April 15 – featuring career management advice from Louis van GaalBy Alberta Gooner | April 11th, 2011 | Category: Daily Links, English Premier League, Featured Posts, Lead Article, Soccer | 38 comments
You have to admire somebody with the stones to suggest that the people who can hire and fire you should read your autobiography so they can “learn something about football.” That’s the brilliance of Louis van Gaal, master tactician on the field. Off the field, well not so much. Raphael Honigstein lists the sins of the Dutchman that led to his departure from Bayern Munich.
van Gaal should serve as a cautionary tale to Andres Villas Boas, one of Europe’s most promising young coaches whose career arc is headed in the opposite direction. David Hynter profiles the promising young Porto manager, who is part of the Sir Bobby Robson coaching tree.
Daniel Taylor interviews Paul Scholes and gets the normally reserved midfielder to open up about playing in the winter of his career.
David Conn sees the families of the Hillsborough disaster continue their fight to get police to admit the coverup.
And finally, a revealing look by Ed Ballard at the cost of the likely starting XIs in El Classico, where Cristiano Ronaldo cost Real Madrid more than the entire Barca starting XI.
Manchester United tried to sign Raul this season, according to the Spanish striker’s Schalke team-mate Christoph Metzelder. (Daily Mail)
Such a move hardly surprises given Fergie’s public admiration of Raul and the fact that he has form with such purchases (see Larsson, Henrik)
Manchester City skipper Carlos Tevez may have played his last game for the club after injuring his hamstring as there is uncertainty over his future at Eastlands. (The Times)
Carlitos have seemed unsettled ever since Mancini’s arrival. If the Italian is ousted in the summer, it will be interesting to see whether his position softens or whether they both leave.
Marseille are keen to take Arsenal’s Marouane Chamakh back to France after he failed to earn a regular first-team place in his first season in England. (talkSPORT)
Not. Going. To. Happen.
Full-back Stephen Warnock is set to leave Aston Villa in the summer after talks with manager Gerard Houllier broke down. (Daily Mail)
Warnock has been high on Houllier’s merde list for sins real and imaginary.
Aston Villa and Sunderland could both be interested in former Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland, who will be allowed to leave Wigan in the summer. (Daily Mirror)
I could see Villa going for him but Sunderland already have plenty of keepers and would need to shift Craig Gordon before buying another.
Paris St Germain defender Mamadou Sakho has distanced himself from reported interest from Arsenal and Liverpool, saying: “I plan to stay with PSG for a long time.” (Metro)
I’m sure his position will change once he sees the size of the pay package. Wenger has long admired him and he looks like he might be ready to make the journey across the channel. Stay tuned.
Manchester United have signed promising Wales Under-18 defender Declan Dalley after the central defender impressed on trial at Old Trafford. (talkSPORT)
No idea about this kid. Anybody seen or heard of him?
I trolled around looking for something — anything — of interest to put up and there was the grand sum of SFA (ed’s note: not the Scottish Football Association) of interest. I could have put up a couple of links to mock the mindlessless of halfwits but why increase Paul Hayward’s readership?
Any predictions for the weekend? How will the omelet maker approach EL Classico? Will Szczesny, Djourou and Song (please God) return for the Liverpool match? How will City cope without Tevez and with Mancini? Will Mario Balotelli make headlines for the right or wrong reasons? Or both? This thread is now a blank canvas, gents. ‘ave it!
Apparently lip readers employed by the Daily Mail had a field day with some of the reaction shots of an enraged Pat Rice on the Arsenal bench to some of Abou Diaby’s work in midfield against Blackpool. Let’s hope the FA doesn’t review that tape, which is apparently a good deal more scandalous than anything that has emerged from the curled lips of young master Rooney.
With two Champions League ties deader than Charlie Sheen’s career and many of Fleet Street’s truth troops — see here and here — chalking the outline around Carlo Ancelotti, there’s a very thin gruel for daily links.
Tony Barrett sees Liverpool take a page from Real Madrid’s Zidanes and Pavons template. Young Jonathan Flanagan did play well against City but Holloway Road Properties PLC supporters will point out Denilson looked pretty damn good at times when he first arrived in north London, too. It would be a spectacular success to see two or three of the names bandied about by Barrett turn into first-team regulars for Liverpool.
With the dearth of insightful punditry, let’s see what’s exciting the Fleet Street sewing circle these days.
Courtesy of our good friends at the BBC.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has insisted there is no deal in place to sell Spanish full-back Jose Enrique to Liverpool. (Evening Chronicle)
If you believe Liverpool old boy Phil Thompson, this deal is all but done. It makes sense given this is an area of real need and the fullback’s excellent form this season.
Aston Villa, Fulham and Sunderland could all be in the hunt for Tottenham defender Alan Hutton, who is set for a summer exit after a bust-up with manager Harry Redknapp. (Goal.com)
Spurs are looking to trim their squad so there’s no surprises the former Rangers defender — who looks much more comfortable going forward — is on the block.
Manchester United have agreed to sign Atletico Madrid goalkeeper David de Gea for 20m euros (£17.8m) on a five-year contract, according to Spanish radio station Onda Cero. (AS)
No real surprises here as de Gea has been linked as one of possible successors to Edwin van der Saar. The other much mooted name is Manuel Neuer, who is apparently off to Bayern Munich in the summer.
Chelsea are set to sign Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku from Anderlecht for 30m euros (£26.7m) at the end of the season. (Marca)
According to the Belgium club, Barca bid eight million euros for one of Europe’s hottest prospects. I still don’t know how Chelsea can swing this kind of bid with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules coming in unless there is a massive clearout of high wage earners in the summer that goes beyond the two or three names who are out of contract (Bosingwa and Paulo Ferreira).
Inter Milan will step aside and allow Manchester City to buy Udinese star Alexis Sanchez, provided City accept Inter’s offer of £25m for striker Carlos Tevez. (Talksport)
While moving Tevez and bringing in Sanchez makes sense, this is really one for the conspiracy theorists.
Porto coach Andre Villas Boas is reported to have signed a pre-contract agreement to become Liverpool manager next season. (caughtoffside.com)
He’s one of the most promising young coaches in Europe but I don’t know how the Kop would react to this rumour given all the good feelings ushered in by Dalglish’s return.
Some legends bear their status with good grace and an easy smile. Look at Kenny Dalglish, for example. Brought into a sticky situation, he smiled and made sure Christian Poulsen and Paul Konchesky never saw the pitch in a meaningful match. He also got the Yanks to pay for Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez by selling rap star/bench decoration Ryan Babel and Fernando Torres. Really common sense stuff.
Other legends, well, don’t age as gracefully. Just ask Ajax of Amsterdam, one of Europe’s most storied and decorated clubs who happen to have to live with the burden of Johan Cruyff. And Gabriele Marcotti doesn’t think the Dutch legend is doing his old club any favours with his public vitriol.
Talking of graceless behaviour, Manchester City is never far away from that conversation, what with such solid pros as Craig Bellamy and Mario Balotelli on their books. After watching them get gutted by Liverpool like a freshly caught salmon at the fishmongers, Rory Smith sees Edin Dzeko’s only shield being the poor form of Fernando Torres right now.
Did anybody else see Balotelli try to volley in a ball from 40 yards last night? Dear God. I’d love to know what passed through his mind at that moment. And Mancini’s.
The permablonde, hairstrung Chelsea striker doesn’t escape the attention of tactics guru Jonathan Wilson, who tries to solve the mystery of his failure to fire for the west London rent boys.
Chelsea are not out of the tie, though, and I’d be careful before writing them off. If I were picking the Chelsea side, I’d go with 4-3-3 with Drogba, Malouda, Kalou, Lampard, Ramires, Essien, Cole, Terry, Alex, Ivanovic and Cech.
Stan Kroenke has a sharp eye for value — the man married a Wal-Mart heiress for God’s sakes. So it really wasn’t all that surprising that the plainspoken Midwesterner with dual interest in middling sports franchises and property development would eventually pitch up in north London, seeking another vehicle with positive cash flow and a customer base used to disappointment. It’s almost like a marriage made in heaven. Without a pre-nup.
After his overtures were first spurned by HRP chairman Mr. Peter Hill-Wood, who dismissed Silent Stan as “not our sort”, the colour of Mr. Kroenke’s
billionscharacter seemed to change the minds of directors, who welcomed him with open arms. They did, however, decide to freeze out onetime club majordomo David Dein, who had previously pushed for Mr. Kroenke’s admission to the club.
With the club
stumbling like drunks out of a bar at closing time making their usual late-season push for honours, Mr. Kroenke has pledged to continue to support Arsene Wenger “a wonderful manager” who has delivered quality, quality results at the end of every fiscal quarter. And what with the names of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri now being grist for the many rumour mills around Europe, it seems like Stan has got some solid, solid advice about buying at the right time.
Less clear is how he is paying for his purchase. While he seems to enjoy an enviable reputation compared to some recent American investors in English football, comparing him to the Glazers or Statler & Waldorf is sort of like using Jens Lehmann as a benchmark for your mental health.
Kroenke’s means of purchase are beyond the ken of Matt Scott.
And, somewhat worryingly, Henry Winter gives his approval and suggests Kroenke could push Wenger to open up the wallet and blow the dust off the Queen’s eyes. I’d actually love to send this link to Carmelo Anthony’s agent.
Let’s move the discussion beyond the usual standards of lantern-jawed, tooth-sucking halfwittedness, shall we? And what better way to gain insights on football and finances than the excellent Swiss Ramble, so here’s an analysis from his archives about Holloway Road’s new owner.
To the chief rivals and Alan Hansen explains why his good buddy sits Dimitar Berbatov in games that matter. Rob Hughes, meanwhile, praises the enlivening effect of Antonio Valencia on the league leaders.
Michael Cox looks at the proficiency of Peter Crouch (yes, really!) and Daniel Sturridge, who has scored twice as many goals as Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Fernando Torres combined since going out on loan to Bolton.
Blog regulars will know I’ve been quite taken with Udinese and touted them for the Scudetto, but their hopes took a real blow when they lost 2-1 to Roma and their shy, understated c(obscene gerund bounced off the sturdy Sofaball firewall) of a captain Francesco Totti. Cox gives a through explanation as to why.
Remaining on the Continent, Raphael Honigstein lauds Hannover 96’s unexpected push for a Champions League place at the expense of Bayern Munich, who finally ended their protracted divorce with Louis van Gaal, whose brilliance with tactics on the field are only surpassed by his brittle people skills and career management. “Recommending his autobiography to the board “so that they can learn something about football” was also not the smartest move in the world.” Indeed.
Back to Hannover 96 and I must say they look like a team transformed from last year’s glassy-eyed bunch who seemed to sleepwalk around the pitch but they have a couple of quality players in that side. One of them is Didier Ya Konan, who looks like a very useful striker and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him linked with bigger clubs during the summer.
When it comes to burning bridges, van Gaal is rivalled by Emmanuel Adebayor and Ben Lyttleton examines whether the striker has finally found a club to call his own at Real Madrid.
While I know there’s been a lot of links today, I had to include this comparison between Wayne Gretzky and Lionel Messi by Gabriele Marcotti because I had a front-row seat for the Oilers dynasty in the 80s growing up in Edmonton (I even ran into a few them in bars back at that time). Greatness usually gets overused in sport but Messi’s accomplishments — as Gretzky’s — will ring out well after his playing days are done. One note of caution, though. The Oilers didn’t win the Stanley Cup during Gretzky’s greatest season — the New York Islanders did. Barca supporters will hope that trend isn’t repeated in the next three weeks.