June 17 – WARNING: contains ACTUAL news

With a desperately thin gruel of insight prior to the weekend and the usual names exciting the rumour mongerers, let’s take the novel approach of reporting ACTUAL NEWS. It might be a little tedious compared to, say, deconstructing the headline Gunners hold out for 12m for Bendtner. Personally, I’m holding out for a night of fun with an open-minded and flexible supermodel. And I think that would happen before another club plunks down 12 large for Holloway Road’s (less than) great Dane.

First, moneybags Malaga, having already rescued the Ruud the diving horse from his Hamburg horror, have signed Jeremy Toulalan from Olympique Lyon, a move that raises eyebrows.

One that doesn’t is Demba Ba moving from West Ham to Newcastle, presumably as a replacement for Andy Carroll. And we don’t mean in the quaint nightspots of the Geordie Shore or the police blotter, either. Kevin Nolan went the other way earlier in the week, which makes me wonder how much money actually will shift hands between the two clubs. Apparently Ba got the 50k/week that Nolan snubbed. If his knee holds up, Newcastle will be on the right side of that deal.

Bad news for Villa supporters, who will now have nine months of Scottish-tinged hoofball and relegation to look forward to after Alex McLeish officially tripped his way across town. What’s worse, Villa will probably have to pay compensation. And his reported transfer targets read like a Brummie team sheet: Roger Johnson, Ben Foster, Lee Bowyer. OK I made that last one up but still, it looks like dire days ahead at Villa Park.

Back on the Continent, PSG appoint Inter’s Leonardo as their DoF so Inter will need to start looking for their third manager since the omelet maker decamped to Madrid. There were rumours the Quataris approached Arsene Wenger with a sack of cash. Which, as we already know, he wouldn’t fuc(CENSORED) spend ANYWAY. Don’t they have newspapers in Quatar? Dumbasses.

Two quick bits of rumoured business — Liverpool is apparently in for Udinese’s Cristian Zapata, whose been linked with a host of top clubs. I gotta say I’m impressed. I’ve watched him a few times since he was mentioned as a target for Holloway Road and he’s a top defender with all the tools. So well done to Comolli/Dalglish if they can get him.

The other involves Seb Larsson, who is available on a free and is apparently close to singing with Sunderland. He should improve the quality in the midfield for the Black Cats.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday

Since the departure of Sir Bobby Robson, Newcastle United has been a good deal more entertaining OFF the pitch than on it. The club seemed quite adept at taking overpriced players who were either crocked (Damien Duff), past it (Michael Owen) or gloriously inept (Alan Smith, Jean Alain Boumsong), parading them before throngs of shirtless, boozy Geordies and paying them ridiculous amounts of money. A revolving door of managers with disparate tactics, philosophies and “connections” to agents added to the general carnage. Supporters of every other club enjoyed watching the train wreck.

This finally came to an end when Newcastle were relegated to the Championship, which was the slap required to sober up current owner Mike Ashley. The retail tycoon, who had not completed due diligence before buying the club and then spend months touring the Middle East desperately trying to hawk it and its debt to an oil-rich sheik at an inflated price, was blinded by a light on the road to League Two. He shed payroll and hired a competent manager, Chris Hughton, who led the club back to the Premier League.

Newcastle’s first season back still provided some comic relief in the form of firing Hughton and hiring Alan Pardew, whose chief asset seemed to be a willingness to hang in the casino with his tubby boss. Even the sale of the club’s best asset, striker Andy Carroll, at the staggering sum of 35m, didn’t push the club back into its default crisis setting. They remained in midtable obscurity for much of last season.

So there was much surprise this week when the news leaked out that club captain Kevin Nolan was heading to West Ham for a medical after Newcastle agreed a fee for their midfield dynamo. This prompted much wailing from Joey Barton, a model pro who suggested this move would presage a sell-off of the club’s best players. And him.

The Times northeast football correspondent George Caulkin reports Newcastle took a tough line with Nolan when it came to talks about extending his current deal.

“Newcastle’s argument is different. Nolan, who will be 29 next week, had two years left on his contract, worth £42,000 a week. The midfield player had asked for a new five-year deal. Presented to him was the option for a third year, plus incentives that would take his weekly wage to £50,000 provided that the team finished in the top ten next season. Nolan regarded that as unacceptable, but attempts to renew contact with (club executive Derek) Llambias were unsuccessful.”

Caulkin and other observers have suggested Nolan’s sale highlights a new philosophy at the club. Gone are the days of buying Chelsea’s expensive castoffs. Now the new model is Chiek Tiote, the Ivorian midfield dynamo purchased for a song from FC Twente. Probably the club’s best performer last year, Tiote attracted a lot of interest and the club moved quickly to end that by renegotiating a five-year deal with the 24-year-old for a reported 40k/week.

The first transfer gambit saw them take Lille midfielder Yohan Cabaye on a free and sign him to a similar deal. The Times Gary Jacobs expects more deals with French-based players to follow on Tyneside as the club is apparently negotiating with St. Etienne’s Blaise Matuidi as well, a move which would see Barton — who is now publicly trying to extend his 50k/week package — moved on.

Remaking the squad has some risks but its clear Newcastle is now moving to a model of signing young players to long-term deals and then selling them on, as will happen with left back Jose Enrique, who will likely move to either Liverpool or Arsenal depending on what happens to Gael Clichy. It will be interesting to see whether this new model proves sustainable in the long-term for the Magpies. For every Tiote, there’s a Boumsong. Their supporters had better hope their current scouting network are better talentspotters than Graeme Souness or Joe Kinnear.

To the links, where Jonathan Wilson breaks down the goalless draw in the first leg of the Copa Libertadores final between Santos and Penarol.

With ridiculous sums being spent on Phil Jones and Jordan Henderson, Tim Stannard draws up a list of five La Liga players who should tempt Premier League sides.

Rory Smith channels his inner Sherlock Holmes and skirts libel laws to discuss the curious case of Bebe, who went on loan to Besiktas.

This is a blog that respects the law regarding defamation so we won’t reprint or indeed link to any the pages who’ve made some very Panorama-like allegations regarding the whole L’Affaire Bebe that cast asperions on the character of men of good standing in the football community such as Fergie, Malcolm Glazer and football agent (DELETED BY SOFABALL LEGALISTS) For the more curious, go to google and prepare to be amused.

Tweet of the day

sarcasm alert; hockey riot in Vancouver – this is one of the reasons the game will never catch on in Europe. Bobby McMahon

Wednesday

After watching Canada’s national team gag at the sight of success again, it’s difficult to understand why underbody would even bother trying to bribe us for our votes. There is very little to be proud about in Canadian soccer these days. Our best player, Junior Hoilett, is weighing up whether he even wants to play for the national team and based on our performance at the Gold Cup, his is an entirely understandable position. Our other shining contribution to the world of soccer is the ever-excellent punditry of Scottish-born Bobby McMahon and he points out the disgraceful commentary provided by the Sportsnet commentators in the match preview. I’ve dealt with this nauseating kind of Brit-lite rubbish in the past but yesterday’s telecast reached a new low. Canada are out of the tournament and deservedly so. Sportsnet should apologize for insulting the Panamanians. They embarrassed themselves with any fair-minded viewers with a passing knowledge about the game.

To the links, where Richard Whittle outlines the ambitious plans of new Roma boss Luis Enrique. He’ll need to keep Daniele De Rossi happy in order to succeed.

The always enjoyable Swiss Ramble looks at the implications of promotion for Premier League newcomers Swansea City.

Tuesday afternoon

The latest tattle on Fleet Street according to the BBC.

The agent of Carvalho Amauri says his client has attracted the attention of two English clubs. The Brazil-born forward, who has spent the last six months on loan at Parma from Juventus, is also a target of Lazio and Napoli. (Press Association)

I’d put a couple of bucks on one of the clubs being QPR.

Barcelona will make a big push to sign Cesc Fabregas while the Arsenal midfielder is on holiday in the city this week. The Catalan side value the 24-year-old at £35m and are ready to offer the Gunners their choice of players in return. (Daily Mirror)

And so begins the most tedious transfer saga of the summer. Cesc will probably go but not for less than what Arsenal’s asking price, which is 50m. To quote Randy Moss, it’s straight cash, homey.

Liverpool may face another battle with Blackpool this week over their valuation of Charlie Adam, 25, with the Seasiders looking for £10m for the Scottish international midfielder. (Daily Mail)

If they pay even half of that, some of the shine will come off King Kenny’s halo, at least for me. He doesn’t address a pressing need unless those rumours about shopping Raul Meireles are true. In which case, this screams “massive step backwards.”

Manchester City have entered into negotiations to sign €18m-rated Argentine striker Ezequiel Lavezzi, 26, as a possible replacement for fellow countryman Carlos Tevez. (footylatest.com) Manchester City have opened talks with Udinese over a £27m deal for 22-year-old Chilean winger Alexis Sanchez. (Daily Mail)

Stockport Massive will be linked with a lot of players but Sanchez is a real possibility. I’m not sold on Lavezzi. He’s a good player but they’ve already got some strikers on the books and they’ll need to find buyers for the likes of Craig Bellamy and Emmanuel Adebayor before they can think of adding a new one.

Centre-back Younes Kaboul, 25, wants to quit Tottenham and join Marseille in an £8.5m deal. (the Sun)

Spurs are looking to shed payroll but the wheeler dealer is always on the make to grease journos with rumours. At least those lazy enough not to ask whether L’OM could afford that transfer price as well as Kaboul’s wages.

Didier Drogba, 33, has emerged as a potential pawn in Chelsea’s bid to land £30m-rated midfielder Luka Modric, 25, from Tottenham. (Daily Mirror) Chelsea are ready to offer Modric £130,000-a-week to defect to Stamford Bridge. (the Sun)

Interesting idea but unlikely given Drogba’s wage demands, which would price him out of Spurs reach. Chelsea seem ready to give the Croatian playmaker a hefty raise. He’d certainly add nous to their midfield.

To narf Landon, where the wheeler dealer is ready to battle it out with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger to sign Blackburn defender Chris Samba, 27. (Daily Mirror)

Because the allure of Europa League football could be an irrestible pull, right? Samba’s agent or Venky’s must be casting about desperately for a stalking horse to drive up his price and it won’t really work. If he heads to London, Samba will almost certainly be the next patient on the Holloway Road training table rather than watching Michael Dawson getting screamed at by Billy Gallas.

Arsenal face a transfer fight with Paris St Germain for the signatures of Lille ace Gervinho and St Etienne midfielder Blaise Matuidi, who are both 24. (Metro)

Gervinho is apparently discussing terms with Wenger right now and I think his signing will both improve the club and move to stifle some of the grumbling in the terraces. Matuidi has been linked in the past with prices far cheaper than that. He’s a good player but I don’t see him as anything other than a contingency if Nasri or Fabregas move (which would allow Wilshere to push farther forward).

The Gunners head the chase for £3.5m-rated left-back Alexander Milosevic, 19, who plays for Swedish side AIK Solna. (the Sun)

The knowing coves around Ashburton Grove suggest Clichy is being shopped so lining up a replacement given Armand Traore’s fall from grace and Kieran Gibbs’ arrested development will be important. In the meantime, Newcastle United might be receiving a phone call from Le Prof to discuss Jose Enrique.

Inter Milan have emerged as the latest club to eye up a move for Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri, 23, who has been linked with a shock switch to Manchester United. (talkSport)

This could be a legitimate option if Nasri’s salary demands cannot be wedged within Holloway Road Properties PLC’s wage structure. Of course, both parties are likely stalling until they get an idea of Barca’s opening Cesc gambit for the summer.

The Italian club is also looking into signing 28-year-old midfielder Michael Essien from Chelsea, with Wesley Sneijder, 27, moving in the opposite direction. (Footybunker.com)

An interesting idea but Essien has already killed the idea through his agent. Plus he has four more years left on a very generous deal with Roman’s west-end rent boys.

To England’s tropical and exotic northeast, where Sunderland have offered £5m for Birmingham’s 24-year-old midfielder Craig Gardner. (Daily Mail)

Gardner will likely be available given Brum’s calamatious post-relegation finances and would be a good squad player with his versatility.

Sunderland are keen on Paris St Germain striker Mevlut Erding. Newcastle are also interested in the 24-year-old Turkish forward, who is valued at £9m. (the Sun)

Erding is presumably surplus to requirements at PSG given their signing of Kevin Gameiro from Lorient.

Blackpool midfielder David Vaughan, 28, is eyeing a Premier League return with Sunderland after rejecting a new contract offer, believed to be in the region of £10,000-a-week. (Daily Express)

Whenever I saw the Seasiders play (about four or five times during last year), Vaughan stuck out more than Charlie Adam.

Ipswich striker Connor Wickham, 18, will snub Sunderland in the hope of landing a move to Liverpool. (the Sun)

A very promising striker, Wickham has been linked with just about every leading English club and a couple on the Continent, just as Titus Bramble and Kieron Dyer were as young Tractor Boys.

Leeds winger Elliot Kebbie, 16, has joined European champions Barcelona on trial in the hope of securing a permanent switch to the Catalan side. (the Sun)

Poor old Leeds have developed a lot of talent — James Milner and Aaron Lennon made their pro debuts — that has gone on to bigger clubs. Catalan Aesthes have been linked with approaches to a couple Arsenal youngsters in the past, too. I predicKen Bates will sure say something bigoted and jingoistic and completely self-serving.

Tuesday morning

Given some of the interesting tattle that’s exciting the Fleet Street gossip girls, I’m going to post links in the morning and then break down transfer tattle after lunch.

Gabriele Marcotti explains why Lille and Udinese will be punished for their success during the summer transfer season.

Sam Kelly previews the Copa Libertadores final between two of South America’s most storied and decorated clubs.

Jonathan Wilson profiles the Serbian genius behind the development of a strong line of USA keepers.

Monday

Well we’re back and after a week free of newspapers, radio and the Internet, I was mildly curious to see what I missed. Hmmm, Arsenal signs a promising youngster on the cheap from Charlton. Well knock me over with a feather!

Stockport Massive are linked with just about every single big-money move in Europe. WOW! I certainly missed a week full of quotes from agents or various “insiders” bigging up the latest gambits for Alexis Sanchez.

Neymar is linked with Chelsea. GASP! I hadn’t heard THAT one before!

About the only two concentrate bits of business seem to be that Sir Alex Ferguson won a bidding war for Phil Jones. At last, something that we can sink our teeth into. First, it appears all the talk during the season of an impending bid for Jack Rodwell was slightly off the mark. Second, it marks the second straight time the wily old knight has pipped Holloway Road Properties to a promising young defender. Three, I can understand how Rovers might be a touch exercised with Fergie getting his buyout clause spot on with his first bid. As the empurpled one isn’t talking to the BBC anyway, perhaps Panorama might want to go there because it certainly appears Salford LBO benefited from some inside info there. Fourth, it is a staggering sum of money for a youngster who has played all of nine Premier League games and United don’t appear to be slowing down in that area with impending purchases of Ashley Young and David de Gea. Whether this will reduce the number of Norwich City colours at Old Trafford next year is open to question.

The second bit of ACTUAL NEWS was Liverpool’s signing of Jordan Henderson, a promising young box-to-box midfielder for 13 million and David N’Gog for a putative price of 20m. I won’t quibble about whether that’s too much for him. He did fade in the second half of the season but so did Sammy Nasri, who is currently holding a gun to Arsene Wenger’s head while shoving a “pay me 110k a week” demand letter into his face. What is more interesting is Henderson’s current position is one where the Reds are well stocked. I would have thought they’d be looking at a wider player. Does this mean Steve Gerrard finally gets shifted out wide? Meireles looked a little out of sorts when asked to go wide. Second, this still leaves the same laundry list of needs they started with in the summer — a wide boy, a left back and a striker. The gossip girls on Fleet Street suggest King Kenny will try to gazzump Wenger’s bid for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, January’s it boy for the “buy British” crowd. I can’t see it myself — the kid’s father has already made it clear he wants the boy to go to Holloway Road for the sake of his “development.” Presumably he doesn’t know about the stellar record of the Holloway Road HMO staff, which has led to stars going to the Baltic region to have horse placenta rubbed on their ouchies. Thank God for the ignorance of British footballers!

As for the other needs, Jose Enrique is balking on signing a new deal at Newcastle while Gael Clichy is engaging in the same stall so I suspect one of them will wind up at Anfield. Wenger can be a real bastard, though, I would expect to see Clichy shopped all over Europe before he is sold to a domestic rival. And based on last year’s season form, Enrique might be the better option, especially in defending.

To the links, where there is a very thin gruel. Ben Lyttleton profiles Sochaux playmaker Martin Marvin, the latest in a long line of “new Zidanes” and someone who could move in the summer.

John Nicholson reckons Aston Villa were crazy to snub Steve McClaren as their manager.

Stephen Griffiths dismisses the epitaphs of Paul Scholes’ career as so much hype. I doubt this kind of criticism will fuss Scholes much given what the likes of Patrick Vieira, Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry and Xavi have said about him.

June 6
After the Three Lions reverted to form, serving up another tepid performance on the Wembley potato patch graced a week earlier by the spellbinding artistry of Catalan Aesthes FC, Fleet Street returned to a common theme. Rather than castigate the (cough) “world class” talent for whom they may have occasion to scribble an autobiography, lest they look like hypocritical jackasses, they trudged down the well-travelled avenue marked “Blame the Eye-Tie.” Because it was clearly Fabio’s fault that Frank Lampard played like an arthritic donkey. Or James Milner suffered a brain camp and moved out of the wall and allowed Joe Hart to be beaten on the near post. Jesus wept. Or would if He saw that performance and how it was cast by the red tops.

It’s not even schoolboy defending. Any kid on my team who would have done that would have been benched. And what’s more, they would have understood why, something that apparently escaped clueless monkeys such as Phil McNulty, who bemoaned Capello’s conservatism, and Henry Winter, who questioned his squad selection.

I guess they are marking time until the wheeler dealer takes over and can provide the nuanced tactical instructions and legendary man management that apparently flummox Capello, who decided to pass on the opportunity to feed the truth troops a cheeky quote about Darren Bent’s passing of the ball over an open net.

Speaking of the wheeler dealer, Surreal Football outlines his transfer plans for the summer.

None of those name feature in the ever-excellent Raphael Honigstein’s list of Bundesliga stars who might move this summer.

What’s interesting is how many players Blackburn, Liverpool and Newcastle are linked with on this list.

Have a good week — links and rumours will return on Monday, June 13. Please feel free to keep adding to this blog.

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131 comments
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  1. To our neighbours to the north, good luck tonight. I know you’re still upset over THAT call so hopefully we some good football tonight. My prediction, knowing little of Canada’s team admittedly, is 4-0 to the Americans.

  2. Dist:

    What are your thoughts on the new signing?

  3. Very happy with that performance we comfortably beat Canada. While keeping possesion and not looking out of sorts and playing to the other teams level. And to think we didn’t even look that dangerous in the final third. In the past we would struggle with games like this. Jermaine Jones player of the game.

  4. Ewtt- Can I defer my comments until I can have a vague idea of why we are trying to sign more central mids? There has to be a purpose here and I think it will all be revealed later in the summer but until then I’m just left scratching my head. Henderson has quality and is a young player that I know many managers wanted so I’m guessing he is in here to “replace” Gerrard, eventually. As for the overall picture, I just don’t have sense as to what they are trying to achieve just yet. At least they are making the squad younger like they said :)

  5. Am I the only one who didn’t think the US completely dominated that game against Canada? I keep reading all these articles saying how dominant we were but I’m not so sure the victory was as comfortable as its being made out. Canada should’ve had two goals, if not for two incredible saves by Howard and if those go in, its a draw. Also if Canada’s keeper was in anyway a decent one, he would’ve save Jozy’s first. Plus we lacked any cutting edge in front of goal.

    I hope Rico is right when he said to me that we just kept it in second gear and held back for later in the tournament.

    In either case, its always good to beat Canada as we have another 2 years to rib AG, Gorn and whomever else….

  6. The only thing that annoys me about our men’s national team is that they’re Canadian.

  7. USA dominated every aspect of the game for the first 30 minutes and pressured extremely well. The result was exactly what Bradey wanted, a goal within 15 minutes (regardless of how it was scored). Canada had no answer to USA’s pressure in the first 30 mins and clearly there was only gonna be one winner.

    Having sad that, with Rob Friend (who I rate highly having watched him in the Bundesliga) and De Guzman starting, Canada will prove a much better side with more bite as the tournie progresses.

    Having having said that, USA will only improve as well, and should be able to contain the likes of Mex and CR if Bradley deploys Jones and Edu as holding mids and Kid Bradley further up occasionally joining a three pronged attack of Lando-Altidore-Dempsey… a sort of 4-3-3/4-5-1 if you will.

    PS Would have been an even better side with Boca at CB and Timothy Chandler (Nuremberg) at LB.

  8. I agree that there was too much hyperbole on the result of this match. The USA did dominate possession for large portions of the match but they were not as good as FSC’s commentators or the American press would have us believe. Altidore’s goal was a soft one but he did finally score. Dempsey’s terrific.
    Jones was a force as was kid Bradley. But in typical style, the kid took another stupid late card. He can’t help himself.

    Canada just could not find any answers until late. Howard was the difference.
    Why doesn’t he wear the captain’s armband?

    The USA’s CB pairing is a nightmare in waiting. Panama could nick a point or beat this USA side. And Mexico could really shred them.

    The pitch was a disgrace. Nice scheduling by the Gold Cup committee to not allow the teams to warm up at all before the match.

    FSC’s coverage was pretty poor as usual.

  9. “The USA’s CB pairing is a nightmare in waiting. Panama could nick a point or beat this USA side. And Mexico could really shred them.”

    I agree. I’m not a very confident man at this point.

  10. Well this could be interesting. Apparently Villa are spitballing ideas for new management and Rafa’s name came up.

    http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11661_6971340,00.html

  11. Here is the way I am looking at it. In 2007 the USA was fortunate to beat Canada 1-0. Personally I think this Canadian team is better except for maybe keeper. In the past the US has struggled to really make these games look easy, I really didn’t think they were that troubled. Canada is good enough that they are going to create a couple of chances, they did and Howard stepped up.

    Agreed about that field, why spend the money on a crappy indoor field? Why not just play at an outdoor stadium the strange decisions that get made.

  12. EWTT:
    How do you feel about losing Gibson & O’Shea, while adding Phil Jones?

  13. For anyone who’s interested in good interviews with Benitez or Wenger, catch the June 8th episode of Premier World.

    If you need help acquiring a copy, LMK.

  14. Gorn:

    Only really surprised about O’Shea because I thought he’s the type of player that any squad would need…someone to fill the gaps adequately during injuries. But because they’ve bought a younger and possibly more talented version of O’Shea then it makes sense he would leave.

    Gibson was and is still shite. The lad is around 24 I believe so if he hasn’t made the jump up in terms of quality then I’m not sure its coming. I think Fergie and staff probably feel the same way.

    I’ve also heard Brown’s name in the bunch which hits a little closer to home. He’s from the same area I grew up in so there’s always been that little connection for me when watching him play. I’m not sure many realize this but he’s actually quite old…in his 30′s if I’m not mistaken, which makes his transfer more understandble along with his injuries.

    Phil Jones is the type of player United have been adding to the squad in recent years. Young, promising, very talented, mentally tough, and transferrable for silly money if that time comes. He’s apparently versatile and has some leadership capabilities which is right up United’s alley. He still doesn’t address United’s need for a tempo changing midfielder but the back line is looking really good for long run.

  15. Love seeing this…

    http://espn.go.com/sports/soccer/news/_/id/6642210/kansas-city-unveils-200-million-livestrong-sporting-park-sporting-kc

  16. Interesting interview for the g00nerz.

    EWTT:
    - So, if the rumours are to be believed, how would Newton Heath set up w/Nani, Valencia, Nasri, and Young? I was a little surprised Jones picked yer lot over l’Arse. I guess he doesnae mind the bench for the next coupla years. Unless the plan is to make him yer DM?

    - Dinnae think you’d be sentimental for Brown. I dinnae mention him since he’s well past his best. I figgered that selling him would feel like ‘found money.’ So you feel OK about fetching £12m for those 3? I knew you weren’t a big Gibson fan, but I thought those 3 would be worth more than £4m each. YMMV.

    - What do you love about that story? I’m shocked that SKC is *paying* it’s sponsor, and 330 HDTVs seems kinda… beside the point.

  17. Gorn:

    I’ll believe Nasri coming to Old Trafford when it actually happens. If you’re Arsenal, you don’t get rid of players like him, you look to add to depth behind him.

    Young is a bit more interesting as there seems to be real interest from both sides. Watching the match at Villa Park earlier in the season, Young played more centrally and gave United fits so he would represent another versatile player that should make United more fluid in attack. However, his involvement would mean Nani sits or leaves. They’re similar players. Nani is more talented but Young plays in a fashion that is better suited to the team aspect Fergie has adopted since Ronaldo’s departure. If Nani could buy into a sub role at times, United’s depth would be unmatched in the league. Big if, of course…

    Jones picked United because he’s not a soft southern fairy. Lol. I’m sure it did have something to do with being brought up in the area. He may play DM but I think he’s cover for the back line…specifically for the often injured Twins.

    I’m ok with the amount. There comes a point when your depth no longer can help you maintain the status quo. This season showed at various points that United need some new depth.

    re SKC:
    I just like seeing the progression of football in the States and stadiums certainly help that. They’ll never be Anfield, Villa Park, or Goodison, but having stadiums that are clearly defined as football grounds is important for the development of the sport here. SKC is paying its sponsor?

  18. Tony Adams should STFU!

  19. EWTT:
    SKC: Ah OK. Yeah, it looks like a lovely park. Dunno about the TVs tho. Sounds rather ‘prawn sammy’ to me.

    “Sporting Kansas City agreed in March to donate $7.5 million to the foundation over the next six years.”

    - Nasri: l’Arse may not have a choice. I heard he turned down £90k/week, and he’s on his last year.

    - Young: I was thinking that they could literally rotate one dewd out every game (if they went 4-5-1) since Young, Nasri, and Nani can all play anywhere upfront. Park would be the guy ‘left out’, no? The only ‘problem’ I see is that Berba would really be marginalized.

    - Jones: “Fairies”? I dinnae realized he was courted by QPR too….? (that was for yer Pops!) Ah, so you see Jones playing fullback. I was thinking CB when they went after him. I guess it just seems excessive to sign a guy for that much to play cover for 5 positions. That’s what Evanses and Parks are for.

  20. Also, sounds like you could replace “Nasri” with “Modric”. Same question/issue.

  21. First off I’m glad I didn’t listen to the first game. These announcers are terrible.

    Now we could come back and win but that should not hide the fact that Bradley needs to be fired ASAP. I’m sick and tired of his bull shit about players not playing not getting into the side. His son doesn’t play for Villa and he still is an automatic choice. Onyewu should start over Ream even on one leg he is better.

    His tactics are just absolute shit. Like in the world cup he plays to his style even when we don’t have the personnel for it. How is Edu not starting? We should be in a 4-3-3. Ugh so frustrating to watch.

    Worst part is there is a good crowd and with this fucking poor play he will turn away future supporters which will destroy the game here in the USA.

  22. Disturbance-

    That was a little tough to sit through.
    I think USA fans better get used to this type of result for this Gold Cup and ultimately the QF’s for WC 2014 if BOB Bradley is still in charge.

    Concacaf sides are getting better, but is the USA?

    Bob Bradley should have been fired after the World Cup. Every sane USA soccer fan in this country knows that.
    His sides constantly fall behind and have to claw back. Should Bob Bradley take some blame for the way he prepares his side? I say yes. He sure gets credit when the USA wins.

    I remember saying last week that Ream and Goodson were liabilities. Ream was simply outclassed and physically played off the pitch. I have heard people chatting his abilities up. After two matches, I am very underwhelmed.
    Goodson scored a cracking header but he is/was too slow against Panama’s attack.
    Panama had their tactics spot on in the first half.
    Panama had 4-5 attackers in the first half yet Bradley made no adjustments until mid way through the second with personnel yet he could have had his players make on-field tactical changes in the first half. He chose not to.

    Every time I see a shot of him on the sidelines, he looks like he is in the process of passing a kidney stone.
    He is over his head.

    I thought his kid tonight was pretty poor, except for his flick on to Goodson for the goal.

    I am starting to think that the way Bradley has this side playing that Dempsey and Donovan do not play off each other well in midfield. Dempsey should play as a striker. Altidore is just not up for it. His first touch is terrible. Did you see how far he was tracking back to get a pass then would lose it?

    Edu should get another look. You look at this roster and BB does not have much to work with. I would be willing to give Adu a look at this point. He is on the roster.

    The USA had so many chances in the second half, Wondo had an open goal, as did kid Bradley, Donovan had a shot. Pinedo made some great saves as well.

    Let’s give Panama some credit. Their first win on US soil. That will go down well for them at home.

    The USA has to be beat Guadeloupe by about 3-4 goals to advance.

    Look at the bright side, maybe Mexico’s whole team will fail a drug test.

    Cheers

  23. Anyone see that goal in the Vancouver Seattle game? What a goal!

    Futbolista- Hahaha even Mexico’s B team would destroy us right now.

    Aguedelo should not be starting. Dempsey should play in a withdrawn role of 4-4-1-1 or on the left/right side of a 4-3-3.

    Our biggest concern is our defense though. As you pointed out our central pairing is a nightmare waiting to happen. We need some experience in that pair.

    I’m fine with giving Adu a chance. He can’t play worse than Bradley has coached thus far.

  24. Gorn:

    Rotating a players out every game? Fergie rotates but that seems excessive and with Rooney and Hernandez forming such a strong partnership, I can’t see Fergie switching to 4-5-1. Add to that, Young might be a little more capable of playing in a five man midfield having been used as a central attacker in a 4-2-3-1 for England but I’m not sure Nasri has. AG would have to tell me. Can Berba be anymore marginalized than he has?

    Jones: With Jones coming in, Evans should have gotten his wake up call because the lad is basically taking his position and thensome.

    Modric is straight in for Scholes/Anderson and is personally where I’d like to see United start looking for depth or an upgrade.

    AG made a good point…how does Henderson fit in? Do you think KK is simply trying to stock up in midfield or does he think he’ll play alongside Lucas for the long haul?

  25. Dist – Who exactly would you have replace coach Bradley.. a Blond German who every proper pundit (dolts like Wynalda and Lalas not included) has stated was just the motivator behind and German NT while Joachim Low was the real brains and tactician?

    Panama always gives USA a good game and their keeper Penedo always shows up. It seems every time USA play Panama, the only way USA score is by a header from cross or set piece.

    I am happy we finally lost a game in the group stages and hopefully this is the “kick in the ass” needed to shake things up. It’s hard to tell whether Bradley is using this tournie to try out new players or if he is going for the trophy… obviously both outcomes would be ideal.

  26. EWTT:
    Well, Berba managed to play enough to score 20 goals last season. 8 in 2 of them mind you, but nonetheless. I think the whole CL thing has been blown out of proportion. And, let’s face it, Dimi dances to the beat of another drummer, so his ego/motivation may or may not be affected at all by it.

    Anyway, I defer to you. I was just thinking that TGB might be tired of doing a tape-&-glue job with his midfield for the past coupla years and grab 2 top-rate mids and deal with an abundance problem for a change.

    Also, just to be clear, you don’t think he’d play Rooney as a false 9 w/o either of Berba or Javy?

    Henderson:
    Yeah, I’m thinking this is FSG addressing a need early. I think we’re looking at Gerrard’s future ‘midfield’ replacement (you know, where he used to play, and everyone said he had no tactical nous?). The interesting thing is what this means for RAUL, as he’s the one most affected (well, aside from Spearing but he’s not a starting XI player for a top4 side), but I suspect that JH won’t be an everyday player this season unless there’s a big injury or two. Kenny’ll protect him a bit, let him grow into the Liverpool Way, blah, blah, blah. I just think this is Comolli saying “We’re not gonna have our season fucked because of Stevie’s (groins/adductors/hammys/etc.)”, so if it happens again, RAUL will play #10 and Jordan CM.

    Also, they’re getting a good young Brit before the price gets even crazier. I suspect they went after JH first because of supply issues; there are many more strikers & LBs that can be brought in than 20y English box-to-box mids. Same thing with Jones; I’m not even sure he was being targeted as a CB by LFC. But YMMV.

    One thing I am very sure about, now: there will be at least 3 more bodies brought in, and mebbe as many or more moved out. I’d be VERY interested in knowing Kenny’s/Comolli’s priority list, and how their signings will jive with that. There’s different kinds of players being bandied about for LFC, and it’s kinda hard to sort out just WTF they’re going for, other than 25-or-younger & British (if possible).

  27. @ewtt

    Nasri has occasionally played through the middle in the absence of Fabregas. He’s also played deeper, almost in a holding role, just behind the Spainard. I personally think he prefers playing through the middle but lacks the Spaniard’s vision. He’s a great dribbler though and will often make great late bursts into the box a la Lampard. The difference is, of course, that these runs often go unrewarded because Bendnter has decided to pull a Cruyff turn and shanked the ball into Row M or Chamakh has shinned the ball out of touch while attempting to trap it. The more that I think about it, the more I understand the appeal of playing with Shrek and Chicarito TBH.

  28. SL – Jurgenn would not be ideal as I have stated here before, mainly based on his Low being the real brains behind the team that you mentioned. Personally I wouldn’t mind giving Sven a go. He seems to not be getting the results he used too but I still think he is a damn good coach. In a perfect world I would love to have Guus Hiddink but that isn’t going to happen.

    Totally agree abut Agudelo, has tremendous upside but lacks the experience we need at the moment. We are stacked in midfield and light in forward so aformation such as a 4-3-3 suits us the best. With Jozy up top Donovan and Dempsey behind. And some mix of Edu, Jones, Stewart, Bradley, Feilhaber, Adu in the middle.

  29. Rico – Spot on about Swan and Goose but Bradley is def here till 2014…. and that’s fine by me.

    Unfortunately, I think Altidore’s development has stagnated. Agudelo or F Adu should be converted to a wide player as we need one (coming off the bench) BAAAD and C Davies who is our most natural and technical finisher should be heading the attack in 2014.

  30. @gorn

    “One thing I am very sure about, now: there will be at least 3 more bodies brought in, and mebbe as many or more moved out. I’d be VERY interested in knowing Kenny’s/Comolli’s priority list, and how their signings will jive with that. There’s different kinds of players being bandied about for LFC, and it’s kinda hard to sort out just WTF they’re going for, other than 25-or-younger & British (if possible).”

    They’ll have trouble finding new homes for Joe “the Islington Messi” Cole and Milan Jovanovic, both of whom are apparently on 100k/week. The other issue is how much dosh can be wrung from sales of Konchesky, Poulsen, El Zhar and Degen?

    I suspect Henderson’s signing does spell the end for Alberto Aquilani’s career on Merseyside because he’s a saleable asset.

  31. Gorn:

    Rooney as a false nine depends entirely on how the midfield operates this year. Hopefully Fletcher has recovered which will allow Rooney to play further up rather than drop back and help Giggs and Carrick from getting turned over.

    I think the biggest thing Liverpool need to worry about is not getting the type of player for the level they’re currently at which will obviously be an immense challenge. They’re looking to be in the CL and given what’s in front of them it will take more than Henderson to be in position for qualification. The longer they’re out, blah, blah, blah…

    AG:

    How real is this from either end? I just can’t imagine why Arsenal would a) sell anything but dead wood to United or b) not add to what is already very decent starting 11.

  32. AG:
    No idea what they’d fetch, but FSG allegedly wants to shed payroll, so I suspect they’d be willing to ‘lose money’ on any deals for them.

    As for AA, his agent has been pretty clear that he wants to stay in Italy, so I suspect FSG planned on going forward without him the whole time, which is a bit of a shame, really. Or, they’ll flog him about & keep him if they don’t like the price. Plenty of room in the reserves and there’s a few spare bodies about.

    EWTT:
    Yeah, cuz if your lot went w/Rooney ‘upfront’, they’d have plenty of room for a couple more mids that can play both outside & in.

    And I knew Nasri’s played well in CM, that’s why I gave it credence that Newton Heath could add him & Young while keeping Nani. (c: But Modric would probly be a better strictly CM addition.

    As for LFC affording/attracting the type of player they want, I heard ppl say that back in 2004, too. Don’t think anyone is sad Xabi or Garcia signed for them…. And if it means taking players a year or two younger than CL-ready, I think they, and Kopites, are prepared to do that. OTOH, if they need to make a big signing to catch up to the big4 *this* season, I think Reds are a lot more confident about Comolli/Dalglish doing it that Uncle Woy.

    PS: You a Bruins fan?

  33. Different climate this time but you’re right about Comolli. I’m not so sure about Dalglish yet.

    In true United form I’ve been a fan since 2011. Lol. But at least I actually live around the corner.

  34. @ewtt

    Nasri to United? Wenger would never let it happen. Methinks it’s Nasri’s agent playing hardball to up Arsenal’s offer to get parity with Cesc. Sammi’s Mr. Fifteen Percent’s a bit of a (CENSORED) — actually that’s more of a wholehearted one in the mould of Mr. Anelka’s frere — but he’s no dummy. Holloway Road Properties have been publishing their financials and he knows they are flush with cash. They also know the supporters are restless and any number of Oxlade-Chamberlains would not make up for losing Sammi. As for football’s gentlest knight, he’s probably just sticking the boot in because he’s a bit of a (CENSORED) and enjoys a bit of cat-and-mouse at this time of the year. Notice how quiet it’s gone around Modric? I’d bet that’s their boy. I suspect the only thing that might be holding it up is finding a paper bag big enough to accommodate enough large, nonsequential bills for delivery in a grubby little motorway rest stop. Of course, Sofaball’s legal team want to remind you that last bit was a joke and should in no way be deemed a serious allegation of good old ‘arry liking a bung.

  35. @gorn

    I believe I’ve seen the buyout clause in AA’s loan deal to Juve quoted in the 13m range but I suspect the Agnelli mob decided to haggle a bit.

  36. Mebbe FSG’s attitude is that, given the price they paid for the ‘franchise’: any sales are like free money, any wages lost is money gained, and any money spent this summer is the only investment they will have made at this point. Given the Babel/Torres = Suarez/Carroll swap, and the ‘free equity’ they gained in buying the club for a cut-rate price, it’s kinda true. It would explain a lot about the endless transfer buzz, and the comments from Kenny & Damian about making a number of signings.

    OTOH, this could all be me slipping back on the wagon. The Dalglish Effect has a heady bouquet….

    AG:
    I always heard the clause was ~16m, which still represents a decent loss (tho not paying his wages probly offsets that some too). Not sure how much less LFC would be willing to take TBH. Mebbe there’ll be a swap deal somewhere with a LB or CB coming back (tho Reds would be nervous about a Dossena vol.2).

    Also, loving the Villa search yet? Apparently Rafa & BobbyMart have said no, and the midlands revolted when McLaren was mooted.

  37. @gorn

    “OTOH, this could all be me slipping back on the wagon. The Dalglish Effect has a heady bouquet….”

    lmao!

    “I always heard the clause was ~16m, which still represents a decent loss (tho not paying his wages probly offsets that some too). Not sure how much less LFC would be willing to take TBH. Mebbe there’ll be a swap deal somewhere with a LB or CB coming back (tho Reds would be nervous about a Dossena vol.2).”

    The sewing circles suggest Clichy is their top target and apparenty Holloway Road was shopping him last year and has yet to make him an offer for the new season. I’d suggest you’ll see him getting beat in the air regularly on the left flank, shanking crosses into the Kop and diving in recklessly to give away cheap penalties next year. Do I sound bitter? Lol

    “Also, loving the Villa search yet? Apparently Rafa & BobbyMart have said no, and the midlands revolted when McLaren was mooted.”

    If they were upshet with Schteve, I can only imagine the delight in the Holte End next season at getting McLeish and his dire brand of Scottish Samba. They appear to be all over the shop given the disparate tactics and visions from the mooted candidates. What they need, in fact, is a guy like Comolli to set up some terms of reference and then look within that vision based on the current squad and potential recruits to it.

  38. AG:
    “I’d suggest you’ll see him getting beat in the air regularly on the left flank, shanking crosses into the Kop and diving in recklessly to give away cheap penalties next year. Do I sound bitter? Lol”
    Unlike Konchesky? I think LFC is more likely to take a shot at Enrique – that’s been rumoured for MONTHS – and laying ground work with Clichy in case that, or mebbe some other, deal falls through. Not saying they ain’t interested, but I’m not sure GC is their first choice either. As always, I’m sure price will matter, and it will be instructive to see how AFC negotiates this one with LFC; I think we’ll find out just how much of a (non)threat Kenny’s boys are seen as by HRP PLC.

    Yeah, funny how McLaren was so good @ Boro that he got the England job, but he’s too welfare for Villans?? WTF, talk about delusions of grandeur.

    As for Eckster, I dunno anything aboot his squads in Scotland so I could be completely wrong, but in fairness, it’s not like he had a lot of on-the-ball talent to use @ Brum, Wil, and it’s not like Birmingham is the Mandril of English football. It might be a different proposition with guys like Downing, Albrighton, Young, Gabby & Bent (if any/all stay). And with their backline, it wouldn’t take much to get them organized & playing great defence. With more talent, he’d probly loose the reins of his midfield & front players.

    But your main point is obviously true; without any kind of overriding philosophy or plan or style in mind, AV *will* be going down shortly. The situation is rather untenable ATM, and it’s getting to the point, as we discussed before you left, that not even Lerner’s largess will be able to save them.

    ION, Shearer in Cardiff??? McLaren @ Forest?? Is someone slipping me some of BC’s finest, or is that shit real? Would be a cruel twist for the latter, and an unusual choice for the former….

    Also, dunno if you listen to the SRE podcasts, but Bobby thinks BoMart is Wenger’s heir apparent.

  39. @gorn

    “Unlike Konchesky? I think LFC is more likely to take a shot at Enrique – that’s been rumoured for MONTHS – and laying ground work with Clichy in case that, or mebbe some other, deal falls through. Not saying they ain’t interested, but I’m not sure GC is their first choice either. As always, I’m sure price will matter, and it will be instructive to see how AFC negotiates this one with LFC; I think we’ll find out just how much of a (non)threat Kenny’s boys are seen as by HRP PLC.”

    Reading between the lines, myguess is Wenger has shopped Clichy to Bayern and Milan but his wage demands Hollywood FC. I understand Newcastle want between 12m and 13m for Enrique, roughly twice what Clichy would go for. I haven’t seen anything about the wage demands of the respective players, though.

    “Yeah, funny how McLaren was so good @ Boro that he got the England job, but he’s too welfare for Villans?? WTF, talk about delusions of grandeur.”

    Given a choice between the two, I’d pick McClaren every single time. Although it’s a little like asking whether you’d like to be shot or hanged. I kid, a little.

    “As for Eckster, I dunno anything aboot his squads in Scotland so I could be completely wrong, but in fairness, it’s not like he had a lot of on-the-ball talent to use @ Brum, Wil, and it’s not like Birmingham is the Mandril of English football. It might be a different proposition with guys like Downing, Albrighton, Young, Gabby & Bent (if any/all stay). And with their backline, it wouldn’t take much to get them organized & playing great defence. With more talent, he’d probly loose the reins of his midfield & front players.”

    McLeish’s sides have invariably played turgid football, north or south of Hadrian’s Wall, whenever I’ve seen them because they were usually matched against opponents of a higher technical calibre and better finances. But McLeish strikes me as a backward step for a club of Villa’s ambitions.

    As for the players, Bent, Gabby and Albrighton will all stay given their respective contract situations. Delph is a gifted young midfielder of enormous promise. Bannan and Ciaran Clark have looked good in flashes. Jean Makoun should progress. WIth the 18m from Young’s sale and Downing’s potential move to Liverpool (for 15m), they’ll have enough dosh to spring for the likes of Charles N’Zogbia (9m) and have plenty of money left over to strengthen throughout the side. Young’s departure was inevitable but N’Zogbia is a much cheaper alternative who is in the same bracket as a player.

    “But your main point is obviously true; without any kind of overriding philosophy or plan or style in mind, AV *will* be going down shortly. The situation is rather untenable ATM, and it’s getting to the point, as we discussed before you left, that not even Lerner’s largess will be able to save them.”

    I don’t know whether they’ll go down. I do think they will have trouble progressing back to where they were two years ago. Most clubs would benefit from appointing a DoF.

    “ION, Shearer in Cardiff??? McLaren @ Forest?? Is someone slipping me some of BC’s finest, or is that shit real? Would be a cruel twist for the latter, and an unusual choice for the former….”

    Anything to get Shearer off MOTD would probably appease most of its viewers! lol I guess Craig Bellamy won’t be sticking around with the Bluebirds, eh? lol The Shearer rumour is apparently serious. And like you, McClaren to Forest shocked me, too. He must have received some guarantees of substantial funds for a promotion push.

    “Also, dunno if you listen to the SRE podcasts, but Bobby thinks BoMart is Wenger’s heir apparent.”

    I don’t generally have the time to listen to them but thanks for the tip and I’ll check out the latest episode. I’ve look at his articles on SRE and link to them occasionally. I rarely post there because threads sometimes descend into one-eyed muppetry so it’s not generally worth the bother. When Rico started up this site, Bobby urged to congregate here and I’ve tried to stay loyal to this place. While I fly HRP PLC colours, I’d like to think I try to stay even-handed enough so that different faiths can congregate, debate, argue and disagree with a reasonable amount of civility.

  40. Seems like Manyoo and Liverpool are spending money on English talent with an eye on England’s WC performance…. FA must be happy.

    I for one think McLeish will do well at Villa (if appointed) and the fans will appreciate his managerial talent…. a much better overall manager than Schteeve. Give McLeish a deep squad with owner backing and Villa can easily finish top 7.

  41. If anyone comes across any good opinion pieces regarding the US performance against Guadeloupe please post em here. I keep finding summary’s and I want to read opinions. I wish Jonathon Wilson would analyze the US!

  42. Rico-

    Sorry mate.

    It was a wretched performance by the USA.

    Ponder this for a moment, Guadeloupe is not even a part of FIFA but IS a member of CONCACAF.

    Sadly perhaps the best result for the USA QF match against Jamaica (who by the way some say are a better side) is that the USA gets beat and goes home even though they already are HOME.

    Only then can the systemic problems facing the USA MNT and USSF be adequately addressed. Or maybe they will simply kick the can down the road, AGAIN.

    Bob Bradley is done with OR is it just maybe he is still trying to figure out if he wants to win the GOLD CUP or better yet, perhaps he is just trying players out, AGAIN.

    Believe it or not there are even a few supporters who still think he is an adequate gaffer to lead the USA to the 2014 WORLD CUP.

    Oh, and if only Clint Dempsey was as good as he thinks he is.

    Again, sorry.

  43. fultoblista – Did it ever occur to you that Coach Bradley is using the GC to test players and formations? I mean how many times do you want to see either the US or Mexico host the damn thing and win it.. you need variety don’t ya?

    The US attack looked awesome for the first 30 minutes against Canada (that is what they can do if they want to turn it on). Coupled with the fact that Boca is now at CB and Lichaj at LB…. I am sure the US AND Bradley will come good when up against the wall.

    Anyone who belittles Bradley is either on a Klinsmann PR bandwagon or isn’t able to understand Bradley’s insight and intelligence as a coach and the politics involved in team selection. He has done/is doing a good job and will leave head held high after 2014 WC.


    My predicted lineup against Jamaica:

    ………………Howard
    Cheru – Goodson – Boca – Lichaj
    Lando – Jones – Bradley – Bedoya
    ………………..Dempsey
    …………Altidore

  44. Futbolista- Re: Dempsey- I texted my friend “dempsey thinks he is better than he really is” when he tried to non-chalantly score our second. It’s sad but true.

    I too think the US is in trouble with Jamaica. I’ve questioned whether Bradley is just tinkering for testing things out but it can’t be that because than he wouldn’t put in what is essentially his starting XI every game. Truth is the man cost us in the world cup against Ghana and he is now killing us in the gold cup.

    As I texted Rico last night, I’m very worried about our ’14 prospects.

    One other thing, MLS and the talent that continues to play in the national team has shown the leagues talent level is below the international level at this point. It’s what explains the constant “mishaps” like Ream’s poor defending and Wondolowski’s effort from four yards out and centered that skied over the bar.

  45. Soccerlogical,

    “Did it ever occur to you that Coach Bradley is using the GC to test players and formations?”

    Bob Bradley’s objective is to win the Gold Cup otherwise he is gone.

    “Anyone who belittles Bradley is either on a Klinsmann PR bandwagon or isn’t able to understand Bradley’s insight and intelligence as a coach. He has and is doing a good job and will leave his head held high after 2014 WC.”

    Priceless, that that is the best you can muster.

    FYI, Klinsmann and Bielsa both turned down Gulati’s offer to replace Bob Bradley after the WC 2010 Finals.

    I hope you limited your wagering on the USA in the Gold Cup. :)

  46. futbolista – Didn’t bet on GC, have a few dimes on either Spain or England winning the U21s though! :)

    You’re nuts, Bradley ain’t gone if USA don’t win the GC. But I am confident we reach the finals as the real formation is deployed for knockouts.

    All the doubters will see a potent US attack against Jamaica and understand that it wasn’t good for the GC and minnow teams involved to have USA put 5 past a team which isn’t even recognized by FIFA (i.e. Guadeloupe). Should USA have turned up a gear, they could have easily scored at least 3 against a team like Guadeloupe… but what good would that have done in the greater scheme of things for CONCACAF and The Gold Cup?

  47. Gorn or Ewtt tonight? I think ewtt takes it

  48. dist:
    Don’t make me hit you! I’m still not a Canucks fan, and Boston has more Canadians on its roster than Vancouver does. I have no horse in that race. It’s more of whether I want a riot & at least a year of schadenfreude over the obnoxious Kanookleheads, or the chance at some free boobies/love….

    AG:
    “Anything to get Shearer off MOTD would probably appease most of its viewers!”
    I dunno. I like Shearer & Hansen. It’s not like Dixon is better for bias or analysis. Let’s face it, if MotD was serious about the Xs & Os, they’da signed Rafa the instant Inter shitcanned him. I think they make good TV, especially when Ben Arfa highlights are on. (c;

    Anyway, looks moot.

    Speaking of which, WTH do you make of this?? I mean, what player DOES this? Must be some serious difference in wages, right?? But then Fat Sam knows he only has so much to spend. So weird in both directions.

    Interesting to see what happens @ Lille. Apparently l’Arse are “trying to swoop LFC target Hazard”. *rolls eyes* But Lille’s on record to only be selling one of him or Gervinho, yet HRP PLC has talked to/inquired about both. Wonder what that would cost…?

    “I don’t generally have the time to listen to them but thanks for the tip”
    NP

    “I rarely post there because threads sometimes descend into one-eyed muppetry so it’s not generally worth the bother.”
    WHAT?? I never noticed. (c; I didn’t realize, however, that that was specific to Bobby’s sites……..

    “I’ve tried to stay loyal to this place.”
    Even if yer married to Sofaball, yer allowed to look at others!

    “While I fly HRP PLC colours, I’d like to think I try to stay even-handed enough so that different faiths can congregate, debate, argue and disagree with a reasonable amount of civility.”
    You do. Others, not so much.

  49. Also surprised to see that Upson & Boothroyd are on Bosmans.

  50. The Kevin Nolan story has bewildered me too since I saw it. The only person I can remember dropping to the championship while in his “prime” was Andy Johnson with… Crystal I believe. Why Kevin Nolan would even consider hitching his horse to that particular London cart is strange to me.

  51. SL- It sure looked like the US was trying to score last night. I don’t give them enough credit that they can miss that closely that many times.

    The fact of the matter is Bradley has routinely made key mistakes time and time again. Such as the forwards he has used, or keeps trying to us. Findley rather than Cunningham at the World Cup. Both performed nearly identically during the warm up games only Findley was given way more opportunities with the first team, while Cunningham had to play with other bubble battlers. Not saying Cunningham was the answer but I preferred him over Findley in that he had a good track record of at least scoring in the MLS and was playing lights out the summer prior.

    His refusal to start Edu in the middle during the World Cup. Every single goal scored against the US came down the middle of the field. And the first goal Ghana scored was a direct result of Ricardo Clark losing it in a horrible area which lead to the goal.

    Poor starts, time and time again the US as we all know fell behind early by a goal, only to battle back every time. That is mental, and that comes down to coaching.

  52. RDM:
    Yup, that’s true, but Johnson didn’t change teams from a PL club to a Championship one. Lots of the Toon players dropped with NUFC last year, but I cannye remember a player coming off a career year, looking for his last big contract, dropping to a smaller club, let alone one that has dubious prospects of bouncing back up….

  53. The only fault I see was the Ricardo Clark over Edu decision.. but as I recall, Clark was playing well for us till that point.

    Bradley is the first to admit he made a wrong decision in either lineup or formation and adjusts accordingly.. a rare managerial trait.

    Let’s see how we perform for the rest of the GC tournie and then decide what gear (frame of mind) US was in for the group stages against some “hurtful competition”.

  54. I don’t know how you don’t think the way the US comes out slowly isn’t a reflection on coaching.

  55. Disturbance-

    It looks like Rico agrees with us on Bradley.

    When Bradley is dumped perhaps SL will see the light. :)

    Jamaica has a very physical and pacey side. They are similar to Panama. And this is Jamaica’s best side they have had in awhile.

    Now perhaps the USA can wake up in time but they will have to play 90 minutes or more of extremely focused football.
    Their finishing is so poor it is shocking although Altidore’s strike against Guadeloupe was simply pure class.

    Can he deliver AGAIN?

    What concerns me about this USA side more than anything is what I alluded to in the beginning of this thread last week, their CB’s.

    Did you notice that Goodson barely touched the ball against Guadeloupe?

  56. I see the Villans are about as happy with Eck as they are with McLaren….

  57. Yeah put Gooch back in with Boca. I think Edu could even play there which wouldn’t be the worst thing int he world. With Edu you would have a player capable of passing the ball rather than hoofing it up the field.

  58. @gorn

    lol about the MOTD Ben Arfa comment!

    The Nolan signing surprises me a little. He had two years left on his deal and I suspect he told them he wouldn’t extend without being guaranteed a big payday. They probably balanced that with what was available and made the deal. It was more surprising that West Ham had the cash to pay for the transfer and meet his wage demands. He’ll thrive on the knockdowns from Bombardier Allardyce’s hoofball tactics.

    “Interesting to see what happens @ Lille. Apparently l’Arse are “trying to swoop LFC target Hazard”. *rolls eyes* But Lille’s on record to only be selling one of him or Gervinho, yet HRP PLC has talked to/inquired about both. Wonder what that would cost…?”

    If Nasri or Fabregas goes, Hazard will move to Holloway Road.

    Just to clarify, I do enjoy Bobby’s articles and probably could comment over there a little more often but most people over there are regulars here so there’s no point in repeating my opinion.

  59. Just a general comment about the USA team at the Gold Cup. I do think they are a little off form. There’s very high expectations for this group, which amazes me given the negativity that surrounded the men’s team even just a decade ago.

    Bradley isn’t helped by losing Davies, easily his best striker, or having slim pickings for his back four. There are no defenders that would ever be confused with Baresi or Desailly.

    OTOH, Maurice Edu is the one player I’d try to repatriate to Canada and failing to give him a starting berth gives his critics a stick to beat him with.

  60. Rico – You know me and them wild conspiracy theories. I just think Bradley used the group stages to try out several players like J Jones. I think as hosts who have won the darn thing a bunch of times, Bradley and his team looked to start the tournie in 1st and 2nd gear and make it exciting for the rest of the CONCACAF group. Let’s see how they perform against Jamaica… maybe then I’ll shut my trap. :)

    As for Edu, he had a great season at Rangers playing both league and European games (lots of minutes on them legs) so Bradley might think now is a good time to test out J Jones. The way I see it, I start Edu over Jones in the WC… or perhaps both as DMCs and Kid Bradley further up with Lando – C Davies – Demspey in attack. Possibly even Edu & Boca at CB as was mentioned.

    *Anyone at CB but Gooch who has proven he can’t read the game and has very poor response time. Gooch and Gerba chose the wrong sport as the former is a linebacker while the latter a running back.. both rigid with as much finesse as concrete.

  61. AG:
    “If Nasri or Fabregas goes, Hazard will move to Holloway Road. “
    So, if one or both go, you think Lille will sell both Gervinho *&* Hazard to them??

  62. @gorn

    “So, if one or both go, you think Lille will sell both Gervinho *&* Hazard to them??”

    Lille are already resigned to losing Gervinho. While Lille won’t want to lose Hazard this year, he does have a buyout clause in his contract and if a bidder reaches it (rumoured around 25m euros), he’ll go. I don’t think the destination will particularly matter to them. Holloway Road Properties will have both the cash and incentive to buy him.

  63. SL,

    “I just think Bradley used the group stages to try out several players like J Jones. I think as hosts who have won the darn thing a bunch of times, Bradley and his team looked to start the tournie in 1st and 2nd gear and make it exciting for the rest of the CONCACAF.”

    That funny. Are you on Gulati’s payroll for the Gold Cup?

    AG,

    Welcome back.

    Re: Fabregas.
    I don’t think Barca need him and certainly not at 50 million quid or whatever the silly money is now.

    As far as your comment re: the USA’s Gold Cup performance? I think you are too kind.
    And re: Bradley not having Davies at his disposal. It was 20 months ago that Davies was in that awful wreck. I think Bradley has has more than enough time to find a replacement., don’t you ?
    I always thought Davies had blinding pace but lacked adequate first touch and finishing.

    I agree with you about Edu and the USA’s back four.

  64. @futbolistaviva

    “I don’t think Barca need him and certainly not at 50 million quid or whatever the silly money is now.”

    I personally don’t think Barca needs Fabregas. I don’t know whether the hierarchy at the Nou Camp agrees with me, though. I know Arsenal won’t take 35 million. That’s Andy Carroll money.

    “As far as your comment re: the USA’s Gold Cup performance? I think you are too kind. And re: Bradley not having Davies at his disposal. It was 20 months ago that Davies was in that awful wreck. I think Bradley has has more than enough time to find a replacement., don’t you ? I always thought Davies had blinding pace but lacked adequate first touch and finishing.”

    That’s a touch harsh on Bradley. “Finding a replacement” for a national team coach isn’t easy as it would be for a club coach, where you can simply pull out the chequebook. I did have high hopes for Altidore but he hasn’t progressed since moving across the Atlantic.

    Davies looked like a very good prospect prior to the accident. Thierry Henry’s finishing was something acquired in his mid-20s.

  65. AG:
    Stephen Hart was on Bobcat’s show today, if you want to hear what he had to say. It sounds like he views our performance demonstrably different than you and Bobby.

  66. So not really a big fan of Hockey but you can imagine Vermont is pretty psyched not only because most Vermonters consider Boston their sports team, but because Tim Thomas went to UVM. And not many people from Vermont or people who went to school at University of Vermont make it to the next level. off the top of my head I only know of Martin St Louis being the other UVM graduate who has won the Stanley Cup or been part of a team that has won a major championship.

  67. @gorn

    I’m not really interested in what Stephen Hart’s post-mortems. Whatever his spin, we looked hopelessly out of our depth on the pitch. Full stop.

    His priority now is to cap Hoilett for World Cup qualifiers. If Hoilett opts for Jamaica, we might as well start talking about 2018 because we will get nowhere close with the current group. I saw this coming in 2007 following our dismal performances at the u-20 World Cup.

  68. @gorn

    Gary Jacobs reported in his Times webchat today that Liverpool offered 5m for Clichy. Holloway Road Properties are now busily hawking their left back across Europe like a desperate Amway rep seeking to reduce his inventory in hopes of getting them to jack up their offer.

    @everybody

    It looks like the Gervinho deal is DONE! I’m reasonably pleased, although not as much as I am by the news that Barca has publicly stated it would bid less than 40m euros for Cesc. That means the Spainard is staying and Wenger can now concentrate on extending Nasri’s deal, clearing the deadwood and negotiating the rest of his summer buys.

    Right now, here’s my guess at his list of possible targets, sales and maybes

    Done deals — Jenkinson, Gervinho

    Ins (actively negotiating) — Samba, Cahill, Sakho, Vertonghen, Baines, Jose Enrique, Oxlade-Chamberlain, NASRI

    Outs (actively shopping) — Denilson, Bendtner, Clichy, Almunia, Traore

    Maybes (available if the right offer comes in)– Arshavin, Squillaci, Rosicky

  69. So if Samba arrives what the hell are you going to write about next season AG? ; )

  70. Then I sure hope Wilshire or Ramsey learn to play DMC over the summer cause without the likes of a Palombo, M’Villa, Macherano, Parker or Inler it will just be same old same old.

  71. @RDM

    I’ll be planning to head to the Emirates for the open-top bus parade in May! lol I kid. Well a little. The frustrating thing is we appear to be close and, but for the failure to buy Samba in January, we might have had one or two trophy celebrations in north London.

  72. AG:

    What could be the reason why Arsenal would all of a sudden sign Samba? They’ve had a need at CB for years now and Samba, I’m sure, would have made himself available for transfer thereby forcing Blackurn’s hand to sell.

    Gervinho will blend nicely. Definitely Arsenal’s type of player.

    The funny thing about the Toon is that they really have all the tools to be successful. Packed house, rabid fanbase, a large ground smack in the middle of the city. If Ashley can just stay out of the way they may just improve over time.

  73. @SL – You feel Arsenal’s current problems are more to do with DMC then? What’s wrong with Alex Song? He’s hardly a poor choice.

    @AG – I suppose there’s always rants about the glue sniffers they have diagnosing injuries and prescribing treatment hey?

  74. Couldn’t hurt to pick up a Parker or Palumbo for under 10M just to cover our ass for the entire season. Especially if we get 30-40M for Cesc.

  75. @ewtt

    “What could be the reason why Arsenal would all of a sudden sign Samba? They’ve had a need at CB for years now and Samba, I’m sure, would have made himself available for transfer thereby forcing Blackburn’s hand to sell.”

    Reading between the lines, I understand they did bid on him in January and were turned down. Wenger decided not to meet a ridiculous valuation but hoped his bid would unsettle the player. They haven’t made a bid yet this summer (which is down to trying to resolve Nasri’s contract situation) and Rovers have now jacked his price up to 12m. No way will Wenger pay that price. He’ll probably offer 8m and hopes that unsettles the player into agitating for a move.

    They’ve also enquired about Sakho (who now seems unlikely to move given the cash recently pumped into PSG by the Quataris), Cahill (Bolton are trying to engineer an auction between Stockport Massive and Holloway Road Properties) and Vertonghen (who can also play left back but is apparently being eyed up by some other prospective buyers).

    “Gervinho will blend nicely. Definitely Arsenal’s type of player.”

    Agreed. He’s got all the tools required to make an major impact. Pity he’ll miss January at the African Cup of Nations.

    “The funny thing about the Toon is that they really have all the tools to be successful. Packed house, rabid fanbase, a large ground smack in the middle of the city. If Ashley can just stay out of the way they may just improve over time.”

    They have to plan a strategy and stick with it. It sounds easy but it isn’t given the demands of fans and media for splashy “flavour of the month” purchases that don’t fit with the overall long-term goals and vision of your club. I remember when they paraded Damien Duff and thought to myself that they already had Charles N’Zogbia as a left-sided attacking midfielder as a younger and cheaper option. It was so much buffoonish assclownery that was pandering to the media and public and it wound up eventually sinking them. Sad to say, but I do see Villa going down the same haphazard, aimless path. It is a well-travelled road for many football clubs.

  76. @RDM

    @AG – I suppose there’s always rants about the glue sniffers they have diagnosing injuries and prescribing treatment hey?

    LMAO. Oh yes. As long as the Magoos in the Holloway Road HMO continues to botch diagnoses, there will be plenty of fodder to vent on.

    Insofar as holding mids go, both Alex Song and Manu Frimpong might be away in January at the ANC so Wenger may draft in somebody who is available for January as Denilson is all but gone. Song is apparently on the outs with the Cameroon national setup after getting into a row with Sammy Eto’o so maybe he sticks around in January but the clueless twats in the English FA have — unsurprisingly — botched the whole business of getting Frimmers capped for the Three Lions (at Wenger’s express and public suggestion) so he’ll line up for Ghana. Being an England fan must feel a little like the Souness era for Magpies supporters.

    In any event, I cannot see Inler leaving Udinese as his price tag would be out of reach for Wenger as a value proposition. Unless they moved Song to CD, he wouldn’t get a regular game and I suspect Udinese wouldn’t be keen to lose a key player if they qualify for Champions League. Parker’s wages and transfer price for a player will no sell-on value rule him out of Arsenal’s plans.

  77. Gorn or Dist:

    Explain this… http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/jun/16/liverpool-blue-kit

    Once a Red always a Blue?

    AG:

    Interesting…maybe Wenger thinks the back line was solid and not the main cause of their collapse year after year. Stastistically he’s got a point but again, what’s happened now outside of not wanting to pay the valuation that makes this transfer a probablity. Samba is extremely valuable to Blackburn and it would make no sense for them to see him leave for anything less than the 12m they originally valued him at. Especially after a promising young talent has been transferred as well.

  78. @EWTT

    “Interesting…maybe Wenger thinks the back line was solid and not the main cause of their collapse year after year.”

    I suspect even Wenger knows he’s got a problem in the back four, which is why he’s publicly stated his preference is to bring in a big defender with Premier League experience.

    “Stastistically he’s got a point but again, what’s happened now outside of not wanting to pay the valuation that makes this transfer a probablity. Samba is extremely valuable to Blackburn and it would make no sense for them to see him leave for anything less than the 12m they originally valued him at. Especially after a promising young talent has been transferred as well.”

    Ironically, his dithering may wind up inflating Samba’s price because the player wound up getting an improved deal from Rovers and, as you point out, they are hardly motivated sellers following Jones move. Wenger has two options: pull the same tactic that Barca did with Fabregas and try to unsettle the player and hope his ambition causes him to agitate for a move. Or he can look for alternatives, which is probably another reason why he’s not made an official bid (along with his stated priority of extending Nasri’s deal).

  79. With Bentner gunning to leave, I am surprised that Wenger is not interested in Bojan.

  80. Bendtner gunning to leave means he could just as easily be interested in someone’s old pair of shoes. Bendtner is not very good is what I’m saying.

  81. CIAO – Bojan has proven to be feeble and lacking the necessary finishing skills playing for Barca in La Liga so why would you suggest Wenger try to sign him to play in a physiscal league like EPL? It’s not like little Bojan will just turn into a Chicharito upon his arrival at Arsenal.

  82. @CIAO

    “With Bentner gunning to leave, I am surprised that Wenger is not interested in Bojan.”

    My guess is Gervinho will replace Bendtner in the squad but not as a straight swap. Perhaps his move pushes Walcott to a more central role.

  83. @RDM

    “Bendtner gunning to leave means he could just as easily be interested in someone’s old pair of shoes. Bendtner is not very good is what I’m saying.”

    Arsenal have placed a 12m pound price on him, which surprises me. Both Sunderland and Bayern are said to be interested but I can’t see either of them paying that price.

  84. @SL
    I think Bojan would do much better under Wenger. He needs some regular playing time and a change of pace. He is being linked with Roma, that also would be an interesting option for him.

    @AG
    Wenger did say at one point that Walcott would end up as a second striker.

    I am curious where Bendtner will end up. I don’t see Bayern moving a pinky for him.

  85. CIAO – Well as of now little Bojan hasn’t even started in the U21s tournie so that should tell you something. Maybe he’ll follow Luis Enrique to Roma. But if Bojan failed to live up to the hype under Pep and getting so many scoring opps at Barca, I can’t see how a French intellectual like Wenger who cries every time the opposition plays too rough will do anything for Bojan’s development.

    As for Gervinho, I watch lots of Ligue 1 and Hazard is the real gem of Lille. No guarantee that Gervinho will be a success in the EPL, makes lots of bad decisions and a bit too greedy. I for one am a bit discouraged that he is our first big name buy considering where our frailties lie and Arsene’s past “buying habits”.

  86. AG:
    “I suspect even Wenger knows he’s got a problem in the back four, which is why he’s publicly stated his preference is to bring in a big defender with Premier League experience.”
    Actually, the only thing I’ve ever heard him admit to was having a short squad for defending corners/set pieces. AFAIK, he believes that in 11-on-11 open play, AFC is as good as there is in the PL.

    As far as ‘unsettling’ Samba, since players no longer submit transfer requests unless it’s the last straw due to giving up money in transfer clauses, what makes you think that’s a successful strategy? Particularly when said team has delusions of becoming a footballing power by signing Ronaldinho, firing Allardyce for Steve Kean, and fighting the legality of buy-out clauses?? Seems to me the last thing Wenger should be doing is making a Samba deal remotely public.

    I’m guessing Barca’s rumblings about Cesc’s perceived inflated cost is proof they’ll be coming in and trying to get a discount. I’d say it’s not nearly over with either him or Nasri just yet.

  87. EWTT:
    “Once a Red always a Blue?”
    Howz that any different than the black-and-gold from last year? \c: I really like the look & design, but I’d never buy one. Mebbe Citeh should buy the design from LFC?

    BTW, this topic is very ‘a propos’ for me. I just went shopping for a StL Cardinals hat. Went on mlb.com, and they had *118* different styles. I saw all kinds of “Fashion” lids in such colours as camo, blue, grey, and black. I was like “WTF is the point of buying a Cards hat if it ain’t red???”, went down the street and bought one from a local store for $25 CAD.

    So, yeah, I feel you on this one, but it’s totally what the kids get their money out for these days. It’s like some kind of reverse-jedi marketing, and it clearly works.

    PS: Congrats on the win Wednesday. I’d say it with more feeling, but I wouldn’t want to tip you off the bandwagon yer so perilously perched on. (c; Seriously tho, how was the city? Didja celebrate it?

  88. Gorn-Looks like you got your riot anyway….:p

    As for the hats, and jerseys and such its all about style.

    EWTT-I think they are very sharp looking. I get why people wouldn’t like them but I won’t lie, I do. Colors won’t be the reason we win the title this year.

    Ugh two sports towns I hate the most (Boston and Manchester) win titles this year. What did you promise God to get all these championships in the past decade or so? I need Buffalo(Bills and Sabres) and Liverpool to get just one….

  89. @gorn

    “Actually, the only thing I’ve ever heard him admit to was having a short squad for defending corners/set pieces. AFAIK, he believes that in 11-on-11 open play, AFC is as good as there is in the PL.”

    Well, he’s been quoted as saying a big defender is his top target, preferably one with Premier League experience. The rumour mills continue to suggest Samba is his top target and his interest in Cahill has apparently cooled over his price tag, which is north of 20m pounds.

    “As far as ‘unsettling’ Samba, since players no longer submit transfer requests unless it’s the last straw due to giving up money in transfer clauses, what makes you think that’s a successful strategy? Particularly when said team has delusions of becoming a footballing power by signing Ronaldinho, firing Allardyce for Steve Kean, and fighting the legality of buy-out clauses?? Seems to me the last thing Wenger should be doing is making a Samba deal remotely public.”

    Oh, Wenger won’t take it public. He’ll have to decide whether he wants to stump up 12m for Samba or bid lower and hope the player agitates for the move.

    “I’m guessing Barca’s rumblings about Cesc’s perceived inflated cost is proof they’ll be coming in and trying to get a discount. I’d say it’s not nearly over with either him or Nasri just yet.”

    It is over in the sense that Arsenal won’t let him go for his valuation (50m pounds). Cesc has four years left on his deal so Barca’s opening posture won’t impress his camp either. Unless Barca substantially change their tune, it is over for this summer.

    As for Nasri, it’s not over. Wenger is scheduled to meet with him in France this week and is going to use the Gervinho signing as proof of the club’s ambitions. Either Nasri will sign or not. If he doesn’t, Wenger will shop him around the Continent. I’m sure some clubs (Bayern, Inter) are watching with interest. It may have an effect on the future of Alexis Sanchez, too. If Inter drops out to buy Nasri, Stockport Massive probably will move into pole position for signing the Chilean.

  90. Gorn & Dist:

    Well said on the jerseys. It just looked surprisingly Evertonianesque. I was acutally quite a fan of the gray jerseys they had a few years back.

    Gorn:

    The City was jubilant but surprisingly respectful when compared to the Sox in 04′ and 07′. 2004 was proper mad. Apparently the mayor didn’t want to open the Garden so they were left to celebrate at bars adjacent to the arena. They basically localized the festivities to a few shot side streets. There were nothing but kids, college students, and “pink hats” as their described. Not my scene.

    I watched the match at the local with a few proper lads who’ve grown up watching the Bruins. I get a pass cause they know their is only so much American sports I can adopt not being entirely brought up in the culture, plus I grew up with them. It was good fun.

    Dist:

    Sorry mate. Shall we win a cup for you?

  91. @CIAO

    What do you make of Leonardo’s departure and Eto’o’s witterings about trying English football. Do you think he’s serious or simply trying to squeeze a few extra euros out of Moratti?

  92. AG:
    Zapata: “I have gained experience, but the time has come for me to make the jump to a big team.”
    Is Liverpool bigger than Udinese these days? I’ll believe it’s going to happen when I see it.

    Gago: what kind of player is he?

    Scott Dann: Just got a whole LOT more expensive…

    Eck & Villa: I’m more optimistic than you are, depending on the squad he inherits. Maybe there’s a bob or two can be exchanged….

  93. EWTT:
    “I watched the match at the local with a few proper lads who’ve grown up watching the Bruins.”
    There’s just so much funny about this. Reminds me of an ex-expat Brit friend of mine who lived here for a spell then moved back to London. She yelled on Facebook during game 7 “They can’t hit the goal with a shot!” (c; Given yer Manc-ness, I probly should grind ya, but I won’t. Remember me well, mate. (c:

    Anyway, glad you had so much fun! It was awesome during the Olympics here on hockey days. The spirit during these things is remarkable, and pretty singular to sport, IMvhO.

    PS: cover your Da’s eyes…

  94. AG

    I’m disappointed that Leonardo opted for France. I thought he did the job. I don’t think he will get another job at a top club for a while. He will have to prove his chops at his current destination. He was fired from Milan and walked out on Inter when they wanted him to stay and oversee the rebuilding of the team. I would not hire him until he has something proven under his belt -he lost some creds.

    I hope the only name that comes up to replace him is Lucescu.

    As for Eto’o -great player to help transition a team. I hope all he is after is some extra cash. There is talk of a trade for Tevez. He would work too but for how long… until he gets burned out and talks about quitting soccer again. Speaking of, with all the money he makes does he not know that if he misses his family he can fly them out to where ever he is and live in awesome house. Education, he could probably fly out and house a teacher too.

    Tevez for Eto’o is not an improvement. As much as I like Tevez and his work ethic on field, I think Eto’o is more of a team player. I hope he does not leave Inter.

  95. Malaga bid for Lucio. If he, Snijder and Eto’o leave with an incoming manager could make this a tricky period for a transition. Will this be alla gunners.. Maybe Wenger should come to Inter. :)

  96. @gorn

    “Zapata: “I have gained experience, but the time has come for me to make the jump to a big team.”
    Is Liverpool bigger than Udinese these days? I’ll believe it’s going to happen when I see it.”

    Liverpool can afford to pay higher wages than Udinese. If he doesn’t move to Anfield, I hope he find his way to north London.

    “Gago: what kind of player is he?”

    He’s a defensive midfielder who drew comparisons to Redondo when he moved to Real but has not lived up to that talk. He’s positionally solid and has an excellent range of distribution — sort of an anti-Poulsen. When Madrid were winning silverware, he was a key cog but has fallen down the pecking order after injuries and the arrival of Xabi and the omelet maker. He’s got a lot of competition in Madrid and would face the same situation at Anfield. The difference is fighting for your place with Lass, Xabi and Khedira versus Henderson, Lucas, Poulsen, Meireles and Jay Spearing. It strikes me as a strange signing in the sense that there are areas where more pressing needs but he’ll definitely upgrade the squad and could feature regularly.

    “Scott Dann: Just got a whole LOT more expensive…”

    He might be an alternative if Factory Farm FC doesn’t want to part with Samba.

    “Eck & Villa: I’m more optimistic than you are, depending on the squad he inherits. Maybe there’s a bob or two can be exchanged….”

    We’ll find out how serious he is based on his transfer signings. If he’s going to try to create Rangers South, as he did at Brum in terms of the composition of the playing squad, I don’t have a lot of faith. I wouldn’t mind if he signed Maurice Edu, though.

  97. @CIAO

    “I’m disappointed that Leonardo opted for France. I thought he did the job. I don’t think he will get another job at a top club for a while. He will have to prove his chops at his current destination. He was fired from Milan and walked out on Inter when they wanted him to stay and oversee the rebuilding of the team. I would not hire him until he has something proven under his belt -he lost some creds.”

    I’m surprised he left a club of Inter’s profile for PSG even though the Quataris have promised Leonardo a boatload of cash to remake PSG and have backed him by signing Kevin Gamiero. They are also bidding for Matuidi and Varane as well, apparently. But it’s a step down, at least in my mind, so I don’t quite understand it. Perhaps he and Moratti had a falling out over the size of the transfer kitty or possible sales of certain players?

    “I hope the only name that comes up to replace him is Lucescu.”

    Inter would be very well served by hiring him. He’s one of the few people to whom the “genius” tag should be applied. Do you think he’d have the backing of the supporters? And would you like to see Willian and Douglas Costa join him?

  98. I don’t understand why Leo to PSG has vexed you guys. Leo has always stated he sees himself more as a sporting director than manager. Everyone knows Leo’s strengths are negotiating and spotting/luring talent as opposed to being a tactician.

    You do realize there is a big diff b/w manager and sporting director right?

    :)

  99. SL

    Then why even take a managers job at a club like Milan or Inter. At both appointments he showed a lot of promise.

    He saw the green opportunity at PSG period. At Inter he would have had to be at his best this next year and bring either the league and or the champions league trophy to keep his job. However, by moving as such I think he ruined his chances at working at a top club for a while.

    Today I read that he wanted to trade Maicon in for Kaka and Moratti was not willing. I’m guessing if such, Leo might have been behind rumors of Sneijder wanting to leave.

  100. AG:
    Thanks for all the 411!

    - My comment about Dann was that he was mooted as a 10m player, but now with AV, Stoke, LFC and others vying for his signature, I REALLY don’t see The Voyeur buying him now. If he’s shying about 12m for Samba, I don’t see him shelling out 15m for Dann. YMMV.

    - Gago sounds great. I suspect ‘wee Jay’ will go on loan or back to the reserves, Poulsen is a dead man walking, and I hear RAUL might be on the move too (hope not, but there you go). There’s room for someone of Gago’s quality, if he still has it.

    - odd signings: If they have Zapata, they’re only in the market for a winger & striker (assuming Ngog goes to Sunderland as mooted). I suspect LFC will wait for the top guns to move like Sanchez, then swoop in for a winger when there’s less auction-style agenting going on. Plus, they may start focusing on their sales for the nonce once Zapata is wrapped up to see where they’re at financially.

  101. Lucescu has worked briefly at Inter, so the fans would not be upset at his appointment. I think if he came, it would be fair to assume he would try to bring some talent with him too. I think he would be a perfect coach to usher in transition to bring youth into the team and play attractive attacking football.

    Capello’s name is being thrown around as well. His name does not excite me. He knows his trade, but rarely can usher in a new era. He works with teams to grind out results.

    Lucescu has a proven track record of bringing youth. He did it with Galatasaray, Besiktas and now Shaktar.

    I hope the internet gods send this blog post to Moratti’s attention!

  102. CIAO – You can search for various quotes online where Leo admitted he was more of a sporting director. After the AC Milan stint, it was pretty well known where Leo’s strengths lie… and they weren’t in tactics. Morrati hired him for his charm and camaraderie with the players as thats what was needed after Rafa’s reign.

    I’m sure the PSG cash wasn’t a deterrent for Leo taking up the position but it was pretty clear that he wasn’t going to be the Inter manager for the upcoming season and that he lacked the nous to manage at any top club.. which as I said was not his ambition anyway.

    He tried it, proved to be nothing special and became known for not being a tactician. Now he is doing what he admits he does best…. sporting director.

  103. SL

    and your point… :)

  104. “Then why even take a managers job at a club like Milan or Inter. At both appointments he showed a lot of promise.”

    - Again…. he tried it, proved to be nothing special and became known for not being a tactician. Now he is doing what he admits he does best…. sporting director.

    Exactly which part confused ya tiger?

  105. the confusion is on why you are so wrapped in me having agree with you on this Leonardo business.

  106. AG

    FSC on the website post that Gunners are poised to sign Barton from Newcastle. Have you heard this? What do you think? I don’t think he is a type of player Wenger would go after.

  107. “and your point…”

    I wasn’t aware that phrase meant I was trying to impose my views on ya buddy. Last I checked, it meant my opinion was irrelevant to the discussion.

    You can take my opinion and wipe ur nose with it if u wish to do so but fact is Leo was released by both clubs and performeed poorly in CL…. not to mention his quotes on where he saw himself within an organization.

  108. @CIAO

    “FSC on the website post that Gunners are poised to sign Barton from Newcastle. Have you heard this? What do you think? I don’t think he is a type of player Wenger would go after”

    It sounds more like Barton’s agent making some mischief. Barton was quite vocal in his unhappiness with Nolan’s sale. If Wenger is going to move for anybody on Toonside, it’s Jose Enrique.

  109. I hear Fellaini is unsettled and wants CL soccer. Let’s see what Wenger can do, as it’s reported he has a 60M pound transfer budget.

    http://www.goal.com/en/news/9/england/2011/06/19/2538617/property-deal-will-see-arsenal-boss-arsene-wenger-handed-60m

  110. @SL

    “I hear Fellaini is unsettled and wants CL soccer. Let’s see what Wenger can do, as it’s reported he has a 60M pound transfer budget.”

    Fellaini would be a nice addition but Moyes’ penchant for playing hardball makes him a tough get until he has a year to go on his contract.

  111. Spanish media are reporting Barca have won the race for Sanchez’s signature. This will pretty much rule out a summer bid for Fabregas unless they are able to shift one of the high earners for big dollars (Villa)

  112. AG – Regardless of Arsenal’s financial structure and previous frugal purchases, with a 60M pound transfer kitty, past pricey older signings like Arshavin, a disappointing few seasons, disgruntled fans and players and now an official owner… we just may see a few “ballsy surprise signings”. The next few months should be interesting considering next season should see at least 6 teams competing for the EPL title…. let alone CL places.

  113. Another poor display by the United States. I guess the saying its better to be lucky than good is ringing true here. At least we get a shot at redemption with Panama. BTW, Bob definitely needs to go. We could win this tournament without playing a full 90 minutes of good football. Wow, concacaf is bad.

  114. Just to further my comment about the lack of football for 90 minutes, I was going over the US’ games with Bob Bradley as coach and we haven’t seen a full 90 since the Confederations Cup game against Spain. Teams score in bunches on us and that always comes down to coaching. Bradley rarely gets it right the first time, and when he does, its even rarer that he knows how to adjust to stem the tide from coming back.

  115. disturbance,

    Here is how I would look at it to find the silver lining. We played 64 minutes without Landon Donovan and I felt we were just as dangerous and likely to score with or without him. I like Landon but he is getting up there and won’t be around too much longer so learning to play without him it very important. We lost Altidore in the beginning and didn’t miss a beat, granted as a first choice striker he is still fairly undeveloped but we really lack depth in that position so to lose him is huge. Agudelo came on and I felt he played quite well. We were the beneficiaries of a bs red card. I don’t want the US to turn into divers but how many times have we been on the other side of a BS red card? So I thought it was nice it wasn’t us for a change. The game could have been worse could have been better. But the fact is we took a Jamaica team who had been on fire and outclassing their competition and made them look second rate.

  116. Rico-Jamaica should’ve been 1-0 up if they had not missed that absolute sitter. 1-0 up and the game could totally change. Also their striker laid it off to, I believe, Shelton at the top of the 18 and instead of letting it rip with the space he had he tried to dribble around defenders. That, too, could’ve easily been another goal and it could’ve been 2-0 at the point.

    Now thats not to say that we weren’t creating chances for ourselves but all were half-chances. In fact the first goal wasn’t much of a chance, it just took a really bad play by a defender to knock it past his own keeper.

    Honestly if you break it down, the US has been very poor in all facets of the game, in each and every game. This is a chance to show we are making strides forward but we are just regressing back to the days prior to ’02.

    If Bradley can’t take this team forward then we we need someone who can.

    BTW, I really hate FSC’s coverage. The announcers are so terrible. Martino said that Jamaica was going to press and not go into a defensive shell, the shell is how they had played all tournament, and he was obviously wrong. Its that amatueristic journalism that can really turn people off a game. All sports are better when you listen to people who know what they are talking about. Its like listening to SL’s commentary on this page. Bob Bradley was trying to make the Gold Cup more exciting thats why the US played like shit? I wouldn’t be surprised to see SL lining up to call games at the rate he is going.

  117. Disturbance, I agree with you and we got lucky but a team has to take their chances. Jamaica got theirs and blew it, and we capitalized on ours that is how soccer goes sometimes. That being said it does continue a trend of slow starts and early goals that goes back before last world cup, which again comes down to coaching.

  118. How exactly did USA get lucky against Jamaica when they dominated the midfield, pressured all game and created more chances.. help me out here. I guess it’s a bad thing now to show that a team can perform well with various players and formations?

    Bradley has chosen talent in attack with a young Agudelo, speedy C Davies and formidable Altidore. Placed Boca at CB and has said Chandler will be used as a LB… not to mention his clever use of midifeld riches.

    PS Dist – I really don’t think you understand how tournaments play out… it’s not a league season. Still bringing up the Spain game at that training tournament…. sad. People who keep comparing USA against the likes of Brazil, Spain and Holland are living in a twisted reality….. PERSPECTIVE!

    PPS I see no criticism of All-Mighty Mexico’s display against a weak Guatemalan team!

  119. Rico-”I agree with you and we got lucky but a team has to take their chances. Jamaica got theirs and blew it…”

    Right but do you really see the Brazil’s or Spain’s struggling to score against us? Which to me is kind of the point. When it comes down to the trophy we want to win, we’re getting no closer or improving in any area for that matter.

    “That being said it does continue a trend of slow starts and early goals that goes back before last world cup, which again comes down to coaching.”

    Actually when I think about it, not only does Bob gotta go but so does Sunil. That clown has pretty much held talks with only two people since 2006, Bob and Jurgen. Says a lot about why we are, where we are.

  120. My, my. If you saw it the way FSC saw it, the USA played great!
    They won and that is about it.

    From the jump, the BS narrative about how big of a decision it was for Bradley to not start LD because he took a red eye from LA to DC saturday, was complete nonsense. LD and everyone else but the gullible press corps knew he was only coming on as a sub.

    The USA packed midfield, kept their shape for the most part and the Reggae Boyz could not show up. Coach Whitmore’s mystifying lack of tactics made Bob Bradley look like he was Steve McLaren, a very scary thought indeed.

    One goal was scored by the USA. One goal.

    Goodson is still a nightmare in waiting. Lichaj could really get skinned against Panama. Jones and Bradley play the same style, step on each other and consistently give up the ball. If only one or both of them weren’t the coach’s son.
    And what a disgraceful dive by Jones which led to a red card for Jamaica sealing the win for the USA.
    Bedoya was pretty good. Kjlestan was okay. Aguedelo slotted in admirably for Altidore.

    Oh and if Dempsey was only as good as he thinks he is. He almost buggered a sitter, again.

    The USA can get their revenge on wednesday or will they play like they did last week in the group phase?

    Panama’s front 6 will will pack midfield and hound the USA back four.

    May the best side win.

  121. SL-”PS Dist – I really don’t think you understand how tournaments play out… it’s not a league season. Still bringing up the Spain game at that training tournament…. sad.”

    The training tournament that Lucio was crying because he won and Dempsey was crying because he lost? Good point.

    Btw thanks for another excellent analysis on the game. You’re really perfecting spouting off everything you hear on FSC :)

    edit: I see you edited your post. If you’re not comparing yourself against the best then why are they playing the game? Jesus Christ you are dumber than a rock.

  122. JAM==============USA
    4(2) Shots (on Goal) 18(12)
    Fouls 13 14
    Corner Kicks 1 6
    Offsides 1 5
    Possession 45% 55%

    futbolista – FSC commentators have always been a bunch of asinine homers with no objectivity. And Sunil Gulati has as much charm as a roadkill.

    “Coach Whitmore’s mystifying lack of tactics made Bob Bradley look like he was Steve McLaren, a very scary thought indeed.”

    - What does that mean… you really think cheezy smile Schteeve is a good manager?

  123. Futbolista-”My, my. If you saw it the way FSC saw it, the USA played great!
    They won and that is about it.”

    I was just about to put down on how if you read the bloggesphere the many arm-chair pundits have only seen the result and declared it a great performance. Its sad really. Shame football is coming to this. Guys who don’t watch the game but put in an analysis anyways. I was used to the SL’s in my other American sports but now I gotta deal with it here…shame really.

  124. DIST – So Brazil, Argentina, Holland, Spain, Germany AND USA huh? You have to learn to crawl before you can walk and learn to walk before you can fly. On one hand you are clinging on to a meaningless triumph a few years ago at a training tournie while calling for the USA to beat the likes of Brazil and Spain… brilliant logic!

    As far as me being an FSC clone, as far as I know dolts like Lalas, Wynalda, Martino are all critical of Bradley so you should feel right at home.

    I am yet to read a post where you actually provide specific formations of players and how to best utilize their skill sets. Did you even know the likes of Lichaj, Jones and Chandler even existed… cause I’m guessin MLS is pretty much your knowledge base. Leave the real talent and complicated matters to the big boyz son!

  125. SL-You trying to call me out on football is hilarious. You’ll lose this game, I promise…

    And just further proof that SL just looks at statistics and doesn’t watch games I have the perfect example. Team A was the home team and they are on the left and Team B was the away team and they are on the right:

    17(3) Shots (on Goal) 9(5)
    14 Fouls 16
    10 Corner Kicks 3
    3 Offsides 2
    55% Time of Possession 45%
    2 Yellow Cards 3
    1 Red Cards 0
    1 Saves 2

    Anyone want to know the score of that game? Manchester United 1 – 4 Liverpool. And that red card that United got was very late in the game. In fact the next kick of the game made it 1-3 so the red card had nothing to do with the first three goals. And anyone who watched that game saw how Liverpool completely handled the United attack and was the MUCH better team that day.

  126. Dist – YES, that MU LIV game and those stats prove EVERYTHING! I never watch any games but just parrot FSC announcers and browse stats.

    I really don’t know which is sadder, you being an obtuse “Ugly American” who can’t admit he was wrong saying USA would struggle against Jamaica or the notion that you somehow think you are more intelligent and analytical in the world game than I am.

    PS USA dominated in every aspect against Jamaica while Liverpool had more “ACTUAL Shots on Goal” in your example… anyone can shoot from 40 yards on goal. Learn the game or stick to watching Baseball on ESPN which doesn’t require much brain activity!

  127. My example had United dominating all stats and Liverpool dominating the score and the game. Point is, Jamaica was not dominated by the US but on to your quotes:

    “I never watch any games but just parrot FSC announcers and browse stats.”

    As long as you can admit it. I mean in one post to Futbolista you say that the FSC announcers are homers which means you listen to them and they love all things USA and then in a post to me 10 minutes later you intimate that you don’t listen to them at all and that they all hate things Bob Bradley. So are they homers are not? Or is it to whatever suits your argument? The perfect example of someone who is in over their head.

    “…you being an obtuse “Ugly American” who can’t admit when he is wrong or the notion that you somehow think you are more intelligent and analytical in the world game than I am.”

    How have I been wrong? My analysis said the US was playing poorly and did not play well against Canada. The next game they lose to Panama and then struggle to beat Guadalope. Against Jamaica if not for just poor finishing they would’ve been up 2-0 against us. Your analysis was that Bob Bradley was trying to make things more entertaining for the whole of the Gold Cup thats the reason for their poor play. So yes I think I am much smarter than you, especially when it comes to football.

  128. IDIOT – The most important stat was dominated by LIVERPOOL.. “ACTUAL SHOTS ON GOAL” (MU 3 – LIV 5).. YOU ARE TRULY A MORON! Do us all a favor and go watch Jerry Springer will ya…. you really bring no insight or interesting thoughts to this site.

  129. Dominated? What? They had two more shots on goal…Wow you are really stretching there big guy.

    edit: I just found 4 games that I can put down if you really want to be proven wrong and thats all within the last two minutes. I haven’t even looked at international matches where statistics even more skewed.

  130. Yea, you go gather your stats (like you just accused me of doing you damn hypocrite)… and then go play in traffic.

    You didn’t even understand that actual shots on goal are what matters… you are nothing but a troll who constantly displays his ignorance of the game and life in general.

    JAM==============USA
    4(2) Shots (on Goal) 18(12)
    Fouls 13 14
    Corner Kicks 1 6
    Offsides 1 5
    Possession 45% 55%

  131. “Yea, you go gather your stats (like you just accused me of doing you damn hypocrite)”

    Actually I accused you of just looking at the stats and not watching the games and then coming up with an opinion. Its like someone who doesn’t see a movie, just reads a review on it and then gives his opinion on whether or not an actor did their job well.

    “You didn’t even understand that actual shots on goal are what matters…”

    Thats all that matters? Then why did you put up all the other stats? And also if thats all that matters, then why did the US lose to Panama? They had more shots on goal than Panama. Why did Liverpool lose to Tottenham in May? They had more shots on goal. Obviously its not even close to what matters the most. It helps but not what matters the most.

    “you are nothing but a troll who constantly displays his ignorance of the game and life in general.”

    So this is how you get when proven wrong? Calling me a troll? haha nice! Actually, I just call you out when you make stupid comments. Now if you were to add something interesting to the debate instead of playing devils advocate just because you think you can, I’d be more than happy to discuss that. But, as with every debate you get on here, you come up with the most ridiculous stuff.

    If you don’t watch a game or are unable to, its ok. I’ve been there. Just ask what happened and someone will be more than happy to tell you what happened. There are some avid football watchers on this site. Use them to your advantage.

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