On paper it was the perfect transfer, writes Tim Stannard – but in reality we might not have heard the last of it...
Now, La Liga Loca may not pay as much attention to other leagues as it does the game in Spain, but the blog is quite sure that nothing ever becomes as complicated as it does in the particularly sticky land of the rising ham.
The simple transfer of a bearded, hot-tempered midfielder from Atlético Madrid to Barcelona has become a bit of a saga. Simple, in that the usual obstacles that generally keep the English tabloids busy in summertime were overcome quite quickly.
Arda Turan was happy with the terms being offered to him by his new team. Atlético accepted Barça’s payment and good-naturedly wished the Turkish midfielder well on his footballing journey. But with La Liga being La Liga and therefore not quite right, Turan is not going to kick a ball – or throw a boot at an official – in anger until January, meaning four months of the campaign without any competitive football. The only place that normally happens is Tottenham in the second half of the season.
Beating the 'ban'
This, of course, is down to Barcelona’s transfer ban, which now needs a willing volunteer to go back in history and explain that this wasn’t a transfer ban at all, but merely a ban on being able to field footballers that they were perfectly at liberty to sign. Had we known that then, we might all have saved ourselves some fretting over End Of Days for the Catalan club, and Dani Alves having to do a stint in goal due to a flu epidemic.
Added to this kerfuffle is the possibility that Arda might actually go back to Atlético in a few weeks' time at a loss for Barcelona of about €4 million. Quite the deal, really. This is because of the fact that Barca don't technically have anyone in charge until July 18 when the presidential elections take place. There is a managing board, whose job it is to make sure the toilets are cleaned and stationary cupboard stocked up, but its reach should be limited.
That’s certainly the argument according to the opposition of Josep Maria Bartomeu, the figure responsible for pushing through the deal. “The managing board cannot make a decision like this. It’s a scandal,” was the complaint from Agusti Benedito.
Joan Laporta, who has a more-than-decent chance of winning the poll and taking over as King of Catalonia, has admitted that he would need to talk to Luis Enrique, his new sporting director Eric Abidal, and a few contract lawyers to see if Arda might be sent packing back to the Vicente Calderón. Unless that cash was being squirrelled away for someone else, Laporta is unlikely to take that decision.
The Turk offers another body in midfield to take the place of the departing Xavi, and as Marca put it bluntly, the footballer is a “harder, tougher Iniesta”. Of course, this wasn’t always the case. Turan arrived at the Rojiblancos in 2011 as a bit of a flimsy playmaker, but Diego Simeone did one of his specialist makeovers to transform him into a bit of a rage machine.
Turan is set to be presented on Friday at the Camp Nou – a handy promotional opportunity for Bartomeu – and will more than likely be at the club past the middle of July. Not even La Liga Loca is crazy enough to see him making a reverse trip back to Spain's capital.
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