Saturday 13 June 2009

Poll: Ibrahimovic or Ribery

Picture of the day: Lorenzo

MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo will race tomorrow in the Catalunya Grand Prix with a Yamaha in Barça colours.

The Majorcan born rider, a well-known Barça supporter, has completely covered his motorbike with the Barça shield. Including his GP suit, bike, gloves and helmet, Lorenzo will be displaying 19 Barça shields at the Montmeló circuit.

"I carry Barça in my heart. I had a little dream, to be able to compete with the Barça colours, and now I've been able to make it a reality. The idea was to paint the whole bike and suit but FIAT has shares in Juventus and they weren't exactly keen on it being all in Barça's colours."

watch more pictures here

Laporta talks with Bayern president about Ribery

German tabloid Bild claims that Barcelona president Joan Laporta has talked by phone with Bayern Munich president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge about the transfer of Bayern Munich attacker and French international Franck Ribéry (26).

Although Bayern Munich officially doesn't want to sell Ribéry, the German club would be willing to let the player go if a bid of at least 60 million euro° comes in.

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Ribéry is the absolute priority of Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola, the one transfer the coach reportedly demanded. Barcelona president Laorta would therefore have launched a new offensive for the Frenchman. Barcelona would try to include players, among which Alexander Hleb, in the deal.

Catalan sports paper Sport nevertheless claims that Barcelona has at this moment given up on Ribery because they don't want to pay the transfer fee asked, which could at least be 55 million euro plus a bonus. The club would hope that the asking price will drop in the coming weeks. Ribéry, whose contract with Bayern expires in the summer of 2011, would only be willing to consider offers from the Spanish league.

Read more:
Barcelona president talks with Ribery by phone
Barcelona planning six transfers
Total deal on Ribery transfer

Puyol: "People don't stop thanking me"

Barcelona player Carles Puyol gave an interview to Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo.

What would you have said a year ago if I had asked you to pick only one between the Copa del Rey, Liga, or Champions League?
I would have told you that we would fight for everything but it would be difficult. Whenever you begin a season, you begin with new hopes. But careful, anything that happened in the past could still happen in the future past the treble. We should enjoy this during the summer but move on once preseason starts.

When was the first time you dreamt about the treble without fear that anybody would hear, especially Guardiola?
I think there were two moments. The first at the Bernabéu. And after that, the end of the second leg at Stamford Bridge. There, we cemented our place into the final and there was little left to win the title. Well, "little" really is a lot, but you still see it closer.

You're all aware of what has been organized in Barcelona, Catalunya, and in every culé household...
Yes, you see it in the streets. I think that all year there has been much joy. You could see the people looking happy. Now, after seeing them happy, you now see them proud. You see more jerseys than ever before and flags on balconies. That is great and it pleases us. Nowadays, people don't stop thanking me. It's the best that somebody can say.

There were many celebrations. It has been said that you have won more than three titles, much more than the triplete...
It was a moment to celebrate and to have a good time. We enjoyed ourselves often during the year but we didn't have time to stop and rest for a second. If you won a title, you couldn't celebrate because three days later you would have an important match to play. That's why, when everything was won, it felt like a bomb. It was only logical. But everybody was humble. We spent our time well. It was a celebration with everybody and the team and the supporters were perfect.

You have become the first captain to have lifted two European cups. That's legendary...
I suppose that I'll think that some day but for now I'm not thinking about that. I'm thinking that we won the triplete and not that I have lifted two European cups. I think it's very nice and also a big privilege but I don't think individualistically but more about the team.

A simple question: why did you win everything?
Well, because we deserved it. It's that simple. I believe that we were the best team. The team has worked a lot and even more importantly, they were confident. Everybody says it: we were the best.

Yeah, but, what did you differently to win everything?
We started a project with much hope. We stumbled at the beginning but the entire team knew the path they were going to take. We were confident in our way of working and little by little we saw that it was possible as long as everything was going well. Everything turned out as expected.

The image of the group's unity is real?
The entire group was very united, even those that didn't play often. Even Milito, who was injured, was there the whole time. The group was key.

You have also acknowledged those that work for the team: Manel Estiarte, doctor Pruna,...
They are like an additional part of the team. They are also very important. If it weren't for their individual work within their specialization, we wouldn't be where we are. They need to be acknowledged and the only way to do so is to reference them. It's a very sincere and true declaration from the heart.

Do you remember when people said that one of the problems in the past two years is the captaincy? Do you have anything to say?
When we score goals, there are certain things that aren't said anymore. Now we're the best and last year was a disaster. I think that we need to silence many critics, and if we can improve, we should. But it's a subject that doesn't worry me much.

Now it's transfer season. Signings, sellings, and renewals. Basically, renew or die?
We should do the best we can for the team. Those who direct and decide, should do so when decisions are difficult, but they eventually have to. What cannot be done is to consider something, then not do it and later regret it. That's the worst. If they have an idea, call it "X", they have to work for it, and I think that they will eventually find what's best for the team.

translated by: al

this was the first part of this interview, you will be able the following parts later.

Read more:
Messi: "I'd like to finish my career in Argentina"
Xavi: "We have to go out there, win it and that's it"
Pinto: "Nobody touches my tail!"

Cadiz invites Barcelona for pre-season tournament

Barcelona has been invited to take part in the Ramón de Carranza Trophy, a pre-season tournament organised by Spanish second division club Cádiz in memory of their former president.

Cádiz president Antonio Muñoz told journalists that he's still talking with a number of clubs among which Barcelona: "We've been talking with several clubs and we have already reached an agreement with Sevilla.

We want another big team to be present, but it should fit in their schedule. Our plan is to play on 13, 14 and 15 August but if Barcelona or Real Madrid would come, we could change that."

Read more:
Summer games calendar
Six players will start pre-season one week later
Barcelona will take part in Wembley Cup

[2008] Deal with Brazilian international Hernanes

this post was published exactly one year ago:

Brazilian sports site Lancenet claims that Barcelona has reached a deal with São Paulo attacking midfielder and Brazilian international Hernanes (23). The duration of the contract and the salary would have been agreed upon.

Barcelona would already have made a first bid of 11 million euro° for the player (read more
here) but the offer was rejected by São Paulo, who is asking 20 million euro°. It is expected that the Brazilian club will drop that asking price. The player's rights are owned by São Paulo, sports marketing agency Traffic and Hernanes' agent Joseph Lee.

Brazilian football site Blog do Boleiro claims that São Paulo sports director Marco Aurélio Cunha met last week with Traffic representative Frederico Penna, who informed the club that he had the authorization to start the negotiations which could lead to Hernanes joining Barcelona.

Traffic offered São Paulo 8 million euro° for 75 per cent of the transfer rights on the player but the club didn't even want to discuss the possibility of selling the player. Hernanes would have a São Paulo buyout fee of 16 million euro°.

Asked about the rumours linking him with a summer move to Europe, Hernanes said to journalists that he can only wait and see what will happen: "I wait for a statement by São Paulo. Without that, there's no transfer."

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain will travel to Brazil next week together with Barcelona head scout for South Amercia Pep Costa to watch the game between Brazil and Argentina and to talk directly with São Paulo officials.

Read more 13 June 2008 news here:
PSG offers Thuram two-year contract
Official: Zambrotta to AC Milan
Ezquerro close to joining Olympiacos
Sergio Garcia unaware of Barcelona interest

Barça B - Official: Maric and Joni will leave

Barcelona has yesterday officially announced that Barcelona Atlètic central and left back defender Joni (22) and Barcelona Atlètic forward Goran Maric (25 - picture) will leave the club this summer.

The contracts of the players, who both were signed last summer (read more
here and here), expired this month since Maric had a one-year deal and Joni was loaned from Spanish first division club Sporting.

Read more:
Barça B - Official: Abraham to Cadiz
Barça B: Serbia thinking about Maric
Barça B: Xavi Torres will join Malaga

Mallorca goalkeeper Moya confirms interest

Asked about the rumours linking him with a move to Barcelona (read more here), Mallorca goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moyá (25) confirmed the interest in an interview with Catalan radio station RAC 1:

"I didn't talk directly with Barcelona, but they made contact in two different ways. The first time when Barça played against us alst month after they had won the Liga.

And the second time a few weeks ago through my agent. He told me that it's an option I shouldn't reject. I guess the asking price will be a little less than last year when Valencia was interested, especially because Mallorca needs money.

When I was informed about the interest of Barcelona I was of course delighted. The truth is that I had four good games to end the season. I've recovered very well from my injury and I've again picked up the rhythm. If Barcelona has noticed me, it should mean that they've seen something interesting in me and I think I can compete with Valdés.

I wouldn't mind having to rival with him for one spot. We'll have to take a close look at the offer to see if it convinces me. I suppose that it's highly unlikely I'll play from the start because there's no doubt about Valdés. I know it will be very difficult but I'm young and my priority is to play always."

In an interview with Baleares regional television station IB3, Moyá also left the door open for other teams: "It's not just a rumour because Barcelona apparently wants to sign a goalkeeper and I would be an option because they are looking for a young goalkeeper, who still can make progress and who has experience in the Liga.

And there aren't a lot players with those characteristics. I seem to be one of them. I wouldn't have a problem with starting as back-up. Of course, when I would have a similar offer from another club that is also competing for the prizes and where I would have more chances to play, I would prefer that option."

Baleares regional newspaper Ultima Hora claims that Barcelona officials have informally asked about the situation of the Spanishgoalkeeper during the official dinner before the league game on 17 May. Barcelona could make an offical move in the coming weeks.

Spanish news agency EFE claims that Moyá is one of the two player Mallorca will certainly sell because of the financial situation of the club. Although several clubs, among which Barcelona, would have shown interest in Moyá, the club didn't yet receive any concrete bids. Madrid sports tabloid As claims that Mallorca would be ready to accept an offer of around 5-6 million euro°.

Read more:
Valdes exit would open door for Asenjo
Three candidates to become back-up of Valdes
Barcelona not willing to accept Valdes demands

Inter Milan opens door for transfer Ibrahimovic

Asked about the future of Inter Milan forward and Swedish international Zlatan Ibrahimovic (28), Inter Milan sports director Ernesto Paolillo has said in an interview with Italian television channel Sky that the club is ready to listen to offers:

"I know that Ibra is under contract with Inter, that we're not the ones who should do crazy things to sign him. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is an asset, so if we would receive offers, which we didn't so far, then we will evaluate them in the light of the recent international transfers. But the player is ours and we are very happy with that...

Ibra can dream of going wherever he wants, but this shouldn't harm Inter. No player can think that a club will sell him for the only reason to do him a favour. The doors are open for Barcelona? The doors are open for all clubs. The market has just started... If he doesn't leave, we will have the pleasure of seeing Ibrahimovic another season with Inter. The same goes for Maicon. No player is not for sale but there's a right price for everything."

Read more:
Inter asks record transfer fee for Ibrahimovic
Meeting with Inter on Ibrahimovic: A reconstruction

Manchester United confident of signing Eto'o

British newspaper The Guardian and The Times report that Manchester United is interested in Barcelona forward and Cameroon striker Eto'o (28).

The latter claims that the English champions are lining up a move for Eto'o. Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is eager to find a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo as soon as possible and would have made a firm inquiry about Eto'o.

Manchester United would be confident of getting the striker and looks like beating their city-rivals Manchester City. While City reportedly offered 30 million euro° for Eto'o and was prepared to make him the highest-paid player in the Premier League, United would hope to secure a deal for less.

Italian sports paper La Gazzetta dello Sport claims that Barcelona has offered Eto'o, whose current contract expires in 2010, a three-year renewal worth 7,5 million euro a year, while Eto'o's agent Mesalles is asking ten million euro. Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola would have set 20 July as deadline: when the pre-season starts, the coach want to know who will be his centre forward next season.

Asked about the renewal negotiations, Barcelona president Joan Laporta said in an interview with Spanish news agency EFE that he hopes to renew the contract of Eto'o: "A lot of clubs want to sign him. We'll do what we can to renew him, to extend his contract because in my opinion he's the best goalscorer in the world and a very professional player. Things depend on two parties but I believe we can reach an agreement, although not any price."

Madrid sports tabloid As claims that like last summer Barcelona has put Eto'o on the market and has discretely offered the player to several clubs. British tabloid The Daily Mirror claims that Barcelona has offered Eto'o to Liverpool in exchange for Liverpool defensive midfielder and Argetnine international Javier Mascherano (25) (read more here).

Read more:
Agent Eto'o repeats wish to continue
Mascherano ideal candidate to strengthen midfield
Eto'o close to joining Manchester City

Txiki met with agent Bruno Alves

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain dined on Wednesday evening in Hotel La Florida in Barcelona with Jorge Mendes, the agent of Porto central defender and Portuguese international Bruno Alves (27).

Although different subjects were discussed, Begiristain mainly wanted to hear first hand from Mendes, who's also the agent of (former) Barcelona players Márquez, Deco and Quaresma, about the situation of Bruno Alves (read more here).

Before Barcelona moves for the Portuguese defender, the club wants to know what they can expect. At this point, it looks like a deal with Bruno Alves wouldn't be a problem but Porto is expected to ask a high fee for the player.

Read more:
Porto denies talks with Barcelona on Bruno Alves
Possible pre-agreement with Bruno Alves

Positive evaluation of collaboration with Unicef


Barcelona president Joan Laporta travelled to New York this week to look back at the collaboration with Unicef over the past three years. The general outcome of the collaboration has been very positive with the support given to three Unicef projects which form part of the campaign "Unite For Children, Unite against Aids".

The ties between UNICEF and the FC Barcelona Foundation started in 2006 when the club signed an agreement with the international body for 5 years and an economic contribution of 1.5 million Euros per year with the aim of jointly carrying out programmes aimed at vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS, orphans or with risk of social exclusion.

In Swaziland, which is a country with the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the world. Barça and UNICEF are in a race against time to stop the vicious cycle of the infection. 1.1 million people are infected, more than 30% of children are orphans, 49% of women between 25 and 29 are HIV positive and 21.5% of children are born infected. The help from Barça has enabled to increase the means for the fight against aids. Recently, the alliance with UNICEF has expanded to the countries of Malawi and Angola.

The agreement between the FC Barcelona Foundation and UNICEF is set within the programmes of collaboration that the team from Barcelona carries out with the United Nations. Besides from collaborating with UNICEF, the Fundació FC Barcelona also has pioneer alliances with UNESCO and UNHCR / ACNUR (the UN agency for Refugees).

read more about the trip to new york here and here

Read more:
Barcelona coaches instruct Vietnamese children
Barcelona president visits India

[Valiente] Huesca-Sevilla B

Spanish second division team Sevilla Atlético, the second team of first division club Sevilla, played last weekend their 40th league game of the season. They lost 3-0 against Huesca.

Former Barcelona Atlètic player Marc Valiente (21) played the whole game.

Because Barcelona has the right to buy Valiente back at the end of this season (read more here), this blog will follow the performances of the central defender during the season.

Sunday 31 August - League game 1: Albacete-Sevilla Atlético 2-1
Injured. Valiente has pubis problems.

Sunday 7 September - League game 2: Sevilla Atlético-Salamanca 1-1
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Central defender.

Sunday 14 September - League game 3: Córdoba-Sevilla Atlético 1-1
Injured. Valiente has an ankle injury.

Sunday 21 September - League game 4: Sevilla Atlético-Rayo Vallecano 0-0
Substitute. Valiente plays the second half. Defensive midfielder.

Sunday 28 September - League game 5: Levante-Sevilla Atlético 2-0
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Sunday 5 October - League game 6: Sevilla Atlético-Real Sociedad 1-0
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Central defender.

Saturday 11 October - League game 7: Las Palmas-Sevilla Atlético 2-0
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Saturday 18 October - League game 8: Sevilla Atlético-Zaragoza 0-4
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Central defender.

Sunday 26 October - League game 9: Murcia-Sevilla Atlético 2-0
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Sunday 2 November - League game 10: Sevilla Atlético-Hércules 1-2
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Central defender.

Sunday 9 November - League game 11: Alavés-Sevilla Atlético 2-2
Starter. Valiente starts the game and is excluded in the 87th minute (2-2). Central defender. Red card.

Sunday 2 November - League game 12: Sevilla Atlético-Elche 0-2
Suspended. Due to red card.

Saturday 22 November - League game 13: Sevilla Atlético-Xerez 1-2
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Central defender. Yellow card.

Saturday 29 November - League game 14: Girona-Sevilla Atlético 1-0
Injured. Valiente has an injury.

Sunday 7 December - League game 15: Sevilla Atlético-Castellón 1-0
Injured. Valiente has an injury.

Sunday 14 December - League game 16: Gimnástic-Sevilla Atlético 3-1
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Sunday 21 December - League game 17: Sevilla Atlético-Eibar 0-0
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Sunday 4 January - League game 18: Tenerife-Sevilla Atlético 2-1
Starter. Valiente starts the game and is replaced in the 65th minute. Defensive midfielder.

Saturday 10 January - League game 19: Sevilla Atlético-Huesca 1-1
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Saturday 17 January - League game 20: Celta Vigo-Sevilla Atlético 2-0
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Sunday 25 January - League game 21: Sevilla Atlético-Alicante 2-3
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder. Yellow card.

Saturday 31 January - League game 22: Sevilla Atlético-Albacete 1-1
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Sunday 8 February - League game 23: Salamanca-Sevilla Atlético 6-0

Saturday 14 February - League game 24: Sevilla Atlético-Córdoba 0-2
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Saturday 21 February - League game 25: Rayo Vallecano-Sevilla Atlético 1-0
Injured. Valiente has an ankle injury.

Sunday 1 March - League game 26: Sevilla Atlético-Levante 1-2
Injured. Valiente has an ankle injury.

Sunday 8 March - League game 27: Real Sociedad-Sevilla Atlético 1-0
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder. Yellow card.

Saturday 14 March - League game 28: Sevilla Atlético-Las Palmas 2-2
Substitute. Valiente replaces Cabral in the 56th minute (1-2). Defensive midfielder.

Saturday 21 March - League game 29: Zaragoza-Sevilla Atlético 4-0
Substitute. Valiente replaces José Carlos in the 52nd minute (2-0). Defensive midfielder.

Saturday 28 March - League game 30: Sevilla Atlético-Murcia 3-3
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder. Yellow card.

Sunday 5 April - League game 31: Hércules-Sevilla Atlético 8-0
Suspended. Due to yellow cards.

Saturday 11 April - League game 32: Sevilla Atlético-Alavés 1-1
Starter. Valiente starts the game and is replaced in the 68th minute. Defensive midfielder. Yellow card.

Saturday 18 April - League game 33: Elche-Sevilla Atlético 2-0
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Saturday 25 April - League game 34: Xerez-Sevilla Atlético 2-0
Starter. Valiente starts the game and and is replaced in the 71st minute (2-0). Defensive midfielder.

Sunday 3 May - League game 35: Sevilla Atlético-Girona 2-1
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Sunday 10 May - League game 36: Castellón-Sevilla Atlético 3-0
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Sunday 17 May - League game 37: Sevilla Atlético-Nástic 1-3
Substitute. Valiente replaces Cabral in the 80th minute (1-3). Defensive midfielder.

Sunday 24 May - League game 38: Eibar-Sevilla Atlético 2-2
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

Saturday 30 May - League game 39: Sevilla Atlético-Tenerife 0-4
Starter. Valiente starts the game and is replaced in the 70th minute (0-4). Defensive midfielder. Yellow card.

Sunday 7 June - League game 40: Huesca-Sevilla Atlético 3-0
Starter. Valiente starts the game and plays for 90 minutes. Defensive midfielder.

1. Tenerife 78
2. Xerez 78
3. Zaragoza 77
4. Hércules 72
5. Rayo 68
6. Real Sociedad 63
7. Levante 62
8. Salamanca 60
9. Castellón 59
10. Gimnástic 54
11. Elche 53
12. Huesca 50
13. Córdoba 50
14. Murcia 49
15. Girona 49
16. Albacete 48
17. Celta 46
18. Las Palmas 45
19. Alavés 40
20. Alicante 34
21. Eibar 32
22. Sevilla Atlético 17

The top three are promoted to the Primera División. The bottom four are relegated to the Spanish third division.

Deal on contract renewal Toure close

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that a renewal of the contract of Barcelona defensive midfielder and Ivorian international Yaya Touré (26) is close.

Touré will be offered a serious pay rise as a reward for his performances of the last two years and his contract will be extended for one more year, until 2012.

The player's agent Dimitri Seluk reportedly said that a the new deal will be closed soon after the poisition of both parties came closer. Seluk would now be waiting for a call from the club and could meet with Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain in the coming hours to finalize the agreement.

Read more:
Agent Toure putting pressure on renewal talks
Manchester United wants to sign Toure

Barcelona interested in PSG defender Sakho

Asked about the rumours linking Paris Saint-Germain central defender and French youth international Mamadou Sakho (19) with a move to several European top clubs, the player's agent Tim Hager has said in an interview with British sports site Sport that Barcelona has also shown interest:

"He will be moving clubs this summer. Arsenal are interested, but the club are too cheap at the moment. I think a transfer will happen soon. He wants to play football in England and Arsenal are a good club but Manchester United is a better club. Arsenal want him, but Manchester United not yet.

Barcelona in Spain, and Bayern Munich in the German league are also interested. They are all the teams at the moment that are interested in the player. But the most interested club is Arsenal, they want him the most. Bayern Munich is a top European club, so I think it will be Bayern or Arsenal."

Read more:
Zhirkov prefers to join Barcelona
Liverpool and Juventus interested in Abidal
Deportivo will sell left back Filipe this summer

Friday 12 June 2009

Quote of the day: Laporta

We are shaping players to become the FIFA World Player, while others are buying them.

Joan Laporta, Barcelona president

Barcelona not willing to accept Valdes demands

Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain, Barcelona sports vice-president Rafael Yuste and Barcelona director of football Raúl Sanllehí met yesterday with the representatives of Barcelona goalkeeper Víctor Valdés (27), his father José Valdés and player's agent Ginés Carvajal.

After a first positive meeting last week on the renewal of the player, whose contract expires in 2010, it was generally believed that a deal could be closed but after 45 minutes in the Camp Nou offices things seem to have gotten only more complicated.

Asked about the meeting, Carvajal told journalists that a deal isn't anywhery close at this moment: "We've made an offer but we're still far away. It's complicated. The atmosphere during the meeting was correct but it won't be easy. I respect the interests of the club but Víctor never asked for a pay rise before. Now the time of the renewal is there and we can ask something.

We understand that what they offer is what they consider to be right, but the duration nor the salary is coming close to what Víctor Valdés is asking. He cannot be compared to Casillas but at this moment he's Barcelona's goalkeeper, he has won three trophies this year and he was again the goalkeeper who received the least goals in the Liga.

We're not disappointed, we're only defending the interests of the player. Víctor wishes to continue but life doesn't end at Barça. And he's not out yet, he has another year on his contract. We're not having concrete offers from other clubs but it's time to make a decision. We're 11 June, so there's time left but we want to have an answer soon so this doesn't turn into a soap opera."

Asked about the renewal negotiations with Valdés, Barcelona president Joan Laporta said in an interview with Catalan radio station RAC 1 that Valdés will have to lower his demands: "I cannot imagine Valdés wearing another shirt. I know how the meeting went and I can only hope the player perfectly knows the offer made by his agent. If he knows about it, I would like him to reconsider it. We have to be patient to see if we can reach an agreement although their demands have surprised us a lot."

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Valdés, whose salary reportedly hasn't been raised since he signed his previous contract in 2005, wants to earn as much as the group of players who are having the highest salaries behind Messi. Although Barcelona raised their first offer, they made clear that it's impossible to meet the demands of the player.

Next week there could be a new meeting but Barcelona hopes that the entourage of the player changes its position in the meantime. It's also possible that Barcelona tries to talk personally with Valdés or that Barcelona president Laporta personally takes charge of the negotiations like he did during the renewal negotiations with Xavi last year.

Madrid sports tabloid As claims that the two parties didn't schedule a new meeting but that talks are planned to go on by phone. Both the club and the player's entourage would think that some time should pass to let things cool off.

Read more:
Valdes wins his second Zamora trophy
Toure rejects first renewal offer
Agent Valdes putting pressure on renewal talks

Atletico ready to listen to offers for Aguero

Asked about the rumours linking Atlético Madrid forward and Argentinian international Sergio 'Kun' Agüero (21) with several European top clubs (read more here), Atlético Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has seemed to invite clubs to make a bid in an interview with Monaco radio station RMC:

"We will only start talking if we receive an interesting offer. Many people have spoken about Aguero but the truth is that Atletico have not been contacted by anyone so far."

Read more:
Aguero hints at Barcelona move
A goalkeeper, a left back and a striker
Barcelona has first option on Aguero

Barça B - Official: Abraham to Cadiz

Spanish second division club Cádiz officially announced today the transfer of Barcelona Atlètic midfielder Abraham González (23), who was presented this afternoon.

The Catalan midfielder, whose contract with Barcelona Atlètic expired this summer, signed a two-year contract with Cádiz, that just has promoted back to the second division.

Barcelona has
confirmed the news. Abraham joined Barcelona B in the summer of 2007 arriving from Spanish third division club Terrassa and played this season with the first team in the last league game against Deportivo and in the cup game against Benidorm.

Read more:
Barça B: Xavi Torres will join Malaga
Barça B: Edu Oriol will sign for two years

Manchester United wants to sign Toure

British tabloid The Daily Telegraph claims that Barcelona defensive midfielder and Ivorian international Yaya Touré (26) is one of the five names on Manchester United's transfer target list. Touré would be valued at 17,5 million euro°.

British tabloid The Daily Mail also claims that Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson would like to sign Touré, while British tabloid The Sun claims that Arsenal is preparing a 17,5 million euro bid for the Ivorian midfielder. Inter Milan and AC Milan would also be interested.

Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona is still confident about being able to renew the contract of Touré. The club would now first like to talk personally with the player to know his opinion about the renewal offer. A meeting could be scheduled next week when Touré will be back in Barcelona.

Read more:
Agent Toure putting pressure on renewal talks
Inter Milan dreaming of Toure
Talks with Manchester City on Toure transfer

Barça B goalkeeper Mino will be promoted

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona Atlètic goalkeeper Rubén Miño (20) will be promoted to the first team next season.

Miño would replace Barcelona third goalkeeper Albert Jorquera, who is believed to leave Barcelona during the summer transfer window.

Read more:
Barça B: Season over for goalkeeper Mino
Barcelona planning six transfers
Malaga and Betis interested in Jorquera

Goals Eto'o 2008-2009 (part 5 - the end)

watch previous parts
part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4

watch the goals of Messi

Barça B: Xavi Torres will join Malaga

Malaga regional newspaper Diario Sur claims that Spanish first division club Málaga has reached an agreement with Barcelona Atlètic defensive midfielder and captain Xavi Torres (22).

Xavi Torres would join Málaga for free thanks to the good relations between the clubs and will soon sign a five-year contract with Málaga, including a buyout clause that goes up every year.

Madrid sports tabloid As claims that Málaga will announce the transfer later today. Xavi Torres is on holiday and will sign the contract though fax. His agent Raúl Verdú would have closed the deal yesterday evening. The midfielder could be presented by Málaga in the coming days.

Read more:
Barcelona B captain could join Aris Saloniki
B players happy with first team chance
Deportivo interested in several Barcelona players

Premier League Clubs Deep in Debt

author: David Conn
source: The Guardian

date: 2 June 2009

England's 20 Premier League clubs owe a total of £3.1bn in bank overdrafts, loans and other borrowings, according to the latest published financial information. The accounts for the clubs, mostly documenting the year to May, June or July 2008, show that the FA chairman, Lord Triesman, significantly underestimated football's indebtedness when he cautioned last October that debts in the sport as a whole, including the Football League and the FA itself, were at £3bn.

Manchester United and Chelsea were by far the most indebted, owing £699m and £701m respectively, Arsenal were third, with £416m debts and Liverpool, the other top four club, were understood to owe around £280m; their accounts, due to be filed at Companies House last week, are overdue*.

The debts of those top four clubs, incurred in very different ways, demonstrate the extremes to which Premier League clubs' finances have been taken. United, Premier and European Champions League winners in that 2007-08 season, nevertheless made a loss of £44.8m because of the swingeing interest the club pays on its debts. United owed £699m to financial institutions because the Florida-based Glazer family, who bought the club in 2005 largely with borrowed money, then loaded their own debts on to the club. In just three years to 2008, £263m has become payable by United in interest alone**.

Liverpool's debt is similar, owed by the club's holding company, and including the £185m borrowed by the north American businessmen, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, when they acquired the club in 2007.

At Chelsea, by contrast, no money is owed to banks; the entire £701m was an interest-free loan made by the club's owner, Roman Abramovich, since he bought Chelsea in 2003. The Russian oligarch has poured money in to pay for players whose wages the club would otherwise not be able to afford, in his hunger to claim football trophies. Since the accounts were published, Chelsea, partly as a response to Triesman's warning about high debt levels, announced that Abramovich had reduced his loan to £339.8m, converting the rest to shares in the club.

Arsenal is the only Premier League club that incurred significant debt to carry out long-term investment. The club borrowed £260m originally to build the new Emirates Stadium, and a further £133m to convert the old Highbury ground into flats.

The 20 clubs' accounts*** show that despite booming incomes, which include the first season of a record £2.7bn TV deal which runs from 2007-10, Premier League clubs increasingly rely on subsidies from billionaires who now mostly own the clubs. Manchester United's takeover may have resulted in huge sums going out of the club in interest payments, but 15 of the 20 clubs in last season's top flight are now subsidised by owners. The smaller Premier League clubs are struggling to compete financially, and as they are desperate to avoid relegation out of football's golden circle, they have been urgently seeking backers of their own. In the last week, two more clubs, Sunderland and Portsmouth have announced takeovers.

The Premier League defends the financial picture presented, arguing that the levels of debt are generally manageable, given rising turnovers and the improved TV deal. Wages, for players and administrative staff, rose to £1.095bn, but at an average 55% of turnover that is generally reckoned to be sustainable.

The top clubs' directors have also seen their salaries rise way above those for directors of non-football companies with similar turnover. Ten directors in football were paid over £1m in 2007-08. Keith Edelman Arsenal's former managing director, was paid the most: £2,726,000 in total, including a £1,056,000 payoff when he left the club on 1 May 2008.

Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, maintained his status as Britain's highest paid trade union official, with a salary package of £972,087.

* Some reports have been published since this article appeared about Liverpool’s finances. Read more here.

** Read more about Mancehster United's debt here.
*** More details with figures included of the returns filed by all 20 clubs

read the full and original article here

Read more:
Rome final will boost European economy
Financial impact of Champions League qualification
A profit of 16 million euro halfway the season
Proposal to limit spending on transfers and salaries

[2008] Difficult negotiations with Arsenal on Hleb

this post was published exactly one year ago:

Several sources in England and Spain report that the negotiations, started on Tuesday, between Arsenal and Barcelona on the transfer of Arsenal midfielder and Belarussian international Alexander Hleb (27) are not advancing as well as expected before by Barcelona.

British tabloid The Daily Mirror claims that Barcelona launched a first bid of 10 million euro° which is far below what Arsenal would want to receive for Hleb.

British tabloid The Daily Star claims that Arsenal is asking at this moment 25 million euro° and more concretely translated this in demanding 5 million euro° plus Barcelona defensive midfielder and Ivory Coast international Yaya Touré (25) in exchange.

Barcelona would have rejected the option to include Touré in the deal (read more
here). Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain is quoted by the tabloid as saying: "We want Yaya to stay with us and he is not on the market. Guardiola considers him to be an important player in his new project." Catalan sports paper Sport confirms that this plan has clearly been rejected by Barcelona.

Although Bayern Munich would be preparing a 20 million euro° bid, Catalan sports paper El Mundo Deportivo says that Barcelona is calm and patient because they already have a personal deal with Hleb (read more
here). And the experience shows that a player normally ends up playing with the team of his choice.

Hleb said earlier this week in an interview with German sports magazine Kicker that the rumours about his future are making him nervous: "All that paper talk is annoying. I have not signed anything with Bayern or Barcelona or any other club for that matter. There's so much speculation and so much talking. While I just want some peace and time to sit down with my closest friend and agent Niki Spilevski to make up my mind about my future."

Read more 12 June 2008 news:
Pirlo in case Hleb fails
Tough and expensive Villa race coming up
Scolari will take Deco with him to Chelsea
Portsmouth manager confirms Gudjohnsen interest

Barcelona bid for Ribery

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona has made a bid for Bayern Munich attacker and French international Franck Ribéry (26).

Barcelona would have offered Bayern Munich a transfer fee of 40 million euro°, with the option to include players in the deal. The German club is yet to reply. Ribéry and his agent would also have been informed about the offer.

Ribéry's agent Alain Migliaccio is meanwhile unconfirmedly quoted as saying a few days ago in an interview with Monaco radio station RMC that the Frenchman can at the highest cost 50 million euro: "If you see that Kaká has been signed for 67 million, you cannot ask more than 50 million for a player who never has won the Champions League and never was between the top players on the list of the FIFA world player of the year."

Asked about the rumours linking Ribéry with several European top clubs, Bayern Munich general manager Uli Hoeness said in an interview with Munich tabloid TZ that they are reluctant to sell unless: "We have said that we will only negotiate under certain conditions. Namely, when the other club wants to do crazy things." The tabloid claims that Bayern will only consider a bid of well over 60 million euro.

Read more:
Barcelona president talks with Ribery by phone
Hleb could be part of Ribery deal
Total deal on Ribery transfer

Madrid's plan to finance top transfers revealed

* Barcelona's shirt sales have broken all records *

And since my biggest worry as a president is to sell shirts...

... I have decided that this will be Madrid's second shirt.

Let's see if we can take advantage of the blaugrana 'boom'.

(click the cartoon to enlarge)


see more cartoons here

Hleb will stay next season

Asked about the rumour that Barcelona tried to include Barcelona attacker and Belarusian international Alexander Hleb (28) in the transfer deal on Inter Milan player Ibrahimovic (read more here), the player's agent Uli Ferber has said in an interview with Italian football site Tuttomercatoweb that the player doesn't intend to leave:

"I have not been informed about this possibility, not by Inter and not by Barcelona. The wish of my client is anyhow to respect his contract with his current club."

Barcelona sports director Txiki Begiristain is meanwhile quoted by Baden-Württemberg regional newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung as saying that Hleb will certainly stay: "We did not fight so hard to sign him last year just for that."

Read more:
Hleb does not want to leave
Meeting with Inter on Ibrahimovic: A reconstruction
Stuttgart cannot afford to sign Hleb

Porto denies talks with Barcelona on Bruno Alves

Asked about the rumours linking Porto central defender and Portuguese international Bruno Alves (27) with a move to Barcelona (read more here), Porto general director Antero Henrique has denied talks in an interview with Portuguese sports paper O Jogo:

"We are not negotiating with any club because of the simple fact that we didn't receive any offer, we weren't contact and nobody has asked for him. There is nothing going on with Bruno Alves, that's why we don't understand the reports that are talking about negotiations between Porto and Barcelona.

A player like Bruno Alves doesn't have a price. What we have is a buyout clause and that's 30 million euro°. Porto is the home of Bruno Alves, where he feels good and where he's loved. The president has always supported him and didn't want to sell him even when he wasn't part of the first squad. But of course the wish of Porto cannot be disconnected from the wish of the player."

Portuguese sports paper A Bola nevertheless claims that Bruno Alves will almost certainly join Barcelona this summer. Although the clubs haven't officially admitted that negotiations are ongoing, a deal would be close.

Asked about his future, Bruno Alves told journalists yesterday that he's waiting to see what could happen: "Nothing has been decided yet. We will see what will happen. I'm happy at Porto. I had a very good season but all players always look for more and better. And I'm not different than the others. I believe in my qualities but I will let things happen in a natural way. I'm not saying that I'm dissatisfied at Porto. The opposite is true. Porto has given me everything and I'm very thankful. If it's good for the club and everyone involved, we will let things happen."

Read more:
Deal on Bruno Alves very close
Possible pre-agreement with Bruno Alves

Third game US tour against Chivas

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona will play their third game of the summer tour in the United States against American Major League Soccer team Chivas.

The game will be played on 8 or 9 August in a city near San Francisco yet to be confirmed but presumably Oakland (read more

Read more:
Pre-season tour in United States confirmed
Summer games calendar
Pre-season will start in London

Van Persie, Malouda and Mata next on the list

Catalan sports paper Sport claims that Barcelona is already looking at other options in case the transfer of Bayern Munich player Ribéry wouldn't be possible.

Arsenal winger and Dutch international Robin van Persie (25 - picture), Chelsea left winger and French international Florent Malouda (28) and Valencia left winger Juan Manuel Mata (21) would, in that order, be the other players preferred by the coaching staff for the left wing.

Read more:
Barcelona reconsidering Van Persie transfer
Barcelona planning six transfers
Malouda is on the list

Thursday 11 June 2009

The aftermath Season Ramble-Defense

The aftermath Season Ramble-Defense
By: Ramzi Tanani

The Transfer Market Flu!

I think the talks about future transfers is the topic that pump the hot blood to the heads these days. Even though in this series I am basically evaluating last season, but it’s important to take some notes based on the discussions on the blog regarding transfer targets:

1) Calm Down. No need to get crazy about Barcelona approach while dealing with transfer market activities. We will end up being the only team in football history (since I started to follow) that buy as many players as we will after winning a treble.

2) Related to the previous point, We already have a squad that’s considered as the best in the world. With the same players we have at the moment we can make another run for next season. So it’s important not to compare the transfers activity of an accomplished team like Barcelona to that of some other teams who make a string of Panic buys.

3) It’s completely unfair to doubt the board quality. Its nonsense! If this board doesn’t satisfy the fans needs after winning a treble, then the fans are too spoiled to be satisfied.

4) Straight to the point, it’s easy to get Kaka if you are ready to pay 65 Millions. Really.(or £80million For C.Ronaldo?). But would that be a good deal? No, not even if he is Ibrahimovic. We were able to get Ibrahimovic last week. Based on rumors we only needed to offer Inter Eto’o Plus 40 M. To make reasonable deals you need more time and effort. And all what we need is reasonable deals. We are not desperate. We have our great players. If we can get some more quality for the right price then great, if not then we have to start the new season with the squad we have. Where we will only count on:

- The best Keeper we can get.
- One of the best Right backs.
- The best center back for Barcelona (Pique, as I will explain later). Added to Puyol, Marquez and co.
- One of the strongest left Backs defensively. Which is exactly what we need.
- One of the best Defensive midfielders.
- The best play maker in the world with no one to even come close (Xavi).
- The Most Versatile player in the world and of the best quality (Iniesta).
- One of the best utility Players. (Keita, believe it, it’s true).
- One of the most promising midfielders (Busquets).
- The best Player in the world (Messi).
- The Record smasher goal scorer Eto’o.
- The best striker in the world in the last 10 years, and still he is when he play in position. And one of our best performers in the season of treble. (Henry)
- The best youth talents in the world.

I know we are unlucky, that’s all what we have. Wrong. I think we are in a luxurious position. So we can only calm down and monitor how things will go. Any additional player is a plus to the lethal arsenal we already have.

Now back to the Season evaluation:

Carles Puyol:

I admit, He proved me wrong. After a notably continuous decline in form and performance as seasons passed by, I thought the countdown is starting to tick. I was wondering how will Pep Guardiola establish Puyol transition from being a key member to become a squad player(we do not want another RAUL story at Barcelona). Puyol felt the challenge. He raised up to it. Before euro 2008, he requested the assistant of a group of specialists who analyzed his game and recommended a training program to Improve his overall attributes. This season he showed more tactical awareness, more positioning discipline (though it’s not one of his natural gifts), and an extraordinary fitness level compared to previous seasons. One of our star performers.

Gerard Pique:

Since the day Matthias Sammer retired, There was no other Centre back who impressed me the way Pique did this season. We can create any excuse for Sir Alex Fergusson for letting this huge talent leave his team, but honestly the only thing I can conclude is that no matter how huge your name is as a coach, there will still be some players who may have a very strong presence that you can’t gamble letting them unsatisfied. I am talking here about Ferdinand. Because Pique is not only a better defender, he is a different class. For sure, he improved a lot this season, but the only reason was that he played more. Pique proved this season that the more you let him feel you are counting on him, and the more responsibilities you hook on his shoulders, the better he performs.

There are three things I always appreciated in German football: Their Machine-like style, determination, and the string of unbelievable Libero players they provided in the world of football, from Beckenbauer, to mattheus, to sammmer and lot of little less interesting ones in between. But since a while we never witnessed a talented center defender of that brand, but more an Italian-type, strong yet with absolute defensive attributes. Pique is the Ancient German type of libero, defensively strong, but at the same time he is a play maker, and a goal scorer. He created more threat in five minutes against Chelsea when he moved forward than the whole team made in 90 minutes.

Without any doubt, quality wise, he compete with Alves for “The 2008 best transfer” Crown. Quality vs. price, he is the best signing Barcelona made since Ronaldinho.

The best part? He is just warming up. If he keep improving on the same rate, he will be a corner stone for Barcelona future.

Rafael Marquez:

Proved being a good card for Guardiola to use. He lacked consistency and failed to impress from time to time. But his overall performance was solid. His presence also proved an impact on pique improvement as well. Their partnership proved being successful. His most concerning weakness is his adventurous tackles inside the box, which usually come after late positioning. His strength is being so fitting to Barcelona where defense need to have the quality of passing the ball around. His Over-seas passes is a world Class as well. After some doubts last summer, Guardiola reassured him he is needed. This summer there are no doubts that he is staying.

Gabriele Milito:

I still hope it’s not another Jorge Andrade case. Regardless of his future in this club. Let’s keep it simple, we can’t sell him now. No one will buy. So let’s hope he bounce back at least so he creates more depth in defense. Or maybe we loan him out with an option to call him back. We can be creative with suggestions, but as long as we don’t really know enough details about his injury, we can’t really make a clear opinion.

Just let me point out that –in his original form- he is a quality strong defender. We can’t compare Barcelona defense performance while he was playing to the defense performance now and jump to wrong conclusion. Remember the performance of the team as a whole back then, and compare it to this season output to have better conclusions. He created a great Partnership with pique when they played together at Zaragoza (pique was still learning back then). He was very solid at the beginning of the season for Barcelona when Puyol was injured back then, till the whole team collapsed.

If we believe the rumors that Barcelona are looking for a new Centre back, it may be a sign that Milito future is far from being certain with the team. But I still believe he will be a Barcelona player next season.


A four in one package. Right back, Right wing, Play maker and goal scorer. Barcelona won the final without him. But it’s hard to tell if they would have reached there without him. The way he express himself is somehow irritating, So if you are not a Barcelona fan, you will hate him. But for the Blugrana, he is just a perfect news. Alves changed the offense structure of the team. Its just amazing how that right back position turned from being an Oleguered, Zambrotized Curse to become an Alvesed bless. Defensively, he may not be the best Defender in the world. But his defense contribution is underrated or may be just overshadowed by his offense contribution. Beside his own qualities that he installed in the team, he made his teammates perform better. No need to glue Messi on the right flank anymore. With Alves making the right flank his own, Messi was released to hit the opponent defense from any spot that prove being soft. With Alves stretching the field from the right flank it turned more appropriate for Henry to cut more into the box without shrinking the field from the two flanks the same as it would happen with only Messi on the right cutting inside while henry plays on the left. But most imp[ortantly, Alves was born for barcelona style where players need to press the opponent defense in their half trying to earn back the ball.

Stamina, explosive runs, Unlimited fitness tanks, Brazilian techniques mixed with Italian Grinta. Thats what you can call, a perfect signing.

Martin Caceres:

This guy is a living sample that show the difference between playing for a Huge club as Barcelona, and playing for a normal club. Specially if you are a defender. At Recreativo He had to defend at a team that play deep, applying zonal marking in their own area. He had teammates around him, so positioning-wise it wasn’t that hard to figure out where to camp his feet to create cover and close spaces. Then as a defender, all what he needed to do is to get rid of the danger invading his territory. Clear the ball as far as he can counting on his teammates pace to translate the clearance to counters.

He came to Barcelona where three defenders need to cover the whole area in front of the keeper till the halfway line. Which creates more challenges to figure out how to position yourself so you are closer to all the spots of predicted threat in that wide field. Not only that, but there is also another challenge. In Barcelona, the defender role is not to get rid of the threat, but to earn back the ball and generate attacks, nonsense clearance is a sin. If you monitor Caceres performance when he played, it was obvious that the mentioned challenges were the reason why he failed to adapt fast. Positioning, and passing.

But make no mistake, this gut has the talent and is a quality for the future. But need more polishing. We will discuss pep role in delaying his progress later on. But I’ve been watching him on international level, and I still believe in him as a prospect for the future.

Eric Abidal:

I remember how risky it was to defend this guy last summer. We, a minority of Barcelona fans had a hard time explaining that his presence creates a needed balance in defense. And after signing Alves, Abidal presence became more vital. I can say with lot of confidence that Alves success with Barcelona was-Beside Alves Quality- a result of having Abidal on the other flank. They complete each other. People complain about Abidal weak contribution offense wise, compared to Alves. But let’s compare Alves contribution in defense compared to that’s of Abidal.
For two elements to complement each other they must not be identical, they must be something like that Adidal-Alves combination.


It’s as difficult to hate this guy as it is to love Pepe of Madrid. And Football God decided that this guy deserves the best Exit. Not only he won a treble, but played his final game with the team in roam and to contribute in achieving the historical glory for Barcelona. A Model professional to follow. A need for any Squad. And a player you always feel comfortable to have in your favorite club. He had a great impact this season. I was hoping that he gets a coaching/player contract for next season. So we keep him involved in the squad without counting him as a need for the selection. But the decision was different and we need to respect that. Uncle Silvio will be missed, no doubt about that.

Victor Sanchez:

Being a versatile player is a plus. It will help him to earn more starting opportunities in the future. Showed some quality, but still far from being a definite gain for the future. I think it’s better to loan him out to create a space for the other youth to get a chance. We can’t have too many youth in the first team squad. First because it will shallow the team depth and secondly because this will lead to spread playing time opportunities between them in a way that none of them will get enough time to play that makes his presence in the first team worth. But it will all depend on the future signings. If we signed no Right back, Victor may have a chance to stay.


One of the main reasons that I recommended Loaning Sanchez out. Since 2002’s Iniesta debut against Club Brugge, no youngster impressed me as fast as this boy. Iniesta back then did nothing extra ordinary. No assists, no goals, nothing special. But while evaluating a youngster, we must not give lot of attention to the “successful attempts” but for the “Original intentions”. That’s the key for the right evaluation.

The mental engine is a quality. The physical characteristics are ideal. Muniesa during his few minutes on the pitch screamed his talent loudly. He reads the game perfectly. He can predict opponents intentions as a veteran . He understands offside trap, when to set it and when it’s too late. And he has a hear of stone. That tackle where he got suspended showed lack of experience. But at the same time showed the signs of dominance. Something Defenders need to guard by soul. This guy is a quality. Pep will test him during the preseason preparations, great move! Then he will evaluate the risk of keeping him in the first team squad, or letting him patrol between the first team and Barcelona Athletic for one more season. The second option is usually more recommended. But if this guy is as good as the first impression shows, then Pep will keep him for himself in the first team squad. He will not be a starter, but only for a while.

Botía, Córcoles, and Montoya(though it’s too early for this one) are good options as well. But I think it’s better to swing them between the First team and Barca Athletic for one more season.
Adding the youth guns to the already accomplished star we have in Pique, and the selective signings of Caceres and Henrique, I believe Barcelona can look forward to the future with lot of excitement. Not only because it’s a normal thing to have the best young midfielders and forwards in the world, but also because we have the best group of young players to guard our defense for years to come.

Signings by priorities:

1) It seems that Caceres is yet to prove himself on the flank, and even if it happened, he is not a wing back but more a left defender/left back. Maxwel of Inter is a good option, so as Filipe (Deportivo). I may add Ivan Marcano (Racing to that list).

2) If Milito situation became more complicated, and especially if Henrique needs more time to be trusted, Then a Center back will be a priority over a Right back. Because getting a Center back will give Pep an option to use Puyol as a right back when needed. He already proved (specially against Man Utd) that he can perform on the right better than most of the transfer targets we can buy for that position. Getting a center back creates more depth both at the center and on the right flank. The 190 Cm tall Bruno Alves is a good option.

3) Right back: We can’t count on being as lucky as last season. A cover for Alves is a need, either by using the resources already existed in the squad or by importing a new player.

By saying so, it’s important to note that I am not expecting that the team will buy three defenders. I am only pointing out the priorities of where to buy first. But still, the availability of options rearrange the priorities sometimes. So, This is more an initial observation.

To Be continued...

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