With the Euros behind us, July would start the transfer season and with it all the mindless speculation along with the few sensational transfers here and there.
Chelsea signed Deco, which seemed a risk at the time considering his age which gave him little time to ‘adapt’. Arsenal were signing kids left and right, pipping United to Ramsey, but there was no experience in sight as Flamini, Hleb and then GS made their exits, with Adebayor doing his best to upstage Ronaldo as THE wantaway kid of the year. There was also this whole ‘Lampard to Inter’ thing, but with Chelsea adamant that they would not sell, this would go nowhere despite France Football publishing a fake story on how a contract was signed and waiting.
While Barcelona and Milan chased Adebayor, Madrid kept up their pursuit of Ronaldo and the press corps followed Ronaldo all over Europe, with his beach vacation with Nereida Gallardo and his operation both given far more coverage than they deserved (although with Ms Gallardo I can understand why). As transfer season usually does, it got pretty ridiculous with stories like Henry moving to the MLS and Kaka moving to Chelsea given considerable airtime, amongst other strange stories.
When it comes to transfers, it may seem that clubs treat players like ‘goods’ to be bought or sold, but in reality players today have far more power than their clubs in making transfers happen. As Andy Greeves writes, the modern footballer can hold the game hostage with his demands, whether it’s for a move or for higher wages.
Tottenham’s eternal summer of rebuilding took a turn for the worse when both Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov indicated they wanted to move to clubs with an actual shot at winning trophies, i.e. Liverpool and Manchester United. Tottenham were understandably furious but for all their huffing and puffing they would have no choice but to milk the two clubs for all they were worth, with Robbie Keane costing Liverpool 20m and Berbatov eventually costing United a cool 30m.
The month ended with Ronaldo closer to staying at Old Trafford but the press would have none of it, creating false stories of ‘deals’ between Madrid and United and Ronaldo and United for a move next summer. Real Madrid may be the most successful club in European football but they couldn’t force another team to sell a player and once Ronaldo understood that as well, he would accept his position and commit himself to his contract.
Alongside the transfer season there was also the buildup to the Beijing Olympics, with clubs more than reluctant to release their best players for a tournament they didn’t value (the clubs, not the players). And there was still time in all this for Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini to declare war on club football as they sought to ‘redress the balance’ by proposing financial restrictions and player quotas on football clubs.
Back to Soccerlens’ 2008 Review.