Whoa! News! aka, “Not more Fabregas nonsense,” happy b-day, Piquenbauer!

Dammit, Wayne! I said no, dude!

Guess who is 23 years old today? If you guessed Gerard Pique, you guessed right. The central defender, a canterano who returned home last season, also has the distinction of being one of only three players to have won Champions League glory in consecutive seasons, with different clubs.

He’s been capped 13 times, but you can look for many more, as the man whom we have all affectionately dubbed “Piquenbauer” for his dashing forward runs with the ball, is only just learning to become the defender that he is. And who remembers that Piquenbauer’s first Spanish goal was a match-winner, in a Copa tie against Espanyol? Very cool.

So happy birthday, Pique, and many more (in the colors, of course!)

–And so it begins. Apparently, at least if you trust the nattering nabobs over at EMD, Cesc Fabregas, after that Emirates-sized can of whipass was opened up on his side by United, said “Screw this, I’m going home!”

Now, there are scads of reasons to call bullshit on that one, right? One match? If such decisions are to be made, it will take a lot more than one match to solidify it. Further, if Fabregas has that kind of character, do we really want him? What if it’s cloudy for more than 3 days in a row in Barcelona? Lordy! He’s on the record as saying how much he looooves Arsenal, and has no plans to leave. Yes, players have said stuff such as this, weeks before flitting away to another club. But not with 3 years to go on a standing contract.

If he has made a decision, if anything that match on Sunday affirmed it, because Arsenal will not be getting silver this season, and from the looks of it, not next season, either, barring a signing of significance. Which is, of course, yet another reason to call bullshit on this one. What if Arsenal sign, say, Torres and Ribery over the summer, a not-inconceivable move? Sure, Wenger would have had a full frontal lobotomy that would have made him eschew his building with youth program in favor of spendy superstars, but still …. if such a thing happens, does anyone think that Fabregas would leave then?

For the record, I’m against the Fabregas signing, in any way, shape or form. I don’t doubt his talent. But Xavi has another couple of years in his boots, and Iniesta is still a young’un (a fact that still boggles my mind). So, we are solid in the midfield for the next two seasons, which means that whichever dude wins the election this summer, will be pledging to spend around 50m for a bench warmer.

Or do we move Iniesta to left wing, where he has been rather ineffective, and hope that his goal force field will come down?

Further, it means that Jonathan dos Santos and Thiago have no reason to stay, right? Because after Xavi goes, Fabregas moves into the full-time starting role, which means what for them? Copa duty, and the occasional start? For the foreseeable future? Can anyone see them staying? That means, in effect, that we’d be paying 50m to bankrupt our future, while also damaging relationships with other canteranos, who would be wondering about their potential upgrade path.

Finally, Fabregas is under contract at Arsenal through 2013. Which means that he will have to force his way out. And for what? To leave a club at which he is a superstar, making tons of money, for one where he will be, at best, fourth or fifth on in the star galaxy, after Messi, Ibrahimovic, Xavi and Iniesta? And what about the complexities that this creates for Guardiola, should he decide that he wants to stay, in the aftermath of the elections? You paid for him, gotta play him, right? But where? Boy, it wouldn’t take much to see this kind of incident making Guardiola activate the “This is stupid, I’m outta here” part of his renewal pre-agreement, which is really little more than words, and a handshake.

Hmmm, let’s see here …. what should I do? Expensive signing? Check. Meddling president putting pressure on the coach? Check. Dude I feel like I gotta play, or I’ll get stick from the fans? Check. Later, dudes!

Stay tuned. Know also that the BritPress is in a tizzy, claiming that we are “tapping up” Fabregas. Well last time I checked, it was in EMD, not on fcbarcelona.cat. The Spanish press can say and do what they want about this matter. Word.

–It’s official (not that it ever wasn’t, right?): Sandro Rosell is in the ring for presidency of our beloved club. He becomes the instant front-runner, for the simple reason that Jaume Ferrer and Alfons Godall (who has the support of Johan Cruijff, by the by) will split the Continuity vote. Recall that many negotiations were had between the tandem, in an effort to decide upon a unity front. That didn’t happen, which makes Rosell’s life a lot easier. For a lot more, visit Pep’s Most Excellent New Space.

–Speaking of Rosell, when Fabregas moved to Arsenal in 2003, the now-candidate was the man behind our garnering right of first refusal, should Arsenal decide to sell. So if Fabregas is going anywhere, Wenger’s expensive knickers being in a bunch notwithstanding, we should be in the catbird’s seat. Buzz is that we also have rights of first refusal on Franck Ribery, despite the other buzz that he is already signed, sealed and soon-to-be-delivered to one Evil Empire.

Man, how you gotta love early transfer rumors and the attendant nonsense.

–Now, I’ve been labeled a big dummy and an Henry suckup for saying this, but what about Cruijff, who weighed in on the lack of goals from Thierry Henry and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Sport: “Happiness is never complete. There’s always someone pointing the finger. If you play up front and don’t score you have to live with it, but judging them by their goals alone is as easy as it is incorrect.”

“Who can occupy defences more? Their movement, on and off the ball, creates a great advantage of an unknown value.”

“This sort of thing goes unnoticed. But Pedro is able to take advantage because they’re so good at what they do.”

Now, I still think that Ibrahimovic needs to do his damn job, and put the ball in net. And don’t think that he’ll be getting less stick when he decides to be the World’s Biggest Midfielder, instead of the World’s Best Forward.

–Finally, and this, as usual, is a question for the class: We didn’t do a thing in the winter transfer window. Should we have?

My view is no. We already have a great side, the best in the world. Now that Henry is healthy, look for his contributions to increase. We have talent ready and waiting to plug in, frolicking about in our cantera at every position except for striker. Jeffren can play wing, Dos Santos and Thiago midfield, Muniesa and Fontas the defense. We got The Yaya and Keita back from ACN duty, which deepens our midfield in an amazing way. So any January additions would have been expensive, and potentially destabilizing as we already have enough depth and talent (barring any major, crazy-ass injury) to compete on the two fronts: Liga and Champions League.

But enough from me, what say ye?

By Kxevin

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. Add my hat to the glad we didn’t buy anyone in the January transfer market ring. Earlier in the season I was an outspoken proponent for buying a new LW in the market. However Pedro did what he had to do and cemented his place as our super sub, if not a starter half the time, good on him.

    I’m also anti-signing Cesc. Let him stay, and if neither JDS or Thiago break onto the scene ala Pedro in a couple years let’s return and take another look at the possibility.

    Finally – Iniesta shouldn’t play LW. Unless of course we want to play with the more traditional 4 midfielders because that’s how we always look with him on the wing.

  2. We got 5,000 fans at a practice in a nearby town? Yow! We worked out in Palagrufell, to help that city’s club fete its 100th anniversary, and people turned out in the thousands. Everyone took part except for Henry, who is still recovering from a bout of the stomach flu (which probably explains why he didn’t start on Sunday, and looked like shit sitting on the bench).

    1. Kxevin, interesting read again, however I disagree with you with the Fabregas debate – Why shouldn’t we pay through our noses for him? He’s the big fish that got away, he’ll fit into Xavi’s role better than anyone else on the planet and that’s the ultimate compliment considering there’s absolutely noone even remotely close to Xavi’s class except for Fabregas and Iniesta. In the previous debate about the youngsters, people questioned buying cesc because he and Iniesta would occupy the main midfield roles for the next 6-8 years leaving our youngsters in the cold. SO? Can anyone guarantee that either of JDS or Thiago will reach the same level of Xavi, Iniesta or Cesc? i think not.

      Let the young ones prove themselves, they’ll get chances if they deserve it and as long Pep is in charge they have nothing to worry about.

    2. I don’t know if JDS or Thiago can reach the level of Xavi or Iniesta but I can bet my money that they probably will reach the level of Cesc (at least). A bit of a crazy premature prediction, but a prediction nonetheless.

  3. Am too with ‘lets not sign Cesc’ camp. We simply do not need him right now or maybe for a year or two, barring major hiccups. We need to blood our youngsters who are good instead of running for some one for the heck of it.

    I would still like some up front in the prime though in summer transfer window. To be honest, am not too keen on Ribery. Villa tops my list followed by Silva and Di Maria.

  4. On the Kierrison note, I’m reading reports that we have retained the right to bring him back even if Fiorentina are interested in purchasing. Can anyone in the know confirm/deny this?

    1. I don’t think it’s even if they want to purchase, it’s more like we can bring him back if they don’t want to purchase. However, I said it before and I’ll say it again, if Keirrison finds that after the two years he still wants to fulfill his dream and play at Barça, he can just disagree with the personal terms Fiorentina sets forth, and they will have no choice but to send him back.

  5. Well so much with me having to write a follow up post on the Next Generation post. Kevin pretty much nailed it, IMO. 😀

    I have a special contempt for the Barcelona sports dailies when it comes to transfer rumors. Traces of the Gaspart era/pre-1990 Barca inferiority complex remain. They still feel like they have to prove we are the greatest team in the world by involving us in big transfer rumors for imports all the while simultaneously proclaiming our greatness for relying on La Masia instead of the check book. You cant have it both ways, guys. Remember the Sign Robinho campaign they started? The guy that was sent back to Brazil on loan and arrived to Santos in a helicopter with Pele and then proceeded to rap with guys in big shark costumes in the background bopping to the beat? It goes out to prove how much they know about advocating or promoting transfers.

    I pray that Cesc does not come to Barca for the foreseeable future. Pretty much for the reasons that Kevin so eloquently just listed. In addition to that is that we DO NOT need him. Too many super stars can be a bad thing (remember Galacticos 1.0?). I am most worried about what Sandro, Laporta, Godall, and the rest of the snakes will do. Laporta is enough of a megalomaniac to try to wrap Cesc up early before Sandro can nab him for himself and Sandro will be eager to put his own stamp on the team. I just hope the guy that comes in will be smart enough to step back and just ask “Pep, what do you need?”. There are too many big egos involved. Its the sad nature of this club and the trade off for having a publicly owned club with elected officials.

    However, I like to play Devil’s Advocate every now and then and the elephant in the room that nobody is talking about is the one with that handsome bearded mug pictured above. Yup. Pique. He also “abandoned” La Masia and was impatient and went after playing time and the $’s. Just like Cesc. Yet we have no problem with him because Fergie made what may go down as one of his Top 5 or so greatest management blunders in his career and let him go for only five million. Johnny Evans for Pique? Seriously? In five years people will look back at that and think “WTF”? How is he different from Cesc other than being bought back cheaper and not becoming a house hold name in the UK?

    The cantera thing is relatively new to us as a club. We are only now reaping the fruits of what was sown 20 years ago. Its why we have had more success with the homegrown kiddies than Wenger (who’s best teams in his tenure featured imports like Viera, Henry, Campbell, Freddie, Pires, Bergkamp, et al.). We simply have a head start of 15 or so years and have a veteran core and even a coach who have come up under the system. Arsenal is still in diapers in that sense. Barca is still breaking new ground on this matter. Will this generation end up being a once upon a time thing like Man U’s golden generation (Scholes, Becks, Giggs, Neville, etc.) or even the Quinta del Buitre or will it evolve into a self sustaining organism that can eventually cover almost all of the club’s needs without having to resort to many expensive transfers? This has never been done at this stage and in this age and it can easily be undone by the egomaniacs that traditionally inhabit the president’s office in can Barca. Who knows? Maybe Sandro will surprise us all and realize that the way to out do Laporta is by capitalizing on the base he inherited and not worry about ego satisfying transfers.

    1. Absolutely fantasic analysis. I especially loved the last point with the cantara thing. Thanks for educating us cules who know less than folks like you. It really educates others and sheds light on how everything in our cantera system works.

  6. Good stuff…Pretty much echoes my thoughts on Cesc, as well…Where would he play is the question I keep asking myself…Plus, Thiago & JDS are just around the bend already

    I say that money is better spent on a LB to cover for Abidal as well as a left winger, whether it’s Silva or Ribery

  7. Kevin, STELLAR contribution.

    I haven’t found anyone who’s agreed with me on Cesc’s transfer since it started to materialize on a deeper level this past summer, but in your statement, you clearly and concretely reveal exactly why I’m against it. The sheer destructive value of his transfer is frightening. Thank you for stating the truth, and hopefully deterring us beloved fans from shrieking “sign him!” next summer when the new Prez takes over.

    My only counter-point is the question of “where do we draw the line between addressing immediate needs at the sake of jeopardizing the sanctification of our youth?” I think there is a definite truth to acting upon immediate needs, regardless of who’s waiting at the gates of pre-mature stardom (Partially why I was OK with signing Chygnasty even tho Mini-Puyol, errr I mean Muniesa, and Botia were waiting).

    Lastly, I’m nervous that FCB is turning too much into the United States of America, in terms of their declaration of superiority. I LOVE my country. I would never denounce the quality and majesty of the USA, but shouting on the rooftops “We’re the best country in the world,” for all to hear, only increases the worldwide distaste of our land. As a club, I fear we’re getting close to this. If we continue down this path, we’ll turn into that other Spanish club.

    People love our club and want to play for us because we’re jaded. We’re Catalunya. We still have something to prove. The moment we start feeling entitled and royal is the moment players, like Cesc, will see us as undesireable, snobby, and Real Madrid-esque.

    1. So true, JMo. So true about the last bit and the notion of entitlement. I think people have forgotten (I haven’t) that from 2000-04, our best position was 4th place in the Liga.

      Another interesting note is that Valdano slagged Pelligrini for not playing more of the EE canteranos.

    2. My allegiance is to the club of Barcelona, which means that if you are on the team NOW, I have my trust in you, OVER someone who was gone.

      Thus, I would prefer PEP’s stability as a coach over any other possibility, regardless of who the player is.

      Same with Iniesta. I’m not sure if Cesc wouldn’t score more goals for us and be more productive on offense, but it isn’t Cesc who wears the blaugrana, it’s ghostface, so ghostface I will support.

    3. That’s a very good point you’re making there Jmo, one that some people forget.

      “My allegiance is to the club of Barcelona, which means that if you are on the team NOW, I have my trust in you, OVER someone who was gone.”

      Well said!

  8. A lot of what happens has to do with the presidential elections, and now that we are only playing one game a week I’ve been tuning in to Pep’s site a lot more.

    The fact of the matter is that my vote will go to the President with the best overall management plan. This includes managing finances and building our brand. When it comes to sporting aspects I want a president to say something like:

    “Our current sporting project is very successful and therefore it is important to remain true to it. I plan to have the post of sporting director because it means there will be less work for Pep, but I plan on speaking to Pep to determine a candidate that he is comfortable with and that shares the same sporting master plan.”

    Essentially I see Pep as the key to the continuation of our success, and I’m vehemently against a president who will stick their big nose in transfer dealings ala Perez.

  9. ok, I’m throwing this out here and it might be completely idiotic but…

    saying Cesc does come, I imagine Yaya will be out one way or the other. What if Cesc played the DM position but a very advanced attacking version of it. Obviously, this would be hard to pull off correctly, but if he could, and leave Xavi and Iniesta on the field at the same time, that might be an interesting solution. But that also hurts Keita, and Busquet’s playing time.

    ahhh whatever I doubt he’ll come. he loves Arsenal.

    1. I’m sceptic about that. We play with only one DM and it is extremely important he excels at defensive duties. Remember Barca just before Edgar Davids came. A good DM frees up Xavi & Iniesta to do attacking duties and he also keeps pressure of of our defensive line. We can’t play with 11 Xavis on the field. Balance of different qualities is extremely important.

  10. First of all, I think Iniesta’s recent displays have put an end to the play him at LW debate. It’s no coincidence we have our dominant possession game back since he regained full fitness.

    If we were having the Cesc discussion in a couple of years it would be a much closer call in my opinion. I have no problem in signing anyone who will genuinely improve our team while not disturbing the harmony. By that time we need to have a viable alternative to Xavi although as has been said he is very economical with his energy and body. In that case we would know whether or not the youngsters are up to it. Remember, we will be lucky if even one of them turns out to be world class and that is what we need in our midfield.

    However, if we wait, will he still be available then? At the moment I’m content to go with the youngsters if we need to fill a midfield space.

  11. Couldn’t agree more on Cesc the money he’d cost for sitting on the bench would be ridiculous. It wouldn’t surprise me if Txiki is doing a deal with arsenal as we speak giving them 50-60m of OUR money and then loaning him back to arsenal for 2 or 3 years. He’s good at that.

    I had a good laugh when I read the bit about the possibility of arsenal signing Ribery and Torres. Their paupers and even if they had the money wenger wouldn’t spend it as his excuse for the last 4 years(we don’t spend money like utd or Chelsea) would be gone and he’d be under pressure to win something.

  12. first of all, Pep wants cesc & a LW.
    but i don’t really think that we need both a LW(silva preferably) and cesc. if cesc comes, i expect iniesta will be moved to LW. right?
    i don’t think that we spend 50mills to bench cesc or the worst crime, bench iniesta. so spending on a LW & cesc would be really bad for our club.
    secondly, i don’t believe that signing cesc will be a blow to thiago & jds. honestly, how many matches or minutes have you guys seen them play? very very little..if until now, either thiago or jds had made quite a few cameo appearances, i would understand that Pep trusts them and have plans for them to be in the squad next season. but i don’t! Pep doesn’t even give them playing time even though we are cruising. Maybe Pep thinks that the kids need more time although i strongly disagree with that.
    IMO they should get minutes whenever possible so that they can get ready asap cos xavi is not getting any younger and he seriously needs to get some rest some time. as well as the likes of iniesta, messi, puyol & pique. the way i see it, we have a direct replacement for every key player in the Athletic team.
    pep should give those kids some time and faith. especially with their contracts expiring. it’s really dangerous as we might lose them like how we lost cesc last time.
    so sorry for the long post..

    1. Just wondering, but are there any quotes from Pep saying that he wants a LW and Cesc – or was this just one of the stories in the pro-Barca press?

    2. We haven’t seen much of the kids right now, because they still aren’t ready. In a year or two, they will be, and I don’t think they will be digging a 22-year-old already incumbent, next to a 24-yera-old incumbent.

      I also dislike the idea of us splashing big on established stars. But I admit to a little xenophobic joy at noting that 7 of our starting 11 in the CL final came from the farm. I’d rather suck air for a season and continue that quality, than buy a Ribery, Silva, Fabregas and lord knows who else.

      Yes, that’s just me, I realize. 😀

    3. I think that statement is a funny example of hindsight being 20/20. During those years of stnk between 2000-04, we weren’t anything special. We prayed for the Copa Del Rey as our silverware, but during that time we had Iniesta, Messi, Pique and Sergio all cooking in the oven, even Puyol and Xavi were not fully cooked.

      Now it’s glorious, but glory comes from patience.

  13. I got hectored, to make it worse you wrote the same thing only in so many more words and eloquence. Definately to no Cesc. That’s politics and nothing else.

  14. fabregas is talented, but a little overrated for me. The british press just loves to boost and exaggerate how good a player is when he can change the game. thats natural, and sure enough, fabregas is a game changer for arsenal. but he is playing in a league without much creativity to speak of. so, foreign players with a little more creativity than average will most likely become superstar players with a lot of attention. he is a good player for us, but he is too media-hyped. then people would put pressure on you when u bench this super hyped star. thats destabilization to me.

    1. Spot on mate, Cesc is definitely overhyped by the English media, who love to hype any decent player in their league. No doubt, Cesc is a quality player, but he stands out of the crowd because in the EPL there are so few players like him. In Spain on the other hand you have plenty of players like him, he wouldnt stand out as much in general, let alone at Barca. In fact I have a strong feeling Cesc wouldn’t stand out much at all in our team. Lets not forget Hleb, who was amazing at Arsenal, was a key player for them and quite clearly stood about because of his dribbling skill and ability on the ball.

      Spend the money on a LW, a position we actually NEED to fill. I really hope this Cesc business doesnt materialise. Hopefully Cesc will realise that he would spend half his time on the bench at Barca and will not push for the transfer.

      P.S We have no idea if Pep wants Cesc or not. Just because Sport or EMD say its so, doesnt make it so.

  15. YOU! Yes you! You in front of the screen, did you put a hex on my router? If yes, you made me miss a match!! There’s a special space in hell reserved for you!

    It seems like I’ve been away for a ‘light year’.. Fabregas again?!! for 55 mil?? HELLS NO!! And I thought Rooney was the hottest gossip selling Sport and EMD..

    IMHO Its better to bet on the canteranos rather than get robbed.. It has paid off well recently..

    And Happy Birthday Piquenbauer, may you continue scoring against Madrid, Espanyol etc..

    1. Ah, I thought It was weird that you were not at the Liveblog encouraging me to make Peanuts jokes. 😀

  16. YAY, PIQUE and I have the same birthday, SWEEEEET. Can’t believe im 2 years older than that guy, OH and HAPPY GROUNDHOGS DAY EVERYONE!!!

    1. Happy GH day to you Ethan. The GH saw its shadow here in Canada. AKA long winter. Im screwed. I need some sun.

  17. I think Tyler might be right. If Cesc did come, we would no doubt experiment with advancing the DM forward with whoever the coach will be. I think there is chance that our youngsters, Pep and even Yaya might leave if the incoming president does spend 50m on Fabregas. Of course, Busi is supposed to end up being the best DM in Pep’s system, eventually combining the Yaya’s and Xavi’s qualities in one. (Well, you get my point. Pep thinks he is going to be DAMN GOOD.)

    I personally don’t want Cesc. I also believe we did the right thing by not buying in the winter window. The winter window is meant for emergencies and underachievers. We usually don’t purchase in the winter window and we shouldn’t because it would threaten the youngsters and delay the progression of our starting 11 becominq fully integrated.

  18. i think cesc could play at DM. watching him play he adds a lot to the defense in addition to his attacking skills. also adding him to the midfield could create a Total midfield system where all 3 players can switch around as needed.

    1. I doubt he can do better than either of Yaya, Busi or Keita. Cesc as far as I am concerned is a no-go.

  19. I think we need to open up a new post on the whole John Terry thing. Just for the entertainment factor.

  20. It seems so clear to me that Fabregas is not the answer. I mean, just look at the Spanish National Team. Cesc sits on the bench just like he would with Barca.

  21. Woah, what’s with the hating on Fabregas? I don’t want him either at the moment as I said before but I’m not going to diss him. He is a genuinely top class player and the only reason he sits on the spanish bench is our two. He’d be in any other national team in the world.

    I seem to remember we had a problem last year creating and finishing chances against EPL teams. He’s doing that week in week out. I don’t think Spanish defences are any better than those in the EPL. He’s also playing in a team with no other top class players (possibly Arshavin apart) , imo. Put him on the same wavelength as our mob and who knows?

    1. I’m with Jim here. Fabregas is class. But for me, he’s a very expensive answer to a question that we already sort of know the answer to.

  22. I too am against spending money on Cesc THIS YEAR but if it’s a choice of spending money on him this year vs. never getting the chance because he’s snapped up by Real (he will complete their team, in my view) then I’d say go for it.

    I think the Iniesta/Cesc debate is beside the point, because I think Pep would play Cesc as a deep lying distributor/the guy who comes in the second wave of attack. Basically he would play him as Busquets. But then again, Pep loves Busquets, so that in itself is a bit of a quandary. But I do think Xavi, Iniesta and Cesc can play together, with tactical adjustments from people like Abidal and Xavi.

  23. There are decent arguments to bring Cesc back but playing him as a defensive mid is not one of them IMO. Cesc has never played without a bodyguard before. Viera, Silva, Denilson, Song… he’s always had somebody protecting him. Trying to turn him into a defensive mid or, better said, pay 40+ million for the right to TRY to turn him into a d-mid makes no sense. A Barca D-Mid at this stage is not what Guardiola was back in the day. Things have dramatically changed (especially in the role of fullbacks). He has IMO three primary responsibilities (in no particular order):

    1) Help play the ball out from the back and service the two “interiores” or center-mids

    2) Provide diagonal cover for the fullbacks and occasional CB advances to destroy counterattacks and act as a sort of midfield defensive “libero” (free role).

    3) Serve as a ready outlet during our possession game.

    Don’t you think that Cesc does not add value to these functions especially relative to his cost? When you have Yaya and Busquets to do this why would you take a guy who is used to worrying about orchestrating and attacking and try to teach him to learn to read counterattack lanes, diagonal cover concepts, and playing off of centerbacks like we do (which is different than Arsenal). Yeah he played in La Masia: 6 years ago and not in that position. I know the ultimate “total football” super offensive midget midfield sounds appealing but that’s also what Florentino thought when he ditched Makalele. Its an unnecessary hassle than can backfire spectacularly and, even if it does work, will not give a reward even remotely proportional to the risk and cost incurred.

    1. But would you be absolutely okay if he takes what he’s learnt at La Masia to Madrid??.. cos they’ll snap him up if we don’t.

    2. Real Madrid can do whatever they want. I would not spend 50+ million just reacting to what they do. You don’t spend that cash and severely alter the team dynamic on the field (because after paying that much we WILL have to play him), risk alienating Pep, and risk alienating just about everybody who plays centermid in La Masia just to prevent RM from doing something. Tthe only real option I can see is a 4-2-3-1 similar to what Spain played with Villa injured with Xavi and Busi/Yaya playing deep and Iniesta and Messi to either side of Cesc up top and Ibra as the lone striker. This ain’t bad but I cannot see Pep giving up his width obsession for just one player.

      That’s something THEY would do. If its a Di Stefano I could see it 😀 but as good as he is, Cesc is no Di Stefano.

      If Cesc is willing to go to RM then I really don’t want him on this team anyway.

  24. Paying more than 25 mil for Fabregas just makes no sense.

    It’s been said before that he will be a substitute. And I agree.
    Even if you are willing to pay 50 mil for a “super-sub”, when exactly would you put him on?

    If our tactics are not working, what can Cesc offer that Xavi and Iniesta aren’t doing?
    If Xavi and and Iniesta are tired, I still wouldn’t sub them for Cesc. Cesc has no pace, so a his “fresh” pair of legs wouldn’t destabilize a defense anymore than Iniesta’s tired legs.

    But to be honest, I don’t really think that Iniesta’s and Fabregas’s role’s are similar. They are not interchangeable, so realistically he can only sub for Xavi. (btw… Xavi + Iniesta, with Cesc on bench = Euro2008 victory. Xavi + Fabregas, Injured Iniesta = embarrassing ConfedCup exit to U.S.)

    and that’s another problem, Fabregas plays 1.5 positions. 1. Center attacking Mid (Xavi’s position), plus i also gave him half a point for being a mediocre support-forward [or ‘enganche’] (but considering that Barcelona doesn’t use support/begind-the-striker forwards (much to Bojan’s chagrin), that does nothing for us. So he offers no versatility, which is a hallmark of almost all of our players.
    I don’t think it is an absolute requirement to play multiple roles, in your general position, but if you are a sub who wants a lot of minutes, you kinda should be.

    I think Xavi and Cesc would step on each others toes playing together. Both will want to orchestrate the passing, and neither excels at destabilizing midfield lines with runs or dribbles.

    I think we should really ask ourselves, What are we buying with 50 million, and is it something that we already have?

  25. Just a quick point. Over the last few weeks I’d say Fabregas has shown that he has considerable pace. Remember the sprint when he did his hamstring, the waltz through (was it Bolton’s defense?) and again at times at the weekend against Man Utd. Surprised me as I hadn’t regarded him as having this.

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