BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 29: Head coach Josep Guardiola of FC Barcelona gestures during the celebrations after winning the UEFA Champions League Final against Manchester United at Camp Nou Stadium on May 29, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Here at Barca Blaugranes, we offered you the chance to ask us questions, that we would in turn answer in an article. The response was disappointing, but nonetheless, we did have some questions.
Here is our response, with answers from yours truly, Bostjan Cernensek and Paul Udani.
The first three questions are from ShubhiFootballFanatic
1.Which players you guys think should leave this season (on loan or sold)?
Bostjan Cernensek: Most definitely everybody that was on loan this season will leave and they are Zlatan Ibrahimović, Alexander Hleb, Keirrison, Henrigue and Victor Sánchez. Joining them on the way out should be Gabriel Milito and Jeffren. I like Jeffren don't get me wrong, but he has clearly lost his place on the team and if either Rossi or Alexis Sanchez joins the team Jeffren won't even make the 18-man squad. If money won't be needed allow Jeffren to leave on loan so he can at least play for the year and return after that. I'm sure there will be no objections regarding Milito.
Arron Duckling: In my opinion, there is not much need for a huge overhaul of the playing staff. Sure, I would like to see a few players sold on, like all the loan players, with the possible exception of Keirrison. This would mean more money to spend in the transfer market, but is it really necessary to spend big?
The media have ensured that every man and his dog have been linked with the Blaugrana, though only a few seem viable options. These are Cesc, Sanchez and Rossi. Barca should steer way clear of Cesc, and in my opinion, the transfer of Rossi would have a detrimental effect on the state of the league. That leaves Sanchez, and I wouldn’t mind a deal being done there, so long as it is for a sensible price (25-30 million).
Personally, I admire javier Pastore, but his services seem out of reach, but I think I have a player that is Barca quality for a fraction of his price. I think Guardiola and co should seriously consider Andres Guardado, from the relegated Deportivo. 5 million would probably suffice there.
Other than that, I reckon Barca could do with one defender, who could preferably fill in any position along the back line. Other than that, I think promotions of youth players (Fontas, Bartra, Thiago) are the way to go.
Paul Udani: Jeffren should definitely leave. He's 23 now, he should be getting the playing time. He'll start for a lot of La Liga teams, but not this one, considering Pedro is a favorite of Pep and Villa is still David Villa. Maxwell is another guy who should leave. With Adriano and Abidal ahead of him in the pecking order at LB, he's just about done, as far as this team is concerned. Should I add Milito here? Of course, he's a trainwreck.
2.Which players from those rumored to be joining Barca (Rossi, Sanchez, Neymar, Cesc and I dunno who else) would be the best addition to the team?
BC: Personally I would leave Neymar for somebody else, as I don't think he has the right attitude to play for Barca, especially until Guardiola is the coach. I would welcome any one of the other three, but neither of them for a ridiculous fee, which seems to be impossible. I have a feeling that Rossi's addition would help us the most, especially if Bojan leaves. Sanchez would be mostly used on the wing, where I think Barcelona have enough players to cover and the midfield is already crowded (when you count in Thiago). To sum up I would first go after Rossi, then Sanchez and only then I would turn to Cesc.
AD: Of the players linked, the best for the team is probably Rossi or Sanchez. Rossi could play anywhere across the front, and has La Liga experience. Though, I am not too keen on that particular transfer.
Sanchez would offer pace, and dribbling skills, which you need to suceed at the Camp Nou. He could also offer a different type of threat to Villa, but I’m not too sure how he would feel about a place on the bench...
PU: The next CB linked to us should be the best addition to the team. We're certainly not lacking in midfield and attack, just the back line.
3. Do you think Barca need to buy Cesc?
BC: Need to buy, no, but they will. When it will happen is anyone's guess, but it can happen tomorrow or in 2014 when his contract is up. Barcelona have a number of young, talented midfielders in the B team that are ready, or are close to being ready. Thiago can start playing with the first team today and Sergi Roberto and Jonathan dos Santos would need one more year to be first team ready. Behind them there is Rafa, who some say is even better than his brother Thiago. So there is really no need to buy Cesc. But if he comes to Barca would we welcome his additon? Of course, he is one of the best midfielders in the world, but let's not go overboard with the transfer fee.
AD: As of right now? Not at all. Don’t get me wrong, he is a great player, and would improve our team, but is he necessary? Probably not. Looking at Thiago’s stats from the under – 21 tournament, this guy is the closest thing to Xavi, and should be treated accordingly, with more minutes. Cesc would be good, and I would welcome his signing, but as of now, I would not buy him.
PU: I've said this before and I'll say it again: no. Perhaps if Thiago hasn't shown himself to be capable of handling the role, but Thiago at times this season has looked great. Consistency is an issue for him, but he's still young. And no, Cesc can't play the holding midfielder role.
4. Do you think Mourinho's tactics against Barca will change in his second year as Madrid's coach or will he stick to his tried-and-tested ways?
BC: Mourinho won't change a thing. He knows this defensive tactic gives him the best chance to win and furthermore he has the personnel to play it. But for him to succeed he needs to have eleven men on the pitch, which by now we know isn't an easy task for a number of Mourinho's players.
AD: That’s an interesting one, as Mourinho has been defeated at least once, whichever tactics he plays. However, the signings of Calllejon, Sahin and Altintop tell me that his new plan will be to overload the midfield, rather than sit back and absorb the pressure. No doubt his tactics cause Barca problems, and he recognises this, so uses them whenever he gets the chance. The thing he may ramp up, is the media offensive. Yes, he got into trouble for it, but it worked.
I don’t think it will work, and with a bit of luck, Mourinho will be elsewhere at the start of 2012/13.
PU: No, I don't expect Mourinho to change. Why should he have to? It's found to be the most effective way to play against Barca so far.
The only other person was Inder Methil and here are our answers for him:
1) Is it true that the 2 big teams share half the TV rights? Also how difficult is it for Bilbao, Atletico, Sevilla, Villarreal and Valencia to actually put up some semblance of a fight financially (and hence victory on the pitch) by means other than the TV rights?
BC: Barca and Real Madrid have the majority of the TV money and until that changes don't expect anybody else to make a run for the title. It's very difficult for smaller team to get big amounts of money because, well, they haven't won a title in a lot of cases in decades (or ever) and because they are not the big two and therefore aren't than marketable. Right now the best chance for those teams is to get a Saudi or Dubai owner that will bring in a bag of cash for new players. Just look at what Málaga did in the second half of the season with the new money.
AD: It is true that Barca and Madrid dominate the TV rights, but they have earned it with their years of success and "attractive football". This does mean that no-one else gets the chance to break the cycle, and this means more money for Barca and Real, but this money does mean that Real and Barca are not just the best in Spain, but in Europe and the World.
It is tough for the other teams, but they can finance their challenge with the sale of players, sponsorship deals etc. Bilbao though can only employ Basque players, so that is more of a hinderance than money could ever be.
To suceed, they just need to invest in the future, as Bilbao have done to great effect. They can sell on players for huge profits (Aguero at Atleti) and then invest this in players, or youth development. It will take a while, but other clubs will win the title in the future.
PU: Not really sure, but I've heard Barca and Real Madrid get the lions' share of the revenue while the other teams scramble for the leftovers. It's quite difficult for the other teams to compete with the big two, that's why revenue sharing needs to be pushed for the betterment of La Liga. Short of this, they can compete with the big two by rearing talent at their respective academies. The only problem is, the English vultures come in flashing their money, convincing the youngsters to leave.
2) What do Villarreal specifically have to do to close the gap at the top
BC: Villarreal had a very good first half of the season and an awful second one. Once they started loosing they couldn't pick themselves back up. Not sure if the manager is to fault here or do the players lack confidence to restart. However, you have to say that the Yellow Submarine was unlucky with injuries that killed them down the stretch. Personally I really like Villarreal, but the thing that bothers me with them is their inconsistency. They can be brilliant one game and awful the next one.
Villarreal already have a team that could easily finish the season in third place, but they could use some depth that can save them if the injury bug bites again. Oh, and one central defender would help too.
AD: To close the gap, Villarreal just need to keep on with what they are doing. Their best players are fairly young, and they need to keep them if they have any chance of winning the title or finishing second. I’m sure our friends at Villarreal USA would agree, the team was brilliant in the first half of the season, and if they could have carried on that form in the second half of the season, they might have finished higher.
The only problem is, that they are in with the two best Barca and real sides seen in a long time, so maybe the best they can hope for is a high finish (3rd-ish) and a good showing in the Champions League.
PU: Hope that a rich billionaire with nothing to do buys their team. Malaga is certainly on their way up because of that.
3) What do you think about Arsenal, how can they stop their season’s from imploding?
BC: Wenger needs to stop buying 16-17 year old kids and buy somebody with experience. In my opinion that is the only thing he is missing to start winning trophies. He needs a Puyol or a Xavi that will rally the team after a bad loss, Cesc doesn't know how to do that at just 24.
AD: Arsenal are a weird one. They do great, then awful, then great, then OK, then implode dramatically. It is sad, but it’s what you deserve, when you do not spend in the market. People point to La Masia as proof that a team doesn’t need to buy, but Barcelona suppliment their best youth players with the star names (David Villa, Alves etc). Should Arsenal invest in the transfer market, they will do a lot better.
And by far the best answer goes to Paul...
PU: Stop poaching kids and buy some veteran defenders who can actually you know, defend. Short of that, sacrifice a goat to the football gods and pray Ferguson retires and Abramovich runs out of money :)
If you have any questions for us, feel free to leave them on this article as a comment, or create a fanpost, asking us a question, and we will respond.
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Follow me on Twitter @aduckling_10
Follow Bostjan on Twitter @bcernensek
Follow Paul on er...this website