Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The departure of single-capped Italian international Rosina, born on 31 January 1984, had been expected due to Torino’s plunge into Serie B.
Zenit currently stand in sixth position and Dick Advocaat affirmed his side’s necessity to step foot into the transfer market and introduce fresh faces following on from their weekend draw to reigning victors Rubin Kazan.
Monday, July 27, 2009
The Nottingham side play in League two, England’s basement division, and finished a lowly 19th last season. But after years in the doldrums a recent take-over by a Middle Eastern consortium has breathed new life into the Magpies (I blogged about their takeover on this site a few weeks ago.
Now with financial backing they have lured the former England boss to Meadow Lane as director of football. He will work with current boss Ian McParland, setup a scouting network, a training infrastructure and hunt down new players. In a press conference this week Sven revealed he is aiming for the Premier League. No pressure then.
It's certainly high ambitions for a club, the oldest league side in the World, that last played in the top flight in 1992 – the year before the Premier League was formed.
But will Sven be a success?
Critics are already claiming the Swede is following the money and is unlikely to stick out his five year deal; after all he has received over £7 million in severance pay after leaving his previous three jobs before the end of his contract.
But Sven has hit back at those claims, saying he could have gone to Italy if it was for money and prefers the challenge, a similar one to when he started his managerial career in Sweden. He is almost building the club up from nothing.
But the vagaries of England’s lower leagues are very different to the Premier League or International football. Sven knows nothing of the players in the division and so will have to rely on his coaching staff to update him on key players.
Similarly, a Man City style shopping spree is not allowed as league rules state salaries should be no more than 60% turnover.
But the lure of Eriksson and the ambition the club is showing should be enough to attract the players required to get out of League two and the Championship is a realistic aim within three or four years.
Many clubs like Hull, Doncaster and Fulham have skipped up the divisions within a few seasons. The toughest call will be the jump from the Championship to the Premier League. The Championship is a very tough division and if County are to get out of it I suspect the Arab riches will have to come into play.
If Sven and County are to achieve their aims it would be like something out of a computer game, an almost unbelievable reality that many County fans will struggle to comprehend. But after all the years of suffering at the bottom of the league ladder it seems a safe football bet that not many people would begrudge them this dramatic change in fortunes.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Restraining the 20-time Norwegian champions to a goalless stalemate in Trondheim last week, Qarabag approached the return leg entirely aware that expectations regarding their own progression were muted even with the scoreline elegantly balanced. Step forward Scandinavian linchpin Rosenborg, one of the customary suspects of the UEFA Champions League who have enjoyed progression to the group stages on no fewer than eleven occasions between 1995 and 2006. Logically superior in every aspect associated with a football club - finances, facilities, calibre of playing staff, heritage and such - Rosenborg would surely casually saunder over the carcass of a tattered Qarabag to await the challengers beckoning at the next hurdle.
Predictions focused on Rosenborg’s restoration to dictating domestic honours as they currently stand unbeaten with a mid-season lead of four points at the pinnacle of the charts, whereas Azerbaijan’s top-flight is in transition from one season to the next and would suggest any clubs involved in European competition would buckle under the peak fitness levels of their rivals. The signs of a perplexing outcome, however, were in motion from the first leg as the draw ensured an unscathed Qarabag could lure Rosenborg back into their own territory and instigate home advantage.
Rashad Sadygov’s timely strike after 45 minutes assured the celebrations ten years ago were eclipsed to leave Azerbaijan with a representative in the Third Qualifying Round, proving once and for all that naïve assumptions are a false disguise in the sport. Rosenborg were sent packing, wounded, mortified and wordless in the anticipation that their Tippeligaen lead will prevail into championship glory and not sink in the same regret as their European conquest. The challenge posed by FC Honka of Finland looms for Qarabag, so perhaps we won’t have to wait another decade until the next continental blow is struck…
Friday, July 17, 2009
Manchester United have announced the signing of Mame Biram Diouf, a 21yr old striker from FC Molde for an undisclosed fee.
Diouf will remain at FC Molde until January and then join up with his new teamates in the next transfer window. Diouf has been with Molde for 3 seasons scoring 38 times in 73 appearances for the Norwegian club.
United have had their eye on Diouf for a couple of years now, and were ready to bring him in next summer but had their hand forced by other bids being lodge for Diouf in recent weeks. Luckily for United they have had a fantastic relationship with Molde (they bought Ole Gunnar Solskjaer from them in 1996) and so the Norwegians made United aware of the other bids.
So despite Sir Alex Fergusons insistence that United would have no more transfer activity, they have swooped to land the highly rated youngster who has represented his native Senegal at Youth, Under 21 and Olympic levels and has recently been courted by the French Football Association.
End of Business??
Despite Fergies claims that after the signing of Diouf the transfer window is shut to him, it is expected he will still look to bring in another high calibre striker. The signing of Michael Owen was a nice piece of business for United and all indicators are that he is fighting fit, however Sir Alex will not be taking any chances and will want more than Federico Macheda or Danny Welbeck as backup.
Fergies rants about the spiralling costs of transfers and his declaration that United will have no more signatures is simply a way to keep rumours at bay and stop any potential signings having inflated prices slapped on them.
Klass Jan Huntelaar is still on Uniteds radar as Real Madrid seem to be lowering their asking price and, judging by the fact that Frazier Campbell has been allowed to leave and Danny Welbeck will be sent on a season long loan to a Championship side shortly, is further indication that Sir Alex will want a little more depth to the striking rotation.
Furthermore don't be too surprised if another Midfielder winds up as a new addition to Uniteds ranks, doctors and coaches alike are still unconvinced that Owen Hargreaves knee troubles are behind him. Hargreaves has been left out of Uniteds tour of the Far East (sadly curtailed due to Terrorist Activity) and will not be anywhere near fit until at least September. This has led to speculation Ferguson and his staff will try to pick up a bargain defensive minded player to compete with Darren Fletcher, the likes of Marcos Senna, Christian Poulsen and even Patrick Vieira are all possibilities perhaps even on loan.
Pardon the Daily Star type play on words but I couldn't resist!
Of Uniteds summer signings only one has so far been issued with a squad number, and that is Michael Owen who has been given Uniteds legendary No.7 shirt. Whilst some people don't believe in lucky numbers or any such voodoo nonsense, there is no denying that the No.7 is of massive importance in Old Trafford folklore.
Goerge Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo have all been regular wearers of the famous shirt, and if Owen can reciprocate anywhere close to the output/status of any of those players then his stint at United will be a distinct success.
At exactly this time next month we will all be sat reflecting on the opening weekend of the NEW Premiership season. The waiting is almost over, and all the painstaking searches of websites, teletext and newspapers can stop as we will have actual football back!
Will United miss Ronaldo? Can the Top Four be broken? Which signing will flop or succees....the answers will begin in a month!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Transfer Round-Up: Lucarelli Reunited With Livorno, Juventus Capture Melo, Maxwell Close To Barcelona Switch
Felipe Melo will make the transition from Florence to Turin as Juventus have confirmed the arrival of the Brazil international midfielder from Fiorentina, with Marco Marchionni moving in the opposite direction. Read On -- Juventus Confirm Melo Signing via Independent.co.uk
The champions of Europe, Barcelona, are on the brink of landing their first window signing as a fee of £4.2m has been accepted for Inter Milan's Brazilian left-back Maxwell. Read On -- Barca Agree Maxwell Deal via SkySports.com
Olympique Lyonnais should replace the void left by the departure of Qatar-bound Juninho with Lille's fellow-native Michel Bastos for €18 million. Read On -- Bastos Will Sign For Lyon via SkySports.com
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Could Getafe's Joffre Guerron, the former Most Valuable Player of the Copa Libertadores who dazzled LDU Quito to unprecedented heights, be set for a U-turn back to South America with River Plate?
Following a previous arrival of Manchester United striker Fraizer Campbell in the shape of £3.5m, Steve Bruce's second summer capture will compete for the defensive allocations with Phil Bardsley, Nyron Nosworthy, Anton Ferdinand, Paul McShane, Danny Collins and George McCartney.
Da Silva, a 29-year-old centre-back born in the Paraguayan capital of Asunción, has made over 50 senior appearances for his country and earnt early plaudits from his manager as having 'played at the highest level in South America so will bring leadership qualities to our side.'
Monday, July 13, 2009
The Red Bulls travel in roughly two weeks (July 30th) to face Trinidad and Tobago’s W Connection F.C. at Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella as the clubs square off in the first leg of their 2009-10 CONCACAF Champions League Preliminary Round match and if the New York-based outfit cannot find a way to stop Frias [see: W Connection F.C. -- Jonathon Frias On Fire ], it could be a long flight home for the players and backroom staff.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Volendam, who finished bottom of last season’s Eredivisie in eighteenth place, will hope Artz brings about the same optimistic prospects as when he joined Excelsior in the 2005-2006 campaign where they topped the table to gain promotion.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
This prolonged duration spent on the treatment table restricted the 31-year-old to making only nine appearances on the south-west coast of England and his plagued record in preceding seasons ultimately consigned the Pilgrims to act against any contract renewal.
According to reports gathering at Goal.com, USA international hitman Jozy Altidore is on the brink of agreeing a season-long loan deal with Olympiakos in a bid to enliven his starting-eleven prospects, which otherwise remain desolate at Villarreal.
The former New York Red Bulls sensation rose to prominence as an imposing striker during his first taste of professional football in Major League Soccer, where rave reviews and memorable performances rewarded Altidore with a gratifying €7.4 million move to Villarreal.
Donning the Villarreal jersey on six appearances and scoring only the once, Altidore's burning wish to perform regularly was starved of and, despairingly, America's first countryman to compete in La Liga still failed to find solace when he earnt even fewer opportunites to impress when a six-month loan agreement to second-division Xerez transpired into an unproductive exercise.
Last month's heroics in the Confederations Cup reminded the world of Altidore's devastating capabilities, all we wait for now is the emergence of an interested suitor who can propose sufficient playing time to satisfy his yearning necessity.
Five Attacking Players Of Note In The Upcoming 2009-10 UEFA Champions League Second Qualifying Round
Friday, July 10, 2009
With the World Cup approaching, Fernandes will have been eager to drive for a regular starting position for Switzerland by impressing at club level and the prospects of achieving this at the City of Manchester Stadium were diminishing ever since Mark Hughes replaced Sven Goran Eriksson as manager.
A statement issued on Manchester City's official website read:
Manchester City can confirm that Gelson Fernandes has joined French side St Etienne for an undisclosed fee.
The Swiss midfielder moved to City from FC Sion in July 2007, and made his debut in the Carling Cup win over Bristol City a month later.
Gelson made 59 appearances for City, scoring four times, but he was increasingly used as a substitute after Mark Hughes took over as Blues’ boss.
He now moves to the southern part of France to the side managed by former Portsmouth manager Alain Perrin. His command of several languages helped make Gelson a popular member of the squad, and he goes with the best wishes for the future of everyone connected to Manchester City.
The route from the fourth tier of US football to arguably the toughest league in Europe is not a well worn path but does show that hard work and application can be rewarded.
While most young footballers train with clubs from a very young age Peterlin stayed on at college to complete a major in biology at California Polytechnic State University and plans to go into medicine if he doesn’t make it as a footballer. While studying he turned out for Fusion and was recommended to Everton boss David Moyes by Fusion coach, and former West Brom ‘keeper, Graham Smith.
Peterlin travelled over to Liverpool for a 10-day trial in March, training both with the reserves and the first team as well as watching Everton’s FA Cup quarter-final win over Middlesbrough at Goodison Park.
Peterlin’s skills as well as his general attitude and application persuaded Moyes to offer him a one-year deal which was completed this week. Born to a Danish father and Slovakian mother, he was raised in the USA, although he has spent time in both European countries and holds a European Union passport as a Danish-American citizen - therefore avoiding any work permit issues.
Many people are questioning why, if he is deemed good enough for a top premier League side, he hasn’t been picked up sooner, especially by MLS sides. It could be down to the fact he chose to continue with his studies, ensuring he had something to fall back on in case his football career stalls. It is perhaps those attributes of awareness, forward planning and intelligence that persuaded Moyes to give him a chance in the first place. So often it is attitude as well as ability that dictates a footballer's success.
So many players give up on their education early to follow their footballing dream only to be released a few years later and without any qualifications to fall back on. Peterlin is evidence that you can both study and hope to upset the football odds whilst following your footballing dreams.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Atletico Madrid have signed goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo from Real Valladolid on a four-year contract for a fee in the region of 5.5 million euros and the loan of striker Diego Costa for one season.
One of the many misconceived notions lingering around in the game is the interpretation that persisting with a young, relatively inexperienced, occupier of the goalkeeper gloves could be detrimental to both the player and the club. The aftermath of several impressive outings could be the creation of an inflated hype, establishing unfeasible expectations which only serve to suffocate the ascendancy of a budding shot-stopper. Critics are hasty to latch onto any unforgiveable misgivings and every verdict is intensified, analysed and scrutinised under the microscope from all quarters of the media.
Spending time in the shadow of a 30-something who has racked up endless international caps isn't an awful predicament to be in, given the pressure cauldron formed from the above, and so wrapping the blooming prodigy in cotton-wool and slowly but surely inducing an introduction to the dog-eat-dog world is a sensible approach nobody could argue against.
Experience is an invaluable asset nurtured to perfection only through the arms of time and such a position is a speciality, but there is an ignorance in constantly opting for the conservative selection of seasoned pros and thereby overlooking those promising aspirants. Many goalkeepers catagorised in the world-class pedigree defied their age at the beginning of their career to demonstrate supreme quantities of bravery, agility and judgement, and naturally several up-and-coming stars, who have proved they have the calibre to succeed now, look set to follow in their footsteps. Atletico Madrid have pursued a policy of restoring youth back to the position of goalkeeper and will reap everlasting rewards in the process.
Spanish Primera Liga outfit have bolstered the dearth goalkeeping ranks at the Vicente Calderon with the noble acquisition of Real Valladolid’s Spanish Under-21 international Sergio Asenjo, replacing the outbound veterans of Leo Franco and Gregory Coupet, who have joined Galatasaray and Paris St Germain respectively. Whilst experience has been lost, such is the reputation of their successor that Atletico haven’t just been assured of a safe pair of hands for this upcoming season, but for the long-term as well as they can call upon the reassuring figure many have already touted as a future Spanish number one.
Still only 20 years of age, Asenjo faces the best portion of two decades ahead of him and, when you consider that goalkeepers do not hit their climax until their late twenties, the Pelacia-born Spaniard rightfully has a very promising career on the horizon. Glance across Madrid and early, perhaps dangerously premature, similarities can be drawn with Real’s first-choice, both on domestic stage for club and international stage for country, Iker Casillas.
Whereas Casillas was a member of the victorious side of the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship, Asenjo twice saved in the penalty-shootout of the 2007 Under 19 European Championship semi-final to lead Spain to victory over France before a final conquest over Greece. The latter can be considered as a challenger to the former but, considering the cosmic riches available at Spain's disposal in between the posts [Barcelona's undisputed first-choice Victor Valdes has yet to earn a senior cap], it will be worthy challenge to hoist his name above Liverpool's Jose Reina, Diego Lopez of Villarreal and Casillas and Valdez - all four of which participate on the very premium stage of the UEFA Champions League and scrap for domestic honours.
The question remains exactly how high Asenjo can elevate to, as is the caution which generally tags itself to young professionals, but he honestly hasn’t put a foot wrong so far and who are we to playdown his future?
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Grenada fell to the US in their first match 4-0 (perhaps the most notable goal-scorer in the match being Freddy Adu who is still very much pushing for a roster spot at WC 2010) which was to be expected. Tonight's (July 8th) match-up versus a tough Honduran squad was more difficult but 2 late-game goals by Brian Ching and first-time National team scorer Santino Quaranta (of MLS's DC United) secured the victory in the 75th and 79th minutes.
The US is atop its group with two victories and plays Haiti in their final group game at Gillette Stadium in Boston on Saturday, July 11th. Another victory there should ice the group and see the Americans on to the quarter-finals.
While the Gold Cup may feel a bit less exciting or important than the Confederations Cup, it's still an important tournament for US coach Bob Bradley as he begins the process of refining his talent for the USA's participation in World Cup 2010.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
League title number seven for Velez Sarsfield came courtesy of a Maxi Moralez winner as Huracan missed out on the opportunity of securing their second championship in the Argentinian Clausura season.
Controversial? Read on -- Velez Pip Huracan At The Post via Fifa.com
Reinstating their tyrannical grasp on the Bolivian championships following on from a three-year hiatus, Bolivar extended their tally of top-flight honours to sixteen when they overcame Real Mamore on the final day of the Apertura edition, withstanding the presence of runners-up Real Potosi by one point.
Uruguayan striker William Ferreira cemented his standing at the peak of the goalscoring charts with a 40th-minute conversion from the penalty spot, his sixteenth of the season, and Charles da Silva counter-balanced Richard Uriona's second-half equaliser for Mamore with a crucial stoppage time strike, tipping the advantage back into the clutches of Bolivar.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Former Arsenal and Valencia midfielder Edu will wave goodbye to Europe as he returns to his birthplace of Sao Paulo to wear the black-and-white jersey belonging to Corinthians for a second time.
On January 16 2001, the star born Eduardo César Daude Gaspar departed his Brazilian homeland to enlist in Arsene Wenger's Arsenal for a transfer fee of £6 million. As a component of the notorious 'Invincibles' squad which set a new unbeaten league record between May 2003 and October 2004 for a phenomenal 49 matches, the left-sided central midfielder complimented the 1998 and 1999 Brasileiro championship medals he won with Corinthians by carrying out the same feat at Arsenal.
During the off-season prior to the commencement of the 2005-2006 season, Edu enlisted in the Valencian ranks at the Mestalla on a free transfer but the 16-capped international found his Spanish adventure tainted with untoward occurrences of injuries, much to the same degree of frustration as his entire career.
3,093 days have passed from when Edu, once praised through the words of Wenger as 'a huge talent, a versatile midfielder with fantastic ability", set shore for England, but Corinthians are welcoming back their once-upon-a-time academy graduate with open arms.
Paris Saint Germain have resumed their off-season recruitment by concluding the capture of Christophe Jallet, the 26 year-old defender bearing for the French capital from FC Lorient to enhance Antoine Kombouaré's defensive options ahead of the upcoming Ligue 1 season.
Since securing promotion all the way back in 2005-2006, Jallet can count himself as a one of the imperative cogs that has sustained reliability in the functioning of the Lorient mechanism, helping the Brittany-based club to three consecutive years of top-flight consolidation, clocking 98 appearances in the process.
"Signing for Paris St Germain represents a lot of things for me," he told the PSG's official website. "It's first of all an immense joy as joining one of the biggest French clubs is a huge step for me. I hope to shine in the PSG shirt and win titles with this club."
Veteran shot-stopper Gregory Coupet and Turkish forward Mevlut Erding have already arrived from Atletico Madrid and Sochaux respectively to aid in PSG's launch of an unwavering quest to close the sixteen-point disparity at the top of last season's table, vetoing any prospective assault on the championship.
Bordeaux managed to obliterate the myth that France's premium stage was subject to a one-club governance in the form of seven-time successive champions Olympique Lyonnais, so why cannot the forthcoming edition deliver a fresh challenger to the national crown?
-- Manchester United look poised to sign Bordeaux's 20-year-old winger Gabriel Obertan via L'Équipe (in French)
-- Arsenal have put a £40m price tag on midfielder Cesc Fabregas! Hoping that the sum keeps major players like Barcelona and Madrid away from the Spanish star via The Sun
-- Wisla Krakow forward Pawel Brozek to Fulham? via The Times
-- At Sky Sports Transfer Centre -- Boro capture Coyne and City linked to Lucio (Another Brazilian to City?)
Unless you've been suffering from sunstroke since last Thursday you will now know that Michael Owen is a Manchester United player. I have to admit to not quite believing it myself yet as I look at pictures of that face that terrorised us for so long playing for the other reds just down the East Lancashire Road.
The question being asked across Britain and Europe is now this; is Fergie a genius or an idealistic fool? The answer is quite simply neither, Sir Alex Ferguson is a gambler!!
Thats what this deal is, its the perfect gamble!! Fergie is playing with House Money, there is no transfer fee involved and Owens contract is weighed heavily with incentives and bonuses for playing and scoring.
If whispers are right then Owen has a starting base salary of £50,000 per week, with additional 10,000 playing bonus, 5,000 scoring bonus (per goal) and also bonuses where if United win trophies he will be back paid a bonus worth anoth X amount of pounds per week.
Thats already a massive saving on Tevez's wage demands of 120k plus and Owen scored more goals in less games then Tevez did last year. That was an injury hit campaign playing with vastly inferior players than he will be playing with at Old Trafford.
The key to this whole deal is can he stay fit? I feel a bit for Owen in this department as he has been given this "sicknote" label alongside the likes of Darren Anderton and Ledley King. This is massively unfair to Owen as he was kept out of a Real Madrid side not through injury but through not being selected. It was only at Newcastle that he truly started to have injury troubles, but look at Newcastle over the last few years and he's not the only one.
Mark Viduka, Michael Owen, Alan Shearer, Damien Duff, Lauren Robert, Albert Luque, Alan Smith, Joey Barton and more have all had injuries for a club that has a growing reputation for below par training facilities.
But back to Owen, I know because I saw it with my own eyes that after his medical at Old Trafford he was whisked to a medical facility close to Old Trafford. There were scans, probes, x-rays and tests galore done on his legs, knees, ankles and whatever else they felt like and he passed them all with flying colours.
His record in a Newscastle shirt is 30 goals in 76 games, now thats been spread over 4 years as a part of the Toon Army due to his injuries. Now knowing that he is currently fully fit and healthy, and presuming thats Uniteds facilities and coaches will look after him better than Newcastle did he could well play 76 games in 2/3 years for United and if his scoring record remains similar we could reasonably expect 10+ goals a season.
Now thats looking at stats and figures on paper, and we all know that football isn't played on paper!
However lets take in the X-factors of this deal shall we? Firstly look a the grin on Owens face as he was photographed coming out of the medical facility and passing all his tests, it was the smile of a man who knew he had just been given one last shot at superstardom. The incentives are all his, play well and score goals and there's a little tournament at the end of next season called THE WORLD CUP. What better way to try and persuade Fabio Capello that he's worth a seat on the plane to South Africa than to ply his trade against top opposition every week for United.
With no dis-respect to the likes of Stoke and Hull, there was only going to be one choice once United entered the picture.
Next we have Owens other history outside of injuries, his goal-scoring history. Owen has not been at a Club where he has not scored goals, see below as evidence;
Liverpool: 216 Appearances, 118 Goals - Thats a goal every 1.8 games
Real Madrid: 35 Appearances, 13 Goals - Thats a goal every 2.6 games
Newcastle: 76 Appearances, 30 Goals - Thats a goal every 2.5 games
Thats not even taking into account his 40 goals for England compiled in 89 games, at a rate of 2.2 games per goal. This man is a goalscorer and is not going to be relied on to be our main source of goals, he's going to play a few games here and there and be an impact sub for the rest of the time so this isn't a win or bust situation for anyone involved.
Owens main problem is that he is going to have to get off to a good start, he's a Liverpool lad and if he doesn't perform the mindless numbskulls in the crowd will not let him forget that he played for our sworn enemy, but because he will be in and out of the team he should be able to silence the idiots.
The last X-factor is not Owen related but Fergie, as he has got previous on this type of signing! Those Old Trafford die-hards will remember back in 1992/93 when we had signed Dion Dublin and he was scoring goals happily, then tragically he had his leg brken by a horrible challenge from Eric Young of Crystal Palace.....Fergie needed a replacement quick to contribute to a title push and he made a bargain basement signing from Leeds, a temperamental Frenchman by the name of Eric Daniel Pierre CANTONA......the rest, as they say, is history.
In the 1998 off-season United had struggled the year before and were easily beaten to the title by a fantastic Overmars inspired Arsenal side. Fergie felt he needed an intelligent in the hole player to compliment the pace and poaching ability of Yorke, Cole and Solskjaer. There were many big names being banded about but Fergie turned to a 3.5 million, 30yr old Teddy Sheringham.
Now take note that in those two cases it started a chain of events that shaped the club we see today, Cantona is a folk hero the like of which hadn't been seen since Best, Law and Charlton. Teddy Sheringham was the cog that drove the forward machine of 1999 which saw United have the most historic season in English football history.
There are more as well, the likes of Schmeichel, Solskjaer, Keane were all considered risky and all went onto iconic status.
I'm also not so blinded by the fact that there have been some (Poborsky, Taibi, Forlan) that have not worked out, hence the reason that even though it is relatively risk free, Owens signing is still a gamble but then again isn't every signing??
Nothing is guaranteed in football, even Ronaldo could spectacularly flop at Madrid! But what Fergie has done is made sure that he has covered his squad with enough quality strikers (and there WILL be another arrival shortly) to cope with the rigours of a long campaign. And whats more he's done it at a saving for the club as well....
Come on Noel ask me the question, Deal or No Deal.......its a no Brainer, DEAL!!
Sunday, July 5, 2009
For all the latest news on Real Sociedad you can follow it at Real Sociedad News.
Fabiano's agent, Jose Fuentes, claimed that Milan made an official offer for the striker only days ago.
Fabiano hopes that Sevilla will accept the offer; speaking with ABC:
"I know that Milan have made an offer and I would like for Sevilla to consider it."
"Until now I've preferred to stay on the sidelines, because Milan had not made me any proposals, but now I understand this is an incredible opportunity for me.
"I am happy at Sevilla, but I realise that at the age of 28 there will be few other chances like this for me. Milan are one of the best clubs in the world."
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Granted this is how the game's best remain at the top of the footballing pantheon, by finding every loophole imaginable. It is within the rules and while not the most ethical thing to do -- stealing an outfit's best young talent after the club has sunk money and training hours into his development -- it is still legal and I salute Sir Alex for utilizing this maneuver to his advantage.
So who is this next starlet taken from the land of Roma and Juventus?
It is Empoli full-back Alberto Massacci. The 16-year-old recently noted to Gazzetta dello Sport that he is on his way to Manchester United after speaking with Sir Alex Ferguson.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Read On -- Tarik Sektioui Joins Ajman Of UAE via Goal.com
Fusing together a Chilean delegation on the eastern-coast of Spain, Fernandez united with countryman Manuel Pellegrini at Villarreal for a fee in the region of €8.7m, becoming the most costly export of his country. Faced with identical downfalls as other South American clubs, Colo Colo were never honestly capable of retaining the brilliance of their gifted creative midfielder as the irresistible wealth from Europe would inevitably prevail. An imposing ratio of averaging above one goal in every other game, 33 goals in 63 appearances to be precise, also indicated that the time had arrived for Fernandez to seek fresh challenges after proving himself in the Primera División de Chile.
Pellegrini’s origin of birth might have acted as a potential deciding factor over any other proposals which were tendered, luring a comforted Fernandez to El Madrigal, after all sharing the same nationality as the manager would, if anything, be a calming influence amid the hectic transition from one culture to another. Buoyant and merry from conquering his homeland’s top-flight division, he calmfully allayed fears of failing to settle down in Spain by declaring “I feel extremely well-equipped to play there”. This was back in January 2007, as we stand today, the occupant of the prestigous 2006 South American Footballer Of The Year accolade is staying on the Iberian peninsula but he will be calling the Portuguese capital of Lisbon his new home.
Unfortunately for all parties, it has to be said, the outcome of the transfer ended differently to how many had forecast. The reasons behind it’s deflating nature could be projected on various factors: an impatience to wait for Fernandez to adjust to the faster-pace of the Primera Liga, the alarming deficiency of end product when he did clock up minutes or the complexity of accomodating a second-striker into an effective formation. In truth, it is a mixture of the three plus more and Pellegrini had his reasons for summoning the services of the Chile international sparingly. Almost a magician off the bench, Fernandez displayed glimpses of his worth when he was deployed as a substitute, running at exhausted defenders and creating match-winning chances to claim the entire points collection.
Strangely his statistics fell into decline and first-team outings turned into infrequent rarities, starting only five matches in 2008-2009 but credibly scoring thrice and claiming a sole assist to keep his name briefly in the spotlight. This is in stark contrast to the debut season of 2006-2007 where 14 starts generated seven assists and one league goal.
Tumbling down the pecking order at Villarreal has not hampered his quest for international recognition though, the same endowed genius who terrorized apprehensive rearguards for Colo Colo has unleashed devastation on Chile’s World Cup rivals in the qualifying phase of the elite competition. Four goals and an equal quantity of assists, all courtesy of Fernandez, have almost certainly guaranteed La Roja a ticket to South Africa, and importantly their first finals appearance since France 1998, as they currently sit self-assuredly in second behind Brazil.
So Sporting Lisbon and Champions League football awaits for the glimmering light of Chilean football, the Spanish crusade lacked a fundamental bite which was plagued with inconsistency but now, at the more cultured age of 23 and a subsequent move to Lisbon for €3.6m, the footballer described by Fifa.com as holding ‘exquisite technique, the ability to run at people at pace and a cool head in front of goal’ must strike his credence on an arduous platform.
The I's have to be dotted and the T's have to be crossed but appears that Madrid have struck yet another major blow in the transfer market by acquiring Karim Benzema from Olympique Lyonnais for the princly sum of 35 million Euro's.
There is a lot of reaction to Madrid unbridled spending this summer, and outside of Madrid its not really all that positive. Economic troubles are making fans worldwide brand "El Galactico Dos" irresponsible and morally reprehensible, and despite not being an economic expert (see my Credit Card statement for proof!) I can see the point they are making. However this is Soccer City FC, not the money programme, so I'm going to look at this from a purely footballing point of view, and make no mistake the impact is just as far reaching!
Take Benzema's transfer, look at it from a purely superficial stance and it affects just Real Madrid, Lyon and maybe Manchester United, right? WRONG!
If your wondering what other possible effects it could have, think of the David Villa situation at Valencia. Villa's value will never be higher than it is right now, and Valencia need to cash in to service their debts......Real Madrid was the likely landing spot but thats now out of the question. So realistically the only other option for him is to go to Barcelona which, as a result, would likely oust Samuel Eto'o from the starting strikers spot in the Camp Nou.
Therefore at that stage of his career and with a World Cup imminent, Eto'o is going to want to play regularly and will want out of Barcelona. This immediately puts all the English top 4 and Manchester City on high alert to snatch him.
Already you can see the ripple effect the Benzema transfer is having, and we've not even looked at Madrid yet....so lets do that now!
In a system that will employ a lone striker, Real Madrid now have Higuain, Benzema, Van Nistelrooy, Raul and Huntelaar all vying for the same spot. Presuming Benzema will be the preferred starter, that leaves at least 3 of those players wanting out of Madrid.
The info I have is that Huntelaar already has firm offers from Galatasaray, Wolfsburg, AC Milan, Manchester United and Fenerbache and will likely choose between United and Galatasaray (due to Rijkaard). Raul would retire rather than leave his beloved Madrid so I think Van Nistelrooy and Higuain would be the other escapees from the Bernabeu.
After Benzema's departure Lyon will be in need of a striker, with Toulouse top scorer André Pierre Gignac a probable target and maybe Kierrison from Brazil. The aftershock of that is that all the young striking talent in France couls shuffle clubs.
I could go on but by now I'm sure you get the picture, Real Madrid in their persistence on signing these high profile players for megabucks have basically turned this off-season into a US style free-agent signing period! The last two Balon D'or winners have moved clubs, the hottest young properties in Europe are already moving or seeking moves and nobody with the exception of Lionel Messi seems safe from this swapshop of international class talent!
Love or loathe this new Galactico era at Madrid, it has certainly made this off-season a bit more interesting than normal and has hyped up everyones anticipation of the new season!
Roll on August 15th