In what has been a quiet (transfer) summer for FC Barcelona’s eternal rivals Real Madrid, the Blaugrana have dominated the headlines for all the wrong reason. Their very public and relentless pursue has left the media, fans, and neutral observes baffled.
While FC Barcelona are expected to make their semi-annual marquee signing, the “hunt” for the player in question isn’t as public as this year’s chase for Cesc’s has been.
It usually plays out like the transfer of Yaya Toure to Manchester City—extremely well covered yet not so annoying you’d wish for a media off day.
A reported transfer sum of 30.000.000 € still draws attention—even in the post Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid era. Especially since the Blaugrana very seldom command a transfer fee in excess of 15.000.000 €, for a defensive midfielder no less.
Places to go
The Ivorian was neither forced to leave nor unappreciated in Catalunya or by his boss Pep Guardiola. Some might argue he fell out of favor with the outspoken Catalan but in that aspect Pep is ruthless—if you don’t feature in his plans he’ll tell you and the media. Someone who can attest to that is none other than Alexandr Hleb.
Still the combative midfielder decided it was in his best interest to leave for Manchester City. While not completely unhappy he felt that in order to gain more playing time it was better to join the Estlands revolution.
Sergio Busquet is/was the man who has replaced Yaya Toure in Pep’s starting eleven. By all accounts Busquets does the things he is supposed to do well, there’s nothing special about his game. But he is still error-prone and a lightweight when facing more physical sides like Inter Milan.
In comparison Yaya Youre is a much more complete midfielder who can also play as an attacking midfielder. He is technically sound, tactically aware and has some nice dribbling skills not to mention his imposing physique.
Deflecting from Red to Blau (grana)
After their ill-advised and failed attempt at Cesc Fabregas or better yet “public pursue” the wise men of the Barcelona board decided to devote their attention to an era that really needs some fixing—the defensive midfield.
One has to wonder if FC Barcelona would have successfully brought Cesc home if they had any budget left to bring in reinforcements for this crucial position.
Since Massimo Moratti has decided that the days of massive spending at Inter Milan are over (one has to feel for Rafa Benitez, seems like the man will never get his hands on a sufficient transfer kitty), the Blaugrana emerged as the favorites to sign Javier Mascherano.
The current Liverpool player and Argentina Captain is renowned for being one of the very best in his position. His reputation and ability are nothing to sniff at. Even from a marketing point of view it seems to be a perfect match – Mascherano like FC Barcelona is sponsored by Nike.
The Absence of Logic
At the beginning of the summer the previous board under Joan Laporta bought David Villa for a transfer fee of 40.000.000 €. David Villa is a world-class forward no doubt about it and should provide the Blaugrana with more firepower but why didn’t Laporta & Co. pay Valencia’s asking price of around 50.000.000 € in 2009? Instead the board and Pep bought…
…Zlatan Ibrahimovic for a reported sum of 49.000.000 € plus the services of Samuel Eto’o. On top this ridiculous cash-plus-(world-class)player swap FC Barcelona pay Ibrahimovic a mind-bending 10.000.000 €/year salary.
Whoever believes that David Villa was bought to complement the talents of Ibrahimovic and Messi on the left-flank of the attack must be either very naïve or didn’t notice a benched Ibrahimovic towards the end of last season.
Now the Blaugrana have two recognized centre forwards but no genuine left-winger except Pedro – who is still on a learning curve.
Barcelona have splashed a whopping 89.000.000 € on not one but two centre forwards while completely failed to address the left wing.
Under no circumstance will Javier Mascherano be bought to warm the bench – no way. Sergio Busquets will most likely make room for the Argentine Captain which leads us to one question.
Why did Yaya Toure had to leave in the first place?
Honorable mention: Dmytro Chygrynskiy, bought for a massive 24.000.000 € when nobody was in the market for him and—to add insult to injury—was bought after it was clear that he would be cup tied for the Champions League. Where is he now? Sold back to his original club for 15.000.000 € after just one season.