Villarreal news first:
The Villarreal Gala is tonight. For those of you who don't know, this is a free end-of-season event, held in a Vila-real auditorium, where President Roig outlines the plans for the next year, specifically ticket prices and the like. But the event has also been used as an opportunity to parade new signings before the fans. The club is planning to show the event via this link (2:15 PM in the eastern US).
Meanwhile, if you thought Villarreal played a LOT of games last year, you're right. The first team appeared in 60 games last season, second only to Barcelona--and our squad was nowhere near as deep, of course. Three Villarreal players appear in Sid Lowe's "team of the season minus them" and one in the "team of the season with them". Meanwhile, Villarreal's cantera project had a good year too, and the local paper has to rub it in Valencia's noses a little bit.
As for specific player news, remember how the rumor mill had Miroslav Klose linked with Valencia or Villarreal? (general Villareal USA reaction: NOOOOOOOOO!) Well, turned out he has signed with Lazio on a two-year deal. So take rumors as just what they are--rumors.
With that in mind, was Giuseppe Rossi really passing through the Barcelona airport today on his way home to Jersey? He certainly was keeping his cards close to his vest in his "Radio Kiss Kiss" interview. Speaking of which, here's Fernando Roig Negueroles in AS, saying essentially nothing (except, again, that Barca hasn't contacted Villarreal about Rossi).
As indicated yesterday, Villarreal is talking with teams (especially Levante) about loaning players; their main targets seem to be César, Canella and Camuñas, which is probably close to fitting in the slightly expanded budget Sr. Roig talked about last month.
Let's ignore all the alleged offers from Málaga (as someone tweeted a couple of days ago, why don't they just make an offer for Groguet the mascot while they're at it?), and other lowball offers (Borja/Napoli, Diego López/Atleti), since there's no question with the CL coming up Villarreal only will sell one of their stars if the deal is really, really good, and I can't see them parting with more than one player.
The name that keeps coming up over and over again is Sergio Canales. Marca provides the clearest picture of events: Canales wants to come to Villarreal (and apparently has agreed some terms to do so) but Real Madrid are asking not only for Villarreal (or Valencia, who have also been interested) to pay the player's full salary, but also pay part of the transfer fee they paid to Racing! And, apparently Madrid still wants a buyback clause.
This sure sounds like it scuppers a deal, but it was reported that Garrido contacted Mourinho about Canales to try to break the deadlock (who knows?). And if it's true that Canales genuinely wants to come to Vila-real (and he should, of course) then it's not in Madrid's interest to deny that move. So we'll see.
Now, let's turn to Barcelona, which is claiming poverty. Sort of. That's right, the #1 club in the world only has €45 million to spend on transfers (there's a nice article in El País which Kenez has already posted--see the fanshot on the right).
Certainly Barcelona have some financial issues. In spite of winning the Champions League and La Liga, they lost money overall, though they did reduce their debt some over the year. And they ended up paying more in bonuses for winning the CL than they received for winning it, which is not great budgeting. But there are several things to keep in mind here.
First, though I haven't been keeping up with it, there is an internal battle going on in Barcelona. Although most of us think of Barcelona as only football, in fact they sponsor many teams, most of which lose money. (Did you know they sponsored a baseball team? I sure didn't.) And President Rosell has proposed to eliminate some of those teams, and many of the socios (members) are against it. So it's in his best interest to claim that the first-team and La Masia will suffer if the changes he wants aren't made, which is exactly what he is doing.
Second: Barca always bring in money through sales. They've already sold Caceres (though not for much) and Milan have an option to purchase Ibra for €24 million--remember, he's only on loan. And they certainly have plenty of players they can sell or include in deals. So as a tactic to drive prices down, I don't think so.
Third: Rosell does make the valid point that with the FIFA Financial Fair Play rules coming in, Barca needs to pay attention to its financial house. But one of the interesting things about these rules is they don't give Barca (or Villarreal, or whomever) credit for homegrown players. Since they've never been through the transfer market, they have no value. That's right, Leo Messi has no value on Barca's books. This is obviously crazy, and FIFA will need to deal with this issue before the regulations come into play.
(If you read Spanish and are into financial stuff, a full explanation of all this may be found here).
All right, enough of that, my head hurts!! (It's too much like work!!) Let's have a little lighthearted fun, with this incredible penalty kick video from Italy courtesy of Marca. Don't forget to catch the Gala if you can, and ENDAVANT VILLARREAL!!