Friday, June 29, 2007

Anyone buyin' or sellin' players?

It's as if Barry Fry or 'arry Redknapp have come to Barcelona. With Henry and Toure already signed, today saw the arrival of Eric Abidal from Lyon in a deal worth £10 million. He replaces Gio Van Bronckhorst who rejoined Feyenoord on a free transfer on Wednesday. I've only seen Abidal a few times, Champions League and the World Cup and I can't say I was wildly impressed by him. He is more defensive than Gio and seems less interested in bombing forward and being caught out of position, which is a plus. An interesting aside to Abidal's signing is that his agent is Marco Simone, the former Milan, PSG and Monaco forward.

Joining Gio in the out tray could be Edmilson and Gudjohnsen, both of whom have been linked with a move to Newcastle, a deal with the former seemingly close to being signed. Frankly I'm amazed. Edmilson is a very good player, certainly much better than Newcastle, where good players go to die. As for Gudjohnsen, I'm no fan but Owen aside he's much better than the other scrubber forwards they have on Tyneside (I don't rate Viduka or Martins at all. Viduka is a decent finisher but he's slow, overweight and never seems that bothered. Martins is just useless, he scores the odd spectacular gol but most of the time he runs around like he's on fire but with little effect) I would have thought that both Edmilson and Vanilla Ice would have more ambition and would look to sign for a better club (Edmilson was linked with Milan in January).

I wouldn't see the loss of either as being a big deal. I have ill-concealed contempt for Gudjohnsen and Edmilson has been injured an awful lot since he joined the blaugrana in 2004 and is currently out with a knee injury that could see him sidelined for up to six months.


Giuly out, to either Monaco or Marseille? Plus there's still no deal for Chivu. When I hear more dear readers, so will you. Off the record, on the QT and very hush hush.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hey Bobby, what's the Catalan for va-va-voom?

It's been almost two months since I've fallen off the blog. For a few reasons really. I've had a lot of stuff going on and I've not had the time. That and I've just gotten lazy.

In my absence Barça have thrown away La Liga, signed Thierry Henry, Yaya Toure and Rodrigo Palacio. Carles Puyol, injured in some post-season exhibition match against the Mets or the Dolphins or some shit, will be out for at least three months. Both Eto'o and Ronaldinho say that they're staying (along with coach Frank Rijkaard) and the blaugrana now have enough forwards to make up and entire team. Edmilson is crocked too.


Where to begin? Let's back up and talk Betis. Let's talk Espanyol. Let's talk about the game lasting ninety minutes and not eighty-nine. Where as Madrid were pulling it out of the fire right up until the final whistle (Recre, Espanyol and Saragossa), Barcelona were turning their backs, losing concentration and shooting themselves in the foot like Cheddar Bob in 8 Mile. There was a picture in El Mundo Deportivo the day following the Betis game that showed seven Barça players with their backs turned to Assuncao's free kick. Sorbis had slotted the ball under Valdes before most of them even realised that play had restarted.

The blaugrana played incredibly poorly that evening (I was right thurr, watching things fall apart before my very eyes) and were only one-nil thanks to an early 'dinho penalty. He would of course be withdrawn, as would Leo Messi, as Rijkaard got all catenaccio and decided that 1-0 would do nicely, forgetting of course that if there's one thing Barça like as much as scoring gols, it's conceding them. It was the same against Espanyol. Vanilla Ice off to be replaced by defensive midfielder Thiago Motta. 2-1, ten odd minutes to go, time to shut up shop. Or maybe concede a late equaliser and blow La Liga. Again. Whichever works best for you.

In this respect one has to have a grudging respect for Real Madrid. As much as Barça lost it, between Iker keeping them out and one end and Ruud putting them away at the other, they stepped up and won it. Becks roared back to remind everyone he's actually still quite brilliant and what a shame it will be to lose his talent to the Lakers. Guti, when not diving or moaning played some incredible stuff; his performance against Sevilla was as good a forty-five minutes I've seen anyone play all season.


So what now? On the back of such a pathetic capitulation changes needed to be made. A new centre back, a left back, a defensive midfielder who's knees aren't made of glass and maybe even a golkeeper (though to be fair to Victor Valdes he's been excellent this season past, it's the clowns in front of him that have been to blame). Thus it came as no surprise when on Friday last news leaked out that Thierry Henry had agreed a four year deal and would officially be presented at the Camp Nou on Monday. This of course in addition to Palacio from Boca Boca Boca. And Yaya Toure, who, and surely there's been some mistake here, isn't a forward.

With Saviola the only player who has left thus far (Javier was shockingly treated by Mes Que Un Club, not even in the squad against Espanyol for what would have been his final home game after five years at Barcelona. How it galls me to see that waster Gudjohnsen wearing Javier's number seven shirt...) and both 'dinho and Eto'o stating that they're going to stay, it's difficult to see where exactly Henry will fit in. As for Palacio, I mean honestly. What. The. Fuck? Is Maxi Lopez lonely or something? He doesn't stand a chance and if he has any sense will reconsider (the deal has yet to be officially confirmed but it's been an open secret for about a month now). Toure's arrival I assume will see the end of Motta (Txiki said as much today) I like Motta a lot but he's just not good enough.

Continuing the buy, buy, buy theme is Christian Chivu, again surprisingly not a forward, who looks to be on his way form AS Roma. Chivu is awesome and if La Liga is to be won next season I fancy it'll be on the back of his defending and not Henry's va-va-voom.

To balance this huge outlay (£16 million for Henry and £8 million for Toure thus far). I'd expect to see at least six of the current squad take a walk. The aforementioned Motta, Gudjohnsen, Maxi Lopez, the criminally underused Santi Ezquerro, Giuly, who has been heavily linked with a move back to Monaco and Gio, who looks like signing for Feyenoord in the next few days if Sport is to be believed (and yes I know, typically it's not)

Injury Time

Before I go there are a few things worthy of mention. My favourite blaugrana is back at the club. Pep Guardiola, the best midfielder the club have ever produced (well that I've seen anyway) is the new coach of Barça B.

Secondly, now have forums in English, great for the likes of me who don't speak a word of catalan beyond bona nit and asking for la nota.

Finally, a good article written by Jonathan Wilson about young Bojan that is worth a read. And that's how the game be played yo. I'll hit you up later in the week when there's more transfer news. It feels to be back. Peace out.