Archive for May, 2007

United raise the stakes

653 comments May 31st, 2007

Painful though it is, you have to congratulate Manchester United on what looks like some very shrewd transfer business.

Anderson operates in the “Number 10” role, though can also play wide left. He’s got a lethal left-foot, and plenty of speed and skill. The tricks, combined with his physical appearance, have led to premature but understandable comparisons with Ronaldinho.

Nani, meanwhile, is closer in style to Cristiano Ronaldo – a pure winger with plenty of pace and power. Both are under-20, and are clearly part of the club’s long term vision: their signing strengthens United’s Portugese speaking contingent, probably a long-term ploy to keep Ronaldo in place.

Add in Owen Hargreaves, and the Champions seem likely to have spent around £50m building on the success of last season. They’ve added both experience and potential, solid grafters and match-winners. We, meanwhile, have Wookash.

Of course, it’s only the start of a long summer. And of course, we can only dream of a moment like last night, when two exciting big money purchases are announced simultaneously. As far as I know, we simply don’t have the funds for that kind of lavish outlay.

But United’s early move will swiftly be followed by big spending from Liverpool, with Chelsea also likely to strengthen. Behind us, teams such as Bolton, Tottenham, Newcastle and Everton have considerably more funding than in previous seasons thanks to increased Premiership revenue.

We know Arsene is in Madrid at the moment, standing on a street corner with Jose Reyes soliciting passing Spanish Chairmen. The quicker he gets round to spending the money he recieves, the better.

Time for a poll, methinks…

536 comments May 30th, 2007

Ironically, it’s time-up for one Poll, as another is born. But the thing is, there is really no news, and I can’t be bothered to write my Season Review yet. So let’s answer this particular head-scratcher:

Is Aleksandr Hleb the tenth best player in the Premiership?

1,598 comments May 29th, 2007

The news is: there is no news.  To be honest, the European transfer scene can’t really kick into action until La Liga finishes.  Once it does, expect a flurry of activity.  Until then, I don’t know.  When I was in halls at university I used to make little balls out of tissues, get them soaking wet, and then throw them at the building across the street so they’d stick to the walls.  Perhaps you could do the same.  However, we did once throw a fridge out the window.  Unsurprisingly, it didn’t stick.

Apparently in The Game supplement in today’s Times there’s a statistical breakdown of every Premiership player, and Alex Hleb comes in tenth.  I’m off to investigate this vicious rumour, but if anyone could prove/disprove it here thanks to the miracle of scanning, the football world would appreciate it.

Why we won’t be signing Nigel Reo-Coker + Ribery Update

339 comments May 28th, 2007

No, not because the returning Alex Song negates the need for any squad reinforcement whatsoever. But simply because our depth in midfield is so great that Mathieu Flamini is going to buy out his own contract just to escape the congestion that is building in that one position.

There’s no doubt Reo-Coker is a good player, and I for one wouldn’t mind seeing him arrive. But throw in the inflation his Englishness will add to his price tag, and Arsene will steer well clear. With Denilson, Diaby, Fagregas and Gilberto all already in place, he’ll surely be concentrating on getting in a winger or two.

Speaking of wingers, if you’re feeling nostalgic, don’t read this. You might cry.

UPDATE: Marseille have confirmed that Franck Ribery will leave this summer. Pape Diouf, their chairman, says:

“Ribery will leave for a significant fee that is good for l’OM. But that doesn’t mean we want him to leave.”

So, will it be us or Munich?

The worst transfer rumour of all time?

334 comments May 27th, 2007

We all the know the Daily Mirror are fairly liberal with their conception of what constitutes a story containing enough truth to be worth printing. The formula presumably goes something like x player + y club = back page headline. Well, yesterday the club that tumbled out of the hat was Arsenal. And the player, given a little push into print by the fact that his name sounds slightly similar to that of Jose Mourinho, was Sporting Lisbon’s Joao Moutinho.

The very same day, Moutinho signed a six-year contract with Lisbon. Now, call me crazy, but somehow I don’t think that was a reponse to the Mirror’s allegations.

We don’t need Moutinho anyway. What we do need is a winger, and whilst Ricardo Quaresma will not be joining Bayern Munich, Franck Ribery might be – I’d be delighted if we ended up with either.

Mart Poom on the Arsenal goalkeeping merry-go-roundArsenal’s goalkeeping merry-go-round has clunked into action, and Wookash Fabyanski (a pronounciation confirmed by has been joined on it by Mart Poom, who has joined Watford.

Poom spent a vast amount of time doing not very much at Arsenal. It’s almost like he was never here. Even his signing was an unusual one: apart from William Gallas, I believe he might just be the only signing we’ve made from a Premiership club under Arsene Wenger. (Edit: apart from Francis Jeffers, Sol Campbel, and Richard Wright. I’m an idiot.)

As for Fabyanski’s arrival, well, I’m less than hugely enthused. I can’t see any evidence that he’s better than what we’ve already got, and whilst I’m perfectly prepared to give the lad a chance, I do wish Arsene would sometimes go for established quality. Sometimes it feels like he’s trying to make a very long-winded point about Chelsea’s exorbitant spending. Coming fourth two seasons in a row doesn’t really make a very good argument.

I’m being a little unfair. If there was money to spend, he’s probably spend it.

Enjoy the rest of your weekends.

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