There are so many layers of complexion in this situation, so I hope I’ll not ramble on for too long.
Man United have contacted the entourage of Thiago. They offer him a huge pay rise (Xavi-Iniesta salary) and to be starter from day one. [as]
If that’s true, you can hardly blame the lad. The World Cup is right around the corner, and becoming a starter at United severely increase his chances of a (starting) spot and/or higher involvement in the tournament. Further, Thiago has never struck me as a player that’s in it for the money, but such an extreme wage bump while playing for United would be hard for any player to turn down.
The thing is, you can hardly blame Thiago for wanting to leave Barcelona. We as fans expect our players to have 100% loyalty towards our club while we often forget that the club needs to show loyalty the other way around too. This is where Barcelona have failed under Rosell.
Let’s just start with his playing time. Look at any matchthread from /r/barca and you’ll see how people couldn’t believe that he started on the bench again. Xavi had fitness problems for large parts of the season but he still played so much even though he wasn’t anywhere near top of his game. Granted, Thiago has had the occasional lapse in concentration which has led to a few balls lost in midfield (huge no-no for Barcelona).
However, we won the season with fucking 100 points. Pep never reached 100 points because he was much more focused on playing the youngsters. Tito was showing signs of an OK rotation of the squad before his cancer “struck” but then it went down hill. Barcelona should never care about setting records but playing younger players in other to get them match experience.
In other words, at a sporting level Barcelona did not reward Thiago talents with adequate playing time. But it is much more interesting when we look at management issue
The problem with Thiago is that the club has grossly mismanaged his contract. Under Rosell, we have had our fair share of contractual problems:
- Keita leaving on a free.
- Youth players leaving.
- Youth players banned from playing due to errors in the contractual process.
- Abidal’s contract not being extended.
- Tello’s release clause stands at a mere 10M which is way too little for such a talented player.
- Muniesa leaves on a free due to the club not wanting to extend his contract. Should have had a longer contract and atleast made 4-5M on his sale if he wasn’t good enough.
The worst offense here is Thiago’s escape clause of 18M. You’re talking about one of the most talented creative midfielders in the world. 18M is a scoop any day in the week. Tito said he didn’t know anything about it. Rosell has kept his mouth shut. Either that’s extreme incompetence or it’s just not true. If they knew about it, it’s bad business from Rosell. Tito shouldn’t play players based on contractual clauses but he should be aware of them and Rosell should never have let it been so low.
You might have noticed how we are starting to see rumors of Mata joining Barcelona as soon as the Thiago rumors started to increase. This is by no means a coincidence – Rosell has leaked the “interest” in Mata in order to deflect attention from the Thiago case. Who honestly believes Chelsea would let him go?
The whole PR spin is working though. Fans are starting to turn on Thiago – “Club is bigger than one player etc.” which is all true. But the fault doesn’t lie with Thiago. It lies with the club. Tito for not playing such a talented player enough and Rosell for fucking up his contract. Rosell is just doing his best to deflect blame since we might have elections right around the corner and he isn’t exactly that popular.
Meanwhile, Marca are reporting Zubizaretta has contacted Thiago in order convince him into staying. A new contract ‘may’ have been offered. (@Youngcules)
So it seems like they’re trying to fix the situation in the last seconds. Hopefully he’ll take it, as I want him to stay. We can’t even find an adequate replacement for twice what were going to get for him. And people who will inevitably point at Sergi Roberto etc from La Masia is kidding themselves. Thiago is much more talented and ready now.
TL;DR; Club mismanaged both Thiago playing time and his contract. Part of a bigger problem with Rosell and management. Fans expect loyalty from Thiago but the club isn’t offering any towards Thiago.
(Thanks to @Youngcules @euleri and @Barcastuff for insights/sources etc).