Welcome: Javier Mascherano

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images Europe
Well, this is turning into an interesting back half of the week. Today FC Barcelona announced on its official site that the club has reached a deal with Liverpool to buy Argentine MF Javier Mascherano assuming proper medical clearance and all that jazz. Terms are being reported differently everywhere, ranging from 25M euros to 21M + 3M in incentives to 16 + 3 and so on and so forth. All seem to agree that Mascherano will sign a 4-year deal with the club following medicals, photo-ops, and pledging allegiance to Lord Pep.

Initial reactions

I like this deal for a few reasons. The most obvious of which is that we need MF depth, specifically to help out with the defense as we were relying solely on Busquets to buoy the DM position, and failing that, Pique or Keita. Now we have a bona fide DM to stick in as depth, but he can also fill in at other midfield positions in a pinch. A team that is likely going to play 65+ games this season is going to have to have more than one DM, and now we have two that could start.

The key here, and I am sure Pep has already laid this one out, is Masch knowing that he is not going to be the first starter here, Busquets is. And nor should he be at this point, he will have had zero days experience in the club before the Racing game, which he won’t play in. This won’t kill his chances to get a good start, but it will hinder him in some ways, meaning he will come along slowly most likely. This is not a problem, it’s to be expected.

He doesn’t score a lot of goals because he’s not expected to, scoring only 4 goals in his international and club careers combined. He is however a solid leader for Argentina (and Liverpool), serving as the captain through the shit storm that has been the last 4 years for the Albiceleste. Notwithstanding the back line collapse that was Argentina’s final World Cup game against Germany, Masch played well, serving as the only defensive stopgap the team had.

What he does do is fight. Figuratively, sometimes literally, but he’s a fighter. He doesn’t let people run over his teammates and has shown a predilection to fight for Messi when he gets knocked down for Argentina. He won’t allow any of our guys to get knocked down repeatedly and will fight with any opposing player we have. He’s short, but he controls well and is great with crosses.

He’s not perfect, but he’s the depth we needed. People should not be down on this after losing Yaya. Yaya did not want to be here and play under our terms, Mascherano does, and that’s what we need. We could not make it through with one DM all year and Romeu simply is not ready right now. In a couple of years, I think he will be. We will have more and update you more when we are sure. Check out Kevin’s short post with a Masch video if you’d like.

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148 Comments

  1. Eklavya
    August 27, 2010

    I can’t wait to see what sport’s and EMD’s cartoonists make out of Mascherano! 😀

    • JMo
      August 27, 2010

      Hulk sMasch is going to be a tremendous signing for us. When the rumors about YAYA’s departure surfaces last year, Hulk sMasch was the only person that could fill in.

      His competitive nature may see Busquets on the bench later on in the season is he’s outshining the Catalan, but one thing is for sure, and that’s we’re in a much better place to go deep in the CL, ESPECIALLY because of the yellow card rulings.

      His ferocity is tremendous, and I’m glad to see him come, even despite his overweight price tag.

  2. Kevin O
    August 27, 2010

    Liking this deal, but even more cause he’s fiercely loyal to teammates.
    Anyone see the caption for the video though :-P.. lol!! Hopefully we can curb his temper on the pitch, cause every game is a yellow card waiting to happen. Its like he wrote the book on how not to argue with refs..

    • aULD sUPER
      August 27, 2010

      Fiercely loyal to teammates ? Ask the Liverpool teammates that he refused to travel with to Manchester last Monday to play city about that.

  3. poipoi
    August 27, 2010

    I would like an offensive player better but heck, yihaaaa!!!

    does this mean anything on the ibra subject at all? 😉

  4. Alexinho
    August 27, 2010

    I love, love, love this signing, but I think there is a legitimate worry that he’s going to pick up the most red cards of anyone in Liga. Not that he’s a dirty player, but he is, as Kevin put it, a thug.

    • ooga aga
      August 27, 2010

      like suharto, he’s “our S.O.B.”

  5. Hilal
    August 27, 2010

    Off topic here, but what about Adebayour from City as a replacement for Ibra? He doesnt seem to be happy there, isnt starting games and I remember him being on Peps radar when he first took over as coach. He is definitely a very good player. Good on the ball, can pass, good in the air, decent pace. Does anyone know if he has played in the CL qualifiers for City? Is he cup tied?

    • Euler
      August 27, 2010

      City is in the Europa league. Didn’t make the CL. Adebayour played for City in the Europa league but I believe there’s an exception for one player who has played in the Europa qualifiers to play in the CL if transferred.

      If Barca wants a striker rather than a winger their options are very limited now. Adebayour is very talented. However, he could become a real problem in the locker room. He’s looking for first team minutes and won’t get that at Barca. He is very unhappy at City.

    • Alexinho
      August 27, 2010

      No to Adebayor, though I’ll admit I immediately got an “!” over my head when I saw the news that he admitted he may leave. Pep wouldn’t be talking about him now the way he’s played the last two seasons–yes, including his last season with Arsenal.

      Pros: the man is a beast in the air, has great goal-scoring instincts, and definitely deserves the mantle of “a poor man’s Didier Drogba.” He misses a lot of chances, but puts away a lot, as well, like Eto’o.

      Cons: everything else. He can pass well and dribble well (but not THAT well, and is really quite slow), but his laziness can, at times, be compared to Robinho’s. At times he is reduced to a poacher that lives and dies by scoring goals, and when he doesn’t like his position in the club (precisely what happened at Arsenal, not just with him, but with Hleb), that chances scored/chances missed ratio will get smaller and smaller. Besides, what I think makes him so good in the Prem is not necessarily what I think will make him good at all in Liga.

      He has a lot of talent, but like I said, a poor man’s Didier Drogba. There’s gotta be better names out there, if we must lose Ibra.

      Here’s a thought, should that happen…what’s our status on Keirrison? Could he become available, if not now, then in January? I never saw much from him that impressed me, but I didn’t see much of him, then or lately.

    • Jnice
      August 27, 2010

      You made me sick with that Adebayor suggestion, Hilal. I’m sorry, but for me, he lacks quality.

      Anyway, welcome Mascherano. I think people are blowing this red card thing out of proportion. He might get carded due to arguing with the refs more than his tackles. We’ll see.

      • ooga aga
        August 27, 2010

        adebayor = *their* (lazy) S.O.B.

    • Kari
      August 27, 2010

      Adebayor is a step down and an overrated douche bag. Ugh. If we signed him, I would just cry. Literally.

  6. Safado
    August 27, 2010

    What is the over/under on how many red cards Mascherano will have over the season?

    Let’s get on with the real business, Sell Ibra and buy Robinho already!

    • Tyler
      August 27, 2010

      Robinho will never play for Barca while Pep is still here. Pep has repeatedly turned him down and if you think Ibra is a cancer in the lockerroom…..well let’s just say Robinho is even worse.

      Mascherano is a good addition I hope ibra stays mainly for depth reasons as long as he expresses a desire to be at barca and work hard.

      • Alexinho
        August 27, 2010

        Although if Ibra goes, Ramzi’s proposal of “LOAN Robinho and reap the potential rewards with little risk” is sounding like a sound option. And I do believe Pep has inquired about Robinho in the past hmm?

        • Jnice
          August 27, 2010

          I’ll confess to liking Robinho when he was in La Liga (based on pure sporting aspects), but I don’t think he will come.

    • Alexinho
      August 27, 2010

      Oh yeah, over-under–I say he’ll get four, but two will come from second-yellows. My reference is our center-halves, at least Marquez and Pique, who I think both got two last year, although at the ends of the games in question from second-yellows.

  7. Euler
    August 27, 2010

    The term “destroyer” gets used widely but often everyone has a slightly different definition of what the word means.

    Mascherano is a “destroyer” in the sense that he really is a defensive specialist at the holding position. But he’s also more than that because he’s an accurate passer on top of that. He’s not a creative passer. But he’s accurate and solid with the ball at his feet.

    It’ll be interesting to see how he’s used. 20M+variables is a good deal for Mascherano but it’s also very expensive for a back up player. In this sense the deal is a mixed value.

    That said – given the teams urgent need for depth at DM and the rapid close of the transfer window this was a deal the club could no turn down.

    Let’s hope there won’t be problems between the club and Pep and this player. I know Pep wanted him even last season but once Masch picks up his first several yellow cards how will Pep react, etc.?

  8. August 27, 2010

    So as Euler pointed out, Guardiola wanted Villa and Mascherano last season. Now he has them, which means that the Ibrahmovic deal is all but done and dusted. Is it just me, or did it seem as though when we became the front-runners for Mascherano, the Ibrahimovic stuff really went south? Interesting.

    This gives us a lot of possible combinations, particularly with the versatility of Busquets, Mascherano, Maxwell and Adriano (there? Happy now?). It also means that when Iniesta is on the left wing, Busquets can become a playmaker with Mascherano assuming the DM duties.

    In the video thread (new video, by the by …. those cranky Liverpool fans!), cleareyesfullhearts makes a good point about Mascherano’s tackles and the Liga. Seems like we should do pre-emptie strike and send some Mascherano videos to the Liga, saying “Okay, we got this dude, and you know what fakers Liga attackers are. Heads up.”

    Latest rumor, by the by, is that Huntlaar is BACK as part of the deal? Noooooo! I mean better him than Robinho, but I’d take my mama over Robinho.

    • Jnice
      August 27, 2010

      Based on skill and who would have more of an impact in La Liga, it’s Robinho over Huntelaar every day of the week. Robinho has a bad rep I guess because of his attitude or whatever, but in La Liga he was crucial for Real for a couple of seasons on that left side.

      Huntelaar is not good enough. Did you see the way he spoiled that counter for Milan against us? Terrible.

      • Alexinho
        August 27, 2010

        When I saw all the highlights for Real that last year they won Liga, gawrsh. I knew less about the game back then, but he struck me as class through and through. I second Jnice and say that I would take Robinho over Huntelaar “every day of the week.”

    • poipoi
      August 27, 2010

      so true on the combinations, plus the dude is supposed to be one of the best in his position. it’s a great signing. And now with jds busi keita thiago xavi iniesta maxwell adriano I do want ibra out, big time! and iniesta winger I don’t care anymore if villa and messi play a la 4-4-2 . more combinations 😀

    • Eklavya
      August 27, 2010

      Adriano’s real family name is Claro. 😛

  9. MoSSi
    August 27, 2010

    I think Ibra is gonna stay, I also have a ‘feeling’…

    • Diabolics
      August 27, 2010

      BS.com reports that Allegri got a positive answer from Ibra in a phone call just recently.

      • Hilal
        August 27, 2010

        “BS.com reports….” need i say more?

      • Jnice
        August 27, 2010

        Original source is Sky Sport Italia.

          • August 27, 2010

            And it should be noted that there are real journalists as Sky Sports. None of that made up bollocks. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

            Ibrahimovic. Is. Gone.

  10. August 27, 2010

    Something else to keep in mind is that while Mascherano is no Keiteee, our Malian bulwark is 30 years old. How long can he be expected to keep doing what he’s doing at the highest level?

    • ML
      August 27, 2010

      Good point, Kevin. But this reaches much further than just Keita. Maxwell, Abidal, Puyol, Xavi, Milito and even to some extent David Villa will need replacements in the forseeable future.

  11. Hilal
    August 27, 2010

    @Jnice… lol. sorry if i made you sick with the Ade suggestion, but he isnt that bad. Fine, he isnt Ibra, but you would be hard pressed to find a striker who is. Ade is as close as your gona get in the current market in terms of size and ability. Players like Robinho dont really bring anything different to the side. Quite frankly I would much rather play Pedro or Iniesta on the left over Robinho.

    Unfortunately I dont think we will sign anyone in place of Ibra. If he goes I think that is it, we will use what we have.

    Interesting point made that Pep is getting what he originally wanted last year before we signed Ibra. I would certainly be A LOT happier if Ibra leaving is Peps decision and not Rossels. It doesnt bother me too much that Ibra leaves, we will continue to be awesome regardless, what worries me is that Ibra is sold against Peps will. If that isnt the case then it becomes much less of a problem. Although I do think we need more than one CF and if Ibra goes there is only one…

    • Jnice
      August 27, 2010

      Iniesta isn’t better than Robinho on the left. No way, no how. Did you guys not watch him in La Liga with Madrid those last couple of years? Take away all the negative feelings you have towards him and whatever else and look at it from a purely sporting perspective. How is Iniesta better than Robinho on the left?

      • August 27, 2010

        Robinho doesn’t play defense, doesn’t work and doesn’t track back. He was good for EE because they were okay with those negative attributes. Put it like this: Would you rather have Iniesta, who isn’t going to score too many goals, but who will contest for possession in the midfield, make assists and track back on defense, generating and saving goals or Robinho, who will be too busy yelling at the ref when he loses the ball, that he won’t track back on defense?

        I think that’s what Hilal means. If we wanted someone for pure offense, I’d take him on a loan. But that isn’t how we play. We attack as a team and defend as a team. That means everyone.

      • ooga aga
        August 27, 2010

        robinho is better as a left striker, he caused us all kinds of problems. his juke moves create all sorts of space

      • jord(TM)
        August 27, 2010

        Purely sporting?Does that exist with Robinho?I like him as a player (except the step overs:S)but hes not for Barca.

        • jord(TM)
          August 27, 2010

          I guess robinho is my Adebayor 😀

      • Luke
        August 27, 2010

        Jnice, I don’t know where you are finding this info on Robinho ever doing anything other than being a lazy player who does too many stepovers and has never even sniffed the back end of the field, ever.

        I mean, lazy. I can’t get over how lazy he is. Being “good” for Madrid is one thing because they only ever asked him to control the ball for too long and take shots that he was never going to score, ever.

  12. jord(TM)
    August 27, 2010

    Robinho is a lazy crybaby, if he comes he’ll start out great, then the relationship will sour like at all his other clubs and he’ll whine his way out.Seen it all before.He sucks his thumb.Next >_<

    • ooga aga
      August 27, 2010

      a neutral fan might say alves’ attitude is no better than robinho’s. but youre right me parece un lloron. he seems like a crybaby to me. but pep will put him under his thumb.

      • August 27, 2010

        Whoa! Look at the work rate. Look at the constant effort that Alves puts into offense and defense. Stepovers, Robinho vs Alves? Sorry, but that comparison just doesn’t hold up, unless by “Neutral fan” you mean “uninformed observer of the game.” Robinho only plays in one-third of the pitch. He has no interest in the rest.

  13. Euler
    August 27, 2010

    Selling Ibra and Chyggy while buying Masch and Robinho seems like the kind of major break with the past that a new president who wants to put his stamp on the club may find appealing.

    I hope not – but this whole process seems to be heading towards Robinho.

    • Alexinho
      August 27, 2010

      Euler has spoken! Boys and girls I think we’ve created a monster by even mentioning Robinho and using the BFB telepathy to put thoughts into Pep’s head!!

  14. Eklavya
    August 27, 2010

    I think Robinho brings a lot…of garbage. 😛

    No seriously, I do a Robinho deal over Huntelaar any freakin’ time of the year but if I were to choose someone randomly it would be Lisandro Lopez. Yeah yeah I know, it wouldn’t happen (happy?).

  15. ooga aga
    August 27, 2010

    this is where we need to swoop for robbie keane…been saying it all summer…is he cup tied? LOL

    • Alexinho
      August 27, 2010

      Robbie Keane eh? Hmmm…well he’s English (Irish?), so I’d have to say no, but he could be a good fit. He’s certainly not a winger/midfielder. But he’s not exactly an Ibrahimovic- Eto’o-type primary striker, more of a link-up man.

      Lisandro Lopez sounds interesting too–Porto, right?–but I know nothing about him except that when Porto played Arsenal he was constantly offside.

      • jord(TM)
        August 27, 2010

        Licha is at lyon now which means we would have to give aulas an arm and 3 legs.He was the player of the season last year so thats more euros alone right there.Hes a beast though, I think hes the one striker who has more fierce desire to pressure defensively than the group of Samu,Rooney and Tevez.He’ll run all day and while sleeping too.

      • Eklavya
        August 27, 2010

        He plays for Lyon. Scored vs L’pool and missed a sitter vs Real.

        Has the best work rate I’ve seen.

  16. ooga aga
    August 27, 2010

    ibra trained normally with the group today

  17. Jnice
    August 27, 2010

    He only cried at Madrid because they did him wrong and tried to use him as a makeweight for Cristiano. City didn’t work because he didn’t fit in the league nor is that the team he wanted to go to in the first place. I think you guys are selling Robinho short… but I won’t mention his name again.

    Hooray for Huntelaar or Adebayor!

    • jord(TM)
      August 27, 2010

      He did it at santos too dude before he went to EE.I saw an interview when he went back to santos last year and he said “in europe coaches want you to trackback”.Imagine that, the horror!The only team he seems to really give his all for is the seleção.Theres nothing wrong with that but can we really afford such a luxury player?In the nike virals for the world cup he was saying how the for the seleção you always have to give your best because theres always a young player waiting to take you place.If he had the same feelings about club football he would be twice the player.

  18. August 27, 2010

    Hodgson had quite the tirade at Mascherano. My favorite part:

    ‘If the club decide they are going to accept an offer for you and let you go that is one thing, but you run the risk the club might say ‘I’m sorry, you’ve got the contract and we aren’t selling you so you are staying’.

    Sound familiar?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1306750/Javier-Mascherano-blasted-Roy-Hodgson-Liverpool-midfielder-heads-Barcelona.html#ixzz0xom3axgI

    • August 27, 2010

      Hodgson is also misguided. A player in the last year of his contract has all of the leverage. When he doesn’t want to stay, nor play for the club, he has even more leverage. Arsenal could cross its arms and say “No” because Fabregas has a 5-year deal with them. In the last season of a contract, you have to get something for the player.

        • August 27, 2010

          I thought it was one. If it’s two, he has more of a point, but still …. I just don’t think clubs should keep players who don’t want to be there. We could have set a 60m transfer fee for The Yaya and kept him, but what’s the point?

          • Eklavya
            August 27, 2010

            Ribery wanted to come to Barca at one point and Bayern put a tag of 89m million on him and ended up reaching the next season’s CL final. Although it was thanks to Robben.

            Hey! Why don’t we buy Robben?! He could get injured so we could play Iniesta at LW and Masch at DM with Busi up ahead!

  19. Eklavya
    August 27, 2010

    If Ibra leaves I’d do a Robinho 1 year loan in 2 seconds. He does fit in our profile sportingly speaking. He is one heck of a player in tight spaces.

  20. Euler
    August 27, 2010

    Robinho being required to do the work needed to execute Barca’s high press would be a potential disaster. I can’t see him working nearly as hard as is required by the system.

    The entire system Brazil implemented in the WC and in which Robinho played so well was set up as an acknowledgment that the forwards in Brazil will not defend. That’s the context Robinho plays well in.

    The Barca press is designed for the forwards to do inordinate work so that Xavi and Iniesta are protected and have to defend less.

    How Robinho would fit into a system where he has to defend so that midfielders don’t rather than having the midfielders defend so he does’t need to – I can only imagine.

    The other issue with Robinho even on loan – his wages are extremely high. That’s a major reason why Man City can’t get a decent transfer fee for him. No one wants to pay Robinho’s wages. Perhaps those could be negotiated down but that would be another set of complicated issues to deal with in little time.

  21. Roz
    August 27, 2010

    I would like Robinho, just for some revenge on The EE with Figo. I mean imagine him scoring against them. Then again he would cause much more damage in the locker room then good. soo yea I dont know

  22. jord(TM)
    August 27, 2010

    😀 if Robinho comes will he get the 11, and bojan the 9? the kid would probably burst with joy if that happened lol

  23. Steamy
    August 27, 2010

    Although I feel that Masch is a very good signing for Barca, if it is the catalyst for Ibra to leave I think the team will actually be worse off overall. Yes we did need 1st class cover for Busquests and yes Masch will add a level of competitiveness in Midfield that we wouldn’t otherwise have but I feel that these positives are outweighed by the loss of BANGS.

    I also think the replacements are unsatisfactory at best. My main field is the EPL and from watching a lot of Adebayor I really feel that he is not only a player who seems to have passed his prime but his prime wasn’t all that good anyway. His best season at Arsenal came as a result of getting a lot of game time due to RV-P’s injury issues as the spearhead of a team that likes to walk the ball into the net, hence he was well placed to get 30+ goals. Apart from that season he really hasn’t offered much and will only bring disharmony to the dressing room along with extortionate wage demands.

    I think a simliar story is true with Robiniho – he may have real talent but its appearances are few and far between. He can’t play as a focal CF and therefore doesn’t give us anything that we don’t have in Messi, Pedro and Villa (+maybe Bojan). Ibra had a good season in a great team, I think this year he will really produce for us.

    • Alexinho
      August 27, 2010

      I know what Kxev will say next May, whether we won the Liga or not–Villa had a poor season as center forward because defenses realized “hey, they don’t have a left wing!”

  24. mei
    August 27, 2010

    Guys were is all this robinho talk coming from?
    Did you just start it or is it reported anywhere near club’s or even town’s sources?

    • jord(TM)
      August 27, 2010

      Mancio also said it on skysports this morning.We face fierce competition form besiktas and fenerbache 😀 (if that doesnt say who is willing to risk on this kid i dont know what more resounding no’s we need)

  25. Steamy
    August 27, 2010

    Apparently Adebayor is on £140,000 a week and Robinho is on £160,000 – crazy money!

  26. August 27, 2010

    I think that if we are going to sell Ibrahimovic, this is the year to do it. He’s approaching that unsellable for big bucks age, and people, despite his statistics, still feel that his best is yet to come. He will reliably get you between 20 and 30 goals a season. Whether that provides value is up to a club to decide.

    Without question, he expanded the palette of offensive possibilities for us. But if he isn’t going to be happy fighting for and losing a spot in the starting XI, is it really worth having all that money sitting on the bench? It also would hurt his transfer value. Look at Hleb, by way of example. Came, kicked butt, got injured, rode the pines, talked his way out of town. Now, we can’t give him away.

    I don’t see Ibrahimovic’s value rising. As a striker gets older, value only goes down. If Milan want to give us 40M+ for him, I say we take it, rub out hands and decide what to do next.

    And for those Krkic fans, it means that his development won’t be hindered, because rather than playing behind Ibrahimovic, Villa and Pedro!, it’s just the latter two.

  27. Eklavya
    August 27, 2010

    I think ooga aga is right. This is where we go in for Robbie Keane out of the blue and he becomes our new number 9 and scores 4 goals before being sold in January to Man City for Robinho (who’s attitude is worth more than his wages)!!!

    Nah, but I wouldn’t mind Keirrison being given a shot with us. Its the only positive thing I can think of if Ibra leaves.

    • August 27, 2010

      Keirrison will not see time with us as long as Guardiola is coach.

      • Eklavya
        August 27, 2010

        Easy: Sell Guardiola.

        Rosell will do it soon enough anyway.

  28. Euler
    August 27, 2010

    Yesterday after Man City’s Europa league game Mancini reportedly named Barca as one of the teams that would be interested in Robinho.

    Mancini named Milan, Barcelona, Fenerbahce, Besiktas and Santos as teams that would want to take Robinho on loan. Robinho has already refused a sale to Turkey. If Milan gets Ibra they are out.

    That’s what’s restarted these rumors of Robinho to Barca on loan.

  29. mei
    August 27, 2010

    I thought we were supposed to cut down on wages and fees , you know financial trouble stuff!
    How is a 160.000 pounds per week player is gonna do that.
    If man city pays his wages , I would take him on a 6 month loan for bojans cover( pedro’s cover cover 😀 )

  30. Hilal
    August 27, 2010

    All I want to know is who is making the decisions here.. is it Rosell or Pep? If its Pep then I dont really mind what he does because in pep we trust right..

    However in Rosell we do not trust so if all this Ibra out and whoever else in is Rosell’s doing then I don’t care who he brings, its not gona end well.

  31. Eklavya
    August 27, 2010

    I miss the “latest comment” section…

  32. mei
    August 27, 2010

    somewhat offtopic : guardiola said he wouldnt talk about ibra, because its not in the benefit of the club until the transfer saga ends.
    That implies that he may speak afterwards.
    Do you expect so, and is he gonna reveal what really happened ?

    • Hilal
      August 27, 2010

      I bloody well hope so because not knowing who is in charge is going to make me worry about the long term future of our great club. My worst fear is that we end up like Madrid; with a president who makes all the decisions and a coach who just has to accept it.

      Even MORE worrying is that Madrid are headed in the opposite direction with Mourinho taking over…

  33. Kxevin
    August 27, 2010

    Barcelona and Raiola have found a deal with Barcelona on all legal elements, including the exit bonus and image rights. (sportsmediaset)

  34. Kxevin
    August 27, 2010

    Ibrahimovic could tomorrow arrive in Milan with a private plane, together with Galliani. (milannews)

  35. Kxevin
    August 27, 2010

    Mino Raiola: “Did I discuss the exit bonus of Zlatan with Barcelona? Let’s not call it that way, let’s call it a superbonus.” [via gazzetta]

    • Euler
      August 27, 2010

      I figured this would have to happen. There’s no way Ibra is just going to absorb all of the financial loss in this deal. He may wind up getting a cut of the transfer fee and/ or a large separate bonus. That’s money that’s going to come out of Barca’s pocket.

      The key here is the net amount of money Barca winds up with after Ibra and his agent get their cut. The financial impact of this move is still very unclear despite the 40M+ rumored.

      But at this point in time they almost have to sell.

  36. Euler
    August 27, 2010

    Ibra very much appears to be on his way out.

    What happened and why it happened is very confusing. It’s likely multiple factors that came together to make this happen.

    I wanted him to stay and expand the capacities of the team. But at this point in time, as long as the team can get net 40M+, the financial risk of not selling him has become enormous.

    They more or less have to sell at this point in time if they can get a reasonable fee.

    The outcome for the club in terms of finances will work out fairly well. The process through which this happened doesn’t speak well of where the club is as an organization at all. From Pep to Rosell this process has been very poor.

    I hope cule’s now don’t try to paint this as the usual it’s the player/ his agent’s fault.

    Make no mistake about it – it was the Club who pushed Ibra out of the door. They didn’t want him – probably due to the money spent on him and owed him in wages – and they fostered a situation which would make it very difficult for him to stay.

    The only way this deal could get done was for Ibra to assume a wage cut. A player has to feel very uncomfortable to agree to that.

  37. IS/ocho
    August 27, 2010

    Why on earth, after stating that we were not intent on selling Ibra, would we agree to an exit bonus of any form?! (what Raiola is referring to as a ‘superbonus’?!)

    • Jnice
      August 27, 2010

      Ibra has leverage in this situation because we want him out so bad.

    • IS/ocho
      August 27, 2010

      *Regardless of how truthful our ‘statements’ of not wanting to sell were..

  38. Kxevin
    August 27, 2010

    The one-hour-and-a-half meeting between Raiola and Galliani at the latter’s hotel in Barcelona has come to an end. Raiola has left the hotel.

    • IS/ocho
      August 27, 2010

      Despite these developments, aren’t we supposedly still waiting on Ibra to come out with his ‘decision’?

      Or should we expect a cowardly exit where Raiola does all the talking on Ibra’s part?

  39. Hilal
    August 27, 2010

    WTF… a bonus too!! I am really starting to hate Rosell. This whole situation is making me sick to the stomach. I have a very bad feeling he is going to ruin this wonderful club.

    Never thought I would miss Laporta this much!!

  40. Kxevin
    August 27, 2010

    Mino Raiola (agent of Zlatan Ibrahimovic): “The child is not born yet but we are eighth months far.” [via gazzetta]

  41. Diego S.
    August 27, 2010

    I Love this Transfer !! Mascherano is gonna be great for us .. He’s the kind of DM that doesn’t get pushed around, Knows when to make tactical fouls, and will stick to you like white on Rice …

    As For Ibra, I don’t care .. Let him leave .. When All Our players are having no problem with Pep with him being the exception ..

    Goodbye Zlatan ! Hope you score a brace in the Bernabu

    • lookout
      August 27, 2010

      You’ll care more once you see him in action for awhile. His number one skill in England is making a yellow card offence look like a simple foul. I don’t believe he’ll get away with it as well in Spain. Don’t worry though, you’ll get to see lots of different varieties of temper tantrum while he argues with the ref.

  42. Kari
    August 27, 2010

    o.o

    I wake up and see this right off the bat. Feels like the Villa deal all over again.

    At this point, Mascherano is better than the prospect of no DM. I hope he makes me eat a carton of humble pie.

    My Hector Pills are working quite nicely.

  43. Kari
    August 27, 2010

    People are finally starting to understand why (we) I was so upset at Rosell winning the election.

    Dark, dark times may be ahead after this season. Pep is almost as good as gone. The replacement obviously will be brought in by Rosell and—

    I feel sick.

    • mei
      August 27, 2010

      Why were you?
      Nothing’s quite clear , guardiola seems perfectly happy with the squad and the president and the supposed falling out seems to have been happening some time before rosell even announced his candidacy.
      We just signed mascherano for what seems to be a quite reasonable fee(less tha chygie).
      Stop slamming rosell with nonsense!

      • Vj
        August 27, 2010

        Guardiola should feel pretty happy when two players in his plans for this season are yanked out..

        The writing is on the wall man, Pep will leave at the end of the season.. why you ask? Because if he stays he’ll be booted out the next season..

        • mei
          August 27, 2010

          chygie?in his plans?
          What plans are those?Leave him out on the bench and bring him on 10 matches so to get experience?
          Plus it seems that ibra situation was a pep choice.
          He should feel happy.
          Last year we got an unproven defender destined max for the future for 25 million and an established striker paying way over the odds(that was his market value for us but still). this year we got a world class DM , costing less than chygie and the best striker in the world for 40 million.We also got a cheap super versatile option on wingbacks that seems to be a revelation.
          Stop the madness.Pep is going nowhere and the transfers seem to pretty much be a decision between zubi and pep rather than rosell having much to do with it.

          • Vj
            August 27, 2010

            “Leave him out on the bench and bring him on 10 matches so to get experience?”

            Worked perfectly with Pique, why not with Chiggy then?

            “In early July I was told that the president wanted to sell me, but I wanted to speak to Pep [Guardiola]. He explained that he remained confident in me, but Sandro Rosell wanted to sell because Shakhtar [Donetsk] would pay €15m.

      • Colby
        August 27, 2010

        With this Ibra situation Rosell may actually not be the bad guy. I think we will find out in a few days. Maybe it’s peps fault, maybe ibra’s, maybe it just didn’t work out.

        All I know is that lately there are a lot of bad things happening. I’m not entirely sure who to blame, but there is at least a 75% chance that Rosell has something to do with it. It’s too early to jump to conclusions, but it seems like when we can come to conclusions Rosell will be the one most to blame for this turmoil and the turmoil that looks like is headed towards us.

    • Luke
      August 27, 2010

      No offense Kari, but everyone’s drama queen shows over Rosell are laughable. Selling Chygrynskiy was sad because he could be good, but he made a maligned sale, so what.

      People have to quit with this so early on. Laporta, who is just as big of an ass as Rosell, made a ton of stupid buys and sells and always put his King of Catalunya thing before the club, always. It wasn’t until the 2008 6 trophy season that people started drooling all over Laporta, and even in the beginning of that there was a vote of no confidence.

      Re: Ibra. The more we all look back, the more this one looks destined from last year. They weren’t happy with his purchase and only did it after failing to get Villa. Now Villa is here so they can jettison Ibra. Anything over $40M should be considered an outright steal honestly. Sometimes you have to take a bath after making a stupid decision, that’s just business.

      Re: Pep. If Pep hated Rosell so much and loved Laporta, why didn’t he sign a long-term deal then? Why wait around? It’s not like he didn’t know Rosell. If he hates him so much then he should have gone somewhere else this offseason.

      Again, I’m not saying Rosell is going to be all pie in the sky, but this doomsaying bs is getting old.

      • Kari
        August 27, 2010

        Maybe he does bring out my inner drama queen and maybe you’re right in that I let my bias cloud my judgement, but he has done a hell of a good job in making us look like we’re 1) broke and 2) total asses.

        Laporta might have done both, but Rosell has dragged them club into the ground just to spite. It’s politics, and Laporta might have done the same, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

        Re: Ibra: My Hector Pills are working quite nicely

        Re Pep: C’mon. I’m not saying that Pep loved Laporta. I know Pep signs short term contracts because that’s how he rolls (considering the pressure at Barca and looking at Rijkaard before him, I’d do the same), but you can’t possibly say that Rosell hasn’t laid down the red carpet in front of the exit.

        Selling two of the players he wanted, or at least said he wanted; no coach in his right mind would stay in a place where he (and ZubiZa) can’t call the shot in the sporting affair. The fact that we’re conveniently swimming head deep in debt since Rosell came in can’t be ignored.

        I’d love it if I’m wrong and Rosell isn’t the piece of scum that I think he is, but I can’t help think of the worse case scenario.

  44. Kxevin
    August 27, 2010

    Raiola: “Ibra is calm. He’s very seriously weighing his decision because it can be crucial for the rest of his career.” [via @escolanmarca]

    Yeah, right. The only decision he’s weighing is what rental agent to use to unload his Barcelona home. Rest assured, everyone, that we will be on the case to dissect what happened as we can piece it all out, and what it all means for the club.

    From my worldview, as long as they go 40m or higher, I have no complaints.

    • mei
      August 27, 2010

      he can fuck off so we can really concentrate on who IS gonna play this season . The squad is done , and who is left seems to be fully commited and willing to work hard.Lets get back to business!

      • Vj
        August 27, 2010

        You mean Hleb?

        Get this is your head – Ibra didn’t want to leave, Rosell forced him out. He was committed and was working hard – he even attended a training session if ooga aga is true..

        • mei
          August 27, 2010

          Lol no i wont get anything in my head unless you have a fact to back it up , or even a reliable source.
          The only thing ibra said for sure was that he wasnt happy with the coach for some time now ,and his agent specifically stated that the club did not force him out.
          Cry as much as you want about rosell but what you claim is at least delusional.

          • Vj
            August 27, 2010

            I know Raiola can’t be classified into a ‘reliable source’ but even he said that Ibra was happy here, before Rosell entered into negotiations with Galliani, and then gave the green light for Galliani to talk to Ibra..

            If that’s not a sign that a player isn’t wanted by the management, then what is?

  45. Colby
    August 27, 2010

    A random point to keep in mind:

    Milan will have to spend quite a bit on Ibra’s wages because as far as I know there is no “Beckham law” in Italy.

    So when we pay him 12 million euros a year, it actually costs us about 15 million euros due to the flat 24% tax rate.

    When Milan pay him 8 to 9 million euros (the two numbers I’ve seen), it will cost them close to 13 million euros because of the 45% tax bracket that he is in.

    13 million per year x 4 years =52 m., plus 40 million euros in transfer fees=90 million euros. I’m not sure how Milan are go to be able to pay for this, if reports about their finances are to be believed.
    I think the two possible answers are:
    1. Organized crime rings run by Berlusconi.
    2. Selling Pato in 1 to 2 years to Chelsea for 70 million euros.

    Essentially, I don’t think that anyone is coming out of this deal ahead of where they were. Milan will be broke and still won’t win anything, we will have weakened our squad considerably, and Ibra will be making less money and losing.

  46. Diego S.
    August 27, 2010

    A Pic of the All Barcelonic Rejects
    **http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs435.snc4/47816_441149274617_300579419617_4597091_4590284_n.jpg**

    So Hleb to Benfica and Caceres to Sevilla ?!

    I’m Okay with Caceres .. But the Longer we keep Hleb, No One will want him and the Older he gets

  47. ooga aga
    August 27, 2010

    Comunicado del FC Barcelona

    (from the official site)

    Ante las manifestaciones públicas que el agente de nuestro jugador Zlatan Ibrahimovic, el señor Mino Raiola, ha venido efectuando en los últimos días, en las que atenta contra el honor y la integridad moral de nuestro entrenador Josep Guardiola, la Junta Directiva del FC Barcelona denuncia públicamente que esta conducta, por el hecho de perturbar las relaciones profesionales entre el jugador y el entrenador y afectar a la predisposición del cumplimiento por parte del jugador de sus obligaciones, constituye un flagrante incumplimiento del contrato de representación y gestión que la empresa del señor Raiola tiene suscrito con el FC Barcelona.

    En consecuencia, el Departamento Jurídico del club está valorando la posible resolución del contrato y el cese en la retribución anual que la sociedad del señor Raiola tiene derecho a percibir en virtud de este contrato.

    Del resultado de esta valoración y de la evolución de los próximos eventos, el club tomará las medidas que considere adecuadas.

    • Alex
      August 27, 2010

      Basically, they are denouncing Mino, asking him to respect the Pep and the club

    • ooga aga
      August 27, 2010

      before the public statements that the agent of our player Z.I., senor M.R., has beenmaking in recent days, in which he attacks the honor and moral integrity of our trainer J.G., the Board of FCB denounces publicly that this conduct, by perturbing the professional relations between the player and trainers and affecting the predisposition of the player to comply with his obligations, constitutes a flagrant violation of the contract of representation and management that the senor raiola has agreed to with FCB.

      As a consequence, the Legal Dept of the club is evaluating the possible resolution of the contract and the cessation in the annual “retribution” (pay?) that Sr. Raiola’s business has right to by virtue of this contract.

      As a result of this evaluation and of the evolution of the next events, the clubwill take the measures that it deems adequate.

      • Vj
        August 27, 2010

        “The club will take the measures that it deems adequate.”

        A superbonus?

    • Jnice
      August 27, 2010

      The executive committee of the FC Barcelona board of directors would like to publicly denounce the conduct over the last few days of the agent of our player Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sr Mino Raiola,whose declarations have put into question the honour and moral integrity of our coach Josep Guardiola. These declarations have affected the relationship between the coach and the player and as a result the willingness of the player to fulfil his obligations. As such the declarations are a flagrant breach of the contract which Sr Raiola’s company have with the club for representation and management.

      Our legal department is therefore considering the possibility of rescinding this contract and the cessation of the annual payment Sr Raiola’s company receives from the club as part of this agreement.

      Once the department has reached its conclusions and taking into consideration how this matter develops, the club will take any measures it considers necessary.

      *http://www.fcbarcelona.com/web/english/noticies/club/temporada10-11/08/27/n100827112591.html

      • Kari
        August 27, 2010

        Oooo snap~!

        FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

        My Hector Pills are working quite nicely

        • Alexinho
          August 27, 2010

          Those brilliant bastards. The club perpetuates the deal, and then uses its status as The Club to perpetuate the belief that it was all the agent and all Ibra.

    • IS/ocho
      August 27, 2010

      Could the ‘personal/individual’ issue that Pep’s been referring to be about his scum agent’s actions?

      • Philo Barca
        August 27, 2010

        Absolutely. If you trace back the history of Pep’s statements about Ibra, they were all incredibly supportive until this happened last spring:

        http://www.totalbarca.com/2010/news/ibras-agent-zlatan-isnt-used-to-sitting-the-bench/#more-26441

        IIRC, Ibra publically defended his agent’s right to make those statements at the time.

        Since then, Pep’s been completely neutral and icey about Ibra to the press. Same thing happened with Eto’o when he talked to the press in spring 2009 (when he didn’t wanted to be photographed in Barca colors), same thing with Hleb, and same thing with Yaya’s agent last summer. Pep does not deal well with his players or their representatives offering public criticism through the press.

        Why people are pinning this transfer on Rosell rather than Pep I do not understand.

  48. Eklavya
    August 27, 2010

    If Ibra leaves it gonna diminuish our chances at silver this season. If we win the league its gonna be one hell of a achievement.

    • Jim
      August 27, 2010

      Oh come on. We benched him for the vital part of last season.

  49. Miguel
    August 27, 2010

    ibra was always pep’s first choice. the first thing pep did was meet w/moratti in milan. that didn’t go through so barca had to deal w/the dickheads over in valencia over villa. pep’s always wanted a tall, mobile, creative striker. i could see huntelaar coming, almost. he really wasn’t that bad @real(half a season),though he did have the shits in his stint w/milan.

  50. mei
    August 27, 2010

    What worked withh pique? Gerard came for 5 million and played 45 games for us, chygrynskiy came for 25 and played 14 matches.
    And thats appearances, dont even get me started on how many minutes did he actually play.

    I dont really care what the player might have been if he would not get injured promptly after his transfer , if he learned spanish quickly enough , if he felt comfortable with the ball at his feet like at shakthar and wether his overall confidence wasnt shot after our being kicked out of the cup. He was slow , he got cought up in the defence , and he was slow . Maybe he could be a good defender in the future, maybe not. Some many disadvantages point towards not however especially for defending in a side like us.
    Ill take the 10 million loss and put my hopes on someone more exciting than him , in the cantera for example.

    • Vj
      August 27, 2010

      Our patience worked with Pique.. He was given more than half a season to settle in, and it worked wonders.. Chiggy on the other hand wasn’t bad in the first few matches he played.. Sure his confidence got shot after the Copa loss, but that’s not the point.

      The point is that even though Pep still had him in his plans, Rosell saw fit to sell him. As Kxevin mentioned, this should point as to why Pep isn’t committing for a longer term.

      Don’t think Pep is gonna stay/last long..

  51. August 27, 2010

    mmm ok for those of us thinking “it is not Rosell’s fault that Pep didn’t want Zlatan, it’s ok to get rid of him now that we have Villa”, I have got two points to make:

    1. Why did we not sell him to Manchester City for 500 trillion dollars?
    2. Why do we have to treat him with so little class?

    • Alex
      August 27, 2010

      Agreed, I think Ibra stays. Him showing up to practice today is good news.

    • mei
      August 27, 2010

      Lev , in what way was ibrahimovic treated with so little “four letter word weve been hearing all summers by arsenal trolls”?
      At the same time the club is considering legal action against ibras agent.
      Also do you really know wether man city indeed wanted him ,wether he wanted to be there or wether this whole situation came to light just now so a transfer was not on the cards at the time that man city was supposed to be interested??

  52. y2k156
    August 27, 2010

    Just read the official communication on FCB website regarding Ibra. It seems clear that FCB is going out all guns blazing against Mino R, scumbag. But than, agents in general are scumbags. After all, agent is just politespeak for pimp. Sigh!

    This saga does not leave make me feel good. They need to close transfer window before starting of season. Make it from middle of May till beginning of August. That is enough time for any stupid things to happen.

  53. IS/ocho
    August 27, 2010

    Sure hope the death of Barca’s relationship with Raiola doesn’t impact Maxwell in any way :s

  54. August 27, 2010

    “Lev , in what way was ibrahimovic treated with so little “four letter word weve been hearing all summers by arsenal trolls”?”

    Well here is what I think:

    it is pretty obvious that going to Milan right now is a major step back for Ibra (and I’m not even talking about his paycut). I was never in favor of him coming to Barça, but for us to force him out at the last minute after his first season while he had repeatedly stated this summer that he wants to be a Barça player and fight for the cause? Mmmmmm…..

    It would be one thing if he played horribly last season. But he didn’t. Neither did he set the world alight yet 21 goals and 9 assists is very decent for a first season at the club, part of which he was injured.

    It would be another thing if he showed a bad attitude. It doesn’t seem that he did. He didn’t sulk when he was benched in favor of Bojan last season. Neither did he sulk when we bought Villa this summer. Ok, so he didn’t celebrate the Gamper trophy but i would not feel like celebrating either if I feel someone is trying to stab me in the back. I would feel like staying away as not to ruin the celebrations of my teammates.

    It is not his fault we made him the 2nd best paid striker in our squad. On the contrary, as a star striker his attitude when faced with adversity (being benched, being pulled early in the semis) has been exemplary.

    To force him out in this way is disrespectful in regards to both his quality and his attitude imo.

    * Now the big fat asterisk is if in the end it becomes clear that it is all that rat bastard mino raiola’s fault, in which case I do hope Barça will give full disclosure to what happened.

    • August 27, 2010

      I want to read Barça’s statement regarding Raiola on the official website. Could anyone confirm whether their virus situation has been solved yet?

      • Kari
        August 27, 2010

        Yes, it’s been solved. You can go there or find Jnice’s comments above (it’s bolded).

        My Hector Pills are working quite nicely.

        • August 27, 2010

          oh perfect thnx kari and jnice.

          mmm so this is insinuating that Raiola got into Ibra’s head and Ibra is the one wanting to leave? But it doesn’t make any sense for Ibra to want to go back to Italy… Or to take a 33% paycut…

          mmmmmm….

          anyway I am glad to see that a club (and not just a club!!!) is considering legal actions against an agent.

          When you think about it, if Ibra leaves both Ibra and Barça lose. Who wins? Raiola, bc he gets yet another big fat cut off of the transfer fee.

  55. theMaginator
    August 27, 2010

    Remember how Pep said there was someone else coming between he and Ibra? I winder if he was reffering to Mino. It would not be the first time an agent manipulates a player to make a transfer. It would also explain why pep early on said that Ibra’s future was ultimately up to Ibra.

  56. BA
    August 27, 2010

    the transfers of Villa and Adriano are the only positive spots this summer for us in the market; is it in any way out of line to assume that was because both were facilitated by Laporta? the Ibrahimovic situation is disgraceful; the player plainly did not want to leave and a bigger attempt should have been made, from Pep to the president, to help him feel comfortable. i defended us over the Cesc situation to many Arsenal-supporting mates of mine but i can’t defend what the club just did to Ibra, who despite his flaws on the pitch last season IS a quality player and deserved a chance to fight for his spot this season.

    Mascherano is a *poor* buy. he isn’t going to work in our system, will demand playing time but is too destructive to fit anywhere but Busquets’ position (where the Catalan has been playing the best football of his life), and is in no single way a better choice than Yaya Toure for our current system. we just weakened our squad for, between the 2 deals, 14m. not worth it. i love my club but am deeply, deeply disappointed with it’s actions both morally and in footballing terms this summer.

  57. August 27, 2010

    More drama…I started to like the show since I started living in Denial believing that it is not happening.

    I think Sandro and Co will start throwing stones on the plane taking Ibra and his agent to Milan 😀

    But if they can knock that agent down, I will praise Sandro for 3 days and 3 nights. As long as we don’t talk talk talk, and he get paid more and more and more.

    • Kari
      August 27, 2010

      They were saying that they would take legal action.

      Ooooh sn~aaap!

      FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

      Next episode we’ll see the: Return of Seluk. Preview shows a Seluk-Raiola style b**ch fight and a Yaya HULK SMASCH. Don’t miss it!

    • mei
      August 27, 2010

      So to get this straight , fcb will try to rescind the agents contract with the club , so we wont pay any fee to him?
      That sounds nice.

  58. jord(TM)
    August 27, 2010

    jaja this has been a nice acrimonious exit hasnt it?So much drama, i take a nap and We have a full on statement threatening Mino.Whatever happens this will be a lesson for douchebag agents in the future thinking they can mess with Futbol Club Barcelona, its image and its employees.

  59. Euler
    August 27, 2010

    To avoid further Hectoring >>>> new post on main page

  60. Carles P
    August 27, 2010

    I think the threat of legal action is the first step in trying to forego the “super bonus” for the agent. That’s what he (Zlatans agent) gets for opening his mouth about the “super bonus”.

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