In case you don't know, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has upheld FIFA's ban blocking Barcelona from bringing any player in for the next two transfer windows.
Hmm, so much for #UEFAlona. To be fair, UEFA has nothing to do with CAS. But then, people were using that hashtag when Luis Suarez's punishment was lightly reduced. So, go figure.
In addition, Barcelona were hoping to transfer a player in using a league rule for replacing injured players. Technically, with Thomas Vermaelen completely broken, Barcelona should be allowed to sign a replacement outside the window. Technically, they're not banned from signing people outside the window, just in the window. Technically.
But FIFA, UEFA, CAS, or whatever is in charge of that stuff wasn't buying it. So no signings at all for about a full year.
Here's the thing: Alves is in decline and in the last year of his contract. Barcelona probably don't want to renew his massive salary and diminishing returns. But what option do they have?
Douglas is... a strange case. He's clearly not ready to contribute in the Spanish league and may never be. His signing is a curiosity, to say the least. He's not shown the appropriate level to replace Alves, or even be a useful backup. He may never be at that level.
Then there's Martin Montoya.
Montoya was once considered a top prospect at La Masia. That's a big deal, as La Masia is perhaps THE football academy. He's been called up to the full Spanish national team. He's played a Clasico and held his own. It's been almost four years since he made his debut with the Barcelona senior side.
He's almost 24. He should be either starting or an important squad player by this point. He's neither. What's going on?
Well, you can speculate about a personal rift with Luis Enrique. Or maybe he just was a bit overhyped. Maybe he even regressed a bit. Who knows, really. But he's not playing a lot. Understandably, he is annoyed. It's no secret he wants out. Now.
But Barcelona isn't having it. Without being able to sign a replacement, the Blaugrana have little reason to part with anyone. They've pointed to a 20 million release clause which, realistically, no one would pay. (Maybe Zubi would, actually. Ironic, that is.)
His agent, Juan de Dios Carrasco, has made it clear he does not want Montoya to go on loan. It's worth speculating if that is mainly the agent's wish or the player's. I have no answer.
Regardless, I'm confused as to why Montoya doesn't appreciate the loan option. Maybe the rumored rift is real and the bridge is well and truly burned.
On the other hand, Montoya could gain a lot with a loan. He could gain experience, playing week-to-week. Meanwhile, he could see Alves continue to slide while Douglas struggles. Montoya could return from the loan as - never mind a starter, but close to a savior. It's not so farfetched.
Remember, this is the team he has been a part of in some way or another since before anyone had a Playstation 2. Wouldn't being the man at his hometown club be a dream come true? Especially if it's a club with the prestige Barcelona has?
And what's the worst case scenario? Barca don't want him back and he signs a permanent deal with whichever team got him on loan. He'd be gone on a permanent deal. What he wants anyway, apparently.
So why is he so dead set against the loan option? Something's amiss...
There's a lot of mystery to me. Sometimes fans put their faith in the management of the club and hope the suits know what they're doing. However, if history is any guide, Cules have a good reason to be suspicious.