#enjoyVidal and very expensive bargains

Some years ago, there was a cycling team that did a hard Saturday morning group ride, a legit spirit crusher. One teammate, preferring not to start his day with agony, would ride up to meet us after the pain and suffering, to enjoy the post-thrashing camaraderie. Like clockwork, there he was, except for one Saturday.

It was weird, his not showing. It was a beautiful day. We wondered about our talisman, and the day went on. A bit later, we learned that he didn’t show because he was pedalling to the ride as usual, but on this Saturday morning a drunk driver crossed his path, striking him in such a way that it pinned him to a parked car. He survived, but it took him a very, very long time before he could walk, much less pedal a bicycle, which he eventually did.

Arturo Vidal destroyed only a Ferrari when he drove drunk. He got lucky. And because of the way that sport absolves miscreants, he had a presser, wept, and wasn’t even sent home from Chile’s Copa America squad. Why? He could get it done on the pitch, and the rules are different for those players.

That same summer his transfer to Bayern Munich went through, because he could get it done on the pitch. He is now an FC Barcelona player, because someone still thinks that he can get it done on the pitch, even as for me, this transfer represents so much that is wrong with the club and how it is being run now, an “anything to win” mentality that permeates everything.

There is much talk about “mes que” ness, and people not understanding what it means, or grousing about this player and that player profile, and the board is killing the club because of formation stuff or tactical decisions. It’s so much nonsense.

But in the same year where the club is looking to finalize selling the naming rights of the club, the men who allowed the club to be found guilty of an offense to keep their own names clear have sanctioned signing a player who, luckily enough, only killed a Ferrari rather than another person or himself.

Hey, he is a bargain, and can still get it done on the pitch. Did they even have to hold their noses while they did it? Probably not. Second chances, right? He didn’t kill anyone, just destroyed a Ferrari. Oh, that Arturo.

Luis Suarez represented one thing. When the club signed him, a player found guilty of having made racist remarks to another player, who bit an opponent during a World Cup match, the curtain was raised on the “anything to win” mentality. He morphed from vile to “What a goal!” in no time, as the moral malleability that cloaks players who can get it done on the pitch went into effect. But one big Barça Twitter account still calls him “That Guy.”

Vidal is another level that is, for me, a disgusting one. Character and morality is supposed to matter. There was a time when the club considered the character of the players it was going to splash millions on. In the here and now it’s business, and everything goes, when it isn’t for sale. The technical staff should scout Ruben Semedo, who is bound to be a bargain. Second chances and all, right? He’s out of jail and promises to be a better person. Okay.

Does morality have a place in football, in sport in general? It’s worth an ask. Or should we just go directly to what Vidal can do for the team, assuming his serious knee injury hasn’t left him a shadow of the player he used to be. We can say that it is a shrewd piece of business for a player who can provide quality depth, something sorely lacking at Barça last season. We can say that he replaces the Paulinho profile that Valverde wanted to retain, can say that he adds fire and fury, effort, goals, blablabla, all the stuff that we say when talking about a signing.

The club wants to make sure that Messi has the best shot to win a lot more big silver in his dwindling time at the highest level, and a player such as Vidal can help assure that. It all makes sense, tactically and on paper.

But the club that so many of us love is supposed to represent more than that. That club is supposed to say that “We can’t consider a player such as that, because the character of our players matters. There will be people in the stands who support this club, who have lost loved ones to the actions of drunk drivers. FC Barcelona understands this, and wants to make our stance clear.” But in the here and now, this group running the club would never say that, the men still shaking off the bed head from laying down with Qatar, who found morality only when a higher offer from a different sponsor presented itself.

The technical staff, including Eric Abidal, presented the signing and the club got it done. Valverde defending the signing in a press conference, talking about all that Vidal will be able to do for his team.

It’s all about profiles and money now, about what someone can do for the team. The Vidal transfer looks to be a bargain, at something around 18 million for a top-level player who still has a couple of seasons in his legs, assuming normal function. But it’s fair to ask what’s the real cost of that bargain? That’s up to each of us, but it’s too rich for my blood.

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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.

55 Comments

  1. Hristo
    August 4, 2018

    For most of our society morality is contracted, like the decease it is. And it has to be manifestation of ones inner alignment with what is inherently true, pure and prestine. Of it arise a deep inner moral compass.
    This article could have been published one year ago with the acquisition of Valverde – the perfect extension of our cowardly board. No more risk taking with coaches who may not be willing to be controlled.

  2. ciaran
    August 4, 2018

    Did you shout any less for your Les Bleus with a wife beater at left back? Sure, she’s still alive like the people that could have been walking the roads that Vidal drove down.

    A guy, who used to be a very good friend of mine, once went drinking with other friends after driving into his local town. He got drunk and made the decision to walk home instead of driving and got knocked down by his neighbour, who was drunk driving. He went into a coma, had multiple operations and finally, unresponsive, his life support was switched off but he started breathing again. A few weeks later he woke up and eventually got on with his life.
    Being Irish, drinking is an important part of our culture, probably more than in most others, and weirdly enough I have never drank so I won’t claim to know what runs through a drubk guys head.
    I can cheer for a team without worshipping the ground that the players walk on. I think Vidal is an asshole but I would still prefer him to be our asshole if he can seriously help.

    Bringing up Suarez is a funny point, I still believe that he racially abused Evra to gain a competitive advantage all while not being particularly racist. As a person he might be lower than Vidal who made a drunken mistake. But hey, what do I know

    • August 7, 2018

      Sorry, Ciaran, just coming to this. I was disgusted by the decision to rely on players other than either Mendy at LB. But I expected no less from Deschamps. It isn’t a question of hero worship fo rme, just character. And I expect my club to do better.

  3. Hristo
    August 4, 2018

    I’ve done some ugly shit in my life. It took great strength to take a deep look into my life and see the rotten apple I had turned into. It’s difficult for me concoct someone based on his past, knowing my past. But I know I coward when I see one. I had been one and if not sensitive and extremely careful I could be again…
    To do the best and not have remembrance of the past is a great virtue.
    Kevin’s article has foundation but also deep personal agenda that spreads far beyond the likes of Vidal.
    For myself? I would be with a fresh pair of eyes and look at an asshole as if he is another person. And if he isn’t, then I move on, he/she does not.

  4. mvarfi
    August 4, 2018

    After 41 years among fellow humans I can say with some conviction that human beings are full of contradictions. Morally speaking, few are squeaky clean, and the majority of those few are either infants or very young children. In addition to that, there’s a whole spectrum of morality to contemplate. A really gnarly subject to delve into. So, I’ll keep it simple.

    Character and morality matter to me. So do second chances. Only time will tell what the “real cost of this bargain” will be, because FC Barcelona has also extended its deal with UNICEF till 2020. I assume it did that because in addition to being a good PR move, the club projects itself to be financially successful. Big revenues keep coming in if you keep winning…

    The question is where do you draw the line with some impact? Do you simply voice your revolted self in social media? Do you boycott all Barcelona matches? Do you boycott all LaLiga matches, because Barca is a big contributor to LaLiga’s revenue? Do you boycott all football matches, because of the many shady financial ties many clubs have? It’s overwhelming if you sit down and really think about it. The moral corruption is everywhere. It’s exhaustingly depressing. The irony is that football games, especially GOOD football games, like Barca games, provide respite from that exhaustion. Does that selfish need make us morally corrupt by extension? Why yes it does. But, that’s human nature for you.

    P.S. Lately I’ve been listening to Gregory Alan Isakov. There’s a line in “Second Chances” I love: “If it weren’t for second chances, we’d all be alone…”

  5. Víctor
    August 4, 2018

    So, the message I get from this Kevin’s article is: fuck up once and that’s it, you should be shunned forever for that, even if you learned from that fuck up and haven’t repeated it since.

    And twitter is no less harsh either… apparently many people on twitter have perfect morals and attitude in life and they have never made mistake or been irresponsible at times. Yet those people that act harsh are often the same that ask for patience for players like Dembele, Denis, Gomes, Paco, Rakitic… (yet Luis Suarez deserves no patience)

    The big Barça twitter account (cynicule) yes, he refers to Suarez as That Guy or That Lump, it is a funny account and makes lots of satire… but seems that his thing with Suarez is more than satire or jokes… it goes to be to the point of looking like he has a grudge against him…

    About the “Anything to win” mentality… well, that’s what Barcelona fans want, no? The team always winning. Can’t blame the board for doing their best to make a team that always win then. They even snatched a Roma signing… and Barça twitter quickly forgot the unethical acting from them…

  6. khaddafi
    August 4, 2018

    Personally I don’t really care about the off field character of a player coming to Barça cos I always feel somehow somewhere the mes cue un club of Barça usually comes to humble the bad boys.

    How can you honestly call yourself a bad boy when you have a dressing room filled with senior players who had won almost everything to be won in football and yet they stay humble.

    Except you’re an unrepentant unapologetic bad boy. Then in this case you find yourself alienated and you eventually have to ship your shit out.

  7. khaddafi
    August 4, 2018

    Btw I was one of the people who wasn’t in support of the signing of Vidal because of his age but getting to know the bargain price they got him for and knowing that he is still a more consistent performer than William then I think it won’t be a bad idea having him in the team.

  8. TITO
    August 5, 2018

    I care not about his age as much as about his fitness. He is a sort of a player that when he is fit, he can play at high level at least until 35.
    So, that’s no brainer for me.
    As for the moral issue of his purchase, i am with the others opinion. He cant be hold ransom for a thing that he did out of the field. Nobody has the divine right to judge the other. Lets see how this signing works out. If it does, great deal and move by the board. If not, whats 20 mill contrary to 150 mill for a “failure”.

  9. luisthebeast
    August 5, 2018

    Watching some Riqui vids in past and some games at Uefa Youth League i was so excited,it was great to watch the kid vs top teams even if they were friendlies.
    Riqui is so talented,i hate when people overrate youths and i try to not do that,but he is special.
    With hard work him and Miranda can be the future.
    It was bad luck that Oriol Busquets did nt had the chance to go to the tour but he is also a kid to keep an eye.
    These are 3 players that maybe in 2 seasons will make the jump to 1st team for good.

  10. Jim
    August 5, 2018

    I’m finding it really frustrating not being able to watch these preseason games due to time differences ( but also the increasingly weird world of terrestrial vs Sky vs cable vs streaming resulting in me unable, or unwilling, to pay up to various providers to see what I want ).

    It’s good to hear the youngsters are doing well but that’ll do no more at present than save them from leaving. The real test comes in competition when the pressing is harder and time is less. Seem to have a few prospects coming up though and I’m looking forward to casting an eye over them soon.

    I’m less impressed by Vidal’s arrival. Age, temperament and style of play, none of them really align with our midfield. I won’t judge someone on a past mistake ( well, I used to be a teacher so that wouldn’t have washed then or now) and tbh the poster boy for someone moving on and turning behaviour around is the much maligned Luis Suarez. Not sure the “racist” thing was exactly as clear cut as has been suggested – I remember a lengthy, and great, discussion here about what terms mean in different cultures to which I was completely unable to contribute but was fascinating – but there is no doubt it wasn’t pleasant, whatever the reason or intent, and no ambiguity at all about the revolting biting incident(s). However, since arrival he has just been great and worked really hard on curbing his emotions so maybe Vidal will succumb to Ibra’s “schoolboy ” dressing room . ethos.

    More interesting for me is the formation for next year and the style we will play. If Vidal offers rotation for Rakitic because EV feels we need a physical presence then it’s worth a look but they can’t pay in the same side for me or we’re veering out of control style wise. It’d be interesting to know how much Barto was involved in this decision. This sounds to me like a Segura ( and possibly) EV choice. I don’t want to start the season questioning our coach but as I said last year this season will be the one that defines him and his playing style. No complaints about personnel, this is his side so it’ll be interesting to watch. Btw, for those guys here living in Barcelona will it also be interesting to see what size of crowd Vidal’s presentation draws as a sign of what the locals think ?

  11. Jim
    August 5, 2018

    Btw, for those who have access to it, there’s an interesting looking programme on Sky Sports tonight ” MNF special : Pep Guardiola. It’s billed as a look at behind the scenes at the “machine” he has built at the Etihad. Looking forward to that and insights into his thinking. Their play last season was a joy to watch at times without ever hitting the heights of his Barcelona side ( because he didn’t have the quality).

    It’ll be a key season for them and Pep has been pretty bullish in the press about retaining the title and progressing in Europe while we’re into third season syndrome with Jose who seems to be spoiling for a fight. Interesting comments from the football writers this morning who summed it up pretty well for me by saying Jose is stuck in the past while Pep offers a blueprint others are looking to follow. However, they followed it up by saying that Pep seems to overthink things once he has it working well and that could be his downfall.

    I’m surprised I still get excited about the start of a new football season but I do !

  12. luisthebeast
    August 5, 2018

    I said it in the past and always my view,in football coach is 10-15% and 80-85% the players.
    If the players really likes a system and feel good they will back it and the job of the coach is easy.
    The workrate is the basic thing in Guardiola work.His ideas demands a lot of energy and intensity from their players and he always do the same mistake,not rotate enough,thats why his teams at March April are empty and he failed many times at CL.

  13. luisthebeast
    August 5, 2018

    His record at CL SF is poor.14 games with only 4 wins 4 draws and 6 losses with goals 13-20.
    With the teams he had thats a bad record and shows how he take out everything from the players all season and in the end they dont have the energy to do the final step.
    In 2009 the luck played a part to make it to the final.

  14. Jim
    August 5, 2018

    That’s a fair point, Luis, although if we didn’t win it back immediately he did allow the players to fall back.

    For me at Barcelona part of it was his reluctance to embrace even a modicum of caution in the away games. Admirable, but attacking to such an extent on your opponent’s home patch is taking a chance. As opposed to our craven attempt at defence in Rome. I know not everyone agrees but if you leave Suarez up front on his own you are losing the effectiveness of one of your best players and almost playing with ten. If we see that this year I’ll be pretty hacked off.

  15. Gekko64
    August 5, 2018

    remember when Kxevin swore he would stop supporting Barça if we would sign Luis Suarez?

    • Jim
      August 5, 2018

      And thank goodness for us all in this great space he didn’t, eh ?

      • Gekko64
        August 5, 2018

        yeah, but it still makes me chuckle that after all those years of following barça he still has no idea what mes que un club means

  16. luisthebeast
    August 5, 2018

    Would you sell Dembele for 200m and sign Pogba,De Jong and Icardi?

    • mvarfi
      August 5, 2018

      No.
      Pogba, De Jong and Icardi are not candy we can buy on a whim. This short attention span towards developing young, talented players (even one like Dembele who cost an arm and a leg) is starting to get on my nerves.

  17. luisthebeast
    August 5, 2018

    So according to Romero,the club asked Dembele to return earlier from holidays,the player wanted to return at 15th August.

    • Jim
      August 5, 2018

      Hmm, it doesn’t have a great feel to it, does it ? Hope it settles down. The guy has bags of talent but he needs to want to get better and believe he’s good enough to play for us.

  18. luisthebeast
    August 5, 2018

    Barca fanbase is the only one in the world that in the rumour that club maybe will try to sign Pogba,many are against.
    Paranoid fanbase really.
    Lets no mention that many critisize Valverde that he wants a LB and they are happy with a kid from Juvenil for back up.
    But i will be ok with all that if all these people did nt ask and for CL too.
    Not surprise that in twitter all the other fanbases find us arrogants and out of logic.

  19. August 6, 2018

    One reason why our scouts also used to look for a good player attitude off the pitch, for me is more about dressing room calm and unity rather than morality. We all know we dont really have player issues in our team (Neymar Cavani row for eg).

    Anyways, now we have to hope Vidal will keep himself fit and remember that he plays in la liga for a Catalan side. He should have to be even more careful with his challenges. If he takes the Masche path, he is a good player to come off the bench.

  20. Frank Stain
    August 6, 2018

    Well, if we’re going to have this discussion about the moral bona fides of Barca players, we are going to have to talk about tax fraud. Leo Messi was given a 21 month suspended prison sentence for tax fraud. He will never serve time, of course, because he is wealthy and powerful, but the smell of shenanigans is unmissable. His father was also given a 15 month suspended sentence.
    Now I know some people will say ‘Oh tax fraud, who cares, everyone does it:’, etc. But to my mind that’s evidence of significant moral rot. The health of public provision and welfare systems has been run into the ground in Europe and North America in the past few decades, and the ugly underbelly of that is a system where fraud and cheating have become commonplace and second nature.
    I can see where Kxevin is coming from on Vidal, that’s a terrible, destructive thing to do. But I have a hard time with the idea that there is something uniquely bad about Vidal when the whole system is full of moral rot from top to bottom. Vidal perhaps put individuals at risk when Messi hasn’t and I’m sure wouldn’t. But tax fraud, and the running down of public institutions also creates suffering, and you can’t just ignore because it isn’t direct and personal. Messi is not to blame for this situation, he is just part of the system. And not the only offender by a long stretch. But that system creates pain that, to my mind, makes what Vidal did look pretty insignificant.

  21. Jim
    August 6, 2018

    Just sat and watched the Sky programme on Pep’s work at City which was an unbelievable masterclass. It was just Pep explaining to Gary Neville the journey from arrival to champions but in such technical detail and yet clarity, at times I felt like Paul Newman in Torn Curtain watching the Soviet scientist scrub his equation and writing in the correct solution ! He covers the FBs, transition from defence to attack and vice versa, dealing with the counter, losing the ball, improving a forward and much more.

    An absolute must watch if you can get access to Sky. If you can’t I can post some of the most memorable utterances if anyone wants .

    • mvarfi
      August 6, 2018

      What a treat!
      Thanks for the link Frank and thank you to Jim for mentioning this interview in the first place.

  22. luisthebeast
    August 6, 2018

    If Barca had a player like Vidal that night at Rome,the disaster would never happened.
    Team was so soft and if i remember the nights at PSG and Turin at 2017 i would welcome with open hands Paul Pogba,a Huge upgrade to our MF.
    If Valverde have the power to bench Pique and Busquets at CL knock out games and Suarez give a great season we are very good.

  23. luisthebeast
    August 7, 2018

    I changed my mind,i am happy that Valverde seems to trust Miranda and want to keep him with 1st team.
    Yeah he is very young and he will do mistakes but better to have him at 1st team and not playing at Segunda A,he will be better training with big boys.
    If Lucho was there we would signed bum like Bernat or Monreal,so yeah Ernesto have my trust.

  24. luisthebeast
    August 7, 2018

    I really hate the disrespect Valverde gets from keyboard managers and twitter coaches but i really like the guy,he did an excellent job at his 1st season.
    Yes there was Rome but for me Barca had not the squad to win CL,it was a bad game,just like at PSG or Juve in 2017 Atletiko at 2016 and 2014 or Bayern at 2013.
    And back then we had better squad.
    So it was not the exception that game but more the rule of our last CL campaigns.
    In all these games team scored 0(zero)(nada)goals and we had better FW line than that at Rome.

  25. luisthebeast
    August 7, 2018

    For me it was always a genera problem we had at CL.
    Team never scores in crucial away CL games.
    2009 1 goal at stoppage time
    2010 1 goal
    2011 2 after madrid red card with Messi genius
    2012 0
    2013 0
    2014 0
    2015 2 MSN year
    2016 0
    2017 0
    2018 0

  26. BA
    August 7, 2018

    We likely all know someone with a drunk driving charge. It is deeply irresponsible and is the kind of behavior for which people should be held accountable. But in this context, I find it difficult to get upset over a fallible man driving drunk when the club happily snatched millions of dollars from Qatar, a repressive petrostate that commits systemic abuse of women and migrant workers far in excess of what we in Western societies deem defensible. Yet we (not me, it must be said, but many otherwise right-thinking supporters) bought Barça kit with Qatar splashed across the front and cheered new players paid for with Qatar’s money.

    Is there room for morality in football? I’d say unequivocally yes. But likewise there is room for treating the people, men and women, who play it like complicated people who make mistakes and consigning our moral judgements to where they can land most clear: on the level of investment from thieving oligarchical systems and abusive governments. Start there.

    • August 7, 2018

      Well, my views on the club getting in bed with Qatar and selling the shirt in general, not to mention that Qatar will probably be the one ponying up for the stadium rights is clear. Right down to sideeyeing Guardiola and Xavi among others for being paid spokesmen for a bought-and-sold World Cup effort, built on the backs of bribes, influence peddling and migrant worker abuses.

      Vidal does what he does. As noted above, it’s the club for me, that should have taken a stand. It’s like when the Chicago Cubs signed a domestic abuser as a relief pitcher. There was the same debate. We see it in the NFL all the time. If you can produce, make a team better, pretty much everything is fair game.

      I didn’t get into Kluivert, but ugh.

  27. mvarfi
    August 7, 2018

    Ok, I’m looking forward to the next piece of writing. The current discussion keeps getting lopsided. So far the consensus seems to be: “Kxevin, don’t get too morally uptight about Vidal’s signing, because there’s bigger fish to fry on the moral plane.” Either he didn’t think this one through enough, or we’re all copping out to some degree. A bit of both maybe?

    On a more exciting note, I cancelled my Comcast cable subscription and got Roku and FuboTV instead. I’m ready for the new season! Yay!

    • August 7, 2018

      I thought it though very carefully, even anticipating the, “He will help the club, deserves a second chance, others have done worse, etc.” But for me that isn’t the point.

      On the other note, I am about to join you in dumping Comcast. I don’t care whose fault it is. I want my damn La Liga.

      • mvarfi
        August 7, 2018

        One more thing and I’ll let it rest..
        You say the club should have taken a stand, I say the club is not monolithic. It’s a group of people with agendas and different shades of morality. We’re both pointing out the same thing. The difference is that you’re appalled and disappointed by said group of people, whereas I’m not as offended or surprised by them, because apparently I have lower expectations about people. It’s sad, I know.

        • August 9, 2018

          Yes exactly this. We have no idea what internal debates or protests there were regarding Vidal. There may have been none, or it may have been a very heated debate with the sporting side simply winning over the morality side. There is a tendancy to look at things the club does from the outside in just black and white. Good signing or bad signing, good decision or bad decision, when in reality most things are just not that simple.

          My view on this is that morality doesn’t really come into play. I support a football club, not a charity or some moral compass for how humans should behave. Furthermore “mas que in club” has literally zero to do with morality or how the club conducts itself or does business, it is a political stance, no more no less.

          Vidal did a stupid, irresponsible thing, but most humans have in their lifetimes. I know people who have made the same stupid mistake… Good, honest people who wouldn’t hurt a fly on purpose. Vidal is not evil, he did not rape or murder or beat his wife. He made a very stupid mistake, one which I imagine he will never make again.

          He is also an exceptional player if he stays fit, even at 31 he is one of the best box to box mids in the game and as much as I liked Paulinho, Vidal is a whole different class of player. At the price we got him for this is just a brilliant piece of business.

          • mvarfi
            August 9, 2018

            Things are rarely simple whenever humans are involved. It’s true that the “mes que un club” motto is primarily associated with a political stance, specifically the Catalan opposition to Franco’s dictatorship. However and like it or not, any political stance, not just against oppression, is grounded on morality, on what we think is right or wrong, fair or unfair, good or evil. Franco has been dead since the seventies, yet the motto continues. Why? Catalans are not oppressed anymore. Because at least half of Catalonia thinks that it’s not right or fair that it’s not independent from Spain. One may think that they’re supporting just a football club, but it’s not really that cut and dry, is it?
            Other than this, I agree with what you say.

          • mvarfi
            August 9, 2018

            P.S. Pardon my use of prepositions and/or other mistakes. English is not my first language.

      • mvarfi
        August 7, 2018

        On the other other note, damn straight!

  28. luisthebeast
    August 7, 2018

    I am jealous of madrid in the way they act when some players are at the stage where the decline it s about to start and they sell them without emotions and stuff like that.
    I believe Modric will go to Inter,madrid will get 65-70m for him and in the end the will get 170m for 2 33y old players.
    They will miss them but that it s a message that club is upon any player no matter what he offered.
    Same time Barca wants to offer new contracts to 30y old Busquets Alba,keep Suarez because when you have powerful friends in the team you stay pay Messi 80m per season and el presidente can be shit and play every game,no competition is good.
    Legends are legends but decline is decline and we will end up pay 33 and 34y old huge salaries and we will get 0 euros.

  29. luisthebeast
    August 7, 2018

    It s weird people try to complain that Vidal will get maybe 9m same time 30y old Busquets wants 15m Alba wants a raise 31y old Messi get 38 31y old Suarez around 17-18m and not mention Dembele who gets 12m e.t.c
    It s really insane that strategy and the club must start be ruthless.
    Football is business,when a player start to decline must go and bring money.
    Legends will always be part of our history,doesnt mean they must play until 40.

  30. Jim
    August 9, 2018

    I think we’re just looking for different things, Luis. I understand the need to get a little more pace in the side in midfield but don’t want us to end up with a more physical side at the expense of our passing game. We’re not short of pace in defence with speedy FBs ( not many sides with quick but also excellent CBs I’m afraid ). We have bags of pace up front so to me it’s more how we stitch them together. I’m not sure what you have against Pique, Busi, Messi and Suarez. I’m also amazed you seem to exempt the slowest, and by your definition ( not mine) in decline , Rakitic from your comments. Anyway, we’ll soon see what our squad will look like.

    Am I the only one still worried by the deadwood still on our books with less than 10 minutes to the EPL deadline ? Am I wrong that we still need to find homes for Gomes, Alcacer, Suarez, Mina, Marlon, Douglas(?) Munir and possibly Rafinha ? We’d be better biting the bullet and accepting less if that’s the case but I don’t know if many of them have genuine suitors. Need them gone to give a genuine chance to the youngsters – if we still care about that – because the loan route is a disaster.

  31. Jim
    August 9, 2018

    Mina gone in the last few minutes for €30.25m plus option for buy back. Everton banking heavily on WC display being reproduced in EPL.

  32. Jim
    August 9, 2018

    Gomes apparently also to Everton on loan for a season. Not great but better than him being here.

    • mvarfi
      August 9, 2018

      I’m glad that Gomes is joining Digne and Mina. I don’t really mind that he’s being loaned rather than sold. If he blooms there and conquers most of his demons, then we can make a hefty profit. Douglas will be loaned to Sivasspor, if I’m not mistaken. Yes, we do need to find homes for Alcacer, Marlon, Munir and Rafinha. Although, I’d keep Marlon and Rafinha, if I could. Alas, Marlon exceeds the non-EU quota. I don’t think Barca will have difficulty finding a club for him though. I’d keep Rafinha instead of Denis Suarez, but Rafinha is the only one of the two open to a transfer.

  33. luisthebeast
    August 9, 2018

    I dont understand why cules are so happy with Mina sold and with our defense situation.
    Marlon will leave on loan i guess and we dont have a Pique back up.
    In general squad still is nt perfect and they must sign a RCB a CM and a 9.
    Ok i understand that they will trust Miranda for LB back up but i dont trust players like Munir,Denis.
    I know that Valverde wants a small squad but when a player is injured or whatever,his back up must be a player with quality and to do rotation you cant go from Suarez to Munir.

  34. Jim
    August 9, 2018

    I think we’ll still have Pique, Umtiti, Lenglet and TV won’t we ? Can’t carry many more than four in first team squad.

    I agree that Suarez to Paco or Munir is too big a drop and I’d be happy to see both go but it’s finding someone to take them. As the Spanish deadline approaches there might be an opportunity. For me, the worrying question isn’t necessarily one of a great CF signing it’s more one of not leaving Suarez isolated as we did last year. We have pace and quality in abundance up front. Dembele, Malcolm, Messi, Suarez plus Coutinho as a genuine goal threat and into his second season? That’s not bad. Our problem hasn’t been the big two scoring, it’s been nobody else from midfield getting into the box and chipping in with ten or so goals a season.

    The club will be aware that in the next season or two we are going to have to spend big on a forward to allow time for him to settle so I’m calm about it. Might even be something in the works we don’t know about but who at the moment fits the bill ?

    You mentioning Denis made me think. Is he lying low refusing to leave ? Haven’t seen his name mentioned anywhere during the transfer window. He’s had two good seasons and easily enough time and I think it’s fair to say he’s just a bit short of our level. However, I don’t want him staying and getting into the squad each week at the expense of someone we haven’t had a chance to look at.

  35. luisthebeast
    August 9, 2018

    Jim we have Vermaelen but we have 1 Right footed CB and 3 Left footed,i know that this can work but still i like the old school theory that you must have 2 RCB and 2 LCB.
    Offcourse number 9 is also a problem and i would like the club to do something until season starts.Maxi of Celta have a release clause,he is young and not expensive.
    We need that more than Frenkie De Jong,i dont know how good is,Dutch teams in Europe are very bad,the level there is miles apart of top level and i believe he must stay at Ajax and in 2 years we will see.

  36. luisthebeast
    August 9, 2018

    Maxi Gomez is 22 y old,he had 18 goals in 36 games with Celta,he is tall and strong,he can learn next to Suarez and he can be a decent back up for decent money.

  37. luisthebeast
    August 9, 2018

    About Denis,there is nothing to watch there,we watched the guy and what he can do,he is nt for a club like Barca.
    And offcourse there are nt offers for him,clubs know better than us,even an injured Andre found a team,their coach know that he is a good player.

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