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The Ties That Bind
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I've been thinking about this for a while, but I wanted to wait until the window closed just in case we brought somebody else in. Anyway, I thought it would be good to have some dialogue around the signings and get folks' take on paper. You can use my first post as a template if you want in terms of how to respond. So I'm going to list our signings in terms of best to worst. You can take into consideration whatever you want, but consider things like price, quality, ago, if we needed them, how you think they'll fit in and how they'll project.


1 Dani Alves. IMO no question who are best signing was/will prove to be. Dani cost a small fortune, but he's still quite young and is the sort of attacking back we need. He fits into the team well and I think he'll form a great partnership with Messi on the right flank. Like I always say, if only we'd have signed him sooner.

Potential Alternative: Bosingwa. He was a bit cheaper and from what I've seen he looks quite good as well. However I don't think he looks quite as good offensively as Dani, he's not as proven in La Liga and he's older.


2 Gerard Pique. Probably a controversial choice here, but I think he looks good. We definitely needed a CB just to make up the numbers with Milito's long term injury. However Pique brings other things. He's good in the air, he can move the ball from the back and he's a Cule. I think that he's hungry to play for us and that he'll prove a good signing as I think he'll be with us for years. He was cheap too, but I think we could have got him for free next summer.

Potential Alternative: Vincent Kompany. Not the exact same sort of player, but I think there are similarities. Both are big guys and both are comfortable on the ball. I think Pique moves the ball better, but Kompany is better in possession of the ball. I think Kompany will prove the better in the long term, but Pique might be better for us and La Liga.


3 Seydou Keita. An average to decent signing if you ask me. I think in terms of value for money he's alright. However I don't see him as a first XI guy. I think he could and should get his fair share of starts, but I think he'll be rotated more. He can pass the ball and provides somewhat of an aerial threat, but he looks too much the passenger out there. I prefer Yaya over him as a DM.

Potential Alternative: Jean II Makoun. He went for about the same price and is considered to have been the better of the two in France. More of a one trick pony though as I don't think he's considered as good as Keita with the ball, but he's regarded as a better DM.


4 Aleksandr Hleb. I wasn't sure to put him this high really. He did well with Arsenal and is highly rated. However he wasn't the youngest player available out there. I don't think we overpaid, but for that kind of money I would have looked elsewhere. Also I don't want players who pus their way out as he did. I'm worried he's coming here for a paycheck and to "take it easy." Thus far he's looked alright and I think he has vision, but he's not quick or mobile enough for my liking.

Potential Alternative: Hatem Ben Arfa. There are others out there, but Ben Arfa is a guy I would have liked to have seen us take a chance on. He was cheaper, he's younger, he can cover the same positions as Hleb (assuming we brought Hleb in as a Ronaldinho and/or Deco replacement), he's more dynamic than Hleb, he's very creative and he has a tremendous upside. Oh, and he's reportedly a Cule. Apparently we looked him about 3-4 years ago. If only we'd signed him then.


5 Martin Caceres. I considered him ahead of Hleb, but he's not as proven and quite frankly hasn't looked as good as Hleb (which isn't saying much). He's young, he's had his fair share of time in La Liga and he supposedly can cover more than one position. However he's thus far looked shaky in defense, he doesn't look suited for a fullback position and he's looked bad on the ball. He also was fairly expensive considering how proven he is and how much other defenders moved for. He does seem eager to be here and prove himself though so I hope he pans out.

Potential Alternative: Ezequial Garay. I put him down more because he seemed to be our man before Caceres (it sounded as though we were very close to getting Garay). I think Garay would have been a better choice since he's more proven in La Liga and he can move the ball better.


6 Henrique. This is a signing that I really have to question. On the one hand I can see him becoming a good defender for us. If he pans out he sounds like a defender who has offensive skills as well. He also came at a cheap enough price. On the other hand I think that he still has some ways to go to prove himself in Europe and overall he's still an unproven quantity. He also seems more than surplus to requirements since we already had enough CB's.

Potential Alternative: A backup right back. A replacement for Ronaldinho. We really didn't need this guy and while he's obviously probably a signing for the future, we needed more signings for the now.


Overall assessment: I think it was a disappointing summer. We spent big, but I think that after Dani Alves and to a lesser extent Pique we made a lot of questionable signings. I can live with the Keita signing, but after that I wouldn't have signed the likes of Hleb, Caceres or Henrique. I also think we could have got better quality for our money. I think you'll see that more below, but when you spend 40 million euros on Hleb, Caceres and Henrique you really have to question who is calling the shots. Also, we signed way too many CB's. It already seems like it, but just wait until Milito comes back.

Who I would have bought with the money we spent:

Dani Alves 30 million
Pique 6 million
Hatem Ben Arfa 11 million
Sergio Aguero 55 million
Stephan Lichtsteiner 2 million
(Vincent Kompany) 12.5 million

So I tried to keep it realistic in that I put guys on the list that were actually transferred. I put Kompany in ()s because I would have gone after him, though that would mean spending more than we did and possibly mean selling Rafa. El Kun wasn't actually transferred, but he does have a buyout clause. I know he could have turned us down, but I think he and Messi would have a helluva partnership. Anyway, selling Henry (20 million) and Eidur (5 million) and keeping Deco (10 million) likely means that it all works out mathematically. That leaves us without another DM, but I'm sure we'd have the funds.
 

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Good post. :thmbup:

I agree with almost everything except who you would have bought. Aguero is a top class player, of course, but I don't think we have any room for him in our line-up. He wouldn't adress our blatant lack of width. He'd have to play on the LW and I doubt he'd do very well there.

I agree with the Caceres, Hleb and Henrique point. I'd also have spent the money on a second crack signing (along with Dani), somebody who can add another dimension to the team and not squad players who don't necessarily improve the starting XI. Could have either been a goalscoring midfielder with great drive or a creative LW.
 

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The Ties That Bind
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Discussion Starter #3
Good post. :thmbup:

I agree with almost everything except who you would have bought. Aguero is a top class player, of course, but I don't think we have any room for him in our line-up. He wouldn't adress our blatant lack of width. He'd have to play on the LW and I doubt he'd do very well there.
Thanks. Since I said we'd have to sell Henry and Eidur I do think we'd have room for Aguero. That of course pushes Bojan back a bit, but I'd still consider him for our left too if Ben Arfa wasn't performing or was hurt. Of course whether el Kun would accept a rotation role of sorts is another question, but with just he and Eto'o and then Bojan I we wouldn't have too many strikers. Actually one of the papers the other day was talking about how we're lacking in attackers.

I agree with the Caceres, Hleb and Henrique point. I'd also have spent the money on a second crack signing (along with Dani), somebody who can add another dimension to the team and not squad players who don't necessarily improve the starting XI. Could have either been a goalscoring midfielder with great drive or a creative LW.
Well that's where the Ben Arfa signing comes in. He can play wide on the left and is a potential crack. The kid has mad skills on the ball and only needs a real chance to prove himself. He carried Lyon for a period last season and put up good numbers considering his playing time. He'd add goals, assists and CREATIVITY.
 

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Dani Alves: Fantastic signing but should have happened years ago. Bosingwa IMO isn't as good.

Gerard Pique: Potentially great signing & for only 5M. Vincent Kompany would have been class. He's been hyped up for years as the next great defender but Pique will do well (if he gets any playing time).

Seydou Keita: Good signing. Signing of the year in LA LIGA last season & now got at a good price for us. Can Yaya & Keita play together I wonder? I'd have preferred Javi Martinez from Bilbao though but he'd have been more expensive.

Aleksandr Hleb: Not too good a signing IMO. Probably bought out of desperation. Good player but IMO not good enough for Barcelona. I'd have preferred Diego by miles.

Martin Caceres: Excellent prospect but too expensive & IMO Garay is better.

Henrique: Waste of time. A backup RB like Zabaleta would have been better or to have kept Oleguer.

No Arshavin or Diego which was a big shame. And why the heck is Gudjohnsen still here? :rollani:
 

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1. Alves
for the same reasons as already stated.

2.Hleb
We don't need another ronaldinho player for the left, we have that on the right in messi. what we need is someone like giuly who will stay out wide and run tirelessly for 90 minutes and I believe hleb can do that. he showed as soon as he came on against numancia that he could provide extra width

3.Keita
A good midfielder who will provide a good physical presence.

4.Pique
As much as I dislike paying for a player that we trained up he does look to be good so far.

5.Caceres
I may change my opinion if he proves he can cover the full back places well but I don't see him playing much otherwise.

6.Henrique
maybe will come good but it won't help us this season annyway
 

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So I've been thinking about this for a while, but I wanted to wait until the window closed just in case we brought somebody else in. Anyway, I thought it would be good to have some dialogue around the signings and get folks' take on paper. You can use my first post as a template if you want in terms of how to respond. So I'm going to list our signings in terms of best to worst. You can take into consideration whatever you want, but consider things like price, quality, ago, if we needed them, how you think they'll fit in and how they'll project.


1 Dani Alves. IMO no question who are best signing was/will prove to be. Dani cost a small fortune, but he's still quite young and is the sort of attacking back we need. He fits into the team well and I think he'll form a great partnership with Messi on the right flank. Like I always say, if only we'd have signed him sooner.
I agree with you. A very good signing. In any case, just to highlight something negative too, I think that his way to play football expose our defense. I think it's a must that Guardiola work the "defense without the ball" aspects, since someone should cover the space left by Alves when he goes forward, something that doesn't always happen. We knew that before we signed him though.

2 Gerard Pique. Probably a controversial choice here, but I think he looks good. We definitely needed a CB just to make up the numbers with Milito's long term injury. However Pique brings other things. He's good in the air, he can move the ball from the back and he's a Cule. I think that he's hungry to play for us and that he'll prove a good signing as I think he'll be with us for years. He was cheap too, but I think we could have got him for free next summer.
Controversial aspects aside, I think he can be a good backup, mainly for Marquez. He's a defender that treats the ball reasonably well and he's good with the aerial balls. He can do a good job there and, if he does well, why not a starter? Not for now though.

3 Seydou Keita. An average to decent signing if you ask me. I think in terms of value for money he's alright. However I don't see him as a first XI guy. I think he could and should get his fair share of starts, but I think he'll be rotated more. He can pass the ball and provides somewhat of an aerial threat, but he looks too much the passenger out there. I prefer Yaya over him as a DM.
I think he's a good player that can be productive for us. He adds "muscle" in midfield and has a good long distance shot. He can be either DM and CM and this versatility is a plus for him. He has more pace than Toure Yaya, I think. He will have minutes on the pitch.

4 Aleksandr Hleb. I wasn't sure to put him this high really. He did well with Arsenal and is highly rated. However he wasn't the youngest player available out there. I don't think we overpaid, but for that kind of money I would have looked elsewhere. Also I don't want players who pus their way out as he did. I'm worried he's coming here for a paycheck and to "take it easy." Thus far he's looked alright and I think he has vision, but he's not quick or mobile enough for my liking.
I think that Hleb can give the team a different face, if it's needed. He can be a CM or he can play as fake winger. In fact, this second option can make the team play as the Spanish team, which is a different version of the 4-3-3 to make it look as a 4-5-1. He gives us different options and he's good enough to play with us. I'm happy with this signing.

5 Martin Caceres. I considered him ahead of Hleb, but he's not as proven and quite frankly hasn't looked as good as Hleb (which isn't saying much). He's young, he's had his fair share of time in La Liga and he supposedly can cover more than one position. However he's thus far looked shaky in defense, he doesn't look suited for a fullback position and he's looked bad on the ball. He also was fairly expensive considering how proven he is and how much other defenders moved for. He does seem eager to be here and prove himself though so I hope he pans out.
This smells as the stupidity of the summer. I don't think he's good enough to play as one of our CBs, although I admit that he can also play as full back and this can be necessary for us in certain moments. In any case, it looks overpriced. I give him the benefit of the doubt, since it's very soon and he's young, but I'm fearing the worst.

6 Henrique. This is a signing that I really have to question. On the one hand I can see him becoming a good defender for us. If he pans out he sounds like a defender who has offensive skills as well. He also came at a cheap enough price. On the other hand I think that he still has some ways to go to prove himself in Europe and overall he's still an unproven quantity. He also seems more than surplus to requirements since we already had enough CB's.
As I already said in a different thread, someone should explain why we spent 9M in a player that was directly loaned out. I don't know him, but I don't like what we did. I mean, it's not that we signed a player that costed zero. 9M is a lot of money for a player that the club knew that wouldn't have a place in the first team and he'll have to convince many people when he's in Barcelona again. Terrible.


Overall assessment: I think it was a disappointing summer. We spent big, but I think that after Dani Alves and to a lesser extent Pique we made a lot of questionable signings. I can live with the Keita signing, but after that I wouldn't have signed the likes of Hleb, Caceres or Henrique. I also think we could have got better quality for our money. I think you'll see that more below, but when you spend 40 million euros on Hleb, Caceres and Henrique you really have to question who is calling the shots. Also, we signed way too many CB's. It already seems like it, but just wait until Milito comes back.

Who I would have bought with the money we spent:

Dani Alves 30 million
Pique 6 million
Hatem Ben Arfa 11 million
Sergio Aguero 55 million
Stephan Lichtsteiner 2 million
(Vincent Kompany) 12.5 million

So I tried to keep it realistic in that I put guys on the list that were actually transferred. I put Kompany in ()s because I would have gone after him, though that would mean spending more than we did and possibly mean selling Rafa. El Kun wasn't actually transferred, but he does have a buyout clause. I know he could have turned us down, but I think he and Messi would have a helluva partnership. Anyway, selling Henry (20 million) and Eidur (5 million) and keeping Deco (10 million) likely means that it all works out mathematically. That leaves us without another DM, but I'm sure we'd have the funds.
I am not able to evaluate them so soon, aside some perceptions that aren't well fundamented yet. We need time to evaluate the whole, not just the signings, but everything.

About other signings, I consider myself ignorant about this. I don't know the World market so well to make a comment about it. I like Kun Agüero a lot, I think this guy will be something special. Given that he has such a low buyout clause, we should consider to follow him closely. I can't tell much about the rest.
 

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Whilst I would not want to belittle the work put into this thread, and the very thorough analysis put forth by BLAUGRANA and others, but I would put my opinion of our transfer campaign thusly...

It was crap.
 

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Yes 'twas crap alright. And selling DECO...big mistake.
 

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I doubt anyone uv u has eva seen anything uv Henrique in order to judge him. "Unproven in Europe" my ar$e. Aren't you da club that taught da world how to defend wid clowns like Oleguer or Abelardo in a league that produced da most pathetic shit piece of a defender called Ivan Campo ? :party:
 

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either you are trolling or are a bit daft, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume it is the former.:rollani:
 

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I doubt anyone uv u has eva seen anything uv Henrique in order to judge him. "Unproven in Europe" my ar$e. Aren't you da club that taught da world how to defend wid clowns like Oleguer or Abelardo in a league that produced da most pathetic shit piece of a defender called Ivan Campo ? :party:
Sorry what language are you talking in? It appears to be bollocks.
 

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For Alves to bomb up the right as K4 correctly said you really need Keita in the right midfield spot coming back to cover for him. Similar to in Sevilla- and also Puyol or Caceres as the right centre since they have more pace.

I dont know how to rate the campaign, my opinion changes too often as its so early in the season. I think that for the 433 that we have seemed to start the season with and the one of past seasons the players are not right. No natural wide player and were performing a cookie cutter. Trying to find players to fit the system rather than a system to fit the players.

If we lined up in a psuedo 442 similar to the Spain national team with Tiki-Taka then our signings are perfect.

-------Valdes-------
Alves-Puyol-Marquez-Abidal
-----Keita--Xavi----------
Iniesta/Hleb-----------Iniesta/Hleb
-------Etoo--Messi---------

I find it absolutely crazy that we have 4 arguable world class strikers and support forwards (etoo, messi, henry then the current question mark on Bojan) yet we persist to play atleast one in their unfavoured position (Messi less so since hes that good and can play practically anywhere.

God knows why Etoo-Henry has never been tried as a front two pairing and for games with more attacking bite Messi could be in one of those wide positions closer to the goal.

Still, I would of liked a wide option who is a traditional winger to offer something else in this formation, Diego Capel with a fair buyout clause is a safe bet and I personally like Wilson Palacios of Wigan. In a 433 then Ribery on that other wing would of been perfect but Bayern wont sell now understandably. In hindsight there was strong rumours of him last season to replace Ronaldinho and we all scoffed at them. How we wish that had happened now.

Individual Players
Pique: Backup for Marquez, cheap and decent. Question is if hes better than Garay as hes the most similar buy. I personally am happy with either.

Caceres: Backup for Puyol and Milito in style. Will need to make an impression quickly as when Milito is back he could be in abyss. He has the talent to be an excellent defender but his pre-season wasnt good. Overpriced however. For 16 million there are safer central defensive bets.

Keita: I like him if hes used in the right system, i.e. similar to Senna in Spain and Villareal. Basically as he were in Sevilla.

Hleb: As above... but not like Senna, rather David Silva.

Henrique: God knows why he was signed. His hair is slightly blonde and long though. I just think even if he fulfills his potential, if Caceres and Pique prove there worth too he still wont find a place and is practically worthless. Unless the idea is to lose Marquez next season and bring in Jimmy Luis Henrique Ford Iglesias Larsson.
 

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I agree with you. A very good signing. In any case, just to highlight something negative too, I think that his way to play football expose our defense. I think it's a must that Guardiola work the "defense without the ball" aspects, since someone should cover the space left by Alves when he goes forward, something that doesn't always happen. We knew that before we signed him though.



Controversial aspects aside, I think he can be a good backup, mainly for Marquez. He's a defender that treats the ball reasonably well and he's good with the aerial balls. He can do a good job there and, if he does well, why not a starter? Not for now though.



I think he's a good player that can be productive for us. He adds "muscle" in midfield and has a good long distance shot. He can be either DM and CM and this versatility is a plus for him. He has more pace than Toure Yaya, I think. He will have minutes on the pitch.



I think that Hleb can give the team a different face, if it's needed. He can be a CM or he can play as fake winger. In fact, this second option can make the team play as the Spanish team, which is a different version of the 4-3-3 to make it look as a 4-5-1. He gives us different options and he's good enough to play with us. I'm happy with this signing.



This smells as the stupidity of the summer. I don't think he's good enough to play as one of our CBs, although I admit that he can also play as full back and this can be necessary for us in certain moments. In any case, it looks overpriced. I give him the benefit of the doubt, since it's very soon and he's young, but I'm fearing the worst.



As I already said in a different thread, someone should explain why we spent 9M in a player that was directly loaned out. I don't know him, but I don't like what we did. I mean, it's not that we signed a player that costed zero. 9M is a lot of money for a player that the club knew that wouldn't have a place in the first team and he'll have to convince many people when he's in Barcelona again. Terrible.




I am not able to evaluate them so soon, aside some perceptions that aren't well fundamented yet. We need time to evaluate the whole, not just the signings, but everything.

About other signings, I consider myself ignorant about this. I don't know the World market so well to make a comment about it. I like Kun Agüero a lot, I think this guy will be something special. Given that he has such a low buyout clause, we should consider to follow him closely. I can't tell much about the rest.
About Henrique,

There is probably a reason why he went to the Bundesliga to get acclimatised to European Football and probably he was a bargain at 9M and even if he cannot walk into the team,remember that we have two CBs touching 30,replacements have to be sought in advance and I like all 3 Pique,Caceres and Henrique.They seem to have the variety and can very well complement each other along with Gaby Milito.
 

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Good analysis Blaugrana. Yup it wasn't the most extravagant campaign to say the least but we still got some pretty good signings I believe.


Dani Alves
- Of course he was our best signing. He adds an explosiveness to the RB position that we clearly lacked for a couple years now. From what I've seen so far and its still very early mind you, his crossing and shooting needs to meet his own standards. As I mentioned in other threads his set pieces IMO bring danger and I hope to see him with an active role in taking them. I also agree with those that have mentioned the solid covering needed due to his bombarding runs. If he strikes up a good understanding with Messi WATCH OUT.


Eto'o
- Bonafied superstar/King of planet earth in my avatar calls this a signing and so will I. Class, heart, passion, absolute goal monster, absolute champion and absolutely nearly lost to the complete stupidity of a ski-slope nosed maroon. Thank God he stayed.
Samu.:strong:


Keita
- I think he has the potential to impact upon this team in an unexpected way. As K4 already mentioned he adds versatility as he can solidly occupy two roles in the middle of the park and he also of course adds strength as well as giving us the option of employing an "added resistance" strategy in the middle if you will. I'm a betting man and I'd place a strong bet on him delivering if given the opportunity.

Pique- So far he's surprised me enough to hold this position on the list. Very calm on the ball, good decision maker, good passer and height. He adds to our defense and again I'll say I'm surprised with the impression I've had so far. I think its fair to say this was a more a 'for the future' signing, thing is though he may get his chance sooner than that. On the bad side he's a tad slow and his positioning at times isn't the best. Good signing though.

Hleb- I think he's transitioned fairly well although we need to IMO find the place on the pitch that he'll best shine sooner rather than later. I think he reads the game well and his doesn't puzzy-foot around much which is a great thing. I don't see him being the Deco replacement though. He'd best serve us in one of the more advanced positions. Not to say that he cant play in the middle pretty efficiently though. He's not a bad signing but I don't know if he was really that necessary.

Caceres- He hasn't really impressed so far especially given the price tag but I put it down alot to over-anxiousness. I'd admit I haven't seen much of him but it appears that he's supposed to be the dogged street fighter like defender ala Puyol/Milito_Of course he'll be back up and he should learn quite a bit from those two. On the signing not sure if it was necessary especially not at that price but if he's supposed to be versed as a full back I guess that helps:confused: His age is also not a bad thing. We'll see how it goes, eh...

Henrique- Most baffling of the signings another defender/CB wasn't needed IMO but I guess the experts know more than me.:rollani: If he progress well in Germany and I believe he has the attributes to do well there it may not be a total waste. In any event we could have gotten another attacker or even a RB.
 

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About Henrique,

There is probably a reason why he went to the Bundesliga to get acclimatised to European Football and probably he was a bargain at 9M and even if he cannot walk into the team,remember that we have two CBs touching 30,replacements have to be sought in advance and I like all 3 Pique,Caceres and Henrique.They seem to have the variety and can very well complement each other along with Gaby Milito.
9M is not a bargain. 9M is a price for a done player, not for someone that still needs to learn. I agree with you that we may need new central backs in the mid term, but I didn't like this operation at all.
 

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Like I said before, I thought our campaign was okay. It wasn't brilliant like in the summer of 2004, but it was still good.

I never expected us to sign cracks, Alves aside. It's not what this team needs, and I think this will prove to be a good summer for Barca if Pep lines the players up correctly. I like what Maz is suggesting. Personally, I'm tired of the 4-3-3. Clearly we don't have Ronaldinho and Deco anymore so maybe we should try something different. I too wonder why the hell we aren't playing with Henry and Eto'o as two strikers up front. It's probably the most logical and obvious choice of all right now. We were unfortunate that Rijkaard was unwillling to change his system and play with two natural strikers, but fingers crossed that Pep does.

All of the players signed are guaranteed not to cause problems in the dressing room. It's true none of them is a Ronnie or anything remotely close to that level, but at least we can count on some professionalism, attending of training sessions and hard work on the field. That's what we lacked the previous two seasons, IMO, not talent.

Alves - the perfect signing. There isn't a fullback in the world who fits us better. He's exactly what we wanted and needed. Brilliant, and we weren't even raped for the fee. :thumbsup:

Hleb - I like this player. I rate him highly and think he can help us a lot, in the CM or AMC positions, assuming we play the latter. Perhaps it's a blessing in disguise that we never signed a wide player for Ronnie's position because maybe that forces Pep to alter the system to suit Hleb. We really need to change it.

Pique - I this it's a very good signing. We bring a Cule back, someone who can actually pose an aerial threat. The perfect sub, IMO. Potential starter in the future, but not a superstar who would bitch about being left out.

Keita - I love this signing. We needed extra muscle that could also play the ball. I think he'll be very important for us, and thanks to him we don't have to depend on Yaya's fitness anymore.

Caceres - See Pique, only without the Cule thing and add fullback. We have more options with him, but could also bench him for longer periods without a fuss.

Henrique - lol

All in all, we successfully dismantled our super-team that wasn't producing, and replaced the cancers with people who will do their utmost because they know they aren't God's gift to football. IMO, we secured an injection of hard work through these players, and we certainly don't lack talent thanks to our star players.

Once Pep puts them in the positions they belong, we'll see some nice football and most probably a few titles as well. I'm not worried at all.
 

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Some good reads today guys. Gade, Vedran :thumbsup: I'd LOVE to hear some alternatives though. There were plenty of other players in the market that moved and I'd like to see what people would have done with that sort of money. Speaking of which...

9M is not a bargain. 9M is a price for a done player, not for someone that still needs to learn. I agree with you that we may need new central backs in the mid term, but I didn't like this operation at all.
Well what's interesting to me is that Gronigen of the Eredivisie got a young defender like Cahais (who I've never seen play, but he sounds good) for only 2 million euros. The guy was apparently being trailed by Madrid, he captained that U21 team in Canada and DOESN'T seem the offensive minded CB. That latter part is particularly important to me because if Pique can play the ball then in the future I'd like someone a bit more focused on defending next to him. Also, Cahais sounds a bit of a no nonsense type defender which would be nice to have. Don't know what the folks who know him can add (in English please Fangio), but he sounds interesting.


Keita
- I think he has the potential to impact upon this team in an unexpected way. As K4 already mentioned he adds versatility as he can solidly occupy two roles in the middle of the park and he also of course adds strength as well as giving us the option of employing an "added resistance" strategy in the middle if you will. I'm a betting man and I'd place a strong bet on him delivering if given the opportunity.
Well I'm staring to warm to something like this:

-----------Eto'o-------------

Iniesta-----------------Messi

------Keita-----Xavi--------

-----------Yaya------------

Or have Keita/Yaya and Xavi has more freedom. Still that leaves the left a bit suspect. I don't know. It's just frustrating when we had a guy like Deco who when he was good could defend and create. Keita pass the ball, but I don't think he has that brain to create. In a deeper side I would have welcomed him more. I don't mind him and we didn't break the bank, but I don't think he's a super signing either. Maybe if he gets the minutes as you say he'll perform. He needs to be a bit less cautious if that happens though because in preseason he largely was too cautious (on the ball I mean).
 
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