Zlat can’t be true!

by Ashleigh Rose

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

In a summer that has already seen Real Madrid spend close to £150 million on just two players and Manchester City offer crazy wages to the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz, it would be hard to believe things could get anymore ridiculous. But then this past weekend the summer spending hit another level on the silly richter scale as two of Europe’s top clubs traded their top strikers. Swedish maverick Zlatan Ibrahimovic became the latest star attraction in La Liga by joining Barcelona, while Samuel Eto’o headed the other way to join Inter Milan. The catch? Not only did Inter get one of Europe’s premiere strikers, they also received the best part of €45 million plus ex Arsenal star Alexander Hleb on loan for the season. Question is who at Barcelona really thought the Catalan’s were getting a good deal here, when through everyone else eyes it looks like the Italians’ are laughing all the way back to the San Siro.

It’s not that Barca have signed someone not worthy of the famous red and blue jersey, because Ibrahimovic on his day truly is a world superstar, who will should comfortably feed of the star talent at the Nou Camp. It’s more that, as good as Zlatan is, is he any better than Samuel Eto’o? And is he worth twenty odd million more plus a player who left a gaping whole in the Arsenal midfield last season? This is the same Samuel Eto’o who was instrumental in Barca’s treble triumph last season, scoring the opener in the Champions League final and netting an incredible 130 goals in just 200 games for Catalans since he joined them in 2004. A player who big-spending Manchester City wanted so much this summer they were preparing to offer him a staggering 250,000 a week to  get him to move to Eastlands – did you see them offering the same to Ibrahimovich? Not that I’m trying to do Ibrahimovich any discredit, he himself has an excellent record for Inter and played a key part in their recent Seire A wins its just apart from his advantage in the air he offers little more to Barca then they already had with Eto’o. Questions too will be asked of Zlatan’s attitude and off-field behavior, which has been nothing short of controversial in the past if things don’t quite go his way.

I’m not suggesting the signed of Sweden’s best player is a bad move for Pepe Guordiola, and he will probably go on to strut his stuff alongside Messi, Henry and co and play his part in another big season at Nou Camp. It’s just Samuel Eto’o would have guaranteed just that anyway. After all, if you compare the stats of the two, who are just a year apart in age then Eto’s comes out on top in all of them  – be it domestic, European or internationally. So it seems Jose Mourinho has one again pulled off a masterstroke, gaining two quality players for one the price of one, while netting his club so spare cash too. While over the Nou Camp, they should be wondering who decided this was in the best interests of one of the worlds biggest clubs.

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  • Iain

    I agree this deal is crazy when you look at the numbers, but I sort of understand why it’s happened. In Spain, the football is all about the show, and the entertainment. For all his goalscoring exploits, Samuel Eto’o couldn’t pass, control or tackle. He was horrible to watch and ruined a lot of the good attacking play that Barca engineered.

    Ibrahimovic on the other hand is a master technician, who (if he’s in the mood) is awesome to watch. he’s so full of skill, and can score goals that would make a grown man (and Matt Quinn) weep.

    The gamble (as well as the cash) is whether or not Guardiola can get him to concentrate for the best part of every game, and turn it on against the best teams in Europe. I have a sneaking suspicion he can.

  • Matt Quinn

    I agree. Etoo could be infuriating when he would consistently break down Barca’s moves. However, he was an excellent goalscorer. I think i would prefer Zlatan out of the two of them… although not with an extra £40m on top!

    Also, there is the fact that Etoo is a strange strange man. I think Guardiola and the Barca president constantly try to ring and contact him but he never answers the phone or calls back. He has been a fairly bad influence for a number of years and Guardiola is happy to get rid.

  • Jay

    this quite possibly the best piece of business ever done. Jose should be on Dragons Den. I am the special one, and for that reason, I’m out.

  • dexylongshot

    Very good business, i’d take Eto over Zlat big nose any day at Upton Park,
    not that either would want to go there. I think that Zlat sometimes seems to go missing in big games. That ponytail barnet turnout he’s got going on a swell, give me Etos mini-fro anyday.

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    Zlatan is living off that wonder goal he scored for Ajax http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgqsaDnsEq8

    Quality goal but no where near as good as Messi. If Zlatan is worth the equivalent of 80m, just how much is Messi worth?

  • dexylongshot

    Barca are trying to re-negotiate a deal for Messi. He has a 120m buy-out clause in his current contract. They want to up it to 250m to keep moneybag mancs away.

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