Transfer Window Madness: Get Your Random Moves On

It’s the midway point of the season and that means changes throughout the league. For one club, it’s a fight against relegation while for another it’s a fight towards European competition. Sometimes it’s even that there’s money to burn (cough Málaga cough) or that there’s a perceived lack of squad depth (cough Barça cough). Then there’s the team that needs a striker, says so, and then goes about not getting one, fighting with itself, and eventually drawing with the last placed team in the league. Who could that be?

Here, then, are the transfers made so far (as of Thursday, January 20):

In: Juanito (Málaga)
Out: Valeri (Lanus)

Athletic Bilbao:
In: Díaz de Cerio (Córdoba)
Out: Ion Vélez (Numancia)

Atletico Madrid:
In: Juanfran (Osasuna), Elías (Corinthians)
Out: Simao (Besiktas), Camacho, Asenjo (Málaga)

In: Afellay (PSV)
Out: None

In: None
Out: None

In: None
Out: Coro (loan, Osasuna)

In: None
Out: None

In: None
Out: None

In: Wellington (loan, Arsenal)
Out: None

In: Baptista (Roma), Asenjo (Atlético), Camacho (Atlético), Demichelis (Bayern), Maresca (free agent)
Out: Albert Luque, Juanito (Almería), Edu Ramos (Leganés), Galatto, Iván Hernández

In: Ienaga (Cerezo Osaka)
Out: None

In: Coro (loan, Espanyol), Cejudo (Las Palmas)
Out: Juanfran (Atlético)

In: None
Out: Edu Bedia (Salamanca)

Real Madrid:
In: None
Out: None

Real Sociedad:
In: Demidov (Rosenborg)
Out: Viguera (Nástic)

In: None
Out: Konko (Genoa)

Sporting Gijon:
In: André Castro (Oporto)
Out: Matabuena (Valladolid)

In: None
Out: Manuel Fernandes (Besiktas)

In: Cicinho (loan, Roma)
Out: None

In: None
Out: None

Obviously the biggest mover and shaker was Malaga, but that’s to be expected given their cash influx from Qatar. All of their signings are solid and should improve their fortunes. There shouldn’t be much doubt of their survival at this point, despite being only 2 points above relegation right now. They’re too good to go down and once they click with Manuel Pellegrini’s system, they’ll be moving on up the charts to midtable. They’ve got a 13-point deficit to overcome before they’re in the second Europa League spot currently held by Atleti (3opts), which doesn’t look likely regardless of their spending, so midtable will have to do them just fine.

I would be most surprised by Zaragoza’s lack of investment in the transfer market (though they may yet do something over the final few days of the window) because they’re in 18th, well, well out of safety. If 40pts guarantees survival, they’re not halfway there at 16. But you’ll note that I said I would be most surprised–they’ve had a recent surge in results, winning 2 of their last 3, which just happens to be twice as many wins as they had in their previous 16 matches and almost as many points (10 vs 6). So maybe they think it’s all working out or perhaps they’re just battening the hatches and hoping for the best over the second half.

Valencia has loaned out Manuel Fernandes to Turkish club Beşiktaş where he’ll join fellow countrymen Simao (ex Atleti and Barça) and Ricardo Quaresma (ex Barça), as well as Guti (ex RM), Nihat (ex Sociedad and Villarreal), Mehmet Aurélio (ex Betis), and Rüştü Reçber (ex Barça); Beşiktaş is looking like a pretty decent club with those alone, much less with the rest of their Turkish players. I also just like being able to write Beşiktaş with all it’s cool ş’s. Okay, you caught me, I copy and pasted it. Beşiktaş.

Villarreal brought in Cicinho, which made me laugh. And then they lost 3-0 to Sevilla in the Copa del Rey with him starting, which made me giggle. They also started Jozy Altidore in that match and he did jack shite, which made me frown. They’ll qualify for the CL easily enough, but won’t be able to really challenge the top 2. I just don’t see RM or Barça dropping enough points, regardless of what Villarreal does outside of its 2 remaining matches against the big boys (both at home, incidentally). Their problem could come from the fact that they haven’t beaten anyone ranked above 16th away from home. Losses to the Big 2, Getafe, and Real Sociedad (and a draw at Hercules) suggest there might be a rough second half of the season, but I just don’t see that trend continuing.

Levante picked up Arsenal’s “next big Brazilian thing” Wellington Silva on loan. Whether he’ll be able to do anything or not might be the difference between survival and relegation for Levante. Supposedly he’s done well for Arsenal Reserves (if you can believe Wikipedia), but again, that may or may not translate to success at Levante.  Arsenal’s official site put it this way: “Arsenal has established a long-term strategy for identifying the best talent from around the world. This process has worked well in the past with players such as Carlos Vela.” Er, I guess? There are high hopes for this kid, though.

And that’s all the time I have for right now.  More tomorrow, naturally, including a preview.

By Isaiah

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


  1. The latest is that the club has offered Alves (if you don’t follow Sonia Gelma on Twitter, you should) the same $$$$ as Puyol, Valdes and Villa, just below Xaviniesta. And that’s our final offer, apparently. In addition, we’re offering up sponsorship incentives from various partners to raise his $$$$ even further.

    Now it’s up to Alves.

    1. reallllly hope he stays, but i would be really upset with him if he choses to leave over more money.

  2. this is taken from a la liga loca artivle from a ocuple of weeks ago:

    “This time last year struggling Zaragoza brought in seven new players in the window window – a mastermind move that kept the Aragonese outfit in the top-flight. The problem now is that struggling Zaragoza may not be able to repeat the same nifty move.
    In a deal done between the Spanish League and the Players’ union, any clubs which owe money to any footballers may not sign anyone else until that debt is either paid or a deal is done between the two parties. Unless the club in question is in administration, which lets the IOU-collecting Mallorca off the hook, strangely enough.
    Zaragoza currently owe former goalkeeper, Javier López Vallejo €150,000 and the super stopper wants it right now, meaning that Javier Aguirre may well be stuck with the collection of half-wits and misfits he’s got in his squad until May.”

    i feel bad for aguirre. his osasuna, atletico & mexico nt were always fun to watch.

  3. The news on Alves doesn’t sound encouraging. All of these recent stories just feel like leaks from the board to protect themselves when/ if Alves leaves.

    It seems like the club has wanted cules to explicitly know what they have done to try to keep Alves. At the same time they are trying to create a narrative about his demands which lays the blame on Alves and not the club.

    Don’t seem to be many leaks from alves’ side, at least since his last meeting with man city. The leaks are from the board and there’s a reason why they want their story out there.

    This has a CYA feel to it.

    1. Y’know, @barcastuff over at Twitter said the same thing, Euler. My response is if his demands aren’t that high, why hasn’t this thing been settled? At any rate, seems that the ball is in Alves’ court. Now we wait.

    2. I think City likely made dani an enormous offer and that’s the crux of the issue. It may just make no sense for dani to take the barca offer from a financial stand point. At the same time it may make no sense for barca to try to match given the club’s financial model.

      But I will say this – the board seems very nervous about losing dani. This is now at least the third time the club has “leaked” that they’ve made their “final” offer. The prior two times now dont seem very final. Not sure why Alves should believe the club won’t bump their offer again.

      Dani has a lot of leverage here and he knows it. He knows Pep wants him to stay. He knows there aren’t any RB in the world close to him at the moment.

      And bases on these bluffed final offers and recurrent leaks, I’d guess the club knows that too.

      It just feels like the club is preparing the road to sell Alves this summer. That may be the right thing to do – but right now they feel like an organization that’s hedging it’s risk by damage control PR before the fact.

      “we did everything we could ….” I can see the pressed now

      And then they’ll turn their priorities in the direction of Barca DNA, yadda, yadda. Dani who?

  4. why am i watching real-atleti? and why is aguero & baby aguero-maradona wathing from the stands? different game if those two were in right now.

    1. Because I was watching the match at that exact moment and my inability to spell on online blogs had been temporarily passed onto you. Your computer is telling you by jamming your ‘c’ key (See? I told you so! She’s watching, that’s why your ‘c’ key is jamming!”)

    2. hehe…I’m watching too but I can’t really blame Atleti this time! They were playing with 10 players (Reyes was out injured and had to be substituted) the time that goal got in…can not beleive how lucky EE are yet again

  5. I am still divided about Alves.

    While he does have a unique skill set at that position (movement and agility with great ball control) I am not sure that warrants his salary request. Also, he is a bit of a “hot head” and has the tendency to dive.

    Perhaps the management should assume the opportunity cost and look for someone else with the similar skill set at the more affordable price. This in case Adriano’s development is not satisfactory at the end of the season.

    In general, no player should be greater than the system. The salary-level structure needs to be fully honoured. If the management bends over for Alves, what is then stopping the other players of asking for raise. If a player puts so much emphasis on salary then he might not be the right guy for “us” long-term anyway. The full commitment is essential and such a player should be allowed to leave a la The Ivorian.

    A detail The Club needs to pay attention more is the players’ agents. It is hard to tell but it is quite possible Alves’ agent is very interested to score the bigger payday for his client and is pushing the issue. Let the management’s dealings with Yaya’s and Zlatan’s agent be a lesson for the future.

    The pay of players over 30 needs to be heavily reduced in my opinion. Xavi, Puyol, Abidal etc are past their prime and their health is likely to deteriorate.

    Big thank you note to those guys for what they had done so far but their salary needs to be adjusted. They all have had that big “secure the family” contract and now, in decline, should accept to play for less and the opportunity to win trophies and have a nice retirement party at Camp Nou.

    1. so if in fact Citeh is the reason hes asking for so much, knowing he can get it there, is he being tapped up?

    2. I’m sorry but I don’t think I understand your question. Could you clarify it please?

    3. It’s a half-joke, Tom_Johnson.

      This summer we had a bunch of Arsenal trolls, whipped up into a frenzy over the FAKE–not even misquoted/misunderstood–interviews their own media was churning out on a weekly basis, accused us on BFB of ‘tapping up*’–that is an illegal approach from a club to a player to summarize– Cesc Fabregas.

      With Manchester City offering Alves money that they know Barca won’t match, and without doing this during a transfer window (i.e. January, Summer), they are indirectly “tapping him up” because that means they would be responsible for Alves leaving the club by his own volition without them having to make a “offer” per se.


    4. /facepalm

      Silly me.

      As long as the contact between the agent and the interested party is within the UEFA rules, I see nothing wrong with them making a hint on how much they are ready to pay him.

    5. Agree with you on Alves.

      However Xavi and Puyol have dedicated their lives to Barça. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that they deserve every penny of their salaries, because….well, they’re football players, but still, it is logical to award Masia players who have sticked with us for their whole professional lives.

    6. “…but still, it is logical to award Masia players who have sticked with us for their whole professional lives.”

      That is what I had in mind when I mentioned that one (or two) huge contract. The money they made during those 4-6 years will be enough. The place in history books is just as important.

      The Club is as much as business as is a competitive sports team. It should be treated as such. Health and skills of those older players are about to erode so it is not a good investment.

      Think of it as a used car with a lot of miles on it that you are going to use only sometimes and not for long. It doesn’t make sense paying a top dollar for it.

      As usual, it is hard to put a number on all the emotions they had experienced and are about to in the next 2-3 years since this team is a Title contender year-in and year-out. Players need to be more appreciative of this fact (there are not many teams as competitive) and understand the business side of it.

      Bigger picture, since The Club is “struggling”, everybody needs to chip in. Players, management and fans need to make concessions and apply austerity measures. It has to be a joint effort.

    7. it doesn’t make sense paying top dollar for a used car? We are not buying the cars, we made them ourselves. Now that they are getting old we simply spend more money taking care of ’em.

      anyway i understand completely what you are saying, but still think they are worth it. And they might have passed 30, but their play still merits the salary.

    8. Think of it as a used car with a lot of miles on it that you are going to use only sometimes and not for long. It doesn’t make sense paying a top dollar for it.

      Except that the used cars you are referring to (Xavi, Puyol, Abidal) are still played in almost every match and are most distinctly not “past their primes”. Xavi in particular is at the absolute peak of his abilities, and I don’t think Abidal has ever been better for us.

    9. ou guys have a point. The ‘used car’ might not be the appropriate analogy.

      It is more like an increasing maintenance cost for an aging car (not a collectible item). The car that is bound to have its parts start breaking down sooner rather than later. Reaching the point of diminishing returns, a sentimental value should not be enough of a reason to keep pouring money into the vehicle.

      Back to the players, I haven’t said it had to be done right away.

      – Xavi has a distinct style of play and is not affected that much by the physical ability

      – Abidal, on the other hand, is heavily dependent on it

      – To me, Puyol already lost a step and is being bailed out by his vast experience and tremendous will

      Not knowing the ‘severity’ of Xavi’s Achilles’ situation at the moment, all three of them are assuming greater risk of injury each week goes by. Abidal had an issue reoccur last year and the year before that.

      If any of the defenders “lose a step” it is going to show a lot more and it is going to weigh a lot more on what is happening on the field.

      Like I said before, money shouldn’t be a top priority for these guys at this stage of their careers. Between 4-6 years of high salaries (and bonuses) and endorsements (the amount which correlates to the popularity and personal image rather than base salary) they have more than enough to secure a comfortable living for their families.

      I am not suggesting either that The Club should kick them to the curb. The greatest retirement party one can possibly wish for (mic in hand in front of the full Camp Nou) is awaiting them. Nobody is going to treat them with lack of respect. A “place in history” all but assured. That is worth more than any money.

      What I am suggesting is that those players should understand The Club’s needs, their own health situation and the business side of it.

      It is reasonable to assume that they will be able to perform at this level for another season (barring major injuries). Due to the economic situation, I would enforce a mild pay cut this summer and a sharper one a year from now. The bonuses would remain the same and would be tied to the amount of playing time. That way if the team wins a competition their contribution is sure to be recognized.

    10. Players should recognize that The Club and its benefit is greater than any personal interest.

      It would be a great example for youth if these guys would step up and say ‘it’s not all about the money’ and ‘we want to pay back to The Club’ for believing in us when we were kids’.

      If someone placed such faith and resources to allow me to become World class player and exceptional human being, I know I would.

    11. Now, that doesn’t mean that the money saved this way is supposed to end in Sandrusco’s pocket so he and his pals can party and fu*k around more.

      It should be invested in a smart way.

    12. It should be noted that I in fact did NOT hijack Tom Johnson’s screen handle and avatar. Agree 1000% on Alves. If his demands are too rich for our blood, we should move on.

      Without a doubt, Alves has a skill set that is unique. Irreplacable? Directly, no. But people thought that The Yaya was irreplacable, too.

      And Tom, please e-mail me. Thanks.

    13. And what are your thoughts on players over 30? Reward their hard work and commitment to the club by slashing their salaries or just send them to Carousel?

      Contracts Life clocks are a lie! Carousel is a lie! THERE IS NO RENEWAL!

  6. via chris from @theoffside

    Barca vs Malaga (4-1) camp nou 7D experience

    how awesome is that? i love me some vimeo


    1. sure we will. We might be watching from our wheelchair in the retirment home but i am positive Atletico will beat EE during my lifetime.

    2. No, we have Alcorcon for that in the CDR and Lyon for CL (though, they’ll probably lose this time)

  7. Inter Milan vice-president Angelomario Moratti called the agent of Guardiola to sound him out. The approach was kindly rejected. [MD via barcastuff]

    Just had to throw that in, didn’t they? Well, it IS Pep they’re talking about and they are RoSELL’s unofficial mouthpiece after all. 😀

  8. Tom_Johnson has been sounded out by Kxevin.

    Run, Tom, run for your life! You’re about to –comment has been edited by admin—now! 😀

    1. generally they go hand in hand.

      if you’ve never seen Clivee’s videos though, you should check them out. good videos + good music.

    2. So I am genuinely excited about Affelay. I thought he showed some good things in the Betis match, namely ball skills and a capable shot from distance. I can see why he is slotting in as a winger right now though, because he played a number of soft passes that left teammates in bad positions. He definitely looks more like a Pedro than a Xaviesta at this point, although that may come with tie in the system.

      Here is the thing though, and I hope I am not the only one here having this issue. I am having a really hard time watching Affelay on this pitch. There is something about his body type, his slouching shoulders and the way he holds his arms in by his stomach that makes him look incredibly awkward. It is really strange. I feel the club should mandate he wear long sleeves to help. Anyone else see this?

    3. Not really Cam. We’re just used to seeing tiny players move, if you’re over 5 foot 9, you will move like that.

    4. That is definitely part of the equation because I kept thinking Affelay looked like a Giant out there at 5′ 11″. But height can’t be all of it, because Yaya always looked smooth as silk on the pitch to me, albeit often like he was moving in slow motion. Then again, Yaya is half god.

    5. It’s just the way he moves and runs, no one can change that because for him it’s naturel..

    1. And that ^ doesn’t really have anything to do with the above link Cule_less (name change! + awesome link, thanks!) posted.

      I’m just saying, and that describes my feelings towards the latest MouMou whines/critizims/everyoneisagainstmeOMGs

    2. Do you guys know Spanish/Catalan? I don’t and I haven’t been able to watch Crackovia for ages cos TotalBarca hasn’t put up videos with subtitles for ages now.

    3. My Spanish is fair-to-middling and between that and French I can work out a good deal of the Catalan. Spanish subtitles help a lot. Honestly, though, you can work out most of the meaning through context. It’s only the long conversation bits with no action that tend to escape me.

    4. Ditto what Blitzen says. I took Spanish in HS and college and a few years of French in HS so I can “catch” some of it. But it’s mostly a context thing. Someone wrote a little while ago here that we have no idea what’s being said, and yet we laugh.

      @Blitzen —How do you get them to do Spanish subtitles? That would help a ton!

    5. Crackovia just won’t be the same when Mou leaves and they don’t have him to make fun of anymore. 🙁

    6. Or Raul in Spain tracksuits. But honestly Guti was the best character on the show. Pim pam pim pam pim pam

  9. Barcelona will close their Argentinean youth academy in Lujan, north of Buenos Aires.

    What??? Why???

    1. SOmebody just wrote an article about creating another Messi in Argentina a few weeks back and now they’re shutting it down??

    2. Well, it’s not an offical Barcelona academy like the one in Argentina, but it would be Barcelona-style and Rosell has enthusiastically endorsed it. The club would be working with Qatar to develop it.

  10. Sport says Jonathan Dos Santos is on the market, for the “come get him” price of 3m. I guess that answers questions about his future with the club, and whether he was convincing in his A team appearances.

    And EMD says that Alves has already rejected the club’s latest offer. More to come, I’m sure.

    1. Still can’t believe it .Guess the Alcantara brothers are really leaving an impression on Pep. I however still have high hopes for JDS.

    2. 3m seems to low a price for JDS, no matter how inconsistent he’s been this season. Doubt there’s much truth in that one.

    3. I know!!! so sad. maybe its low because they’ve included a buy back clause? either way, unimpressive or not, he needs more time. why sell JDS when VV is still on our B team? whats the pain in keeping him around?

      I mean the kid seems to get along really well with the two alcantara’s, is around 20 and a fully capped international??

      It’s a shame because Eto’o was my favorite and GDS was my second.

    4. Isn’t there something (Kxevin would know) about the way the B team is now set up in that they have something like a no more than 18 mos- 2years for players to be at that level before either being promoted or transfered????? On one hand it’s a good thing (players don’t stagnate at that level (just because you can’t cut it at Barca doesn’t mean you can’t have a good carreer elsewhere). On the other hand, it’s sad because you might miss out on some “late bloomers”. But, in Pep we trust.

  11. On strange news for the day, Blackburn are apparently bidding for Riquelme.

    I’d love to see Riquelme in Europe again, wonderful player and one of the most magical midfielders I have ever seen and an awful pity that he didn’t win any major trophies with Argentina though I still hold out some hope.

    He was called up to the 1998 and 2002 World Cup squads for Argentina but didn’t play at all, in 2006 the still baffling decision of taking him and another attacking player off for defensive players and not putting on Messi backfired against Germany, and not selected for 2010. Overall all sorts of weird stuff, he only has 51 caps for Argentina (Messi at 23 has 53 caps) which is sad for such a brilliant player.

    I hope he plays in and wins the Copa America. And somehow the 2014 WC too, though he’ll be 36 then. I want Messi and Argentina to win those and while my ideal young midfield would be Mascherano (26), Banega (22) and Pastore (21) in a DM-passing CM-floating AM style a la DM-Xavi-Iniesta (Argentina are trying to play as close a system to Barcelona as they can, aren’t they?) Riquelme is just a magical player.

    1. I hope he rejects their offer. Those new owners better stick to playing Fifa Manager or whatever management games.
      And Riquelme is way too slow for EPL.

    2. Oh yeah I forgot to mention that when I said ‘I would love to see Riquelme in Europe again’ that I meant ‘not in Blackburn or some middling EPL club, in a quality side in Spain or Italy’.

  12. Apparently the club and Alves are about 1m apart, an immense gulf philosophically.

    The club has said 6 is its final offer, and Alves wants 7. Logic says settle on the compromise number of 6.5 and move on, right?

    Stay tuned.

    Of course the REAL question on everyone’s mind is how does this relate to Baby Kxevin’s Theory of the Four-Year Brazilian, which holds that star Brazilian acquisitions should be sold in or around their fourth season?

    It kinda holds, as they usually become:

    1. Too expensive too keep
    2. Fragile
    3. Performance deteriorates

    For me, Alves meets the criteria of 1 and 3. We’ve all muttered about his misplaced crosses, unwillingness to shoot and one pass too many-itis this season. It’s even more acute than last season. So now what? How patient will everyone be with those tendencies, in the wake of a big-ass contract?

    Good question. Is Alves worth 7m, given what he does? I think so. But there’s that darned theory again….

    1. while this theory has been put in practise several times beforehands, Im sure that youll be the first to forget about it if alves stays with us.
      There is a big difference between alves and the other brazilians: he as a tremendous work rate and his physical shape seems to be off the charts in general.
      Getting past 27 years of age will not affect his game that much.

    2. If not Alves than who? Barca hasn’t sounded out on any RBs as far as we know. There’s no “the club are looking into x in case the negotiations with Alves don’t work out.”

      I think Alves is going to win here. we’ve already closed 1 million on the agreement barrier, since it was a 2 million difference before.

    3. I agree. This is a classical market problem. Offer and Demand decide the price. Problem is we have certainly nobody in the squad (for evidence see the game against Betis) and I am not sure there is acutally anybody out there who could replace Dani. Gregory van de Wiel seems to be a good prospect, but for me not more. I’ve seen him during the WC, and in particular in the final he was not very impressive. So who is left? Maicon, Sergio Ramos are no options either

    4. Betis example is not a well chosen example.
      Nothing really worked in that match , putting lots of fringe players who need games to pick their form up, in a tie that was already won cant be selected to look into whats happening in the team whenever one regular is out of it.
      How about against malaga that dani was injured?
      We werent too shabby.
      There are alternatives ,even within the squad.
      We could possibly find even better ones in case dani leaves.
      Ofcourse the best for both parties is him staying here with this kind of attitude and work ethic that he currently has.
      However if pep decides to cut him loose , or the board decides that it isnt overall a sustainable situations for the club, we will move on.

    5. I think that the Betis match is a completely useless match in terms of evaluating replacements. Everyone was off and nobody really cared much it seemed, whether or not they wanted to, they knew at the start of the first half that Betis would have to score 5 and they knew at the end of the second that Betis would have had to won 7-1 at least to progress. As mei mentioned, the Malaga game would be a much better example of the likely scenario- a serious game, with focused players, and the rest of the team being the same team that will play by and large whether or not its Alves, van der Wiel or Adriano in the right-back position, and playing a competitive game.

      I do think Alves is near irreplaceable but Adriano sucking against Betis is not evidence that he would be a crap replacement imo.

    6. Barcastuff had an item yesterday, that Guardiola will wait to renew his contract until after the club has reached agreements on the contract extensions of Busquets and Alves.So maybe he is exerting some pressure there. We all know how highly Pep values Dani and what he does for the team.

    7. I thought it used to be called the Three-Year Brazilian theory?

      Seriously though as Mei said, I think Alves is a different kind of case. His performance might be dropping slightly or not, misplaced crosses etc, but he still provides a massive advantage overall that few other options would cover.

      And as Mei said, there is the big difference between Alves and typical Brazilian players. The players that play well and then drop off are usually players with poor work-rate to begin with. Ronaldo, Adriano, Robinho and Ronaldinho among others, were never nose-to-the-grindstone cover-every-blade-of-grass type of players. Even in his Real Madrid days for example, Ronaldo (the real one) occasionally skipped training and was not very fit, though he was just so good that he was amazing even without those. With Brazilians it usually seems to be a mix of factors from loving the good life too much (drink, women, food, partying, whatever), unhappiness in Europe, lack of motivation after some years of brilliance, lack of fitness catching up with them sooner than it would with fitter players, and injuries. Alves does not seem to be a party animal a la Ronaldinho or the like, he does not seem unhappy with the life a la Robinho, he was extremely fit to begin with unlike the likes of real Ronaldo, he still seems motivated, his fitness is still off the charts, and at 27 a fit and motivated footballer without injury troubles still has a few more years ahead of them at top level.

      Whether or not we should pay him more is another question. But I feel that with Alves a lot of the factors that bring about the three/four year decline- lack of motivation from having been a clearly superior star on a team that has won everything (Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, etc); average or below average fitness from earlier on; unhappiness with lack of freedom or a feeling of being confined or even just the burden of pressure during dips in form of the team or player from being the star (such as Ronnie in 06/07); constant injuries; unhappiness with the location, weather or culture; too much a love of the good life; physical deterioration due to age or injuries- so it might be more likely than not that he still has some more years of fantastic play to offer, during which time a replacement can be groomed from the youth or a signing eased into the team and the transition made.

      I do hope he settles for a compromise and stays.

    8. Whether or not we should pay him more is another question.

      Yet , it seems to be the most important one.
      It hides many variables , thats the issue.

      Finances go hand in hand with the sporting reasons of course, yet its crystal clear what dani provides us with, his uniqueness and attitude.
      So the only question needed to be asked is , well do you worth it dani? This includes :

      There is a definite scale of wage stracture in the club, does dani really worth moving that much up the loop ?

      How about this unsettling the current players , or even affecting the next transfers that we will certainly make in the near future?

      And yet another thing.Kxevin has said in the past , amongst with others that this is the last real contract dani will get in his professional life as a footballer. From his point , it should be the best too.
      However , lets say we meet his demands.
      His attitude and work rate has been impeccable for as long as i remember this player , during his sevilla breakthrough days.
      A last contract might change things. He will be getting the highest amount of money that he ever earned , why should he keep proving himself from a financial point of view?

    9. I don’t think Dani’s performance has dropped at all. His runs are better than ever, his crosses have dropped off from what they were in 08/09 and he shoots less, which is annoying, but in terms of what he gives to the side, I think he has actually improved from last season.

    10. Also, Dani rarely dives anymore. His first season, it was rampant, but now he rarely does it. That’s improvement, too.

    11. Anyone of quality that we TRY to replace him with will come at a hefty transfer fee, making him more expensive in the long run.

      Can we take up a collection? Pass around the plate for the keep Alves fund?

      Kevin can change his theory all he wants (atleast until he gets enough data, proves it, and it becomes a scientific law)

    12. I’ll donate the proceeds of my next book sale to the Dani Alves Renewal Fund. That’s at least $100 right there!

  13. Unrelated to Barcelona but- I need to pick and decide on what I want to study in college and I’m having trouble deciding. I did science in high school and A’ levels (chem, bio, math, physics, english, marine science), but then now I decided I don’t want to do science for my undergraduate studies. Not architecture, not criminal law, not anything that is mostly math ie something like stats, not engineering. Law (not criminal), economics, business, something related to social development or stuff like developing countries, international relations? So many options, have to go for one eventually, no idea which one.

    1. well im studying computer science, and I can tell you that picking this one will give you a chance to specialize in whatever specific area you want to, as soon as you get the grasp of it.

    2. When in doubt, law is an excellent all-around preparation for wherever you decide to eventually go. Lawywer are in so many professions that the mind boggles.

    3. STAY AWAY from engineering and i think you will be fine, believe me i KNOW what i’m talking about here.

    4. I don’t know where you live, spaced, but my advice to you would be if you don’t have a general idea of what you want to study, take a year off and do something else. Get a job, live at home if you can to save expenses, save up and then travel for a few months. That’s what I did.

    5. What Blitzen said I am doing right now but I am doing it after my Master’s…
      I am a Chemistry Major myself and I love it..
      But taking a year off to do some travelling after saving some money is by far the best decision I have taken..and the best part is I have two more months of mu sabbatical left so I am busy planning the next trip..
      Any recommendations?
      I am stuck choosing between either the Emirates or the North East of India

    6. I have family in Sharjah so I am considering going down to Dubai/Sharjah/Abu Dhabi etc..I am used to very very warm weather so shouldn’t be an issue..

      WRT Egypt/Morocco, isn’t getting a visa a convoluted process?

    7. I don’t see why it would be if you are only going as a tourist. I suppose it depends what country you are coming from.

    8. I’ll give Egypt a shot maybe next year..sadly I don’t think I’ll have enough ‘funds’ to see out any decent period of time..

    9. As a Moroccon myself I can advise you to go there, one of the most beautifull country’s in Northern Africa..

    10. Take some courses at the local community college until you have a clue. Save your money until you have some direction. OR take courses that interest you your first year and see which one you fall in love with. Don’t declare a major yet. Most college students change majors numerous times. Find something you love, not something that will make you a lot of money. I think that it was Benjamin Franklin who said something to the affect that if you are doing something you love, then you never have to work a day in your life.

      My degree is in chemistry, but after my last kid is out of the nest I’m going to decide what I want to be when I grow up (and it’s not going to be a chemist). I won’t consider my degree as being wasted, education is never a waste, but there is something to be said about picking your life’s direction after finally having enough context in which to place the decision.

    11. To you, and to anyone else who survived P. Chem (how do you keep that particle from falling out of the one-dimensional box, anyway??:-)) *high five*.

    12. Hehe I DID take a year off. Thing is at the time I was pretty certain I wanted to do biochem for undergrad, but then with the bit over a year off and working for the past six months (and I did get to do a little bit of travelling in the job, just to other islands in the country though, not outside) I recently realized it really didn’t appeal to me and that I wanted to do something outside of science. I’ll be starting college if I do either around September this year or February next year.

      At the moment I’m thinking Bachelor of Econ/Bachelor of Arts with a major in something like developmental studies, or Bachelor of Business Administration/Bachelor of Arts with a major in such a field again. Those two are combined degree courses and are four years. But that’s just after under half an hour of looking at options, I think I’ll only make a final decision within a week or so just so I know if I get a sudden flash of inspiration where it becomes clear what I should do or something. Developmental studies or something like that so I can come back and try to do something here (home I mean).

      Soccermomof4: We don’t have a community college here in Maldives. Or any university period. We’re really tiny. I have to go abroad to study.

      Kevin: The chapter of JCI in Maldives offered me to be editor for a youth magazine thingy they’re planning to make. But my city pretty much doesn’t have magazines period (just a bridal magazine and a Maldivian-language religious magazine) and neither they as in anybody there nor I seem to have pretty much any clue as to how to go about starting a magazine to begin with let alone getting to content. Any advice?

      Extremebarcafan: Hehehe I had long decided to not approach engineering.

  14. mmm… shouldn’t it be “the Brazilian forwards” theory, because generally this is much more true for Brazilian attackers and sometimes playmakers than defenders and wingbacks.

    The big question is not “is he worth it?”, because the answer would be YES. Even with the wayward passes and the lack of shooting he is still a monster for Barça, covering the whole right flank on his own, and he is a big part of why we play how we play.

    The question could be “is his attitude worth it?”. Why is he so hung up on money and seemingly so unappreciative in playing what might become the best team ever to play the game? This really baffles the mind.

    1. Well, the most excellent Zonal Marking piece linked above makes the point far more eloquently than Alves ever could, on why he’s worth 7m.

      You’re right about defenders and wingbacks, Maicon, Cafu and Roberto Carlos being notable examples. I’d also note that they weren’t star signings. Roberto Carlos was for EE in the Galactico era, however.

      But for me, and the reason that I described the 1m gulf as philosophically vast, is because the club thinks that playing in the Blaugrana is worth something. It’s why the home-growns would never think of leaving unless forced to. Yes, they are paid very well. But anyone who doesn’t think Iniesta could earn significantly more than he is being paid by us is nuts. Ditto for Xavi, even in his twilight. Messi would be crazy. But they stay because for them, playing in the Blaugrana IS worth something.

      For high-priced imports, it’s different. The game is more about commerce, and Alves knows that the way he goes about doing what he does, this is his last big contract, and he wants maximum value. That’s his right. So I don’t really think of him as greedy, or having a bad attitude. When he dons the colors, he gives 1000%. That’s what professionals are supposed to do.

      But he also doesn’t put the same value on playing in the Blaugrana as other players, who were raised in the side, do. When Messi said in that Q&A that he would quit football before he joined EE, he almost certainly wasn’t kidding. It’s a bond that has been forged at La Masia. It’s eternal. Same is true for Valdes, Puyol, Iniesta and Xavi, which is why it was so easy to giggle at the stories of them leaving if their contract demands weren’t met. Busquets will sign early next week, for the same reasons. Could he make more somewhere else? You bet. Right now, he’s one of the hottest properties in world football. But he will renew.

      Other times, players get Blaugrana in their blood. Like Abidal. But Alves is different. He’s a professional, but he doesn’t seem to value playing in the colors in the same way, as in “I’m staying. We’ll get it worked out. Period.”

      Philosophically, the club believes that it should be worth something to play with the club. Alves doesn’t place that same value on the club. He believes that he should be paid according to his importance to the side, irrespective of anything else.

      The Guardiola information is important to note. Our coach is saying, in effect, “If you don’t get me the players that I need, you must not want me to stay.” It’s also worth noting that RoSELL hasn’t yet gotten involved in the negotiations, which is a sign that the situation isn’t dangerous yet.

      I wouldn’t worry yet, but it is a distraction that the club doesn’t need right now.

    2. all excellent points. how come i find myself agreeing with everything that you say this week? mmm…..

      well the good thing is that he is injured so we can see how we play without him. but yeah, zonal marking made me also lean from “he shouldn’t hold us ransom” to “show him the money!”

    3. Of all your posts ever this is probably your best stuff IMO. Everything written here is true to a T. you’ve explained it all.

      This is why we rely on the cantera, because to them its an honor, to us it looks good to the world, and also it helps us fiscally. even if they leave and turn into world class players its still said as “barca product” on their keytag.

  15. Ah, negotiation processes ….

    AS, a reliable source (note hefty dose of sarcasm here), says that the club didn’t make him an actual offer yesterday, but asked Alves to reconsider the offer that was on the table. (Twitter, via @barcastuff)

    1. That is completely absurd for the club to do so. It is another way of saying “take it, or leave”, which leads me to think about life without Alves next season! and it’s painful!

      I agree, Alves is not irreplaceable. We saw numerous energetic players, numerous skillful players, and numerous players who play the passing game well. But right now, Alves seems to be the best one. We will have to wait and see. But I certainly see him gone this summer provided that the club is so unwilling to give him the raise.

      screw it, I don’t know about finance of our club, but the 50M each season for transfer sounds more absurd if they can’t even split just 1M to raise the difference for, what? the current best rightback in the world. I mean, what the heck?

      rant ends.

    2. First of all thanks to the mod that fixed my crappy post :D.
      Now clivee , its much more than giving a player 2% of the following seasons budget.

      If we forget about all the others reprecussions that come with it , we are talking about more than that anyway since as I understand it , players agree to a definite amount after tax per year, rest is bonuses concerning trophies and appearances/goals and sponsoring.
      Also this means that you will subtract a certain amount off the transfer budget that may or may not be spent , and add this(which will be higher than intended due to the mentioned reason) to the salaries of the club.
      Note : barcelona signs a huge salary paycheck every year, since we are taking measures to improve our clubs finances any director would be highly reluctant against this.

      The main issue here is , staying loyal to the wage structure that involves ALL of the players, staying away from setting a precendent with alves and on the humor department:
      well what the hell since we got 50 million on a transfer budget why not divide this to the current players if they achieve success at the end of the year?
      Simply because… it doesnt work like this.
      Theres a reason why bonuses are agreed beforehands, and theres a reason why each transfer renewal should be managed with great attention , considering the factors alltogether.

    3. yeah, see, i said i donno finance and it must be because i don’t know how it works all together. if we sign fabregas and pay him a lot and then we sell alves, i’d still say i dont get it. i didn’t get how chrgrynskiy come and go back either… too much politics and money and structure involved…

  16. We can’t underestimate the impact that Dani has had on Leo’s game. I know it is not his style to say so publicly, but I would highly doubt Leo is not pushing Sandro/Alves (more likely his people w/ Sandro) to get this done behind the scenes, it would be a good career move, and in Leo’s best interest for Dani to stay.

  17. the Zonal Marking piece should be sent to both Dani’s agent and the Barça contract negotiating team. brilliant piece.

    also brilliant, from the comments by the indispensable Roberticus:

    “This is not really a tactical observation, but it´s my favourite anecdote about Alves and concerns his incredible stamina levels.

    He told Brazilian TV journalists that he owes his fitness levels to a childhood growing up in the semi-desert interior of North-eastern Brazil, where the nearest school to his family home was some 11 km away and there was no public transport to take him there. So he used to run those 11 km to school every morning and back again in the afternoon… if that won´t make you fit!”

    11km to school in the morning and back! what the crap?! no wonder he’s such a freak.

    1. Crazy.

      And Paulo Paixao one of Brazil’s famous fitness coaches who worked with Cafu, Roberto Carlos, etc., called him the fittest player he’s ever worked with.

    2. I think it was Xavi in a recent interview that said Dani is the only player to look forward to extra time in matches, and that he needs regular games to stop him from bouncing off the walls. He must be going nuts right now with not being able to train properly!

      Actually, that anecdote makes perfect sense considering his build. Look at all the tiny long-distance runners from Ethiopia and Kenya!

    3. Back in the day, kid, we used to have to jog 11km back and forth to school…uphill each way… in the snow….um I mean desert!

  18. I think for all intents and purposes we should pay him the damn money. If all he is asking for is 1 million more than we can easily pony up the cash. And I understand your notion Kxevin that the club feels paying for Barca is worth something in itself. But, here’s what breaks the situation down easiest for me, there is no one out there in terms of skill set, attacking ability, hustle, and sometimes telepathy between Messi and Xavi/Iniesta that can match Alves. Sure, there are couple that could fill in and do a pretty good job, but we will lose something huge. And like Cule_Less said above me, Alves’ impact on the way Messi plays is significant if not crucial.

    I understand the psychological stand off over 1 million, but seriously just sell 10,000 Alves jerseys at 100 euro a pop and you’ve made that difference. We already sold the front of our shirt, and are shutting down academies only to build them in other places. You’re telling me we can’t pay the best RB in the world (well at least for our team, and quite possibly the world) 7million euro? Do you know how much baseball players make?!? Even the mediocre ones can make that money (granted different sport, and different economy, way more games, etc)

    In essence, pay the man what he wants. If we lose him we lose one of the heads of our hydra and we won’t be destroyed as a team, but this will slow us down. Unless there is a player of equal talent that can slot into that position and role with ease there’s no way we should be negotiating with the guy. He’s earned it (in the sense that football players “earn” anything.)

    1. agreed with Tyler. that we signed this disgraceful Qatari Royal Sponsorship Propaganda deal to splash some hideous graphic across the front of our shirts SHOULD at least mean that we have the money to pay the best players already in the team enough to get them to stay. to say “we need to do this deal for shirt sponsorship for 163m” then turn around and simultaneously claim we can’t afford another 1m a year for one of our key (and irreplaceable) players defies credulity.

  19. 1m more for Dani Alves ist not just 1m more. Because it affects the hole salary structure it is more likely that it means 20m more.
    As matters stand, Barça is neither capable nor willing to match City’s offer for financial and for “philosophical” reason.

    1. Yeah but then if we lose Dani and then go get Fabregas or whoever else for 50m and pay them the very big salary they will inevitably expect I will be pretty pissed.

  20. off topic, but why is Barça shutting down their academy in Argentina? A more pertinent question, how does this academy work, and does it benefit Argentinian football in terms of money being generated to support the local clubs? Or does it only benefit them indirectly by being able to buy players raised at a foreign academy in their country?

    1. The only place I have seen this so far is barcastuff, so I;m going to put it in the “unconfirmed” category for now.

      To answer your question, the idea of the academy was to raise the players in the Barca way but with a view to establishing them in the Argentinian league. I imagine the benefit to Barcelona would have been first pick of graduates at a “friendly” transfer rate.

    2. I read it in donbalon and the reason apparently is that they’ve found that they cant compete with the legendary academies of the likes of river plate and boca juniors for the best talents.To be honest i can see why, it would be like manchester united setting up an academy in Barcelona.They would get the odd pearl, but the majority would want to go to la masia.Going to Buenos Aires wasn’t the best idea.

  21. 1. The difference between Villa and Alves? Didn’t Villa pay a portion of his fee to transfer to Barca? I think masch as well.

    2. Its more than just paying him the damn money. its breaking the wage structure. holding the club hostage. we want him, Pep wants him, he wants more $$ somewhat rightfully so. we’re not a selling club. we can see him at this level for 3-4 more years. thats 3-4 more possibly trebles (my greed shows now too) 😀

    3. I’m watching the 78 WC Final and the Dutch foul as bad as they did in the 2010 version! One thing I’ve noticed is the defenders can kick it to the keeper and he can pick it up. When did they change the rule to disallow this?

    4. I don’t think I like Coentrao as much as he seems to constantly have his collar popped when playing.

    5. I’m gonna miss another game live tomorrow argh! 🙁

    1. 3. The 74 final was no better.. The ref was shaking his fist at a couple of players!

      5. Happens to the best of us :/

  22. I’m happy with the deal the club has offered Alves. It is important not to break the wage structure and I think they placed Alves right where he belongs in the pecking order. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem that Alves feels the same way, and so we are looking at another Yaya situation here.

    The real problem is that losing Alves would be the hardest personnel loss Pep has had to deal with. It’s been said more eloquently by many people, but there is no one in the world that can directly replace him at the moment. When Yaya left Busquets was there to carry on the torch without any interruptions. Ibrahimovic moved on, but because of the emergence of Pedro, Messi’s new position, and the acquisition of Villa the team really hasn’t missed him that much.

    As there is no direct replacement for Alves, Pep will be forced to alter his tactical setup in other ways. The fact is that it might take several signings to fill the gap he leaves in the team. Our fullbacks may be the weakest area of the team. Abidal and Alves are dominant, but Adriano has been looking circumspect and Maxwell hasn’t been inspiring. With Abidal getting older (and with the lack of depth at center back) he may gravitate towards playing center back more often. Couple that with Alves leaving and we have a serious fullback problem – without a lot of great options in the transfer market.

    With this in mind it may ultimately be cheaper to pay Alves than to try to replace him. However, the club is bigger than any one player, and I have to support the club on this one.

    1. I would agree 100% but with this shirt deal done why can we not have at least something positive out of selling our soul and at least keep Dani,

    2. And I have to say that I have a serious crush on that man, he is next to Xavi adn Abidal my favourite player regardless of diving, strange “nipple” goal celebrations, new ears and crosses into nowwhere.

  23. From Barcastuff:

    Casillas (Real Madrid): “Messi winning Ballon d’Or? It is incomprehensible. I don’t understand what the award is for.” #ballondor [ondacero]”If the Ballon d’Or is for the world’s best, it should be Cristiano. If it’s for the season’s best, Sneijder should be there.”

    Wow, seems that Messi did not prepare/score enough goals against Madrid and that Mou’s behaviour is rubbing off to Casillas, he was only one of the EE players I actually respected and liked, what a douchbag

    1. to be fair to Casillas..what do you expect him to say?
      “I am sorry gents but CR94 is indeed a preening ponce and a desultory diva!”

    2. ahh but this is an EE player we’re talking about..Hypocrisy is a virtue
      and as it is his opinion hardly matters..Leo Messi is the Best in the world..of that there is little doubt

  24. Dutch newspapers are reporting that Horseface will indeed go back to EE. (I read it in the bad news section)

  25. Just a small (historical) addendum:

    When Dani signed for Barca, we agreed with him that he will receive less wages in the first years because we paid a lot in transfers but then later on update his wage according to the importance of him in the team. Today Dani is the one player with the most minutes played over the past 3 years after Victor Valdes.

    When we signed Dani Alves, a foooking moron called Sandro Rosell said that the price for Dani Alves is too much because although he is a great player, he is “only a defender”. Today, we have to call him Mr. President Sandro Rosell but he still seems to be a foooking moron and he is surrounded by even bigger morons like Toni Freixa and Bartomeu. Now, I don’t think that he sees Dani Alves these days as more than just a defender.

    I don’t think that Dani Alves smokes crack and demands for wages higher than Iniesta and Xavi’s. He has some damn sense, he seems like a quite rational and rather smart person with a bad taste for tattoos. The further fact is that he is undoubtedly the best possible rightback for the next 4-5 years for Barca, the Zonal Marking article be my witness. Dani Alves should know this.
    Further, Dani Alves knows himself that he will nowhere else have teammates like at Barca.
    So what he demands is that the fooooking moron we call president and the fooooking morons around him realize that a) he didn’t grow up around Barcelona to have any irrational ties to the club although he likes the club and wouldn’t mind hanging around more b) he deserves the money he deserves and not that of “a defender”. That’s more a matter of respect and agreeing with the goodwill he showed in 2008 by signing up despite earning less for a while.

    So this takes me to Dani Alves deserves somewhere around 6-6.5 Million Euros a year, which is below Xavi Iniesta money but above Puyol-Pique money, because Dani Alves is worth it.
    No matter which moron of a rightback we get, we will have to pay 18-20 in transfer fees and he will need 3-4 million a year. That makes it over 5 years say 37 million euros. We would get a maximum of 15 million Euros for Dani Alves if he leaves this season, so cut that from the guy coming in, and we’re left with 22 million Euros we would need to spend in the future on our rightback if we sell Dani. Even if we pay Dani 8 Million Euros over 5 years, the difference is 18 million Euros, which is over 5 years 3.something million euros. The club has a turnover of around 400 Million Euros. So that’s less than 1% of our annual turnover we would lose if we paid Dani 8, which he probably doesn’t even ask for. I’m just saying, Bartomeu, Faus, Rosell, you a€€holes, IS THAT REALLY WORTH IT???? Just ask yourself every day, WWJLD? (What would Joan Laporta Do?)

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