It has just been made official that Jeremy Mathieu will sign for Barça for the next four years. Barça will pay the €20 million asking price to Valencia for the Frenchman. This morning Mathieu travelled from Valencia to Madrid with the Valencia squad en route to South America for preseason friendlies, but once the transfer was confirmed the player has remained in Madrid and is expected to travel directly to Barcelona to complete the signing. Finally we have signed a defender though it is not the one anybody I know of wanted. Mathieu is by no means a bad player but he’s played most of his career at left back and only converted to central defence last season. He wasn’t considered good enough for the French World Cup squad (behind the younger Sakho who we didn’t want last summer) and he is now 30 years old. I really really hope I’m proved wrong but €20 million for this player seems like a big mistake and makes more evident the massive spending we have spent on other positions which were not as in need of reinforcement.
After weeks of rumours about a move to Qatar or to New York, Xavi Hernández has reportedly decided to start the season with Barça. Earlier today a story broke which claimed the negotiations for Xavi’s departure had broken down. Barça were reportedly going to pay Xavi a leaving bonus and if the local press are to be believed the final offer from Barça wasn’t what Xavi was hoping for. Luis Enrique is said to be happy for Xavi to stay and he will now return to training at the club on Thursday along with Alex Song, Ivan Rakitic and the other Spanish World Cup players. Xavi is 34 and still has two years left on his contract though depending how things go under Luis Enrique he could still look for a move in January or next summer.
A second half goal from Joan Roman earned Barça a 0-1 victory over Recreativo de Huelva tonight in Luis Enrique’s debut game in charge of the Blaugrana. The first pre-season game in preparation for the 2014/15 season proved to be far more significant for Barça B as 16 of the 23 Barça players on show tonight will start the season with Eusebio Sacristan. With the World Cup players all still on holiday the only first team players on show were Masip, Ter Stegen, Montoya, Bartra, Sergi Roberto, Afellay and Deulofeu. Continue reading
Barça’s 2014/15 season began today with medical tests for the players who were not involved in the World Cup. First team players Ter Stegen, Masip, Montoya, Bartra, Adriano, Sergi Roberto, Rafinha, Deulofeu, Afellay and Cristian Tello all reported to the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper to undergo various types of physical analysis and new coach Luis Enrique also called up Patric, Bagnack, Diagne, Grimaldo, Samper, Halilovic, Munir, Sandro, Dani Nieto, Joan Roman, Dongou and Adama from Barça B. These players will now have double training sessions from tomorrow until Friday and then on Saturday Barça play the first preseason friendly against Recreativo in Huelva. Bojan Krkic was also at the Ciutat Esportiva though he does not form part of Luis Enrique’s plans. Bojan could be on the way to Stoke City in England while Afellay and Tello are also looking at offers. The remaining World Cup players will return progressively according to when they were knocked out, starting with the Spanish players, Rakitic and Song who will all join the group on July 24.
Four years have passed but we all remember proudly how Andrés Iniesta’s extra-time goal in Johannesburg earned Barça a resounding victory over the rest of the world. Barça’s captain Carles Puyol will hand the trophy back to the organisers shortly before tomorrow’s World Cup Final at the legendary Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, but at the end of the game the prize could be back in Barça’s hands if Leo Messi and Javier Mascherano have their day. Continue reading
Luis Suarez has been confirmed today as Barça’s latest signing. The fee has not been disclosed but according to El Mundo Deportivo Barça will pay Liverpool €81 million for the player. The 27-year-old will sign a five-year contract and he will be presented next week but due to his four-month ban he will not be able to make his blaugrana debut until the end of October. Continue reading
Alexis Sanchez’s three-year spell at Barça came to an end yesterday when it was confirmed that he will move to England to join Arsenal. The transfer fee has not been officially announced but it is believed to be in the region of €38 million with another €4-5 million in variables. Barça will use the money towards the purchase of Luis Suarez whose signing has just been confirmed (more news to follow). Continue reading
The news that Barça are negotiating with Liverpool for the transfer of Luis Suarez worries me deeply. Don’t get me wrong, Suarez is a fantastic player who is capable of causing problems to the best of defences, and I’m not about to get all moralistic about his bizarre behaviour on the pitch, but more on that later. The main reason for my concern is it seems that we are going to sell Alexis Sanchez to make way for the Uruguayan while the figures being mentioned for the possible transfer fees make as little sense as when we swapped Samuel Eto’o + €43 million to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Continue reading
The rumours began a couple of weeks ago but reports today in the Barcelona media suggest that the legend who we all know as Xavi Hernández has made up his mind to leave Barça this summer in order to join the Qatari team Al Arabi. It seems likely that Xavi will announce the decision on his return to Barcelona after Spain have played their final World Cup match against Australia. Continue reading
Barça and Real Sociedad arrived to an agreement today for the transfer of Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. Barça will pay €12 million to the Basque club for the 31-year-old keeper while Johnathan dos Santos will not be included in the deal as was initially expected. Bravo will sign for four years and he celebrated the move with a superb display tonight in Chile’s 2-0 win over Spain which sees the World Champions, with Iniesta, Pedro, Busquets and Jordi Alba in tonight’s team, going home surprisingly early. Continue reading