) isn’t happening either, so midfield will continue to be our biggest problem, possibly even bigger than last year in fact, with Iniesta a year older. And knowing how “competent” this board is, we will spend August chasing Coutinho, who solves neither the midfield nor the left wing issue, instead of going to Dortmund with a 100M check.

    Second, and perhaps even more important long-term, this is a huge blow to our status as a super club. We may well look at this a decade from now the way we look at letting Ronaldo go in 1997. It may turn out to be worse in fact as we did win two La Ligas immediately after that by buying Rivaldo as replacement. But still, Madrid won 3 CLs in 5 years after that transfer happened, while we declined in a major way in that period. I am getting very similar vibes from this whole situation, and that is really scary to think about.

    Whether Neymar is a money-grubbing greedy traitor matter little in that context.

  16. CentreBackJockey
    August 2, 2017

    I don’t think it’s wise to jump to conclusions on our future after Neymar just yet.

  17. Jim
    August 2, 2017

    Well, Sky reporting that he’s now been given permission to leave training this morning so unless his sister has another birthday that’s that.

    I think we should be clear that his leaving has nothing to do with the club and everything to do with the type of person he is. They put a ridiculously high buyout on him which no club under the rules should be able to pay. Maybe now we’ll see the demise of these as they obviously don’t work in the important cases. I’m assuming here that if there wasn’t a buyout we could just have shut the door on PSG and said he’s seeing out his contract ( with all the grief that usually brings). I’m guessing his attempt to get more money out of the club didn’t work and that’s good in itself for the rest of the squad. We’ve given him the best team to showcase his talents and the best place in the spotlight. Like Alexis he’s chosen to go elsewhere to a lesser club and league and beyond disappointment we can sit back and watch whether or not it turns out for him. What he will be expected to do is score more though and that’ll be interesting. If he can’t do that a more central role might be better.

    This, of course, makes it absolutely certain that we will draw PSG again this year. Can’t wait ! I’m positive so far about our performances although I’d like to see us moving on one or two quickly.

  18. Half and Half
    August 2, 2017

    F*ck it, let him go. A talented player, but not Barca and I wont miss him.

    We will never find out the true figure, but we probably wont even make much money from this given all the murky payments that have gone on – a damning indictment yet again of this board.

    If we were sensible we could use the fee to rebuild the club and get our finances in order, but we will probably do something stupid like spunk it all on Philippe ‘one good game in 5’ Coutinho.

    As for using Semedo, Umtiti, and Cillessen as examples of wonderful transfers…….. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. That’s my morning entertainment sorted, thanks.

  19. August 2, 2017

    Finally! Looks like this ridiculous saga is coming to a close, hopefully everything will be wrapped up by the end of the week and we can move on. That kitty will give us plenty of money to strengthen the team, and buy a replacement for, maybe not having quite as much potential as Neymar, but one has to wonder, given his choice here, whether or not he will every truly fulfil that potential. Only time will tell I suppose, but I just do not see it happening at PSG.

    Regarding incoming transfers, I would like to hope that the board could pull off a miracle and somehow get Veratti included in the deal, but the likelihood of that seems about zero so will scratch that. It seems Coutinho is the top target right now. I see a lot of backlash from fans around this, but I am not sure why exactly. He is an exceptional young player, far from the finished product sure, but one must put into context the team he currently plays for the and players he is surrounded by and what he might be able to do when surrounded by far better players. Not to mention what he can learn from Iniesta over the next few years as I would see him being a replacement, certainly not the controller type that a Veratti would be, but could certainly excel at providing the creative link between midfield and attack.

    As for replacing Neymar, I have to say my favourite right now would be Dybala, probably because I have seen him play more than the other two primary candidates (Dembele and Mbappe). Anyone seen enough of Dembele or Mbappe to comment on how good they are, would they be better options than Dybala? Mbappe seems to have the most hype, but that doesn’t always make him the the best option. Would also be the most expensive but quite a margin I feel.

    • G6O
      August 2, 2017

      IMO Dembele fits the profile best — close control, great dribbling skills, lots of pace, best suited to play on the wing.

      I don’t see Dybala as a player we need because he is not that kind of dribbler. I wouldn’t go for him.

      Mbappe is more of a striker than a winger, but he can play on the wing too. Definitely not worth the asking price though — the kid is only 18, and the list of players who have burst onto the scene with similar amount of hype and then not delivered on it in subsequent years is very long. If we can get him for less than the absurd amounts cited I could be comfortable with such a transfer, but I see him playing more in the middle. Of course, we have to keep in mind that Lusi Suarez was never a long-term solution, he is 30, to turn 31 during the season, and his frame has always been on the heavier side, while the CF for Barca has to do a lot of running if the press is to be effective. So buying both Dembele and Mbappe with the 222M from Neymar plus the money we already had would make a certain amount of sense in the long run, but in that case Mbappe would not be the direct Neymar replacement.

  20. August 2, 2017

    @G60 interesting, and he can play on the left? My understanding was that he is predominantly a right wing player, but aside from Youtube (which i don’t trust) I have never actually seen him play so wasn’t very sure where exactly he can/does play.

    It seems he is the favourite right now anyways, so I guess the technical team agree with you!

    The next few weeks are going to be very, very interesting. If we could say get 222m + DiMaria from PSG, then buy Countinho and Dembele we would be in very good shape for next season, with quality depth everywhere.

    I am not quite as convinced as others that the midfield needs so much work. Gomes needs to step up this season, but I think he deserves a chance. Alena has shown real quality in pre season and Samper showed promise too. I am not sure that buying a “controller” type player such as Veratti sends the right message to these guys who have a huge amount of potential and could end up being just as good given the right development. We still have Iniesta let’s not forget, and SR will move back into MF.

    • G6O
      August 2, 2017

      Dembele can play on either wing

      I really hope you are correct about the midfield. We will see.

      When I say we have a huge midfield issue to be resolved, that is just a statement of fact. But that most definitely doesn’t no mean panic buys that do not actually help much.

      I myself would only buy a midfielder who can improve on what we currently have. And there are only two such options – Veratti and Thiago. Neither is apparently happening so I’d rather give Alena and Samper a chance, just as you would.

  21. Víctor
    August 2, 2017

    What the fans did was idiotic, but I guess that we can understand their anger. Afterall, when Neymar was signed (back in 2013) he said that he was fulfilling a dream by coming to Barcelona. Turns out that more often that not, those kinda statements are just crowd-pleasing words.

    However, I guess that we shouldn’t be that bitter and be grateful with Neymar for what he did with Barcelona during his 4 years. Yes, he may be a “mercenary”, a sell-out, traitor, whatever… but that doesn’t change the fact that he gave his best during his time at the club, he was extremelly important during some key matches of the club (including the remontada against PSG) and he was a constant head-ache for our rivals.

  22. TITO
    August 2, 2017

    What about some names that are not in the market and can suit us.
    I quite like Martial for a winger.

    • Ron
      August 2, 2017

      We just lost one of the biggest names in world football, while I’d love for us to consider other alternatives, I’m pretty sure the board is going to only look at big name Marquee signings like Dybala Coutinho etc..

      Already the board will be in damage limitation mode and will try to pacify the cule crowd with some big name player and maybe go and get a Seri once the big name player has been confirmed, based on what the rumors going around are…

      • G6O
        August 2, 2017

        That’s what I am afraid of now — splashing big money on someone we don’t actually need in order to placate the rank and file fans.

        • August 2, 2017

          Well to be fair the players we are linked with strongly at the moment (Coutinho & Dembele) would both be welcome additions in my view so not really being wasteful just to placate fans. Perhaps with Coutinho it could be argued we could wait a year, but given the influx of cash and that Iniesta doesn’t have all that long left I would go for him now. Gives him more time playing with and learning from Ini.

          I do not see them making any other big signings this summer, maybe Paulinho since Valverde seems to want him quite badly., but in the current market 40m isnt exactly a big signing,

          The team doesn’t need anything else in my view. If Veratti or Thiago were even remotely possible I would say try for them, but we all know they are not so I do not see anybody else in the market who would be worth buying. Perhaps an older, experienced striker/winger to add depth (eg Di Maria), but I think that would be dependent on how Deulofeu is looking.

  23. Ron
    August 2, 2017

    My issue with the whole Neymar debacle is that Valverde probably didn’t know about the Neymar issue till maybe a few weeks ago, which means he probably thought Ney would be part of our team and made plans (team plans/positioning/formation etc) for a month or two (especially looking at how much Neymar played in the friendlies, there would be no reason to play Neymar if he wasn’t going to be part of the squad for the season from a sporting standpoint) which may be redundant now that he is missing an important piece. He might have to just go back to the drawing board and may not even be able to plan seeing as our new recruits may be delayed by long contract talks.
    As long as we don’t go and buy some Arsenal player I think i might be able to handle this mess .. Can’t wait for the damn season to start!

    Btw, is anyone else having problems opening this site sometimes? or is it just me?

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