Berlu in the waning hours of the transfer window.
I was hesitant to write a Mercado wrap-up. For one, I’m lazy. I haven’t put on a real shirt in like three or four days. And that isn’t even because of a holiday weekend. That’s standard Matheus when I’m not at work or in school, year round. Second, I really didn’t want to write an entire post and look like the "bitching" guy. I try to keep my cynicism in check on this site, and keep a positive if not slightly humorous outlook on things, but Jesus F%#@* God-d$#@ f%$#* climbing a f%$#@ infected #$#@!^ eating dead rats with no safety goggles, am I mad about this Mercato! It’s less about the players than it is the schizophrenic nature of our transfer policy. I’m mad that I’m so confused. And well, very mad that we’ll have to suffer through another year of Zaps and Mexes. The two couldn’t compliment each other any worse. Ugh! Sorry, trying not to bitch.
In any event, at the beginning of August I wrote a halfway piece on the mercato and much of it centered around the lack of urgency to patch up cracks on the team in comparison with other teams in Serie A. I typically do not like to "keep up with the Jonses", but Napoli, Juve, and to a lesser degree Fiorentina and Roma came out of the gate strong and well, I was a little panicked. Thankfully, the lion’s share of "big" Serie A transfers occurred before that post so we haven’t fallen further behind the pack in that regard. In fact, I think we gained a little (i.e. marginal) ground with Kaka (he’s a CB right?). However, as we look back at that wacky Mercato ‘13 (or as I endearingly like to call it "The Summer of Matri") I can’t help but feel we dropped the ball at almost every conceivable angle. We had numerous options to really bolster the team to a point where it could compete for the Scudetto and go a respectable length in the CL and we just didn’t do it. To me, it truly was a transfer window of unfulfilled expectations and just really bizarre strategy. Let’s go over the highlights and lowlights, shall we? We shall.
The Matri thing…. Goddamn it, man. This overshadowed the Poli, Saponara, and Silvestre moves in my opinion (I think Silvestre is a solid deal if you didn’t get that from me including him in with Poli and Sap). I want to believe in Fester. And I still do, don’t get me wrong, but this was an absolute embarrassment. When you look at it from Juve’s point of view in terms of the books, they essentially swapped Matri for Tevez. Like seriously Fester, what kind of dirt cheap, low-grade molly were you partying on the night you brokered this move? 11m for a vice-Pazzo, who comes back in a few months? The striker situation was so dire that we had to make an emergency 11m splash on a 29 year old bench player from Juve? It hurts just typing this stuff. And if we are as strapped for cash as our transfers indicate, why was this much allocated to a replacement? Ach!! I don’t need to go on. I feel aside from our hatred for the departed Showteng, we can all agree that the Matri move is a disgrace.
The Kaka thing…. okay, man. I get it. It’s sentimental. It’s a romantic return. It was free. He has nice hair. Great posture. He’ll contribute on and off the pitch. Fine. I’m not mad he’s here, but I’m mad that he’s here before we reinforced our central defense, midfield (yes, I want more depth), and that he came before Honda. Sorry, Honda is and was the right move for this team and the 4-3-1-2 system we pay lip-service to. And when you tally in transfer fees and salary, it probably would’ve cost you a whopping 2-3m more than Kaka. Yeah, we’ll get him for free in January, but if there was one lesson you would’ve thought this team learned from last year, it is the importance of chemistry and being able to gel early on. I get why we didn’t go overboard for him, but at the same time, it was a move that should’ve been made. But my main issue is that this move was made before we took a stab at a defender. Which leads me to….
The center-back thing…. IT’S STILL A POSITION YOU GUYS. It’s a real thing. And guess what? The two boneheads we have back there now are comically bad together. I can live with Mexes, because on his days, he is sharp. But he’s a risk-taker and if he’s seriously going to be a starting CB, you need someone that can make up for this. Zaps is not that dude. His positioning astonishes me because I remember him back for Udi. It’s not even the same player. I’m getting off track but the point is that this was priority #1 goddamn one in red 72 size font going into this mercato for me. And we barely even sniffed at the options we had. Ogbonna, Astori, Sakho (who it seems Liverpool bid against itself for), or even lesser names like Vlad Chiriches, all seem to have been completely ignored by management. Ogbonna, who is pure class in my book, cost 2m more than Matri. Astori could’ve been had for the same price. Chiriches even less-so. I had really hoped that the Bonera injury would’ve been an impetus to snatch up a quality CB. Like "Hey, Berlu. I know we’re aiming for our striker to defender ratio to be a healthy 4:1, but Bonera went down and we do technically need a backup for the position….. Yeah. A center back. It plays in between the two backs….No, no. They’re not supposed score that much. Yes, we really do need one. No, I will not do that with mayonnaise…. Because it’s my body!" And while I think Silvestre is a solid backup, we fluffed the opportunity to bring in one of the aforementioned players. But even without Bonera going down, anyone with a working set of eyes knew that this should’ve taken precedence over any other move we made.
This all makes me question two things. One, what the hell is going on with management? I’d love to be a fly on the wall to better understand the dynamics of the Max/Galliani/Berlu trinity. Because our policies and transfers aren’t at all synchronized. Are we still doing the youth thing? Are we building for the Scudetto (LOL)? Are we blowing smoke up the fans asses and just throwing out different slogans and goals every transfer window to justify our financial position? What are we going to do with all these strikers? You know, what the hell are we doing? My second question is how messed up is our financial situation? Sure, we’re an improved team for relatively cheap, but we could’ve be even better for not too much more. And the fact that Matri and a free Kaka Flocka Flame were the two signings made right after CL qualification raises not only questions into managements use of recreational drugs, but also where we are in terms of finances. We gained 30m from that win, no?
I’m gonna go drink this off.