Apologies for the lack of posts recently. I needed a rest to recharge batteries and quite frankly the heat in Barcelona in the last couple of weeks has been too much to do anything. I enjoyed the Copa America though it was sad to see Messi and Mascherano come so close to winning it for Argentina only to be defeated on penalties by Claudio Bravo’s Chile in the final. Back in Barcelona the news has focused on the transfer market and the coming presidential elections on July 18.
Arda Turan has arrived and been presented today although like our other new signing Aleix Vidal he cannot play until January. Barça have paid Atlético Madrid €34 million for the 28-year-old Turkish midfielder with a further €7 million to be paid in variables. Initially Arda seems like a quality addition to the squad though I think the price is a little high. He has undoubted talent but has also shown the occasional moment of madness while his comment that he was fed up with running so much under Simeone might be interpreted to mean he expects to take things easier now. Today, at his presentation Arda claimed that he has always wanted to play for Barça, so hopefully this ambition will inspire him to give everything for the club.
Barça’s only other moves regarding transfers have been to sell Gerard Deulofeu to Everton for €6 million with a buy-back option for the nest two years, and to loan Martin Montoya to Inter Milan. Both these moves make sense, Deulofeu still needs to improve his team game and if he gets better we can always buy him back, while it can only be positive for Montoya if he gets more playing time.
The big rumour is the possibility that Juventus’s Paul Pogba could be bought though he wouldn’t arrive to Barça until next summer. There may already be an agreement in place but the deal will depend on Barça’s elections. The French midfielder is undoubtedly one of the best young midfielders around though the price tag of €80 million seems far too high.
As for the elections Bartomeu, Laporta, Benedito and Freixa got the required signatures to stand for president. Of the four it seems Bartomeu and Laporta have the best chance with Bartomeu looking to take advantage of a divided opposition. For me, despite the triplete, there are still too many doubts about the Neymar transfer deal for me to trust Bartomeu. The treatment of Zubizarreta was poor and at different times his team of directors have managed to upset the likes of Dani Alves and Leo Messi while there have been falling-outs with club legends like Johan Cruyff, Pep Guardiola and Carles Puyol. Laporta has his problems but he has still been the most successful president in the club’s history. The occasional embarrassing episodes such as the partying in one of Barcelona’s trendiest night clubs or the pulling down of his trousers at airport customs are nothing compared to the dodgy dealings and poor diplomacy of the present board.
Bartomeu is the favourite but a lot can change in the final week of a Barça election. Next week the players return to training in preparation for the first preseason friendly against Los Angeles Galaxy on July 22.