Though Monday should’ve signaled the beginning of a promising week, new signing Alexis Sanchez was finally unveiled, the last seven days were a mixed bag at best. Whereas one transfer saga has been resolved, another one is still continuing. Yap, you have guessed it, FC Barcelona is still pursuing Arsenal FC’s captain, Cesc Fabregas. It goes without saying that the Blaugrana have made it a point of not meeting the Gunners £45m evaluation of their star player. My personal opinion on this delicate matter - if Alexis Sanchez transfer is potentially worth €37,5m then Arsenal’s demands are absolutely justified.
Furthermore, Arsenal legend and former FC Barcelona Thierry Henry also offered his two cents on the situation. According to the New York Red Bulls striker "Arsenal can survive without Fabregas" (The Guardian). Well, I’ll leave his comments like that.
Right now, Pep Guardiola must face serious concerns regarding a potential Cesc Fabregas deal. It’s less of a monetary issue (somehow it is otherwise he’d already in Barcelona) but a technical one. Prodigious La Masia talent Thiago Alcantara is setting the world alight with a string of fine performances during the pre-season. Don’t look any further than his magnificent displays in the Audi cup or last nights’ game against Manchester United. It is safe to say that Thiago was the main source of inspiration in the Audi cup tournament, which FC Barcelona won.
While it can be said that these are "only" friendlies, young Thiago is nevertheless making the most out of the opportunities given to him. But even Thiago’s goal couldn’t prevent a 2-1 defeat against Manchester United for which we did a podcast with The Busby Babe’s Gene Um.
Manchester United vs Barcelona 2:1
To add insult to injury, Ibrahim Afellay won’t be able to make a lasting impression on Pep Guardiola during the pre-season. The Dutch international suffered a thigh injury in the friendly against the reigning English champions and will be out for 4-5 weeks (FC Barcelona). It seems as if Afellay can’t catch a break. With Lionel Messi and Alexis Sanchez still on post-Copa America vacation, this was arguably the last opportunity to make a case for himself before the season starts. Now he joins FC Barcelona’s list of casualties, among them, Xavi, Maxwell and Carles Puyol.
Nevertheless, FC Barcelona has made some positive headlines as well. The club has announced a three year agreement with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fight polio (FC Barcelona). How this will help FC Barcelona create an everlasting (football) empire is beyond me. Whereas Jose favors weakening direct rivals through the acquisitions:
FC Barcelona: How to create a Football Empire
But Barcelona have recognized for example that to magnify their projection of football power and deplete a direct rival they must acquire Arsenals Cesc Fabregas. Barcelona have also been linked in the past with Dortmunds Goetze and Hummels. They have also convinced Alex Ferguson of Manchester United to play two open European finals against them, which they have won. It is safe to declare then that in the present time we are in the age where total football is king and the empire of Barcelona in clubs and the Spanish National team in International tournaments.
I don’t necessarily believe that buying the brightest (South American) talents yields the best results:
After successfully fending off the interest of the Blues, Santos rewarded Neymar with a fresh multi-year contract and inserted a minimum release clause of €45 million. If reports are to be believed – and that’s a big IF – then La Liga giants Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have indeed enquired about the availability of the youngster. According to his agent, Renato Rodrigues, both clubs are willing to pay his buy-out clause.
Furthermore, Arron tends to be a bit more pessimistic and doubts that FC Barcelona or better yet, its brand of football can remain at the top for a prolonged period. It remains to be seen:
FC Barcelona: Will Counter-Attacking dethrone the Blaugrana's Total Football?
Examples of truly exceptional Total Football performances during the same time-span are few and far between, with the Manita Clasico, and Champions League final being the only examples that come to mind. My fear is that Barcelona’s possession game has reached its glorious peak, while the counter-attacking principle is advancing, ready to take its place at the top.
Barca Blaugranes however does intend to be around for a while and increase its (media) presence. In addition to our Facebook and Twitter accounts we now have a Digg and Google+ page too. And if that wasn’t enough media overkill, we also created a podcast channel (Barca Blaugranes Podcast). Yes, I have seen the poll results and almost half of votes were in favor of discontinuing the Podcast Channel. Although I’m not a big fan of hearing my own voice I will keep producing podcasts.
That’s it from me. I’m in serious need of a vacation.
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