FIFA might have tried their best to keep FC Barcelona out of the transfer market in 2015, but there's nary an organisation on earth that can keep the Blaugrana out of the tabloids. After all, these outlets still have pages to fill irrespective of the transfer ban, and in some cases, it gives them a reason to report the most implausible stories only to caveat with "oh, but it won't happen because of Barcelona's transfer ban".
And so that brings us to the latest rumours to hit the back pages; both involving England internationals and equally idiotic in their implausibility. Let's run them one by one, shall we?
Remember Theo Walcott folks? He's that guy who probably peaked by spearheading what turned out to be an ultimately futile comeback against us in the UEFA Champions League all those years ago. Stricken by multiple injuries, Walcott hasn't seen a lot of game-time in the past year and apparently, Barcelona are still keeping tabs on him with a view to possibly signing him in 2016 as a replacement for Pedro.
At face value, it's a possibility. Walcott is a good player, especially when fit and he would serve as a more than capable replacement for Pedro. My problem? So would Cristian Tello. As would Gerard Deulofeu. How about Adama Traore? I know that Munir and Sandro are capable of playing on the wing as well, and might be a more natural fit in Barcelona's fluid attacking trident. The best part? All of those alternatives would cost approximately zero Euros, well, excluding Tello who would only be able to return ahead of 2016/17 if we paid a fee to Porto.
Oh, and there's that whole issue of Walcott apparently being willing to trade his place at Arsenal for a bit-part role at FC Barcelona ahead of the European Championships in 2016 -- a move that could put his England career in serious jeopardy. Is that enough? Can we move onto the next one now?
Well, they've probably hit the jackpot here. The idea is that Barcelona are keeping an eye on Henderson and want to make a move to sign the Liverpool midfielder on a free transfer when his contract expires in 16 months' time. Low transfer fee? Tick. Potential replacement for Xavi? Tick. Transfer rumour gold? Tick.
I'll give it to them, they've at least thought this one through a little more. Still though, who can see this one happening? In 18 months time, Rafinha Alcantara will have surely progressed onto a starting role in the midfield, while Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic will both still be there or thereabouts in the pecking order, barring a catastrophe. Then we have Denis Suarez returning from his impressive loan spell at Sevilla FC, plus Alen Halilovic potentially forcing his way into the first-team picture from the B team.
There's also the small matter of the elections, in which it has been rumoured that Josep Maria Bartomeu is to promise the signing of Paul Pogba, a player who could feature prominently in other election campaigns. Maybe Barcelona are keeping an eye on Henderson at the moment, but does it matter if they are?
The chances are that a new Sporting Director and Board will be appointed in a few months, while Luis Enrique's future as head coach remains uncertain. They might be in control at present, but no-one at the club has the power to dictate transfer policy for 2016 -- it's as simple as that.
Next story please...
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