Roundup of today’s news…
Wouldn’t it be really ironic if tomorrow morning we were to find out that Newcastle had offered Kuyt a double-your-money deal and that he had jumped ship from Anfield to St James Park faster than you can say money-grabber?
I doubt that will happen, but the transfer game is a very tricky one, and having seen Ronaldinho, Robben and Essien vow to come to Manchester United (3 summers in a row) and then jump ship to Barca and Chelsea takes away any faith you have left in the honesty of players.
After his medical, Kuyt should be a Liverpool before their first Premiership match on Saturday, finally completing the Liverpool squad and taking away the last excuse Rafael Benitez has for underperforming this season.
This season, Liverpool will be disappointed not to reach at least 2nd place but that is as much a result of their excellent form last season and their transfer market activities this summer as it is a consequence of Arsenal and Manchester United looking set to underperform once again (I say this with reservation though).
Liverpool still have an away tie with Maccabi Haifa to negotiate, which they should go through in ease. After that, it’s full-throttle in the Premiership as neither of the top four teams can afford to let up.
With Kuyt out of their hands, Newcastle need to figure out fast where the next striker is going to come from. With news coming out that Newcastle United might lose the services of Michael Owen for a whole season, Roeder needs to find two strikers and fast. Collins John is one name that Newcastle could move for, with the Fulham striker expected to cost 5 mil.
Inter, with their newfound status as Champions and in pole position to win the Serie A before it even starts, will not be willing to let either Adriano or Martins go (neither would those two be too keen on going from a Champions League club to a UEFA Cup club)
Then there is still the small matter of Newcastle getting hold of a central defender.
Maybe Manchester United could interest them in Silvestre and …. damn, we sold Bellion and Forlan…
I had to shut down this discussion going on about the worth of Chelsea as a team, the legitimacy of their title wins and what not. Apparently Lampard is a better player than Steven Gerrard (or so says SoupDragon2). I’ve asked our resident Chelsea expert to tell us how that is possible, so let’s hope we see something next week (after watch the two stars in action over the weekend).
Warning: Chelsea bashing ahead
Chelsea’s transfer deals (apart from the one for Cole) are over, so there’s little to report except the usual – Drogba keeps telling us that he is only staying because the Special One (Mourinho) made a special effort to keep him. Now why would you do that, Mr. Jose? Was it the diving, or did Terry say that he didnt want the ugliest looking mug leaving his gang of ref intimidators? If you watch Chelsea (I know, not many people do that either) there is a band of 4-6 players who surround the ref every time a decision goes against them. Terry, Drogba, Makelele, Gallas and whoever else is closest.
In all fairness, Drogba has still to justify his high price-tag but is a quality player and does what he is asked to do (fall over, create chances for his teammates, miss the goal by miles) very, very well. High number of assists last season, and knows how to link-up with the midfield. Should be an excellent foil for Shevchenko this season.
Gallas – oh, you thought this was over, did you? – is again in L’Equipe asking out from Chelsea. A lot has been said, but I think that after being offered so much money to play football, Gallas should shut up and accept it. He is well-loved by the fans (despite his recent tantrums) but that patience is eroding. If he wants to be paid more, he should play his ass off this season and then make more demands.
In better news, Peter Cech is back in training from his shoulder surgery (although he is still quite some way before fully recovering). Bloody good keeper (better than Lehmann, possibly even better than van der Sar).
Mourinho has talked about needing 1 or 2 defenders – one of them would be Cole, the other one perhaps a replacement for Robert Huth (when he finally leaves – if he leaves).
If you are an England fan and were excited by England’s 4-0 win over Greece, please sit yourself down and go back to England vs
Trinidad & Tobago Jamaica (right before the World Cup) when we won 6-0.
A big win against a bad team is not a sign of strength or excellence. At the international level Crouch is not strong enough to duke it out with top defenders, while Robinson is still a bit shaky and England need Cole and Lennon back in the team. It’s a tough call, but perhaps in Rooney’s absence Gerrard should be given a free role as tucking in behind Crouch. With Lennon on the right and Cole on the left we WILL have pace and penetration.
That being said, Lennon is just a kid and needs a lot more time before he can be termed as a guaranteed pick. Right now the only guaranteed picks are Gerrard, Terry, Ferdinand, the two Coles and Rooney, with Hargreaves having made a decent claim to being in that group as well.
The good thing is that this group should take us to the 2010 World Cup. Whether Lampard should be part of this bunch is still debatable. I’ll leave that one for another day.
First it was Giggs, now Neville – the United contingent are pretty peeved off at Rooney’s 3-match ban, blaming referees for trying to make a name for themselves and what not. In reality I think it is far less sinister – the refs don’t want to be considered soft with a player who has a reputation for getting into trouble (however unfair that reputation might be). It’s a messy situation, and whenever a ref is going to card Rooney he is going to be barracked by Manchester United – fans and club alike.
Neville’s also talked about Ronaldo and how the club will support him totally. At the end of the day Neville’s (and Man Utd’s) gripe with Ronaldo was about him talking about leaving Manchester United. Ronaldo should be fine once he starts scoring and United start winning.
No more news on Hargreaves – he didnt say much in the post-match interview yesterday but all eyes are now on Manchester United; what will the club say, how much they will bid, etc etc. Bayern Munich have said no once, but 13 to 17 mil should tempt them to part with the midfielder and give them enough cash to bring in two replacements.
It leaves Senna looking a bit ridiculous, but considering that it was Senna, his agent and Villareal who had talked most about the move, it’s as much their fault as Manchester United’s for keeping him hanging. United have made it clear that they are looking at several midfield options, with Diarra, Hargreaves and Senna definite names on the list. Senna spoke out some time ago, Diarra is off to Real and Hargreaves – well, Hargreaves would suit us fine for the Premiership.
Hargreaves’ (or Senna’s) arrival will also free up Smith to return to striking duties – the reason he was bought for. He’s a better striker than people give him credit for, although United have more ‘creators’ than out-and-out goalscorers. This year Rooney should be playing as an out-and-out striker – no mucking about in the midfield for him.
Update: Hargreaves’ agent speaks.
Hopefully we’ll see some progress in the Cole and Reyes sagas, plus more news on Hargreaves. There’s season previews of Liverpool and Manchester United coming up, plus a couple of interesting posts from our contributing authors.
Oh, who am I kidding – I’m just waiting for Hargreaves to sign.