Archive | Transfers/Transfer Rumors

The value of something worthless, aka “The Cesc Fabregas saga continues”

Cesc

Value:
noun
1. the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.
verb
1. estimate the monetary worth of (something).

Value is a fun notion to contemplate. I like to think of it as two cars that passed through my possession. One was a big ol’ red sedan that looked really cool, but had … erm … mechanical complexities. It stranded me once, and I drove from the mechanic’s about a half-mile to the local Subaru dealer to trade that thing the hell in. Didn’t get max value, but part of that value was in having that thing GONE.

The other car, a hotted-up Subaru, I sold for something around 2k over its value, a price I could demand and hold out for because really, I didn’t want to sell it. It was one of those, “If you want to give me this much for it, okay.” And someone did.

Which brings us to players, transfers and in particular, Cesc Fabregas.
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Posted in La Liga, Thoughts, Transfers, Transfers/Transfer Rumors179 Comments

I want one of those, and two of those, and a chicken, aka “Transfer talk rocks”

silva

What if dating was like silly season?

Newly single Biff Majestic is in the market. Rumor is that he has a pre-contract with the barista at the town coffee shop but when pressed for details, Mr. Majestic said no comment. The barista has been scouted by Majestic’s mother, who has glowing reports of her calmness under pressure and ability to “Bang out a perfect latte in 3 minutes.”

Majestic linked to co-worker! The previously reported barista signing is still a possibility, but there have been new developments. Majestic was spotted at lunch with an assistant vice president at his firm. Sources say there were smiles, and the VP was spotted at the coffee shop that Majestic is said to favor. Majestic’s Mom says, “We can’t say anything at this time, but I can report that Biff and I love our lattes.”

There are few things in football more irrational than transfer talk, where people are idiots not because of what they do, but because they won’t do what supporters WANT them to.
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Posted in Team News, Thoughts, Transfers, Transfers/Transfer Rumors123 Comments

Lost Ballons and departures, aka “Ain’t the vicarious life grand?”

messred

Football is us. It explains so much, really … the passion, the way we defend our teams and players, our views of those teams and players. It’s a game that we carry in our hearts and minds. It’s pure.

And because it is us, it makes us feel things that are in many ways, irrational. We take a player to heart so that when things happen, it feels like they happen to us, in a strange way. “How DARE they not give Messi the Ballon d’Or?! He is the best!”

It also makes us feel it more acutely when players we lionize are suddenly not those players any longer and sometimes stuff starts to make sense, even as you don’t really believe that it does, as you grasp for tenuous links to make seeming crazy talk make just a shard of sense.

What is the job of a football club? It depends on who you ask. To win? Okay. To make money? Sure. To provide a gentle place for its iconic players to be put out to pasture?

Hang on there, ace. Surely even the most devoted supporter of a player can see how that last isn’t even remotely compatible with that whole winning business.

On yet another level, a football club and the team that represents us, exists to meet a need that so many of us have — to feel something. We don the replica kit, find our way to a gathering place, or hunch over a laptop and a fuzzy stream that gets Whack-A-Moled by those pesky rights managers, and we are united in that one thing … Barça.
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Posted in Messi, Thoughts, Transfers/Transfer Rumors115 Comments

Ones that got away, aka “I love him so much! How can he DO that to me!?”

Thiagopep

Just had an interesting discussion on Twitter that, of course, became the seed for a post, on the ones that got away and the reactions of supporters.

These days, no word can spark a spirited discussion like “Thiago.” Culers are never on the fence with this one, be it that Vilanova and the board cast him to the waves in a little papyrus basket, or he’s a little ingrate. After all the club did for him … .

There are many ways to look at the situation, but let’s take a broader view, for all the exes out there.
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Posted in Soap Box, Thoughts, Transfers/Transfer Rumors125 Comments

A CB, a CB, my kingdom for a CB, aka “Who needs two?”

Barça's latest signing works out.

Barça’s latest signing works out.

So. Do I really need to say it? No. But I will anyhow:

We are not going to sign a centerback in the summer window

Maybe.

I know, I know … but we NEED one like sprites need a ball and oxygen, right? Right? Let’s natter a bit about this.
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Posted in Analysis, Transfers/Transfer Rumors111 Comments

Today is the first day of the rest of now, aka “These are pretty amazing times”

neymarxavi

Today is the day. The first day that our new coach, Gerardo Martino, will be in charge of our first team. It is also the first day of many, that I have to wrestle with not being in any way, shape or form mature enough to deal with a coach nicknamed Tata.

A lot has gone on this summer, and a lot will go on this year. We will discuss, harangue, vex and turn inside out many things that are going to happen in this season, things that didn’t, things that “if only.” We already have, right? Cules are seeing doom, and a defense that is certainly going to concede 47 goals per match, while its new coach is staring at the roster, staring at it again, smacking himself upside the head, staring at the roster again, and wondering what magic has placed him where he is.

“(PINCH!) Wow. Still here …. ”

And were I a genie who could grant wishes, my fondest wish for many cules would be contextual freedom.
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Posted in Thoughts, Transfers/Transfer Rumors204 Comments

Silly Season dawns, aka “Can’t tell the defenders without a scorecard”

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.

U.S. political figure Donald Rumsfeld could have been talking about transfer season when he uttered those words, as they describe exactly what is going on …. actually …. sorta.

Here’s what we know:

– We have Neymar
– We need one, preferably two defenders
– We would like a keeper

If I had my way, we would sign a sanely-priced veteran, and a very talented young player to groom in the system. Bartra’s feelings might be hurt, not that such a thing would bother me in the least. “Wanna stay? Earn your spot.”

We are looking at, or not looking at, various players. We have talked to, or haven’t talked to, various players. Rumors abound, along with plenty of knowns, unknowns and speculative hooey. Here’s some mini-profiles of the players who are known to be rumored to be in our orbit, and because exactly one of you have missed the KRS (Kxevin Rating System), I will rate, from 1-10, my joy at having the rumored defender in our ranks. Let’s call it the KDR, or Kxevin Defender Rating. Let’s go.
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Posted in Analysis, Transfers/Transfer Rumors78 Comments

Between a Rock & a Hard Place: The Abidal Dilemma

WP_ABIDAL_eng.v1365427677

It’s the end of the season, and the club will be making some tough decisions soon. One of the toughest of all is whether to offer Eric Abidal a new contract. Over the last three seasons we have shared his struggle with cancer. We wept for joy when he overcame it to lift the CL trophy at Wembley, then wept again when we heard he had suffered a relapse. We celebrated when a liver donor was found, and rejoiced when he stepped onto the pitch to play his first minutes in over a year. Now, finally, Abidal is fully recovered and eager to take up his position in the team. In a perfect scenario his contract would be renewed and a 100% fit Abi would play for Barcelona for at least another year or two before retiring and moving on to the next phase of his career.

Over the last couple of weeks there have been rumbles from Abidal’s agent (and maybe from Abidal himself, although I’m not sure if those quotes were confirmed) that they are disappointed that the club hasn’t yet sat down and talked about renewing his contract. According to his agent, Abidal requested a meeting with Rosell as far back as February but got no response. After these quotes came out, the reaction was immediate outrage, at least in my twitter TL. Why haven’t the club offered Abi a new contract? How could they leave him in limbo like that? Don’t they owe it to him after everything he’s been through to let him know, so he can plan his future? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple, and there are serious questions that need to be asked. Even if Abi had been granted the meeting he requested in February, there is nothing that Rosell or Zubi could really have confirmed at that point other than that he is important to the club and that the coaches will be the ones to make the evaluation at the end of the season.

Before the club can even consider renewing Abidal’s contract, they must be convinced of two things: 1) that he is 100% healthy and fit to play, and 2) that he can be counted on to play consistently at the high level demanded by a team of Barça’s calibre. The doctors have passed him fit, and we have no reason to think that his health is still compromised. In the four games he has appeared in this season, he has looked almost like his old self. In fact, I would currently consider him our best defender by far. His speed, positioning, reading of the game, and assurance on the ball have all been top-notch. However, he has only played a total of 175 minutes, and just one full game. The last game he started he had to be subbed off due to “thigh discomfort”, although there was also a suspicion that he just ran out of gas. There is also the fact that Abidal is 33, and will turn 34 in September. I’m not one of those who thinks a player has an automatic expiry date of 30 years, but he is certainly not getting any younger. Taking all these factors together, it is understandable that the coaches are taking their time to make a final decision. With only 25 first team places available and a clear need for new signings, can the club really afford to offer a place to a player who may not be able to rise to the challenge? Then again, can the club afford not to?

This is a very tricky situation for the club. On the one hand, we have the feel-good story of the club standing by Abidal throughout his illness, renewing his contract when there was no question of him playing, and giving him all the support he needed to come back and rejoin the team. Mes que un club, right? A happy outcome, and tons of great publicity for the club along the way. We’re the good guys. But if the coaches, or the Board, or both have decided that Abi just can’t play at the highest level anymore, or for over the course of a full season, how do they let him go without looking completely heartless? Rumours have abounded that club wants to offer him a job on the coaching staff, or as some kind of goodwill ambassador. This would obviously be a good solution for the club, as it would be seen as taking care of a family member, but Abidal has stated that he wants to continue playing for at least another year or two. If he can’t play at Barça, he will certainly look for another club. Apart from the sadness of losing a very talented and beloved player, there is the danger that if Barça lets him go and he ends up having a brilliant season somewhere else, we would look awfully foolish for parting with an excellent defender just when we are most in need of one with his exact profile.

Personally, I would love it if Abidal stays. I think that his talent, experience, and thorough knowledge of our system would compensate for him needing more rest between games or starting on the bench. He could surely play more minutes for us than Carvalho has for the last 2 season for Real Madrid. I think the club should offer him a year renewal, with an option for another year based on number of games played. If at any time his health becomes an issue the contract could be cancelled by mutual agreement. Sadly, it seems more and more unlikely that this will happen. I am afraid that we will have to bid adieu to our French greyhound at the end of this season. I very much hope that I am wrong.

Posted in Barcelona, Thoughts, Transfers/Transfer Rumors125 Comments

The Alexis Sanchez problem, aka “Nature vs nurture”

So. Look at the player in that video. When talk was going around about Barça being about to plump for Serie A player of the year Alexis Sanchez, who didn’t watch that video and say to themselves, “Boy howdy, are we going to have some fun. Him AND Messi running at teams? Stand back!”

But that glowing promise has become a frustrating reality for the player, the team, its coaching staff and cules. Let’s have a look at what happened.
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Posted in Thoughts, Transfers/Transfer Rumors239 Comments

Gracies Victor!

So it’s true. Yesterday the agents of Victor Valdes announced, and this morning the club confirmed, that Barcelona’s number one goalkeeper has made the “irrevocable” decision not to renew his contract, which expires in June 2014. Victor joined the club originally in 1992, at 10 years old. He left for 3 years when his family moved to Tenerife, then rejoined in 1995. Whichever of those you choose as his “starting date”, that’s a really long time to be at a single club. He has been with the first team since 2002, and the first-choice keeper since 2003. 10 years. In that time he has come in for a lot of both praise and criticism. Every mistake he has made has been front-page news in the sports press, and at times there have even been demands to replace him.

But whether you are a “fan” of Valdes or not, no one can deny that over the years he has proved himself a first-class goalkeeper and produced more than his share of brilliant saves:

Although at times he has also courted controversy:

Right now it is not clear whether FCB will try to sell Victor this summer or whether he will see out his contract until 2014. Amidst all this discussion of whether the club should “cash out” on Victor now or later, and how much for, one important factor has been overlooked. It is the player who will ultimately make that decision. Victor obviously has some plans for what he will do when he leaves Barça, and those plans may not include being sold to another top-level team just because they are the only ones who can afford his market price. He may want to get away from the pressure-cooker environment of playing for a big team. He may already have chosen what “different culture” he wants to experience and not be open to offers from teams in other leagues. Or he may already have an offer that he wants to take and insist the club let him go there or nowhere.

Or…here is a radical thought. He may actually have decided he has had enough of football. He has been living this life for a very long time, and he has never been entirely comfortable with the way a goalkeeper is psychologically isolated from the rest of the team. In his youth and early career, he struggled with depression and almost quit entirely at one point. There is a very nice little documentary detailing how he dealt with those feelings: What He Hated

Michele made a point about Valdes not seeming to have his head in the game on some occasions recently. Certainly with the arrival of his new son he must be thinking about spending more time with his family and travelling less. Perhaps he has just decided to stop now while he is at the top of his game and indulge himself in his other passions, which include windsurfing, motorcycles:

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And even a spot of modeling:

valdeshot

He might even grow back his hair:

victor_valdes7

I’m sure when the time comes, the club will give him the send-off he deserves. Until then, whether it be this year or next, let us just thank Victor for his long years of service to the club, and wish him well in whatever happens next!

Posted in Barcelona, Goodbyes, Player Profiles, Transfers/Transfer Rumors44 Comments

Adeu, Andreu Fontas. Alas, we hardly knew ye ….

“All systems go. Ready for launch, Mission Control.”

Players come, and players go. The club announced today that Andreu Fontas, last seen sitting in the stands next to Jonathan dos Santos, giggling, is going on loan to Mallorca until season’s end. As many of you know, in the case of a serious injury, a club can be granted an exception to the normal transfer window.

Will Fontas return? Good question. Botia didn’t. And nobody speaks of Oriol Romeu any longer. But it seemed that Fontas had the stuff. On the other hand, a club without two healthy defenders to rub together, wouldn’t be sending him away if he had the stuff, right? So who knows.
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Posted in Team News, Thoughts, Transfers/Transfer Rumors123 Comments

Song sung blue, aka “Kari’s back! And was a fly on the boardroom wall … “

(Kari isn’t back, but she is. We’ve appropriated her verbiage for a post, because it deserves to live on in permanence, instead of having to sift through hundreds of comments. Yup.)

Here is some unadulterated nonsense to cheer you guys up (or conversely make you all so angry you’ll rage in happiness. Wait, wha-?)

FCB board discuss Alex Song Transfer

[14:10 GMT, Barcelona board room – Secret Location – Barcelona -- Spain]

Josep Bartomeu: Alright, so we need to get around to finalizing the transfer of player X-10924323.

Antoni Zubizarreta: [calmly nods] Yes, yes, of course.

Sandro Rosell: [thinking] Oh God I have no idea what they’re talking about what do I do what do I do [nods confidently] Yes, yes, of course.

Bartomeu: Okay, so I need you [turns to Rosell and hands him papers] to sign these. Then, I’ll fly over to London…

Rosell: [takes papers] Gotcha. [thinking] Now I’ll just casually find out who the heck they’re talking about while cooly examining the papers I am a genius [reads first page]

PL X-10924323: Alexandre “Alex” Dimitri Song Billong

Age: 24

Club: La Masia – London Branch

Position: Unnecessary. Other: DM/CB

Preferred Foot: ?

Hair Level: SSJ3

Power Level: 0.123 Raditz / -10,322 Mascherano

Skill Le—

[Rosell stops reading]

Bartomeu: …so hopefully I won’t be stoned by angry Arsenal fans, though, to be fair, it’s been a crappy couple of days for them. RVP apparently moved to…

Rosell: [interrupts] Oi! What the hell is this?

[Bartomeu and Zubi turn to face Rosell]

Bartomeu: Is there something wrong?

Rosell: Yes! This profile!

Zubi: [confused] What’s wrong with it? I wrote it myself, after consulting some scouts…

Bartomeu: [nods in agreement] Yeah, I don’t see anything wrong with it, really.

Rosell: [stares] There’s clearly a problem with this.

Zubi: And that is…?

Rosell: We’re going after a player named Alexandre “Alex” Dimitri Song Billong.

Zubi: Well, yeah. I thought you knew…?

Rosell: [falters slightly] O-of course I d-do. Did? [recovers] Anyway, the point is: What kind of name is that?

Bartomeu: An awesome one?

Rosell: [slams hands on desk] I will not allow it!

Zubi: Why? We spent so much of our Tapping Up quota to get to this point—

Bartomeu: …though we really aren’t tapping anyone up just so we’re clear…

Rosell: Because we’ll become the laughing stock of Europe with a player with a name like that! Do you know how many puns— how many utterly terrible ones — people will make? I can just see them now: “Barca on Song as They Destroy Real Madrid 5-0” or “Barca’s Song still out of tune”. No! This cannot go on!

Zubi: [considers for a moment] I see your point… but just so we’re clear: you didn’t find anything wrong with the profile itself, did you?

Rosell: Oh, no. It was tight. Good job.

Zubi: Alright!

Bartomeu: But we’re too far gone in this transfer to just say no, though…

Rosell: Then we’ll protract this transfer as long as possible so they get offended and pull out! [thinks] I’m a genius I’m a super genius the greatest genius to have geniused since Genius himself!

Bartomeu and Zubi: Alright. That sounds like a plan.
*
And there you have it. If Song signs, it’s because Arsenal weren’t offended. If he doesn’t, it’s because they were.
Please, be offended, Arsenal!

Posted in Nonsense, Transfers/Transfer Rumors60 Comments

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