The transfer of Barcelona’s Bojan Krkic to Roma is one that had been predicted ever since Luis Enrique left Barcelona B to take charge at the Stadio Olimpico. It is now confirmed that Bojan will represent the Giallorossi this season, however the real intrigue lies within the finer details of the move.
Roma has acquired the 20-year-old forward for €12m but Barcelona have included a buy-back clause that allows the Catalans to repurchase Bojan for €13m at the end of the 2012-2013 season. Should the young Spaniard rejoin Barca then it would only be at a €1m loss, a small price to pay for the return of an improved player who will have enjoyed action in one of Europe’s top leagues.
Roma are no obligation to accept this deal but to keep Bojan themselves they must pay a further €28m taking the total value of the deal to €40m.
So what is clear is that Barcelona accepts that Bojan needs first-team football if he is to reach the dizzy heights predicted for him when he first made his debut for the club against Osasuna in September 2007.
However with the European Champions having added Chilean international Alexis Sanchez to their already potent forward line, there appears little room for Bojan who has made 163 appearances for Barca and scored 41 goals.
From Barcelona’s insistence in the buy-back option in the deal, it appears that they have not yet given up hope on Bojan establishing himself as a world-class striker.
The Catalans have ensured that should Bojan blossom at the Olimpico, and be wanted back at the Camp Nou, then there will be no Cesc Fabregas style saga to bring the La Masia graduate home.
Fabregas’ proposed move back to the club that he left at the age of 16, has dominated gossip columns over recent summers. The midfielder left the club on a free transfer and it looks as if Barca will have to pay over €35m to get him on a plane home.
The Champions League winners suffered a similar scenario with centre-back Gerard Pique when he joined Manchester United on a free transfer back in 2004. Barcelona would then go on to pay £5m to secure his return in 2008.
Both the Pique deal and any potential conclusion to the Fabregas saga present painful losses for the club that schooled the players at the famous La Masia academy, whose alumni reads like a who’s who of football.
Bojan was part of the Spain Under-21 side that won the Under-21 European Championships in Denmark this summer, overcoming Switzerland 2-0 in the final.
Also in that team was the outstanding midfielder and scorer of an audacious 40-yard free kick in the final, Bojan’s former club teammate, Thiago Alcantara.
Thiago appeared to relish the opportunity to showcase his skills on the world stage and put in a number of impressive performances as Spain won the tournament. He has since maintained his sparkling form during Barca’s pre-season jaunt to the US, scoring stunners against not so modest opponents, Bayern Munich and Manchester United.
Thiago is the son of former Brazilian World-Cup winner Mazinho and has been tipped for great things for a number of years now.
However, at club level, he has found himself behind arguably the greatest midfield trio in world football (Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets) in the Barcelona pecking order, and instead featured for the B team in the previous campaign. Barcelona B finished third and were only denied a promotion play-off where the winners achieve promotion to La Liga, because of the presence of their first team in that division.
It remains to be seen whether Thiago will be able to force his way into Guardiola’s starting XI this season, though his stand-out performances in pre-season have provided him with an excellent chance.
However, should Barca not feel that they can guarantee Thiago the first-team football necessary to aid his development into a world-class superstar and do eventually allow him to leave, it now seems likely that a deal similar to the Bojan sale will be put in place to ensure a smooth road back to Barcelona should a vacancy arise in the European Champions midfield.