More football news than you can shake a stick at.
A 3-0 win over Dynamo Zagreb will have Arsenal fans over the moon, but what will really please the Gunners is that two men responsible for that victory are also part of Arsenal’s long-term future – Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie. Dixon’s got the main scoop on that, so make sure you check it out.
This whole Ribery thing has gotten quite silly. While he would be an excellent player for Arsenal their priorities are in defence and central midfield. Still, it would be possible for them to buy as many as three more players with the money they get for Cole and Reyes (who didn’t play last night and has been pimping himself hoarse to Real Madrid).
The bottom line for me is this – with Ribery it will come down to Madrid’s buying power vs Arsenal’s French connection vs Lyon’s domestic appeal. No one believes that Ribery will be allowed to stay in France but if the player really wants to stay then you can’t stop him as long as Lyon meet Marseille’s demands (and they have the finances to do so).
Wenger says that Reyes won’t be sold. I’m thinking that Real Madrid won’t move for him unless they are sure they can’t sign Ribery.
The public posturing over Ashley Cole’s transfer continues as the whole thing threatens to turn into the worst transfer wrangle in recent history. First it was Wenger setting deadlines, now it is Mourinho tell Arsenal they must decide by the end of the week.
The fact of the matter is – such ‘demands’ are made at the negotiation table, not in the media. Mourinho and Wenger know this and if they are saying this sort of stuff then it means they are surely ‘very close’ to a transfer.
Chelsea haters may have thought that Lampard had forgotten how to score, but Frank showed that where club football is concerned, he can still bang them in like he has in the last two seasons (39 goals in 2 seasons for a midfielder is a brilliant haul). Chelsea beat Feyenoord 1-0 using a 4-3-3 formation (a hint for the future) and Lampard scored the game’s only goal, courtesy of a Shevchenko assist.
An interesting article by Norman Hubbard at Soccernet on how Chelsea is living proof that money can buy success but not necessarily happiness.
Manchester United News
Manchester United beat Oxford Utd 4-1 (yay…) with one Cristiano Ronaldo making an emphatic return to the starting lineup – scored two goals, created one for Solskjaer and was applauded off the pitch by United fans. A good runout for our World Cup players, and with Heinze, O’Shea and Saha coming through unscathed, it means that United’s injury list is down to three players – Carrick, Neville and Ferdinand.
Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes are now eligible to play against Fulham on 20th August thanks to a technical loophole and a delay from the Dutch FA who have yet to pass on a formal report of the disciplinary cautions to the two Premiership players.
No punishment can be imposed on the players until 14 days after the FA receive the referee’s report. I don’t expect the players to get a serious ban, and most likely both ‘straight reds’ will be converted into yellows, if only on appeal.
United are moving closer to signing Marcos Senna and could bring him in before the Seville opener at OT (a possibility, but too likely) on Saturday. According to The Sun, the player will cost around 4 mil and be paid around 30K per week. They also report that he can play through the extreme pain of being kicked in the nads (and subsequently bleeding from them for the rest of the game). Before anyone else says it, I know now why Ferguson wants to buy him – target practice for Wayne Rooney!
The second signing expected to be completed this summer is Kuszczak – with Ben Foster going to Watford on loan and possibly a United player moving to West Brom as part of the transfer deal. More on this here.
More Football News
Lyon are still playing hardball over Diarra and so they should – despite our perception of Ligue 1 being a second-tier league, Lyon HAVE won the title a record 5 times (actually goes to prove that their league is crap, but also shows how good a team Lyon are) and have made considerable advances in the Champions League in the last few years.
Still, playing for Real Madrid (as Diarra has himself said) is a ‘dream’ for many footballers and Lyon’s hand may be tipped if Madrid table a strong-enough bid. However, that’s is still a big IF because Madrid haven’t made any noises yet.
Newcastle have sold off Amady Faye to Charlton, making space for Gravesen. Liverpool have sold Djimi Traore to Charlton, clearing out the cruft in their squad.
Portsmouth have finally signed Sol Campbell, in a move that says more about the player’s decline in standing than it does about Portsmouth. Sol supposedly quit Arsenal to move abroad, but it seems like no such move materialised, forcing Campbell to accept Harry’s offer (this is pure speculation at my part).