The Silly Season Begins: Maintaining Hegemony

The boys in Blaugrana are taking a deserved holiday after storming their way to another Liga and Champions League double. Pique is out shaking his hips, the Brazilian boys are playing volleyball on a beach, Busquets is playing peek-a-boo with infants for charity, Puyol is wrangling cattle in Texas, and Iniesta is blinding unsuspecting beach-goers. While they enjoy their well-deserved vacation, it is time for Rosell and co. to step up and do something other than sit in the president’s box with that ingratiating smile on his face.

Iniesta Last Summer... Like a Boss
Iniesta Last Summer... Like a Boss

Yes my friends, the silly season is upon us. The next several months will undoubtedly seem like eons. Prepare yourself – we will be linked with every player who has ever scored a goal, the Cesc transfer reporting machine in Britain has already started pumping out reports, and Bojan will probably cry at least once.

I could report on the players I want the club to sign, but I just took a bunch of Hector pills (warning: do not mix alcohol and Hector pills) and the club never signs the players I want anyways (most likely for the best). Given the incredible success the club has had lately it will be extremely difficult to replicate that success. Here are a few principles Rosell and co. need to keep in mind during silly season to maintain our club’s incredible success.

Keep Guardiola Happy

I confess. This point is stolen directly from Cruyff’s most recent periodical. Pep has a vision of how football should be played. His success so far has been due to his ability to translate that vision to the pitch. However, this wouldn’t have been possible without the right players. You can’t expect a conductor to put on a symphony without the strings, can you? Our transfer moves need to be based on filling the areas that Pep wants filled, strengthening where he sees a need for it. That doesn’t mean handing Pep a couple blank checks and telling him to go crazy signing players. It does mean that Pep has earned the right to build the team as he sees fit, and every effort should be made to sign players who fit the roles that Pep wants filled. On the flip side of the coin it’s not a good idea to sign any players Pep doesn’t want because – let’s be honest – they won’t play.

You Signed WHO?!?!

Utilize the Club’s Pulling Power

We may only be watching the spiritual successors to the ‘Dream Team,’ but this team has made Barcelona the dream club to play at for young footballers around the world (excluding the young Mourinho’s, Scrooge’s, and Sauron’s). But that’s not all! There are lots of quality players out there willing to come in and play whatever role Guardiola asks them to play. The reason? Trophies. Now is the time to take advantage of this sentiment and sign quality players who would start in most other teams across the continent. Mascherano is the perfect example – he would be an undisputed starter at 98.5% of the clubs out there, but he is happy to play a backup role because he knows he will win trophies at the club. We are in the position to sign players who should be starters as quality depth, and we need to take advantage of that position.

Sign Players on Low Wages

This is really a corollary of the last point. Our club currently boasts the highest wages of ANY professional club in any sport in the world. Our main draw to players now is that they have a good chance to win trophies on any given year, and we should take that into consideration when we are drawing up contracts for new players. I think when new signings come in to negotiate a contract the club should have Pep lounging around Rosell’s office with the two Champions League trophies. Rosell: “Ohh, Mr. Rossi” (totally hypothetical name) “What’s that? You want more money? Well, well, well…” (glances over at Pep and the trophies) “We can’t offer you a better contract, but let me make you an offer you can’t refuse.”

Do I have your loyalty?

Keep the Brightest Youth In-house

There has been a lot of speculation about which youth players are going to leave on loan this summer, and it isn’t a surprise considering the B-team’s success this year. Despite Pique’s recent success history shows us that the surest path to the first team is to remain at the club. Puyol, Xavi, Valdes, Iniesta, Messi, Busquets, Pedro. Pique is the exception, not the rule. There are many reasons to keep the best youth players close by. Youth players receive better coaching if they stay with the club, and they are mentally stronger when they do break through to the first team. As alluring as the first team playing time argument is, the fact is that once a player leaves the club they rarely make the glorious return on a white stallion we all fantasize about (I do at least). Pep has proven he has the ability to successfully manage a players transition from the B-team to the first team, but he can’t do that if our most promising youth is loaned out across the continent.

Maintain the Family Spirit

One of the reasons this team is so phenomenal is that they are a single unit, through and through. The players are tightly knit off the field, and it shows in the way they play. They play for their teammates with trust and knowledge of each other that can’t just be created on the practice pitch. This spirit between the players is the glue that holds all of the individual pieces together, and makes the team greater than the sum of its players. Any signings we make have to be evaluated not just on their ability to fit in with the team tactically and technically, but also on their attitude and personality. Everything I’ve said above comes with one caveat – the players we sign have to buy into the spirit of the team.

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244 Comments

  1. momo
    June 1, 2011

    Ahhh, What’s better than your team winning the Champions League 3 times in 6 years? Reading a bunch of United Fan’s comments drooling over how amazing your team is…
    *http://www.redcafe.net/f6/dont-blame-fergie-dont-blame-players-blame-331044/

    Check out the rest of the threads related to the CL final, absolute delight to read 😀

  2. Lev
    June 1, 2011

    Btw the most difficult slot to fill is the desired LB position to replace Maxwell. Given how Adriano really came into his own at the end of this season we need somebody who would challenge for a starter spot but could potentially live with being 3rd choice…

    • blitzen
      June 1, 2011

      Higuain? Surely they mean Aguero. Higuain isn’t going anywhere AFAIK.

      • Lev
        June 1, 2011

        Nah if it was about Kun they would have talked up the possibility of going to EE.

      • Jnice
        June 1, 2011

        There’s rumors about Higuain being offered to several clubs.

    • momo
      June 1, 2011

      This video is great but I found the “Fozz talks tactics” video on the side absolutely mind blowing. The highlight has got to be where he is showing the runs Villa and Pedro made for the first goal compressing and then stretching out at the same instant to absolutely murder the so called most solid back four in the CL campaign this season.
      Highly recommend you see it.

  3. June 1, 2011

    You’re right, the LB is the most difficult to fill, that’s why I say we go hard for Coentaro, even if he does prefer EE. Either we get a top 3 LB or we drive the price up. To me, he is the most important piece this summer. Coentaro at LB will allow Abidal to spend 65% of the season at CB, Coentaro can get the lion’s share of games at LB and Adriano can play in the Copa and be the utility guy at LB, RB and in the midfield. Ideally, Coentaro would stay in Portugal for another 1-2 years then come here, but it is doubtful. Another serious option for LB is Jerome Boateng @ Man City, his current value is about 20M, but I really think we could use JDS as a bargaining chip to get the price down to 10-12m. (Note: Bayern is also linked to Boateng)

  4. June 1, 2011

    By the way, that last comment was in response to Lev a few posts up. Sorry I did not clarify that

  5. June 1, 2011

    Soccernet and Marca are reporting we are in for Thiago Silva, which would be immense. I would swap him straight up for IBRA, keep your 24m and give me yourcenter back. He was transfered to AC milan for a mere 8.8m and is now valued at 20-23m.

    **This is a really cool website to see how much players were transfered for in the past and their current value.
    http://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/en/thiago-silva/transfers/spieler_29241.html

  6. Jnice
    June 1, 2011

    Just downloaded a version of the match with 16 different audio tracks:

    – Arabic (JSC Sports),
    – Catalan (Radio Catalunya),
    – Catalan (TVE),
    – English (ITV),
    – English (Sky Sports),
    – French (TF1),
    – German (RAN1),
    – Italian (Rai),
    – Polish (NSport),
    – Polish (Polsat),
    – Russian (Sport1),
    – Spanish (Radio Cadena),
    – Spanish (Cope SER),
    – Spanish (Onda Cero),
    – Spanish (RAC1),
    – Stadium Sound (set as default).

    Anyone want the torrent or mediafire link? There are other hosts, but mediafire is the best for people without premium accounts b/c there’s no waiting period.

  7. June 1, 2011

    Interesting stuff coming from the Twitters via the indefatigable @barcastuff:

    On Milito:

    Faija (lawyer Milito): “He talked with Pep and Zubi a while back and he knows the situation. Nonetheless, big clubs asked for him.” [sport]

    aija (lawyer Milito): “Gabi is not looking for another club. He has a contract for a year, plus an option for another, and he’s very happy”

    On Aguero(?!)

    People of the entourage of Atletico Madrid attacker Sergio Aguero (23) have in the past days contacted Barcelona to offer the player. [md]

    On Fabregas

    They’re interested in the likes of Krkic, Botia, Dos Santos as makeweights for Fabregas. Craziness.

    On Rossi

    Borja Valero (Villarreal): “Barcelona have great players but I think Rossi would be able to compete for a spot in the team.” [via ep] (Teammates are talking about it. My guess is that it’s pretty well advanced. Club president, player agent, now teammates.)

    On Krkic

    Apparently his folks, if he’s going anywhere, want a sale with a buy back, a la Botia. He doesn’t want a loan.

    • Jnice
      June 1, 2011

      -Sorry, but Milito has to move on. He’s great for Messi and what not, but his spot should be taken by Fontas. Milito can’t be trusted to contribute at this level anymore.

      -I would love Aguero, but 45m is way too expensive. That’s a no go.

      -I still maintain we won’t sign Fabregas this summer.

      -Rossi, not my first choice and I think he’s definitely overpriced, but our squad will improve if he’s signed.

      -I think Bojan needs to go on loan somewhere in La Liga.

    • June 1, 2011

      I am not to big on JDS (or his dad), I would jump at a chance to give Arsenal Kirkic ,with a buy back, Botia and JDS straight up. If we could pay 20m + those 3, you gotta deal. Then if the repors are true, we choose between Rossi and Kun. Rossi has all the intangbbles we are looking for, and would be a great fit, but I’m sorry, Kun is to hard to pass up. I rate Kun @ about 7-10m more than Rossi, and after the cash influx of winning the CL, I gladly pay it if he wants to come play with Messi. I guess he really is serious about not going to E.E, that’s admirable.

      *A note on Kirkic, I have been to Barcelona twice, and have taken in 5 home games, I will be honest (just my opinion, from what I have seen), Bojan is the second most popular player on the team, w/o question. The way they cheer for him is crazy, and Catalans wear a ton of Bojan jerseys, many feel like he is the future, and he is the face of the team in 7-10 years. From the locals I have spoken to, they are very patient wating for all that potential to come out and will wait to watch him develop into a great striker. It will be very very unpopular in Barcelona if Kirkic leaves.

    • Barka
      June 1, 2011

      Seeing all these Cesc rumours make me think why our club is so obsessed with him. Is it Pep who wants him for the team or Rosell who desires a star signing? Either way I don’t want us to spend a large amount for a former youth player. We don’t even know if he wants to come back, what with his contract running until 2015. Thiago, Sergi Roberto and may be in the future Sergi Samper before Cesc Fabregas, for me.

    • momo
      June 1, 2011

      Scary. Imagine a Qatari team that presses and passes like Barca…

  8. June 1, 2011

    Oh, and the Martin Caceres deal w/ Sevilla was made permanent yesterday I believe

  9. IamXavi6
    June 1, 2011

    Momo – Fozz did a good job with that tactics video. It’s no secret he loves Barca, but how he broke it down is correct.

    The little lateral 5 yard passes arnt just there to frustrate…but to lure you out and the “pig in the middle” is brilliant…

    Sure beats watch an ugly premier league game – “lump it long – here, chase that”…

  10. June 1, 2011

    Aguero is almost invariably going to wind up at RM but I wouldn’t doubt that his agent is putting out feelers to Barca just in case. He wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t.

    I don’t see it happening… but that would be some front line.

    The RM situation is just getting bizarre once again.

    Higuain was a Calderon signing and as such Flo Flo never liked him. And he isn’t a target may so I’d guess Mou Mou has no real liking for him.

    They are going to go through enormous change this summer once again.

    Oddly enough there’s been very little talk about them getting a CB and that’s the position they could use help at.

    Finally on Barca – I think they’ll get a quality forward – whether that’s Rossi or Sanchez.

    The true test of this summer is going to be how they reinforce the back line. That’s what I really want to see.

    • barca96
      June 1, 2011

      Any chance of us signing Higuain? Considering the good relationship Rosell is having with FLo flo.

      Why are people ok with letting JDS go? I want him to stay. He could slowly go up like Iniesta did. Mind you, he may not be as talented as Thiago but at least he and his camp don’t make noise like Thiago’s.

      What did Thiago’s dad say now? What on earth does he expect? Does he really think that if his son was in the final, we could’ve definitely not controlled the match like we did. Seriously, how can Thiago break into the team next season with Busi, Iniesta and Xavi in front of him.

      If he is smart, he should ask for a loan. And then come back in 2013 when I suspect Xavi will slow down and Thiago can learn in Xavi’s last year.

      @VJ
      Is it too wrong to yearn for someone like Kluivert?
      Llorente ain’t got shit on Kluivert. Kluivert is a 3 in 1 player. He is an almost perfect #9. If only his head was more stable for a longer period of time. Back in the late 90’s I was always hoping for a
      Henry–Kluivert–ROnaldo

      Btw, I followed Henry from Monaco in 96 or 97 so I knew what he was capable of. That’s why I was a huge fan of his. Just wow when I first saw him.

      @Lev
      What’s wrong with Jeffren having chihuahuas as a pet? 😆
      Ddidn’t you know that dogs are man’s best friend?

      • barca96
        June 1, 2011

        “Barcelona are interested in AC Milan centre-back Thiago Silva (26). Milan would ask at least 25M. Maxwell could be included”

        So little for their supposed future captain?
        I dont understand why people says that he is their future Nesta. Nesta is a LAzio player through and through. He was their golden child in the 90’s. Damn…He was that good back then.

        If you guys would’ve said that he is Milan’s next Maldini, then it would make some sense.

        Anyways, how come he only costs so little? In that case why not swap him with Ibra? And add some cash. Bojan on loan perhaps.

        Milito offered himself to Espanyol and was rejected. What a nice guy. He wants to stay s close as possible to our players and didn’t mind offering himself to our rivals and the prospect of being rejected. What a guy!! Love him!

      • Jnice
        June 1, 2011

        Thiago’s dad didn’t say anything. Thiago’s knows he wasn’t going to play in the final over Andres or Xavi.

        Seriously, we need to stop taking rumors as 100% truths.

        Anyways, how come he only costs so little? In that case why not swap him with Ibra? And add some cash. Bojan on loan perhaps.

        Because it’s a rumor in the papers, nothing more than that. It would take an obscene amount of money to sign him.

        Future Nesta makes sense because since Nesta’s been at Milan, he’s been their defense rock in the heart of the defensive. Thiago Silva has admitted he’s learned a lot from Nesta and he’s helped him become a better defender, etc.

      • psqd
        June 2, 2011

        part of me, the cynical part, wonders if this higuain stuff doesn’t have something to do with his back…wonder if EE knows he’ll never be the same and want to pull a kaka on somebody.

    • Jnice
      June 1, 2011

      The true test of this summer is going to be how they reinforce the back line. That’s what I really want to see.

      I agree.

      • barca96
        June 1, 2011

        It’s strange how a lot of people wanted Botia back few weeks back and now he looks to be sold and nobody’s complaining 🙂

      • Jnice
        June 1, 2011

        Just paper rumors so I’m not up in arms yet.

        I’ve already stated it doesn’t make sense for us not to buy Botia and at least give him preseason. Not much more to add, really.

  11. Jnice
    June 1, 2011

    Don’t understand French, but I’m watching the TF1 broadcast of the match and Wenger is one of the commentators haha.

    • Eklavya
      June 2, 2011

      Haven’t I been saying that since a year or more?! No one reads my comments! I hate you all!!!

      /runs out of the room wailing

      😀

      • Vj
        June 2, 2011

        *Marginalizing Ek. Check!

      • Jnice
        June 2, 2011

        I know he commentates sometimes, but I didn’t know he would be doing the Champions League final.

  12. momo
    June 2, 2011

    Messi’s 53 goals in glorious HD with English commentating and epic music. Takes my breath away every time…
    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poDn59tjNVM&feature=feedf

  13. culegirl3
    June 2, 2011

    From Barcastuff:
    “Arsenal ask 40M for Cesc, while Barcelona offer 30. Arsenal only want to accept proven players like Mascherano and Afellay in the deal [ser]”

    If this has even an ounce of truth to it then the good people from Arsenal must be smoking some really incredible stuff to think Cesc is worth 40m or that we’d give them Masch or Afellay. not gonna happen(I hope) unless we’re in love with the whole bringing to prodigal son back. It’s madness. I love Cesc but he can sit tight at Arsenal for another year or two..he’s used to loosing so he can go through another drought or two.

    • Para
      June 2, 2011

      I think the thing is, when you consider the English transfer market, that he is worth 40m. The problem is that he may not be worth forty million for us at this point in time, considering the current depth in midfield versus obvious dearth in other positions.

      I think Arsenal know how much he’s worth, and won’t lower their price just because Barcelona is the only club Fabregas (apparently) says he’ll leave them for.

    • soccermomof4
      June 2, 2011

      hysterical

  14. Helge
    June 2, 2011

    Apparently, Real Madrid has made a deal with Benfica for Coentrao worth 22m €. How do they get such good bargains?!?
    Sahin for 10m is also a joke, actually. They should have paid 45m for the two of them…

    And why are there endless rumours about a Cesc transfer, on barcastuff? Including Masch or Afellay or Thiago in the deal. Silly season just started, and I’m already sick of it! At least of Cesc. I somehow even wish Cesc injures his cruciate ligaments so the rumours stop, for at least this summer.
    Only to think about a swap Thiago + money for Cesc makes me go crazy 🙁

    • Eklavya
      June 2, 2011

      Did you break another glass when you read that Helge? 😛

      You need some Hector Pills *throws bottle*

      • Helge
        June 2, 2011

        Thanks Eklavya, it’s not that bad, yet 🙂

        But I think I’ll keep them for the Spanish Super Cup against EE, or maybe, if they play each other, Argentina vs Brazil in the Copa 2011. Because those two are the most-likely events in the near future that might threaten the glasses in my environment 😉

  15. June 2, 2011

    The Fabregas rumors are silly, but I wouldn’t wish injury on any player. Abduction by flying monleys? U’m in

  16. Lev
    June 2, 2011

    Hey, maybe the monkeys will let him go for less than 30 mil 😉

    • blitzen
      June 2, 2011

      The flying monkeys told me to tell you that you have a lot of nerve. 😛

  17. Lev
    June 2, 2011

    (and we can give them Jeffren in return)

  18. June 2, 2011

    It’s also worth noting again that it’s called Silly Season for a reason. Rumors and made-up stuff abounds. some of them containing slivers of truth.

    It’s fun to discuss for some. For those not into it, take some Hector pills and come back in August.

  19. K_legit
    June 2, 2011

    and its all italics again

    btw Maulaga have signed van the Man

  20. Lev
    June 2, 2011

    Know what? For the first time in my life I CAN’T WAIT TIL NEXT SEASON and I have felt like this since the final started. It’s gonna be a long summer.

  21. June 2, 2011

    I think that with a club such as ours, Silly Season has to be embraced for all of its …. well …. silliness. And the only people who actually know what’s going on, despite protestations to the contrary, is Guardiola and his staff. I would wager that even the board doesn’t fully know the deal/desires.

    As usual, I won’t believe anything about a player coming or going until he is kissing the crest at the Camp, or on the AVE out of town.

    We can speculate, natter, salivate and cringe in horror. But ain’t none of it real, folks, ’til it is.

    P.S. When using different fonts, remember to close it with the backslash before the font command, or as far as the HTML world is concerned, it didn’t happen.

  22. Josep
    June 2, 2011

    Everyone needs to relax on quoting the Barcastuff rumors. They’re rumors made by the papers and sourced as such, which are usually just rumors. The truth in Thiago Silva is yes, we’d love him. He won’t come.

    Kevin,
    I’m replying to you here since a reply up top would get lost.

    Unbecoming ridicule aside, you can’t get near Willian for 8 million. If he were bopping about the B team, people would be screaming about why hasn’t he been promoted yet. He’s about as close as you can come to a left-side Alves, for less than half the price. Pace, ball skills, excellent crosser and passer of the ball, and scores goals if you give him a sliver of opportunity.

    Why not for 8 mil? Ozil went for what, 15m? He was so cheap because in a years time he would be free, and thats the case with Willian. He’s no Ozil. Yes, if he was bopping on or B team that’d be the case, but that’s not. Thats a completely irrelevant statement. I might be mistaking him and Luiz Adriano but he wasn’t clinical at all against us.

    He kicked our butts up and down the pitch when we played them, and ask Roma about his capabilities. Over on a Chelsea board, they were over the moon about the possibility of their club acquiring him. Simply put, he has every last one of the skills to excel in our system, and he meets a need of that system, namely a player to roll up the wing on the break, take a pass and either hold up play, or attack the goal. He’s an immensely talented player who is ready for the next level.

    I could be mistaken but I remember him fluffing one break, and that’s about it. These matches were a while ago. Also can you name a Roma defender? This is Roma 2011, not Roma 2001. I know he has some skill but you might be overrating him a bit.

    The Afellays at 3 million are rare.
    Yes, but this was possible because he would’ve been free. We could’ve negotiated a contract and he would’ve came for free next month but we paid a January price for him. When a club has a player who won’t renew and expires in the summer THEY DON’T HAVE THE UPPERHAND. Paying the ludicrous 20m you said you’d pay on twitter is crazy.

    As far as Sakho, the only CB I have seen who would drop right into our system is David Luiz, and we didn’t want to pay the price. Now we see who’s available. I view CB as the least of our worries, frankly. Buy back Botia, Fontas has been promoted, Pique, Abidal, Mascherano, Puyol when he returns. That’s 6 players (7 if you count Busquets) capable of playing at CB, which is plenty.
    Sakho > Luiz. Luiz is great on the ball but he’s a Pique mold, I said when they signed him he would score more than Torres haha. Botia looks like it’ll happen but Fontas’ promotion was temporary for the end of the season. As of right now he’s with the B team. Puyi is no longer a guaranteed starter, and I’d rather not count Masch as a CB and put him in his natural position. Emergency position players should only be counted as such. Also, go watch Sakho, beast in the making. He doesn’t lose a header.

    On a more serious note, I’m not a fan of the derisive, dismissive tone that you use to belittle people in this space, and the thoughts they have.

    The reason it’s called Silly Season is because it’s rife with rumors, innuendo, gossip and nonsense. Newspapers make stuff up, fans talk about it, and some of it even comes to pass. It’s part of the annual game. If you aren’t a fan, that’s fine. Opt out. Crapping on people doesn’t help anything. Anything at all.
    My apologies if you were offended but I was nearly having a jibe at the crazy rumors people seem to believe here.

    • Josep
      June 2, 2011

      so I tried to use the italics tag and it didn’t work at all. now my post looks like mumbo jumbo when I was quoting kevin and responding :\

      • June 2, 2011

        Ha! I’d pay 20m for Willian before I paid 30 for Fabregas. Ramzi thinks I’m overpaying as well.

        I just think that our attack has been missing something since Henry left, and that something is dynamism. Our defenders work the ball loose, we get it at the other end, and oooze our way up the pitch.

        When we had Henry, he would bust out of the gates, Xavi or Iniesta would bang a long ball to him (Espanyol, EE to name a couple) and he would either turn the trick or hold up play for the arrival of the midgets.

        I don’t see us getting a plan B in a legitimate big’un like Llorente, but we can have a Plan B in having a player who can get to the other end of the pitch right now, and make something happen.

        Sometimes, you have to overpay for something that you need. We overpaid for Villa, but he met a need. Willian is in that category, to me. I don’t think that we’ll go near him, because Shakhtar will make it too difficult, and we’re still smarting over paying them 10m for a one-year loan for Txigrinski. 😀

      • Josep
        June 2, 2011

        But I think what you’re seeing is we have those opportunities still.. we just don’t use them. possession is most important now, not a potentially side-splitting thru ball where in the past it was played and a goal or broken up. Now we just hold it.

        we didn’t really overpay for Villa so much as met their evaluation of a player. With Willian, his valuation is much to high and it’d be an overpay. He’s not a NEED, he wouldn’t start, and he’d take some time to adapt (I don’t think he knows Spanish, for starters). He’d get on well with Adriano, Alves and Maxwell tho. I like him. I just don’t think he’s a must buy and wouldn’t pay 8 digits for him. I want to see more of their other CB though, Pep liked him.

      • June 2, 2011

        I agree. But we don’t use them because we can’t use them, and it just kills me. Easy goals become hard when you can’t swap ends of the pitch quickly enough. I think we hold the ball because we can’t get to the other end fast enough. It was amazing watching Henry and Eto’o get to the other end, like gazelles.

        I’ll buy that we simply met Valencia’s valuation of Villa. So let’s meet Shakhtar’s, like we met Liverpool’s valuation for Mascherano, a player who wasn’t going to start, either, even though he played important roles for the club time and again.

        I just think that we often attach a valuation to a player, based on whether he is going to start or not. I’d rather place a valuation as what is he going to do for the club? Afellay has turned out to be the bargain of the century, based on what he did for the club.

        But in looking at the transfer market and asking myself, if Afellay and Willian are the same price, would I pay 15-20m for Afellay, the answer is no. Not based on what the club needs. Willian, on the other hand? It’s difficult to think of a better player who would bring the club that certain something, who would be any cheaper.

      • Josep
        June 2, 2011

        (I cant reply to you so I’ll reply here)

        Good point on Masch. He was a wantaway player, and we had to meet the asking price with no bargaining. I wouldn’t call Afellay the bargain of the century, I think 600/month payments for Messi is up there… 😛

        Why would you not pay 15m for Afellay and that much for Willian? To me they’re both good, even great players. Different positions, Afellay can play as the pivot, in midfield, or either wing.. left cutting inward and shooting, or the right and playing pinpoint crosses (Messi, madrid). Willian is a marauder and arguably would own the left side within a year. But I think Adriano is similar to Willian. All these qualities about Willian Adriano has, and is already accustomed to us. For 8m, yes, for 20m, no way.

      • June 2, 2011

        Adriano isn’t Willian, though. Not the same skill level on or off the ball.

        For me, Afellay answers a question that we already have the answer to. We don’t have a player like Willian. We all hoped that Jeffren would be that player, but reality is a beeyotch, sometimes.

        But I do think that a 3 million dollar player, a young’un who basically scored (even if he didn’t put the ball in the net) the goal that kick-started our Champions League Finals return, not to mention the other matches that he positively affected. It’s hard to think of a better return for money in the club’s history.

    • soccermomof4
      June 2, 2011

      Good, but they aint got nothin’ on the Blitzen Awards!

      • blitzen
        June 2, 2011

        😀

  23. June 2, 2011

    On another note, apparently Mou Mou has petitioned the Liga to swap the order of the Spanish SuperCopa matches, so that the return leg is played at the Bernabeu.

    What is wrong with that man?

  24. June 2, 2011

    The thing about Carlos Busquets leaving is also interesting. The reasons cited are the nebulous “personal reasons.” Sport notes that his strong personality led to some differences with a few first-teamers.

    Whether he goes back to B or leaves the club, remains to be seen.

  25. June 2, 2011

    By the by, a deeeeeeep, quality squad is huge for next season. We will be facing six competitions again:

    UEFA SuperCup
    Liga
    Champions League
    World Club Cup
    SuperCopa
    Copa del Reig

    Stack Euros atop all that, and it’s going to be a lot of miles in the legs.

    • soccermomof4
      June 2, 2011

      Stack Euros atop all that, and it’s going to be a lot of miles in the legs

      And our Brazilians and Argentinians are going to be as fatigued after this summer as our Spaniards/Catalans were after last summer 🙁 as they’re bound to go deep into the Copa America 🙂

      @Kevin,
      How does it work? We can sign people now, but doesn’t the transfer window not open until August? Does that mean that players we sign have to wait until the opening of the transfer window to start practicing/playing pre-season games with us?

      • June 2, 2011

        The transfer window opens July 1, and runs to August 31. Smart clubs like to get everything done before leaving on summer vacation, so that relaxation can be complete.

        And yes, signings have to wait until the official window to start practicing/playing, not that anyone will be doing anything in July, anyhow.

        Very true on our S. Americans. And boy, look at what Argentina did without Messi and other key players. Ouch.

      • soccermomof4
        June 2, 2011

        Thanks for help with the learning curve. I’m slowly getting this stuff into my head. This is the second silly season of my personal “culehood”, but the first one knowing enough(just barely) to be anxious.

      • soccermomof4
        June 2, 2011

        The 4-1 defeat for Argentina was bad, but I am so grateful that Messi gets to rest until the 8th. He needs it whether he thinks so or not.
        The “B” team certainly didn’t sieze their chance to impress Batista.

      • soccermomof4
        June 2, 2011

        interesting, and soooooo not a hand ball

      • Jnice
        June 2, 2011

        For Spanish teams, the window opens July 1st, I believe. Our preseason starts July 18th, so there are no problems there.

    • Lev
      June 2, 2011

      “By the by, a deeeeeeep, quality squad is huge for next season.”

      lol, yeah. i just taught an EE supporting student who told me with a big smile on his face that they will improve next season but Barça won’t.

      I mentioned we played the 2nd half of the season on tired legs and that we will get a couple of quality signings to make sure that, coupled with a nice summer’s rest, we shouldn’t have that problem next season.

      smile conversion glum expression.

    • blitzen
      June 2, 2011

      This is why I wonder why people are in such a hurry to sell players like Maxwell and Jeffren, when they have been whining all season about our lack of squad depth. Yes, we need to sign some new players (CB should be THE main priority), but why not also keep players who already know the system and have been performing well (Maxwell) or who have something to prove (Jeffren, Bojan)?

      • June 2, 2011

        Because if the standard of play isn’t maintained, there is a problem. The reason Adriano kicked Maxwell to the curb is that the quality of play didn’t diminish as much when he played. Voila. Jeffren isn’t good enough, either.

        So the question is: Is depth really deep when it isn’t of sufficient quality?

      • blitzen
        June 2, 2011

        Well we have had the Adriano vs. Maxwell discussion many times. I agree that right now Adriano is better suited to the team, but Maxwell did some excellent work in the first half of the season (before he got injured and gave Adriano his chance) and brings different things to the game. I still see him as a viable option in the squad. Whether he is content to remain a bench player is another question.

        Jeffren is a different kettle of fish. I just don’t think I can judge his development properly considering that he spent most of the season injured. By the time he was healthy, the squad had become so thin that Pep was unwilling to risk starting someone so unproven. You say he’s not good enough. Maybe he’s not. But I think he deserves another season. I suspect he won’t get it, unfortunately. One thing in his favour is that he is practically begging to stay without any guarantees of playing time.

        The fact is, we can’t afford to sell all these players and replace them man for man. We will be buying probably three “big” players this summer. If we then sell three, we have the same depth problem we had all season.

      • June 2, 2011

        Jeffren is a driverless Ferrari. He’s not good enough for us. It’s why he will be sold. Same with Maxwell. What we need from our left back, he can’t do. Adriano proved that point. With Adriano and Abidal, and Fontas as the pressure sub, there’s no room for Maxwell.

        The incumbents: Valdes, Pinto, Messi, Pedro, Villa, (Rossi or somebody), (some midfield player), Xavi, Thiago, Afellay, Iniesta, Busquets, Mascherano, Keita, Puyol, Pique, Alves, Fontas, Abidal (some defender).

        Outgoing will be: Krkic, Jeffren, Maxwell.

        So we have a 20-player first team (am I forgetting anyone?), coupled with B Team migrations of players who will be able to fill out the roster with quality and quantity. Dos Santos will be even more ready, as will the likes of Bartra, Muniesa and Montoya.

        I think we’ll be fine.

      • blitzen
        June 2, 2011

        With Adriano and Abidal, and Fontas as the pressure sub, there’s no room for Maxwell.

        Then why is everyone in here so hell-bent on buying a left-back? (for the record, I’m not)

        So we have a 20-player first team

        I think we’ll be fine too, but I don’t want to hear/see any whining from you come February when we have injuries about how we need more depth in the squad! 😛

      • June 2, 2011

        You don’t hear me carping about a left back. Willian is a winger. We went into last season with 18 first-teamers. If we go in with 21-22, that’s a very different story.

  26. Josep
    June 2, 2011

    What does everyone think of what seems to be our new transfer policy? Instead of paying through the roof we’re throwing in youngsters.

    I like it and don’t. I get attached to the players and its sad, but surely its amazing if we can continue to do it like a baseball club. Throwing in youngsters for a proven player is great if apparently we can continue to churn them out as we have. Or even if they don’t pan out, based on reputation alone our youngsters go for a decent price.

    and with buy backs! brilliant. who used to criticize Madrid for that?

    • Lev
      June 2, 2011

      well i also like it and don’t. But the fact is that our current squad is so incredibly strong it will be extremely difficult for youngsters to break into.

      • June 2, 2011

        Well it’s rumors, but we seem to be throwing in youngsters that aren’t going to cut it with the first squad. Note that you don’t hear names such as Fontas, Montoya, Deulofeu, Muniesa, Bartra in these talks.

        Right now, we have a bumper crop of talent, not all of it good enough to make our first team. But one of our rejects is another club’s starter, right? Why not capitalize on that surplus to make other moves happen, if rumors are anything vaguely approaching reality.

      • Lev
        June 2, 2011

        exactly. in other words, keep thiago because he has all the makings of a future masia star. but if we are going for Cesc (whether this or next summer), there will be no room for JDS.

        I have always said that the target should be for 1, maaaybe 2, canteranos to break into the 1st squad every season.

      • Josep
        June 2, 2011

        true, this way it helps lower the amortization rate and whatnot. If we throw in youngsters I’ll be sad as I want everyone to make it, but it makes sense to lower a fee and move a player who will excel elsewhere but not here.

        But delofeu is too young to move, and Bartra, Montoya, Muniesa, and Fontas have been rumored with moves recently.

      • June 2, 2011

        Rumors, though. Montoya knows he’s the Alves heir apparent. Muniesa knows that he has a spot. Fontas is being promoted, we already know. He isn’t going anywhere. Deulofeu might be another Assulin. Or he might be another Iniesta. We’ll see.

      • Josep
        June 2, 2011

        (can’t reply)
        Well Muniesa doesn’t nec. have a spot, and Fontas’ promotion was for last year (as I stated in an above reply). Gerard is too good. I really, really hope the kid makes it. He’ll probably be in Barca B this year. I wouldn’t call Montoya the heir apparent though

      • June 2, 2011

        No, Fontas and Thiago are being promoted. Fontas was promoted last year, and it will continue. Thiago will be promoted this year, unless Mazhino gets his son sold by being a pain in the ass.

        No player necessarily has a spot, even first teamers, right? But players can look at the landscape and make decisions. Toral and the other kid left because the writing on the wall was clear. Montoya won’t leave because he’s an excellent right back, who’s already schooled in the system and will improve over time. Same with Muniesa. It’s why I can’t get too upset when young’uns are poached. If they knew they had a shot, they wouldn’t leave.

        Look at Gio Dos Santos. I remember when people thought it was crazy to let him go. Now look.

      • Josep
        June 2, 2011

        It was confirmed Thiago was promoted but Fontas’ hasn’t been confirmed promoted for this season, based on everywhere I’ve read.

        I loved Gio, and your “look at him” is just a case of “Look what Harry has done”. I looked at him last night and he played fantastically, and this summer. and the second half with Racing. He’s great!

  27. Extreme barca fan
    June 2, 2011

    The thing i want more than anything else next season, is to drop the copa del rey (not the trophy as EE players did, but the whole competition) ASAP, that way we will have one game a week for the whole of January, and when the Quarter Finals of the champions league arrive, we will be fresh and raring to go, this is what i want regardless of whoever we sign or dont.

    • vicsoc
      June 2, 2011

      While that certainly makes sense, in the past three seasons we have been in the Copa fin twice, and those are also the years we won the Champions League. Coincidence? Maybe. But it also may hint that the extra games are actually beneficial in keeping the team I. The rhythm of playing games and giving the squad players playing time.

      • Josep
        June 2, 2011

        But the CDR is where we play our fringe, B-Team, and players needing match fitness. It’s vital and if we can make the final playing a B-Side again its great.

      • blitzen
        June 2, 2011

        ^ I agree with this. The Copa is the perfect vehicle for B-teamers and fringe players to get valuable first-team minutes and show the coach what they have to offer.

        The Copa this year was extra difficult because of injuries and fatigue, which all goes back to the World Cup. Next season everyone will be rested and we shouldn’t have those problems.

        Besides, the word “treble” is so pretty! 🙂

      • June 2, 2011

        But the problem is that as we get deeper into the competition the stakes get higher, until we wind up fielding a complete A team, minus the keeper. Would it have been different had Krkic been healthy, or the opponent not been who it was? Probably.

        But my idea Copa lineup would be: Pinto, Montoya, Muniesa, Fontas, Adriano, Mascherano, Keita, Thiago, Jeffren (or whoever), Krkic, Pedro. No big-time first teamers. Ever. And we live or die with that lineup.

        Good point from Vicsoc, though. I don’t know if it’s necessarily cause/effect as much as coincidence.

      • Extreme barca fan
        June 2, 2011

        Exactly Kxevin, this year we played a lot of copa games with a majority of A teamers, messi was running after almeria players like a mad man, but he was too tired at the end of our 1st game with arsenal, i dont want to see that ever again.
        And Vicsoc, i think its just coincidence, but maybe you r right, who knows.

  28. BTTFCule
    June 2, 2011

    Malaga signed RVN from Hamburg. Malaga could be fun to watch next season! I hope they do well!

  29. The__K__Man
    June 2, 2011

    Alfredo Martinez (a radio commentator who is always there at the Barça matches) said two important things on his twitter account:
    1.Pep like Kun but he doesn’t see him as a good partner for Messi
    2. that no CB will be signed this season…Pique,Puyol,Abidal,Fontas,Masche are enough..he also said Maxwell isn’t leaving

    what do you think about this especially the CB situation? r

    • blitzen
      June 2, 2011

      1. I agree.
      2. So that means no Botia as well? I’m undecided about him anyway.

    • Jnice
      June 2, 2011

      I asked him on twitter if that means no Botia, but he hasn’t replied.

      I think it’ll be very silly of us not to buy a real CB this summer. I don’t care if Mascherano/Busquets can fill in when needed. What if Busi gets hurt? We’ll need Masch for midfield. We need a center back. And it would be very stupid of us not to buy back Botia and give him pre-season at least.

      • blitzen
        June 2, 2011

        I think the idea is to give Fontas some real playing time and fully integrate him into the squad. Pep obviously believes he has what it takes. We’ll see. This is only the first week of Silly Season. This is going to be a loooong summer.

  30. blitzen
    June 2, 2011

    You know, it’s hard to hate the Parakeets when their coach is such a class act.

    Espanyol coach Mauricio Pochettino has recently spoken of his respect and admiration for this current Barça side, with the Parakeet’s boss recognising that this current crop may well be the greatest team in history.

    Speaking after Barça won their fourth European Cup, Pochettino acknowledged the quality of this Barça side, paying special attention to the club’s favourite son. “Barça is the best team in the world, I admire their game. Messi? He is the greatest. He is a crack. I know him only a little, but if I could take a coffee with him I would like to know the intimate Leo, his fears, concerns. I see him as very real, unpolluted. My children see him and say to me ‘Dad, this man is incredible’. And they want to emulate him, it’s normal.”

    http://www.totalbarca.com/2011/news/pochettino-barca-are-the-best-team-in-the-world/#ixzz1O8Yg67ay

  31. messi_fan
    June 2, 2011

    Hey guys, what do you think about Felipe_Caicedo ?

    I’m not sure how serious Sid Lowe was but he was suggesting that Levante would most likely be looking to sell him (for financial reasons). Apparently he had the best shot to goals ratio in La Liga.

    • Josep
      June 2, 2011

      He was a touted prospect and thats how he ended up at City, where all he did was disappoint. Actually I think he ended up at Basel first..

      They don’t even have the 1m they’ve paid for him yet, but he’ll go for 10m or so. not to us.

  32. Dani_el
    June 2, 2011

    Bojan: “I am not gonna take part in an operation to make a player signing cheaper for Barça, I am part of the squad and I intended to keep it that way”
    Sport says that Jose Luis Pérez Caminero, the sports director of Atletico de Madrid had a meeting with people from Barça, they say maybe the purpose of the meeting is Aguero; “it would be easier for Atletico to sell him to Barça than to EE”.
    Mundo Deportivo says Villareal is asking 30 million for Rossi, and Barça is offering 20 million, so both parties are in a stalemate.

    I think that if we loan Bojan and sell Jeffren, we would need Rossi AND William, I think if we offer 20 million plus one player (Bojan would have a great oportunity playing for Villareal with a buy-back clause) for Rossi, it would be great. Then we need a center defender, maybe Botia, maybe Sakho, for less than 15M. And that’s that, unless Cesc asks for the signing, I think it would be 35M if he does that, it would be aweful for Arsenal, but if he wants to be in this team I think it is worth it.

    We have now 54.5M (we sold Caceres to Sevilla for 4.5M) for signings, and maybe 10-15 more for the selling of Jeffren, Maxwell, Milito, Keirrison, Henrique…

    • June 2, 2011

      Milito, if he leaves at all, will be on a free. Other folks say Maxwell is staying, so who knows? Henrique, Keirrison and Jeffren det outta here, though.

      The Krkic quote is interesting. If we sign another forward, he doesn’t see ANY time, I imagine his stance would change if events played out the way it looks at though they might.

      Looks like the final Rossi number will be 20+player(s), or 25 cash.

      • Josep
        June 2, 2011

        hmm where did that Bojan quote from? didn’t hear it before.

        lol I always forget about Keirrison 😀

      • June 2, 2011

        I still wouldn’t mind seeing how he does in some friendlies. Keirrison, that is.

      • JoachimD
        June 2, 2011

        The thing is, he doesn´t even get games with Santos. We paid 15million? on him and he disappeared. Did not make the grade with Benfica and Fiorentina, went back to Brazil and the same situation continues. What happened to this guyw It´s gotta be a mental thing, suddenly he is a bad player.

        All these possible rejects hardly bring money in. Caceres was only 4.5million (I think). Imagine the others.

  33. blitzen
    June 2, 2011

    😆 😆 😆

    You know why I’m laughing? Because just a few months ago people (well, person) were calling for over-the-hill Keita to be sold to raise some cash for a big summer purchase—and now here we are 5 days into Silly Season and not a single person has dared to raise the thought. Has it finally sunk in that Keita goes nowhere unless he wants to? 😛

      • blitzen
        June 2, 2011

        Pffft. Keita goes to Pathetico over Pep’s cold dead body. And Abidal’s too.

      • Nav
        June 2, 2011

        I agree. I don’t see Keita leaving — but it doesn’t look like anybody is off the table as far as silly season is concerned. Except maybe perhaps Messi. 😀

  34. 90sbaby
    June 2, 2011

    I love Keita hope he stays until Pep leaves which could be likely next season.

  35. Dani_el
    June 2, 2011

    And if it comes to have Keita OR Thiago OR Cesc?
    If we pay whatever for Cesc and he comes (I’m not saying it’s clever to pay whatever for him, but I think Pep wants him, and I believe in his good judgement), we would have Busi/Masche/Keita/Cesc, Iniesta/Cesc/Keita/Thiago/Afellay, and Xavi/Cesc/Keita/Thiago/Afellay, for the 3 positions in midfield? Wouldn’t that be too many players for each position? I know we need a physical type of played in MD, and I love Keita, hell I even spent more than two hours translating and article ONLY about Keita for TotalBarça, he seems a really GOOD guy, and an awesome second half player, and he is loved in the dressing room, but if it comes to that, who will you choose?

    • blitzen
      June 2, 2011

      Why should we choose? Mascherano and Busquets will no doubt spend time at CB as they did this season. Afellay will likely play mainly up front, and Iniesta fills in there as well. We also don’t know what Pep’s plans might be regarding trying out different formations or positions for the players. And between the League, the Copa, and the CL, everyone will get some playing time.

  36. Jim
    June 2, 2011

    Pep hasn’t really shown much desire to sell anyone as far as I can see. I suspect if you asked him he would say he’s not in the business of moving people out unless they want to go.

    I do think Milito might go and maybe one or two of the youngsters will use patience and leave but I see us going into next season with a much bigger squad. Players like Keita, Adriano, Bojan and Maxwell are useful as they can be pitched into the team with no real loss of overall performance unlike when any of Xavi, Iniesta or Messi are missing.

    I’m afraid I’d be happy to see Cesc coming as he is the only one we could put in for any of the three mentioned above without a probable dip in performance. However, that all depends on Fabregas. If he doesn’t push hard, it won’t happen as we won’t pay silly money.

    For me, though, we do need a youngish CB with pace and I’d pay decent money for one. Having said that the news about Puyol is really good. If it is just cartilage that’s great. If his cartilage is in great nick that’s even better. No reason why he can’t play a full part again next season.

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