In one of the more memorable transfer summers in recent history (from a Culés perspective) some of my wishes were actually granted. Gone are bit-part players like Bojan and Jeffren, deadweight and potential disaster in the making aka Gabriel Milito, while the Blaugrana acquired one of the brightest prospects in the game, Alexis Sanchez. Throw in a bonus, albeit an expensive one, in the form of Cesc Fabregas and I’m willing to consider this a very good, if not spectacular, transfer window indeed. However, FC Barcelona failed to address one area that is in dire need of reinforcements, central defense. I assume I’m one of the few Culés who is never satisfied, no matter how much quality Pep Guardiola & Co. adds to a squad, already considered to be one of the best in history. It’s just a weird knack of mine. My late grandfather taught me to always overestimate the opposition. After all, it’s better to overestimate your opponent rather than to underestimate them. Add to the fact that I’m eternally pessimistic and you’ll understand why I’m so concerned. Watching Andreu Fontas warming up – at any point before or during the game – causes me a mild seizure, witnessing him entering the pitch and I will have probably fainted by the time he touches the ball. I just don’t like him. He is not Barca material. Whatever the fabric is that Blaugrana icons such as Carles Puyol, Xavi or Lionel Messi are made of…they ran out of it when Fontas was admitted to La Masia.
If there is indeed some X-Men type of genetic mutation also known as the Barca DNA, then Andreu Fontas is, by all accounts, Blaugrana inferior. Ever since its inception a couple of decades ago, FC Barcelona’s in-house football factory, La Masia, has produced some outstanding talent. The latest production line features one youngster in particular, a player already earmarked for superstardom, Thiago Alcantara. Therefore it is only understandable that the famed academy also produces some duds such as Andreu Fontas. He’s arguably the only La Masia graduate that didn’t attract the interest of any European heavyweight. It speaks volumes of his standing in the game. Even Fran Merida, who is nowhere to be found these days, managed to catch the attention of Arsenal FC, or more specifically, Arsene Wenger. A couple of years ago Fran Merida was considered an exciting prospect, at present even the CIA couldn’t track his whereabouts.
FC Barcelona > Arsenal FC > FC Barcelona…yeah, since these two clubs seem to share a similar philosophy, though ultimately different fortunes, it appears to have infested the minds of many that Gunners and Blaugrana are interchangeable. Over the years many, more than I care to count, ex-Arsenal players have worn the shirt of FC Barcelona, once again, to varying degrees of success. Some were solid (Sylvinho), some good (Thierry Henry), some are showing signs of being exceptional (Cesc Fabregas) while some others have been, and are (as long as they are on FC Barcelona’s books) abysmal. Alexandr Hleb qualifies for the latter. During his Blaugrana career (it even pains me to write this) he has made 36 appearances for the club, all in his debut season for FC Barcelona, the only one he actually spent in Catalunya. Nevertheless, he made all those appearances in the historic treble season of 2008/2009, meaning, he has more Champions League medals than world-beaters such as (name your favorite player here) while contributing next to nothing. That’s why I’m hoping the rumors of an imminent transfer to Bundesliga side Vfl Wolfsburg are true. Please don’t play with my feelings, or worse, hopes. If my two biggest wishes aren’t granted, a central defender and the exit of Andreu Fontas, let me at least enjoy the departure of Alexandr Hleb. According to FOX News (Latino) the German side, managed by Felix "Quälix" Magath no less, are indeed interested in the services of the Belarusian.
Take him, NOW! There’s absolutely no chance FC Barcelona will recoup the majority of their €15 million investment, if anything at all. In retrospect, he was never an investment (his mug doesn’t really sell shirts), and never worth €15 million to begin with. What’s worse, he probably earned a massively inflated salary thanks to the one decent campaign (his last) he had with the Gunners. Somehow the drama surrounding his transfer from Arsenal London to FC Barcelona mirrors the situation of another departed Arsenal player, Samir Nasri. But really, that’s like comparing a Mercedes to a Skoda. Whatever the case might be, I do hope Alexandr Hleb leaves FC Barcelona.
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