They were expendable, aka “How much is that Blaugrana in the window?”

January is looming, along with its attendant transfer window madness. This transfer season has a twist, in that we have a few players who are either due for a contract sweetening, or a renewal that might or might not reflect their real or imagined market value.

Dani Alves (Citeh, Chelsea) and Sergi Busquets (Chelsea) are the two biggest names that are in play on the rumor mill. And that stuff is all, for me, squarely in the “Whatever” category, because both want to stay. But it got me to thinking about our roster, who might be for sale for the right price, who would definitely be for sale and who would never, ever not for all the money on the planet, be for sale.

Not at all being sure how to do this, I’ll deal with the first-choice starting XI first, then the reserves. My first bit will be the club’s view (not that I would know, but it’s fun to speculate). The second would be my view on the matter, designated by a (K). Here we go.

Valdes: You bet. If the price was right, we’d ship him off in two seconds. Why? In part because keepers are never, ever, except in rare cases, given the love they often deserve. (K)For me, Valdes is the perfect keeper for us, and would make my “not for any price” list. Our system requires a sweeper keeper, and Valdes is exceptional in that role. When you think about our defense and the way it plays, and the keeper’s role in often functioning as another CB, it’s hard to imagine another player doing so as effectively as Valdes.

Alves: Yes, for the right price. Something north of 32m would prise him loose. We don’t want to sell him, but there are people on the market and in the pipeline who might alleviate the pain of his sale. (K)I’d sell him this summer, based not only on my Three-Year Brazilian theory. We have the likes of Bartra and Dalmau bopping about, Adriano as a short-term replacement, and Van Der Wiel could also be had for a price that would leave us with change from the Alves deal. What would we lose? No, what would we really lose? Good question.

Pique: No. He’s young, is part of the bright future of our back line and Barca to his lanky core. He’s world-class, and is still improving. (K)No way. Yes, we could get some extravagant sums for him, but where to find the next Piquenbauer? We have some hot B teamers, but they will be partnering Pique, not supplanting him.

Puyol: Are you CRAZY!? Puyol is the heart and soul of our club. It’s a question of loyalty. Puyol might decide that he is better off going into the sunset with some other, less demanding league/club, but we will never sell him. (K)Captain Caveman is essential. Full stop. As with Paolo Maldini, Puyol is the face of the club, and valuable in teaching young’uns.

Abidal: For the right price. A number in the 25m range would work him loose. He doesn’t have many French Greyhound years left, even as his pace and range allow us to play with three back, as Guardiola often does. He’s said that he wants to retire with us. (K) For the right price, I’d sell. Maxwell would be an excellent stopgap, and Adriano has LB skills. If we are going to sell, the time is now.

Busquets: No way in hell. Busquets is the tangible embodiment of Guardiola’s ideal DM. And for good reason. (K) No way, even though people are buzzing about him. What he does for us in our current system would be impossible to replace.

Xavi: Bwahahahaha!. No, seriously. The club would laugh. Xavi will, and deserves to retire wearing Blaugrana. He is also irreplacable. When his skill set diminishes to the degree that he is no longer magical, he can help coach. (K)Selling Xavi would be wrong on every level.

Iniesta: As hilarious as Xavi. He’s the midfield future when Xavi is done, and the system carries on. (K)Iniesta can not be replaced.

Pedro!: For the right price. The complexity is that he is more valuable to us than he would be to anybody else, so that “right price” will never come. (K) I wouldn’t. Two-footed Chaos Generators are hard to come by, and his work rate is staggering.

Messi: Um ….. We have a 150m price tag on his head. But he’s priceless. If I were a club with that kind of money, I’d certainly test our resolve, offering something in the 100-120m range, but I don’t think we would take it. He’s ours. We raised him. (K)He’s a talisman, and clubs don’t sell their talisman. Ever. Messi might decide to leave, but we will never sell him.

Villa: For the right price. Not because we’re fickle, but because expensive strikers are like trading cards. It won’t be a fire sale price, however. (K)I’d sell for something around what we paid for him, for no reason other than I don’t know how many more years he has at his current, goal machine level. I’d rather have 35-40m and the chance to watch him decline in some other club’s colors, than in ours. He is a striker who is not going to age well.

Adriano: No. I think he was purchased with some future moves in mind, and his versatility and quality make him worth more to us than we paid for him. (K)I wouldn’t sell this year, but next, when Fontas, Bartra and Muniesa are all ready to be plucked, we should still be able to get back most of what we paid.

Maxwell: Yes. Adriano’s presence makes him eventually expendable. And given his bargain price, it’s a painless deal. Maxwell is an excellent platoon player and sub for Abidal, but now is the time to look for fresh blood. Both he and Abidal are getting along in years, right? (K)Yep.

Pinto: Yes. A fine backup keeper, but it’s time to bring in somebody who will test Valdes. VV is No. 1 and he knows it, which flies in the face of Guardiola’s “competition at every position” dictum. (K)The potential risk of discord with a talented No. 2 not being all that happy with Copa and the occasional Champions League group stage duty is worth it. Pinto has served us well, but it’s time to move.

Milito: Yes. Buzz is that he’s already on the block. Puyol will be able to bed in the talented youth, and Milito’s value will never be higher for us than it is right now. Any club seeking a veteran, regular duty center back need look no farther. (K)He moves in the summer.

Keita: Yes, for the right price. Keita’s value is huge to us. He’s the uncomplaining, happy to be here squad player who just plays his heart out whenever you let him on the pitch. But again, it’s a cruel numbers situation. His value is as high as it’s going to be, and we are going to need to make room for more Mascherano playing time. (K)He moves in the summer.

Mascherano: No. I think that we are going to, provided Guardiola stays, see another shift in the way that we play the game. We saw some of it against Getafe, with a more traditional defensive mid doing his thing out there, allowing Xavi and Iniesta more freedom to do their thing. (K)His value is huge as a ball winner. Having that pit bull means that other offensive players don’t have to track back as much to win balls.

Jeffren: Yes. I don’t know what his value is, but he’s fast, fragile player who can’t win consistent time with the first team. (K)He moves in the summer, if not sooner.

Krkic: Yes, for the right price. But that number would be significantly higher than anyone is willing to pay. The club is terrified of another Fabregas situation with Krkic, who has the potential to blossom into another Villa. He will be given every and all chances to succeed, and as much time as he needs. (K) Loan him so that he can get the regular reps that he needs. And if Guardiola goes, Krkic won’t be very far behind.

La Masia is excellent at turning out mids, wingers and defenders, but not so hot at creating forwards, which is unfortunate. But it does mean that the money we save elsewhere on the pitch, could go toward purchasing a striker. The upward mobility is immense, the pressure great on the club to provide a path for talented B teamers to become first teamers. Pedro! and Busquets are two examples of when it works. Jeffren and Krkic (right now) are two examples of when it doesn’t.

But names such as Dos Santos, a pair of Alcantaras, Rafa and Thiago, Dalmau, Muniesa, Fontas and Bartra are all waiting, and fast approaching stay or go time. And let’s not forget that we have a number of players on loan, some of whom are never coming back (Hleb, Caceres), others who will probably get a look (Victor Sanchez, Gone Adriano) and one other who is in limbo (Keirrison). There will be some squad turnover this summer, with a potential purchase or two in January.

So those are my thoughts. Debate away!

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Written by:

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


  1. Momo
    November 8, 2010

    I don’t know why I found this article so terrifying… The prospect of losing any of these players is daunting. I know, I have issues…

  2. vedo
    November 8, 2010

    i think barca should get alex song, good tackler and scores plently of goals for a central midfielder

    • stowe
      November 9, 2010

      he would play the same position as busquets and mascherano, why waste the money? he also has no left foot

      • Alexinho
        November 10, 2010

        No. In the first place, I believe he’s reached his peak, and I wouldn’t rate him as higher than “pretty good,” far from “world class,” and he still shows a lot of inconsistency. He is scoring more goals, I wouldn’t call it plenty, and frankly I would trade the goals he’s scored for the defensive rock he was last season. Ever since he bleached his hair, he seems to have gotten the idea that he’s some sort of attacking midfielder, and has sprayed forward passes all over the place–not a fan. In my opinion, he was much better last season, and this season’s “attacking” Song is not a very good one.

        I wouldn’t trade that goal against West Ham though. Phew!

  3. Jnice
    November 8, 2010

    I wouldn’t sell Dani this summer. Dalmau isn’t even close to being ready and he has some work to do trying to surpass Montoya. Bartra’s best position is CB and I don’t think he would have much of an impact offensively at RB.

    Adriano is a good player, but he can’t combine with players nearly as well or as quick as Dani does. No RB I’ve seen can do what Dani does game in, game out.

    Dani is such a great weapon for us. Always available, always making runs looking for the ball, never hides, never tires. He’s a straight menace.

    We would lose a ton. I hope he renews soon.

    I would sell Jeffren, Milito, and maybe Pinto, but Pinto is one of those great players to have in the locker and on the bench.

  4. November 8, 2010

    Had this convo with a friend a few months ago. Bottom line for me is Xavi, Andres, and Leo are unsellable. Everyone else has a price.

  5. Kxevin
    November 8, 2010

    There were 18, count ’em, 18 scouts at the Barca B match the other day.

    –And Afellay is definitely on the move, only question is to where:

    The club spokesman, Pedro Luis Salazar confirmed that Afellay met their final games in Eindhoven. “He has a contract until July, but is free at any time,” he said told the Cadena COPE. Zalazar confirmed that the options to renew its star are discarded. “A couple of weeks we talked to his agent and said he did not want to renew.”

    • SV
      November 8, 2010

      Not surprised about the number of scouts at our b teams’ games, 4th in the segunda division is no small feat for a b team filled with young players. As for Afellay, he would be a great addition but from the “interviews” i’ve read with his it seems like he has his eyes set on the EPL.

  6. BA
    November 8, 2010

    how in the name of the sweet virgin Mary did you conceive of the idea that Villa is sell-able during the January window? that would leave us with 3 strikers *total*, 2 of whom are still novices. we just bought Villa, and we’re counting on him for this season at least. MAYBE next summer if he stops scoring goals entirely, doesn’t show up to training and takes Pep’s mother out for a nice seafood dinner then never calls her back; but even then we’d still have our feet over the fire.

    i don’t think we can afford to sell ANYONE this January, and will almost certainly be forced to delve into the market to strengthen the squad. guys, we have *17* dedicated first-team players, plus Pinto as reserve keeper (i don’t count Jeffren because he’s gotten 0 minutes so far this season). that’s simply not enough to go to the wire in 3 competitions even if we were swapping in Barca B kids every week, which we’re patently not. in light of the injury to Xavi, i see no way for us to not dip into the transfer market to shore up our squad, the only question is Who we’re going to be after.

    this summer we might talk about offloading a handful of people; Milito possibly, Bojan possibly, Jeffren possibly, and Alves hopefully not. but to do so in the middle of this season would be insanity; suicide.

    • Kxevin
      November 8, 2010

      Who said anything about the January window? How stupid do you think I am? Really. The only player who might move in January is Jeffren, unless he’s injured again.

      Rosell and Guardiola met about strengthening the squad in January and over the summer. ZubiZa has talked about certain names being “interesting.” So we see.

  7. November 8, 2010

    Keita will be hard to replace. Busi is not Keita, Mascherano is not either. At first we all thought Keita was a defensive player, indeed, he can defend very well for us. Shutting down passing lanes and work the ball lose a lot, force errors galore, and what surprised us is his attacking ability. We don’t have a replacement yet, but if we will buy, I can’t think of anyone just yet.

    Dani will stay. I am confident. City won’t pay more than 30m, not for a right back who has never played in the EPL. So, I think he will stay and we are all happy.

  8. BA
    November 8, 2010

    on a related note i want to see J-Dos, Thiago, Bartra, Fontas and Miño ALL at some point this season. our squad is too short to not be working promising youngsters in more than we’re currently doing. if we want to think of this as a transitional season that’s fine, provided we make some use of it and transition our best from Barca B on up to the first team.

  9. Euler
    November 8, 2010

    I’ve been surprised to see some of the negative sentiments expressed by some cule’s regarding Afellay.

    I’ve always been generally impressed with what I’ve seen from him. He has a very strong combination of technical ability and athleticism. His acceleration coupled with his touch are a particularly strong pairing – one you don’t see very often.

    On top of that he’s very experienced and skilled playing one touch football.

    Some point out that he’s been on the radar in Holland for quite some time and hasn’t really “broken out.” Winning the Cruyff Award for best young player in the Netherlands is a significant achievement and that did put Afellay on the map and raise expectations.

    He’s struck me as the classic talented player from a smaller league that doesn’t have the talent around him needed for his skill set to flourish and I think that’s why he hasn’t maximized his potential. PSV just isn’t that great. And by that I’m not just referring to how they function within the Eredivisie, but in terms of talent. Afellay sticks out a great deal on that club. He’s just on a different level from the other players in terms of talent.

    Afellay is a very well balanced, multi-skilled player who has strong command of pass-oriented, total football. No he’s not Xavi or Iniesta, but no one is. And I do think that’s implicitly the comparison many cules often make with potential transfers and how they’ll fit in with the system. New players will always come up short if Xavi is the measuring stick for comparison.

    Afellay also diversifies the skill set on a Barca team that has become somewhat narrow over the past few years. He has outstanding pace and acceleration. He’s not a midget. He has a strong shot on goal from outside the box. He can play centrally, on the right and on the left.

    I made it a point to watch the PSV-Utrecht match this weekend and was once again very impressed. He just does so many things well and is not a selfish player in any way – and on a team like PSV it would be easy for him to be very selfish.

    I highly recommend taking a look at the first PSV goal against Utrecht to get a flavor for Afellay. And I don’t just mean the immediate play just before the ball went in the net. If you can take a look at the entire play starting from when the ball was in the PSV half. Afellay didn’t score the goal or get the direct assist, but that goal was made by his run down the right flank- which was both very explosive and very intelligent. He put in a beautiful cross which should have directly led to a goal (and on a team with better strikers would have…) but the striker blew the shot and PSV scored on a rebound IIRC.

    Another moment of note – later on in the match between the 40th and 45th minute IIRC after PSV suffered a red card and went down to 10 men – Afellay had the ball on the left flank and beat two men to the corner and put in another great cross that should have been a goal but the striker didn’t do enough with the chance. That cross was with his left foot. It’s just small things such as that – one game with excellent crosses from the right and left flanks with his right and left feet – that are noteworthy about him.

    He might not be a star for Barca but he would be an extremely valuable addition and one that would diversify the skill sets on the team. They’ve been short on depth in advanced midfield for sometime now. It’s very clear that while Pep likes Thiago a great deal he only wants to integrate him very slowly. Barca needs another player to back up Xavi. If Afellay agrees to come to Barca he’s going to understand where he falls in terms of playing time, like Mascherano did.

    I wouldn’t spend 25M for him or anything like that but given that he’s on an expiring contract he’d be a strong addition.

    • Kxevin
      November 8, 2010

      Oh come on, Euler. Don’t be brainwashed. He isn’t Barca quality. And hey, neither was Mascherano! 😀

      Size, pace and skills are hard to come by, particularly in this rare instance of a team that screwed up and let a player such as this get off contract. As I’ve said before and will say again, he’d be a hell of a buy. I’d even press for him in the January window, before things get silly in the summer.

      • Euler
        November 9, 2010

        I would try to get him in January as well. Achilles injuries can be notoriously difficult. This whole game to game monitoring of Xavi is a bit odd in that achilles injuries are often persistent and don’t go away without extended rest. He feels better after one game – he could feel much worse after the next. There’s a significant risk Xavi is not going to be 100% for much of this season.

        And on top of that there still is the baseline risk of Iniesta being injured once more. We don’t know if he’s over those recurrent injuries.

        Xavi just should not be playing this much. Even without the injury at his age and the number of minutes he’s played over the past 2-3 seasons he should be rested more. Barca shouldn’t need Xavi to play 80 minutes or so to win against a team like Getafe.

        Afellay’s skill set is actually quite similar to Fabergas’s. He’s not at that level – but he’s very good and will may cost 1/30th of what Cesc would and at 1/3 – 1/4 of his salary.

        • SoccerMom
          November 9, 2010

          I would like someone named Afellay to come to Barça because his name sounds like pig latin and it would be fun to write about. ‘Iksnay on the pass to Afellay, EoLay!’

  10. Egbert
    November 8, 2010

    I’d like to share some opinions here :
    alves should stay at least another year, his physical condition is at its best. We barely see him on the bench. maybe his price will not be the same, but he will give us more.
    krkic is on the edge now. i think people put to much burden in his shoulder right now. he will improve better. maybe with us or with another team

    • SV
      November 9, 2010

      Yea in a year Alves be free so either he’s staying for a few more years or he’ll be sold. NO way in hell are they going to let him go on a free. As for Krkic he still has a couple of years before we seriously consider selling him, he’s shown he’s got the skill to make the first team just needs to find out how to make that skill come out every game.

  11. November 9, 2010

    1) We barely have 19 players in the squad (that includes Jeffren).
    2) With the 19 players available we still need at least one more first team-er (beside the youth available).
    3) We cant afford selling any player without buying a direct replacement (considering the size of the squad).
    4) None of the players we may sell can generate enough return to buy a replacement (Beside Alves maybe). Which means that any player we sell will cost us more to fix the gap caused by losing him than the cash he may generate.

    That makes any sale unacceptable from the economic perspective.

    On January, no player will be sold (unless if Jeffren left, and he is not counted in my first team squad anyway). In the Summer, Pinto will not be sold because his contract expires, so we can take that name away from the transfer list. Milito shouldn’t be sold unless if his injury still cause concerns. With economy being the main focus at the moment, no other player should be on the list of transfers.

    • barca96
      November 9, 2010

      Injury or no injury, I still wish to keep Milito. He is the only squad player who is supposed to be a starter(but we have Puyol and Pique, so that isn’t the case). I wouldn’t let Milito go at any cost unless he really wants more regular first team action.

  12. barca96
    November 9, 2010

    Now I know why the kids beat the hell out of Villareal B last weekend. There were scouts from 18 different clubs.

    Thanks barcastuff

  13. stowe
    November 9, 2010

    Thanks for the insight, Kev. I disagree about Bojan leaving soon after Pep. If Pep leaves the system might change, and if it changed, then Bojan might be more successful.
    In terms of transfers I don’t want to lose Alves, but we do have depth at FB. But who knows how Adriano will pair with Messi and Xavi? I’m curious why we haven’t seen him hardly at all this season.
    We need to strenghten our forward position. Wouldn’t mind Afellay, can he play on the wing? I would rather see fabergas (i’m one of those who want to see him back in the blaugrana). I would love it if we got a big strong forward similar to an eto’o or torres. Fast and strong.

  14. barca96
    November 9, 2010

    I hope that nobody leaves in the summer at ANY PRICE especially Alves. I mention him because there are rumors.
    The only person that I wouldn’t mind leaving is Jeffren.

    Think about it, there is no player in our team that we could get a replacement for not for the same price or the same skill set.
    Yes, for Jeffren, there are the likes of Walcott and Bale 🙂

    • Alexinho
      November 10, 2010

      Interesting comparison with regards to Jeffren-

  15. November 9, 2010

    You forgot a certain Swede who is ‘technically’ still on loan.

    • November 9, 2010

      Especially that there are rumors Milan are not obliged to buy him after first season in loan. You can either hope that rumor is false or bet on Galliani’s “kind heart” so he doesn’t abuse that situation added to an already irrelevant transfer agreement and continuous -suspicious- Ibra trash talk to bring the final value of the transfer lower.

    November 9, 2010

    Well can someone explain to me what exactly is afellay position?LW?or attacking midfielder?And about dani i read the club will offer him 184.000€ the week.

    • Diego S.
      November 9, 2010

      Attacking Midfielder, But in other cases he can play on either flank due to his speed and dribbling ability. His main position is Attacking Midfielder.

  17. Spiro
    November 9, 2010

    hmm, wouldn’t Affelay’s role conflict with that of Thiago’s?

  18. Flyzowee
    November 9, 2010

    I seriously laugh at alves rumours.

    The last time we played hardball with a key player fundamental to our game, we ended up dishing 100mil+ to replace him.

    Eto’o is not god and after a YEAR and a whole lot of transfer mayhem, we finally look like replacing him with villa (2 very similar players btw)
    But looking back, was it really worth all the hassle?

    I mean would i be extremely wide off the mark to suggest his( alves ) value to the club ranks as high as xaviniesta and messi?

    Hw much is he asking for? Really?

    We are not FCLa Masia, even though the academy produces wonder after wonder, why take a needless chance?

    Theres none on the market like alves, lets not comfort ourselves with names like WDW (Gud playa tho).

    We dnt knw wat we’ll get with others but we knw wat alves gives us every game.

    Lets close this deal already.

  19. Vj
    November 9, 2010

    We are not a selling club, even though our President’s name is Ro-SELL.. Although could we sell Rosell?

  20. Luke
    November 9, 2010

    The thought of selling Valdes makes me nauseous. He is so vastly underrated, it may be criminal. He does so many things well, from his movement to cut off angles, to his diving ability, and leadership of the defense. Does he make some gaffes? Of course, but show me one keeper who does not.

    Casillas: All the time, even in big games in CL or against Barca.
    Lloris: Yep, even for France.
    van der Sar: All the time, most recently he flubbed an easy looping ball right out of his hands.
    Julio Cesar: Has his moments too, although he is also underrated.

  21. Roz
    November 9, 2010

    This article struck me as cruel to some of the players. I havent been a cule that long, so im not really used to big squad changes like some of you guys. But I guess your calling it like you see it so meh.

  22. jose89
    November 9, 2010

    can somebody explain what the deal is with Pique’s chances for Clasico? If I understand correctly, he’s ineligible to play in the Copa match, and than he’ll still be on four yellow cards for Villareal?

    • Kari
      November 9, 2010

      You are correct. He’d have to get another yellow (thereby serving another suspension vs Almeria) to be certain for El Clasico.

      The other option, of course, is not to get booked at all against Villareal or more crucially Almeria. I think Option 1 is the best one.

  23. just sayin'
    November 9, 2010

    Why would the club want to sell VV? During the summer the summer or otherwise? If you believe the club is willing to sell Pinto for the right price, who would the be eying to replace these 2?
    I believe Barca management is confident that VV is their goal keeper for now and in our immediate future and that he’s still young and becoming better and more settled with every match.
    I also don’t think that there are any plans of selling Villa even though his performance has been disappointing so far. We just bought him, he is well liked and I think they will give him lot’s of time (ie Bojan) to come into his own.

  24. blitzen
    November 9, 2010

    Interesting post. I understand that your intent was to discuss who we “would” sell hypothetically, not who we “should” sell, but I have to admit I get a little weary of these constant discussions of buying and selling players. I think sometimes fans forget that we are talking about real flesh-and-blood people, not playing Football Manager. It’s not just about an individual’s price or his skills, it is also about how he will fit into an established team. Will he able to adjust to our system? Is it worth breaking up an established working partnership to sell one player for the money he could bring? You can’t just shoehorn someone into a working team and expect instant magic.

    Anyway, whatever. I think you are mostly correct in your comments, except for Valdes (the club would never consider selling him until/unless we had a reliable young backup keeper. Mino isn’t there yet.) and Pedro (Nope! Along with Busquets, Pedro is the perfect example of how the youth system should work. His public relations value is huge. Oh, and he is in terrific form, too. He is worth more to us right where he is.).

    • Josep
      November 9, 2010

      You’re starting to become my favorite poster. I couldn’t agree more.

      There’s no way the club would sell VV. There’s almost no way they’d sell anyone from La Masia basically, excluding Jeffren obviously.

      The thing that worries me with Dani Alves is we’ve seen it before with players trying to leave on frees like Sol Campbell. They say they’ll extend, then leave for free. Its the only thing that worries me, I hope we either lock him down or let him go. He really needs to improve his crossing. His work rate is insane. I don’t know any player in the world with that work rate.

      I think Afellay can be bought for up 5 m then why not bring him in? Thats a great insurance policy. To all the people saying no, are you the same people saying our squad is too thin? WHat do you want, a big 30m signing? 5m for a good player is great business.

      Also, I’m assuming Afellay is cup tied correct? It would actually help us get more rest before a Champions League game as they’d start him weekend match, and P! in CL.

        • November 9, 2010

          I think if somebody offered us north of 25m for P!, we’d sell him, and feel sad while running to the bank. And no, PSV isn’t in Champions League, so Afellay wouldn’t be cup-tied.

          • blitzen
            November 9, 2010

            But who could we replace him with that would cost less than 25m? No one, not that could play to his level. Therefore such a sale would be a net loss, not a gain.

  25. Lev
    November 9, 2010

    not sold on afellay though. probably a bit more familiar with him than others. why would we get another non-scoring midfielder? last season scored 4 goals in 29 matches. only just broke his scoring duck for the national team when holland played sweden (after 30! caps). also his attitude is pretty lousy at times. not to mention his tendency to do twenty stepovers in the middle of the pitch and then play a lousy ball.
    upside is his talent is undeniable and when on form can play with the best of ’em, but If we wanted an attacking mid for this season we should have made a move for Ozil who I am sorry to say is looking very good for EE.
    If not let me join the chorus of those culés absent on this here blog – the ones who want Cesc back, lol.

    btw, very nice article. To me Messi is the irreplaceblest! And I really hope we keep Dani because I don’t see any other RB who can do what he can, not Adriano and not Van Der Wiel either.

    November 9, 2010

    Kxevin when you said that abidal price is 25m i am sure you make a joke eh?I believe noone will give us anything more than 10m!About keita also his price is around 8-10 and milito 5-8.Sell them the summer cause they will go 4 free like marquez.

    • Josep
      November 9, 2010

      heh, I thought the same. I think thats his ‘if someone somehow offers an exorbitant fee of course we’ll take it’ price. Theres no way we’re getting that much for Abidal.

      • November 9, 2010

        Which is why I wrote, “for the right price,” i.e. something impossible to resist. Abidal is one of the best left backs in the world, even though he STILL doesn’t get the love here that he should from some folks. He also greatly facilitates the daring that Pique and Alves can show.

        • Humphrey Bogart
          November 9, 2010

          I beg to differ, Abidal gets a lot of love, at least from me. After XavIniesta he is my favourite player, even if he may not be “flashy” enough for some

  27. Josep
    November 9, 2010

    via barcastuff

    Guardiola has called PSV assistant coach Cocu and other Dutch ex-Barcelona team-mates to know more about Ibrahim Afellay.

  28. Kxevin
    November 9, 2010

    I too hope we keep Alves. Separating my brain from my cule is hard. Alves would like to stay and we would like him to stay. The problem is price.

    What Alves does, nobody in the world can do. That’s the cule in me. The brain in me says 35m is a lotta lotta, and have we really looked that funky the times that Alves was out of the lineup?

    As Luke notes, Valdes just doesn’t get the love he deserves, even after being capped. If a young talent such as De Gea comes in then what? Good question.

    Tis beautiful game of ours is first and foremost, a business. Clubs are constantly making bloodless evalutions of olayers, their worth to the club, and their market value.

    We aren’t a selling club in the same way that Lyon or Sevilla are where we find some young talent, raise him, then sell him for a profit. If we get a player, he has to fit into the aspirations and quality of a championship club.

    Those olayers aren’t cheap and are usually in their prime, as regards quality and market value, when we get them. We get what we need then sell for what we can. The deal for The Yaya was an aberration, really.

    So rare is the buy or sell that is going to make perfect economic sense for us.

    • Josep
      November 9, 2010

      Kxevin, can you get me a job in the mailroom at the Trib? 🙂

      Also, I live in Calumet City. You ever written articles about us?

  29. Kari
    November 9, 2010

    Umm, I’m confused? Was a comment removed or something?

    • November 9, 2010

      Yes, Kari, your not-so-humble mods are hard at work, picking up turds from the backyard.

      I’ve said it before and will say it again. When somebody pops in and says something scummy, rest assured that it will be cleaned up. No need to even respond.

      Yours in a cleaner backyard

    • blitzen
      November 9, 2010

      Yes, it was, and now I see that my and kirsten’s response to it are still here, which is confusing. Perhaps they should be deleted too? I certainly don’t mind.

      (the original comment was racist, hence the reason for the deletion)

      • November 9, 2010

        All fixed now. It’s why I say it isn’t worth responding. It will give us less to do. 😀

    • Kari
      November 9, 2010

      Ah, I see. Thanks for keeping it clean 😀

  30. stowe
    November 9, 2010

    what exactly are you referring to?

    • stowe
      November 10, 2010

      i was in turn responding to kristen. figured it was deleted trash

  31. blitzen
    November 9, 2010

    Players called up for the Ceuta game:

    Valdés, Puyol, Bojan, Messi, Pinto, Mascherano, Keita, Pedro, Milito, Maxwell, Adriano, Abidal, Nolito, Sergi Roberto, Thiago, Bartra and Dos Santos

    No Fontas, no Mino. What’s your lineup?

    • Josep
      November 9, 2010

      Maxwell Milito Abidal(Bartra at half) Adriano
      ——-sMasch (Roberto sub 60th)
      ——Thiago Dos Santos
      Messi(Nolito at half) Bojan P!

      • Josep
        November 9, 2010

        Wait is the B-Limit 3 or 4?
        Start Roberto then and sub sMasch and Nolito at the same time.

      • Kxevin
        November 9, 2010

        I figure on the “none shall pass” midfield of Keita and Mascherano, with Thiago pulling the strings.

    • blitzen
      November 9, 2010

      Adriano – Bartra – Milito – Abidal
      Thiago – Mascherano – Keita
      Pedro – Messi – Bojan

      Subs: Nolito for Messi, JDS for Mascherano

      • Jnice
        November 9, 2010

        I like that lineup, but I could see Maxwell starting instead of Abidal.

        • blitzen
          November 9, 2010

          I considered that, but Abidal sat out the last game. I think Pep will start him.

  32. Kari
    November 9, 2010

    How about the fact Pique fouled twice and got booked for both (according to barcastuff)?

    The first yellow was a joke, but I didn’t mind it since I knew Pique needed a yellow anyway. In retrospect, if Pique hadn’t been booked for that first “foul”, he wouldn’t be in the situation he is now.

    My Lineup:

    Adriano – Sergi Roberto – Milito – Maxwell
    Thiago – sMasch – Keita
    Messi – Bojan – Nolito

    Second half : JDS for Keita, Pedro! for Nolito, Bartra for Maxwell

    • Jnice
      November 9, 2010

      I think you confused Sergi Roberto for Sergi Gomez.

      I think your back line is what we’ll go with, if you put Bartra in for Sergi Roberto.

      I think Pedro might start instead of Nolito.

      • Kari
        November 9, 2010

        I probably did mistake them, but I was going off blitzen’s squad list.

        Bartra strikes me as a wingback, but you’d know better than me. I love me some Bartra so if he starts, awesome.

        I put P! on the bench just because he’d have a great destabilizing affect as a sub. Actually, thinking about it now, I have a feeling Messi’s gonna be the sub and our forward line will be: Pedro!/Bojan/Nolito

        But it’s just a feeling, so I’m gonna keep my lineup.

    November 9, 2010

    Next week leo will travel to brazil for a friendly.Why is he in the squad?

    • blitzen
      November 9, 2010

      Messi is in the squad because it is a knock-out competition and there is a (slim) chance that Ceuta could score a couple of goals and even things up. We need a big gun in there to make absolutely sure we get to the next round. I very much doubt he will play the entire game.

      • blitzen
        November 9, 2010

        Actually I wouldn’t be surprised if Ceuta rolls over for us, just out of the sheer joy of getting to play on the same field with Messi. I know they were disappointed he didn’t travel for the first leg.

        • Josep
          November 9, 2010

          I read the question differently as why he’s been called up for the Argentina squad?

          • blitzen
            November 9, 2010

            Oh. Well in that case, the answer is: Because there is no freaking way in hell Argentina is going to leave him out unless his feet have LITERALLY fallen off.

            There is no such things as a “friendly” match between Argentina and Brazil, no matter what FIFA calls it officially. 😀

          • blitzen
            November 9, 2010

            And even if his feet DID fall off, Messi himself would stick them back on with Crazy Glue and play anyway. You just try to stop him from playing in that game!

  34. Eklavya
    November 9, 2010

    Adriano Bartra Milito Maxwell
    Thiago —-Masch —- JDS
    Pedro —- Bojan — Nolito

    I’m guessing Keita will start instead of P! but hopefully not.

  35. November 9, 2010

    Guardiola on Nolito:

    “Nolito leaving? I would advise him to stay and fight. He deserves a chance but we don’t give rewards here, you have to win them”

  36. Helge
    November 9, 2010

    About the Barca B players:
    An enormous number of allegedly 18(!) clubs from around the whole Europe scoutet the Barca B players during their match against Villarreal B.

    Some thoughts about the A players:
    Nobody would ever offer 25m or more for Abidal, simply because he will be 32 by next season.
    And I’m a bit confused that you would sell Abidal because Maxwell is an adequate replacement. But your verdict on Maxwell’s selling is a most clear (and short) “yep”.
    So you would like to sell both and get Coentrao instead, maybe? 😀

    • blitzen
      November 9, 2010

      He didn’t say he wants to sell them, he said he would sell them IF the price was right. Different.

      • November 9, 2010

        Blitzen, anyone, sorry to be oftopic here, but i have no clue of other way to find this out (ok, it is possible through contatcing via the official form but it is more efficient this way): how could i put my avatar here, on this blog? I have not seen any registration form/option… thank you in advance, i owe you a beer if we meet someday 🙂

        • blitzen
          November 9, 2010

          I asked Kari the same thing and she kindly sent me to this website. It’s easy to set up an account and works for every website that your email is registered with:


        • Kari
          November 9, 2010

          Just make sure the email you use to set up the account is the same one you use to post comments, or it won’t show up!

          • November 9, 2010

            Since i cannot erase my previous useless coment, let’s add up one more: thank you guys. Very much. Now i’m cool as… as Kubala is, i guess 🙂

            Kxevin od Isaiah, sorry for posting things you’d probably delete it in a second, it won’t happen again. I hope.

  37. November 9, 2010

    I think you’re underestimating Pinto’s value in terms of psychological motivation towards the rest of the crew (like: i’ll beat the crap out of you if you fail to win). I like to think of him like that 🙂

    And the Swede… As i recall, he is on a zero-fee loan (AC Milan saved us only a one-year pay, which is not small), with an option to be transformed into transfer worth 24 mil. eur. I mean, would a loan still be called “a loan” if the other club has a must-purchase-option on his head? But they’ll buy him, unless he beats 60% of the squad ’till may (only 2 players so far, that we know about: Strasser and Oniyemamenamen – or smth like that).

    Even if Milan decide not to buy him, we could always sell him to Citeh or That Other Team (i’m not writing EE because noone was kind enough to explain to me what the hell EE stands for – or someone had, but i’ve been too stupid to find/read the explanation).

    • November 9, 2010

      p.s. (in a new post, like a noob, sorry): Kxev, good article 🙂

      p.p.s. (well, when i’m already here, i could also say that) I think Affelay will be a good signing, also. If he manages to be to us one half of what Cocu has been in the past (in a “let’s compare the former PSV players that have come to Barca” way), he would be hell of a worthwhile player 🙂

      • Josep
        November 9, 2010

        I love your correct use of p.s. and p.p.s.

        From my understanding yes Ibra is on a classical loan-to-buy deal, but they’ve signed something specific which they’ve GUARANTEED they will pay.

        It recently came out that its not true, but thats a rumor. I’d have to look where it is, but they MUST pay the 24 mil, or they owe Zlatan more money in wages I think or something along those lines. It’s a weird loan, but he will not be returning, unless Milan want to pay more money to him, not to keep him.

        • November 9, 2010

          If they indeed signed something like that (besides that it does note stand well in my logical thoughts), it shall not be called a loan, but a transfer on a delayed payment.

    • Kari
      November 9, 2010

      Allow me: EE = Evil Empire

      I wouldn’t sell Ibra to EE, just because: 1) they wouldn’t buy him since they have Benzema to do the sulking; 2) He’d be motivated if we did do that; 3) I don’t like the idea of making our rivals stronger

      Citeh is the best option because they’ll overpay and they aren’t a threat. Actually, we should do another swap deal; we give them Ibra and they give us Silva. Yeah, baby!

      • blitzen
        November 9, 2010

        But we would be losing at least 50 centimeters on that deal! 😉

        I still say trade him to Arsenal for Cesc!

        • November 9, 2010

          If AW finds him adequate, i’d do it in a second.

          In my overexitement over the EE enlightment, i forgot to write that EE (hell, it’s easier now) would take him with arms wide open, and legs wide streched. He could be motivated as Lance Armstrong on Champs Ellysees, but unless he reads the game better, he’d be a flop scoring only a pair of importang goals (all of them in a game that’s been set up for him, like the first half of the season with us). I mean, i love him as a player (not sportist, but player), but the idea of us feeling the same way about EE like Inter fans probably mock us for the stupidest transfer desicion in the last decade (that, and not keeping Oleguer in the team 🙂 ) is to tempting to resist…

          And making our rivals stronger… Hey, we survived F**O (this is a name i refuse to write, anywhere), so Ibra shall not be such of a problem.

          And boy, he would love to move over there…

        • Kari
          November 9, 2010

          Bah! Height is so 2009. It’s 2010 people! Teams are faster, more physical and tactical than ever before.

          Midgets are the way to go! Small, technically gifted and bursting with awesomeness. Yesh!

      • November 9, 2010

        Hell yeah! 🙂 Thank you Kari.

        *Glad to see more jedies in the blaugrana universe, and although i’ve catched some Star Wars’ refferences on the blog, did nut had a clue what exactly EE stands for 🙂

        Then, Messi is our Yoda!

        **Just in case the Evil Empire thing is somehow inspired by the Galactic Empire. If not, fml(ogic).

        • Kari
          November 9, 2010

          If Ibra moved to the EE, I would be tempted to make a Anakin/moving to the dark side reference, but I actually like Anakin and he’s too badass to link to Ibra 😀

  38. Vicsoc8
    November 9, 2010

    Interesting fact I just realized: there are only 5 nationalities playing for our first team:
    1 Frenchman
    1 Malian
    3 Argentinians
    3 Brazilians
    11 Spaniards

    • Kxevin
      November 9, 2010

      And look for that to change further in coming years. And some would say that there are 5 Spaniards and 6 Catalans playing for Barca. 😀

  39. Vicsoc8
    November 9, 2010

    My thoughts on some of our more senior members and where their future lies:

    Abidal (31) – he’s getting on the older side of things. However his ability to play left back or center back is crucial to the team at the moment, especially in light of our light back line. He will stay for another season or two. Honestly, I think he will stay until Muniesa is ready to replace him (no as a starter, but playing the same role as a sub).

    Maxwell (29) – he is a player I can see staying at the club for a long time. I see him as the replacement for Sylvinho, a selfless player who is a good locker room presence and is willing to play a backup role. He us pretty consistent, and generally gives soli games when he plays. I see him being a long term sub at left back.

    Milito (30) – this is a hard one to peg. I personally like Milito and think he is a solid sub, but he has only played in 4 games so far this season. I get the impression that Pep likes him, but doesn’t think he quite makes he cut. He stays until he is forced out of the squad by one of our budding center backs, which might not be long at this pace.

    Keita (30) – he is another tough one. Pep obviously likes him as a player, and Keita is a selfless player who seems to not be too concerned with not playing every game. I think he will stay for at least 2 more seasons, but will see diminishing playing time every year. He still has a role to play in the team, but I think it will consistently decrease over the years.

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