News of the day, May 13

More rumors, more nonsense:

Cesc Fabregas has said “If I leave Arsenal, it will only be for Barca.” So of course, people have gone into levitation and palpitations about an ooooold, tired-ass subject.

“Will he or won’t he?”

And we at BFB carefully chose a picture that we hope will convey the seriousness with which we view this matter.

But wait! There’s more evidence!

–“Reports” in El Mundo Deportivo say that Fabregas has been telling friends that he is coming to Barcelona.
–Rumor has it that his mama has leased Deco’s ex-domicile.

Mommy, make it stop! Unfortunately, Mommy isn’t listening, so don’t expect it to stop until Fabregas is lacing up his boots as an Arsenal player yet again next season, or he has his grinning, coiffed mug posing for photo ops in the Camp Nou.

Know this, however. The presidential elections are putting a serious monkey wrench in our transfer plans. Laporta wants to get bidness done, “And I don’t mean yesterday, Txiki!” Sandro Rosell is saying “You sure you want to do bidness widdat old regime?”

Obviously, there’s a lot tied into that. Guardiola is said to be making the transfer demands, which means that ties the hands of Rosell. We have seen evidence of this with his comment today that if Villa happens, and is Guardiola’s transfer, then he’s all for it. Those accustomed to reading between the lines might detect a hint of “But if it ain’t, and I win this thing, watch out!”

Also accelerating Silly Season is the looming World Cup. Players love and hate the World Cup, because it can add or subtract millions from a guy’s bottom line. If you’re already in demand and are looking to swap clubs, you want to get that deal done before mid-June, just in case you have a crappy tournament, and then nobody wants you.

But maybe, just maybe, if you aren’t that much in demand, you’re hoping that a great tournament will propel you into the big dosh-earning category, so you might not want to do a deal before the Cup.

What all of this means, coupled with an outgoing president who wants to leave a legacy, is that stuff is going to be craaaazy, man, running right up to the tournament.

And with that in mind ….

–We bring you the “Clutch your sides, Mama, cuz Daddy’s laughing until he pukes” rumor, Tuttosport says that Balotelli is coming to us from Inter, and further, that Guardiola sees him as Henry’s replacement.

I can see that. We just loooove mohawked head cases with explosive tempers. Just the thing to feed to those …. um …. not quite so open-minded Barca fans, who will make monkey noises and have him climbing the Camp Nou stands to jack somebody up, or throwing his shirt down and stomping on it.

Yep. You betcha.

I know that Isaiah hates the Silly Season, but I love the humor in it, it must be said. Where else can you find stuff like Iaquinta’s agent swearing up and down that we have contacted him for his pulsating with adequacy striker, as an addition to our front line to replace the outgoing Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

You can’t make this stuff up. Well, somebody can, but I can’t.

–And speaking of Villa, he has said to AS today, “My future is resolved.” This, after a talk with Valencia’s president yesterday. He added that he “continues to count on the four years remaining” in his Valencia contract.

This is so great! Here’s the amazing part of Villa’s comments, that can be read any way, dependent upon your worldview. As a public service, we’re going to present both sides.

“My future is resolved”

Barca: “He’s coming!”
Valencia: “He’s staying!”

“I continue to count on the four years remaining in my Valencia contract.”

Barca: “He’s coming! He’s just trying to make them feel better.”
Valencia: “He’s staying!”

“It’s a great city and I hope to return to play or take part in other activities – even when I am 50 years old.”

Barca: “He’s coming! But he will go back to say hi when he retires.”
Valencia: “He’s staying!”

“If there are movements, they will be before or after the World Cup, never during. One has to be cautious and wait.”

Barca: “He’s coming next week!”
Valencia: “Um …. wait a minute.”

(When asked about a Barca signing,) “I have not spoken to Xavi, Puyol, Pique or Busquets.”

Barca: “He’s coming! He didn’t include Laporta or Guardiola!”
Valencia: “He’s staying! He doesn’t even want to talk to their players!”

See what I mean?

–Remember, back in the pre-silver days, when Eric Abidal raised a ruckus when he said that the players weren’t like a family, in that they don’t do stuff together? Our just-healed left back hosted a club barbecue at his digs, that was attended by all the players and coaches except for Guardiola, who needs to be the traditional “Meester.” Awwwww!

–Iniesta wants to play! And he wants to play for 90 minutes. Guardiola, of course, won’t even consider such a thing, nor should he. Rushing our Ghostface back is what caused these problems in the first place. I suspect that he will play, but I also suspect that Guardiola will come out hell-bent for leather, confident that Valladolid, in desperate need of points, any points, will just choose to defend, which will make the choice of a midfielder verge on irrelevant. Anybody can pass the ball to Messi or Ibrahimovic and turn them loose, right?

Messi also needs two goals to tie Ronaldo’s stellar season scoring record, and a hat trick to break it. I just don’t see him getting a hat trick, as I think that this will be a low-scoring match, unless we score early. Then look for Valladolid to have to come out to try to get a result, in which case they will die.

And that’s what I know for today.

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Written by:

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


  1. lovelymofo
    May 13, 2010

    They only thing I don’t get about Villa coming to us (if he does) is that everyone assumes it means Ibrahimovic is leaving. Crazy!

    Otherwise, I’m dreading the day after the final match of the season. WC can’t start soon enough.

    • May 13, 2010

      If, and this is a HUGE IF, Fabregas and Villa, I really do not see a place for Ibra on the team. What would our starters look like? Villa (L), Ibra (C), Messi (R), Iniesta (L), Xavi (holding), Fabs (R)?

      Maybe I am missing something, but I don’t see where they would all fit, although I readily see Barca signing Villa and one other offensive mid this summer.

      • Ethan
        May 13, 2010

        play a crazy 2-1-3-4. Ibra and Villa Up front. Naturally villa drifts wide and ibra has been drifting all over as of late. have messi behind them playing a free floating role. You will have Fab and Xavi and Iniesta In the mid behind messi and providing runs and passes to Ibra and Villa, with Alves Crashing On the Right, and Abidal Crashing on the left. This is a scary offense. Then if u want to play a more defensive game, u can put Keita in Or Yaya in for say Iniesta or Xavi. With Fab out there to play with messi, villa and ibra, it would just be attack after attack. i dunno, so many possibilities with those two arriving if we are to keep the players we have, because we would then have such a deep squad, with more talent than any other team. Pep would have so many options for lineups, no one could guess what he would do week in and week out. This change this year as compared to last is what i believe has led to our insane points haul in the league. we have been able to get out of matches with crazy lineups that we could never have gotten away with last year.

        • lovelymofo
          May 13, 2010

          Or it could be Yaya or Keita in for Fab.

          Well, I’ll be curious to see who we get this summer and how Pep uses them.

  2. Tyler
    May 13, 2010

    If Villa comes and it is announced next week, it will be a brilliant move from Laporta’s side of things. Look at these two scenarios:

    1) We win on Sunday, clinching La Liga and then even before we have the time to schedule a parade Villa flashes his thumbs up in front of that big crest placing a perfect cherry on Laporta’s era. Further cementing his legacy as one of the most important presidents in Barca’s history.

    2) We somehow (God forbid) lose on Sunday and lose La Liga. We quickly announce Villa to wash away the bitterness of the loss and get fans excited about the promise of the next season. Also bringing in a player many cules were dreaming of last summer.

    Both of these scenarios help promote the continuity campaign, and make Laporta look great. If he somehow lands Villa and Fabergas before the world cup… man, Barcelona will build a statue in the front of Camp Nou coated in gold. Say what you will about his ethics, but the man handles his ‘bidness’.

    BUT, the most important thing is win

    • vicsoc8
      May 13, 2010

      I agree to a certain extent, but as of right now that wouldn’t make me vote with the “continuity” candidate – Ferrer.

      It’s dangerous to link the successes of Laporta with his continuity candidate, because a lot of what has made us successful in Laporta’s era is his personal strength and dominating style of leadership.

  3. Euler
    May 13, 2010

    Outside of either Villa or Fabergas in particular, the club needs to improve it’s depth and it’s capacity for squad rotation. Too many key players were playing too many minutes this season.

    This is a particular concern in the midfield. I don’t think you can go into next season and just assume Iniesta and Xavi will remain healthy given age and track record. The Barca system just places huge demands on them given the amount of possession they hold.

    A three man rotation of midfielders next season between Xavi, Iniesta and a third player would be welcome. Doesn’t have to be Cesc but it would be very welcome if a third quality guy can be added to the mix. If that third player had the capacity to score from range that would be helpful to diversify the attack.

    For a team that is so dependent on it’s offensive minded midfielders to generate space, hold possession and provide service the team is remarkably thin at the position.

    • vicsoc8
      May 13, 2010

      The real question is, can Dos Santos and Thiago together fill that third position if they are both promoted?

      • Euler
        May 13, 2010

        Given the critical demands of the position and what Pep asks of players manning midfield in terms of decision making, I don’t think that relying on them is the best way to stratify risk across the roster. Or at least, I don’t like the trade offs involved.

        They are promising talents. But just look at the ups and down Bojan and even Pedro have had integrating into the squad. And in the Barca system attack mid is an even more difficult position to play for a youngster due to the sheer volume of decision making required.

        Looking at both Xavi and Iniesta’s fitness this year they need to have someone there who can truly man the position and keep the engine running.

        It would not surprise me if both Iniesta and Xavi were injured simultaneously next season given Xavi’s age and Iniesta’s injury history/frame. The club needs to prepare for that contingency. They will never replace those two but they do need a second plan in case it happens.

        Both Xavi and Iniesta could have easily missed the teams past several games and that would have cost them La Liga. They were just very fortunate Xavi’s injury didn’t worsen and he was able to get through it and play.

        • Ciaran
          May 13, 2010

          In reality, we have replaced Deco with Iniesta but have not replaced Iniesta.
          Cesc would be a great addition. Hamsik of Napoli would also be a great signing although would have to get up to standard with tika-taka. David Silva would also be great but I cannot see Valencia selling both he and Villa to us in one summer.

          • Euler
            May 13, 2010

            In reality, we have replaced Deco with Iniesta but have not replaced Iniesta.

            This is a very good summary of the situation and where things stand. And the question they face is whether or not Thiago and Dos Santos can perform at the level that Iniesta did when he was their age?

            That is a very significant gamble to take if you want to fill in needs from the youth program.

  4. Colby
    May 13, 2010

    “The Barca system just places huge demands on them given the amount of possession they hold… A three man rotation of midfielders next season between Xavi, Iniesta and a third player would be welcome.”

    General question: How many midfielders are there in the world that can fulfill all of the demands that the Barca system places on our midfielders?

    I agree that we may need a third quality midfielder for the xaviniesta roles, but who besides Cesc can fulfill that role?

    • Euler
      May 13, 2010

      General question: How many midfielders are there in the world that can fulfill all of the demands that the Barca system places on our midfielders?

      Very important question. And the answer is – not many.

      One of the most important qualities of any system, is how it can be decomposed into parts that can be generalized. For example, the internet diffused across the world in part because HTML was simple to learn – as opposed formalizations that came before it.

      The offensive mid positions for Barca aren’t readily generalizable. If you can find a player to play the position you have an enormous set of tactical advantages. If you can’t, a great deal falls apart.

      It’s a real, material risk in the Barca system. It’s an aspect of the system where there isn’t a great deal of resiliency or tolerance for fault.

      • Kxevin
        May 13, 2010

        And this is unlike the forward, attacking positions, where there is indeed resilience. You can take an Eto’o, who wasn’t Masia-trained, and make him a scoring dynamo. You can take an aging Premiership legend and make him into a valuable contributor. You can even take a diminutive Argentine whateverheis (forward? attacking mid? striker?) and help him become the best player in the world.

        But it all starts with the service. Perhaps that’s one reason that the farm churns out defenders and midfielders more than anything else — because the mids need to know exactly how to work the system, which also requires that its defenders play in a certain style, in a certain position. Passing ability and comfort with the ball at the feet are two essentials for a Barca defender.

        In many ways, Alves and Abidal might be templates for a right and left back. Both have pace, both are comfortable in the attack and both are very good positional defenders. Is either one a pure defender? No, which is why Abidal has the suck in the back line for Les Bleus, and Alves always gets a knock as a bad defender when in fact he is a very good one, particularly in our system.

        And if you look at Puyol and Pique, they, too, are classic Barca defenders. Puyol began life as an attacker, so comfort with the ball at his feet is assumed.

        Looking at the current crop, I would easily argue that with a bit of time, Txigrinski is going to be functioning as if to the manor born. We also have Botia, and the likes of Muniesa/Fontas/Dalmau, who all understand perfectly what is required.

        • Ciaran
          May 13, 2010

          Botia is already a better player than Chyggy in my opinion, having seen Botia in quite a number of matches this season.
          I think that Chyggy’s touch is not where it needs to be & he will never be quick so I’m hoping that he becomes clairfoyant cos otherwise he will be an expensive mistake.
          I still believe that Caceres should have been given more of a chance rather than being shipped out and spending €25million on a replacement.
          I know it was Pep’s call but selecting players is Txiki’s decision not Pep’s. And overall… Txiki doesn’t have a half bad track record. Afterall, if not for Rijkaard’s failure to keep his players motivated, we could have won 5 leagues in a row at this stage

  5. May 13, 2010

    “Then look for Valladolid to have to come out to try to get a result, IN WHICH CASE THEY WILL DIE.”

    baahahaha, classic Kxevin.

    lines like that keep me coming back for more.

  6. vicsoc8
    May 13, 2010

    Resiliency isn’t quite the word I would use to describe the difference the forward positions, but rather unpredictability. The system we play is very structured and the roles of the midfielders and defenders are generally well defined. Each player certainly brings a slightly different interpretation to the role, but to a large degree the roles are well defined. This is not to say that there aren’t several different roles the system can accommodate for each position. This is one of the reasons we churn out more defenders and midfielders – they have a template to learn from.

    In contrast our forwards must be half in the system and half out of the system, and therefore provide creativity and unpredictability that can excel on top of the foundation of the rest of the team. That is why many of our forwards aren’t masia products – they adapt to the system but also remain outside the system to a certain extent. Look at Henry – he adapted but also brought a different aspect to our game when we needed it, and aspect not bred by the system. Look at Pedro – a player who is (correctly) said to be tactically naive, but this is exactly what has made him so successful – his seemingly random movements allow him to break out of the predictability of the system.

    I hate to bring Ibrahimovic into it, but in my mind this is the primary issue we’ve seen with him so far – he has not yet figured out how to balance being half in the system and half out of the system. The result of this is that he often hesitant to just play his game – he is too concerned with “fitting in”. During his slump he seemed to constantly be second guessing himself and unsure of what he was supposed to be doing. However he was brought because Pep believes his skills and play style will benefit the team, and so it isn’t a question of subverting these in his “adaptation” but in him learning to walk the line where he is playing tiki taka while retaining his individual flair.

  7. Lev
    May 13, 2010

    wow. villa, fabregas. didn’t know they were playing this Sunday. I don’t know about you guys but giant F-ups on the last day that decide the league in Barça’s or EE’s favor are kind of a Liga tradition. You guys are already counting your chickens, but there is a fox on the lure.

    • Tyler
      May 14, 2010

      what fox… Valladolid? trust me, Pep will have the team ready. If Valladolid is a fox, well we are a wolf, and we will eat the fox for dinner.

  8. May 13, 2010

    Sun has Henry already signing an agreement heading to NY Red Bulls after this season…


  9. SoccerMom
    May 13, 2010

    Fret not Barçabloggers I shall stalk David Villa upon my arrival in Spanish Gotham this weekend and demand he scoot northward or at least beg for an autograph for my young son and when he says, ‘¿Cómo se llama?’ I will reply: ‘Kari’.

    Kxevin did you know your fair city was also mine during the fair days of my long-forgotten youth? Harlem Ave and Irving Park Rd in the early days, when the strip mall was seedy and the sidewalks were weedy and a lanky transvestite hawked copies of the Trib to commuters at the light. Then we headed west, young man, on Harlem to a self-satisfied little sub of ‘broad lawns and narrow minds’ as the laureate described it. But then I grew older and my mind was too broad and my wallet too narrow to stay!

    And now a transcript from today’s episode of “Jim Rome is Burning”, which almost made a Friday’s french fry shoot out my nose (available at: *

    “The world cup is still a few weeks off and while no bottle rockets or blood or urine bombs have been launched yet, the smack is already flying across the pond.
    Look, I don’t know soccer, because I don’t like soccer, but I do know smack, and I love smack.
    And of all the smack a dude can run, there’s nothing more extreme or more out of line, than wife smack.
    That’s the ultimate reason to go and that’s what Argentina’s Lionel Messi is running at England’s Ashley Cole.
    Cole is widely rumored to have been unfaithful to his wife, UK celeb Cheryl Cole.
    Knowing they’re estranged, Messi thought he’d take a shot with her — ‘If she is looking for a new nation to follow at the World Cup, she should look no further than Argentina.
    We play the prettiest football, have the prettiest players, and Argentian men know how to treat their women.
    She would, of course, have to do the tango.
    I don’t think there would be a shortage of Argentinian players [to teach her]’
    Oh snap!
    Wife smack.
    And skip the double entendres.
    We know you’re not talking about dancing.
    Can you imagine Bart Scott getting in front of a mic during Patriots Week and saying that the Jets play the prettiest football, have the prettiest players and that Giselle should declare her loyalty to them because the defensive front is going to teach her how to dance?
    I don’t remember Steve Nash talking junk about how he was going to poach Eva Longoria from Tony Parker.
    That’s because there would have been a riot during the layup line if he did. Again, soccer isn’t a sport, it’s a reason to riot.
    At least now, they finally have a good reason — wife smack.”

    This is all over the British ink but I can’t find confirmation on Spanish press or video … Tango? Tangy, yes, but is it true? It just doesn’t sound like Leo … unless he’s been spending more time w/ Maradumber than Mr. Liderazgo. What say you?

    • Jnice
      May 13, 2010

      When I first saw those quotes yesterday, I immediately thought- fake. And according to Sport, Messi and his camp have denied he said any of that stuff.


    • lovelymofo
      May 13, 2010

      It would be totally hilarious if Messi had said something like that. You know, just to mess with the Brits before the WC.

      Anyway, I keep hearing people say that England is one of the few teams, along with Spain and Brazil (and sometimes Argentina) with a good enough team to challenge for the WC. Am I the only one that doesn’t really think so? Sure they’ve got quality players, but I think Capello is gonna have to work some magic to get them clicking.

      • Helge
        May 14, 2010

        The thing is… Capello can work magic, at least much more than Maradumba, Domenech or Lippi.

        I wouldn’t discount the Netherlands either, this year. My personal list of favourites for the WC has changed a lot since knowing the preliminary squads 🙂

  10. inNYC
    May 13, 2010

    Pictures of that barbecue…stat!

    I saw that Messi story. It’s probably fake, but I can see some hack from within his own (or the Argies’) camp coming up with it. It’s funny, either way. Except that as I pointed out earlier today to Isaiah, given that Cheryl has been with Ashley Cole, some hazmat suits would be in order for anyone who attempts teaching her any “tango” lessons.

    • Jnice
      May 13, 2010

      Pictures of the barbecue… or the players entering Abi’s home:


  11. Stephen
    May 13, 2010

    All this talk about attacking players, blah blah. Im sure if we get Villa, and thats a big HUGE IF, then it would be fine, he would fit fine, hes a great player and anyone would be lucky to have him.
    I do believe Ibrah isnt going anywhere, theres no way he could only get ONE season being someone who grew up in the Cruyff system playing at Ajax, that would not be in the Guardiola plan to just get rid of him.
    Also, why are we not looking to find some defensive players?? I really hope we are. Someone to cover Alves’ spot when hes injured/sactioned?? Puyols older now folks, he cannot do it all anymore.

  12. Reagan
    May 14, 2010

    I have a few questions –

    Henry – How many years does he have left on his contract? will we make some money off him when he leaves end of season?

    Yaya – If he does leave, Kxevin seems to think that we can make the most we possibly could on him this season. How much are we talking about here? It seems like 20-30 m would seem like his market price now

    Hleb, Caceres – What are their market prices?

    • Kxevin
      May 14, 2010

      The Yaya’s market value would almost certainly be in the 25-30m range. He’s a Team Changer. He has a much larger transfer number placed by us, but as everyone knows, those are always infinitely malleable.

      Note that if a bidding war ensues, The Yaya’s number could go even higher.

      Hleb’s value is no more than 5-7m. We’ll take a bath on that one. It happens.

      Caceres, because of his play with Juventus, should reasonably fetch around 10m. Juventus, if they want to keep him, will hold out for less, using the argument that he doesn’t want to come back to us anyhow.

      Valencia’s head Llorente has insisted that we and they have no agreement for Villa. So there. Stay tuned with that one.

      I do think that Villa is loyal to his club, and if there is any way that he can stay and not harm the club fiscally, he will. He strikes me as that kind of a player, which is different than the “my client isn’t playing as much as he would like” transfer crap (yes, I’m talking to YOU, Seluk).

    • jake
      May 14, 2010

      I thought Juventus had an option to sign Caceres, not 100% sure how much for though. Hleb will probably just be used as a makeweight, but I’m guessing his market value is in the 6-10 million range maybe?

  13. Kxevin
    May 14, 2010

    More interesting news:

    In the four matches in which we have had neither Xavi nor Iniesta (Racing, Osasuna, Mallorca, Stuttgart), we have gone 4-0. How ’bout that?

  14. barca96
    May 14, 2010

    fenerbache is interested in henry.
    id say we let him go now when we at least can fetch some millions.
    pep, please convince yaya to stay.por favor mister…

  15. Lou
    May 14, 2010


    ‘Andres Iniesta’s persistent hamstring problem is likely to rule him out of Barcelona’s championship-deciding clash with Real Valladolid on Sunday.

    Andres Iniesta has struggled with injury.

    Iniesta came through training on Tuesday and hoped to play at the Camp Nou, but on Friday the Spaniard said it would be “difficult” to be fit for the final match of the campaign.

    “I’ve had a really hard season,” Iniesta explained. “I started injured and I don’t want to finish in the same situation.”

    “It would be really good to play some minutes, but to be honest I don’t think that I will start the game.”‘

    I think that this is probably wise. He won’t be match fit anyway and I think rushing Iniesta back just puts him at risk of another injury which could mean he not only misses the World Cup, but also leads to even more injury woes next season.

  16. Ramzi
    May 14, 2010

    This over 100 million plan is just an election insanity if it happens. One of the no-sense indications is the assumption that buying Villa means offloading Ibra. The only thing that makes Villa transfer tempting is his scoring abilities (so we can have an additional scoring forward?). Aside of that, he has nothing better than Pedro to offer (he even passed his best while Pedro is just warming up. And no need to mention Bojan as well).

    In the other hand, Cesc alone might be ok…Villa alone is not a bad suggestion as well. But both are pure craziness as there is no realistic way to install them both in the stating line up. Of course we can theoretically post anything, but practically it won’t work. Especially if we offload Ibrahimovic. How will the selection be?

    * Busquets-Xavi-Cesc + Iniesta-Villa-Messi?

    Look, one of the reasons that Busquets is having an edge over Yaya is the presence of Keita in the midfield. While having Yaya reduce Keita’s contribution regarding the steel functionality without giving him a chance to do anything else in return (aside of his normal role with Busquets), the keita-busquets midfield bring the best of Keita defensively and offensively and offer Busquets the chance to activate his deep lying playmaking skills which give the midfield a new dimension. Especially when the buildup is under pressure.

    When you buy Cesc to play beside Xavi (and I am not that certain this duet will actually work. As it provides an exceeding quantity of the same spice) You lose the Keita type of players who serves as a water carrier. Historically this is one of the most common mistakes in football. Subbing a water carrier for a sexy player and ending up with pure disappointment. Either you will force Xavi deeper to assist Busquets or Cesc. Most probably it will be Xavi to get advantage of Cesc scoring abilities. He may score more than Xavi and Keita did together, and he will get the praise while others will have to carry any failure. The hidden stitch will be the decline of offense fluidity with Xavi serving deep rather than on the box edge.

    Some might say: “well then let it be Yaya-Xavi-Cesc”. I will not approach the Busquets-per-Yaya endless debate. I have my opinion there and others have theirs. But one thing that stands as a certainty for me is that if we want to start Yaya as a holding midfielder then a Yaya-Busquets-Xavi is a hundred times better than a Yaya-Cesc-Xavi. What makes that Xavi-Cesc logic more catastrophic is offloading Ibra. So we want to offload a big striker for a midget. Bench a midfielder like Keita compromising his inbox offense impact for another midget (Cesc) and play a third midget on the left to complete the collection with Xavi and Messi. If with all the diversity we had this season we still fall in the predictability trap focusing on one way to do the job regardless of how many attempts failed (Against Inter we were just rewinding the same thing over and over again), having a collection of cloned players will not serve better, regardless of what kind of conclusions some coincidences inspired this season.

    In that case, and instead of spending 100 millions on two players, then selling a striker who is at least different from what we already have (and he had a decent first season. Yes you read it right), then neglecting one of our most consistent players this season (Keita) and sacrificing at least two youth talents that may end up being better than anyone we buy (Anyone hope to keep JDS, Thiago, Jeffren, Pedro, and bojan for many years if we sign their identicals-four-years-starters Cesc and villa?), why not doing a less impulsive/popular shopping tour and spend 50 millions on Villa or 30 millions on Silva?

    – If you get Silva, you will have the left wing that will do at least as good there as Iniesta can. Iniesta beside Xavi is better than Cesc beside Xavi, a fact. That makes an Iniesta-Xavi midfield with silva on the left better and cheaper than Cesc-Xavi with Iniesta on the left. Simple. Our young Bojanic Villa can do the Villa work occasionally when it is needed next season, and may end up being a starter the following season (cost=o). Pedro is also there. Jeffren can give it a try as well. The midfield is well covered with Yaya-Busquets-Keita-Xavi-Iniesta-JDS-Thiago-Silva, so as the front line where Even with a new striker and without Henry and Iniesta added to new starter (Pedro) and yet to become a certainty (Bojan) we were doing well this season. Next season we can expect better situation all together, added to Silva.

    – If you get Villa (of course Ibra is there to stay), then you get a Villa-Ibra-Messi scoring machine in front of our midfield. Some may wonder: What if Xavi and Iniesta picked injuries at the same time? I won’t complain to have Messi playing beside Keita with a Pedro/Bojan-Ibra-Villa in front. In fact that’s a great selection, not just a crises option.

    Yet, if more depth requested in the midfield, buy Mascherano for 25 millions (imagine that Mascherano+Silva may not cost as much as Cesc will). With Mascherano in the hood you can push Yaya to his more suitable role in the midfield, or even Busquets.

    The thing is that people believe just signing more players decrease the risk taken by introducing young guys into the selection. That was proved wrong over and over and over again in football. In the dressing room you need key players and players with potentials. You need leaders and underdogs. And most importantly you need maximum diversity and less identical-i-ty. a Guti-Xabi-Granero-Kaka looks like a great structure of quality and depth. It aint. The same as fantastic four including Ronaldinho, Henry, Eto’o and Messi.

    The source of all the creative transfer demands and harsh critics toward all the changes happened this season (Busquets and Ibra in particular, beside youth who took their chances) is the none satisfaction feelings and the belief that we didn’t do well compared to last season, which means that the changes made were bad, putting the overall quality of the squad under doubtful questions. You just cant compare this season to last season’s spark. That’s not valid. Instead, remember the season we had directly after we won the liga and the CL first time with Ronaldinho and co. In fact this current squad succeeded (with the players we had) to achieve what that squad few years ago failed to do: breaking through the pressure of previous success and finishing a successful season regardless of the last game result this weekend. While Ronaldinho, Eto’o and co team collapsed against one of the most fragile Real Madrid squads, this team succeeded to break the points earned record (taking the number of teams of the liga in consideration), that was the only way to stay ahead of the best Real Madrid squad since many years , being one game away from the title. In the CL semi final almost each and every player against Inter played better than each and every player in the same role played against Chelsea. And it worth noting that I watched last season’s semi final again after this season’s match against Inter. This is a squad to be proud of. In fact I doubt last season squad would have won anything if they had to deal with the timely damaging injuries we had this season. To be able to do it this way, means that this squad deserve respect and trust. One or two more players won’t hurt. But spending a 100 Million on two players? Hell no!

    Cesc and Villa are too good to not leave any positive impact if they joined, but still that won’t make it a smart idea. The short term and obvious benefits will hide lot of long term damage and hidden side effects that makes the idea not worth the cost. A price that will exceed the huge financial investment the club will sacrifice.

    • Miguel
      May 14, 2010

      “Look, one of the reasons that Busquets is having an edge over Yaya is the presence of Keita in the midfield. While having Yaya reduce Keita’s contribution regarding the steel functionality without giving him a chance to do anything else in return (aside of his normal role with Busquets), the keita-busquets midfield bring the best of Keita defensively and offensively and offer Busquets the chance to activate his deep lying playmaking skills which give the midfield a new dimension. Especially when the buildup is under pressure.”

      that’s exactly what i said.

    • Euler
      May 14, 2010

      You make a number of very good points. Very well thought out. Thanks.

    • Ciaran
      May 14, 2010

      Can’t agree with the Mascherano thing. He is an EE player, not a Barca player. His passing ability is practically non-existent. The best he generally does is just not lose possession, never split a defense or one-touch passes.
      He would slot in very well for EE but I hope he never goes there as he is too damn good at defending.

      Silva is a better wide player than Iniesta is. Iniesta is definitely at his best playing deeper, allowing him to turn both ways and create more space for Xavi. I’m all for 1 of Silva & Fabregas.

    • missingpage
      May 15, 2010

      I sure hope some of the people in the board think like you Ramzi and don’t rush into UN-necessary signings..but I fear that Laporta is going to mess everything up this time in order to increase the chances of his continuity candidate…that’s why I won’t vote for his successor…
      Great, great read..Thanks!

      • barca96
        May 15, 2010

        excellent post once again from ramzi.

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