July 2 — two games, two wins

Very successful tournament thus far with two wins from two games and both games saw us come back from a goal down. It’s very gratifying to see that progress. You can prepare players’ bodies but you never really know how they will respond to adversity until you see them face adversity.

Just one link today from blog favourite Ben Lyttleton, who looks at Samir Nasri’s future.

Thursday

Heading down to the GMA for St. Albert’s Canada Day tournament and the forecast is for clear, sunny skies. The tournament itself should be reasonably stiff competition as we’re going to be playing some midtable clubs from the Edmonton city-wide league. Which is just a note to let you know that the long weekend starts early for me.  Hope Canadians enjoy their Friday off and our American friends have a great time and good weather for Independence Day.

To the links, where the ever-excellent Swiss Ramble eyes up Palermo’s books and concludes that the sometimes insane public statements issued by Maurizio Zamparini actually mask a shrewd operation. Unfortunately, their business model probably means they’ll eventually lose Javier Pastore and Edison Cavani.

Matthew Stanger provides a list of 10 players to watch at the Copa America while Jonathan Wilson previews a tournament that will occupy a lot of my hours during summer evenings. It will be interesting to see whether Uruguay repeat their success at South Africa. Something tells me we’ll see a Cinderella emerge and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Ecuador and Columbia show very well.

Disenchanted Spurs supporter Dave Roberts sees David Bentley’s career fizzle at White Hart Lane.

Paul Tomkins provides a riposte to Martin Samuel’s criticism of Damien Comolli.

Rumours

Manchester City are closing in on the £20m signing of Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri. (Sky Sports) Manchester City are keeping an eye on Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri and are prepared to spend £20m on the Frenchman.
Full story: talkSPORT With Barcelona closing in on Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas, midfielder Samir Nasri and defender Gael Clichy could be heading out of the Emirates to Manchester United and Manchester City respectively.
Full story: Daily Telegraph

Clichy is hardly a surprise — Arsenal have been shopping him around Europe since last summer. Neither is Fabregas although Catalan Aesthes FC’s ability to finance his sale and bring in Alexis Sanchez is a little surprising. Nasri’s stance does, though, come out of left field. Given how his anonymity in the title run-in, though, perhaps it’s time to cash in.

However, Gunners manager Arsene Wenger is hoping the signing of Lille striker Gervinho – with a £12m deal close to completion – will keep Nasri in London.
Full story: Daily Mirror

Gervinho is a very good player but I don’t think his signing will make a difference in the Nasri negotiations.

Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani has confirmed he will return to Liverpool this summer following a season-long loan at Juventus.
Full story: Sky Italia

Given AA’s form with the Old Lady, Liverpool supporters should welcome this news. Although why in God’s name they’d want to proceed with buying Charlie Adam now is particularly mystifying.

Chelsea have had a £4m bid for 19-year-old goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois rejected by Belgian champions Genk.
Full story: Inside Futbol

Rent Boys FC see him as the long-term successor to Petr Cech

Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur have joined Arsenal in the race for Valencia winger Juan Mata. (the Times)

Where Holloway Road Properties will show them a clean pair of heels. Again. If Wenger wants Mata, we’ll beat Spurs to his signature. We can pay more and offer Champions League football.

Blackburn are set to beat Sunderland to the £6.5m signing of Manchester City defender Nedum Onuoha. Rovers boss Steve Kean wants him to replace Phil Jones, who has joined Manchester United.
Full story: Daily Mail

Onuoha is a quality defender and I’m a little surprised Abu Dhabi FC don’t want to keep him. Kolo Toure has regressed and Joleon Lescott has never convinced as Vincent Kompany’s partner. But it’s not like it would be the first dumbassed decision sanctioned by Garry Cook, is it?

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas wants Benfica wing-back Fabio Coentrao as his first signing for the Blues but faces competition from Real Madrid.
Full story: Daily Telegraph

Chelsea have really struggled when it comes to buying right backs from Portugal. Jose Bosingwa and Paulo Ferreira represent about 30m pounds worth of failure on their right flank. If this is serious, it suggests they plan on pushing Branislav Ivanovic inside, a move that carries its own ramifications.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon is hoping to tempt Manchester City striker Craig Bellamy back to Glasgow but faces competition from Blackburn.
Full story: the Sun

Bellamy seems to have taken a holiday from his prattish ways while on loan at Cardiff. If he can remain on the straight and narrow, he’d be an excellent signing.

Newcastle target Romaric looks set to leave Sevilla after it was revealed that the midfielder will be left out of the Spanish club’s pre-season tour of Costa Rica.
Full story: talkSport

The Ivorian has looked like a quality attacking player since his days at Le Mans. Dodgy haircut but very decent skills. It continues to look like the Geordies are casting their nets in Continental waters seeking the next Chiek Tiote.

Tottenham are set to make Mexican striker Antonio Pedroza Whitham their first signing of the summer transfer window, with the 20-year-old set to cost under £1m as his contract at the Mexican club had expired.
Full story: Daily Mirror

No idea about the player. Perhap he was recommended to the wheeler dealer  by the *cough” right *cough” agent.

The White Hart Lane club have also joined Manchester City in the chase for highly rated 16-year-old Caen striker M’Baye Niang.
Full story: Daily Mail

Along with Romelu Lukaku, Niang is seen as the next potential Drogba.

Chelsea have made a huge undisclosed bid for Palermo’s attacking midfielder Javier Pastore, which seems to signal the end of their quest for Tottenham’s Luka Modric. Full story: footybunker.com

Pastore feels like a very pricey fallback in case they cannot secure the Spurs’ playmaker.

Big-spending Paris St Germain are ready to make a bid for Lille’s Belgian star Eden Hazard, who is wanted by Arsenal and Tottenham.
Full story: talkSport

Apparently the next Messi prefers the squalour of Paris to the charms of north London. Quelle surprise! If Stockport Massive lures Nasri north, it wouldn’t surprise me if Wenger opened up the wallet and blew the dust off the Queen’s eyes in order to secure the Belgian.

Stoke City have had a £3m bid rejected by West Ham for striker Carlton Cole. Full story: the Sun

Air Marshall Pulis will have to pay a little more for another target for his brand of hoofball.

Wednesday

OK, I’ll admit my past as journalist sometimes influences how I feel about people. And Andre Villas-Boas has done more than any single manager in recent memory with a memorable answer to why top clubs don’t employ English managers.

“Maybe they don’t export that well. But I’m sure Allardyce would do well abroad”

He followed that up by hiring blog favourite Roberto di Matteo as his number two and expounded on his group-think philosophy with an utterly memorable quote that carves the obsession with pundits to compare him to the omelet maker:

“”Maybe I should be called ‘The Group One.”

That’s says so much on so many levels, both about his research and wit. Well done, sir. The only thing that could possibly top that is helping Didier Drogba and JT locate their missing sense of shame. Nick Miller follows up with a  laundry list for AVB to succeed.

In actual news, a couple of reported Liverpool targets wound up with other clubs as O’Sunderland signed Connor Wickham AKA the new Shearer while Dmitri Payet opted for Lille, where he’ll presumably replace either Gervinho (whose apparently off to Holloway Road) or Eden Hazard, who is reportedly agitating for a move to Paris after the Quatar FC made a 31m euro bid for the Beligan wunderkid. Which is a cue for Fleet Street’s heftiest pundit, both in gross tonnage and salary (a reported 400k annual) Martin Samuel to criticize the Little Britian approach of Liverpool’s mooted transfer targets. Perhaps the appeal of Charlie Adam escapes him. It certainly does me, especially if you are planning to sell Raul Meireles.

Salford LBO continued their novel policy of actually signing players by announcing David De Gea will spend the next five years venting his spleen at Jonny Evans. So the defending champions have spent 50m on three players, two of them teenagers, while Arsene Wenger faffs about looking for value in the market. Fergie wants to make one more signing and has eyed up Samir Nasri but Mark Ogden suggests the empurpled one should make a play for HRP’s disenchanted Catalan.

If Sir did have the cheek to make an actual offer, the odds of Wenger’s head exploding are probably right around even money.

Revisiting an earlier theme touched upon by this humble blog, Sarah Winterburn sees positive signs in Newcastle United’s summer dealings.

Before the links depart for the Continent, we cannot let the news that England now sit  fourth in the world by the FIFA rankings, ahead of Brazil and Argentina without comment. As Rob Bagchi states, this says a lot more about the rankings than the performance of England. Obviously both are rubbish, something that would be apparent to anybody who has watched the Three Lions. The rankings shouldn’t matter but they do determine seeding in the World Cup, which is why this is another area screaming out for reform in FIFA.

Rather than dwell on incompetence, let’s instead move to Russia, where Jonathan Wilson salutes CSKA Moscow, the probable Russian champions and favourite team of Fox Soccer’s Derek Taylor.

To Italy, where Roberto Gotta looks at Inter Milan’s new gaffer Gian Piero Gasperini.

In Netherlands, Mohamed Moallim see FC Twente turn to Co Adriaanse, a successful coach with occasional anger management issues.

Finally, we skip across the Atlantic to MLS, where Ian Plenderleith sees Charlie Davies erode a lot of good will built from his comeback with a disgraceful dive.

As we’ve had a plethora of links to look at, there’s no rumours today. Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday

What an exciting day for Holloway Road Properties PLC. First, Nina Bracewell-Smith, through the medium of Twitter, demands the board be sacked. Next, Arsene Wenger decides to send a written response to a frustrated supporter that features a cutting and pasting of several “key messages” of patience, prudence and parismony. Whoops, how did that last one slip in there?

Anyway, Gary Cahill (17m) gets added to the short list of defenders being sought by Wenger that now includes Phil Jagielka (rated at 20m by the optimistic David Moyes) and Christopher Samba (rated at 12m by Factory Farm FC, although that could get lowered if he ups his agitation to threatening grievious bodily harm to force through his transfer). Hell, Wenger may have to sell both Fabregas and Nasri just to swing buying one of them and delivering an appropriate ROI for Mr. Kroenke.

Still, it could be worse and River Plate provides a cautionary tale for anybody in football who thinks their club is too big to go down. Let’s start strong with Sam Kelly’s outsanding Hasta El Gol Siempre blog. Quality stuff.

Daniel Schweimler looks at the implications of River’s relegation on and off the pitch.

Ed Malyon talks about the role of ultras and former players in River’s downfall.

By contrast to the fallen giants in Buenos Aires, today’s links provide examples of small clubs who climb to the top thanks to shrewd management and (pay attention Randy Lerner!) and concrete business plan. David Cartlidge chronicles the rise of Granada in Spain thanks to an interesting link with Udinese. Jonathan Bradley looks at Malaga, who’ve gone the Stockport Massive route by overpaying for footballers thanks to being bought by oil-rich sugardaddies.

Matt Slater reviews the match fixing scandal that has consumed Greek football at a time when the country didn’t need the distraction.

To the pitch, where blog favourite Michael Cox picks his European XI of the season with a complete set of substitutes.

As that’s plenty to chew on for today, let’s save rumours for tomorrow.

Monday

Developments of the summer’s most tedious transfer saga have posed a problem to my working theory that Catalan Aesthes FC wouldn’t have the funds to buy Cesc after “winning”  the battle for Alexis Sanchez. In that they suggest it is completely and utterly off the mark.

Indeed, it appears that the good directors at Holloway Road Properties are going to do what their club does best these days — concede defeat and make one hell of a lot of money doing so. Snorting in derision at the initial 27m pound bid, which slots Fabregas roughly halfway between Jordan Henderson and Andy Carroll in terms of valuation,  the BBC’s Dan Roan reports  they’ve invited another pitch that’s somewhat closer to their 50m euro price for their club captain. Having watched the same dumbasses hand over a good deal more money PLUS Samuel Eto’o to Inter Milan for a whingy striker who puckers in Europe, one wonders why Ivan Gazidis hasn’t demanded Gerard Pique as a makeweight to get the deal done.

lol — I jest, of course, as the HRP only want hard cash. To be fair, they are now being linked with Juan Mata, Phil Jagielka and Ricky Alvarez so it appears they will be reinvesting some of the Cesc loot into more than extending Samir Nasri’s contract and buying Gervinho, whom, if Ben Lyttleton is to be believed, will be very successful in the Premier League.

Speaking of Mr. Lyttleton, he also interviews a French scout who assesses reported Liverpool target Nolan Roux.

Staying in France, PSG is making a big impression these days and it has nothing to do with violence at the Parc du Princes or supporters making threats against the first team squad. Tom Williams chronicles the rewards of selling out to oil-rich sheiks from Quatar.

Moving to the more glamourous surroundings of England’s exotic midlands, Nick Miller argues selling Stewart Downing sends a terrible message for supporters of Aston Villa FC. Unless, of course, they reinvest that money in bringing back James Milner to the club from Stockport Massive for 14m and buy Charles N’Zogbia to replace Ashley Young. Then, they’d still be well up in terms of transfer profit, which could be used to replace Brad Friedel with a keeper that’s a good deal more competent than Ben Foster.

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82 comments
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  1. Ahh transfer season! Makes me glad that by any regular measure I’m not classified as a supporter of any one team in particular. It’s enough to make one go prematurely gray!

  2. @RDM

    Proper supporters find coping mechanisms to see their way through the summer. Alcohol is the traditionalists’ standard but soft drugs and pornography have gained in popularity in recent years. In a non-World Cup year, you really probably need all three. Unless you are a United supporter, obviously. They’ve already signed up Young and Jones while de Gea underwent his medical on Monday. HRP are still farting around with Nasri’s extension and haggling over Gervinho’s fee with all the dignity of a panhandler whose well into his second bottle of Red Ripple and losing his buzz.

    Still it could be worse. Our manager could be in the docket next month on a tax evasion charge and, even with an acquittal, heads into his final year as the lamest of ducks and needing to trim a bloated squat before he can start buying. Some days, I almost feel sorry for Spurs supporters. Really.

  3. De Gea has been coming for about four or five months now so its not a shock to see him at Carrington. I am surprised, however, that the midfield hasn’t been addressed. Playing Rooney or Young centrally won’t cut it.

    Dist:

    Good analogy and I see your point. I happen to think his issue is mental which is where I feel most of the problems originate when it comes to professional players in various sports. Just about everyone is talented at that level but certain players just have a killer instinct about them that stems from mental toughness which is ultimately what defending in any sport is all about.

  4. @ewtt

    The market for creative midfield types in the Champions League probably won’t be set until Fabregas’ future is decided. That decision will could influence the availability of a lot of players on leading European clubs. Here’s just one scenario — Arsenal sell Fabregas. That frees up cash to extend Nasri and buy Alvarez. Inter then decides to hang on to Sneijder. Barca, meanwhile, no longer have the dosh to buy Sanchez so he’s available.

    Obviously, it could play out in other ways but Fabregas is the probable decision that will dislodge that market and set a whole bunch of moves into motion.

  5. LeBron can dribble and has the technical ability to maneuver his body to score close up… both are signs of technique. ALL Basketball players must be athletic even a Dennis Rodman who can be put in the category of an athletic basketball player with NO technical ability whatsoever.

    LeBron having room for improvement has nothing to do with anything. He possesses the technique to both dribble, pass and score.

  6. AG:

    I think United have identified their targets for the upcoming season. I would be rather shocked if there was a fourth player brought in which means another year of Carrick as the tempo setter in midfield. Fantastic…

    I’m not sure If you said your thoughts on Alvarez. Think he fits?

  7. @ewtt

    “I think United have identified their targets for the upcoming season. I would be rather shocked if there was a fourth player brought in which means another year of Carrick as the tempo setter in midfield. Fantastic…”

    Well, he did get his deal extended by Lord Ferg. Perhaps he’s getting a little sentimental in his dotage! lol

    Anyway, if it’s a tempo setter that’s required, there’s a cracking player I just watched at the u-23 UEFA championships, the Spanish u-21 midfielder Javi Martinez of Athletic Bilbao. He’s like a midfield metronome. As impressive as any of the lads on that side, including Juan Mata and the Catalan contingent.

    “I’m not sure If you said your thoughts on Alvarez. Think he fits?”

    I’ve only seen YouTube highlights of Alvarez — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeSIgyfG1sc — and read the reports, which are mixed. He’s got a lot of big clubs looking at him based on his form over the past year or so but Tor-Kristian Karlsen, a highly respected scout whom I follow on Twitter, isn’t convinced based on what he’s seen of him, particularly as a youngster.

    I’m leery about how quickly a midfielder from Argentina will acclimatize to English football, which is played at a different tempo and with more tactical rigidity than you typically see over there. Wenger’s record with South Americans isn’t great, either. Gilberto Silva rates as his best buy while Sylvinho and Edu were qualified successes. And I’m struggling to think of an Argentine that he’s worked with. I know they were linked with a couple (Mascherano and di Maria come to mind). Acclimatizing him off the field may pose some challenges, too.

  8. One of the many reasons Barca do not need Fabregas…….Oh, in case anyone is interested, Spain won the U21′s…..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOdwgGwBd7E

  9. SL-No driving to the basket is all athleticism, has nothing to do with technique. Plus his dribbling is at best just above average. He is a smart player and uses his wide body to protect the ball.

    Ewtt-Could be mental, just don’t buy that. He looks to be a confident man on the court. Back to football: what kind of central player do you think United need to sign?

    AG- I liked Javi’s performances too. I think you’ll find him at Madrid with in two years. Any comments regarding River?

  10. DIst – Anyone who is a big game scorer with such numbers has got technique to put the ball in the basket… come on man he ain’t Ollie from Hoosiers!

    Rico – Backe just traded DeRo to DC, do you rate Sven’s sidekick at all? I’m just excited to see DeRo link up with Pontius and my boy Charlie at DC and not a bunch of over the hill Eurpeans coming to MLS for the cash.

    re Javi Martinez
    Don’t forget Bielsa is now in charge of Bilbao so the likes of Muniain, Martinez, Susaeta and hopefully Lorente will stay on for at least another season.

  11. @futbolistaviva

    Agreed they don’t need Fabregas until Xavi retires but obviously the club hierarchy has earmarked him as a priority and they’ll have to pay 40m quid to get him. That’s not outrageous, particularly compared to what they spend on Zlatan. But it is one hell of a lot of money for a player who isn’t guaranteed a place in the starting XI.

  12. @disturbance

    “I liked Javi’s performances too. I think you’ll find him at Madrid with in two years. Any comments regarding River?”

    I think you might be right about him heading to Madrid, sadly.

    As far as River goes, it’s a real shocker even with club’s troubles in recent times. I’ve looked around for something good to post in the links but everything I’ve seen is in Spanish. Jonathan Wilson is down in Argentina right now and I’m hoping he’ll write about it.

  13. AG:

    Little bit on River…

    http://hastaelgolsiempre.com/2011/06/27/river-plate-the-rebuilding-begins-and-next-seasons-new-horizons/#more-6024

  14. @ewtt

    Thanks man! I’m bookmarking Sam Kelly’s site.

  15. Sl- Sorry don’t pay enough attention tot he MLS to know.

  16. AG:

    Any idea where the Bracewell-Smith comments came from? Seems a pointless topic with nothing concrete behind it. Male chauvanim at board room level. No…really? Piss off.

    Tooulalan may work out for Malaga. I’m not sure what they were thinking with Van Nistelrooy. I’m sure he’s not exactly taking a pay cut either. Their issues, as the article indicated, stem from horrific defending. They were laughable at times last season.

    I love ZM’s starting 11 with the exception of Vidic. He’s the best defender in Europe with Pique right behind him imo. Nice to see Kompany get a mention along with Coentrao. They were both excellent this year.

  17. @ewtt

    No idea about NBS’s motives– she’s been tweeting a lot lately and interacting with supporters. She also poured cold water on the idea of having David Dein return to the club — claims it was his fallout with Danny F that was the root of the club’s problems at a high level.

    Totally agree with you about Toulanan. I think the sheiks see RvN as a name to appease supporters, move replica shirts but he’ll likely serve more as an impact sub a la Berbatov. Joking, joking. Well, sort of.

    I would have Vidic in a Euro XI but behind Pique. I think these lists generate a lot of opinion but it’s nice to see ZM — who watches one hell of a lot of football across the different European leagues — put together a list that includes outstanding representatives from several different countries.

  18. Franny.

    EWTT:
    So you don’t want Modric, or don’t think it will happen?

  19. @gorn

    One of the reasons that the market price for Fabregas might be a little low is there’s only one plausible buyer. He isn’t interested in going to the Bernebeu any more than the riches of Stockport Massive would woo him.

    I suspect Fergie will make his move once Barca and Arsenal have concluded their business. Or not. Once they come to a resolution, the blocks will loosen under Sanchez and Nasri.

  20. Gorn:

    I’d love it if Modric came to Old Trafford but I’ll believe it when I personally see him taking the medical.

  21. Looks like the price for Connor Wickham has been set. Some say £9m, some say £13m. Either way, at least the train is moving now, and LFC can get that deal done. Anything to stop the endless cycle stories.

    Course, now I’m hearing “Wayne Bridge to Anfield” rumours. I’m gonna go ahead and guess that’s Bridge’s agent still not happy about his 5% of too-gauddamn-much.

    Adam deal now includes a couple kids loaned out to Blackpool. This one just gets weirder and weirder. If I dinnae know better, I’d say Kenny has a bro-mance with Chuckles, or there are photos of a non-public nature.

    AG:
    It’s not like having a 2nd, more generous, offer is gonna hurt l’Arse’s position. 50m euros is sexy, even if it is a scarecrow. This also puts the Sanchez saga back into question, cuz I don’t think anyone sensible sees Barca splashing 90m euros on both this summer. But mebbe I’m senseless. Bottom line: this helps boost Franny’s price if he’s sold, and makes it harder for Barca to tow their internal budget which would cause him to stay @ Emirates. Win-win, brother.

    I’d forgot about ManUre’s alleged interest in Sammy. Guessing that’s TGB’s fallback if Modric doesnye work out.

    Thanks for the Roux article. Does make me question Comolli’s judgment a little, tho.

  22. Gorn:

    “Looks like the price for Connor Wickham has been set. Some say £9m, some say £13m. Either way, at least the train is moving now, and LFC can get that deal done. Anything to stop the endless cycle stories.”

    What deal?

  23. @gorn

    “It’s not like having a 2nd, more generous, offer is gonna hurt l’Arse’s position. 50m euros is sexy, even if it is a scarecrow. This also puts the Sanchez saga back into question, cuz I don’t think anyone sensible sees Barca splashing 90m euros on both this summer. But mebbe I’m senseless. Bottom line: this helps boost Franny’s price if he’s sold, and makes it harder for Barca to tow their internal budget which would cause him to stay @ Emirates. Win-win, brother.”

    Well Roberto Mancini has announced City is out of the Sanchez sweepstakes so the Chilean appears to be Barca-bound at a cost of 40m euros. Catalan Aesthes FC also reportedly lodged a 35m pound bid for Cesc. They’ve obviously found a way to swing both deals w/o getting rid of Thiago Alcantara, who extended his contract to 2015 at the Nou Camp.

    “I’d forgot about ManUre’s alleged interest in Sammy. Guessing that’s TGB’s fallback if Modric doesnye work out.”

    Wenger would sell his first-born to Fergie before you’ll see Samir move to OT. As much as they’d love a good profit, the directors of Holloway Road Properties know what that kind of deal would do for the mood of the customer base, which is more unruly than usual.

  24. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/commentary/news/story?id=6716347

    Any thoughts lads? It’s a bit heavy so feel free to ignore it. It is summer time…

    AG:

    “If Sir did have the cheek to make an actual offer, the odds of Wenger’s head exploding are probably right around even money.”

    Nice one. How he managed to sell him Silvestre I’ll never know…speaking of cheek.

  25. @ewtt

    Language is an inflammatory issue in Canada so it’s a little surprising for me to see this issue crop up in the States. Howard’s remarks were intemperate and poorly chosen. Perhaps the fact that it sounded like more of the crowd supported Mexico in a match on US soil irritated him. I don’t think the closing ceremonies should have been in Spanish only. We’ve managed to muddle through bilingual announcements at sporting events up here. Perhaps CONCACAF should adopt a similar policy to avoid similar controversies in the future.

    “Nice one. How he managed to sell him Silvestre I’ll never know…speaking of cheek.”

    That was our last attempt to get a Premier League defender with experience, which *sigh* led to the Squillaci signing last summer. This summer’s mooted targets have a much sturdier look to them. If the rumours are true and Wenger is now signing BOTH Cahill and Samba, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Vermaelen shift to left back.

  26. EWTT:
    dewd, I’m totally good with that. Glad it’s over one way or the other. He couldnae be that good if he wasnye worth £9m.

    As for Howard, he’s not a monster, but he’s obviously not without prejudice either. Another case of some people forgiving everything and others overlooking what’s inconvenient. Pretty typical 1st world behaviour, no?

  27. AG:
    “Wenger would sell his first-born to Fergie before you’ll see Samir move to OT.”
    Yes, but could he not manage to damage the situation enough that Nasri would leave, which would be TGB’s 2nd favourite result?

    OBTW, didja see this?

  28. @gorn

    Reading between the lines, my sense is either Nasri or Fabregas will go this summer. Sami sounds no longer content being stuck on the wing and wants to be the creative fulcrum of the side.

    I cannot open that blog at work — firewall issues, I guess. I’ll try this evening.

  29. And thanks for the Samuel article. Reminded me why I havenye read him in years.

    Hmm, it’s a wordpress link. Weird. Well here it is again so people can copy & paste it. http://basstunedtored.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/john-w-henry-engaging-the-fans/

  30. Tim Howard is absolutely correct in what he said and in no way does it mean he has prejudice. Imagine if Brazil had beaten France in 98, do you think the closing ceremonies would’ve been done in Portuguese? CONCACAF should be called out for how the ceremony was conducted. They also should be called out for having the Gold Cup being staged in the USA almost every time. Canada and Mexico could host it alone themselves and other countries could joint host it, as well.

  31. Agree 100% with Howard and DIST…. wait WHAT? :)

    Goonz – Cahill & Samba… really? A-w-e-s-Ooooo-m-e! Is Vermaellen left footed?

    Cesc is as good as gone by the way….maybe Barca can throw in Mach? Hope the new boyz gel fast cause it’s not gonna be an easy fight for the title.

    That jackass Parlor keeps crying for Wenger to buy Defoe… thoughts?

  32. Saudi NT appoints Frank Rijkaard

  33. @gorn

    “And thanks for the Samuel article. Reminded me why I havenye read him in years.”

    Notice how he’s putting this on Comolli rather than KD?

    “Hmm, it’s a wordpress link. Weird. Well here it is again so people can copy & paste it. http://basstunedtored.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/john-w-henry-engaging-the-fans/

    I enjoyed this piece. JWH clearly understands what he needs to do to engage fans. It doesn’t sound like canned patter crafted by his pr folks, either. The vast majority of Liverpool supporters seem willing to give him and the Fenway Sports mob some time to follow through on their efforts to reshape the squad and redevelop Anfield.

  34. @SL

    “Goonz – Cahill & Samba… really? A-w-e-s-Ooooo-m-e! Is Vermaellen left footed?”

    Yep.

    “Cesc is as good as gone by the way….maybe Barca can throw in Mach? Hope the new boyz gel fast cause it’s not gonna be an easy fight for the title.”

    I think Cesc is probably going to go but there’s no way Arsenal would take anything other than straight cash. That and the unlikelihood of Mascherano’s wage demands fitting within Holloway Road’s salary structure.

    “That jackass Parlor keeps crying for Wenger to buy Defoe… thoughts?”

    Why would Spurs sell him to their rivals? Even if they did, how would he fit in a 4-3-3? Unless we switched formations to a 4-4-2, I can’t see how he’d get a regular game.

  35. TFC gets Frings & Koevermans. Interesting. A lot of dough to shell out.

  36. Of the three(Clichy, Fabregas and Nasri) that are reported to be the most likely to be leaving only one of those players would seem like a real loss to Arsenal. Fabregas is a good player but never in the important games and he certainly isn’t a leader or even close to a captain and Clichy has great pace but even Arsenal has to be worried about the amount of footballs being handed out to Row Z on his behalf.

    The only player that would be a GREAT loss to them would be Nasri. Wenger is very close to having a title winning team. Nasri would be more key, in my estimation, than Fabregas.

    Am I the only one who thinks that?

    Edit: Let me qualify that Fabregas statement with the fact that I am assuming they are going to get a truckload of money for him.

  37. I would agree with that. Nasri should be in the middle. You look at a game such as against Barcelona Nasri was one of the few players who really was trying to create something but he just had no support. Hell if they could sell Fabregas they should turn around and get Sanchez and play him out wide. They wont’ but that is what they should do.

  38. @disturbance

    What really concerns me is how losing three starters will have on RvP’s mindset about extending his deal.

    Fabregas was poor last year by the standards he had previously set, but seemed to be the only player capable of unlocking defences at times. Nasri was fantastic at the start of the season but disappeared in the title run-in. I saw every single Arsenal match last year and Clichy was the weakest link in many matches.

    If all three go, Wenger will have to do better than Gervinho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and both deals are supposed to be completed this week. Negotiations are apparently underway with both Blackburn over Chris Samba (quibbling over his fee) and Bolton to add Gary Cahill (where the Trotters want cash and either Henri Lansbury or Iggy Miguel, depending on differing sources). Wenger has apparently asked about Phil Jagielka (whom he regards as the best English defender) and was quoted 20m pounds so that’s a complete non-starter. About the only other player mentioned is Jose Enrique but that’s probably Liverpool’s first option now that the sheiks have outbid them for Clichy. Unless those rumours about Wayne Bridge are true but dearie me, I cannot see that move happening.

  39. @Rico

    I like the idea of bidding for Sanchez but apparently he wants Barca and that’s understandable. If Nasri goes, I’m willing to wager Wenger unloosens the pursestrings and brings in Eden Hazard.

  40. Sanchez obviously wants Barca as that is why Man City pulled out. Who would pay 40M on a player that prefers to be somewhere else.

    I think Nasri stays.. definitely not goin to Manyoo… put my house on that. But should Nasri leave for Italy or Spain, we definitely need another creative supplement in midfield… but I think Nasri stays with Wenger giving him the main man in midfield role.

    Chamberlain won’t be a factor this season so with Nasri, Wilshire, Walcot, Ramsey, Arshavin, Gervinho (assuming Vela, Rosicky and Cesc are sold) perhaps we still need another spark in midfield when injuries occur over a grueling season fighting on all fronts.That Left footed Argentine midfielder is a gamle, I’d like to see N’Zogbia brought in or Guardado from relegated Deportivo.

  41. I’m not sure I agree with Fabregas not being a great loss. The loss would be similar to what United would have looked like if Rooney had left. A lot of good players, some very good, but nothing special. Fabregas is terrific player who knows the system and knows what is expected from his role in Wenger’s system which is very difficult to put a price on. In those types of situations you would much rather have the player than the money and I’m sure if Barca pulled out, Arsenal wouldn’t exactly be shopping him around for the quoted fee. In any case, Fabregas leaving this year must have been planned for and I’m sure if he stayed they had plans for that as well. If not, Arsenal (Wenger included) are complete muppets.

    I can’t see Nasri leaving. That would alter the team drastically. They have people they can plug in/buy but now instead of going through a learning experience with one player, you’ve now doubled that which essentially sets you back another year, possibly more depending on how well the players gel. Basically, the foundation of your team has been rocked with both players leaving which is why Nasri now becomes more valuable to Arsenal than Fabregas. Arsenal don’t need to substract players…they need additions to what is a very good team already. That costs a bit but if they have intentions of winning anything, they need to wake up on that front.

    AG:

    I’m sure you’re in touch with the Arsenal accounts. Do they need to sell to buy? Of all the times to begin showing some financial muscle, isn’t this upcoming season?

  42. Wenger had planned on selling a few, but does have money to buy.
    It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

    This will show Us Wenger’s system flexibility

  43. @SL

    “Sanchez obviously wants Barca as that is why Man City pulled out. Who would pay 40M on a player that prefers to be somewhere else.”

    Yeah, that’s how I read it, too.

    “I think Nasri stays.. definitely not goin to Manyoo… put my house on that. But should Nasri leave for Italy or Spain, we definitely need another creative supplement in midfield… but I think Nasri stays with Wenger giving him the main man in midfield role.”

    I’m not so certain about Nasri staying. 25m is a lot of money. If he refuses to extend, Stockport Massive will probably force Wenger’s hand.

    “Chamberlain won’t be a factor this season so with Nasri, Wilshire, Walcot, Ramsey, Arshavin, Gervinho (assuming Vela, Rosicky and Cesc are sold) perhaps we still need another spark in midfield when injuries occur over a grueling season fighting on all fronts.That Left footed Argentine midfielder is a gamle, I’d like to see N’Zogbia brought in or Guardado from relegated Deportivo.”

    Yeah, I think Chamberlain is probably going to take some time to settle in. I wonder where this leaves Arshavin. Perhaps he’s going to see a change in role if both Cesc and Nasri move. I certainly see Ramsey and Wilshere taking a more advanced role in the centre, too.

  44. Goonz – I’m curious to see how a Ramsey & Wilshire combo would work in front of the back four. Both can get scrappy and distribute well.

    As for Nasri, I know it’s lots of cash. But losing both Cesc and Nasri in one window before the season will be a big loss and have a huge affect on campaign goals.

  45. @ewtt

    I completely agree with you about your statements about Fabregas and Wenger needing to prepare for the eventuality that he’d leave for Catalan Aesthes FC

    I don’t share your optimism about Nasri staying in north London. His agent is negotiating with Abu Dhabi and they can force Wenger’s hand if Nasri refuses to extend his deal. Wenger badly miscalculated by allowing him to run down his deal and the club may pay the price.

    “I’m sure you’re in touch with the Arsenal accounts. Do they need to sell to buy? Of all the times to begin showing some financial muscle, isn’t this upcoming season?”

    There’s 60m available but that would include money for contract extensions as well as new buys. And given what has happened with Nasri,you can be certain Wenger will work on RvP’s extension over the summer, too.

    If you look at that 60m, 18m was allocated to Nasri’s signing. Another 10m for Gervinho, 8m for Oxlade-Chamberlain, 12m for Samba and you’ve got 10m to re-sign RvP. If they are bringing in Alvarez, that’s says to me that one of Cesc or Sami are leaving. The fact that they are talking to Bolton about Cahill sort of confirms it . Obviously, they will get a fee coming in on Clichy and they are hawking around Bendtner, Denilson, Squillaci and Rosicky (which might bring in 15 to add to Clichy’s 7). So if you sell both Cesc and Nasri, they’ve probably added better than 60m to their accounts but they’ll have to bring in players that can have an immediate impact on the first team

  46. @CIAO

    “Wenger had planned on selling a few, but does have money to buy.
    It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.”

    Agreed.

    “This will show Us Wenger’s system flexibility”

    Some more bitter gooners have suggested Wenger has demonstrated his flexibility in the transfer market because his head is wedged firmly up his . . .

  47. @SL

    “Goonz – I’m curious to see how a Ramsey & Wilshire combo would work in front of the back four. Both can get scrappy and distribute well.”

    One of them would likely take a more advanced role.

    “As for Nasri, I know it’s lots of cash. But losing both Cesc and Nasri in one window before the season will be a big loss and have a huge affect on campaign goals.”

    Agreed but that’s the way it appears to be heading, unfortunately. Wenger will have to make some big decisions prior to departing on the pre-season Asia tour.

  48. Should both depart I can almost guarantee no silverware this season… unless Arshavin has a swan song.

    PS If there was ever a picture of a shady character where “clothes make the man”.

    http://tinyurl.com/4yo7poc

    Just another reason why I admire McLeish!

  49. AG

    From SL’s last link there was an article indicating that City are not interested in Nasri and only Gael.

    Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/jun/30/manchester-city-gael-clichy-samir-nasri

  50. Rory on Les Gauls.

  51. @CIAO

    Nasri’s agent is clearly meeting with somebody in the GMA or there wouldn’t be these rumours flying around. It might be to put pressure on Wenger to extend at more favourable terms than he’s put on the table. We’ve seen this kind of brinksmanship before (Rooney’s threats last year) but it is usually an unhealthy sign.

  52. @gorn

    Thanks for the Rory piece.

  53. How many superstars can you spot in this photo from La Masia?

  54. And which two future stars are singing a hymn with Sir Bobby Robson at La Masia in this photo?

  55. AG:

    First picture…Fabregas, Messi, Pique. One looks like Maxi Rodriguez which would make sense because he played for Espanyol around 02′ from Argentina and Pique left Barca in 04′ if I’m not mistaken. The rest are obviously familar but I can’t place the face with a name.

    Second picture…I’ll say Iniesta for the little one but I’m stumped on the second.

    Good luck this weekend, mate. Be the “Group One” and don’t forget…it’s a game of two halves and you need to score to win. Lol.

    Enjoy the Copa, fireworks, and beer lads. Get in!

  56. Any true soccer fan will LOVE this Copa America Promo!

    http://tinyurl.com/3ta5o46

  57. @ewtt

    Very good on the first picture and you’ve got one of two of the lads with Robson! I’ll give you a hint. The big lad is a keeper who made his mark after leaving the club.

    We won the first game 6-4. We were a little scrambly but some of that is down to nerves. Whenever we travel to the big city, we seem to need to go through a jittery period before settling in. It’s like watching f-ing Koscielny and Squillaci and it drives me nuts but I have to just stifle and remember they are kids.

    Off to the second match. Hopefully we’ll do better than poor old Andy Murray.

  58. Is that Reina?!

    Also, did anyone catch this?

    http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11670_7014028,00.html

  59. If the omelet maker pulls off a Cesc transfer hats off to him. He would get my vote for the year’s best sh@it disturber.

    If such, he would never be able to coach at Barcelona. Although they probably would not hire him anyway, but I think he secretly has the desire to do so.

    It would be a win for Arsenal, because that would create a bidding war which would probably see a few other join in knowing that the player might move to somewhere other than the coast of Barcelona.

  60. @RDM

    You are correct! Very well done in spotting the young Pepe Reina!

    And I think others have linked to the omelet maker’s cheeky play for Cesc. It won’t happen, obviously, so I don’t know how much of impact it will have on Barca’s negotiating position.

  61. @CIAO

    There is only one realistic place for Cesc to move and that’s the Nou Camp. Barca know this. So do Arsenal and Real Madrid, which is unfortunate from the Holloway Road Properties point of view.

  62. Even if the media reports that Madrid placed a 100M euros bid on Cesc.. it will NEVER happen. So let’s stop believing the hype.

    So Clichy will be back up to Kolarov at MC… I don’t understand.

  63. Who said anyone was believing it? I thought it deserved some mention for being pretty funny though.

  64. Who said I was addressing your ass? :)

  65. It looks like that with all the talk of Cesc, Nasri and Clichy leaving RVP is feeling the club is losing its ambition and may opt to leave. I say show him the door…

    Arsenal are better off with a leading striker that can remain off of the injury list. RVP is a frequent visitor, he rarely gets in 10-15 games in a row.

    I hope Wenger jumps on the opportunity and sells him.

  66. God I’m really starting to hate journo’s in this country. Its like they took “England’s school of football journalism”:

    http://espn.go.com/sports/soccer/news/_/id/6715439/bob-bradley-come-fire-not-easily-replaced-soccer

    First off, only muppets are looking for a Jose or Fergie type manager to take over.

    Second, those reasons are just stupid. You could make those excuses with any nation(particularly Mexico last term and they hired Javier Aguirre) and those excuses are the exact reasons WHY managers choose to come.

    If you can’t tell I’m frustrated. Its just going to be a boring period in US’ history. While we will probably qualify for the WC in 2014 because we are in a “gimmie” region, there is no way we are going to do anything with the current management team on hand. It could also be a dark period because I wouldn’t put it past Bob to find a way for us to not qualify with these new qualifying rules.

  67. DIST – Who would you replace Bradley with then? If you don’t have any ideas then no point in quibbling.

    CIAO – Clearly you are not an Arsenal supporter as no Gooner would support Wenger if he released Cesc, Nasri and RVP with a month before season starts. Especially as this may well be Wenger’s final season as manager should they not win a tophy.

  68. Disturbance,

    I agree with you and I do not want to cause further alarm but after last week’s horrendous showing and the response from USA fans, Gulati told a reporter to look for “something” at the end of the week.

    This is what he wrote on a “slow news day” holiday weekend friday July 1;

    http://www.ussoccer.com/Open-Letter-to-Fans.aspx

    That is what the coward Gulati chose to focus his attention on. It is a slap in the face to all USA supporters.

  69. SL

    Out of England, I can be considered a Gunners fan.

    I am not short sighted. If there is an opportunity to sell RVP even after the season begins I would jump on it. I think the club would be better off investing in a different striker. He is a great player and if they can afford to hold on to him and bring in another less injury prone like player that would be great. But I do not see them bringing in such a player without moving someone out.

    Hence if the opportunity comes, I say wish RVP best of luck!

  70. But CIAO, you do realize Wenger is in a tenuous position at the moment. You really think it a smart move to sell the three most influential players on your team who know the system when it is vital for him to win a trophy this season?

    futbolista – And you know as the host nation of the GC and Pres of USSF it was that jackass Gulati’s idea to allow final ceremony in Spanish should Mexico win. I’m watching the game on Univision (to avoid Wynalda and the other clowns) and listening to the usual Univision funny latin host with the huge moustache and all of a sudden his ass appears on the final ceremony stage with a mic in hand waxing lyrical on the stage to his fellow Mexicans… hilarious!

    I mean I know many consider Mexico a failed state and it’s kinda our fault for sellin’ em guns and buyin their blow BUT there still needs to be protocol and dignity for ANY country hosting ANY world event.

  71. So its my job to come up with a short-list? Gotcha.

    Futbolista-Yeah I saw that letter. He’s a joke. I expect nothing from him…and now our US team as well.

    CIAO-You’re not the only gooner who thinks that. The Dutch Rapist is very much a headache to MANY Gooner supporters. You can’t deny his talent but does he make Arsenal better? Honestly as a team, I don’t think so. Again his talent is undeniable but there just seems something that leaves you wanting about him.

  72. If you bitch without a solution then better to just keep your mouth shut. And no intelligent fan is gonna want ALL three of their best and most experienced players to leave a month before the season begins…. that’s just STUPID!

  73. Odil Ahmedov has been mentioned as a target of Wenger. Uzbek’s DM. Anyoe know anything about this guy?

    @ SL
    Systems come and go. Wenger’s has been working with the current crop for 5+ years as a result he has not won anything. He comes close but every year between March and May they come up short. Nerves and injuries have been blamed for at least the last three years. I thought this past season they should not be able to use either excuse. Injuries, as the past 4 years injuries have jacked the show, they should have expected some key injuries. Nerves, yet again it has been the same crop -get them some help and lets move on.

    I think it may be just the thing Wenger’s system needs is some new blood. Try playing the game with a new approach. Plenty of teams have won titles after some key shifts.

    I can provide Inter as an example… Sneijder and Eto’o were not planned transfers. Eto’o was a part payment for Ibra while Sneijder was signed on the last day of the transfer window. They came in and won the almighty treble. They have made the world of difference to a club that lacks leadership and a long term plan other than knowing they want to win trophies. Have I mentioned that I am an Interista? :)

  74. So who exactly would you expect to step up in experience, prime and formidable influence on the field should ALL 3 experienced attacking starters in their prime depart… Sczhesny, Wilshire, Ramsey, Walcot?

    Your Inter example “conveniently” hides the fact that the heart of the team and an established spine was still there. As opposed to Arsenal who will have (based on your example) at least 1 new starting CB, 2-3 new starting mids, a young new GK, a new LB, and a new starting CF. When has a team EVER won a trophy with such a young and new squad in their first season? And even if it happened once in 25 years… what are the odds of it being done by Arsenal this upcoming crucial season?

    Wenger MUST win a trophy this season or reach CL final and finish top 2.

  75. Who is setting the expectations on Wenger?

    I have not read any official or unofficial statement from reliable sources that Wenger is on the chopping block. This would especially be true if a number of the players move on this summer. If the players move on and you begin rebuilding, then the board/owners have had to chime in and buy-in to new expectations. This is a business and Arsenal have remained fairly competitive and financially sound so far, so I do not think Wenger’s job is on the line.

    The so called spine of Inter had not accomplished nothing in Europe without the contributions of Eto’o and Sneijder. Lets be honest, even in Italy they were never really challenged. This past year, Milan put in a run and won the league. Who also has been rebuilding and adding a lot of players over the last couple of years.

  76. Sorry, I was speaking purely from a fan’s perspective. Goonz how would you feel if Wenger sold Cesc, Nasri and RVP this window and got a bunch of new players in addition to the CB and LB (Gervinho, Valbuena, Alvarez, maybe Hazard or Guardado and a proper CF) yet finished in the top 4 (or maybe 6 as CL spots will be very competitive this season) and made it to the quarters or semis of the CL final?

    Just curious.

    Any Arsenal fans are welcome to reply.

    PS I listened to BBC football phone in weekly pod this entire season and there were lots of fans very upset about Arsenal’s performances which were blamed on Wenger’s “odd” transfers. Many were a bit rash and called for his head this past season… I was not one of them.

  77. My solution is to put a better manager in…did you really not understand that?

    “Wenger MUST win a trophy this season or reach CL final and finish top 2.”

    I think someone has been playing too much FIFA and/or Football Manager.

    “And no intelligent fan is gonna want ALL three of their best and most experienced players to leave a month before the season begins…. that’s just STUPID!”

    Who said anything about losing all three? I just made remarks on RvP. Take a look again.

  78. Dist – Sorry, I was addressing CIAO who suggested losing all 3 wouldn’t affect Arsenal’s run next season. Never even saw your post on RVP but should Cesc depart (as seems very likely), losing both RVP and the skipper is a HUGE DENT (not to mention all the new faces that will be coming in within a month and need time to integrate).

    As for your comment on just bringing in a better man to replace Bradley. Do a bit of research, familiarize yourself with the world game and how various teams play and various coaches and their tactics… and step up to the plate instead of your meaningless whining of “just bring in a better coach”. You constantly claim to know the world game as opposed to myself who just reads stats and parrots FSC commentators so WHO….. WHO DO YOU BRING IN??????

    PS Hearing rumors about K Doyle to Arsenal… LIKIN IT!!!! :)

  79. Haha I guess you’re missing the point. I like Sigi, of course there are a couple managers with European experience that are available…

  80. I never said losing all three players would not affect Arsenal. I essentially was getting at that it would not be the end of the world, it would show Wenger’s flexibility with a fresh set of players that do not have to be under 21. You can bring in a so called “leader”.

    I do not think just because some fans are itching for silverware the board will jump on the bandwagon and fire Wenger if he does not achieve any of expectations you have outlined.

    If Wenger leaves next summer, IMHO believe it will be because PSG made him an offer the club can’t refuse.

  81. Franny to Mandril posted a week ago. Glad no one reads my links. )c:

    So Clichy’s @ Citeh. I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief: LFC ‘misses out’, Clichy is buried, & HRP PLC has an extra 7m to reinvest in the real estate market. Win-win-win!

    Apparently some footballers are hard done by. I mean, you cannye write better *fiction* than that.

  82. CIAO:
    In a vacuum, I would agree with your Arsenal point.

    Problem is, there is only so much placating that the g00n army will tolerate. They’re kind of a spoiled bunch – they think that 1998-2005 @ Highbury was ever so – so it’s not ‘if’ but WHEN they will start serious unrest. Wenger is ‘safe’, of course, but he has to throw the supporters a bone with a serious statement of intent soon. Losing 3 of your very best players is pretty much the INVERSE of that, and would cause all kinds cacophony. Not to mention the fact that l’Arse have been very close to a title the last coupla years. The message it would send to players, present & future, would not be conducive to improving the club.

    You’re right that it’s not like the club would implode, or get relegated, or whatever, financially. But it *would* have that kind of effect emotionally/psychologically on the players, supporters, media, and club’s legacy/reputation. Like, we’d seriously NEVER hear the end of it from British rags. Or AG. (c;

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