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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  1. Soto
    May 31, 2011

    “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.”

    And look how well that strategy worked out for him: Mascherano started the Champions League final as well as quite a few key games throughout the year. He may not have been a regular starter, but I don’t think he would trade away the games he played for more starts.

    Since Barcelona seems to always have a short squad (at least in the Guardiola era) being a bench player is not a risky move. With a roughly 50 game season and a short squad, there are going to be injuries. Any incoming player should see plenty of opportunities on this team. Add some patience, and you might follow Busquets’ and Pedro!’s trajectory: from almost unheard of to regular starters in a year.

  2. Soto
    May 31, 2011

    I think the budget pressures will be the greatest risk to keeping the brightest youth in house. There must be teams out there hoping to emulate Barcelona, and what better way than to stock up on some talent fresh out of the La Masia factory?

    We’ll see if, amidst the Cesc frenzy, Rosell can restrain himself long enough to hold on to our future talent.

  3. May 31, 2011

    The point on players wanting to come here is a critical one. Masch and Afellay are just great examples.

    To be honest – both of them would have been walk on, no-question starters for in the CL finals for United.

    Afellay really could have gone to almost any club in the world because his transfer fee was nominal. United desperately could have used Afellay as an attacking midfielder.

    But in the end he wanted to come to Barca.

    I think the attraction goes even past wanting to win trophies. Obviously trophies are a huge factor.

    But even more than that I’d have to think players feel that they could be part of something truly historic. It’s not just the silverware.

    It’s the opportunity to be part of the history of the game every time you step out on the pitch.

    There’s no way to reproduce that elsewhere.

    And Barca should utilize that intangible factor to create value for itself in the marketplace.

    What’s just so exciting about this team is that it’s biggest weakness is depth.

    Usually when teams achieve tremendous success they are done in by age.

    Age you really can’t fix easily.

    But outside of Puyol (who they had to start to learn how to play without this season), Xavi and Abidal, the nucleus of the team is just so young. And Xavi and Abidal aren’t “old” per se and should be fine for at least next season.

    Depth you can fix directly. It’s one of those factors that you can actively take control of and rectify.

    That’s the opportunity the club has this summer.

    Now that they’ve won it’s easy to forget the hard times. But there really were stretches of this season in the second half where the team looked exhausted. They had to pull out one trick after another to make things work just to get to the CL finals.

    Next year they can be even better. But they must fix the issue of depth.

    And that is going to require them finding a young CB with pace who can pair with Pique moving into the future.

    • Para
      May 31, 2011

      Oh Euler, you are so wrong about the age issue. You see, I have invented a youth-ening (yes, youth-ening) machine strictly to de-age Puyol, Xavi, and Abidal.

      I would elaborate, but I must finish it before pre-season.

      • Ryan
        May 31, 2011

        The only problem is that I think all three of those players got better with age – I’d take 31 year-old Puyi/Xavi/Abi over their 25 year-old versions! How about an anti-injury machine? 🙂

        • Para
          May 31, 2011

          Darn it, you are correct. I shall make the necessary adjustments, and instead of it being de-aging, it shall be anti-aging. Suspension at the ages of 33/31/31, respectively?

  4. May 31, 2011

    O.K here we go!!!


    1. Douglas Costa or Adam Johnson
    2. Kun, Rossi or Sanchez
    3. Fabio Coentaro

    1. A natural winger to come off the bench opposite 3M.
    2. Another option that can fill in for Villa/Messi. We all saw how good Villa was on 2 weeks rest, so imagine him playing 12-15 more games next year (same as Pedro), We can get a good 25-30 starts for an exceptional striker.
    3. Screw it, if he is the one we want, get him, even if it’s a year or two early. He can play 60% of the games at LB, with Abidal playing in the middle at CB (Puyol having knee surgery). I know that puts Adriano on the margins, but thats what the cup is for. And I dont think the guy is as good as Coentaro.


    Maxwell, Milito, Jefferen and JDS.

    I know the last one is crazy, but here is why it may be feasable. In America, all our big 4 leagues are what we call copy cay leagues. My feeling is that Soccer in Europe is becoming that way. Everyone wants to play like us and it takes so long to build the infostructure that we have. From La Masia up to the A team, people like Roman Abromavich and that Sheik dude in Man city will spend the money to get players that they “hope” will be another Xavi or Iniesta. We have the best “second team” in the world, period. And they will not all make it to the Camp Nou, so lets take our high value “B” teamers and make a big profit on them.

    *Also the reason I dont think we don’t absolutley need a CB is because Masch, Abidal and Busquets can all partner with Pique, allowing us to have as many of our best players on the field at one time as possible. Having said that, if Puyol only plays 50% of the matches next year, what actual CB, currently on our roster, do you trust to start 25 games next to Pique? It is kinda sad that our first choice CB, after a healthy Puyol is either a LB or a DM. So yeah Maybe we need to spend on a solid CB.

    **Does anyone have any info on how much money we made this season, winning the league and CL? And what is the difference between that number and what we would have gotten if we were EE, second in the league and out in semi-finals?

    • Barka
      May 31, 2011

      Unfortunately Fabio Coentrao is going to Real Madrid this summer. He wants to play for them only and says it’s up to Madrid and Benfica to discuss the fee. Looks like a done deal to me.

  5. May 31, 2011

    Sorry, when I was talking about Villa above, I meant “imagine Villa playing 12-15 games less than he did this year. AN ACTUAL ROTATION!!!!!

  6. Diego
    May 31, 2011

    It’s Officially 1st of June In Egypt.

    It’s my Birthday .. Any advices on what should I do in my twenties ? 😀

    • The__K__Man
      May 31, 2011

      well, happy birthday fellow Egyptian Culé..never would’ve guessed Diego to be a fellow Egyptian 😛

    • Jnice
      May 31, 2011

      Somehow missed this earlier. Happy Birthday dude!

      I’m 80 and I don’t really remember what I did in my twenties, so I don’t really have much advice, but I hope you’ve enjoyed your day. 🙂

      • May 31, 2011

        Ahh, to be twenty again. You young’uns better enjoy your youth as much as possible. Carpe diem! Seize the day!

        • Eklavya
          June 1, 2011

          You awoke old memories of mine. Ah, youth…

    • Blow-Grenade
      June 1, 2011

      Diego, I advise you to play a game of soccer, and keep moving and providing an outlet for the other players on the pitch with your off the ball movement. Remember to run all 90 minutes.

  7. May 31, 2011

    Word on Da Skreet is dat badass man Jerome Boetang is avaliable for 20 mil. He is big, bulky and skilled. Laks pace and prolly wont fit in the tiki taka game we play!!!!! Thoughts?

      • Helge
        June 1, 2011

        Absolutely right, Jerome Boateng is a nobody.

        I had to giggle when ManCity tagged him as “priceless” 😀
        This club spent hundreds of million of euros on several, actually good players, but of all their players, they claim Boateng is intransferable. Maybe it was because Bayern Munich was interested in him.

        But anyway, Jerome Boateng, with all due respect, is nowhere near the quality that this club expects from its players.

  8. Huckleberry
    May 31, 2011

    My bet: first signing will be Cesc for 40 m, then we’ll see.

  9. blitzen
    May 31, 2011

    This is a fantastic interview with Luis Enrique:

    How have you made the players put the team before individual interests?
    “That’s football, it is a team sport, no player can worry about themselves more than the group. That chance doesn’t exist. You have to play well as part of the team, to add to things, to organise, if you want to express yourself, you have to do so as the coach says, in the way that most helps the team. A coach is not after personal objectives, he wants to win. But as well as trying to win, my job here also meant training players to be ready to move up to the first team whenever Pep needs them. We did that to perfection. Imagine ten men thinking: ‘I want to shine; I don’t care about the score’. No, thankfully Pep doesn’t go in for that philosophy”.

    This. Right here. Is the Barca way.

    I’m going to miss Lucho so much. 🙁

    • Jnice
      May 31, 2011

      Really is a great interview. Good luck to him wherever he decides to go.

  10. Cesc Pistol
    May 31, 2011

    Re-Posting since I got a bit late:

    Legendary post Euler! A post worthy of superlatives that will embarrass even Ray Ray. All I will say is this: In the past three years of reading the Sublime Hector, the Superlative Ramzi, The man who started it all Jonathan Wilson and the best works of ZM (even though his best works seems behind him) This article is the best I’ve ever read.
    In a mail to a friend (Chelsea fan) I wrote similar ideas (though distinctly pedestrian compared to yours, obviously) before reading your review :

    “Rooney was to cover Busquets and pressure him without possession and exploit the hole behind him with it, to drag the CB shape to create spaces for Chicharito. Park (and Valencia to an extent) were to push inwards to overload the midfield and gain a numerical advantage and support Carrick and Giggs. But Park had to track Dani’s runs as well. And so was the case was Evra and CB paring as well. When Pedro was between him and Vidic it was Vidic’s responsibility and Evra was to Cover Dani’s outer run or track Messi if he drifted wide. All in all a little too much to expect out of his players but the logic was sound. Against a 4/5 in mid of Barca -Busquets, Xavi Iniesta, Messi and Dani he could out-man them with Giggs, Carrick, Rooney, Park, Valencia and Evra. And still maintain his offensive threat to keep Barca on the backfoot (I admit using Giggs was not the best idea but who was there? An injured Fletcher, a risky tackling Scholes who would, despite his tremendous heart, tire out or an Anderson who was shown up to be the true “rabbit in headlights” that you used last time round? And can you really drop someone like Giggs after the season he had and the legend that he is?)

    And guess what for a period it worked! But this is Barca that moves better than any other team. And in ways I’m sure you never noticed, busquets went deeper and deeper upfront while Xavi took his place for a deep playmaker. But Rooney tracked Busquets all the way, the reason why SAF was scolding him, and then could not pressure properly and could not provide the threat in the hole either. Messi, Perdo and Dani overloaded United’s left and that what caused the first goal- you can see Evra lose pedro to get inwards for Messi but Vidic didn’t track him. That goal was as much Vidic’s fault as much as Evra’s. More importantly it was what Barca regularly do, overlaod an area of the pitch, switch positions frequently to cause chaos and to break the shape of the defense to make the very space which was afforded to Pedro and pin point perfectly picked up by Xavi. The CB’s had to come more forward because this time Xavi and Iniesta were taking hard well placed shots infront of the box and they had to be closed down. Distorting the shape to afford space. And Villa’s goal, as spectacular and unsavable it was -just like Rooney’s- It was because Messi dragged defenders around him to afford Villa the time and space to make that shot.

    And so it was throughout the match. Barca were on a different level yesterday, point me anyone who sees Barca regularly who had ever seen Messi so serious and intense when celebrating. He had his game on a different high yesterday and so did Masch and Busquets had the game of his life (MOTM for me) and Xavi and Iniesta and Pique and Villa has NEVER worked so hard yet effectively and efficiently. Not to mention Abidal who completely removed Valencia’s threat. The one which everyone was talking about before the match. Barca played one of their best matches yesterday and in those times even chicken shit Mourinho teams who hide under their mommy’s skirt lose 5-0.

    PS Barca used offside traps, their main defensive weapon with unbelievable precision to neutralise Hernandez. And ultimately SAF’s zona mista combined with pressing with narrowing wide and forward players -as good an idea as it was- fell apart due to Pep out-thinking his tactics.”

    I felt a sense of affirmation and pride that I atleast somewhat got it.

  11. psqd
    May 31, 2011

    I agree…if you can’t get players for reasonable fees and wages now, then when?
    The reverse certainly seems to be true. By that I mean, everybody knows that the guys on loan have no shot and are unwanted so…caceres goes for 3+…henry and marquez for free…milito for free? ibra for loan + ? chiggy for 10…please don’t tell me max is gonna go to milan for 2 next.
    anyway, just saying that I hope there is some kind of balance found.
    and…unlike some i like the idea of rossi. Can’t see how there won’t be a need for more rotation next year, imposed or otherwise. that said i can see how attractive the cesc idea is, but really would prefer to give thiago his shot next year in rotation. cause don’t tell me after watching the final that busquets couldn’t rotate into the xavi roll too.
    if they don’t exercise the option on botia, regardless of whether they keep him or ship him as a part in a deal then heads need to be examined.
    regardless, I would echo what everyone is saying, there is a need for a young quick CB and an outside back. otherwise you have adriano as cover on both sides and then you are calling up montoya and muniesa…

  12. vicsoc
    May 31, 2011

    I told myself I wasn’t going to play football manager in my mind, but what the heck. This is what I would do this summer:

    Sakho, Willian, Rossi, Botia

    Milito, Maxwell, Jeffren, Fontas (loan)

    I feel like the outs explain themselves except Fontas. I’d send Fontas on loan because keeping both him and Botia seems like overkill, and I think Botia is the better of the two.

    Sakho makes my list purely due to what I’ve heard about him around these parts. I haven’t watched him play but if he’s half the player people have built him up to be he would be a great long term addition to the squad.

    Willian plays as a left winger for Shakhtar, and he would provide an explosiveness on the wing that we don’t currently have. More importantly – I think his skill set would be perfectly suited to playing as a full back in our system. I could see him getting playing time at both positions depending on the match and being very successful.

    Rossi makes the list because we need a forward and all signs point towards Rossi being the forward we sign. Botia is good backup at CB for cheap, what more can you ask for?

    Overall that leaves us with a 22-man squad. Hardly an increase in numbers, but the team looks balanced and every player can contribute substantially, which is an improvement from this season.

  13. barca96
    June 1, 2011

    I’ve always found this WIlshere kid a bit too in your face for such a young age.
    Now he says this;

    Jack Wilshere has urged his Arsenal team-mates to copy Manchester United by harassing referees more in order to gain an upper hand in next year’s Premier League title race.

    “Scholes is undoubtedly the best midfielder of his generation” – Zidane….enough said! in repsonse to Ferdinand.

    Guys, there is a trend.
    THe team that Ibra leaves will win the CL.
    Inter in 2010 and now us in 2011.
    He really brings bad luck eh? 😆

  14. barca96
    June 1, 2011

    Evra and Vds almost did a Ramos

    Speaking of Evra, I remember days ago I read that Pep wanted Evra.
    Why sign an aging LB? We should get Coentrao for Pete’s sake!
    I like Evra though but look what Messi did to him…

    With Saturday’s Champions League final defeat still fresh in everyone’s minds, Sir Alex spoke of the “wonderful challenge” he now faces as the Reds bid to match Barcelona on the European stage.

    “People have to understand the mechanics of the industry we’re working in,” said Sir Alex.

    “We are only allowed to coach youngsters for an hour and a half, they [Barcelona] can coach every hour of the day if they want to. That’s the great advantage they’ve got and they have a fantastic philosophy.

    “We hope that in years to come our coaches will be able to spend more time with young kids, to teach them the basics, the technical abilities and the confidence to keep the ball all the time.

    “We’re good at it but we’re not as good as Barcelona at this moment in time. It’s a wonderful challenge. We should always accept a challenge.”

    • Para
      June 1, 2011

      I understand what Ferguson’s saying with regards to English laws/restrictions, and how they do limit the amount of time they get with youth, but don’t the kids at La Masia only get football coaching for something like less than two hours a day? I remember reading an article that outlined their ‘typical day’ so to speak, and I’m sure it was around an hour and a half of training.

      • blitzen
        June 1, 2011

        You are right, Para. Up to the age of 16 (?) the canteranos only get a couple of hours a day of training. The difference is that the style and philosophy is the same across all levels, so the kids can move easily from one level to another and fit right in with a new team. The training focuses mainly on the ball itself, keeping it, passing it. Remember Sid Lowe’s excellent interview with Xavi where he said they do rondos every single day? Until the ball skills become second nature. Strength and endurance training come much later.

  15. stowe
    June 1, 2011

    If Luis Enrique goes to Roma or another team that would probably emulate our style I think it would be a great advantage to both clubs if we loaned players to his club. Our players would get more experience at an A-team level while still playing in our system while Luis would keep players with him that know his system and he can trust.
    If we got both Willian and Rossi, wouldn’t that be redundant? or can Rossi play across the front line?
    If Willian (is this the dutch player?) can play left back that would be helpful, but would it be the same as playing Adriano?
    I think our biggest need is a pacey young CB. That is what we really lack in the squad. It would be even better if it was a player like Puyol who can play both CB and RB.
    If we get Cesc I wonder if it would keep us from signing a forward. I think more than Iniesta he plays high up the pitch. He has played in the 10 spot for Spain and he often plays there for Arsenal. I think he would be a more talented, if less speedy version of 3M.

  16. stowe
    June 1, 2011

    gotta love that picture of Ghostface. and what a season he had

  17. can_we_go_Xalvies
    June 1, 2011

    I was looking at a few videos of Rossi’s goals on this season, and he looks more like Pedro than Villa TBH, Just like Pedro’s goal in the CL final, Rossi is really good at drifting away from his marker and creating gaps for passes. He likes to use his speed and tends to run the ball out wide rather than through the middle. But I havent seen how he defends or how he presses.

    Willian is very fast and he isn’t afraid to take on defenders and cut in, his shooting is surprisingly accurate. In the first leg of the quarter finals at the camp nou he took a shot from the edge of the box and if it wasn’t for Valdez having to tip away the shot it would of gone in otherwise. He seems like a very effective wide player, kind of like Afellay

  18. Cesc Pistol
    June 1, 2011

    Continuing a bit from whether we’ll be able to continue our success in the future, of Dynasty or Decline, Pep continuing and what will happen post-Pep, Cruyff had an amazing article you can read here:

    Similar to what I said it will be how the president or the board reacts post-Pep in its managerial selection and how strongly it will stick or rather how readily they will abandon The Philosophy for hopes of change and success in dire times.

    Whether promoting the youth to maintain a backbone built on The Philosophy, to keep the foreign players grounded and a sense of togetherness fighting for a common cause will be maintained or whether it will be abandoned for a quick fix, a coach like Mourinho to get titles any way possible along with his horde of mercenaries to crowd out the Masia?

    These are the very tough questions before us. With the firing of Cruyff, relegation of the youth to benchwarming positions at best at the cost of the dutch brigade brought in by Van Gaal. Van Gaal who imposed his own style rather than perpetuating our greatest tradition, who fought with many players while himself being the “black sheep” of the dressing room. Caused, along with Nunez the departures of our legends and most loved. And as if to show that Nunez wasn’t so bad after all, his heir Gaspart, did even worse. Stockpiling the club with very expensive but very average cast of mercenaries. All the while, overseeing (some would say nurturing) the growth of the violent, fascist support group: Boixos Nois.
    And who knows what would’ve happened had we hired the translator Porquenho. And the little said about piggy the better.

    So what hope do we have then? Is it inevitable that we would regress once more, specially with Rosell on board who is hardly the risk taker and completely opposed to Cruyff and Laporta, so much so perhaps that he will undermine the work done and has already shown to sell Chimichurri supposedly going against Pep. The man who has defied a century old tradition to sell our shirt and pride to the highest bidder. What hope may cling upon?

    Well there is the fact that when Nunez had started to undermine all the work done by Cruyff and publically spew bile upon him at every moment, a group of young enthusiastic cules joined hands in 2000 to oppose him, to protect what was built. You may remember them as the “Elefant Blau”. The very same group who, went from 2003 from being underdogs to win the next two elections and give us our most successful era. There is the fact that Porquenho was refused as he could not fit the style and promote the youth, over a coach with the most supposedly insignificant experience. And then Porquenho was humiliated by him.

    But most of all we may take heart in the fact that this Philosophy has been so clearly vindicated that there will always always be cules to stand up for it no matter what.

  19. June 1, 2011

    Shakhtar has said that they’d sell Willian for 12-15m. Buy, buy, buy, buy! No wonder his agent was in town talking. Willian would walk into the starting lineup of any big side in Europe (except ours, maybe EE). He’s for sale because he simply wants the next level, and who can blame him. Dude’s a complete package.

    • Leckan1
      June 1, 2011

      He’s for sale because his contract expires in one year which strangely hasn’t been reported regarding his rumour with us. And I agree with you about the rest.

  20. can_we_go_Xalvies
    June 1, 2011

    You guys should check out this short video of Craig Foster going through examples from the CL final of how Barcelona’s attack functions but more focused on the trio Xavi, iniesta and Messi.

    This is from an Australian football show ‘The World Game’ its actually off their website. I love watching and listening to Craig Foster, he is very enthusiastic and passionate about attacking football and football in general, but he always loves the way Barcelona plays. I really recommend people to watch this video:

    • BarcaOwl
      June 1, 2011

      Thanks for the link. That was a fascinating video. 🙂

  21. Lev
    June 1, 2011

    12-15 million for Willian sounds intriguing although I must admit I have only seen him play against Barça.

    I do wonder if Rossi is actually worth 25 million – a striker who has scored 10 league goals for one of the liga’s top teams…hmmm…

    I am thinking Alexis Sanchez could be the best of the three.

    • June 1, 2011

      Rossi scored 18 goals in La Liga. He was the 4th highest goal scorer in the league, I believe. He and Villa were tied just behind Aguero.

      He scored 10 goals in the Europa league and 3 in the Copa.

      31 goals in total.

      There’s a good argument for getting Sanchez.

      But Rossi is an outstanding player. I think he could be very good at Barca.

      • Lev
        June 1, 2011

        18? Aha, it was 10 goals last season. I stand corrected, thank you Euler. 25 million does not sound as crazy as I first thought, then.

        Any idea how much Sanchez would cost?

        • June 1, 2011


          I think Sanchez is going to be expensive. 35M? Something like that. Man City and Inter are both very interested in him. He’s got a ton of interest. He’ll be more than Rossi.

          Also, speaking of goals – Sanchez had 11 in Serie A this season. I don’t think goals are a good way of assessing a player like that but Sanchez just didn’t score very much.

          Its somewhat difficult to project how a player from Udineses will scope to other leagues as Udinese played so differently from other teams in Italy.

          That said – Sanchez is very good. He’s worth 30M or so. Not sure if he’s worth more than that. But he’s an excellent all around footballer.

  22. blitzen
    June 1, 2011

    No one has a single thing to say about the FIFA scandal and the fact that this farce of an “election” is still happening today?

    • 145culegirl
      June 1, 2011

      Yes,no one’s paying heed to it.It’s really sad to see FIFA in that condition.I felt more sad when this corruption scandal loomed over our CL win.

      Blatter has been in the positon since 1994 if I’m not wrong.FIFA IS corrupted but Blatter is not admitting it.Otherwise like in a democracy,the presidents should change.He seemed as a dictator in his press conferences.It did’nt seem like a people’s game.It seemed more like whatever he(Blatter) is saying it’s the law and everyone SHOULD follow him.

      • soccermomof4
        June 1, 2011

        It’s FIFA. It’s Blatter. It’s expected?

  23. Leckan1
    June 1, 2011

    It’s FIFA – one of the most corrupt organizations in the world. What else is there to say?

    • Huckleberry
      June 1, 2011

      It is still a kind of democracy, based on delegates of national football associations, most of them not as democratic… Blatter, when he started working for Fifa, had no power base and no means to bribe or to buy votes. But he is a master in balancing all the interests of this heterogenious organisation.
      Perhaps he is still the best of all bad guys..

  24. June 1, 2011

    Willian is very talented. I think the key question with him is how he would fit in at LB for Barca.

    I think that’s the position he would be most suited for in the system. And I think he would likely fit in there well, especially given the nature of how Pep wants his full backs to play.

    Willian is a good defender. He has experience playing on the press. He has a good work rate. And he’s stronger than he looks.

    His speed would be a huge asset at LB and his ball playing skills would be a significant plus.

    The only downside to him at LB is that it would give us another midget at the back. It’s not a major deal – it’s just that it’s so nice to have a lock down player who has height like Abidal at the wide position. Those kinds of defenders are just very difficult to find.

    The question I would have with Willian in a more advance wing position is that at Shakhtar he often had quite a bit of space in front of him.

    All that said – he’s an excellent footballer. He would be a significant plus in terms of depth and I think he has the potential to make an excellent LB at Barca.

    I think 15M would be a bit too high with him. Last summer Ozil was arguably the top player in the Bundesliga and coming off a fantastic WC cost 15M. This year Sahin was the Bundesliga player of the season and he cost 10M. Both had one year left on their contracts.

    12M sound much more reasonable but he should probably cost 10M at most. But Shakhtar doesn’t sell easily either.

    Adding Rossi, Willian and a CB would be an outstanding summer.

    • JoachimD
      June 1, 2011

      Is a Willian an LB? Yikes, did not pay attention enough in the barca x shaktar match. lol… I thought he was a left winger. Geez.

      • June 1, 2011


        He is a left winger at Shakhtar. But there are many LB who had once been LW. For example, Coentrao was once a LW and converted to LB.

        In the Barca system it’s somewhat of a changing line. The LB basically function as modified wing backs.

        I believe Willian has played some at LB – but I’m mostly judging him based on skill set.

        • barca96
          June 1, 2011

          A good example would be my friend who was a winger during our youth days but transformed into an RB. Gianni Zuiverloon of WBA. Boateng (Dutch) was another one like many others.

          • Lev
            June 1, 2011

            Hey I met Bang Bang once in a barbershop in Spangen. Cool guy.

            It is very common that professional footballers play as forward in the youth teams and are later converted to defensive mids or defenders.

            Attacking players are more talented than defenders.

    • xavi
      June 1, 2011


      Willian is right-fooed… So I don’t understand your logic of making him a LB.

  25. JoachimD
    June 1, 2011

    It seems we are seriously interested in Rossi and an experienced back-up player.

    Any thoughts? I have not seen too much of him (seriously lol)so I don´t know if he is worth it, fits the system etc. etc.

    Worth splashing the cash for Rossi if we could get Willian for half the price? Kanoute or Forlan as the backup player? Kanoute seems to be a real relaxed, go-with-the-flow type of guy so perhaps he is a better fit personality wise?

    Hope we can lower that wage bill (maxwell, hleb, luis enrique, milito etc.)

    I hope Aguero does not go to EE but to Chelsea or something.

    • JoachimD
      June 1, 2011

      It seems Nasri is stalling on a contract at Arsenal. His contract ends in 2012. Would this be interesting for a reasonable price?

      • Lev
        June 1, 2011

        1. i don’t think Nasri will ever really fulfill his potential.
        2. apart from, eventually, Cesc, I don’t want us to buy anyone from Arsenal. We have bought enough of their players in the last ten years. Let Arsenal be.

  26. barca96
    June 1, 2011

    Look what the cursed one said;
    “I am not sure if players like Iniesta, Pedro, Messi or Xavi would have had any chance of making it to the top in England.”

    The player who left Inter and they won the CL and then left us and we won the CL.

    How come only now someone has mentioned Nasri? I really like him but we are stacked in that department. That boy has a good control and ball skills. He looks like a La Masia graduate. And please don’t deny it just because he is from Arsenal.

  27. June 1, 2011

    Latest rumor has us interested in Thiago Motta from Milan, willing to throw in Maxwell to “sweeten” the deal.

    I used to hate the Silly Season, but then I realized that it was only the Fabregas part of the Silly Season that I hated.

    • trueicko
      June 1, 2011

      do you mean Silva the CB and not Motta the dm from inter.

    • June 1, 2011

      There’s no way Milan would give up Silva – but if he could every be had….

      He is a truly great CB. He is the best CB in the world. He would be the absolute perfect partner for Pique.

      I just can’t imagine it happening. Crazy rumor. But he would look great on the team.

      • JoachimD
        June 1, 2011

        yeah, its far-fetched. I remembered him playing for fluminense here in Brazil and thought this kid will be a great ball-playing CB. Hoping Barca would pick him up, oh well. Still the best team on the planet.. 😉

      • Barka
        June 1, 2011

        Is Thiago Silva fast? I thought he play plays like Pique.

        • Larm
          June 1, 2011

          silva is real fast, can push foward better than pique, is an excellent defender and none to shabby on a dead ball. If there was a deal possible to get him, i would snatch it up in a heartbeat

    • Blow-Grenade
      June 1, 2011

      Motta is a Cantero. I believe he has the right DNA, and will have few problems fitting into the Barca system. He could also improve his game a lot with Pep coaching him. That would be a good fit. But he is a midfielder, and we do have a lot of those – Keita, sMash, Busi, Xavi, Iniesta vying for the 3 existing spots. In the games that I watched in which Motta played, he is mostly a good player, but he tends to have lapses of concentration which could cost the team.
      One instance I can clearly remember was a game against Chelsea, in which he was the holding midfielder, and he had this tussle with Drogba, in which he tripped Drogba, and Drogba in turn elbowed him and all kinds of shit like that. So in essence, Motta would be like a Busi, when he started with the first team, with whom Pep would have to put in a lot of TLC to nurture him and make him fit into our system.

      • Jnice
        June 1, 2011

        When Motta was with us I didn’t think he was good enough, and I still don’t think he’s good enough, no matter what Inter fans might say, but Kxevin was referring to Thiago Silva.

  28. hammeronmessi
    June 1, 2011

    completely unrelated.

    kudos to euler.just finished your post again for the 5th time.

    absolute messi.thats the biggest compliment one can give now adays.

  29. flyzowee
    June 1, 2011

    I know wat u mean euler.
    Ive been dreaming of T.Silva and the only reason i made no mention of him when people were talking up Sakho was because he only recently signed a contract renewal.

    Talk about pace, power, ball skills and anticipation. Hes totally worth 25mill+

    I would swap ibra for him in a flash esp after we sold Chiggy.

    • Jnice
      June 1, 2011

      Thiago Silva is the ideal CB, but I’ve never mentioned him because it’s impossible. He’s MIan’s defensive rock-their new Nesta, if you will. They could never live down selling Thiago Silva unless they received 70 million euros or something.

      • June 1, 2011

        He’s arguably the single best player in Serie A. Top 3 at least.

        It would take an outrageous amount to get him – and justifiably so. He’s just so good.

  30. flyzowee
    June 1, 2011

    Thiago silva of milan – fine. Motta at inter, no way!

  31. flyzowee
    June 1, 2011

    It just makes you wonder doesnt it.
    We have thrown away some big money in that position with zero return (ok maybe pique).

    We just make too many demands on our Cbs.

    Maybe its time to ease up a bit and not focus too much on a Cbs footwork, esp if hes going to be partnered by pique.

  32. soccermomof4
    June 1, 2011

    From totalBarca:

    As Mundo Deportivo reports, defender and Barça captain Carles Puyol has been operated on successfully and will be able to play in 2 or 3 months time.

    FC Barcelona player, Carles Puyol, has had surgery this afternoon on his left knee at the Quirón Hospital of Barcelona.

    Puyol will be discharged from the hospital on Thursday and will begin specific recovery exercises as soon as possible with club physical therapist Juanjo Brau after an operation in which they removed all the torn cartilage from his knee.

    Read more:

    • blitzen
      June 1, 2011

      Torn cartilage sounds painful. Anims Puyi!

  33. Josep
    June 1, 2011

    lolol I’ve read some of the whackest posts ever in this thread

    Can we stopped being linked to a 15m Willian? 8m topz. Puyol out 2-3 months, buy Sakho. Now.

    as JCrew mentioned Thiago Silva is perfect for our system, but he’s Milan’s next Nesta. That kid is gonna retire in Milan, and I’m sure he’ll be captain next year. He’s even moved into midfield a lot this year.

    sanchez is worth the 30m that Rossi isn’t worth. I’ve been watching him for years and he fits the system perfectly. but since we’re all being whack today I’ll listen

    which reminds me I heard we won the champions trophy versus manchester city saturday. thats awesome guys!

    • vicsoc
      June 1, 2011

      That’s what makes silly season so fun, we can let our imainations run wild but we don’t have to suffer any consequences because what we say has absolutely no bearing on who the club signs

      • ooga aga
        June 1, 2011

        which reminds me, i still dream of Robbie Keane. can he be had?

        • vicsoc
          June 1, 2011

          You can dream, that’s what silly season is all about!

    • June 1, 2011

      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.

      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.

      The Afellays at 3 million are rare.

      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.

      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.

  34. jordi™
    June 1, 2011

    Messi wins the Trofeo Di Stefano as Marca’s player of the league 8)

    40 goals plus one from Pepe’s arse and still not even Marca could deny the truth.

  35. blitzen
    June 1, 2011

    From Sid Lowe’s twitter:

    Dr Cugat says Puyol has a “lovely cartilage, and shiny too. He’s like a 15 year old lad”

    I assume that’s from the press conference. 😆

    Good to hear everything went well.

  36. ooga aga
    June 1, 2011

    the might be the first time something that i like could legitimately be referred to as “hegemonic” … ay ay ay

  37. June 1, 2011

    Take with as much of a grain of salt as you like, but here’s our for-sale list, according to Sport:

    Milito, Maxwell, Jeffren, Krkic, Keirrison, Henrique, Hleb, Botia, VícSán, Cáceres (already sold to Sevilla).

    None of the names are at all surprising. Krkic isn’t going to make it in Barcelona. He needs space to grow and get playing time. I see a loan as more probable for him. The rest? Make perfect sense.

    A Twitterverse person also heard rumblings of complexities between Guardiola and Thiago/his entourage as regards guarantees, etc, for the coming season. Which explains the sudden emergence of the “We’ll sell Thiago” rumors. Probably as credible as anything else in this crazy time of the year.

    • Lev
      June 1, 2011

      hey if thiago wants guarantees then maybe we should get Cesc this summer. I would prefer us to keep thiago, but his heart has to be in it.

    • blitzen
      June 1, 2011

      Guarantees of what? Playing time? No way, no how. Talented as Thiago is, no one at Barcelona gets guaranteed minutes. Not with Pep in charge, anyway. Thiago was very good about going back to the B team when Pep asked him to earlier in the season. I suspect any rumbling is on his father’s part, not his.

    • JoachimD
      June 1, 2011

      Putting my Football Manager pure fantast jacket on:

      IN: Aguero (Jeffren, Bojan + 20m), Thiago Silva (Ibra + 20m), Angel 5m?, Willian 8m? and Kanoute (discount price)

      OUT: Jeffren + Bojan (a madrid), Ibra (ac milan), Maxwell (some serie A team), Milito (seria A team), Keirrison (brazilian team), Henrique (bundesliga team), Hleb (anybody who wants him), VicSan (la liga team), Caceres (sevilla – what no kanoute in the deal? darn!).

      In other words, highly unlikely but still fun to speculate.

      • ooga aga
        June 1, 2011

        we might need to pay 2m to offload Hleb

  38. Lev
    June 1, 2011

    apparently alexis sanchez is going to inter for 25 million and 3 players 🙁 (not confirmed though)

    • June 1, 2011

      He stays in Serie A. I’m okay with that. I watched Udinese matches when his name came up, and wasn’t all that blown away. And for 25m and 3 players? Dayum!

      I know that others who I respect the opinions of like him a lot. I go back and forth. I’d rather see, if I had to choose, Rossi rather than Sanchez.

      • Lev
        June 1, 2011

        Idk. Admittedly Rossi would fit in well with Barça due to his movement. I also suspect he has a great attitude – American athletes often do, even though he has lived in Italy since he was twelve.

        From the little that I have seen what I like about Sanchez is that he seems the kind of player who can get by his man and make things happen.

        I’d be happy with Rossi though. I’d better be, since reportedly we have pretty much made the deal already.

        Rossi for 25 (?) and Willian for 12 (?) makes 37 million. Still leaves us with 20 million for a 3rd (or 3rd and 4th) player.

      • Eklavya
        June 1, 2011

        You should have watched him with Chili during the world cup. He was in the same group as Spain and Switzerland afterall.

        • June 1, 2011

          Oh, I watched Chile, but admit to being too entertained by their overall attacking flair to focus on individual players. “Everybody, forward! Now!” Brilliant stuff.

          • Eklavya
            June 1, 2011

            Yeah Chili really did come out to play during the WC. Delight to watch. The won 2 games only 1-0 when it should have around 5-0s or so.

          • stowe
            June 2, 2011

            Yea, sad that I was on vacation at the beach during that game. I freaked out when i called to check the score. They were definitely an entertaining squad

  39. blitzen
    June 1, 2011

    My wish list for the Silly Season:

    1. Get the “will we, won’t we?” Cesc situation resolved within the first two weeks. I would love to have him for a reasonable price (I’d pay up to 35 mill plus a player NOT named Thiago or Afellay. Throw in Hleb for free.). If that’s not enough, try again next year.
    2. AC Milan to confirm they will purchase Ibra. BANGS weeps gently in the knowledge that he will never ever win a CL.
    3. No Forlan, no Neymar, no Aguero, no Llorente.
    4. Milito to Espanyol? Why not?
    5. Mourinho/Perez buy 5 new midfielders, still can’t win anything.
    6. “We can rebuild him.”- team of doctors/engineers give Jeffren a complete overhaul and cybernetic refit. Faster, stronger, better! He stays.


    • Lev
      June 1, 2011

      1. what if Thiago or his dad keep throwing fits this summer about playing time demanding guarantees?
      2. Ibra would be perfect for Madrid. I would hate to see him there.
      (suspect they will get Tevez or Kun or both plus Drogba)
      3. agree with the no’s.
      4. I guess. That way Messi will still have his homeboy around.
      5. see 2.
      6. I can’t think of Jeffren without imagining that photo of him on his bed holding his cat. Get rid of him asap please

      • blitzen
        June 1, 2011

        1. Sell Thiago’s dad to Arsenal. Keep Thiago. Any more trouble and we threaten to sell Rafinha too. (Seriously, if this really becomes an issue I would say goodbye to Thiago with thanks. NO ONE is bigger than this team.)
        6. It wasn’t a cat, it was two chihuahuas.

        • Lev
          June 1, 2011

          6. even worse. at this point i would even trade him for hleb

      • vicsoc
        June 1, 2011

        I wasn’t aware of Thiago’s father throwing any fits recently about playing time… in fact I was under the impression that he had been a whole lot more subdued over the last 6 months.

      • blitzen
        June 1, 2011

        Too tall. We only employ midgets, unless you are like Pique or Busquets and related to someone in the organization. 😛

        (I’ve said about a million times that Llorente is not suited to our system. Half the goals he scored this year were with his head. He is used to being a lone striker. We don’t, and won’t, play that way.)

        • June 1, 2011

          “Half the goals he scored this year were with his head.”

          And the other half with his feet, so whats wrong about that?:D

          He is not coming, so won’t repeat how perfect he is for us.

          • June 1, 2011

            I think Llorente would be a delight in our system. I just don’t know, barring a big ol’ passel of patience, how he would take to sitting on our bench. Unless the front line is he, Messi and Villa, which would kinda be badass. Recall how much hell he raised on the wing of our attack, skinning Alves and Pique.

        • Vj
          June 1, 2011

          Is it too wrong to yearn for someone like Kluivert?

          He’s even used to take a backseat for someone like Torres, so no doubt he’ll have no worries sitting on the bench 😛
          Seriously, people thought Masch was gonna have a problem with playing time and look how that turned out.

          But, as Alan Hanssen pointed out, we play without a ‘striker’ and I don’t think that’ll change, especially after the Ibra fiasco..

  40. Vj
    June 1, 2011

    Thiago Motta? HA!

    Geez its just a couple of days after we won and I see people getting affected by silly season. I hope I can stay sane till the next season.

    *Pops Hector pill* Guess I can!

  41. ooga aga
    June 1, 2011

    Robbie Keane and his awesome somersault and guns blastin celebrationnnnnn

  42. vicsoc
    June 1, 2011

    In response to ooga aga:

    I agree. When I started following this team it was easily the “underdog” compared to Madrid, and to be honest that played a small part in me becoming a fan of the team. If you had told me then that the team would win 3 CL’s in 6 seasons there is no way I would have believed it.

    “Hegemony” is a word I’ve often felt has a negative connotation, and I was initially using it in a tongue-in-cheek way. As I think about it, it is perfectly appropriate here. Not only is the team dominant when it comes to winning trophies, but they have defined a philosophy which is changing the game.

    But I still agree, it feels weird to be a fan of a hegemonic force.

  43. Barcaleya
    June 1, 2011

    Nothing to do with silly season, sorry.

    Just wanted to mention this quote from Graham Hunter:

    “But the orchestra leader this time might have to be Xavi rather than Casillas. Xavi is the outgoing one, the great one. The greatest footballer Spain has ever produced.

    I kinda choke up reading these things about our boys. It could be true. And if so, I cannot get over how privileged we are to be watching them week in week out.

    I really hope we buy well this summer and have an even better team this coming season.


    • June 1, 2011

      Oh gosh, thanks for that, Barcaleya. Reading that post, though, and I can’t help but feel some resentment towards Spain and Casillas. The magic’s gone for me. I only supported Spain because of the Barca players…

      I <3 Xavi more and more every day. He's so awesome. Ahhhh.

    • Ryan
      June 1, 2011

      Oops, Graham Hunter didn’t consider that Xavi wasn’t even called up for the USA game. Might be hard for the two captains to reconcile when neither Xavi or Puyi are going!

      And what’s wrong with la Roja? Sure, there’s always the risk of the many cultural identities clashing when they all meet up to play, but that’s part of the beauty when it all comes together!

    • Barcaleya
      June 2, 2011

      Hi Kari – yes, I’ve been really angry with the RM players lately as well. I’ve always supported Spain (for some crazy reason) even when it did not have as many Barca players in it. So I’m sad at what’s going on now.

      Unbelievable what Mou has done to what I thought were the most gentlemanly of players – Alonso and Iker. Now, Iker is bloody irritating. He just won’t shut up. He just had to say that had they not lost the semis (in dubious circumstance) – they would have won the final, etc. Just shut up please. I seriously don’t care for them anymore. I’m sure La Roja will survive without any of the RM players.

      Ryan – it’s not just incompatible cultural identities, I think it’s become personal. I really think that RM players hate/envy Barca players now. Which doesn’t bode well for unity of the team.

      Anyway – I think del Bosque is wise enough to see problems and strong enough to do what must be done to solve them.

  44. June 1, 2011

    Soccernet are reporting contact w/ Rossi & his agent, sounds promising. The question is, what is his value. He is young, fast, has a killer shot and seems willing to learn. I also love the fact that he is obviously familiar with La Liga. I see him as a long term replacement for Villa. I figure that he can play everywhere on the front line. We know Villa plays better on rest (see Wembley), so lets have him float between the wings. He can start 10 games on the right, 10 on the left, be the first sub up front and start next to Bojan in Copa games.

    Inter is also reportedly interested in Rossi, as Eto’o may be on his way to England. That’s kind of scary, cause he his an Italian international (which is B.S, he was born in Jersey).

    Another good thing about Rossi is that his stats have steadily progressed upward since he has been at Villarreal, 13, 15, 17 & 32 goals in the last four years, with the big jump coming last year. He also scored 11 goals in Europe last year in 16 games, albeit in the Europa league. (Messi scored 12 in Europe last year). If the front office was super bold, they could make a double swoop trying to get Nilmar (who is a beast!!!!!) as well. If this crazy idea came to fruition, we could give them Bojan on loan, and put JDS in the deal as a make weight. Cash Value is like 45m euros for both 20m for Nilmar and 25m Euuros for Rossi. If we tossed in Bojan on loan and sold them JDS, we may get it dropped from 45m to 30-35m, which would be sweet!!!!!

    • can_we_go_Xalvies
      June 1, 2011

      Nilmar and Rossi together would be amazing, they were one of the most feared striking duo in Europe/la liga this season, they work so well togther its amazing to watch.

      But Villarreal are more than happy to keep Rossi, and I think Rossi is the same with staying at the yellow subs. The only thing I see Villareal being able to listen to offers for Rossi is because they still have Nilmar. Its one or the other for me.

      The good thing about Rossi is that he has played against us and has been very deadly. Alexis Sanchez has never played against us and really we don’t know what he is like and whether or not he will fit into this squad.

      I think in regard to our CB position, Assuming we will buy a new LB/LM, I think we either will opt for another Centre midfielder and rely on Masch/Abidal to replace Puyol, or we will go for a new CB eg(Sakho, Thiago Silva). IMO Botia isn’t ready to come back yet, I don’t have full confidence in him.

    • Lev
      June 1, 2011

      I would not like us getting both Nilmar and Rossi.

      1. we are Barça, not Villareal.
      2. it would very much limit the development of both to integrate in our squad and to improve as footballers.
      If Rossi comes he will have to share minutes with Afellay and Bojan meaning 2 out of those 3 might not be happy with becoming 5th choice. Adding Nilmar would be one of those 2+2=3 situations.

  45. June 1, 2011

    Chelsea bid for Pastore, it was rejected for being to low!!!! Sweet!! I love this time of year

  46. blitzen
    June 1, 2011

    In case you missed this on barcastuff. “Barcelona’s top 20 goals of 2010/11”:

    You can argue with several of the choices, some of them seem more sentimental picks than technically superior ones. Where is Keita’s immense header? Pedro’s goal from that brilliant Fontas pass? Xavi’s distance shot through the tiniest slot past three defenders (damn, what was that game again?).

  47. 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…

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

  48. 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.

  49. 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)

  50. June 1, 2011

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

  51. 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.

  52. 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…

  53. June 1, 2011

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

  54. 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”…

  55. 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.

      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

      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.

      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.

  56. 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


      • Jnice
        June 2, 2011

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

  57. momo
    June 2, 2011

    Messi’s 53 goals in glorious HD with English commentating and epic music. Takes my breath away every time…

  58. 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.

  59. 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 😉

  60. June 2, 2011

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

  61. 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. 😛

  62. Lev
    June 2, 2011

    (and we can give them Jeffren in return)

  63. 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.

  64. K_legit
    June 2, 2011

    and its all italics again

    btw Maulaga have signed van the Man

  65. 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.

  66. 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.

  67. 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.

    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.

  68. 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?

  69. 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.

  70. June 2, 2011

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

    UEFA SuperCup
    Champions League
    World Club Cup
    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 🙂

      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.

      • 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.

  71. 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!

  72. 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.

  73. BTTFCule
    June 2, 2011

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

  74. 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.

  75. 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.”

  76. 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.

  77. 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.

  78. 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. 😀

  79. 90sbaby
    June 2, 2011

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

  80. 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.

  81. 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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