I’ve previously written about Barça’s homegrown striker, defending him from unfair attacks, but with his impending move to Roma, there is little left to say except thank you and goodbye. Goodbye for now, anyway.* The number 9 shirt is open again, but what has the club lost?
Bojan Krkic was born in Linyola, Spain, in what must have been 2008 from the way fans talk about him, but which was actually 1990. His father, also named Bojan Krkic, was a Red Star Belgrade player who immigrated to Spain while his mother is Catalan. He joined the club in 1999 at the age of 8 and rose rapidly through the club’s youth ranks, scoring more goals than anyone in the history of the academy. Some say a thousand, but that smacks of Romario-esque number inflation. He made his debut for the senior squad under Frank Rijkaard in 2007 as the youngest player to make a league appearance for Barça. He scored 10 league goals in his first year and 12 overall.
He’s been a part of the club for so long it’s hard to imagine FCB without Bojan Krkic, yet he’s only 20 and if all goes according to plan, we’ll purchase a 22- or 23-year old star forward for just €15m in 2013 or 2014. That would be quite the steal, especially if his wages over those intervening years equal or exceed that €5m difference, which seems likely, especially if Barça takes all 3 years (1 loan + 2 buy-back) to bring him “home”.
And if it doesn’t go according to plan, if it goes all Gio Dos Santos or, worse, Gai Assulin, well, he’s at the end of his contract and returning on a free because Roma hasn’t purchased him. If things go belly-up after Roma have purchased him, well, Rosell can claim a financial win and the club can move on without their little wunderkid. And while that’s the pessimistic vision, there is, no doubt, that line of thinking in the FCB boardroom. There has to be or they’d be worse businessmen than is sometimes alluded to by naysayers (this writer included).
Little Bojan, who used to emerge from the tunnel to the delirious, worshipping screams of young Catalan ladies, is going to have to grow up, to forge ahead, and become a regular player. And Roma is the only place where he can do that.
Speaking with someone yesterday, he made the point that Real Madrid produces lots of players who populate the ranks of various teams around La Liga while Barça creates Barça players who rarely succeed elsewhere. Certainly this is true of players such as Gai Assulin and I could easily see it being true of Bojan as well, so following a Barça legend in Luis Enrique to Roma could be just the half in home, half out of home thing that just might push him to the heights many of us think him capable of.
But, as with all 20 year olds, Bojan’s story is far from written. It should be a good one and if he has a relatively injury-free career, it could very well be an epic.
*The terms of the deal appear to be a loan deal with an option to buy for €10m and then a 2-year buy-back option for €15m. I’ve been asked why Barça would sign up for purchasing back a player for more than they sold him for. It would simply make no financial sense for the other club to accept less than they paid. Were Roma to agree to purchase for €10m along with a buyback of, say, €8m, they would effectively be betting against themselves and the player they were signing - a devaluing asset isn’t something you purposefully sign up for. This is what, in the financial world is called purchasing an option. Roma are selling an option.
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