Jun. 30, 2015
Barca must break bank for Pogba now. A look at famous missed transfers and Barca's transfer needs.
In today's football, even a transfer ban doesn't stop transfer sagas. The freshly crowned treble winners, F.C. Barcelona were handed a two-window transfer ban by FIFA for violations during the purchases of 10 underage players. What seemed like merely a formality resulted in an unprecedented punishment. However, there's a caveat to the ban – Barca actually can buy players – it just can't field them until the ban is lifted. That is exactly why, while riding the hot wave of success Barca should pounce on the most sought-after player in the world – Paul Pogba.
Every once in a while a story appears in the back pages about some manager revealing, or as is often the case lamenting, the missed transfer of an icon. Strangely frequently that manager seems to be Arsene Wenger, who claims to have come within a hair's breadth away from signing both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. And even if that were the case, it's a strange thing to willfully admit. Though, I admit, the class of managers who missed out on iconic players is truly impressive. Eric Cantona personally tried to persuade Sir Alex Ferguson to sign a fellow by the name of Zinedine Zidane, but the brilliant Fergie wasn't impressed with Zidane at Bordeaux and decided to take a pass. Later, according to Dan Coombs, Kenny Dalglish had agreed a fee to bring Zidane to Blackburn, but what seemed to be more important to the club at the time was its strict financial policy and the deal fell through after the club refused to release the funds. Chairman Jack Walker then reportedly said: 'Why do you want to sign Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood?”
Zidane isn't the only footballing icon whose career could have turned out much differently. In fact, on different occasions Kenny Dalglish essentially chose Jordan Henderson over Mario Gotze and Sir Alex turned down a 100,000 Euro transfer for a keeper named Joe Hart. Yaya Toure actually had an Arsenal shirt on, but Wenger didn't rate him highly enough in a preseason game so they let him go. He also wanted Zlatan Ibrahimovic to try out for the team to which the Swede reportedly, but totally unsurprisingly said “Zlatan doesn't do trials” and went another direction. Di Stefano supposedly could have been Barca's and Cruyff almost played for Leicester - the point is, these things happen and you really don't want them to happen to your club.
Despite the transfer ban this is the ideal time for Barca to buy Pogba even if they have to break the bank for it. The latest reports suggest the player is more then willing to come to the Catalan giants as he reportedly dreams of playing alongside Messi. Juve just lost to Barca in the Champions League final and with the memory of Barca's footballing superiority on the field still fresh in Pogba's mind, now is the time to make an offer. And Juve seem more than happy to listen, as the club's representatives recently proclaimed Arturo Vidal priceless, while acknowledging that some offers for Pogba will be difficult to turn down. Those offers are rumored to be in the 80 million Euros ballpark and my contention is that even if they were unwilling to let the 22 year-old phenom leave for anything less than 100 million, Barca should still pay it. Here is why:
Xavi is leaving and Andres Iniesta is 31 years old. Busquets is still making the center of the park his own, but Barca need a 4th star quality player to put into this rotation along with Rakitic. Players like Rafinha or Sergio Roberto will then remain in their roles as rotation players. The departure of Xavi opens the door for Pogba both symbolically and athletically as the ultra talented, versatile, and powerful Pogba will surely add a dimension to Barcelona's midfield that it hasn't seen in a long time, even through its recent glory days. Furthermore, the team has virtually no other needs. MSN are probably the best front line in history and their backed up by Pedro whose resurgence late in the season may keep him at the club at least another year. New signing Aleix Vidal has the versatility to play fullback and winger, while the central defense looking led by the reborn Gerard Pique and always tough Mascherano, supported by Mathieu with Vermaelen waiting to get a turn. I think the resigning of Dani Alves is huge and leaves the team without a real weak spot as they prepare for another onslaught on trophies.
Now is the time to secure the services of a player who can lead Barca's midfield for the next decade. The club must take no chances as Pogba is wanted by damn near every big club in the world, most notably by Barca's arch rivals Real Madrid, whose President, Fiorentino Perez wanted to make Pogba the first of his third set of galacticos. Guardiola, whose transfer track-record at Barca is shaky at best realized one important thing. You can't allow you squad full of champions to get complacent. He replaced popular players with big signings every offseason and although he missed on some of those deals he was sure of one thing - you need hungry talent every year. Pogba sure is talented. Barca fans should soon hope he'll be hungry too.