Benvingut, Alexis Sánchez

They may call him Niño Maravilla in his homeland, but Alexis Alejandro Sánchez Sánchez better be prepared to be the less marvelous of the villas on the squad. They’ll also have to fight it out for awesomest son of a miner at Barça.

Sánchez has been playing professionally since he was 17 when he joined his local team, Cobreloa. Udinese snatched him up just a season later and he spent a year on loan at both Colo-Colo and River Plate. At the former he won both the 2006 Apertura and the 2007 Clausura and came in runner-up in the 2006 Copa Sudamericana. At the latter he won what has turned out to be the most recent trophy for the now-relegated Argentine club: the 2008 Clausura. In the middle he also ended up 3rd at the 2007 U-20 World Cup. All of that combined to earn him a spot at Udinese.

Let’s get this out of the way first: he is not a goal scorer. He has, in his club career, scored fewer goals than Messi scored last season. In 3 seasons at Udinese he has scored 21 goals in 110 appearances, 12 of them last season in 32 appearances and all but 1 of them in Serie A despite 16 non league appearances. Granted, he has a stellar record on the international level (14 in 36), but he is not going to arrive and produce 30 in a season. Adjust your expectations accordingly, please.

Where he slots into the squad is as a winger in a center-dominated system. We need players capable of shifting deep into the middle as the opposite flank heads to the sideline or crosses up. Pedro and Villa may be good at that, but there are only 2 of them and there are enough matches in the year (60+ if last season repeats itself) that Sánchez will get proper playing time. His defensive tenacity should also mean that there is no letup from subbing. That will be a welcome addition to the squad, which has a paucity of first rate subs (though I would claim Jeffren is only “substandard” because of injuries and Bojan is played out of position).

What you’re all waiting for: the money. Yeah, we overpaid. Of course we overpaid, we’re Barça. We’re buying a nearly finished product in the middle of a crazy market and we’re one of the richest clubs in the world. Of course we overpaid. I dislike it as much as anyone, but then, I can either rail against the price or the lack of reinforcements. Feels a bit absurd to rail against both when Coentrao costs 30m, Ashley Young is worth 15m and the asking price for Samir Nasri is around 20m. And no, I don’t know if Niño is better than Nasri, but I do know that potential says he could be and that’s worth a premium when you show up to negotiations wearing FCB gear. It’s just how it is.

The cost is, according to the official site, €26m + 11.5m in variables. We can debate the merits of that, but if we win the league and one of the cups we’re in (CL or CdR), how many of you will really argue that for slightly more than what Ibrahimovic brought in from Milan this year (€24m) we got ourselves a handy dandy winger?

So, benvingut Alexis, you should do wonderfully here, though your speculative pricetag could be terribly inconvenient for you when you don’t score 12 goals in your first game. Yeah, we expect that out of you. So come on, have a great time, but be sure you listen to Xavi or you will end up under a bus named Carles Puyol. And you do not want that.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.

133 Comments

  1. K_legit
    July 22, 2011

    apparently Roma don’t need to pay 28 mill if they want to keep Bojan or something..

  2. Huckleberry
    July 22, 2011

    a “structured” deal for bookkeeping reasons… (= means to have 10M more for Cecs)
    In reality it is a loan with a buy option for Roma for 40 M in two years (or less, if Barça agrees).

  3. Diego
    July 22, 2011

    Bojan: “Guardiola is the best coach in the world, but of course I don’t agree with some of the decisions he has made.”

    Bojan: “Things weren’t clear between Guardiola and I. I haven’t spoken to him since the CL final.”

    Reminds me of someone but I can’t remember his name.

  4. Diego
    July 22, 2011

    Great piece of Business for Barca.

    Terrible for Roma : If he flops : Lose 12m
    If he’s good : earn 1m
    If he’s the greatest player in the history of Serie A : Pay 40m

  5. Diego
    July 22, 2011

    Say what you want about Rosell. He’s a great dealer and businessman.

    Excellent Transfers so far : Found buyers for Chygy and Ibra.

    – Afellay 3m – Adriano 9.5m – Masch 19m – Alexis 26m.

    And this deal for Bojan is better than anyone could’ve thought.

  6. mom4
    July 22, 2011

    And now I’m feeling kinda blue ’bout the cuddly one. I guess it’s my maternal side because my football side knows he has to go…

    CT’s presser, thanks to barcastuff:

    Bojan: “It’s a bittersweet situation for me, I was at this club for a long time. A new era starts.” #fcblive

    Bojan: “It was not possible to stay here, so I’m happy another club believes in me.” #fcblive

    Bojan: “Returning to Barcelona? You never know, it will depend on me and how I perform.” #fcblive

    Bojan: “I take the positive things with me, I feel privileged to have been part of this club.” #fcblive

    Bojan: “Best memories? A lot, especially the day-to-day with the group, the cup final in 2009, my debut, my first goal…” #fcblive

    Bojan: “The last year, there wasn’t much belief in me, but I’m proud to have been part of a group that became the best team in the world.”

    Bojan: “Not playing at the CL final, for the second time in a row, has been one of the reasons to leave.” #fcblive

    Bojan: “I will miss the team-mates, the city, playing at the Camp Nou, wearing the shirt I’ve always worn.” #fcblive

    Bojan: “I hope to recover enjoying football, something I had lost, especially this last year.” #fcblive

    Bojan: “Luis Enrique has been crucial in my choice. I’m grateful to him. It’s a privilege to play with Totti.” #fcblive

    Bojan: “Guardiola is the best coach in the world, but of course I don’t agree with some of the decisions he has made.” #fcblive

    Bojan: “I want to thank all my coaches, starting with those at the youth teams, all people at the Masia, the press, the fans.” #fcblive

    Bojan: “I want to thank Puyol and Xavi, who are here, and who have been an example for me.” #fcblive

    Bojan: “Of course I’m sad to leave, but I’ll always be a Barcelona fan.” #fcblive

    Bojan: “Visca el Barça y visca la Roma.” #fcblive

    Bye bye, CT. Get better, get stronger. Learn to enjoy the game again without the pressure of the shirt. Good luck!

    • mom4
      July 22, 2011

      Hey y’all. Don’t we have a few B players going to Roma also?

  7. just listenin
    July 22, 2011

    Sorry for the off topic; but this Messi video is priceless if you haven’t seen it.
    Hudson and Puyal voice over dance mix
    http://bleacherreport.com/tb/bacqs

  8. Helge
    July 22, 2011

    Wow!

    It would be really interesting to know HOW exactly the total price for Bojan will raise to 40m if we do not take the option to buy him back 🙂
    When I first read the transfer news on a German site, I thought I must have read wrong because it should say “If Barcelona does not take the option, the price for Bojan will raise to 40m”. But my eyes didn’t deceive me!

    I gotta take my hat off to Rosell, the deals for Bojan and Sanchez are way better than expected. Now if he could be so gentle and tell us the conditions for the variables of Sanchez and the 40m of Bojan…

    Also, if the club didn’t trust in Bojan’s talent anymore, they would never have opted for such a huge transfer rise in case of success. In the end, the last two days have been quite great – although I’m a bit sad for Bojan leaving, his last press conference was very sincere. Hope he does well at Roma and then he might return for 13m as a kind of replacement for DV7 🙂

    • Para
      July 22, 2011

      It’s not an optional buy back- Barca *have* to buy him back after two years. If Roma want to keep him, then they have to pay the 40m.

      (I think).

  9. Lev
    July 22, 2011

    variables for Sanchez:

    winning league – 10,000 euros
    winning cup – 5,000 euros
    winning CL – 10,000 euros
    scoring 10+ goals – 25,000 euros
    wearing barça gear at two consecutive trainings – 10,500,000 euros

    :p

  10. Huckleberry
    July 22, 2011

    an “obligatory” clause could only mean, that Barça has no choice and has to repurchase Bojan in 2013, unless Roma wants to pay a total of 40M for Bojan then.
    Because Roma doesn’t have to pay the initial 12M before 2013 and the decision, to keep him (following barcastuff), this deal is a joke.
    Could have been also 20M for Bojan now with a obligatory repurchase clause of 22M (22M because of inflation) in two year or any other number.In fact, it is a loan. Well done Roma!

    • Lev
      July 22, 2011

      hold on…Roma doesn’t have to pay the initial 12M until 2013? And then we are obliged to buy him back?

      So we are basically paying Roma 1M to loan Krkic??? Doesn’t make sense to me. I hope you are mistaken.

  11. Jnice
    July 22, 2011

    Wait a minute- If Roma don’t have to pay the 12m until 2013, how is that a good thing? We end up with no cash until 2 years from now.

    • Jnice
      July 22, 2011

      And I know- we don’t pay his wages, but so what? Isn’t our problem (right now) not having enough to spend in the transfer market? Getting nothing for Bojan doesn’t help in that regard.

    • Para
      July 22, 2011

      This hurts my brain. The only reason they would pay the 12 is if Barca didn’t buy him back for 13, right? Which would mean they were ‘blocking’ the buyback and would therefore have to pay 40.

      So he’s been loaned to Roma for two years, with them paying his wages, and unless Roma wants to hand over 40m, we take him back for 1m.

      I feel like transfers shouldn’t be this difficult to understand, unless I’m just missing the point. Either way, I think you’re right- there’s no money up front, and the most immediate savings are from his salary.

      • Lev
        July 22, 2011

        but if that is the case why wouldn’t it just be explained as us loaning him for 2 yrs after which we can either buy him back for 1 or they can buy him for 28.

        why the 12 and 13?

      • Para
        July 22, 2011

        Honestly, I’m not sure. I could easily be wrong.

  12. Miguel
    July 22, 2011

    Oh my Bobo. 🙁

    It’s like he’s going away to college. A two-year junior college, that is.

    • barca96
      July 22, 2011

      I also feel the same way.
      Not that Im a father yet but it does feel like my child is leaving the house for college/uni although Bojan didn’t graduate at all 😆

  13. FalseNine
    July 22, 2011

    Puyi and Xavi came to Bojan’s press conference…. our captain and second captain going to support him and say goodbye. Class.

    The “obligatory” buyback clause is a funny turn of phrase, but I’m going to assume it means that Roma is obliged to sell him to us for €13 million if we want him — not that we are obliged to buy him back, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. Then they can only get out of their “obligation” to sell him by upping the total deal to €40 million.

    Good luck Bobo! You’re going to give me an excuse to watch some Serie A this year. Hope you set the league on fire.

  14. simple_barcafan
    July 22, 2011

    could someone please tell me when is Barca receiving the 12 million?

  15. blitzen
    July 22, 2011

    Chelsea coach Villas-Boas personally called Guardiola to ask if they could start negotiations with the agent of Oriol Romeu (19).

    If true, at least he went about it the right way. Sad to see Romeu go, but the kid needs to do what he sees as the right thing for himself and his career. At 19 he is at least able to make a decision like that (unlike a 15- or 16- year old).

    • tutomate
      July 22, 2011

      I agree with him not being old enough to be able to know whathe was doing when he went to Arsenal. But he did sign 3 lengthy extensions as an adult.

  16. Extreme barca fan
    July 22, 2011

    I’m back from my self imposed solitude just to say, WELCOME SANCHEZ

  17. tutomate
    July 22, 2011

    As I understand the deal : he has been sold for 12m. Roma does not have to pay till the 12-13 season. But if we want him back we would pay 13m meaning we would be out 1m. However we don’t have to buy him back. If we want to buy him back and Roma opposes it then they would have to pay 40m total.

    That’s the only way it makes sense. What I forsee is that it will just be a straight sale for 12m.

    • FalseNine
      July 22, 2011

      I can’t believe they don’t have to pay for two years. Barça needs cash, and paying upfront in a sale is standard. Seems more likely there’s some mis-translation going around somewhere.

      • tutomate
        July 22, 2011

        Not always. It is quite common for clubs to also pay in installments. Consider our Ibra sale to Milan for 26- 28m. We are only getting 8m per year.

      • tutomate
        July 22, 2011

        And really weren’t being paid for 1 year because the 12-13 season starts in aroung September of 2012.

    • tutomate
      July 22, 2011

      I stand corrected. It does seem, according to 4 Spanish mediums, that Barcelona has no option but to try to buy him back after 2 season in 2013.

      Why not just loan him out then?

      I doubt he will succeed enough for Roma to invest a total of 40m.

  18. July 22, 2011

    New post up, kids, if you want to continue the Krkic discussion.

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