The Opening Days of Sandro Rosell

There is a lot of news to report from the opening days of Sandro Rosell’s presidency. I’ll try to get through all of it here, but no promises since there’s a lot. Let’s start with the sporting stuff:

In player transfers, there’s Yaya’s departure to Manchester City, which I covered in part here. There’s more information (thanks Vj) about the transfer fee, which is €30m total, but only €24m goes to the club while €6m goes to Yaya’s agent Dmitri Seluk. Confirmation of this is on the official site. This does bring up a couple of questions, including what the real value of other transfers has been for the club and what involvement agents should have in the ownership rights of the players they’re negotiating for. More importantly for the transfer on hand, it brings up the question of whether €24m is actually good amount of money for Yaya. I was of the opinion that €30m+ was a solid financial deal for us, but cutting out those €6m does change it a lot for me. Not only do I think it was bad business from a sports perspective, now I also think it was bad business from a financial perspective. And yes, I realize that €24m is a lot of money, but if Javier Mascherano is worth €30m+ then Yaya is certainly worth that much. We got hosed.

Our loanees (Keirrison, Henrique, Hleb, and Caceres) are all on the block and can be purchased for, well, probably a couple of pennies on the dollar. That’s not surprising and apparently Guardiola wants nothing to do with them. Fine. So they’re out. Case closed.

Moving on to broader picture stuff in the sporting department, Txiki Begiristain has been replaced as Director of Football/GM by Andoni Zubizarreta. Like Txiki and Guardiola, Zubi was a part of the Dream Team under Cruyff, when he played goalkeeper. He made 410 appearances for the club between 1986 and 1994, but he had the nerve to never score during that entire time. Whether or not this is a good choice is certainly not something that can be said right now. Txiki did a good job, in my opinion, but Zubizarreta could easily surpass that by not buying players like Keirrison and Henrique that Pep clearly doesn’t want to incorporate into the team. He was the Director of Football for Athletic Bilbao from 2001 until 2004, so he knows at least some of the ropes, though now he’ll have a massive budget to work with, so that might make it an entirely different ballgame. Word on the street is that Guardiola is in favor of this change, so that’s another thing Zubi has going for him.

The director of football for the youth squads–a new position–is Guillermo Amor, also a former blaugrana player from the Dream Team years. He made 421 appearances as a midfielder and is, apparently–and this is something you can file away–the Barça player who has won the most trophies with us. He was our director of youth football before (a slightly different capacity), from 2003 until 2007 and he’s back now for another go-around.

Oddness abounds with this one: Johann Cruyff has been summarily stripped of his Honorary President status by Rosell pending some sort of a ratification vote by the members. Rosell claims that the club president–at the time Laporta–can’t just create an Honorary President post whenever he feels like it and that it has to come from the members. Yet he also said that he would like Cruyff to be the Honorary President. And then Cruyff returned his insignia of Honorary President and took Rosell by surprise, though Rosell said that he would have done the same thing cause, you know, he’s all just and honorable and all that jazzerific crap.

And, just to make sure everyone was aware that he was there, Cruyff said, “It hurts, but it appears that I’m a nuisance to this club.” Oh shove, it man. You’re a legend and if some shiny-shoed, snappy-suited president can take that away from you by having you return some lapel pin, then you’ve got bigger ego problems than you need. And if you’re just trying to make Rosell look bad, you’re coming off as a whiny old man. Stop it. You’re Johann Fraggin’ Cruyff, not, say, some thin-skinned blogger up too late on a Friday talking about Dutch dudes.

More, of course, later in the week as some of these changes become clearer, I’ve had a chance to read more about them, and this gosh-darn World Cup stops taking up all of my time. What’s it’s problem, anyway?

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater Philadelphia area.


  1. Dear Mr Rosell

    With regard to your interest in my club captain, who remains under contract. It would appear from recent press reports that your club is so broke it doesnt have a pot to piss in.

    Let me assist you in your financial plight; I am authorised by my board to offer you the sum of ten million Euros for Lionel Messi. I feel this is a very fair offer, and represents our view that he clearly has Arsenal DNA in his bloodstream. I shall of course ask his colleagues to chirrup in his ears and to the world’s media about how good a move it will be for him, until your resolve is finally broken.

    The sum alone should be enough to keep your players paid for a few days, while you work out what else you are going to do to get yourself out of the parlous state you find yourself in.

    If you would like Arsenal FC to play a charity game in your favour – we are, may I remind you, in a very strong financial state – then please do throw your cap my way and I will see if we can have a whip round.

    In the meantime, I wish you every success as you lead ‘more than just a club … a bankrupt club’ into the next few years.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    With very kind regards

    Arsene Wenger

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