Summer Transfers Update 1.0: Signing, Loans, & Youth

Like many of you, I love the summer transfer window. Not because it offers any concrete information on players, but because it is filled with rumor-mongering, lying, and general tomfoolery on account of clubs representatives, agents, and the players themselves. While some may despise it for this very reason (ahem, fearless leader Isaiah, ahem); the level of bluster fulfills some deep-seeded desire for gossip that I just need. As such, I am tasked with providing you with all the juiciest gossip on Barça players and possible transfers. I will update this periodically, and if I miss something, I am sure you will all make it painfully obvious to me in the comments. Please remember this is all based on rumors and speculation for the most part.

Oh, you thought this was going somewhere else?


David Villa – Striker/Winger – FC Barcelona
Where We Stand: *CONFIRMED* Barcelona and Valencia agreed to this transfer at some point before the end of the Liga season and announced it momentarily thereafter for a €40M transfer and signed a 4-year contract.
Luke’s Entirely Too Early, Completely BS Prediction (LETECBSP): He’s going to sign with FCB! YES!

Cesc Fabregas – Midfielder – Arsenal
Where We Stand: Wild speculation abounds. It’s all Cesc, all the time everywhere. Depending on who you ask he’s either coming for sure (me) or he is not coming and the price is too damned high (Kevin). My theory is that the new president will want to make a big-name signing, and in Catalan-ville, they don’t get any bigger than the “prodigal son” (if you fancy ham-fisted biblical references). Also, I think he really wants to leave, I mean, really does. I know he loves Arsenal, but depending on what signings are made they are at best the 3rd best club in the EPL, and at worst somewhere around 7th, and he wants to win trophies. Further, a lot of rumors have him telling everyone privately he wants to leave.
LETECBSP: My opinion is that media scrutiny and Cesc’s admissions he wants to leave eventually cause Arsenal to cave on the purported $80M price tag and bring it somewhere in the €40-€50M range, and we sign him. Although that is too high, I’m just calling it how I see it.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Striker – FC Barcelona
Where We Stand: I hate to break it to the Eto’o apologists in the room, but this guy is not going anywhere. Despite outlandish rumors to the contrary (an $80M move to AC Milan, really?), Ibra’s agent has stated that he has no desire to move, especially to an EPL club, which seem to be the only ones who could afford the ransom it would require to buy him.
LETECBSP: He’s staying, I’m about 90% confident on it. Unless some team like Man City makes an outrageous offer above €40M or so. Laporta all but confirmed this today.

Thierry Henry – Striker/Winger – FC Barcelona
Where We Stand: All but signed, sealed, and delivered to the New York Red Bulls in the MLS, although for some reason he wants a free transfer, even though he has a year left on his contract. I’m not saying he’s gone for good, but…
LETECBSP: He’s gone for good. Some rumor had him to West Ham of the EPL, but my sights are squarely on the NY Red Bulls so Henry can finish out his career in his favorite non-French city. I doubt he leaves on a free.

Yaya Toure – Midfielder/Defenseman – FC Barcelona
Where We Stand: Well, his agent is an outright ass, so we know that much. Anyway, he’s probably gone for any number of reasons, not many I agree with. However, if some club offers anything north of €25M, we have to sell. No offense to the big guy, but he is in no way worth keeping with offers coming in at those numbers. While he may want to stay in Barcelona, he also wants time, and while the club may want to keep him around, other younger midfielders plus Pep’s preference for Biscuits may get in the way.
LETECBSP: 80% chance he leaves. I’ll move it higher if he has a great World Cup and a club like Man City offers us way too much money, but right now I’d say he leaves unless the market is dry or he just changes his mind.

Dymytro Chygrynskiy – Defender – FC Barcelona
Where We Stand: Chygy has been linked to at least 4 EPL clubs (including Arsenal and Manchester United), but the big new rumor is going to Bayern Munich because Van Gaal loves him in the same way Pep does.
LETECBSP: I think he stays because Pep will put some kind of huge price tag on him, like $30M or something because he likes what he has seen previously. But you never know.

Alberto Botia – Defender – Sporting Gijon
Where We Stand: *CONFIRMED* Botia has been on loan to Gijon all season from FCB and the youth team. It has been confirmed that he is leaving on a free to Gijon and signed a 4-year contract, although FCB does retain buyback rights during the first 3 years. We wish him luck, and hopefully he will be back.
LETECBSP: He’s leaving for Gijon. Just call me Nostradamus people.

Pedro! – Attacker/Winger – FC Barcelona
Where We Stand: *CONFIRMED* Pedro has signed an extension with FCB until 2015.
LETECBSP: He’s going to be here for a long time and we are making a huge investment in him.

Xavi – Midfielder – FC Barcelona
Where We Stand: *CONFIRMED* Xavi has signed an extension until 2016. After 2013, he must play in more than half of all games in order for his contract to be extended on a year-to-year basis.
LETECBSP: He’s going to finish out his playing career here.


Is Hleb coming back?

Aleksandr Hleb – Midfielder – FC Barcelona/Stuttgart
Where We Stand: After spending a year in Barcelona, being unfairly derided, and playing sparingly, Hleb was sent on a 1-year loan to Stuttgart where he started most games in the midfield and showed himself nicely. Now it seems he is on his way back to Barcelona in order to add much-needed depth at mid and hopefully atone for some mistakes.
LETECBSP: He’s coming back, although if he plays poorly this year, he’s gone for good.

Keirrison – Striker – FC Barcelona/Florentina
Where We Stand: After spending the first part of the year on loan to Benfica and playing very little, K9 was shipped to Fiorentina, where he played much better, scoring 2 goals and providing good work rate on the attack. As of right now, his loan to Fiorentina extends until the end of the 2010-11 season with an option to buy at €14M after that.
LETECBSP: He’s in Fiorentina until June 2011, then we will see.

Victor Sanchez – Midfielder/Defender – FC Barcelona/Xerez
Where We Stand: He spent the past year on loan to Xerez and scored 2 goals, while getting some good experience. VicSan spent the year over there on a free and FCB can recall him should they so choose.
LETECBSP: Um, yeah… Your guess is as good as mine. I’d bet his stay is extended permanently, but who knows?

Martin Caceres – Defender – FC Barcelona/Juventus
Where We Stand: Juventus wanted Martin, and they got him. He played well early on and I thought for sure he would be back in the blaugrana until he injured himself and only ended up playing 15 games, although he did score 1 goal. Juventus has an option to buy him now and that is a likely option.
LETECBSP: Probably staying at Juve and will be a big part of their future, although rumors of Arsenal swooping in have popped up.

Henrique – Defender – FC Barcelona/Racing Santander
Where We Stand: Well, he was pissed when he was shipped to Santander last year, especially after the signing of Chygrynskiy. Although rumors have him moving to a more competitive side on another loan, it may also be likely he gets a shot if Rafa is gone, or he may well be sold elsewhere due to clogging at the position and the entrance of Bartra.
LETECBSP: Again, your guess is as good as mine, probably a loan.

Youth Players

Am I leaving?

Gai Assulin – Winger – FC Barcelona/Atletic
Where We Stand: Being as it is sometimes difficult to find English information for youth games, I can tell you that he has scored 2 goals on the year for Barça Atletic. Recently, rumors have that Arsenal and Chelsea are hot on his trail, wanting to find the next great young La Masia player.
LETECBSP: Um, probably staying. Maybe he will get some more time for the big team? I have no idea. If someone came in with a good offer, I’m sure we might listen.

Jonathan Dos Santos – Midfielder – FC Barcelona/Atletic
Where We Stand: *CONFIRMED* Re-signed for two years with the club. Huzzah!
LETECBSP: He’s here until at least 2012.

Thiago – Midfielder – FC Barcelona/Atletic
Where We Stand: *CONFIRMED* According to Sport, he’s coming back with the same deal as his BFF JDS, it will be signed next week.
LETECBSP: Not leaving.

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  1. mei
    May 28, 2010

    you didnt just linked “””articles””” did you!
    my imagination is a much more liable source than their common crap!

  2. Blow-Grenade
    May 28, 2010

    The transfer targets will change once the election is concluded. Depends on whether Rosell will get elected or Ingla Co. will get elected.

  3. Jose
    May 28, 2010

    Another great post, Luke 😀 Like having this sorted out… and I wouldn’t mind it if we update this post and bump it to the top whenever something changes this summer.

    • Luke
      May 28, 2010

      Thanks Jose, I appreciate it.

      I am planning on updating it as often as possible, especially after confirmations.

  4. ballbeav
    May 28, 2010

    Laporta (does that mean “the door”?) spoke today on the Yaya situation:


    “if there are players that ask to go, then we have to study that possibility, but in principal, we want to keep with us all the players we have in our roster.”

    “Toure is a great player that has given us a great yield in Barca and for that reason we would like that he continues many years here, but his representative has risen the possibility that he might leave, as they are unhappy in some sporting aspects. the player is unhappy because he aspires to play more minutes and for that reason we will listen to the offers that come in from other clubs.”

  5. Jnice
    May 28, 2010

    The Yaya is a goner. Like I said before, regardless of whether Cesc comes or not, we need another DM if Yaya leaves. Sadly, that might not happen.

    I reckon Gai will leave. I mean if you can’t even get minutes on Barça Atletic, you won’t be playing for the first team for awhile. So his delusions of grandeur need to end. Focus on getting better, dude. And there is that small issue of the rise of Gerard Deulofeu.

    It’s sad that the only other reinforcement our club seems to be looking at is Cesc Fabregas. Then again, if Laporta signs Cesc and no one else before June 30, it doesn’t mean we won’t sign more players.

    I’m sure the new president will want to make at least one signing under his reign. Rosell is already saying as much in his recent interviews, “I said we had some proposals. If they’re asking whether we’ve got Wayne Rooney, for example, well, no. If we win the elections on the 14th, we’ll sit down with the coaching staff and ask them, “Apart from what you wanted, we’ve got this and this. Are you interested?” And he’ll be the one who decides.”

    Sport says that next season, Jonathan Soriano, Thiago, Jonathan, Bartra, Fontas,and Muniesa could all see some time next season, and two of them will probably be in between teams, like Pedro was in 08/09.

    • Jnice
      May 28, 2010

      That Rosell statement was in response to this question:

      You’ve talked about proposing some players to Guardiola. Isn’t that interfering in the coach’s bailiwick?

      As a follow up, this question and his response was also interesting:

      That implies that some players have been looked into and a commitment has been reached with some of them.

      Yes, some people have been working to see if it could help Barça.

      • Luke
        May 28, 2010

        I would honestly say Soriano and Thiago are going to get a lot of time next year in the midfield, and that may be great. Soriano apparently has had a good year and Bartra seemed like a revelation when he played. I think we may sell Rafa and Bartra will be the one who comes in.

        • Jnice
          May 28, 2010

          True. I can’t wait for preseason. More youth players will get a chance to play because our players at the WC will get extra rest if their teams advance. Also, Spain has a friendly against Mexico around the same time. Kinda sucks that everyone won’t get a full preseason, though.

          Forgot to say, great post. Keep up the good work, bud.

        • vicsoc8
          May 28, 2010

          I think you mean Jonathon Dos Santos?

          I was under the impression Soriano was a forward who was older, like 24 or so (although he did have a good year).

          • Jnice
            May 28, 2010

            Yeah, Soriano is a forward and Sport says he will get a look in next season. He has been excellent for Barça Atletic.

          • Luke
            May 28, 2010

            I did mean Dos Santos at Mid, but Soriano has played well from what I hear. Good catch.

          • barca96
            May 28, 2010

            soriano is kinda old.
            but since he had a good year why not give him a pre-season.

  6. Luna
    May 28, 2010

    Concerning Ibra, Laporta (it is reported) said:

    El club inglés, en el que juega el hermano de Yaya, Kolo Touré, también está interesado por Zlatan Ibrahimovic, pero Laporta ha asegurado que el delantero sueco “no está en venta”.

    The Englsih club, in which Yaya’s brother Kole Touré plays, is also interested in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but Laporta has affirmed that the swede is “not for sale”

  7. IS
    May 28, 2010

    I thought we sold Vic San to Xerez last summer with some sort of buy back clause – was it really a loan? (not sure why we would’ve done that judging by his performances). On the Hleb matter, his potential to gel with our system is obvious – maybe this time around he’ll actually roll up his sleeves and work his ass off on and off the pitch.

    Luke, you only mentioned two of the kids with pending contracts, so.. does this mean that Thiago, Bartra and Vic Vasquez already renewed? Last I read, their contracts were also expiring end of June. My obvious take on this matter is that I hope they all renew and in the case of Vic Vasquez, maybe Pep will consider promoting him to the first team and using him as a sub for Xavi/Iniesta. Unfortunately, haven’t managed to watch too many Barca Atletic games lately to judge his level of play of late.

    On a side note (well not really): it would be great if we could have a small post on the players who we currently have buy-back clauses on (Crosas and Gio Dos Santos, not sure if there are any others). Judging by Gio’s performances over the past year for the Mexican national team, I wouldn’t mind having him come back to play as a LW sub (I’m sure he wouldn’t mind either after his glory hunting failed miserably). Not sure how Crosas has been playing, watched a couple Celtic games earlier in the season – but nothing spectacular. Although, again, he could be a useful sub in the absence of Xavi/Iniesta (especially if we lose Yaya who in my opinion, is extremely well suited for playing higher up the pitch)

    • Jnice
      May 29, 2010

      Thiago’s contract looks set to be renewed within days or the next few weeks.

      Vasquez will probably be let go because of his age and that injury that set him back. It’s a shame because he really did look promising in the 08 preseason and in the youth teams with Messi, Pique, and Fabregas, he was thought to have serious potential. Pep was going to give him a chance in the 09 preseason and he would have probably been ahead of Jonathan and Thiago in the pecking order, but that knee injury fucked over everything. I really liked him.

      Bartra’s contract is still be negotiated and apparently there’s some serious interest from the EE. Hope we hang on to him.

      I didn’t think we had a buy-back clause on Gio, but I could be wrong. As for Crosas, eh, he is average.

      And instead of Hleb, I would rather have Benayoun, but I’m probably alone in wanting him to come. I think he would be a fantastic role type player and do what Hleb failed to do. Besides, he played in La Liga for 3 years with Racing.

      • Luke
        May 29, 2010

        You are not alone in Benayoun, he’s the most underrated player in the EPL in my opinion and keeps getting screwed out of first-team time at ‘Pool.

        Crosas can stay, he’s a good player, but no time here for him and Vasquez is probably out for all I know.

        Alacantra and Bartra will be here next year, as will JDS… Gai is another issue all together.

      • IS
        May 29, 2010

        My bad, we didn’t have a buy-back on Gio – just some financial clause on future transfers.

        Regarding Benayoun, while he’s a fantastic player, I don’t see us giving him much more priority/playing time than Liverpool have been.

  8. barca96
    May 28, 2010

    luke, did you forget about fontas, gio, bartra, thiago?
    a few weeks back in an interview with laporta, he said that muniesa and fontas are likely to be promoted next season.

    so we are not interested in david silva?

    the only activity that txiki should be doing is renewing the contracts of the current players and youth players, that’s it.

    • Jnice
      May 29, 2010

      Muniesa and Fontas won’t be fully promoted this upcoming season.

      Txiki said that a couple of players will be in between teams like Pedro was in 08/09.

      Silva is a fallback option if the Cesc deal doesn’t go through, apparently. But, Real are already in advanced negotiations and it seems Silva is a Madrid fan.

      Apart from renewing contracts, we need to be looking for reinforcements for the squad. Our squad was too short last season.

      • Luke
        May 29, 2010

        I did not forget about them at all. Like I said, this is a work in progress and I wanted to get it up. As soon as I have some concrete new updates about these players, I certainly will edit and post them.

  9. ElShowDeJason
    May 29, 2010

    Laporta: “Cesc sólo vendrá al Barcelona por un precio de mercado”
    Laporta: “Cesc will only be brought to Barcelona at a market price”


    althought I think this is a load of crap, because WE. WILL. OVERPAY., I like that the intention is there, or at least the acknowledgement that we SHOULDN’T overpay.

  10. iBlau
    May 29, 2010

    Can somebody give me a definition of “tapping up” cuz A LOT of my Gooner friends are criticizing Barcelona and their approach to Cesc….
    i mean talking shit about we’re worse than EE & blah blah blah…

    • Jnice
      May 29, 2010

      Tapping up is talking to player and/or his agent without permission of the team he is contracted to. This happens ALL the time. We do it, Arsenal does it, virtually all teams do it.

      What sets Arsenal and their fans apart is that every time one of our players says something about Cesc, they cry foul. Anytime Laporta mentions a word starting with the letter C, they cry foul.

      Your Arsenal friends can criticize us all they want, but their team is no different than ours in terms of trying to sign players.

    • Kari
      May 29, 2010

      It’s what they did to bring Fabregas to England.

  11. boat forever
    May 29, 2010

    forgive me for my ignorance… who is this luke? don’t remember to have seen any comments by this poster previously!!

    • ballbeav
      May 29, 2010

      like pearl jam…never played one show before they were signed to a major label…

  12. boat forever
    May 29, 2010

    “Although losing JDS and Yaya could make us lose Isaiah too”

    EPIC 😛

  13. Bundy
    May 29, 2010

    Anyone know of any possible alternative signings for our midfield?

    Poulsen or Pjanic maybe?

    don’t forget the Felipe rumours.

    • Jnice
      May 29, 2010

      Poulsen? Eww.

      Pjanic is supposedly a Madrid fan.

      According to Sport, if Yaya leaves, we may go for Alou Diarra from Bordeaux or Moussa Sissoko from Toulouse. Apparently, both would be relatively cheap. 10 million euros for Diarra and 10-15 for Sissoko.

      If you’re talking about Felipe Luis from Deportivo, Atletico Madrid are currently in negotiations for him.

  14. has anyone considered that if we loose yaay (sigh I hope not), then the always selfless Xavi of Cesc (if we get him in a package for Yaya, could move into the DM role. I mean Cesc was a creative mid at the arsenal, and that pretty much equates to a DM in la liga, being that we have such a touchy league. Cesc would be rugged enough for the role, and Xavi could just do what he normaley does, just play deeper.



    Without question the best, most talented, football savy front 6 on the planet.

    The only other thing that I am thinking is Rosell may go anti cruyff and go 4-4-2 on us assuming ibra leaves.


    This lineup looks nice but we would really rely on Abidal and Dani to become more offensive minded and keep some width. I may also swap Inestia and Cesc to balance things out as Inestia and Abidal leave us virtually no scoring on the left and we would have an abundance of offense on the right with Cesc and Alves. That is not saying that SPF 50 is not a better player than Cesc, because I believe he is, but Cesc is a much better scorer.

    • Blow-Grenade
      May 30, 2010

      Cesc will be the holding midfielder if he comes. Yaya is good as gone. It will be Busi who will be at the loosing end, or even Ibra, since Cesc can play as a striker and bang in the goals.

  15. As for cesc coming, I feel like we are in the drivers seat there. It is very ManU/EE/Ronaldo esque. Said player (Cesc) has made it clear he wants to leave, but the Arsenal want to hold on to him a bit longer, so I would think that we would make an agreement that NEXT year Cesc comes to barca, prolly for a lot less money that if we were to get him this year. I can see him playing out of position for us all the time because he is just to good not to have on the field. But having said that he can not take the Xaviensta role. And if the executives at barca or even pep is crazy enought to think Andres is a long term LW replacement for henry he is dead wrong. Cesc on the other hand could play their, leaving us with a front line of Cesc, villa and messi, again assuming Sport gets its wat and forces Ibra out. If he would go to a team like Man City, then we could prolly recoup almost all of our investment and get Micha Richards in return, although I would prefer Adam Johnson.

  16. Bundy
    May 29, 2010

    I am almost certain Ibra will not even think of wanting to leave.

    this is how things go down, Villa is a replacement to Henry, but he also allows us to be able to rest messi and field Pedro in his preferred position which is RW, Villa is also our second choice striker, even if he does play LW he still can play that striker role where he either cuts in a diagonal run or do that Henry style run from deep and Pique gives a long ball for him to run onto one on one with the Keeper.

    Ibra will have a more technical role where i think he will play a lot closer to midfield. There is a very good skill Ibra has is that he is good a giving very quick (even one touch) direct passes, He can be very useful when we are shifting ball from wing to wing, aswell as when we attack, but thats only if Messi and Villa stick to their winger role and stay wide. Other than that, ibra is our man who will work in the box and gives Alves and Abidal/Maxwell someone to cross to.

    I see Cesc as a player whose role would be similar to Keita’s, where he will be the midfielder who will crash into the box and he will be our outlet for long shots or early crosses, very usefull!!!. When Iniesta plays as a LM next to Xavi, Xavi will be the one who will charge forward more, while iniesta plays his usual psychedelic style of dribbling and passing as well as tracking back.

    Bojan is patient enough to wait for his opportunities, I reckon he will be given a good amount in the beginning of the season, where he will be our second choice to Villa’s role.

    well this my opinion one what some of our player’s roles will be next season. That is if we do get Cesc this summer.

  17. Auld Super
    May 29, 2010

    Now I’m no expert but what in gods name would be the thinking swapping YaYa for Mascherano ? YaYa can actually play a bit whereas Masc can only destroy, surely he’d be a better signing for madrid now that that portuguese gob shite is there and will be boring us all to death next year.

    Looks like we’re stuck with Zlatan too due to his massive wages. Our only hope now is moneybags man city which i think might happen and before you all start the club can’t afford to keep him even if he didn’t just get in the way.

    • tutomate
      May 29, 2010

      Our only hope for people to start being reasonable.

      “Oh were stuck with Zlatlan poor us” 🙂

  18. vicsoc8
    May 29, 2010

    Whoever said Benayoun above… what a great idea! He would be relatively cheap, would be willing to act as a sub for our midfielders, and may even be able to play on the wings on occasion.

    I also see Cesc as a replacement for Keita… which is why he isn’t exactly needed this season.

    • Kari
      May 29, 2010

      Hell to the Abidal no!

      In my view, to play for Barca you have to be really, really good; i.e to replace someone with the abilities of Xavi/Messi and co.

      Me thinks Benayoun looks good because, well, Liverpool haven’t been so good and don’t think he’s Barca quality. Are you guys just mentioning him because he seems like an older version of Assulin?

      • Ahhh, because they are Israeli they are the same by your assessment, so by that thought Messi and Tevez are the same because they are both Argentine and play up front, Messi being a younger version of course. Sure they are both Israeli and look similar but come on, Benny is a much more direct and frankly tougher player than Gai, who is more Ronni like with his flash and ball tricks. I would say Benayoun is much more like a better version of Pedro, a true winger who has some touch in or around the box. But he is much more versatile than P!, Jesus he even played center forward for Liverpool for a few games last year.

        • Kari
          May 29, 2010

          “Ahhh, because they are Israeli they are the same by your assessment”

          Whoa, whoa, whoa! That is NOT what I said–that’s your assumption. The reason I said that was because Benayoun is a winger and, from what little I’ve seen him play, looks like he plays similar to Assulin. The “older version of Assulin” just means he has more experience and is a maturer player than the person [Assulin] whom I believe has a similar skill set–that’s all.

          Anyway, if he’s more similar to P! (It seems that you follow Liverpool so I’ll take your word for it), then we definitely don’t need him. We also have Bojan on the wings with HeWhoIDoNotWantToReturn (i.e Hleb) returning as well.

          If we need anything, it’s a back-up right back and another creative midfielder; and making sure Yaya stays.

          • Yeah didn’t mean to come off so serious Kari, you are a good member and I came off harsh, I am sorry for that. I agree totally that we need a right back, but we are getting Helb back so I am not so sure we need another creative mid, although as I said in an earlier post I would give up either JDS or Thiago + Hleb + a shit ton of cash 10-12.5 mil for Man City’s Adam Johnson. Or give man city Yaya and get back Johnson and Micah Richards.

  19. Jnice
    May 29, 2010

    From Sid Lowe’s twitter:

    Revenge for Cesc? Arsenal (and City) talking to 19 yr old Barca B player Gai Assulin about move to England…

    Is it bad that I kind of want to see him go to England with his delusions of grandeur and end up like Giovani with no playing time? Because that is what will happens if he goes to one of those clubs.

    I’m over Gai. On to the next one.

    • Kari
      May 29, 2010

      Agree completely. I was never really sold on Gai; he didn’t really impress me tbh.

      If he wants to pull a Gio, I say “meh”, we have others to fawn over.

  20. barca96
    May 29, 2010

    i got this piece of news flash from someone else.

    Sport has reported breaking news,
    ibra’s agent spoke to COM RADIO
    “If after paying 75 million Guardiola does not play, you go to a mental hospital”

    looks like google translotor gone wrong but i do get what
    mino was trying to say

    • Kari
      May 29, 2010

      He’s basically saying “If Guardian doesn’t play Ibra, after signing him for 75 mil, he should go to a mental hospital”.

      Douche. He’s rightand has a point, but still: douche.

      • Kari
        May 29, 2010

        You know you’re visiting the Guardian website too much when…

        I meant to say: *Guardiola

  21. Jnice
    May 29, 2010

    I can’t wait to watch the Spain-Saudi Arabia match today. Here is the starting lineup for Spain:

    Casillas; Sergio Ramos, Piqué, Puyol, Arbeloa; Busquets, Xabi Alonso; Silva, Xavi, Iniesta; y Villa.

    It’ll be nice to see how Villa plays with Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets…

    I’m going to have to download it, though because I’m going to the USA-Turkey match in Philly. Hopefully US wins.

  22. mei
    May 29, 2010

    he said that “its crazy for a transfer of 75 million to not play” , something like that.
    Which is true as a sole statement , however Ibrahimovic played a lot during last season so it also makes the above statement not true.
    Guardiola gave him plenty of gaming time , and plenty of time to recover his injuries and confidence.
    It was only during the last games that was rightfully benched since the kid did a clearly better job , scored goals, and made our game look easier.
    This means that , although not playing a very expensive transfer is crazy , no matter how much money or importance someone costs , if someone else does the job better than him he will be chosen instead.
    Player selection is mainly chosen based on who will get the job that the coach wants done better , rather than how much money someone cost or how important a player thinks he is , or fans think he is.
    Examples : pedro over henry, bojan over ibra, busquets over yaya ,keita over iniesta and vice versa, pique over marquez , messi over giuly/ronaldinho and so on.

  23. fcbfan
    May 29, 2010

    Has the Spain friendly started already?

    • Kari
      May 29, 2010

      Starting in about 5-6 minutes.

      Find a link here: *

  24. Kari
    May 29, 2010

    Starting Line-up for Spain (vs Saudi Arabia)

    Ramos – Pique – Puyol – Arbeloa
    Busi – X.Alonso – Xavi
    Silva – Villa – Iniesta

    Ha! 6 Barca players, 4 EE player,…and Silva. 🙂 (i.e it should be SEVEN Barca players…)

  25. Kari
    May 29, 2010

    Spain are currently being outplayed by Saudi Arabia. They [the Saudis] just missed a practically open net.

  26. fcbfan
    May 29, 2010

    Unusual tosee Spain not dominating midf

  27. fcbfan
    May 29, 2010

    Piqu is rusty … better ow than the wc

    better now

  28. Kari
    May 29, 2010

    Saudis have scored! You can’t say Saudi Arabia hasn’t deserved it!

    1-0 after a Casillas mistake (the third EE player to make one!)

  29. Ryan
    May 29, 2010

    Come on Spain! Shame to see a Pique and Casillas mess up for the goal, but better now than in the actual tourney.

  30. Kari
    May 29, 2010

    Iniesta’s starting to get into the game. Nice to see GhostFace getting in there!

  31. fcbfan
    May 29, 2010

    Yeah deserved. shoulda been 200, unbelievable miss earlier lol.

    :2 0

  32. Kari
    May 29, 2010

    Villa’s runs and movement have been superb–his sharpness, not so much. Still, it seems like it’ll only be a matter of time till Villa finds his feet.

    He’ll fit like a glove when he plays for us!

  33. Kari
    May 29, 2010

    See! Xavi-Iniesta to Villa to goal! Beautiful!

  34. Hilal
    May 29, 2010

    Xavi to Iniesta to Villa to GOAL!!!! 🙂

  35. Kari
    May 29, 2010

    Iniesta and Villa’s chemistry is amazing! Xavi as well. Oooh, I can’t wait till next season!

  36. Hilal
    May 29, 2010

    Oh man, Iniesta and Villa are working really well together!! Also, Iniesta is looking really good, very lively, very good first touch. It really makes me realise how much we missed him in the final stretch of the season…. ahh what could’ve been!!

      • Hilal
        May 29, 2010

        HAHA. Its just so nice seeing Iniesta play well again! He really is one of my favourite players and on his day is one of the best in the world. IT is also just hitting me that we have VILLA!!! Watching them all play together and linking up so well, oh my god, i want next season to start already!!!!

        • Ryan
          May 29, 2010

          Seriously! With Iniesta coming out of injury it’s like we’re signing two world-class players!

  37. fcbfan
    May 29, 2010

    Nice to see Iniesta playing well again!

  38. Kari
    May 29, 2010

    Arbeloa has NOT impressed me–and this isn’t really the EE bias talking. He’s been really sloppy. Silva also needs to start playing better…

    • Hilal
      May 29, 2010

      Loool. Kari. I was about to say that Arbeloa is the worst player on the pitch 🙂

  39. Kari
    May 29, 2010

    2-1 Spain. Alonso scores!

    PEDROOOOOOOO! IS COMING ON! Also, Navas, Joan Capdevilla, Marchena as well.

    Silva, Iniesta, Puyol, Ramos are coming off!

  40. Kari
    May 29, 2010

    LOVE how Villa is closing down the defense. Sami Eto’o-esque, you could say…

  41. Euler
    May 29, 2010

    It will be interesting to see how Spain adjusts it’s tactics as they move into the Cub tournament.

    Senna was one of the central keys to their victory in Euro 2008. Senna’s lack of fitness and form take his skill set away from Spain now.

    In this match they can make up for Senna’s defensive presence and physicality by playing two holding midfielders in Alonso and Busquets. It’s interesting to see how despite the large substitutions just made Busi and Alonso are still on the pitch together.

    Essentially Spain are playing a 4-5-1, but more specifically a four band 4-2-3-1. Those two defensive holding midfielders enhance their defensive solidity.

    But how they incorporate and play Torres will be the interesting question. They will have to change their tactics considerably from how they have played today and how they finished up Euro 2008 after Villa’s injury.

    Does Del Bosque feel comfortable playing one holding midfielder given that they don’t have Senna’s physicality? If not how do they make up the defensive solidity? If they do play two holding midfielders how do they play both Villa and Torres while still maintaining width?

  42. Love the idea of Benayoun, he would fit into our system really well and does not have an ego, he would be completely content as a role player. I also really like that Pjanic kid from Lyon, could add some serious young depth to our midfield, I know its blasphamous but I would give up either JDS or thiago plus Hlieb plus 15 mil for that kid (pjanic).

    • barca96
      May 29, 2010

      ur clueless on this one john :p

      first of all, i dont think pjanic would want to sit on the bench.
      and 2nd of all, why give away players who are tailor made for us?

      • Ur nuts if u think Pjanic is not on a different level than both of those guys. Thiago is 19 and JDS and Pjanic are both 20….only one of the three had an amazing Champions League campaign last year, scored against Fiorentina , scored again and assisted twice in their next game, OHHHH and then he knocked out Real Madrid, the kids a player period. Not so clueless bro. Any person that is a true FAN and not a cantera FAN BOY would rather have him over either of the 2 kids next year……

        • Jnice
          May 29, 2010

          He’s a self-proclaimed EE fan, so talent aside, I don’t really want him here. He obviously is more talented than JDS and Thiago and that’s in large part due to first team experience.

          • Well that changes everything, but I stand by my assertion that he is a better player that either JDS or Thiago and just because he is not a cantera grad, should not exclude him from being considered. Being a EE fan does exclude him lol.

  43. jordi
    May 29, 2010

    Yes if only for his heading im glad llorente replaced Negredo who also has a penchant for reds.

  44. Kari
    May 29, 2010

    Umm, OT, but I’m confused.

    Villareal B is currently playing Real Sociedad (and losing 1-0) in the Segunda Division (i.e. Spanish version of the English Championship). Now, Villareal is still in the First Division and I believed that there had to be a division between the A and B teams as to avoid the possibility of the B team getting promoted and playing in the same league as the A team, so, Villareal B should be playing in Segunda Division B. Was there a change in the rules or something…?

    • Tim
      May 29, 2010

      Villareal B can play in the Segunda, but they cannot be promoted and my understanding is that if Villareal were to be relegated, Villareal B would be relegated as well.

      Barca Atletic is currently involved in the playoffs to be promoted to the Segunda. Their next match is tomorrow.

      • Kari
        May 29, 2010

        I see. Makes sense, I guess. Thanks Tim!

        And Go Barca Atletic! Luis Enrique’s doing great for the team!

  45. IS
    May 29, 2010

    Here’s something that hasn’t been discussed much (for some strange reason)… What happens if/when YAYA goes??

    Now we all know that Busi and Keita offer a different set of tools, so with that in mind, do we go for another DM? No other DM out there can provide what Yaya gives the team. Most DMs are hyperactive ‘tackle-and-passers’ (think Mascherano), so in that sense, losing Yaya will inevitably mean a certain loss of calm on the pitch when it’s needed. I don’t know about all of you, but personally, I do feel that a replacement would be necessary – preferably someone who won’t cost us too much (ie. not Mascherano – Messi won’t be too happy but oh well) and who plays at a Yaya-pace with the same attacking qualities.

    From what I’ve seen over the past year, I would say Toulalan could be a decent replacement. Any views on this matter?

    • Eklavya
      May 29, 2010

      well it has been discussed …

      we will definitely need a DM if yaya goes

  46. barca96
    May 29, 2010

    here’s the link to the mino’ interview regarding the mental hospital.

    57% of over 60k people voted NO when asked if ibra should stay.
    and an overwhelming
    86% of nearly 29k people voted NO when asked if the ibra-etoo swap was good.
    so as you can see, its not only the papers that are unhappy with ibra, its the people in barcelona as well.

  47. Kxevin
    May 29, 2010

    Thanks to all for not rising to Auld Super’s bait. We’ve wasted enough bandwidth a player without whom we wouldn’t have won the Liga this season.

    Who is Luke? Luke is a lurker/commenter who has, distinguished himself and, frankly, meets a need with what he will be able to with World Cup coverage.

    If The Yaya leaves (and Fabregas comes) it will change the way we approach things at any rate since, for the price we are going to pay for him, no way does he sit.

    So if the Mascherano rumors have truth, it makes sense. You’ll need more of a destroyer back there. Have to wait and see on that one. Expect The Yaya to move (and not to Citeh) for 20-30m. He won’t go anywhere that isn’t going to Champions League.

    As an aside, talking about needing mental help, The Yaya wanting to leave the best club in the world is crazy.

    If Assulin hasn’t been re-signed, there’s a reason. Not worried about him. The JDS and Thiago news makes me very happy. Those two are the future, and may well be promoted next season.

    If the rumors are true about Fontas and Muniesa are true, the squad players that we so desperately need could very well come from the cantera.

    Hleb, if he shows the right committment, will do just fine as a squad player. That will help his value, which will help us sell him next season.

  48. Kxevin
    May 29, 2010

    And this, by the by, is where the nonsense comes in. Sport and EMD start the anti-Ibrahimovic campaign. . Raiola thinks there is some truth to it, and lashes out on behalf of his client.

    Recall the Guardiola vacation madness last season.

    • Jnice
      May 29, 2010

      Yup. It’s ridiculous.

      And by the way, is it only me who laughs when reading the conclusion of one of their “Only 10 million separates Barça from Cesc” articles? They ALWAYS end with some optimistic B.S.

      -Each day, the signing gets closer and Cesc will fulfill his dream of wearing the Blaugrana shirt.

      -His long awaited return becomes more of a reality each day.

      -His signing could be closed before the start of the World Cup and he will finally rejoin his family.

      Silly stuff.

  49. barca96
    May 30, 2010

    i know you guys like ibra, but why is my post still awaiting moderation.
    this is the 2nd time when i post a link regarding ibra.

    • Tim
      May 30, 2010

      If you want to post a link put a slash or something else before it like /http:// or *http://

      You bypass the need for the moderators to ok it.

      • barca96
        May 30, 2010

        ahhhhh no wonder i see people putting the
        i was always cursing at those people! lol.

  50. barca96
    May 30, 2010

    Mino Raiola:”Pep should go to a mental hospital if he’s not playing Ibra”

    Mino Raiola, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s agent stated for ‘Com Radio’: “If after paying 75 million for Ibrahimovic, Guardiola does not want him, I would recommend to go to a mental hospital.”

    The agent insisted, and compared the player’s situation with that of a marriage: “A woman marriage renewed annually or speak when they want to divorce?” Said Raiola and said, “If you sign a player for 75 million each year do not speak , you talk when you do not want more. “

  51. Jim
    May 30, 2010

    Slight change of view from Ibra’s agent? If he’s really wanting to stay, Ibra needs to get a hold of what this guy’s saying. Pep may already be hacked off at the attempt to pressure him to play Ibra. In a way I feel sorry for Ibra. He’s always seemed to want to give this a real go but in this downtime before the WC he was always bound to be one of the topics for discussion. However, his big chance will come at the start of next season when our WC players will be needing careful handling and he should be raring to go after a full pre season.


    Can’t see him going to either to be honest. City would be seen as a big step down and don’t think a tall CF would be top of Chelsea’s shopping list till they see if Mourinho will manage to lure either or both of Lampard and Ashley Cole as money would be needed for replacements.

  52. Jnice
    May 30, 2010

    That article didn’t use Raiola’s whole statement. After that he said,

    “He is happy in Barcelona and although he hoped that the end of his season would be different, he scored 22 goals and his first year has been quite positive. Also, [Joan] Laporta has said that he is not for sale.”

    • barca96
      May 30, 2010

      but there was no need to attack pep in the first place.

  53. Jim
    May 30, 2010

    Yeah but my point was that there was no need to say that at all and the extra bit is hardly a ringing endorsement of his intention to stay. Sounds to me like the start of a hedging of bets from the Ibra camp. I’ve no problem with him staying and fighting for a place but this smacks of a ” just in case they decide to sell me I’ll get the new challenge excuse in first”. It’s easily halted in its tracks by Ibra speaking to the press himself so there is no doubt.

    I say again players need to get a hold of what their agents say. How hard would it be to tell their agents they are history if they bad mouth the coach or suggest a move is possible? Otherwise, the obvious inference to be drawn is that the player tacitly supports what is being said which I doubt Ibra does.

  54. Bundy
    May 30, 2010

    If players are under so much pressure when it comes to these situations, why do they let their agents stir things up more and make things worse?

    It just baffles me, I understand agents work for their clients to get whats best for them. But wouldn’t things be easier if they tried to stay away from the media, then there may be more respect pointed in their direction.

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