Can we become the poor man’s Barcelona?

A poor man's Lionel Messi?
Forget the Arsenal model, the Everton model, the Aston Villa model or whatever our board have decided to call our business plan now. How about the Barcelona model

Ok, now while you are picking yourself off your chair laughing…

I know we are nowhere near their standard, and we have a long, long way to go before our style of play and quality of players even resembles their team. But I can see Alan Pardew trying to model us into say a lesser version of Barcelona. And a “poor man’s Barcelona” is certainly not disrespectful in my eyes – it would only set us up for further future growth.

Lets take a look at what I mean.

Keeper – Victor Valdez (aged 29) and Tim Krul (aged 23)

Both are acrobatic shot stoppers, but I think Krul has massive potential to even surpass Valdez as far as being a commanding keeper goes. He would need to greatly work on his distribution though, but he is still young.

Left back – Eric Abidal (aged 32) and Erik Pieters (aged 23)

Pieters was clearly our main left back target and is someone I really hope we pursue in the next window.

Both big strong, composed, and sound technically, can fill in at centre back and can get up and down the touchline if needed. They even have the same first name…

Right back – Dani Alves (aged 28) and Davide Santon (aged 20)

Both quick, technically gifted, both have a good engine and like to get forward. Santon has great potential and if he lives up to it there is no reason why he couldn’t get close to Alves’ standards.

Centre back – Carlos Puyol (aged 33) and Fabricio Coloccini (aged 29)

Both read the game brilliantly, smallish but strong and intelligent, and both captains. They even have the same hair style! Our very own Caveman, but just younger!

Centre back – Gerard Pique (aged 24) and Steven Taylor (aged 25)

Both big, strong, powerful in the air and dangerous in attacking set pieces. Both good foils to their more intelligent and more positionally aware centre back partners.

Defensive midfielder – Javier Mascherano (aged 27) and Cheik Tiote (aged 25)

Midfield enforcers, aggressive ball winners, don’t shy away from tackles and both possess a decent long range shot, Their main remit though is to protect the back four.

Midfield playmaker – Xavi (aged 31) and Yohan Cabaye (aged 25)

Both can pick a great pass, always look for the ball, calm and composed and are basically the midfield engine of the team.

Star attacking player – Lionel Messi (aged 22) and Hatem Ben Arfa (aged 24)

Whilst nobody on this planet can even be compared to the phenomenon that is Lionel Messi, I believe that Ben Arfa has more than enough technical ability and skill to perform that role in our team. Unfortunately we haven’t got to see much of it, and he would have to work massively on his work rate to even be considered a poor man’s Messi.

Creative wing/forward with pace #1 – Pedro (aged 24) and Gabriel Obertan (aged 22)

Both players have great technical skill, great pace, and a decent shot. Again, Obertan will have to work on his work rate, which he showed signs of against Fulham. And if he can gain confidence to take on defenders he could well prove to be a great talent out wide.

Creative wing/forward with pace #2 – Andres Iniesta (aged 27) and Jonas Gutierrez (aged 28)

Again, both players, can beat a man with ease, both have a fantastic work rate, but what Jonas clearly lacks is the killer final ball and power shot of Iniesta. We have seen very little of Sylvain Marvaeux but maybe he can prove to offer something here.

Striker – David Villa (aged 30) and Demba Ba (aged 26)

Both players have great goal scoring records, but Villa has done it at a much higher level and has been far more consistent. Both players can finish very well, and both like to try and break the offside trap and get into good scoring positions. Unfortunately, Villa has a whole heap of other attributes that I don’t see Ba ever replicating. Perhaps that is why Pardew has made it his priority, to look for a compact, strong, pacey, and technically gifted striker, in the mould of Villa, who can play up front or on the wing? Erdinc or Maiga anyone?

There are other similarities in versatile players that can play in various positions, like Seydou Keita (Dan Gosling), or young players coming from the youth system: Adriano (Ferguson), Afellay (Vuckic).

Although our attack is falling very, very short of that of Barca, I truly believe the comparisons in the first eight or nine (certainly with regards to potential) players I mentioned are clear to see.

I know the idea might seem a bit far fetched to some, and we can never realistically compare our squad to the best club team in perhaps the last 10 years. But I for one, certainly wouldn’t mind being a poor man’s Barcelona.

Even if we didn’t pick up trophies, if we could even come close to their playing style, with a younger squad, full of ability and allow them to grow together, it would be great to watch.

That of course is putting aside the unfortunate situation that are best players will in all likelihood be sold off. But I can certainly see the potential for something decent.

All it would take is a decent quick technical striker, a quality fullback and perhaps one more quality passing midfielder to have “the jigsaw” as Pardew referred to, completed.

Personally I prefer to refer to it at this stage as the “ingredients” for a bright future. The rest of the work could be done on the pitch and in the training ground over a couple seasons.

As much negativity as their is at our failure to bring in a quality striker this transfer window. Lets look back three seasons, and I think it is pretty clear we have grown, and by next year, most of the dead wood will have left.

To me Barcelona are the team that all teams should be aspiring to emulate. The are an example to all.

Do you think, we are on the verge of having a squad capable of being something decent?

A Barcelona, sort of?

About JJ

Toon supporter since 1993. Living in South Africa. I've been following Newcastle since the days of Andy Cole and Peter Beardsley. Despite all the turmoil recently, the passion only grows with time.

60 thoughts on “Can we become the poor man’s Barcelona?

  1. Is this a wind up?!

    I don’t want anything you are on because it clearly makes you deluded .

    I prefer to be level headed.

    If you had done a comparison with Everton I would have understood but Barca bloody Lona?!!!
    Woo hoo hoo hoo ξ„… ξ„… ξ„… ξ„…


  2. Hmm dunno JJ. I kind of see your point in a sense that the players we have are very technical players, but I don’t think we’ll get anywhere near the kind of stuff that Barcelona play.

    They have got that way because the bulk of them have played together for Xavi and Iniesta came through together at all levels.

    I do think we could be in for some good technical football, but I doubt we’ll be anywhere near the stuff that Barca play.


  3. Seriously, does anyone else remember the early days of Jack Charlton at NUFC?
    He said the same thing – his long term plan was a team of local heroes based on serveral feeder teams (Gateshead etc) reserves, youth & boys where you signed on at 14, grew up together and progressed to an all-geordie first team. Jack left & Barcelona abandoned the plan.
    Sir John Hall had a similar idea that included a grand club for the Geordie Nation with rugby, ice hockey & even a grand prix team.

    What a dream!


  4. A more realistic model model would be the great Celtic team of the sixties.
    In one season the club won every competition it entered from youth cup up to the first British team to win the European Cup – and every player was born within 30 miles of Glasgow.

    An they sold a top player to an english club nearly every year!


  5. toonsy…i dont know if your plan was to lift the spirt and make a light hearted thread but….this one has me laughing so its done thre trick. There is no way you were trying to be serious, please tell me you wern’t… you were wern’t you !! lol lol lol you crack me up man. Man united are a poor mans barca ffs… they were made to look very ordinary against them last season in champ final. Then look at how far we are back from man utd.. there is your answer. i would say we are a poor mans spurs.


  6. JJ – I knew you’d get comment like this also from simple people who can’t see what you mean and just digest the headline πŸ™‚

    If people could be arse to scratch a bit deeper they will get your meaning though. Unfortunately sometimes you have to spell things out clearly however πŸ˜‰


  7. JJ…. you knobber hahahahahaha, great thread….

    whats dekka saying in the chronicle answers then… i am dying to know but i bet its gonna be frustrating no matter what he says and when he comes out and says all the 35 million has been spent of free players and under soil heating i will just have to be resigned to the fact that all 14 answers will be bull shit.


  8. troy, well i have not had chance to read them as in saudi but did you really expect any real answers.. that would mean er… being honest to the fans lol lol


  9. In some way ye, not a wind up… Tongue in cheek way of suggesting we have the right type of players to play a similar style of football in approach and formation to what Barcelona has finally achieved.

    Obviously we are no where near there standard. I never once suggested we were or ever would be.
    But if you go back 6 or 7 years. They were no where near the team they are today.

    Surely if we as a club are looking to emulate anybody. It should be Barca and even if we can reach half the standard they have set, it would still be a success.

    Newcastle historically has always played typically British football. Has typically British number nines.

    But look at the players we have now. Its all set up for a completely different system. And a completely different style of football.


  10. Nathandio

    If you could read properly, I said ” Unfortunately, Villa has a whole heap of other attributes that I don’t see Ba ever replicating. Perhaps that is why Pardew has made it his priority, to look for a compact, strong, pacey, and technically gifted striker, in the mould of Villa, who can play up front or on the wing? Erdinc or Maiga anyone?”

    They are far more similar in playing style and build to a striker like David Villa. Those were our primary targets for a new number nine. Quick mobile and techincal forwards. Which makes a massive change of pumping long balls to a 6ft plus Target man like Newcastle has done for the past decade.


  11. id be irish myself, so never miss an opportunity to have a go at england πŸ˜‰ good win in the end but they didnt deserve it! i would say two shorter articles, maybe split it into a financial article and a more footballing article. when are they out by the way?


  12. Troy
    If you are going to try rebuild a club’s playing style and youth strategy, why would you base it on a club that you are virtually already on the same playing level like Everton?
    Everton has a very average squad, play an unattractive style.of football and are on the decline.

    Surely you aim to emulate the Best in the world. Because they must be doing it right.

    Im not saying we could EVER reach that level. But surely in life you always strive to reach that level.


  13. woah…they must have answered in some depth so! lets hope its not the usual bile! two articles would seem more appropriate so.


  14. i think in order to get a fair cross section of views you need to do each question seperatley, for instance, the AC one is utter tripe but other ones make sense.


  15. Craig – Problem with doing each one separately is that it will take ages to get through as you have to leave each one up for a bit.


  16. Also, the dreams of having the whole team made up of players who were born within 30miles of the ground is a thing of the past.

    It doesnt even fully exist at Barca. Their stars that came up and played through the youth team together werent born 30 miles front Camp Nou. But were scoured and brought to Barca at a young age! Then developed together and introduced to the team in their mid and early 20’s unless they showed exceptional talent like Messi.

    I think starting a few years back. Thats exactly what Newcastle has been trying to do. Kadar, Vuckic, Abied, Ferguson, Tavanier, are the closest to making the breakthrough. Look ten years back. How many youth players were even close to the first team? Maybe one or two.
    These guys may not have been born Geordies. But they could still all be talented local heroes. That would have played together for many years before.


  17. i have read all them now and in all honesty, i think he talks a fair bit of sense on many issues. of course some bull shit etc like the waffle over the 35 milliongate saga but on the whole.. i am happy with his answer for once. damn damn ….


  18. Did anybody truely expect to extract any truth just because the board agreed to answer 14 questions?
    Answers were always going to be vague and probably half bullshit anyway.


  19. I see where you are coming from JJ, and tbh its a matter of time.
    We need to let the new squad gel together and build up to a decent level before making judgements as some are so quick to do.
    The key is stability, keep the manager and team together for a couple seasons and see what develops.
    It wont happen overnight, but there is too much pressure in the prem for instant results, to be given the time necessary to grow.
    I think Pardew has an idea of where he wants to take us, but whether he has the ability to get the best out of all his players all at the same time, remains to be seen.
    I think we over achieved last season, and think we will finish mid table again this season. But given time and support from the fans next year could be a good one.


  20. I though you guys werent interested in rugby? πŸ˜‰

    Haha, it funny, I could have predicted the exact comments from the exact people when I wrote this. In fact it half the reason I did write this.

    These realists, as they call themselves are often the same people that dream of us becoming a Man City, or a Chelsea, by praying some rich sugar daddy buys the club from Ashley and then goes out to bring the worlds Best to the club.

    They want a quick fix. They want trophies now. And they were probably the first fans playing with themselves at the prospect of us buying the likes of Owen and Kluiverts.
    Where did that get us? Oh Yes… Relegated.

    Yet they find the dream of us building from the bottom, bringing in talented technical continental style players from scouting networks around the world and building a great team in the next 5-6 years a ludicrous suggestion.

    So much so that they think bring up the idea is a wind up.

    Its a shame really.


  21. JJ… your arguement has a serious flaw… as soon as players have good value they are sold. we will never ever build up a team when we have a revolving door. Its all very well bringing players on etc etc but we need to keep hold of them once they are flying. We are acting like a feeder club now. nothing more.


  22. I must say the standard of creative writing is getting very good on here.

    I especially like the story about the club pretending to offer money for players and being very, very angry and annoyed when the other club accepts their offer.

    Next to Little Red Riding Hood I would say its my bestest favourite.


  23. Na JJ i see some clear talking on many points. Some is obviosuly very vague but some light has been shed. without a doubt.

    Season ticket sales are up, not down.
    They will not change the standing policy
    They will not change the away ticket policy
    The wage bill is 65%
    Ashley would sell if big offer comes in.
    Joey was offered deal in january which he knocked back
    Nolan wanted longer deal
    Jose wanted to leave and would not even discuss terms
    They knocked back a 30 million offer for carroll

    There are more points which are ok and it comes to point where you just have to say, what more do we expect these guys to tell us?? The answers they have given – other than the pathetic one about no forward – are about as much as they could say really.


  24. Done the questions in three parts.

    1 – Q1-6 which is published now.
    2 – Q7-14 which will be up shortly
    3 – Reaction to them all.


  25. @JJ

    no matter how much you try and climb out the hole you’ve dug unfortunately it’s full of quicksand and you are sinking fast.

    Well done for composing a thread and trying to keep the topics flowing but you need to move on as quickly as possible and hope the Regimes replies take the heat off you. !   


  26. Craig,
    Andy Carroll was sold. For a massive amount, after just signing a new deal, way above his market value.
    The others were nearing the end of contracts or as a result of relegation.
    Also I did state, that this building a team based on the Barcelona model was assuming our best YOUNG players would not be sold off.
    I think we need to see a few more young talents sold off before you can assume we are a selling club.
    As our financial situation improves, the need to sell players will lessen. As it stands, there is no way we can reject offers like the one we got for Andy Carroll.


  27. @Craig

    I am looking forward to reading your responses to the regimes replies as you’ve stated you are happy with them.

    You can’t be serious. They are terrible.


  28. I think it’s safe to say that even the Harlem Globetrotters would have sold Andy Carroll for Β£35m.

    What a waste of money. The funny thing is, if he wasn’t such a knacka it may have paid off (provided he could play until he was 65).


  29. Troy
    All I did was respond to statements made. And you yourself have failed to back UOL your statement about Newcastle trying to follow the Everton model?
    The Everton model that sees them losing their Best players and having no income to replace them? The same model that will probably see them finish below us this season!

    Dont assume that I feel any heat on me for any thread I write. Especially from someobe as narrow minded as youself.

    A thread is just an opinion of the writer. An idea or thought. Whether it is agreed with or disagreed with is irrelevant.

    Keep dreaming of your sugar daddy πŸ™‚ Mr Realist…


  30. that there ends your debate about us being like barca then JJ.. as we will always sell our best players.. end of the debate then. the thory is great but the practical will be miles from that and we all know it.


  31. Craig,
    You yourself have stated youbare happy with the answers suppied by the board. In which they state we are not a selling club and refused an offer of 30mil for Carroll.
    What other young players have been sold? Carroll had a five year deal. He only.left because he wanted to.


  32. i cant believe it !!!!!! the sky is full of fluffy pink clouds made of candyfloss and we all feel the love and the toon are a poor mans barcelona .colo yes tiote maybe ,s taylor and pique not in a million years , we got santon as our left back and maybe , villa and messi are 2 of the best players in the world ba and benarfa are not ! we are nothing like barcelona in any way shape or form , poor or not . pardew said a stricker would have finished the “jigsaw” and you have added a few more positions in , dont you believe him ? and if any big offers for our young talent come in they will be sold instantly and experienced players aproaching 30 also sold . thats not building its dismantling , also you missed s amiobi of hes the future of our club with his new contract that takes him into his 30s (another contradition) which barcelona player is he like ?


  33. @JJ
    I used Everton as an example off the top of my head just to show how far removed I think you are with you making comparisons with Barca.


  34. Credit due for giving it a go, a lot of us wouldn’t have the balls or the vocabulary to try, but I don’t think any of the comparisons come close. Not one. Iniesta and jonas?? Obertan and pedro? The only similarity is the position/role they play in the team. At least ur trying to be positive!


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