Why Barça should sign Vidic, not Cesc Ã¢ÂÂ and Real should bag Bale
LLL has a tiny brain when it comes to football tactics. Public questions about how a manager should improve their flagging side during a game are normally answered with a muttered "tell them to play better". Then again, the blog suspects thatÃ¢ÂÂs what the Ã¢ÂÂ¬10m-a-year coaches of world football are doing, but writing in on a tablet computer instead.
Nevertheless, this general ignorance has not stopped LLL from stepping into Pep and JosÃÂ©Ã¢ÂÂs hand-crafted Italian shoes to tell them who they should sell and buy this summer...
In key games last season, Carles Puyol played at left-back and Javier Mascherano in central defence. That's a clear suggestion that some holes need to be plugged at the back Ã¢ÂÂ no Gerard PiquÃÂ© love-life joke intended.
BarÃÂ§a have wasted nearly Ã¢ÂÂ¬70m in past seasons trying to find a permanent replacement to Puyol Ã¢ÂÂ stand up Henrique, Dmytro Chygrynskiy, Gaby Milito, MartÃÂn CÃÂ¡ceres. They'd have been better purchasing a crash test dummy and sticking a Deirdre Barlow wig on it.
That needs to be fixed with a poach for MilanÃ¢ÂÂs Thiago Silva, as is reported this week in the Spanish press Ã¢ÂÂ or Nemanja Vidic, to continue the tradition of Manchester United being BarÃÂ§aÃ¢ÂÂs centre-back feeder club Ã¢ÂÂ along with the promotion of one of the cantera players such as Andreu FontÃÂ¡s, who started five league games last season.
Knee-knacked Carles Puyol is far from being proper cover for Dani Alves at right-back, so maybe BarÃÂ§a should promote Spain U21 player MartÃÂn Montoya from their reserves if there isn't a Maxwell or Adriano type available for a decent price.
"Hello Leo. Need a big lad at the back?"
Considering Barcelona are domestic and continental champions, money's a little tight at the Camp Nou, with a kitty of just Ã¢ÂÂ¬45m plus cash from sales. With the squad already a touch on the slender side, the big question is should Barcelona splurge everything Ã¢ÂÂ either almost all the cash or a good slice of it with several fringe players thrown in Ã¢ÂÂ on Cesc Fabregas, with only a few minor players added otherwise?
LLLÃ¢ÂÂs instructions are to wait a year. The midfield isnÃ¢ÂÂt a priority area for reinforcement; if a despondent Cesc has a dog of a season at Arsenal he might lose Ã¢ÂÂ¬10m or so in value by next summer, when the Catalan clubÃ¢ÂÂs finances will be in better order. With the emergence of Spain U21 star Thiago, things seem to be fine for the Dream Boys in this department.
Pep should flog Bojan (wanted by BarÃÂ§a back-roomer turned Roma boss Luis Enrique) and Jeffren while he still can. Both seem too flimsy, not to mention being poorer copies of what BarÃÂ§a already have as options up front.
Rather than going for Alexis SÃÂ¡nchez or Giuseppe Rossi Ã¢ÂÂ who wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt be a bad idea nonetheless Ã¢ÂÂ Guardiola should revert to his Big Man Up Front Plan B concept, the one which saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic brought in at huge expense but moved out due to bad Ã¢ÂÂfeelingÃ¢ÂÂ.
This means the purchase of Fernando Llorente from Athletic Bilbao for Ã¢ÂÂ¬30m. Since breaking into the Spain team the big forward has already proved he can fit in with the tiki-taka give-and-go fancy-pants football, so slotting in alongside so many of the same players for Barcelona shouldnÃ¢ÂÂt be a problem. And LlorenteÃ¢ÂÂs ego isn't so inflated that he would demand to start every game either. Easy.
The blog also likes the idea of picking up FrÃÂ©dÃÂ©ric KanoutÃÂ© for a year, just to have him about as a Henrik Larsson type figure.
In Ã¢ÂÂ Thiago/Vidic, Llorente, Thiago, KanoutÃÂ© (plus FontÃÂ¡s and Montoya)
Out Ã¢ÂÂ Bojan, Jeffren and Hleb (if he' still a BarÃÂ§a player)
Much depends on whether JosÃÂ© Mourinho is going to move Sergio Ramos permanently to play at centre-back alongside Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho or RaÃÂºl AlbÃÂol. If so, the middle is filled nicely. LLL would therefore suggest that skinflint Florentino PÃÂ©rez gets the dusty chequebook out for once with some flying full-backs to add a bit of competition for Marcelo and Alvaro Arbeloa and zip up the wings: Gareth Bale and Maicon should be a snip at Ã¢ÂÂ¬70m between them. The sale of Ezequiel Garay can probably fund about one fourteenth of that.
"Hmm, this lot seem quite handyÃ¢ÂÂ¦"
JosÃÂ© Mourinho has already been busy this summer, bringing in Hamit Altintop, Nuri Sahin and former Espanyol midfielder JosÃÂ© CallejÃÂ³n. The first should be a handy if unexciting utility player, the second is cover for Xabi Alonso, the third is baffling.
To make room, Madrid are going to have to shift a few players. Lassana Diarra says he wants to leave, as does Lady Gago. Either of them should be easy enough to flog to Arsenal; Pepe can always cover Sami Khedira in case of injury or suspension.
Returning loanee Royston Drenthe will almost certainly leave and thatÃ¢ÂÂs an option that should also be taken by Esteban Granero, who's more than good enough to play for a top six team in Spain but perhaps not the top two.
Pedro LeÃÂ³n may want to think about his options as well, considering Mourinho seems to hate his guts. If Madrid are looking for another expensive splurge then LLL would recommend Santi Cazorla, just for the heck of it, although the playmaker may not fit into MadridÃ¢ÂÂs scheme of things and could be wasted on the bench.
As Mourinho is now his own sporting director, the Madrid manager is going to get his four strikers at last. At the moment these are Karim Benzema, Gonzalo HiguaÃÂn, a youth teamer called Alvaro Morata (that was the plan last season, any way) and one other spot that could well be filled by Emmanuel Adebayor.
If Madrid can agree a fee with Manchester City and wages with the striker, then the loan deal should be made permanent. If not, then Ã¢ÂÂ¬45m on Kun AgÃÂ¼ero is a good shout Ã¢ÂÂ although it would create a nightmare trying to keep all the forwards happy unless Mourinho manufactures a major tactical switch for next season. As for Neymar, LLL's advice is "Run away, run away".
It may hurt Florentino PÃÂ©rez to do so, but it's time to bite the bullet on KakÃÂ¡ and flog him to Chelsea or Manchester City on a cut-price deal and have Sergio Canales as the back-up to Mesut ÃÂzil.
In Ã¢ÂÂ Bale, Maicon, Adebayor/AgÃÂ¼ero
Out Ã¢ÂÂ KakÃÂ¡, Lassana Diarra, Drenthe, Pedro LeÃÂ³n, Garay, Granero, Gago