Friday, 26 June 2009

What Barcelona Should Do This Transfer Summer

With La Blaugrana's transfer kitty of 30-35 million euros and sporting director Txiki Begiristain's assertion that he intends to buy three or four quality players, it seems it is going to be a summer of both entries and exits at the Camp Nou.

Last season, we had seen a strenghtening of the full-back and defensive midfield areas with the signings of Dani Alves and Seydou Keita respectively. Both these players went on to perform well and contributed in no small part to the treble success.

However, the other two signings of Aliaksandr Hleb and Martin Caceres can mildly be called "flops", with neither of the two players really able to contribute on the pitch.

As a treble winning team, it seems difficult to envisage that Barcelona have any weak links. But over the course of last season, careful observation reveals the following chinks in Barcelona's armor:

Defense: This season's major concern for Barcelona has been the lack of defensive cover, especially in the left back area, where Abidal and Sylvinho are the only players that Barcelona had.

With Milito injured and Caceres unpredictable, there were only three reliable candidates for the CB role, Pique, Puyol and Marquez. And with Marquez injured and Alves suspended for the Champions League final, it was left to Yaya Toure and Pique to fill in the CB slots while Puyol covered in for RB.

Luckily Alves never got injured last season, but Barcelona cannot rely on luck for another year. The defense has to be strengthened in this window, and it is the absolute priority.

Eto'o: Pichichi runner up and scorer in the Champions League final. With that on his CV, it seems hard on Eto'o to call him a weak link. But it is true, that for the last three months of the season, the only way Eto'o seemed to be able to score was if the goal was handed to him on a platter.

Sorry, that sort of finishing cannot be acceptable at this level. Particularly poor games of his include the 2-1 away defeat against Mallorca, during which his performance was atrocious. Barcelona need to get rid of him, and quickly.

The left flank: Henry has been really good this season, no doubt about it, none at all. But once again, what happened when he got injured? Barcelona shifted Iniesta to LW and had to shuffle around the strongest midfield in Europe. Not ideal.

Which brings us to whom Barcelona have to buy. With the first eleven looking pretty strong, it is my belief that Barcelona should focus mainly on buying a quality striker, a brilliant left back, and one player to cover in midfield. The ideal candidates for these roles are:

David Villa (striker): Villa is a consistent striker with lots of goals in him. Despite being in an average club like Valencia, he managed to get himself to third on the scoring charts. A top draw buy for a club that has two aging strikers in Eto'o and Henry. Price: 50 million euros plus Bojan, Caceres (loan).

Yuri Zhirkov (Left Back/Wing): "Russian Ronaldinho", enough said. Zhirkov is a brilliant player and would solve Barcelona's left wing woes. He can play at left wing or at left fullback.

Having him would have another advantage because then Alves on the right flank could be given a few games off while Zhirkov would create havoc, similar to what Alves creates, down the left wing, and also keep to Barca's style of having one wing back patrolling up and down and the other three defenders sitting back to cover him. A great purchase for 25 million euros.

Filipe Luis (Left Back, second option): In case CSKA Moscow are unwilling to let Zhirkov leave this summer, Filipe is a good replacement. He is a Deportivo La Coruna left back, Brazilian, 23 years of age.

The disadvantage of having Filipe is that Alves would have to work far harder throughout next season, because he is not a wing back, but a purely defensive player. Nevertheless, he would be a good purchase for less than half the price of Zhirkov. Price: 10-12 million euros.

Javier Mascherano (Midfielder): A brilliant signing in all respects. Masch can play as a DM or a CM. He would provide the perfect fall back plan during the month long African Cup of Nations which will see Yaya Toure and Seydou Keita away on national duty.

He also provides a lot of rotation options for midfield, without actually weakening it in any way. But a hurdle, and a major one at that, is his price. Rafael Benitez is refusing to let him go for less than 50 million.

Players out:

Samuel Eto'o: Sorry, but with his inconsistent form, refusal to sign a new contract and ridiculous behaviour on and off the pitch, he has to leave. Txiki Begiristain has recently placed a tag of 60 million on his head, but I think a more realistic figure would be 25-30 million euros.

Aliaksandr Hleb: Done nothing of note at all. It would be a big risk to keep him. His role at the club is so insignificant now, that he was not included in the Champions League final lineup. Youth players Muniesa and Botia were selected ahead of him, so his time is definitely at an end. Price: 10-15 million euros

Eidur Gudjohnsen: His peak has been reached, and now he is no more than a squad player really. He has also made barely any contribution this season. There is no real chance of him having any future at the club.

Jorquera: No future at the club, with Valdes renewing his contract and Pinto doing very well in Copa games.

Bojan and Caceres (loan): Bojan on loan is reportedly the reason why Valencia are willing to accept the deal for David Villa.



By: Anurag

41 comments:

pep said...

This is a first contribution by Anurag, who has offered to write some articles for this blog. Many thanks to him, welcome aboard!

Ramon said...

Welcome!
But: You wrote that Etoo is an ageing striker and recommended Villa. There is not much difference in the age beetween them...

You are very harsh with Samu...

skanjos said...

disagree in so many lvls,about the things you say about eto,man the guy scored 30 goals in 36 games... he is world class striker and villa cant fit his shoes even though he is older.also eto has won us 2 cl with HIS goals.eto is way better than villa .....

zhirkov....seriusly?russian ronaldinho .come on we dont need ronaldinhos right now ,we need iniesta's and mata is way better than zhirkov.

mascherano would cost much ,we will look elsewhere for midfielder,hernanes my cheap choice.

also hleb is staying this year,guddy will leave

bojan out are you f%^@#$^ out of your mind m8?bojan stays the club said it,the agent of the player said it,his father said it ,he said it himself.leave the kid alone already HE STAYS.dont believe the crap articles that say that he will be loaned out.

Anonymous said...

dribble...

barca4life said...

ok guys lets go easy on anurag. I too was mad at him saying that etoo

"Sorry, that sort of finishing cannot be acceptable at this level. Particularly poor games of his include the 2-1 away defeat against Mallorca, during which his performance was atrocious. Barcelona need to get rid of him, and quickly."

but remember its an opinion piece and its his opinion. Lets try to disagree without being disrespectful

pep said...

Also note that the article was already written a few days ago.

A bit of debate is always nice. Play on the ball.

hawk_barca_4_life said...

good to see many ppl cmmg do agree with sme points but wont agree as etoo a ageeing striker ... the only reason etoo to be sold is cos his contract is expiring if he wont renew then he would go for free since he is not renewing at acceptable pay then thts the reason we r selling him and on wht guardiola wnts ...we dont have ne doubt abt his quality
dont agree abt felipe tht alves has to do doble work it just wht abidal does stays at back forms 3 cb when alves attacks

ya and zhirkov would really be a versatile signing wht guardiola was looking for in the form of hleb and plzz dont compare every player and not all can be like inestaaa or xavi ..lolzz

still a good article but it will take time 4 u to improve but good work man ... it was good to read

barca4life said...

Ok let me get on to my views on this article

1. I agree that the defence needs some strengthening but i do think that with henrique coming back in and Muniesa coming through we should have enough cover. Puyol Pique Marquez Henrique Muniesa and maybe milito as well as botia should give us more than enough cover at CB. Henrique and Puyol both can cover RB and Henrique did it on several occasions last season at leverkusen.

2. The Zhikov issue is moot because we are moving for Filipe

3. Etoo did look poor towards the end of the season but i disagree with that being the reason we will sell him. Personally i'd rather keep etoo and leave david villa alone

4. I agree with loaning Caceres out. and guddy and jorquera are definitely out. Bojan though has said he doesnt want to leave and the board have also said his future is here. Hleb may probably go but i doubt we get as much as 15 million for him. Didnt we pay 15 million for him last year? and his stock has fallen.

5. Good first article, good research and nicely thought out even though i disagree with some of your points. Keep up the good work and I hope to see more articles from you in the future :)

skanjos said...

maybe i was a little harsh on anurag's first article but i see much hate on eto.
many forget how much eto has offered to this club ,how much work he has done(for me he works like homegrown players),how hungry for titles he is always .

and finally how he was backstabbed by the board last year.i dont even think that the board wants eto or offered a new contract, if they did it was just typical if they did.fact is they dont want eto ,mainly for what happened last summer.eto worked hard and has the upper hand now.he will probably wait for next year in order to get a better salary and i dont blame him i would do the same.sometimes its how you are being treated and has nothing to do with the team only with the board.like the saviola case i dont know anyone that hold him grudge for going to madrid after how he was treated here.sadly thats how football is.

my priority this summer would be to resign eto,cause the only strikers out there that can fill his position are torres and ibrahimovic.if the board wanted eto we would hear about contract negotiations each day,so dont say the board is clean about eto.

we have a great board and they do what they think its best for the team,that doesnt mean they are mistake free.i think last year they made a mistake with eto now they are paying for it,they have to look for a worldclass striker in this madness madrid made this summer.last year we could have signed villa for 30mill now we have to give 50.IF the board knew about this (and they knew)why didnt they move before madrid to sign a striker?they knew eto was leaving.celebrations......

summer is long and we will see the results next year when the season will finish.

Anonymous said...

Personally some of these players are way overhyped and are nowhere near that value.

Unless Eto'o is really unhappy we should keep him. It's true that he was in a mini crisis near the end of the season but he did so many classy moves this year that Villa couldn't ever do. Eto'o contributes much more to the team than just goals. 50 mil. is an insane amount of money, not to mention Villa lacks in the aerial ability comparing to Eto'o.

And where are Barca's scouts, I'm sure there are plenty of unexpensive gems out there. 50 mil. I'd only offer that to strikers like Torres. After that for some less money Higuain, unfortunately, also very unlikely.

For a DM, Essien would a better choice than Mascherano, he's more versatile. Tough both not gonna happen. Nice, cheap back up would be Flamini, best passer in EPL two years ago, (?)

Don't know about Zhirkov, hardly seen him play, certainly not Ronaldinho, don't believe the newspapers.

Players out, only one pretty sure should be sold, Milito, it's fortunate he didn't play this season. It's weird what happened with Hleb, looked promising (and still in a few games you can see some talent, maybe needs more games).

Loan suggestions are nonsensical, you need some quality reserves.

For LB/RB back ups, Arsenal players aren't bad.

jordy said...

yes leave the villa deal alone.
I wouldn't mind financing ribery to madrid if we got higuain and robben!

eto'o is probably the most valuable striker barça has had in 15years. romario and ronaldo were only one year at barça. and any other striker has no comparising with samuel. to me ,the most usefull striker in the world. far more usefull to us than villa. I really don't understand why people would dislike him.. he didn't score a lot the last matches? all true? did you rather he didn't score rome??? he was preparing himself!!! paris same thing. he also layed back at the end of the season

jordi said...

I admit im a little biased because i love Bojan, so the loan suggestion may have sent me into a rage a little :P

el tren said...

Agree with the author on the etoo topic a lot. Some ppl seem to actually not watch barca matches but instead look up statistics when evaluating or comparing players. Im fairly sure that of all of the starting 11, etoo is the one who - when replaced - will boost the squad the most. He definitely scored some important and impressive goals (like the one in the CL final, that apparently most ppl seem to solely have in mind when creating their image of etoo ...), but a lot of his 30 league goals were of the "push the ball a bit over the line"-kind. And man did he miss chances - and esp. HOW did he do that ... but thats what you wont see when watching etoo on youtube. Im also wondering why no one of his team mates interferes when etoo is grabbing the ball again when going for a penalty. He just cant do them ... i mean how is it possible to be a world class striker when you have a penalty miss rate of 60 fucking percent (yea right he missed 3 out of 5 penalties in la liga) - shouldnt a world class be somehow able to shoot the ball effectively towards the goal ... from 11m at least? ANd how could a team player keep trying although he knows about his weakness? Well unless hes an egocentric cock ofc.

I think i better finish this rant right now although i think i could go on a while. Just hope he will get sold and replaced ... PLS! Oh and how said ou will lose on the air department with villa instead of etoo? I mean srsly, how many headers did etoo score? I just cant remember a lot, maybe its b/c im getting old, but maybe there is another reason ...

zealot said...

Oh great el tren, I assume those who watch Barca games would surely hope Eto'o get the boot. Well, I watch Barca games a lot, and unlike you, I am grateful to what Eto'o has been doing for us. My view:

1) All strikers have their own off period. Even Villa. If we get a new striker, you can start planning on your next harsh words for him when he stops scoring.

2) Strikers live by scoring goals. No matter its a freaking beauty, or not. You belittle the goals he scored. I suggest you to find his goals against Lyon, Athletic, Betis, Sevilla, and of course, ManU. Do you want me to go on?

3) Strikers in Barca squad, besides their responsibilities to score goals, have a unique task, as Ramzi Tanani had always written in this blog. It is the pressuring duty. Now, let us see all Eto'o's suggested replacement: Villa, Ibrahimovic, Benzema. Think whether they can do the unique task or not. Villa is not strong as Eto'o, we all know Ibra is a lazy player, and probably, Benzema is good, but do he have the same goalscoring ability? You watch so many Barca games, so you must know how great he is in doing the pressuring works.

4) Please think who suits the most to play against a bus-parking team like Chelsea. If you suggest Villa, because of his ability to move through channels, consider back the Chelsea match. Was there any real channels within the 'bus'? Do Villa has the space to show his ability? Eto'o, on the other hand, has the physique required to play within the bus, to hold off the defenders. He just needed a LW to widen up Chelsea's defense, so that Xavi and Co have rooms to roll the ball towards him. That's all.

In other words, yes, I suggest Barca to concentrate on a new LW, rather than wasting a fortune to get a new striker, who may only offer slight improvements, if any. Thank you :)

zealot said...

For point 2,actually I suggested that you go find those videos. Thank you. ;)

barca4life said...

Just look at the video what a difference a year makes, and you will see etoo's goals against sevilla lyon athletic and betis

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eyos2IGeOzE

Je me'apelle Samuel said...

Zhirkov

“My team is Barcelona and that is where I want to play. I have been a Barcelona fan since I was very young and they have a great team.”

EPL is lame. Arshavin has fired his agent because he hates EPL. The weakening of the british pound and the 50% tax rate on the rich were things he was unaware of. Hopefully Arshavin points him in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

If this piece deserves to be put up on this site, so do 40% of other comments on this blog. This is just an op-ed that I stopped reading after the line, "a strenghtening of the full-back and defensive midfield areas with the signings of Dani Alves and Seydou Keita respectively." The Keita part...

Sorry to be harsh but this piece has no legitimacy to be put up here. And if you think it does, then so do many other more quality comments from a lot of other people.

Anurag said...

1. i have never referred to eto'o as aging. i have referred to his form during the last 3 months of the season, when i also remember people on this blog berating him for his finishing.

2. guardiola himself is bugged with etoo's attitude. if any player considers himself above the club, i dont think they should keep him.

3. zhirkov is given the ronaldinho title by the media, and thats because he is brilliant. CSKA live by him.

4. @hawk - alves played the maximum number of minutes this season of any player. and thats because there was no one to do his dirty work down the left flank.

Anurag said...

@skanjos - who says i want bojan to leave?

this article was written when the bid barca made for villa included bojan in the deal.

its a week old, things have changed since then.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree on this article. simply 100% agree. Especially on the Eto. Anyone can score 30 goals for barca as a attacker on a season we just had. Eto shouldve scored MANY more! Our wonderful midfield and wing creates so many chances for the attacker, so ofcause he should score 30 goals. look at the stats

pep said...

"If this piece deserves to be put up on this site, so do 40% of other [quality] comments on this blog."



If other people will do the effort to turn their comments in a post, then that will also be put on, so feel free to sent them in!

jordy said...

I think it's horrible how people talk about n°3 topscorer ever in barça. 2 of the 5 seasons he was almaost entirely out.. So only 2 were better. Those 2 played a lot more matches too. the comments are just a disgrace.

I don't think you guys have been looking to the matches all season. I totally agree with the fact that in matches like chelsea eto'o is more suited than villa.

about zhirkov;he's a left back defender but because of a weaker league he plays left wing.. he can't take over henry's duties! Russian league is not spanish!!!
As a left back defender i would like him but not as wing! if ribery and robinho fail, get robben!

NC4Barca said...

Eto is the third highest goal scorer in Barcelona's football history. He has given us a lot. Personally as a Cule, I think we should respect this person. As Laporta says, Barca is not a selling club. But if the player doesnt feel comfortable at the club, he should move on. Joan himself has told this season, may b last week, that he would love Eto to stay. There were media rumours that Pep is not in good terms with Eto, which I feel is simply a media crap. If you look at the way Pep handled Eto last season, even after he was not in his plans initially, it says how much high Pep regards for Eto.

And everyone goes through lean patch of form and I agree, Eto could not score in the last few matches of Liga. But that should not tarnish his image as the Best striker in the world. Eto was a vital reason why we were able to win treble last season, and I hope people will agree with me on that.

And about his attitude problem: sometimes height of professionalism can be mistaken for attitude. But I think its incorrect to misunderstand a person like that. If you see at some of the interviews of Barca players (Messi, Puyol, Xavi etc), it will give a clear picture of how much respect they have for Eto as a teammate. They say, Eto is a vital part of the team for its success. Who would know Eto better than the players who play, eat and live aside with him? So I will go by their words, than that of media's.

I will personally love Eto to retire at Barca, because signing Torres or Ibra will be a huge burden and risk in terms of the investment we will have to make. But Eto is a proven Barca soldier.

Anurag, its a good article and as long as you can attract critics for your article, you can say its a success. Keep writing..

zealot said...

@anurag, I appreciate your effort of writing the article. At least it moves people like me to write more in this blog ;)

Lemme response to your points.

1) Well, as I see in the internet, Cules are one of the most demanding group of fans. Much like Madridista, but they will fall in love with players who show huge work rate, determination and possess the never-say-die attitude; examples like Raul and Higuain. I would love Cules to behave like this as well, although be demanding will actually help the squad to some extend too. Just, we should have been nicer to our players who have given so much to the club. Being out of form for a while doesn't belittle his contributions in any way, mind you. Its normal.

2) I can't see problems with Eto'o attitude honestly. Think again, how many strikers are willing to do the pressing, defending works. Even the so-called great Henry bemoaned the extra running he had to do under Rijkaard. I can't remember Henry was heavily criticized for his attitude then. IMO, its Barca board who has to show more interests to keep Eto'o. They have to quickly quash any rumors of him being sold to ManCity. Thank god Laporta already tried to do that. :)

3) Zkirkov is a brilliant candidate to fill on the left, ideal player towiden up our gameplay, which has been too focused on the right and the middle.

@anony,

With a quick check in Wiki, you'll find that he scored 36 goals, his BEST ever record in one season, beating his 05/06 record with 34 goals. Remember we had the great Ronnie, Deco and Xavi back then?

@NC4Barca

Well said, dude, well said :)

Thank you :)

barca4life said...

Just to round off this etoo talk, i talk to my man utd friends and BPL friends and they all say the same thing, "Why on earth do you want to change anything?, you just won the treble" I dont understand what seems to be the rush to move etoo out. Anurag dont let a little criticism stop you, i was severely criticized for saying chelsea would win the 2nd leg in london but it was how i felt at the time.

Anurag said...

sure b4l, i remember that time myself.

all i know is that guardiola himself is not too impressed with eto'os attitude. the point is that he is not lazy or unwilling to defend. he is unpredictable and extremely temperamental.

even if villa comes to barca and doesn't defend, as long as he scores goals, im pretty sure the fans will be happy.

zealot, i agree that we are demanding fans. but we love our players more than madrid ever will. look at our love for messi, xavi, iniesta, puyol, pique, alves etc.

Anurag said...

pep, quote of the day. jorge valdano says barcelona is way ahead of real madrid.

el tren said...

@zealot

1.) you are right, i just got a bit too far with my rant on etoo and strayed away from being really objective. However, i felt like his "off periods" were just way too common. Even if he scored, he was still often fairly weak. Remember the match in Betis, were Etoo seemed to be the man of the match after scoring both goals for barca, equalizing a few minutes before the end. But actually the match could have easily ended like 5-2 or 6-2 if etoo took slightly more than just 2 of his ~10 100%-chances ... (the first goal btw being a rebound of his missed penalty)

2.) Im well aware of his "impressive goals", as i wrote in my first post. What you just wont see on youtube are his similarly spectacular misses ...

3.) Strikers with defensive duties are really not Barca exclusive. Pressing strikers are actually rather common tbh, altho i cant say much about Ibra or Benzema in that departement, just b/c i dont follow the french and italian leagues. But i would wonder if Mourinho would ever release one player from defensive duties. And i also dont see where Etoo is phyiscally stronger than Villa. I just dont.

4.) I never really promoted Villa. Actually i personally think Ibrahimovic would suit the most to fill current tactical deficits. B/c Etoo imho just isnt the target player you talk him into. He was totally out of the match in London, just never in a situation to receive a ball in the box. Unlike Ibra might have been with his superior physics. Some last words to Villa tho: besides being a center strike, he would imo be a very solid alternative on the (left) wing, which also puts him above Etoo.

zealot said...

@el tren,

1) Excuse me, did you just criticize Eto'o for his match saving performance against Betis?

2) I've said it over and over again, strikers missing open goalscoring opportunity are common. Eto'o compensate his misses with all of his determination in his play. That's really good enough for me, and for Laporta as well.

3) Based on Villa's performance with Spain and Valencia that I've watched, I can say that there is more physicality in Eto'o's game than Villa's.

4) Yes, I also think Ibra is the best option to replace Eto'o because of his strength and technique.

But, we could spend 60-70 million on Ibra, but we still have to find a new world class LW. Surely we can't see Barca spend outrageously like our rivals did, right?

How can we be so sure that Villa can play effectively as LW, especially against a bus parking opponents? Playing Villa in that position is very much similar to what we have done with Henry for the past season. Obviously we have problems with the system against such opponents. And we will waste his talents by playing him out of position as well.

@anurag,
So why don't we love Eto'o like we love Puyol? Its easy to love Messi and Iniesta because of their outstanding skills. But Eto'o's determination and fighting spirits deserve our attention and love as well, don't you agree?

ochtane7 said...

Well I am big fan of Eto'o,so where ever he goes I will support him.Villa is a good striker,but its a case of "you know what you have,but not what you will get".Get someone younger,let Eto'o know there will be a decrease in play time,and see how it plays out.

I now little of Zirchov,but its a dead issue,Felipe seems to be on his way.

Left wing should be our main priority now,Robinho doesn't sound to bad,but he has some issues,which tend to get in the way of his football.

CDM position neither here nor there for me,I still think Busquets is enough.

We need a CB and that's it.Leave the rest of the team and kick some more @ss.

Anonymous said...

I agree with this article in every point.
Eto'o should leave...True, he has scored alot of goals this seasson but only because the midfield created those chances. The majorty of Eto'os goals are where he got a great pass from someone and had a clear/good shot at the goal. On his own, he can't do that much, we saw that against Mallorca, he had so many chances, even a penalty at the end, but no...I think we should let Eto'o go while we can still get some money off him.
Bojan should leave on a loan. He doesn't get much playtime because he isn't good enough yet. And if he doesn't get playtime he can't evolve. So loan him out!
I can't believe so many fans here think he's amazing, what has he done? Last seasson he scored alot because he got great passes that gave him a clear shot on he goal...wow, even I could've scored most of those goals!
This seasson he's scored only a few, but some were nice (like in the cup final) but seiuosly, what has he `got? He shots alot and mises the goal alot...and when he hits the goal, he usually hits the keeper (they don't have to move to save bojans shots cuz he shots right at them), he dribbles some and usually loses the ball because of that...his passes aren't hat great, sure, he's had a few great assists and he can pass backwards, but usually he can't pass forward right when Barca are attacking. As I said, he currently isn't good enough for Barcas first team, he should be loaned out or return to Barca B.

HouseMD said...

I don't understand why should Eto'o be sold this summer. Do you really think that Villa is so much better? I don't think so. He'll demand to be paid just like Eto'o demands right now. Eto'o has right to ask a pay-rise. Why? Simply because he's one of the best (maybe the best) strikers in the World. Villa won't contribute more than any other striker, especially Samuel. So, I don't see any explainable reason why to sell Eto'o + give some extra cash + give Valencia our players on loan for the player which is NOT better (au contraire) than the player Barca already have (not to mention the same age).
Anyway, signing a striker is not Barca's primary target. I had opinion that LW is more important. Let's focus on to how to sign Robinho.

HouseMD said...

@anonymous above:
"Eto'o should leave...True, he has scored alot of goals this seasson but only because the midfield created those chances."

Really? Is this you Sherlock?
Who should create "those" chances, the defense?

Anurag said...

david villa can switch to LW when required, this is for the people who havent seen spain play this conf cup. and guardiola certainly seems keen to get him. so i dont see the problem.

i dont see how people are dismissing villa. the guy scored what, 28 goals last season? and thats with valencia finishing 6th and all, and look at the supply he got there. mata and silva were the best players who could string 2-3 passes together. here, with people like xavi and iniesta supplying him, villa will probably score more goals than the number of games he plays.

in which big match except the final has eto'o played well this season? he tapped in a goal in the first clasico, missed a penalty in the same match, was blank in the second one and was played out of the chelsea matches completely.

cule1986 said...

i hope eto'o stays this summer, he's the best first defender out there and he never gets tired. he may not have the ability to go on a solo run and decide a game for us, but for that we have messi, henry and iniesta. i actually am a little bit angry when people talk about all the chances he missed out on in the seccond part of the season, most of this chances was in games off little relevance to us and it wwas just the pichichi gost that is always hanging over eto'o shoulders. in the first half of the season he was absolutely stunning for us scoring goals from every angel, if we loose eto'o this summer we may loose on of the best goalscorers this game has ever seen. i have nothing against the people who don'd like eto'o i just want them to look at the full picture in this case instead of looking just at the dark sides.

zealot said...

@Anurag, c'mon, don't say those who watch the Confed Cup will surely agree with you. You just raised more doubts. AFAIK, Riera made the LW position his own throughout the tournament, while Villa partnered Torres. And Mata acted as Riera's substitute. Am I wrong here?

And Guardiola only interested to sign him ONLY IF Eto'o leaves. As Laporta said, Barca will try to renew Eto'o's contract. If Barca succeed, these Villa rumors will be ended once and for all.

Please remember carefully, how did Guardiola deploy Eto'o in last matches of the season? Eto'o was always playing out wide, correct? Messi was the one who occupied the middle slot. You may accuse Eto'o of whatever you want. But I believe it was one of Guardiola's tactics to create chances like the one Iniesta scored. Messi was asked to play near Eto'o, so that they both can pull their markers out of positions. Hence there was no chances for Eto'o to score goals.

True it was unfortunate as Eto'o was off form at the wrong time. But, man, people have been soooooo harsh to him. Torres was lifted as a legend-in-the-making when he scored 30++ goals for Liverpool. Apparently, that is still not enough if he is a Barca player.

Plus, our next striker should not score tap-ins, since they will be the next to get the boot.

Honestly, its really sad story.

HouseMD said...

Anyway, Valencia's director said that Villa is not for sale...Man Utd or Chelsea will get him sooner because they have bigger transfer budget for this summer.

Marws said...

I do agree that Eto'o should leave, but I think he is a great player. On the pitch the only thing I don't like about him is his ability to score. Sometimes he did miss to damn much, but noone is perfect. If Eto'o were a perfect team-player and wasn't such a bitch, and if his contract didn't ended next season I couldn't see any reason why he would leave, but thats not the case.

About Zhirkov, the main reason why I would be happy is he signed Barca is that he loves this club, and seems to know what it's all about. Plus we wouldn't have to sign two players for the LW and LB, only one.

Mascherano would be good, but not needed if we got a good-enough LW. With Henry and *new guy* on the left flank Iniesta can focus all his energy in the mittle. With Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Yaya, Keita, and hopefully Thiago in the mittle all we need is a backup-player on the midfield, and Masch is no such thing. Hernanes an option? havn't seen him but heard lots of talks about him in the forum.

I think Hleb should stay. He earlier said that he had troubles adjusting to Barca. I do think he will be better next season, and if not I would care so much. We can't get very much for him this year anyway. 5 mill at the most? And if he doesn't play good we still have Pedro, Gai, Jeffren and *new guy* who could play equally good as him and who still has a future in the club.

Anon "40 percent"-guy, you are an idiot. This is a good article. It's nice too see someone who dares to say what he thinks. So what if you don't agree with much, it's still a good article.

@pep, I might acctually do that. Send in an article i mean. Would be fun ^^

Anurag said...

Thanks Marws. That's my point. I like Eto'o, but we need to think with our heads, not our hearts.

ochtane7 said...

Just finished watching the a replay of the Gamper trophy when we played against Boca in 08' preseason.When Puyol leveled it,and then who else but Eto'o won it for us.

Yes it is good business sense to sell him now,but putting that aside why would you want to,seriously.I mean it really pisses me off when people don't give him the respect/credit he deserves.That's probably why he has to act out sometimes,cause its not me,and I feel it.

He does seem to be a genuinely loyal guy to the club and he proves it time and time again.

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