transfer ban

What happens to Man City’s recruitment if ban is upheld?

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Money goes a long way, but the most elite footballers in the world can hardly be paid enough to miss two seasons of the UEFA Champions League in the prime of their careers.

Manchester City is currently set to miss the next two UEFA Champions League campaigns, and who knows how many players will ask to jump ship this summer.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

But how many will still seize the opportunity to compete for a Premier League title at one of the best-paying clubs in the world? Especially if the lure of playing for Pep Guardiola is gone.

It’s hard to tell, as this isn’t like Nicolas Pepe choosing Arsenal despite the club’s Europa League standing.

This is two seasons without the UCL guaranteed — assuming the ban is not reduced — and there’s no close comparison in UEFA history when it comes to massive sides getting this heavy of a punishment while still staying top flight.

We’re in new territory here, fellow humans.

The closest comparison we have, perhaps, is when Juventus was sent to Serie B as a result of the calciopoli scandal. Juventus lost Fabio Cannavaro, Lilian Thuram, Patrick Vieira, Emerson, Gianluca Zambrotta, Adrian Mutu, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

But The Old Lady was able to sign French international Jean-Alain Boumsong as well as Italian national teamers Cristiano Zanetti, and Marco Marchionni.

Good players, but not the cream of the crop.

Man City can kiss the idea of bringing Lionel Messi aboard if the world’s greatest player decides not to exit Barcelona this summer, and neither Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, nor Timo Werner will look its way.

Given the balancing that will need to come via Financial Fair Play and missing out on Champions League revenue, we may see City sell two players for heavy riches (and put a lot of faith in Phil Foden).

You have to think City will retain enough Premier League talent to remain a challenger in both domestic cups and perhaps even the league.

Can City supplement that by using one or two monumental transfer fees (Leroy Sane, Kevin De Bruyne) to do what Real Madrid has done and buy green mega prospects to develop over two seasons? Maybe players a bit more developed, like Boubacar Kamara and Boubakary Soumare, who will take the rich new deals and believe City will get it done by qualifying in year two of the ban?

And could winning the Champions League sate some of the club’s longtime stars, like Sergio Aguero, and convince them to stick around through the “rebuild?”

How many times have we seen players from teams without UCL hope linked with Champions League desire as a reason for wanting out of their current clubs? At Newcastle alone we’ve seen Georginio Wijnaldum, Moussa Sissoko, and Yohan Cabaye use that rationale, while Wilfried Zaha at Palace and Abdoulaye Doucoure at Watford are prime current examples.

Now perhaps those players who want a look at a Premier League title and an upgrade and pay will turn their eyes to City anyway. Perhaps we’ll see a hyped-up old MLS approach, where very young megawatt prospects meet stars on the downside join City.

But it seems likely that City will drift from the top of the table and suffer for at least one season while their top dogs move away to greener pastures.

Either way, next season looks great for Liverpool.

Pep on 3 meetings with Poch, potential Man City transfer ban

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
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“The squad’s good. It’s really good.”

Pep Guardiola is trying not to sweat a possible transfer ban for his Manchester City, long-tipped to make big moves in the central midfield and left back this summer.

[ MORE: Analyzing the UCL draw ]

He really didn’t want to talk about the ban, saying it’s above his pay grade and he’ll get on with the job either way. He referred to the club statement and asked that he not be continually quizzed on the matter.

As for drawing Spurs in the Champions League, yeah, he’s got a bit more to say about his next opponent on the road to Madrid.

From The Manchester Evening News:

“It’s a different situation, year, opponent. You play four teams and two in the Europa it’s because the English clubs have gone through, it’s incredible, it’s what it is. Any team has strong points and weak, the same with us. Never in my life have I said it would be better in this situation, I want my players fit after the international break and ready for the next months. I need my players ready to play. I know Tottenham quite well, how good they are up front – Son, Kane, Alli, Eriksen behind, his set pieces – but if you talk about any team it would be the same. You cannot control what you think about the draw. We are going to play.”

He seems most impressed that six of seven European qualifiers remain alive in the quarterfinals of two tournaments, and for good reason.

This is still a tough slog for Man City, whose impressive depth will get the test it imagined upon construction.

Bluffing? Real Madrid’s Perez says no January transfers despite looming ban

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Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is facing the club’s expected two-window transfer ban with typical aplomb.

[ MORE: How will bans affect Real, Atletico Madrid? ]

The bombastic executive, 68, says Real will not be adding any new players during the window because they’ve got all the quality they need in their stables.

Again claiming the proposed ban is absurd, Perez spoke out to France Football.

From Goal.com:

“We are not going to be making any signings in the January window but that doesn’t have anything to do with the ban, it is because we have the best players and the best coach,” he told France Football.

“The FIFA sanction is hurtful. It is a very serious matter to smear Real Madrid’s reputation in this way. We are convinced that it is all a mistake; it is ridiculous to think that Real Madrid will be punished for a matter concerning the protection of minors when the children have always been a priority for us.”

Questionable move by Perez, though you have to imagine clubs are quoting enormous fees to Real due to the club’s sheer desperation.

Then again, perhaps these quotes are Perez telling the world that he won’t be bullied in the market. Either way, it would be a shocking development if Real didn’t fortify in some way by the time the window closes on Feb. 1.

Light of transfer ban makes Barcelona’s losses sting a bit more

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There’s a specter haunting Barcelona missteps, that being the transfer ban which will find the club without infusions of talent for the next year.

So losses sting a bit more, and perceived managerial missteps — like leaving Neymar, Dani Alves and Lionel Messi out of the Starting XI before losing to Real Sociedad on Sunday — are magnified in light of the solutions that cannot be created in soccer’s open season.

[ MORE: Manchester United linked with Howedes, Hummels ]

The pain will feel more acute during this January’s window despite the fact that Barcelona has rarely made any, let alone big moves in this window. It’s been the summer which has seen Barca bring in names like Jordi Alba and Neymar, but now the lack of new faces will seem like they should’ve been en route to the Camp Nou.

And so lineup decisions like Sunday’s moves by Luis Enrique are going to be paramount. The club still has plenty of high-flying talent, but how the club’s veterans are used can and should be under the microscope moving forward. In retrospect, leaving Messi and Neymar out of an XI on the road at Real Sociedad isn’t so bright.

Before the game, though? These ghosts will start to haunt Enrique even before kickoff.

Barcelona’s appeal allowed the club to pick up a bevy of players for the future given their transfer prognosis, with Thomas Vermaelen, Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suarez, Claudio Bravo, Douglas and Jeremy Mathieu joining the Blaugranas this summer.

But what good will those players be if they aren’t in the lineup?

Barcelona is going to have to continue to work its way through the UEFA Champions League, Cup runs and La Liga without bringing in high-priced transfers or free agents. Dani Alves is out of contract this summer, and Xavi will turn 36 next January.

Sunday’s loss by Real Madrid used to be the ones that were pounced upon by Barcelona. That didn’t happen on Sunday. While that doesn’t mean it won’t happen next time, it’s starting to feel like Barca could become not just option B in the race for La Liga’s crown, but option C.

Barcelona’s transfer ban suspended by FIFA, should allow club to make summer moves

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The “complexity” of the improper conduct case involving Barcelona will likely allow the Spanish giant to conduct transfer business this summer, as its 14-month transfer ban has been suspended by FIFA during the club’s appeal.

FIFA expects the investigation to take longer than July 1, which means it would eat into the transfer window regardless of whether the ban is expected to hold up or the appeal successful.

Barca received a transfer ban earlier this month for illegal activity on signing players under the age of 18, the latest in a string of off-field drama for the club that has included tax fraud in the Neymar signing and an investigation into tax evasion for Lionel Messi.

And with the club set to embark on a crucial summer of player activity after a relatively-unsuccessful season — and without longtime stars Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes — the suspension of the ban is quite timely.

As for the “why” and “how” of the ban, this is from the BBC:

Fifa rules state  that international transfers are only permitted for players over the age of 18 – unless the player in question meets one of three qualifying criteria.

Under-18s can move to a club in a different country if their parents move there for non-footballing reasons, if they are from another nation within the European Union or European Economic Area and aged between 16 and 18, or if they live within 100km of the club.

The Fifa investigation centred on several players aged under 18 who were registered and played for Barcelona between 2009 and 2013.

Fifa told BBC Sport the identity of these players is confidential.

Perhaps Barca’s size is working in its favor in multiple ways here. FIFA could be granting leniency to a rich club, but also it may need the time to search through the pages of a club busier than most others. In any event, this is a massive break for the Blaugranas and will no doubt be met with consternation by Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and the rest of Spain, while also leading to a fresh batch of Lionel Messi departure rumors.