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To Sell or Not to Sell...


News has been leaking for about a month that Barcelona has been interested in a new goalkeeper as Valdes’ contract is up with no renewal. The leak became a tidal wave when Barca, all due respect to a great club, was humiliated by home side Bayern 4-0. I don’t know if it’s the psychological shock of a big loss or if the current Barca president is watching his position float by on a Viking funeral ship but something snapped and the over the top gesture was made.

Now, I don’t know if I have made my personal opinions on Barca completely clear, but I am not a big fan of theirs. Part of the reason for that is a thing like this. The other part is the diving, acting injured and poor sportsmanship stuff that Inter had to endure a couple of years ago.

But as I have said, they suffered a bad defeat – maybe the worse one since the Milan debacle - and they feel bad about themselves… so, as my wife puts it, they’re going shopping.
While it’s not exactly muy macho, shopping your troubles away, it is annoying to me because it’s our player that they are going after. Possibly, more likely probably, he’s been the best transfer that this team has made in several years. He’s a bonafide world class player that could even be better in the coming years, and we have so few of them left.

Okay, so I am not exactly enamored with the idea that we lose a very good player and with the same move, strengthen a team that could use a good drop down to reality, if you catch my meaning.

On the other hand, €30 mil is a lot of cabbage.

But I am still against it for several reasons, none of which have to do with schadenfreude, although I’ll keep it close in case there’s a tie.

The biggest reason I think he shouldn’t be sold is that he’s doing well here on all levels. This isn’t a case where the player isn’t fitting in. This isn’t a case where he and the team are at odds. He’s playing well. His teammates adore him. And, by his own words, he’s happy. While many clubs see a player’s performance as a way to ensure their financial survival, that isn’t Inter. It never was, but if the club were at times wishful for a more balanced ledger, the future of the club’s financial statements have never looked more promising than right this second.

The only thing that could make the financial statement more serene is Champions League money, money that the team won’t get if they sell brilliant players in his prime.

And there we hit number two on my reasons why we shouldn’t sell him on. All season we were fighting for that third Champions League spot. Go ahead and cast your mind back and see if you can recall how many times he saved our fat from the fire. How many times have I set up a poll on this very site and his name was voted IPOG? I recall that at least once I put only his name for consideration, to say that he was the only one worthy of the honor.

The next reason to keep him is even simpler than financial statements or Champions League prestige. Let’s imagine that he’s sold. Okay, now what do we do? Who’s the next man up? Is there a comparable talent that Inter would be able to buy? Can we compensate for his loss with a counter balancing attacking threat, in other words, can we lure a top striker here without the promise of Europe’s biggest tournament? See, even though we would get a butt load of money, aren’t we just making more problems for ourselves? To me, we should be solving the issues and deficiencies to help us climb the table to those Champions League spots, not creating new problems for us to solve.

We all know Sanchez is going to be used as a bargaining chip, one way or another, so let’s look at the worst possible scenario. Let’s suppose that Sanchez is thrown into the mix with the money.

And you know what; it’s still a shoddy deal for us. Sanchez is a good player, but he isn’t going to make up for not having a potentially great goalkeeper. Handanovic in his second year with the club will, I hope be even better as he becomes more willing to tell people what to do, gets to know his defenders, anticipate them and compliment their play. Sanchez is a good player but he has his warts. He’s easily injured, and do we really need another one like that? He’s not very physical, we already have that. He’s speedy and technical but he’s not a prima punta, well we have that already too. If Sanchez were the type that I could use to play up top and take on the central defenders, I might, MIGHT sing a slightly different song – if he were really, really good…

And that’s the other shoe. If Sanchez were really, really good – and didn’t cost the team what he did - then Barca wouldn’t be using him as makeweight. They would walk down the hallway to their famous school and shout up another goalkeeper but keep Sanchez.

Yeah, he might be cast as the role of scape goat for this scene, and he might be undervalued by Barca because of it. But we here have all seen him play, right? He’s good, when he’s on. He’s very good when he’s on. But there are too many gaps, there are too many injuries and what’s to stop him from leaving Inter again if another Money Bags shows? Remember that he had an agreement with Branca to come here. There was an agreement with Udinese. Sanchez caught fire that season and decided to “better deal” Inter, rather than keep his word. Now, it might have been the smart thing to do for him, but it sure didn’t sit well with me. And I’m just a mild case when you compare it to the Curva. He screws up, after all this, and you thought that the Curva was hard on Alvarez?