We know that Milan have finished mucking about. All that stuff about “the only person we want to sign is Adebayor” followed by “we don’t want to sign anyone else” shows that it was all a hoax to help edge along their discussions with Barca, keep the fans happy and disrupt their rivals.
So that leaves just Barca in the playground for what the president of FIFA would call the purchase of the “slaves”.
The question is, were Barca also playing a game with Ade in order to get their squad sorted out – putting out feelers for a player they never wanted in order to sign the ones they did want behind the smoke screen. Or did they actually want to sign him?
So far, by my counting, Barca have signed five players this summer. In addition they have been linked with Robinho, Arshavin and Adebayor.
It is hard to imagine them taking on more than one of those, which suggests they have highlighted all three in order
a) to keep the majority of members of the club who voted against the president happy
b) to disrupt the work of other clubs (which of course Milan and Barca have done wonderfully well in terms of Arsenal)
c) to ensure that they can negotiate the price down.
This last is a major point – they will say to a club whose player has now said he fancies leaving, “we’re not buying him at THAT price” – which effectively means the club are left with a player who has effectively alienated himself from the fans (as Ade has at Arsenal).
So the price comes down. Then Barca say to the next club – well, look, the price for Robinho, (or Ade or Arshavin) has come right down, so what are you going to do?
This is the modern “slave” market. It is by and large not the buying and selling club that create the market, it is the other clubs who are trying to do different deals (or in the case of Milan and Barca who are trying to disrupt the rest) that create the market.
The fact is both Milan and Barca have fallen so far in playing standards (Milan are not even in the Euro Cup this season) that they clearly feel they have to undermine the opposition to stand a chance of doing anything. Milan of course have the extra problem of the third round of corruption enquiries that are just about getting underway. (See our earlier posts on this).