Why are Barcelona paying so much for Ibrahimovic?
If your first reaction on hearing about the Samuel Eto’o-Zlatan Ibrahimovic deal was “How much?” then I can assure you you weren’t the only one.
To land Ibrahimovic, who is due to be presented this evening at the Nou Camp, Barcelona will not only hand over the Cameroon international striker but will also give Inter Milan a reported 45 million euros and the loan, for one season, of Aleksandr Hleb.
According to Marca, who are not exactly fans of Barcelona it must be said, that makes the total cost of the Swedish striker at least 87.5 million euros (with Eto’o valued at 35 million, and Hleb for a season at 7.5).
So how on earth is Ibrahimovic worth close to 90 million euros? How on earth is he valued at double Eto’o, one of the world’s top strikers?
Ibrahimovic is the sort of striker coaches love. Tall and strong, he is happy playing with his back to goal and therefore gives the team a target man. He scores goals too, of course, and he has contributed to six league title-winning campaigns with Ajax and Inter.
But Eto’o is no mean player himself. The Cameroon international is also strong but relies more on his skill and explosive pace to get past defences. After signing for Barcelona in 2004 he proved to be the missing piece in the puzzle, joining forces with Ronaldinho to get the team back to title-winning ways.
Eto’o scored not only in the 2006 Champions League final win over Arsenal, but also in this year’s victory over Manchester United and he will leave Barcelona with a record of 130 goals in five seasons.
I think it goes without saying that Ibrahimovic is not really worth 40-45 million euros more than Eto’o, so it looks like yet another case of Barcelona letting a player go at far less than their market value, and for reasons other than simply their value to the team.
It happened with Schuster, Stoichkov, Romario, Kluivert, Rivaldo and Riquelme and now coach Pep Guardiola says he’s happy for Eto’o to go for no reason other than a “feeling”, even thought they’re getting next to nothing for him.
Why is it so many big names seem to leave Barcelona in such circumstances? Why have they never mastered the art of selling?
And looking to the future, can you see Ibrahimovic living up to the inflated price tag the Spanish press have put on him?
PHOTO: Barcelona’s new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Sweden poses in front of a FC Barcelona sign at the team headquarters in Barcelona, July 26, 2009. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino