Is Zlatan worth the bother for Barça?

If Joan Laporta had known what a blooming ball-ache the Mad Sammy Eto’o for Mad Zlatan Ibrahimovic transfer was going to be, then the tantrum-throwing titan of the Camp Nou probably wouldn’t have bothered with the swap. Not only has the ceaseless saga irked Pep Guardiola, the local press and a good chunk of the Barcelona faithful, but if the details of the reported deal are correct, then it could also turn out to be the biggest waste of money since Jesus Navas splashed out on a round-the-world air ticket. Laporta has even handed the opportunity to the Madridista papers of allowing them to take an evening stroll along the moral high ground - no mean feat - by throwing them the raw meat of a deal that could be worth 45m euro, plus Eto’o, plus Alexander Hleb - rounding things up to an estimated 90m. “Each club has the freedom to pay what it considers right for a player,” grinned an immensely smug Barça-supporting editorial in Marca last week, in response to club director Xavier Sala i Martin insisting that “we will never spend 60m on one footballer,” and Laporta’s constant grumblings over Madrid’s ‘imperialistic’ spending. The problem for Barcelona is that sealing this Swap Shop style deal has been like trying to understand José Antonio Reyes eating a mouthful of meatballs - almost impossible. Apparently, the easy part of the transfer has already been tied up with both Inter Milan and Zlatan himself agreeing to the terms of the deal. The trickier part has been manoeuvring Eto’o over the Med to Milan. The Cameroon striker is currently in a win-win-win-win situation.

If Eto’o stays at Barcelona he sees out the final year of his contract at the best club in the world where he remains popular - not that he's fussed about things like that - and can then pick and choose his next destination. If he gets a move to Inter Milan, within the next few weeks, then it will be for big bags of cash. Eto’o’s agent, José María Mesalles, returned to Barcelona on Tuesday night after another negotiation session with Inter, with Marca reporting that the Milan club are reluctant to fork out all of the 10-15m euro signing bonus that Eto’o is said to be demanding.

And that’s not even mentioning his supposed wage demands.  Despite Pep saying that Mad Sammy’s departure would be “better for the team and better for him,” Eto’o is in no hurry to go anywhere.

And this is causing some problems for Sport who are printing headlines nearly every day that the deal is on the brink of being done.  The other thorn in the backside of the move, as some of La Liga Loca’s fine Barça-supporting posters have been pointing out, is that it doesn’t seem to make sense on a football level. On his day and as seen by his form in Serie A, Zlatan is a fine, fine player. And La Liga Loca would, of course, welcome another loon joining in the fun of la Liga. But the Swede has done little for club and country either on an international or Champions League level to demonstrate that he is worth the reported figures that the Catalan club are willing to hand over.  Pep Guardiola is clearly in the hunt for a replacement for Eto’o, either for this season or next and still doesn’t rate the striking prowess of the GCSE-taking Bojan. However, according to Valencia Vice President Javier Gómez, the club’s efforts to sign David Villa were somewhat lethargic with the Mestalla man admitting that “there were never continuing talks with Barcelona.”But with Villa now apparently off the market, it seems that Barcelona are stuck on the current path of bringing Zlatan to the Camp Nou no matter what the cost - both footballing and financial.

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