Everything You Thought Was Wrong: Barça-Racing

BFB Exclusive Interview: Dani Alves.

That’s right, folks, we’re coming at you liiiive with an exclusive interview with Brazilian and FC Barcelona fullback Dani Alves. We’re going to clear the air on all this malarkey that’s been going down in the tabloids recently about how he’s not signing a contract extension because he’s demands are outrageous, preposterous, absolutely mind-bogglingly absurd.

BFB: First, let me thank you for taking the time to speak–

Alves: Listen up, where’s my paycheck for this?

BFB: I–uh–I didn’t know you wanted–

Alves: I’m not here for the coffee, you know.

BFB: Did you want something else? We have tea, hot chocolate…

Alves: That’s not what I’m talking about!

BFB: I think we might have some cachaça left from the holiday party…

Alves: Give me a caiparinha. But make sure you use real cane sugar! None of that Splenda bullshit!

BFB: [waves distractedly at personal assistant, who scampers to the BFB liquor cabinet] So, let’s get started. There are rumors that Barça aren’t meeting your current wage demands. Is this true?

Alves: Completely true.

BFB: Oh. Well, okay. I guess that was easier than I expected. Why do you think they aren’t meeting them?

Alves: They’re trying to lowball me. I’m the best right back in the world. I deserve to be paid as much as the other superstars on the team. Pique gets all the Dippin’ Dots he wants–I say, what about Dani Alves’ Dippin’ Dots? They can’t keep me from my Dippin’ Dots like that!

BFB: Are you holding the club for ransom?

Alves: Never. I merely want my market value.

BFB: What are your demands?

Alves: First, a big raise. Like one of those raises that makes you go “goddamn that’s a big raise!” and then you go and splurge on a new home theater.

BFB: You don’t have a home theater system?

Alves: I didn’t say home theater system. I said home theater. Obama has one in his basement. I want one too.

BFB: You said “first” before…

Alves: Yeah. And I want a better parking space. Right now I’m between Mascherano and Milito. I can’t tell you how many times they’ve dinged my car. And when you confront them about it, they chuckled and go “Che boludo, you’re a funny guy!” You ever been the Brazilian in an Argentine sandwich?

BFB: Well, just once during that summer trip to Cancun when these girls mistook my terrible Spanish accent for Brazilian and then–

Alves:  Shut up! I’m not done yet.

BFB: Do continue…[looks at ceiling longingly]

Alves: The pre game meals are a travesty. We need more Red Bulls and fewer healthy crackers. How am I supposed to survive on those things?

BFB: Is that it? Doesn’t seem that unreasonable.

Alves: More Bill Brasky episodes on SNL. He cornered the market on booze, but now what? I want a Fathead made in my likeness. Messi has one! Puyi even has one! Why not The Danster?

BFB: Again, those are fairly reasonable demands…

Alves: I want a baseball signed by Ty Cobb–he was such a gentleman!–and a football signed by him too. I’d like my contract to be written on papyrus. Fireworks should be set off whenever I successfully complete a cross–

BFB: That’s basically never…

Alves: [glares] All members of Barcelona must wear color-coded wristbands to denote years of service to the club so I know who to smile at and who to snarl at. Uttering the name of Maicon in public will result in a week in “the hole.” Also, establishment of “the hole,” which will just be the tiger cage used to transport Puyi from match to match. I think of this as a cost reduction because the club won’t have to provide food for Puyi anymore.

BFB: I just simply cannot understand why the club doesn’t accept these terms.

Alves: Me neither–hey! New demand: all snarky or sarcastic reporters get a month in “the hole”.

BFB: Anything else?

Alves: No, I think that’s it.

BFB: Okay, well, it was a pleasure speaking with you. If you’ll excuse me, I have a Dippin’ Dots party to attend to at Pique’s house.

Alves: Daaamn youuu Piqueeeee!!!

[/end scene]

There’s so much random nonsense swirling around with this Alves contract that it’s basically useless discussing it in level-headed terms. It seems fairly clear that the club is contriving to make the discussion purely about economics–that is, Alves’ wage demands–while failing to discuss a) what he earns now and b) what kind of a raise moving up to the level of say, Pique or Xavi would entail. It’s a play for sympathy from the crowd, who are supposed to look at Alves as a mercenary of the lowest order: Ca$hley Cole and all that idiocy.

For those of you who are either new here or simply haven’t paid attention to how I think, I believe Alves has every right to make the demands he may or may not be making. I’m consistently on the side of the player because a) they’re human beings while their opposite is an institution and b) they have short shelf lives that require them to maximize their earnings in the short term. And yes, I recognize that section a of that last sentence will draw the ire of the “club first at all costs” crowd, especially given that I’m a Barcelona blogger, not a Dani Alves blogger, but before you excoriate me in the comments, you might think about this:

I’m not saying Barça should sign an extension with Alves at whatever cost. Giving him a large raise might very well be the wrong thing to do. My point is that Alves is not wrong for demanding more money and it’s not wrong for the club to reject that demand. What’s wrong is painting one of the sides as shady or negative simply for looking out for their own good. There’s was this whole notion of loyalty when the Wayne Rooney saga played out a few months ago. Luke put it pretty well in his post about it at the time, but I’ll go over a few of the details. Alves is not a Barça product, nor does he owe us, the fans, anything at all. He’s entertainment and as such, should demand a salary the market will support, much like no one called the Friends cast assholes for holding out for more money. Or well, at least I didn’t. That Chandler, worth every penny.*

In much the same vein, if Barça doesn’t want to meet his demands, there’s nothing wrong with that. I personally think he’s worth the same amount in terms of salary as Pique and Puyol (his back line mates) and probably actually the same as Xavi or Iniesta. But that’s me and I don’t have insight on the club’s finances (No one does! So much for transparency!) nor the negotiation process. Instead, we’re left with crumbs leaked to the media by various sources who obviously have their own agenda. The latest from Mundo Deportivo is that Alves has said no to being on the same level as Pique and Puyol; if that was really the final offer from Barça, then okay, so it goes. There should be no hard feelings towards either Alves or the club. If Alves can get seventeen pots of gold and a football helmet full of cottage cheese from Manchester City, then okay, great, best of luck to you. The weather in Manchester is supposed to be great this time of year.

The Busi contract negotiation is probably going much the same way, but instead of there being club-side recriminations, Busi is lauded as having possibly come to a deal with the club. For starters, Busi isn’t worth as much as Alves on the open market and secondly, he’s a Masia product, so tarring his name isn’t going to help anyone’s cause. Like the other canteranos, he’s protected from this whole drama because he’s “loyal” and he’s never going to leave home. But then again, Alves had to leave home years ago to ply his trade in Spain because he was unfortunate enough to be born in a city whose club finances weren’t up to the level of Barcelona’s. Messi, discovered younger, gets to remain “loyal” while demanding one of the top 2 salaries in the world. Xavi and Iniesta aren’t far behind and get to do the same. But Alves? Mercenary. And an injured one at that.

Moving on to the match at hand:

Racing Santander. 1-2-7 6GF, 20GA on the road. Their solitary road win was against Mallorca on December 12th. They opened the league season with a 0-3 home loss to Barça and never really got going in the first half. They’ve never beaten anyone above 9th (Mallorca) and otherwise haven’t beaten anyone above 13th. They’ve drawn away to Atleti (Jan 3) and Sevilla (Sept 23), in case you were wondering. They’ve only got one player with more than 1 goal to his name: Markus Rosenberg with 4. The other 11 goals are spread out across much of the team. Our very own Henrique is in there with a goal. So is the awesomely named Kennedy Bakırcıoğlu, a Turkish-Swede of Syriac speaking Assyrian origin. I don’t even know what that is, but it sounds awesome! (I don’t know what that is because I’m uneducated and I compounded that by not clicking on the Wiki link).

By now we all know that Jeffren is injured. So is Alves. And so is Puyol. El Capitan might make it in time, but the squad list isn’t out and I’m suddenly up against my deadline (I didn’t know it would take me that long to blather about Alves’ contract!) so I’m not going to research it anymore.

Predicted lineup: Valdes, Puyol, Pique, Abidal , Maxwell, Busi, Xavi, Iniesta, Villa, Messi, Pedro.

Official Prediction: 3-0. Once again we get through this one looking like absurdly talented millionaires. Because that’s who we are. It’ll be tough and it’ll down to getting a lucky break to start the scoring, but hey, we can do it and we can do it in front of the home crowd. Goals by Messi (2) and Afellay as a sub. You heard it here first, folks.

Game is at 2pmEST, GolTV and GolTV HD.

*I don’t know dick about Friends. I’m not even sure who Chandler is. Let me name, without Googling, all of the Friends characters I know: Chandler. And, Courtney Cox. And Jennifer Aniston. And that one weird looking girl. Phoebe? Then there’s Joey? And David Schwimmer.  Did I get everyone? I’ve seen like 2 episodes. One where there’s like a dog in the apartment that’s not supposed to be there and one where Phoebe (?) is teaching someone else how to play the guitar and she only knows the chords via the way the hands look–Bear Claw, for instance.

I could do this exact thing with basically every other TV show from the early 90s, if you’d like.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. vicsoc
    January 21, 2011

    Repost due to almost being Hectored, with some changes:

    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.

    That said, I don’t consider Alves a mercenary in the slightest. If he leaves I won’t blame anyone, as it is the nature of players to come and go.

  2. blitzen
    January 21, 2011

    Great post, Isaiah!

    I shudder to think what Dani Alves with an unlimited supply of Red Bull would be like. You think he’s fast now?

  3. vicsoc
    January 21, 2011

    I agree with your choice to leave Adriano out of the starting lineup if possible. He certainly needs to get some minutes, but I would like to see us with a lead before he comes on so he will be more comfortable on the pitch.

    • Jnice
      January 21, 2011

      I still feel Pep will start Adriano even after his performance against Betis. Hopefully he won’t be as bad with more starters around him.

      And Maxwell is just so annoying to me whenever he plays. Compared to Abidal, he is just so wasteful with the ball. But if Puyol isn’t fully recovered then I hope we’ll see Abi and Pique in the middle and not Milito.

      I hope Villa picks up where he left off and we get to see plenty of goals.

    • soccermomof4
      January 21, 2011

      Agree, but I doubt that he will be left out. Certainly not if Puyi is still hurting. Still, having Abidal and Busi( I think Mascherano is the stronger purely defensive DM but Busi works better with Xaviniesta (midfield control is a HUGE part of our defense)) in there would be like having a defensive security blanket even if Adriano does play. Am I being strange in that I actually feel more secure lately when Abidal is playing CB for us? Then again, if he’s playing CB he can’t play LB. We should clone him and then he can play both positions (we could clone him twice and then we can use him as our plan B CF, too).

  4. Extreme barca fan
    January 21, 2011

    I dont like to predict the lineup but i think Adriano will start, racing are awe-full away (and at home) this should be a high scoring match for us, unless something goes terribly wrong.

    • Jnice
      January 21, 2011

      It could potentially be high scoring and I certainly hope it is, but judging by Portugal’s comments, Racing are going to be physical and probably going to try and destroy our rhythm. I hope we score early and force them to come out and play a bit.

  5. Jim
    January 21, 2011

    Sorry, Isaiah. No way is Alves worth the same as Xavi or Iniesta.

  6. January 21, 2011

    An excellent Tweet from @soniagelma:

    Pep tranquiliza sobre la renovació d’Alves: “s’arreglarà.”

    Basically, Guardiola is calm about the Alves renewal, and says it will happen.

    Now. Do I think that Alves is worth as much as Xavi and Iniesta?

    Alves has more assists than Xavi and Iniesta this season. He’s played more minutes than Xavi, and last year for the European campaign, had more offensive zone touches than any other Barca attacker. He’s also the club’s starting right back.

    On paper, it seems that yes indeed, he is worth more than Xaviniesta. But ask yourself who you would rather go into a big match with the absence of. Be honest. Guardiola would replace Alves with Puyol in about two seconds. The right side would be a little more conservative, but more solid defensively.

    Now, who replaces Xavi? Iniesta, you say? Then who replaces him? Exactly. I think that just as a system has been incorporated that takes advantage of Alves’ strengths, one can be devised that accounts for his absence. He is a great player, but I don’t think he’s indispensable. Xaviniesta are. I daresay that had he had Iniesta for the Inter semi at home, we were probably going to advance. Meanwhile, we played United in the CL final without Alves and Abidal, and won. Comfortably.

    Is he worth as much as Puyol? Philosophically, no. In my dim-witted worldview, loyalty and dedication to the cause should be rewarded. A guy who has been with the club two and a half seasons shouldn’t even think of demanding the same wage as a guy who is the club’s beating heart.

    Alves has every right to ask for as much as he wants, just as the club has the right to say “Too rich for our blood.” If Alves gets a huge raise, probably everybody gets a raise, because Alves has screwed the salary structure pooch. Then what? We’re talking about how RoSELL has the negotiation skills of a trembling crackhead with a torch in his hand.

    Negotations are always leaked. The Yaya’s were, as were those of Valdes, Krkic, Busquets, Puyol, etc. The differences were that we had a replacement for The Yaya, and knew that none of the Catalan/Masia core was going anywhere.

    Alves will never be in this kind of position again, with ANY club. He has no replacement in the world ready to hand, that will enable us to continue on as we are, crushing all before us except when we aren’t at all interested in the match. He is right to try to seek the maximum from it, just as the club is right to seek the minimum.

    But ultimately if Guardiola isn’t worried, then I’m not worried.

    • soccermomof4
      January 21, 2011

      Makes me wonder if the foot dragging on Pep’s renewal is less about Pep’s comfort level and more about Pep’s leverage in getting what he wants(namely players). In Pep We Trust!

    • Extreme barca fan
      January 21, 2011

      But Kevin we lost at home to Hercules when Xavi and Alves didn’t start, what does that tell you?, also if we play Hercules now without Xavi and Alves will we lose again and by the same score 0-2, i think not, every game is a stand alone case with its own variables, last year in the UCL group stage we beat inter 2-0 without messi and ibra, but in the semifinal we only won 1-0 with messi and ibra playing and with inter playing with ten men so what do u think?
      A player’s value is not measured by his performance (or absence) in a single game, but rather through a large number of games (like a whole season)
      However as much as i hate to see Alves leaving, i dont like players holding the club for ransom, its just un-ethical, but if we are refusing to pay Alves because of the wage structure thing and then go on to sign a player we dont need (FABREGAS) for a large sum just to look good in-front of the fans, then H… no pay the man.

    • Kari
      January 21, 2011

      😀 😀 😀

      That. is. so. awesome. And it must have taken ages to write, props to the author!

      Thanks for the link, Aaron!

  7. Aaron
    January 21, 2011

    Sorry about the off topic post… 🙂

  8. Helge
    January 21, 2011

    I don’t understand the high financial demands of football players in general.

    For instance, what does Messi do with 11m/year (+ some mio. for commercials)? He’s obviously trying to live a normal life, his hobbies are playing PS or simply meet with friends and talk. He likes usual food, he’s not into any expensive hobbies or a collector of super-fancies cars etc.
    Nonetheless, he WANTS to be the best-paid player. Ok, Messi has his own foundation, supports his whole family and he’s doing a lot of charity, but I bet that he still keeps 8m/year on his bank account. There might be some football players who waste all their money on gambling and luxury stuff, but I’m sure Messi doesn’t belong to that group. Actually, he should be able to maintain his way of life with half the salary!

    Dani Alves might only earn 5 to 6m, but that’s still enough to life a dream! Plus, he should know that he’s playing at the currently best club of the world, with the best teammates. ManCity might pay him twice the salary, but he will nowhere be as happy as he is here in Barca. Damn, if I earned 6m, why the **** should I ask for more?
    I hope Dani realizes that it’s not all about the money, and that playing in this team is a priceless privilege!
    If he doesn’t, I say goodbye to him and won’t shed any tears. Have fun with Yaya and other money-chasers @ City!

    • soccermomof4
      January 21, 2011

      It’s all supply and demand. If there’s not a huge supply of the world’s best footballers, and in Messi’s case the one and only best footballer, then to get ’em(or keep ’em) you gotta be willing to pay them more than the next guy. And if that “next guy” is City and has a nearly inexhaustible amount of cash to throw at said footballer, that drives the price up sky high.

      I don’t think Dani believes it’s “all about the money”, but being one of the best in your position and virtually perfect for our system gives him a lot of leverage that he would be foolish not to try to use at this point in his carreer (as this will probably be the last big contract that he signs because of his age).

      It’s not so much an issue of “anyone could live comfortably on X amonunt of money” or “why should athletes make more than anyone else for just playing a game it’s so unfair”. It’s market value, nothing more.

    • BTTFCule
      January 22, 2011

      “he WANTS to be the best-paid player” to be fair I don’t think Messi ever asked for a raise. Ibra’s transfer had a lot to do with it. Laporta and co wanted to make Messi a poster boy of the club. In this case at least you can say Messi spends it for a cause

    • BTTFCule
      January 22, 2011

      To be fair I don’t think Messi ever asked for a raise. Ibra’s transfer had a lot to do with it. Laporta and Co wanted to make Messi the best played player of the club. At least he spends it for a cause

    • mei
      January 22, 2011

      rich people needs have nothing to do with their wealth actually , macroeconomics have proved that.Why? well because theyre rich goddamit :p

  9. Kari
    January 21, 2011

    I’ll leave everyone else to debate the Alves contract situation, just going to say: we won the CL final without Alves and Abidal, we went out at the semis without Iniesta. Just sayin’.

    We’ll beat Racing, Afellay will play at some point, Messi will score, Bojan will warm up only to stay on the bench, and Villa will hit them post. And Pedro! will do that arm swoosh-y thing he does when he runs.

    Guardiola: “Betis play similar to Arsenal. So the game was a warning for what can happen if we don’t play with our usual intensity” [barcastuff]

    That it is, Pep, that is is. For Arsenal.

    • soccermomof4
      January 21, 2011

      I think you forgot a “!” in Pedro!! and I love that arm swish-y thing. So are you all over that CT thing now that Ibi’s here?

      • Kari
        January 21, 2011

        So are you all over that CT thing now that Ibi’s here?

        Crazy talk! 🙂 I’m a loyal Bojangles supporter, not a fair-weathered fan-girl that jumps ship! I stick to what I support even when the going gets tough (and man is it tough). I just need to recharge my batteries, so to speak. You get mentally tired after the hoping supporting.

        I’ll be back backing Bojan next game.

        • Kari
          January 21, 2011

          As for the missed “!” on Pedro!!, he lost an “!” for me after his last game. Earn back your “!” tomorrow, Pedro!

          • Vj
            January 21, 2011

            He did fine against Malaga, wasn’t even on the squad against Betis(if I think you mean this).

            Correct me if I’m wrong, either way I blame my sleep induced stupor.. 😛

  10. January 21, 2011

    @Barcastuff, with a Guardiola quote, fleshed out from what @soniagelma posted earlier:

    Guardiola: “For what I know, the situation of Alves will be solved sooner or later. I think he will stay with us for many years.” #fcblive

    Guardiola has also asked the club to renew Abidal. Talks will start in February. I expect, given what Greyhound has said about his feelings for the club, that they will last about 14 seconds.

  11. January 21, 2011

    This stat, from the hypothetical Barca v Stoke piece, bowled me over:

    Barca allowed only 9 attacking chances against a massive total of 6 opponents put together during Oct – Nov 2010 in La Liga.

    • Nav
      January 21, 2011

      And this period included Real fn Madrid.

      • Aaron
        January 22, 2011

        That state as from Sid lowe’s piece 🙂

        In the last six games, they had allowed just nine chances. In part, that is because of their ability to keep the ball: against Real Sociedad, Barcelona completed more passes than any team since Opta stats began, they occupy the top 36 slots for match passes since 2006, and the top four average passers in La Liga this season are all Barcelona players: they have nine in the top 14. Tiki-Taka is a defensive tactic as much as an offensive one, founded on the principle that if you keep possession the other team can’t score.

        Read more: http://www.totalbarca.com/2010/opinion-pieces/another-kind-of-brilliant-show/#ixzz1BlDvlTbi

      • Aaron
        January 22, 2011

        That stat as from Sid lowe’s piece 🙂

        In the last six games, they had allowed just nine chances. In part, that is because of their ability to keep the ball: against Real Sociedad, Barcelona completed more passes than any team since Opta stats began, they occupy the top 36 slots for match passes since 2006, and the top four average passers in La Liga this season are all Barcelona players: they have nine in the top 14. Tiki-Taka is a defensive tactic as much as an offensive one, founded on the principle that if you keep possession the other team can’t score.

        Read more: http://www.totalbarca.com/2010/opinion-pieces/another-kind-of-brilliant-show/#ixzz1BlDvlTbi

  12. Tom_Johnson
    January 21, 2011

    Once again, from-the-hip.

    Lets look at what are major attributes for the RB position:

    – Speed
    – Ball control (passing and dribbling using BOTH feet)
    – Crossing
    – Long distance shot
    – pressing
    – tackling
    – physicality (‘sholder-to-sholder’ strength)
    – set pieces (height)
    – fouls commited (danger zone)
    – cautions/suspensions

    Let this simple tool serve as help to gauge Alves’ worth and who out there would be capable of similar level of contribution.

    What Alves and The Club stand to gain and lose
    – Money
    – Trophies (how likely he is to win major trophies in with the new team)
    – Personal development and individual awards (how likely is he to improve and be recognized at Mancity as opposed to Barcelona)
    – New system (here he fits like a glow, how will he fit there and will they ask him to assume different set of responsibilities)
    – New personel and head coach (a lot of risk involved)
    – Health care (‘our’ doctors have a leg up in keeping him healthy and productive)
    – Climate/Food/Culture

    Is it worth leaving what is proven to work and assuming all this risk for the an extra $1M per year?

    And as for this Zomalmarking guy,

    1. ‘Plays high up the pitch’

    While he has special quality in his stamina and agility, it is up to Pep to devise a viable way to utilize this. Alves is not alone on the field and if the rest of his teammates is not capable of adjusting to accomodate his special role, than the team stands to lose more than to gain. In that case, his special skills are useless and won’t be utilized.

    Lets assume Alves leaves. What is stopping Guardiola of making another adjustment (like the ‘messi and pedro more in the middle’)? A different formation that will focus on different strenghts this team has and rely less on Alves’ forays forward.

    Right now “we” have Xavi on that side. Replacing him with Cesc, Thiago or Afellay, players of better mobility (faster) and with better dribbling, would go a long way in offseting what the team would possibly lose without Alves there.

    2. ‘Number of passes’

    The number itself, although impressive, means very little.

    – How many were lateral and backwards?
    – How many completions were low probability (extraordinary pass)
    – How many high probability passes HE DIDN’T complete
    – How many were completed UNDER PRESSURE
    – At what stage of the game have those passes occurred (up for grabs vs later stages)
    – How much of the traffic he got is due to poor contribution from the left side, lack of true LW and Maxwell’s performance
    – How much of the traffic level is due to the poor level of competition and specific favorable matchups (injuries, suspensions)

    3. ‘Late runs into the box’

    I don’t see anything here that is unique to Alves. A potential replacement (of similar intelligence and physical ability) would have to spend some time to develop ‘chemistry’ with the passers but once that period is over it should be able to make the same kind of runs.

    So the team would have to suffer to a degree until that timing is developed. Pep might have to adjust the formation and pass distribution slightly until the team arrives at that moment.

    4. ‘Defending’

    Pressing is surely there but height and tackling are not so exceptional.

    What exactly was he doing when Inter scored the first goal in Milan?

    He is not physical in duels due to his weight. The way “we” play, the duels do not occur as often but is still a detail to look at.
    Alves sometimes, more often than the rest of the squad, loses his cool which usually reasults in a yellow card. Expulsion against Espanyol last season. Or arguing with his teammate like it happened with Pique the other day. A benign incident but it shouldn’t have happened in first place.

    He also has a tendency to dive. It is giving ‘us’ a bad name and is something ‘our’ players need to get out of their game.

    This is not the case for or against Alves. Simply a tool to help the evaluation.

    Hopefully, the management had used a similar one and Guardiola’s input when trying to decide how much Alves’ contribution is worth in Dollars. It is essential to get this number right before sitting for the negotiating table. Once there, that is the number you are willing and able to pay. No concessions. That way if it doesn’t work out there is nothing to be sorry about.

    Parallel to this, they had to have replacements lined up. In and out of the squad.

    • Jnice
      January 21, 2011

      Once again, how many times has Alves actually dived this season? Let’s not use the past and focus on the present season.

      You talk about the expulsion against Espanyol, but Villa has lost his cool too, no? Pique has gotten in trouble many times with handballs that should’ve been reds, no?

      And I think a great deal of his late runs into the box tie in with his unique stamina. He makes the runs time and time again even after sprinting up the whole right side of the pitch. I think your’e selling him a bit short on that end.

      • blitzen
        January 21, 2011

        Once again, how many times has Alves actually dived this season?

        Once, that I can recall. Can’t remember what game it was, but he got slapped round the ear and made a meal of it. Not really a dive per se, as the other player definitely lashed out at him, but it was maybe not so bad that the guy should have been sent off.

  13. OSBAG
    January 21, 2011

    Whom to blame for all this fracas? I say Rooney, i already expected the Rooney case to inspire a lot of players. I woulc really be disappointed if roSELL condecenses to his whims cos then every dick and harry’s salary even down to pinto would have to be revieved.
    For racing, lets hope the last match wont affect our confidence going into this. Dont see why puyol should play RB since he wouldnt add much in front and racing isnt much of a particular danger down their left. While adriano could 1. Add something upfront, 2. Defend whatever offense racing would offer and 3. Pep gets another chance to give the reos he badly needs to improve. We win 4-1 though.
    P.S isaiah should expect a libel suit from danirich for ‘faking’ the abive interview. Dude would sue bfb for the 7m rosell wont give him and we would have to see that Donate page again.

    • soccermomof4
      January 21, 2011

      Isaiah just has to add a disclaimer. You know, one of those “warning, hot coffee is served hot” or “the opinions expressed here are the…” kinda things.

      • OSBAG
        January 21, 2011

        Still wont suffice, his lawyers would find a way around it.

      • OSBAG
        January 21, 2011

        Yeah learnt that from sid lowe but our players compliment his effort and he wont get thag elsewhere. Where would he be without Xaviesta to supply d balls or messi/pedro to receive it.
        Dude rocks but he aint bigger than the system

  14. OSBAG
    January 21, 2011

    Alves is simply shortsighted and fails to see that he is a superstar only becos barca’s style suits his game. Does he think he would have players like messi and pedro to play 1-2s elsewhere especially since his crossing isnt that accurate anymore.
    an this zonal marking people seem to be part of those trumpeting his worth so as to increase his market value.

    • Jnice
      January 21, 2011

      He is a superstar only because of Barça? Did no one watch him while he was at Sevilla? He was the best right back in La Liga for several years, terrorizing teams sometimes single-handedly.

      • January 21, 2011

        But the system made Alves as much as Alves made the system. Sometimes, a club has to hold the line, even if the damage is short-term. We have to prepare ourselves for the fact that this might be one of those times. Probably from the club’s view:

        Big raise for Alves probably affects other salaries, which are tied to percentages of team payroll and other players, in some cases. So Alves could potentially affect every other salary on the club. You don’t think Abidal is watching these negotiations? I’d rather be without Alves than Abidal these days.

        It’s easy for fans to say “Pay da man!” But in looking at the big picture, “Just pay da man” might not be possible.

        • BTTFCule
          January 22, 2011

          Barca and PEP only helped him to win trophies. He was already a brilliant player when he was with Sevilla. We don’t have to pay as much as we wants, but we should not underestimate his talents! If Dani leaves , PEP have to adjust system and we may even see a transition period.

      • OSBAG
        January 21, 2011

        Yeah lerant that from sid lowe but guy wouldnt be better than average without Xaviesta supplying im and Messu/pedro receiving. He has the best support he can ever have here and i hope it aint too late before he realises that.
        Dude rocks but he aint bigger than the system

        • Jnice
          January 21, 2011

          How wouldn’t he be better than average, OSBAG? He was better than average at Sevilla but I didn’t see Xavi, Iniesta, or Messi anywhere. Yes, this is the perfect system for him and yes he is made better by the players at this club, but please don’t act like Dani was your run of the mill right back until he came to Barça.

          Kxev, I never said anything about the club paying the man exactly what he wants, that’s probably not going to happen. If a deal is to be made, I would imagine Dani and his agent are going to have to lower their demands a bit. I hope some sense prevails.

        • jordi™
          January 21, 2011

          ??? He would be better than average, because he was already superb before he was here.Just because he shouldnt be the second highest player on the team, doesnt mean we have to do a disservice to his talents.What you’ve said is exactly the same thing those crazy anti barca people say about messi btw…

        • blaugranaDOOM
          January 21, 2011

          Gotta agree with Jnice.

          I remember watching a Sevilla game a few years ago…Alves was terrorizing the whole right side of the pitch. They really gave him a lot more freedom. He was interchanging with the midfielders, playing one-twos with Navas on the right, taking free kicks, all the while snuffing things out when the opposition was breaking.

          I thought Barca should sign this guy. Then they did maybe a season and a half later. I was over the moon. He can play at a high level for another 2-3 years. If we win on CL in the next 3 years, it will be worth it.

  15. January 21, 2011

    still not used to the new system 😉 but I had to rant this twice, since I’m upset…

    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(here I’m calculation the transfer fee of a Van der Viel guy or Dario Srna guy). 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 a year. The club has a turnover of around 400 Million Euros/year. 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. You can do the math yourself with 6.5 and 7 and 6 and you will get how insignificant the number really is. 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?)

    • Jnice
      January 21, 2011

      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.

      I forgot about this.

      I agree Dani should be below Xavi and Iniesta but above Puyol and Pique. He is more than a defender. If people want to say otherwise, be my guest, but I can’t agree with you.

      I wouldn’t trust these papers acting as if Dani wants to be only second to Messi in salary. Seems like the club is trying to use the press to make Dani look a bit dirty in these negotiations. Not cool.

      • January 21, 2011

        I wouldn’t trust these papers acting as if Dani wants to be only second to Messi in salary. Seems like the club is trying to use the press to make Dani look a bit dirty in these negotiations. Not cool.

        Completely agree. The board is leaking to make Dani look as bad as possible that way he’s blamed and not Rosell for chasing off the best RB in the world.

        All of this information from those leaks is planted for a reason. And it’s to make the club look like the victims.

    • Vj
      January 21, 2011

      Jeez I wish I read your post before I commented below, it’d saved me some time 😀 ..


    • January 21, 2011

      He has some damn sense, he seems like a quite rational and rather smart person with a bad taste for tattoos.

      Lol! It’s so sad and yet so true…

      Joking aside, very good points Cesc.

      I posted this before. It borders on nonsensical to assemble a team which might be the apogee of total football and to then try to assert that a player should be paid simple because he plays a certain “position.”

      Alves is the epitome of total football. To call him reduce him to”defender” is sky sports logic. Zonal Marking pointed that out wonderfully.

      And your right about his earlier wages. It’s absolutely true.

      The idea that the club is just in the right about this and Dani is a greedy mercenary is ridiculous.

      And aside from that, it will be much, much more costly to pay him than to replace him. Investing in Alves will be a much more efficient allocation of resources than getting a new RB. And that’s not even getting into the drop off in performance.

      And the salary structure argument is a red herring. Even if the club had to bump Pique and Puyols’ salaries (which I don’t see why they would need to given that those two are adults and signed their own contracts) it would still be far more efficient to keep Dani, bump up Pique and Puyol than it would to get a new RB.

      It makes no sense from a business or sporting perspective.

      But it does make good press in the sham world of symbols.

      Austerity! Austerity! Look I saved the club from financial ruin by chasing away the Brazilian RB!

      Arsene here’s 50M where’s my #4 with Barca DNA?

      • January 21, 2011

        Meant to write far more costly to replace him than to settle with him on an equitable number that is closer to what he’s demanding.

    • Tom_Johnson
      January 21, 2011

      Joan, your English has improved tremendously 🙂

      “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.”

      Correct me if I’m wrong but he is asking for ‘Xavi Iniesta’ money. He is not settling for 6-6.5M.

      “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.”

      You have, conveniently, forgot to mention Alves’ salary that we would get off of ‘our’ books.

      Van der Wiel was available last year for $10-15M. I don’t think he signed an extension (correct me if I am wrong) so he should be even cheaper this time around. The interest party being City, ‘we’ can probably get up to $20M.

      So from that fee alone, ‘we’ would be able to acquire a player and pay him his salary for at least 2 years at about $2.5M/year tops.

      By keeping Alves at $8m/year we assume the $32M commitment. By selling him and acquiring a younger prospect, ‘we’ save roughly $10M.

      “What would Joan Laporta Do?”

      What would he do we had an opportunity to see last year when he gave Zlatan a Messi like salary and assumed $70M in transfer fees (including Eto’s value). A total commitment of roughly $128M over four years.

      We all saw how that worked out.

      I am not picking sides here. Both Sandrusco and El Presi are the same to me. I am pleading for some objectivity.

  16. January 21, 2011

    Friends reference? I thought I couldn’t love this blog more.

    By the way, the White House movie theatre is incredibly cool. I got to see a movie in it when I was a kid.

    Other than that:

    DANI. You’re good, but you’re not better than the rules or the club.
    SPANISH PRESS. You’re crap, but you’re not crappier than to paint this kind of picture, so…

  17. OSBAG
    January 21, 2011

    You know what guys lets not discuss this again cos i believe alves is smart enough to know this is the best club fir him- career not just about money but trophys and the club also knows he is the best RB for us. So as Jnice said, some sense would prevail.

    am off to bed, almost midnight here.

    • OSBAG
      January 21, 2011

      barcastuff The Spanish federation has informed Barcelona
      that they want Thiago to take part in the Euro U21 in June
      and the World Cup U20 in July [ona]
      fancy bojan shinning here. Arent p!, jeffren And busi also eligible?

  18. jordi™
    January 21, 2011

    For me its financially retarded to sell Dani .As far as i know his contract ends in 2012.There is no way we will get “top dollar” for him from anyone while he is in the last year of his contract.Not even city.At the most, i suspect we would get 18 million and thats being generous.Would it not make more sense to re-new him, that way we have a parachute to protect us should we still be outside rational thinking and sell him anyway we would get more money? giving away players is not and will never be a “good deal” but that is the rhetoric we will hear when the board realize their master plan is fail and city will take him for a pittance.I had no problem being firm with Yaya,Samu and evenVV when they had their contract disputes as i felt there were some replacements out there.With dani i don’t see any out there, and short of kidnapping Raphael da silva, i dont see how we can replace him with quality, never mind for cheap. Sign Dani for 32 million + addons sell him for 18 or .What a great deal

  19. Vj
    January 21, 2011

    I’m with Dani on this one.. RoSELL sold the jersey for 160 odd million and still is haggling over contracts of core players? By core players I mean those who aren’t already warming the bench (Yaya wasn’t, though much glorified, he was out-muscled by the ‘one-who-was-needed-to-be-sold’ Busi)..

    Name one player who can replace Alves that wouldn’t make me use the “he’s-new” argument in his first season.. He’s the World’s Best RB, he fit the system from Day 1 and is rarely ever injured.. To me, he’s indispensable..

    Didn’t he cite the players’ contracts when planted that ugly tree? So, if to re-sign Alves, the whole squad’s contracts need to be reviewed, LET THEM! For all I care, he could plant another tree..

    Just like they did with Messi’s contract when we signed Ibra. I didn’t other players clamoring for more money when that happened. Why now?

    I don’t like how for couple million, we are ready to break the lethal RW combination, and are also willing to pay more for a newbie into the system, who god knows when be able to fit in, just for the sake of principles, some of which the management themselves are ready to forsake! I smell an Eto’o type disaster here..

    • soccermomof4
      January 21, 2011

      “just for the sake of principles,some of which the management themselves are ready to forsake”
      That plus the we’re oh so poor but here’s 50M for Cesc is it in a nutshell for me. Don’t tell me we’re so poor and then sell ourselves to get Cesc. Titles won (and they would be more likely with Dani here) bring in enough extra revenue as well to justify a increase for Dani (and the resulting ones for Xaviniesta as well).
      I guess it’s the conflicting messages that are the hardest to put up with. And when we splurge on Cesc, what is the resulting change in wage structure going to be as a reult?

      • soccermomof4
        January 21, 2011

        result and resulting—sorry for the redundancy (I work for the Department of Redundancy Department)

  20. soccermomof4
    January 21, 2011

    SSSOOOOOO….Game 2:00 EST on GOLTV. Hopefully we get Ray Ray and whoever it was that was NOT Phil Schoen tomorrow. Hopefully, Messi scores 3 or 4 goals to get ahead of you know who. Hopefully, P! gets his extra “!” back. Hopefully, CT gets in and actually plays some football, and (last hopefully) hopefully, Dani and the brass get their collective acts together.

  21. January 21, 2011

    Great post Isiah. Alves absolutely is well within his rights to ask for what he feels is his true market value.

    Given that he already appears to have a concrete offer in hand from Man City, his market value is well defined.

    At the same time, the club is well within it’s right to decide that given it’s business model, it will not meet Alves’ demands.

    What is ridiculous about the situation are the recurrent leaks from the board over and over that are trying to paint Alves in a very negative light and as a greedy mercenary.

    That’s is nonsense. And I don’t think that would happen with a cantera product. It’s just really unfortunate that the board can’t be more professional in it’s dealings.

    The board should learn something from the class exhibited by it’s manager.

    Alves is a great footballer – not good. He’s great.

  22. SoccerMom
    January 21, 2011

    Blogwench, fetch hither steins of Red Bull for my man Dan.
    And Blitz, did you send him that gold Cross pen yet? It’s rebajas, they’re on sale still, you know.
    In other news, the Blancos have gone green —
    Moo’s resigning Ruu van Nistelroo!

    • blitzen
      January 21, 2011

      D’oh! I gotta get on that! I’ll have it couriered over next week! 😀

      Maybe they should just hook Dani up with a Red Bull sponsorship deal to make up the extra million. I can see it now:

      “Red Bull gives you predator eyes!”

    • blitzen
      January 21, 2011

      Or this one:

      “Drink Red Bull or we’ll send this guy after you!”

    • ooga aga
      January 21, 2011

      SoMa visited! Kxevin said you were gonna take a break./…I’ll miss your posts.

    • soccermomof4
      January 21, 2011

      Blogwench would have been such a good screen name. Can I change mine???

  23. Tom_Johnson
    January 21, 2011

    I like how it is all management’s fault.

    The management came into the negotiations with one price in mind. They have already made concessions (upped the base salary) and crafted the sponsorship deal for Alves.

    Clearly, they are not holding out and want to make a deal.

    On the other side, Alves and his agent (it has to be Raiola’s relative) are still holding out for the same amount. No concessions so far, correct?

    Now, I want to know what is their valuation based on. What makes them believe that what Alves is bringing to the table is worth as much as what Xavi and Iniesta do? That is the No.2 and No.3 Best Player in the World, just to remind you.

    Since when is what City is offering a ‘fair market value’?

    Further more, why is it $1M (the figure in today’s press highlighted as the gap between two sides) so important and insurmountable? The players in that locker-room certainly are not going to care who’s salary is little bit higher than others. It is not like management wants to give him Maxwell’s salary and the gap is $3-4M/year. Clearly, his contribution is highly valued.

    It is in both sides’ best interest to extend the partnership. One side proved to be willing to compromise. Now the other side should do the same. Alves might get a little bit more money elsewhere but he’ll hardly win and learn more than in this present locker-room.

    • blitzen
      January 21, 2011

      On the other side, Alves and his agent (it has to be Raiola’s relative) are still holding out for the same amount. No concessions so far, correct?

      We have no idea what concessions may or may not have been made, and I wish people would stop speculating about it.

      • January 21, 2011

        Very good point. The club keeps leaking information about the negotiations to make it look like they continue to increase their offer.

        The club has reportedly made a new “final offer” 3 times now.

        But we have no idea whether or not that’s the case or how much they’ve actually changed the offer. Some reports suggest that the club isn’t increasing their offer in terms of guaranteed money they just keep offering Alves different marketing deals.

        No one knows. It’s just speculation.

        But what’s not needed is for either side to spin the other as being somehow “wrong” or “greedy” or “cheap” or what ever other disparaging narrative that can be created.

        It’s those kinds of things that can turn negotiations unnecessarily ugly.

        • Jim
          January 22, 2011

          I have a feeling that if the Alves camp had made any significant concessions we would already have heard about it – and the deal would have been done. Their silence for me is deafening. I don’t think its because they are trying to maintain a dignified silence – don’t have that down as Dani’s style. Just my opinion.

    • January 21, 2011

      I believe you are referring to my post as I referred to Man City and market value.

      Not sure how I could make my point any clearer than what I wrote above.

      Here’s what I said about the club and their stance on negotiations:

      <i.At the same time, the club is well within it’s right to decide that given it’s business model, it will not meet Alves’ demands.

      This absolutely could be a situation where two parties have two different valuations and an agreement can’t be reached. So be it. That’s how it works in business sometimes.

      But I wasn’t criticizing the club’s valuation. What I was criticizing is the club leaking information to paint Alves in a negative light.

      There’s no purpose for that – especially in open negotiations.

      Sending out signals that implicitly spin this as an issue of Alves’ character is just poor business. That’s not how you do a deal. It’s just silly.

      And as it stands Man City appears to have set the market value for Alves. So yest, that’s how it works. That’s his market value. The closer a player comes to the end of his contract the closer the situation comes to an auction. Man City has put in the top bid so that’s his value.

      Just like it’s well within it’s right for the Club to decide that they won’t match a higher offer it’s well within Alves’s rights to take the deal that maximizes his utilities as he prioritizes them.

      The difference is that Alves isn’t disparaging the club or trying to spin the negotiations to shape public opinion.

      The club is absolutely within it’s right to place a valuation on the player and then walk away if the player wants more.

      As Isiah wrote in the post, it’s foolish for the club to try to make this an issue about Dani being the one who is unreasonable or greedy.

      • Tom_Johnson
        January 21, 2011

        “I believe you are referring to my post as I referred to Man City and market value.”

        Actually, I was not. So much, that I had to scroll up and look for your most recent post. I am no shy of debate and will always leave a reply when there is a counterargument to be made.

        City is a special kind of buyer. A lot like a speculator. The one that often doesn’t take market forces (supply and demand) into an account when making an offer. There is the element of desperation too so they are willing to pay a higher premium. That is not your average reasonable buyer.

        I haven’t gotten the impression that the management had started the public campaign to paint Alves as being greedy. I do allow the possibility that some of you had gotten a different impression.

        My understanding was that the management had upped the initial offer and devised a special endorsement deal.

        Meanwhile, I haven’t heard that Alves lowered his salary demand. I am very curious to find out what valuation model they are basing on their request for ‘Xavi Iniesta’ kind of money.

        One side is willing to compromise while the other one is not. Simple as that. No name calling whatsoever.

        I do question wisdom of Alves’ agent putting so much emphasis on salary neglecting what his client stands to lose in terms of professional career and life off-field.

  24. January 21, 2011

    Actually, I was not. So much, that I had to scroll up and look for your most recent post.

    Fair enough. But the only reference to Man City and fair market value in his thread other than the brief mention in the main article was from my post.

    City is a special kind of buyer.

    That’s true. But “special” buyers define markets prices all of the time, particularly in markets that are small and “illiquid” so to speak. That happens all of the time.

    And in markets where there is such a scarcity of talent and there are only a limited number of buyers, outliers are going to hold sway in shaping the dynamics of that market.

    Just look at two seasons ago when RM when on that spending spree. They were outliers. You could call them speculators I suppose but they reset valuations widely.

    I don’t see Man City as a speculator. I think they are generally acting in a way that’s rational for their own business model and with the coming UEFA “fair play” rules. They are just poorly run and highly inefficient and lack an overall strategy.

    I haven’t gotten the impression that the management had started the public campaign to paint Alves as being greedy. I do allow the possibility that some of you had gotten a different impression.

    This is probably where we disagree. It seems to me the club is leaking information to the barcelona media. All of these recurrent reports aren’t just made up. There are too many of them and from too diverse a range, IMO.

    And I personally do not like leaks during negotiations. In no way does it help both sides come to compromise. So in leaking this information I do think the club is adding risk to a deal not getting done.

    One side is willing to compromise while the other one is not. Simple as that. No name calling whatsoever.

    I don’t think we have the information to draw that conclusion.
    No one knows. It’s just speculation.

    We’ve heard what’s been leaked. And information is leaked for a purpose and that purpose is rarely neutral or objective detailing of fact.

    But what’s not needed is for either side to spin the other as being somehow “wrong” or “greedy” or “cheap” or what ever other disparaging narrative that can be created.

    It’s those kinds of things that can turn negotiations unnecessarily ugly.

    As you said before, I hope both sides reach a compromise that’s equitable to both. Both sides do need each other in many ways so we can only hope it is worked out.

    I personally just don’t like the spin and I do think the club is doing that.

    • Tom_Johnson
      January 21, 2011

      “And in markets where there is such a scarcity of talent and there are only a limited number of buyers, outliers are going to hold sway in shaping the dynamics of that market.”

      This under assumption that City is, in fact, the only interested party. Let me counter that with your very own quote: “I don’t think we have the information to draw that conclusion. No one knows. It’s just speculation.”

      Now, if someone is willing to pay $10 for what I value at $6 means little to me in terms of getting the value for my money.

      I only hope that such high salary valuation made by City will pull up the potential transfer fee as well.

      I am in a complete agreement with you when it comes to ‘leaks’ while the negotiations are still taking place. There is very little to be gained for either side and the public image to lose.

      Ideally, everything would be done behind closed doors and in a timely manner. Once it is done, the press conference would be called and announcement (of scarce detail) made leaving everybody scratching their heads that there were negotiations going in first place.

  25. January 21, 2011

    I think that the situation is a big, fat ol’ mess. I’m trusting in Guardiola, or as SoMa has dubbed him, Guardiolus, who says that it’s going to happen, all in due time. My guess is that they will find some middle ground in between what he wants and what the club needs, which I presume that he and his agent understand.

    Alves is committed to Barca, the club that took him from Liga star to global star. I think that the money that was offered from Citeh has turned his head, but I’m fairly certain, or as certain as I can be from my position of comprehensive ignorance, that Alves would take less to stay.

    Details are being leaked, and they can’t be trusted. We should have learned as much from previous transfer fiascos. Recall how quickly Ibrahimovic went from “Not for sale” to “Gone.”

    The last two players we have sold have been malcontents. The Yaya wanted playing time guarantees that Guardiola wasn’t going to offer. And Ibrahimovic was just a plain ol’ donkey’s bum. Alves isn’t any of those. I wouldn’t call him the best right back in the world, but he is, at this time, the best right back in the world for us. On this, we all agree.

    As for the rest, I’m torn. Cesc Pistol’s popping in to be our collective memories helped a lot. I’d completely forgotten about that promise by the club, and the worldview of RoSELL at that time. But let’s not also forget that Dr. Evil is in a hard place, in that he has to preserve the view that the club is going to hell in a handbasket knitted with Euros that the spendthrift bastard Laporta was using to light his cigars, not let everyone believe that he sold the club’s soul down a Qatari river to buy players, not retire bad debt, and hold the line on salaries, because we’re going to hell in a fiscal handbasket.

    Atop all that, he has a coach who almost certainly isn’t his biggest fan, saying “I haven’t signed on for next season, and if you don’t get the players that I want, I ain’t gonna.”

    There is hoist on a petard, and then there’s having a chainsaw inserted and the motor fired up. RoSELL is in a worse place. Ha!

    I’m no longer believing anything about this that isn’t a direct quote from somebody involved, as with the Guardiola comment. EMD and Sport can be insufferable for any reason anyone can think of. They’re also instruments of the club, which can make them useful, or vile. I think that in this case it’s the latter, in that they are saying “Alves wants a 5-year contract at Xaviniesta money!” And the readers are snarking about how greedy Alves is.

    Did the club do/plant this? Who knows. It might even be true. Again, who knows? I don’t. So everything is speculative. What I do know is this:

    What Tom Johnson said about Van der Wiel makes a ton of sense. He could very well have been had for 15-20 last summer, and less this summer, since he didn’t renew. He’s the starting right back for the World Cup finalists, who play a footballing system similar to ours, and he impressed the heck out of me at club and national level. He would be cheaper than Alves, salary-wise, and what Alves is sold for (no way would it be cut-rate, since United, Chelsea and Citeh would be in for him, maybe even Milan) would easily buy Van der Wiel. So there is that option to consider, if all this stuff is true and things are a mess.

    No, Van der Wiel isn’t Alves. Nobody is Alves. Which isn’t to say that our system can’t adapt to make somebody else just as good for it as Alves. Two years ago, Pedrito wasn’t Pedro!!, right? In an ideal world, Alves would sign for somewhere just below Xaviniesta, which is what he “deserves” in the cockamamie fiscal world that is high-level footy, for 2-3 years. It would be his last big contract, and he would in effect retire with the club.

    But the world is rarely ideal.

    And now, we wait.

    • BTTFCule
      January 22, 2011

      No offense Kxevin but I don’t think the Dutch play anything like us. We are looking at a 1 or 2 years transition period if Alves leaves.

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