Normally, I would disregard any (transfer) rumor involving (San) Andres Iniesta. After all, Iniesta is considered to be the epitome of an anti-Galactico. While he is nothing short of spectacular on the pitch, he is refreshingly quite and media-shy off it.
Aside from being a supremely gifted footballer there’s nothing that screams global superstar. For better or worse, Andres Iniesta seems to be content by just being a footballer. If I were to start a global advertising campaign, he wouldn’t be my first choice. To be honest, I wouldn’t even consider making Iniesta the spokesperson for a blue chip company.
It’s one of the reasons why I am having a hard time processing the rumored bid from Manchester City for Iniesta’s services. The transfer fee that is being quoted ranges from 60.000.000€ to 100.000.000€. It would instantly make El Illusionista one of the most expensive players of all-time, perhaps the most expensive player.
A couple of weeks ago I wouldn’t even have bothered to address this quite outlandish rumor. But a lot has changed between the last edition of El Clasico and today. One of the major changes, or better yet, announcements of recent weeks has been the agreement to feature a shirt sponsor. The reasoning behind this – financial austerity.
Personally, I think Sandro Rosell and his administration have traded the very identity of FC Barcelona for a couple of bucks (actually this is the largest sponsorship deal in all of world football, dwarfing the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool FC and Real Madrid). What’s the official slogan of Barca again? Mes que un club – more than a club.
While Rosell has massively restricted the influx of new Socios (members) by arguing the club could lose its (Catalan) identity, he isn’t exactly averse to the idea of promoting the rich country of Qatar in exchange for top Dollar or in this case, Euro, of course. Granted, the annual membership fee from Socios doesn’t generate that much revenue for the club or does it?
The last time I have checked, the annual membership fee was around 180€. Now, FC Barcelona boast some 160.000+ members worldwide; that’s 160.000 * 180€ = 28.800.000€/annually.
But back to the matter at hand, Andres Iniesta to Manchester City. If there’s a club that has the financial muscle to execute such a large operation, it’s the Sheik Mansour-backed club from the blue half of Manchester.
Do I believe Andres Iniesta could ever leave FC Barcelona, the answer is no. On the contrary, do I think it is possible that Rosell & Co. could entertain the idea of selling Don Andres under the pretext of financial woes, than the answer is yes.
Under the current administration of Sandro Rosell, sadly everything is possible. He traded off more than a hundred years of tradition, integrity and identity for a monetary value. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d sold La Masia to Florentino Perez should it be possible.
At the end of the day all bets are off. With Rosell, anything goes (or is transferred).
Andres Iniesta Skills