Two months ago, we shared reports that FC Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernandez fully expected star midfielder Andres Iniesta to sign a new contract with the blaugrana. This all came on the heels of a separate report, courtesy of Don Balon, that New York City FC were prepared to offer a “blank check” to bring Iniesta to the Five Boroughs for a reunion with former club-and-country teammate David Villa.
Iniesta-to-NYCFC really is the transfer rumor that won’t die. And this week, the player himself jacked up the stakes even further.
"There are always possibilities. It is a question of valuing everything, I am not saying that I will renew or not,” Iniesta told Rac-1.
His current deal extends through the end of the 2018 season, and the player noted that his “bare minimum intention” is to fulfill those terms. But at 33 years of age and coming off an injury-nagged season in which he only managed 13 starts in league play, each day that passes without the announcement of a new contract should bring joy to the hearts of the hopeful masses here in the Five Boroughs.
For posterity, here’s what we wrote back in March:
Think about it: doesn’t a player like Andres Iniesta make a ton of sense in a three-man midfield alongside Maxi Moralez and a rugged destroyer like Alex Ring? In fact, he makes a lot more sense than [Andrea] Pirlo in the context of Patrick Vieira’s preferred philosophy.
And don’t underestimate the David Villa factor. As a longtime teammate of Iniesta’s with the Spanish National Team in addition to their famous linkups at Camp Nou, New York City has a wildcard in a potential race for the player’s services that basically no other team outside of Europe can match. Of course, any overseas star would rightly hold serious reservations about leaving the comforts of home to play in the United States, the land of turf fields and non-observance of FIFA international dates. But we’d never underestimate Guaje’s ability to sell his buddy on the joyous merits of balling in the Boroughs.
If there’s a reason to pump the breaks on this, it’s that quabillion-time Serie A champs Juventus are rumored to covet Iniesta’s services. While they can offer so, so, so many things that NYCFC and its humble league cannot, they cannot offer Villa, or Patrick Vieira besides.
It may not happen. It’ll be a tough needle to thread.
But until this surprisingly resilient rumor is officially dead, we should remain at the ready to burst into celebratory dance moves at any moment. Because this is the kind of thing that cups are made of.