Perhaps my favorite person of the day is Paris Saint-Germain president Sheikh Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
Because the man has spectacular testicular fortitude.
Al-Khelaifi has come out and said that if Barcelona continue to pursue their interest in Thiago Silva he will reach deep into his pockets, grab somewhere in the region of $328 million (€250m), and trigger Lionel Messi’s buy-out clause.
Now granted, Al-Khelaifi’s fortitude, in large part, is due to his Scrooge McDuck sized money pits that I’m pretty sure he does back-flips into every night before dinner. But still – it’s kind of awesome that he’s standing up to Barcelona.
Why is it awesome?
Because Al-Khelaifi has obviously grown tired of Barcelona’s repeated approaches on his prized center-back. It’s a strong-arm approach that a number of clubs utilize but Barcelona are particularly well-known for.
Here’s how it pans out. When Barcelona want a player, they make it public. Then if the player or his club deny interest, Barcelona persist. And persist. And persist.
It’s this kind of strong-arm technique that drives other clubs positively bananas. Two summers ago it happened to Arsenal when Barcelona wanted Cesc Fabregas. Arsene Wenger nearly tore his ears off he was so infuriated.
Now, it’s PSG’s turn.
It’s not that this technique makes Barcelona bad or unethical, it just stinks for clubs that can’t compete with Blaugrana’s notoriety, which is basically everyone. These clubs simply have no weapons to fight back with.
And so, this is how we find Al-Khelaifi. He can’t pretend like PSG has the notoriety of Barcelona, so he doesn’t.
But at least he’s smart enough to figure out a solid threat with the one weapon he does have – cash money.
So will he end up getting Messi?
Highly, highly doubtful.
But he may have just bought himself a few weeks of peace and quiet.