Mata's Backup Secured, But Jordi Alba Slipping Out Of Reach

VALENCIA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 01: Jordi Alba (R) of Valencia competes for the ball with Daniel Alves of Barcelona during the Copa del Rey Semi Final match between Valencia and Barcelona at Estadio Mestalla on February 1, 2012 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)

In case you didn't notice, Chelsea have signed Werder Bremen attacking midfielder Marko Marin to a five-year deal. That's pretty awesome news, because he's a really neat, creative player, and should take some of the pressure off Juan Mata to do all of the attacking at the club. The signing came incredibly cheap, he's a good player and upgrades the squad, and this shouldn't impact Chelsea's chase of other (perhaps more important) transfer targets this summer.

That said, we're not getting all of them, and it looks like one of the sexier possible options available is going to one of our vanquished foes - Valencia's Jordi Alba looks like he's heading, to absolutely nobody's surprise, for suddenly-less-peppy FC Barcelona.

There's no confirmation yet, but the rumours have been buzzing for a little while now and there are pretty strong suggestions coming out of the club that the deal is done, to be completed next summer. Barcelona sound like they're getting the versatile left-sided player fairly cheaply (the list price is €13M*), and Alba can fill a fairly major need for them at left-back.

*Or: 163% of Marko Marin. Or: What Marko Marin would cost if he were six foot tall.

Anyway, I don't think anyone was seriously expecting him to go anywhere but Barcelona, so it's difficult to get too upset about this. I would have liked Alba a lot, but that was always a pipe dream.

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