Gudjohnsen edges towards Barça

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In that annoying way that is the speciality of the Spanish press, Barcelona-based papers are reporting that Eidur Gudjohnsen is edging his way towards Barcelona.

The news is in this morning`s ‘El Mundo Deportivo`, that concludes that ‘Gujohnsen is ever closer`. ‘There are only a few differences between the player and Barça, which is negotiating with Chelsea to bring down the price`. So that`s it then.

As a reminder, Barça are looking for a replacement for Henrik Larsson, who has returned to Sweden. Whilst the Catalan giants had hoped to land their first choice, Villarreal`s Diego Forlán, discussions with the Uruguayan are at a deadlock, as the gap between Villarreal and Barça over the striker`s price is too high.

For this reason, Barça are pressing ahead with their second choice, Eidur Gudjohnsen. Apparently all parties are making progress, and the discussions between Eidur (represented by his father, Arnor) and Barcelona, are advancing slowly but surely. Whilst there isn`t yet an agreement, it is said that everything is going well as both player and buying club want the deal to be struck.

However, there are still some differences. A first is for Gudjohnsen`s salary. Eidur earned a handsome ?3,2 million per year, and Barça are not prepared to pay that in a fixed wage. They want to apply a salary structure which could well reach that sum, but with a substantial proportion left to incentive payments. Gudjohnsen is not so keen on such a formula, as the likelihood is that he wouldn`t be an automatic starter. Nevertheless, ‘El Mundo Deportivo` considers that the differences are not ‘insurmountable`.

Another difficulty is to identify what would be the role of the striker, described as ‘stocky`, in a Barça squad where the first-choice 3 forwards would be Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto`o. This obviously wouldn`t mean that there is no room for any other player, and Barça would like to use Gudjohnsen as a forward (as a straight replacement for Henrik Larsson), but he could be used also as an attacking central midfielder, a role he has played under José Mourinho. Gudjohnsen is said to be still hesitant about having to fight for his place.

Thirdly, there is the slight question of negotiating a sale price with Chelsea, and Barça are said to be doing this in parallel with their discussions with the player himself. Chelsea have set Gudjohnsen`s price at ?15 million. Given the additional interest from the likes of Manchester United or Real Madrid (where a number of candidates for the club`s Presidential elections have sounded out Gudjohnsen), that is not an excessive figure. Nevertheless, Barça were the first to ask about Gudjohnsen, even if Manchester United are also said to have tabled a concrete £9 million bid.

Barça consider that ?10 million is quite enough for the player, and are therefore trying to negotiate down the price. Concludes ‘El Mundo Deportivo` ‘Soon, maybe even today, there could be a breakthrough`.

Now we don`t doubt that Barça are serious about the player. We have to ask, however, why on earth Chelsea should make it easy for them. We can understand that Chelsea would prefer not to sell to Manchester United, but if Barça really want the player, why should Chelsea knock ?5 million off the asking price?

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