It seems as though Barcelona are on the verge of finally capturing the replacement for current keeper Victor Valdes. The Ctalan club have given Valdes every chance to change his mind about leaving when his contract expires at the end of the season, but he has been open and honest and is set on moving on.
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It seems as if FC Barcelona are under concerted attack at the minute. The latest comes under the guise of a suggestion that the Catalan club has falsified it’s accounts and misled it’s shareholders over the amount of money it cost to bring the Brazilian superstar Neymar to the Camp Nou last summer.
Spanish newspaper El Mundo has published the claims, seemingly gathered from leaked court documents given to the authorities by Barcelona executives. The paper claims that the real cost of Neymar’s transfer could be as high as 95 million euros, with some payments apparently hidden in things like payments for scouting work done by Neymar’s father, payments for friendlies between Santos and Barca and many other things that are not necessarily anything to do with the transfer..
There may have been some concern among Barcelona fans about the future of star midfield magician Andres Iniesta this season. There have been stories in the Spanish and English media about him possibly leaving as contract talks were taking longer than expected and Premier League clubs like Manchester United and City were linked with a possible transfer bid.
Meanwhile, Iniesta was not playing quite at the top of his form and even sat on the bench in a few important games. But Barcelona fans can relax, because the 29-year old has this week committed his future to Barcelona by signing a new three year extension which will now run until 2018. BY that time he will be 34-years old, but if he looks after himself that should be no problem and is becoming much more common in modern football.
The Barcelona manager can pretty much do whatever he wants tonight. With Cartagena coming to the Nou Camp for the second leg of the cup clash already 4-1 behind from the first leg, Tata Martino has the luxury of resting players, but it is the players who will play that are making the news.
It seems as if club captain Carles Puyol and first choice right back Dani Alves will both make their comebacks from injury tonight. Hopefully they will both gain the match sharpness they need to be considered for the more important La Liga games to come.
The new manager of FC Barcelona has come under fire from all over the Spanish media recently, unfairly in my opinion. Even before the team lost two games in a row, to Ajax in the Champions League and Athletic Bilbao in La Liga, the Argentinean coach was being criticised for either changing the style or not changing it enough.
Ever since he joined Barcelona from Arsenal in the Premier League over a year ago, there have been stories in the media, both English and Spanish, about Alex Song being unhappy and unsettled at his new La Liga club. And last week they surfaced again, with suggestions that the Cameroon international could be heading back to England in the January transfer window.
The reasons given are usually that he is not playing enough, and with Sergio Busquets in front of him for his favoured position, he did struggle to break into the first team under Tito Vilanova last season. But he did finish the season with 34 appearances, although many were as a sub.
The thoughts of Barcelona fans will have inevitably turned to the injury list this week, after a poor performance in Amsterdam led to a defeat by Ajax. This means that Barca have not yet sealed top spot in the group, although anything other than a loss to Celtic at the Nou Camp in the last game will mean we top the group.
It was a worry for Tata Martino and the fans, though, so it is great news to hear that Lionel Messi is recovering well from the injury that has put him on the sidelines. The Argentine striker has obviously been having medial tests this week, because the club has announced that his progress is excellent.
It never rains but it pours they say, and it has been chucking it down at FC Barcelona recently. With the Club already having to cope without the hugely important Lionel Messi, probably for the rest of the year at least, the last thing Tata Martino needed was any more players picking up injuries during the international break.
But that is just what has happened, and it leaves the Barcelona first team looking a bit threadbare. From the main starting XI from last season, Jordi Alba and Messi are unavailable long term and have now been joined by Victor Valdes, Dani Alves, Cristian Tello, Afellay and Dos Santos.