June 17 – WARNING: contains ACTUAL newsBy Alberta Gooner | June 6th, 2011 | Category: Daily Links, English Premier League, Featured Posts, Rumors, Soccer | 131 comments
With a desperately thin gruel of insight prior to the weekend and the usual names exciting the rumour mongerers, let’s take the novel approach of reporting ACTUAL NEWS. It might be a little tedious compared to, say, deconstructing the headline Gunners hold out for 12m for Bendtner. Personally, I’m holding out for a night of fun with an open-minded and flexible supermodel. And I think that would happen before another club plunks down 12 large for Holloway Road’s (less than) great Dane.
First, moneybags Malaga, having already rescued the Ruud the diving horse from his Hamburg horror, have signed Jeremy Toulalan from Olympique Lyon, a move that raises eyebrows.
One that doesn’t is Demba Ba moving from West Ham to Newcastle, presumably as a replacement for Andy Carroll. And we don’t mean in the quaint nightspots of the Geordie Shore or the police blotter, either. Kevin Nolan went the other way earlier in the week, which makes me wonder how much money actually will shift hands between the two clubs. Apparently Ba got the 50k/week that Nolan snubbed. If his knee holds up, Newcastle will be on the right side of that deal.
Bad news for Villa supporters, who will now have nine months of Scottish-tinged hoofball and relegation to look forward to after Alex McLeish officially tripped his way across town. What’s worse, Villa will probably have to pay compensation. And his reported transfer targets read like a Brummie team sheet: Roger Johnson, Ben Foster, Lee Bowyer. OK I made that last one up but still, it looks like dire days ahead at Villa Park.
Back on the Continent, PSG appoint Inter’s Leonardo as their DoF so Inter will need to start looking for their third manager since the omelet maker decamped to Madrid. There were rumours the Quataris approached Arsene Wenger with a sack of cash. Which, as we already know, he wouldn’t
fuc(CENSORED) spend ANYWAY. Don’t they have newspapers in Quatar? Dumbasses.
Two quick bits of rumoured business — Liverpool is apparently in for Udinese’s Cristian Zapata, whose been linked with a host of top clubs. I gotta say I’m impressed. I’ve watched him a few times since he was mentioned as a target for Holloway Road and he’s a top defender with all the tools. So well done to Comolli/Dalglish if they can get him.
The other involves Seb Larsson, who is available on a free and is apparently close to singing with Sunderland. He should improve the quality in the midfield for the Black Cats.
Have a good weekend!
Since the departure of Sir Bobby Robson, Newcastle United has been a good deal more entertaining OFF the pitch than on it. The club seemed quite adept at taking overpriced players who were either crocked (Damien Duff), past it (Michael Owen) or gloriously inept (Alan Smith, Jean Alain Boumsong), parading them before throngs of shirtless, boozy Geordies and paying them ridiculous amounts of money. A revolving door of managers with disparate tactics, philosophies and “connections” to agents added to the general carnage. Supporters of every other club enjoyed watching the train wreck.
This finally came to an end when Newcastle were relegated to the Championship, which was the slap required to sober up current owner Mike Ashley. The retail tycoon, who had not completed due diligence before buying the club and then spend months touring the Middle East desperately trying to hawk it and its debt to an oil-rich sheik at an inflated price, was blinded by a light on the road to League Two. He shed payroll and hired a competent manager, Chris Hughton, who led the club back to the Premier League.
Newcastle’s first season back still provided some comic relief in the form of firing Hughton and hiring Alan Pardew, whose chief asset seemed to be a willingness to hang in the casino with his tubby boss. Even the sale of the club’s best asset, striker Andy Carroll, at the staggering sum of 35m, didn’t push the club back into its default crisis setting. They remained in midtable obscurity for much of last season.
So there was much surprise this week when the news leaked out that club captain Kevin Nolan was heading to West Ham for a medical after Newcastle agreed a fee for their midfield dynamo. This prompted much wailing from Joey Barton, a model pro who suggested this move would presage a sell-off of the club’s best players. And him.
The Times northeast football correspondent George Caulkin reports Newcastle took a tough line with Nolan when it came to talks about extending his current deal.
“Newcastle’s argument is different. Nolan, who will be 29 next week, had two years left on his contract, worth £42,000 a week. The midfield player had asked for a new five-year deal. Presented to him was the option for a third year, plus incentives that would take his weekly wage to £50,000 provided that the team finished in the top ten next season. Nolan regarded that as unacceptable, but attempts to renew contact with (club executive Derek) Llambias were unsuccessful.”
Caulkin and other observers have suggested Nolan’s sale highlights a new philosophy at the club. Gone are the days of buying Chelsea’s expensive castoffs. Now the new model is Chiek Tiote, the Ivorian midfield dynamo purchased for a song from FC Twente. Probably the club’s best performer last year, Tiote attracted a lot of interest and the club moved quickly to end that by renegotiating a five-year deal with the 24-year-old for a reported 40k/week.
The first transfer gambit saw them take Lille midfielder Yohan Cabaye on a free and sign him to a similar deal. The Times Gary Jacobs expects more deals with French-based players to follow on Tyneside as the club is apparently negotiating with St. Etienne’s Blaise Matuidi as well, a move which would see Barton — who is now publicly trying to extend his 50k/week package — moved on.
Remaking the squad has some risks but its clear Newcastle is now moving to a model of signing young players to long-term deals and then selling them on, as will happen with left back Jose Enrique, who will likely move to either Liverpool or Arsenal depending on what happens to Gael Clichy. It will be interesting to see whether this new model proves sustainable in the long-term for the Magpies. For every Tiote, there’s a Boumsong. Their supporters had better hope their current scouting network are better talentspotters than Graeme Souness or Joe Kinnear.
To the links, where Jonathan Wilson breaks down the goalless draw in the first leg of the Copa Libertadores final between Santos and Penarol.
With ridiculous sums being spent on Phil Jones and Jordan Henderson, Tim Stannard draws up a list of five La Liga players who should tempt Premier League sides.
Rory Smith channels his inner Sherlock Holmes and skirts libel laws to discuss the curious case of Bebe, who went on loan to Besiktas.
This is a blog that respects the law regarding defamation so we won’t reprint or indeed link to any the pages who’ve made some very Panorama-like allegations regarding the whole L’Affaire Bebe that cast asperions on the character of men of good standing in the football community such as Fergie, Malcolm Glazer and football agent (DELETED BY SOFABALL LEGALISTS) For the more curious, go to google and prepare to be amused.
Tweet of the day
sarcasm alert; hockey riot in Vancouver – this is one of the reasons the game will never catch on in Europe. Bobby McMahon
After watching Canada’s national team gag at the sight of success again, it’s difficult to understand why underbody would even bother trying to bribe us for our votes. There is very little to be proud about in Canadian soccer these days. Our best player, Junior Hoilett, is weighing up whether he even wants to play for the national team and based on our performance at the Gold Cup, his is an entirely understandable position. Our other shining contribution to the world of soccer is the ever-excellent punditry of Scottish-born Bobby McMahon and he points out the disgraceful commentary provided by the Sportsnet commentators in the match preview. I’ve dealt with this nauseating kind of Brit-lite rubbish in the past but yesterday’s telecast reached a new low. Canada are out of the tournament and deservedly so. Sportsnet should apologize for insulting the Panamanians. They embarrassed themselves with any fair-minded viewers with a passing knowledge about the game.
To the links, where Richard Whittle outlines the ambitious plans of new Roma boss Luis Enrique. He’ll need to keep Daniele De Rossi happy in order to succeed.
The always enjoyable Swiss Ramble looks at the implications of promotion for Premier League newcomers Swansea City.
The latest tattle on Fleet Street according to the BBC.
The agent of Carvalho Amauri says his client has attracted the attention of two English clubs. The Brazil-born forward, who has spent the last six months on loan at Parma from Juventus, is also a target of Lazio and Napoli. (Press Association)
I’d put a couple of bucks on one of the clubs being QPR.
Barcelona will make a big push to sign Cesc Fabregas while the Arsenal midfielder is on holiday in the city this week. The Catalan side value the 24-year-old at £35m and are ready to offer the Gunners their choice of players in return. (Daily Mirror)
And so begins the most tedious transfer saga of the summer. Cesc will probably go but not for less than what Arsenal’s asking price, which is 50m. To quote Randy Moss, it’s straight cash, homey.
Liverpool may face another battle with Blackpool this week over their valuation of Charlie Adam, 25, with the Seasiders looking for £10m for the Scottish international midfielder. (Daily Mail)
If they pay even half of that, some of the shine will come off King Kenny’s halo, at least for me. He doesn’t address a pressing need unless those rumours about shopping Raul Meireles are true. In which case, this screams “massive step backwards.”
Manchester City have entered into negotiations to sign €18m-rated Argentine striker Ezequiel Lavezzi, 26, as a possible replacement for fellow countryman Carlos Tevez. (footylatest.com) Manchester City have opened talks with Udinese over a £27m deal for 22-year-old Chilean winger Alexis Sanchez. (Daily Mail)
Stockport Massive will be linked with a lot of players but Sanchez is a real possibility. I’m not sold on Lavezzi. He’s a good player but they’ve already got some strikers on the books and they’ll need to find buyers for the likes of Craig Bellamy and Emmanuel Adebayor before they can think of adding a new one.
Centre-back Younes Kaboul, 25, wants to quit Tottenham and join Marseille in an £8.5m deal. (the Sun)
Spurs are looking to shed payroll but the wheeler dealer is always on the make to grease journos with rumours. At least those lazy enough not to ask whether L’OM could afford that transfer price as well as Kaboul’s wages.
Didier Drogba, 33, has emerged as a potential pawn in Chelsea’s bid to land £30m-rated midfielder Luka Modric, 25, from Tottenham. (Daily Mirror) Chelsea are ready to offer Modric £130,000-a-week to defect to Stamford Bridge. (the Sun)
Interesting idea but unlikely given Drogba’s wage demands, which would price him out of Spurs reach. Chelsea seem ready to give the Croatian playmaker a hefty raise. He’d certainly add nous to their midfield.
To narf Landon, where the wheeler dealer is ready to battle it out with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger to sign Blackburn defender Chris Samba, 27. (Daily Mirror)
Because the allure of Europa League football could be an irrestible pull, right? Samba’s agent or Venky’s must be casting about desperately for a stalking horse to drive up his price and it won’t really work. If he heads to London, Samba will almost certainly be the next patient on the Holloway Road training table rather than watching Michael Dawson getting screamed at by Billy Gallas.
Arsenal face a transfer fight with Paris St Germain for the signatures of Lille ace Gervinho and St Etienne midfielder Blaise Matuidi, who are both 24. (Metro)
Gervinho is apparently discussing terms with Wenger right now and I think his signing will both improve the club and move to stifle some of the grumbling in the terraces. Matuidi has been linked in the past with prices far cheaper than that. He’s a good player but I don’t see him as anything other than a contingency if Nasri or Fabregas move (which would allow Wilshere to push farther forward).
The Gunners head the chase for £3.5m-rated left-back Alexander Milosevic, 19, who plays for Swedish side AIK Solna. (the Sun)
The knowing coves around Ashburton Grove suggest Clichy is being shopped so lining up a replacement given Armand Traore’s fall from grace and Kieran Gibbs’ arrested development will be important. In the meantime, Newcastle United might be receiving a phone call from Le Prof to discuss Jose Enrique.
Inter Milan have emerged as the latest club to eye up a move for Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri, 23, who has been linked with a shock switch to Manchester United. (talkSport)
This could be a legitimate option if Nasri’s salary demands cannot be wedged within Holloway Road Properties PLC’s wage structure. Of course, both parties are likely stalling until they get an idea of Barca’s opening Cesc gambit for the summer.
The Italian club is also looking into signing 28-year-old midfielder Michael Essien from Chelsea, with Wesley Sneijder, 27, moving in the opposite direction. (Footybunker.com)
An interesting idea but Essien has already killed the idea through his agent. Plus he has four more years left on a very generous deal with Roman’s west-end rent boys.
To England’s tropical and exotic northeast, where Sunderland have offered £5m for Birmingham’s 24-year-old midfielder Craig Gardner. (Daily Mail)
Gardner will likely be available given Brum’s calamatious post-relegation finances and would be a good squad player with his versatility.
Sunderland are keen on Paris St Germain striker Mevlut Erding. Newcastle are also interested in the 24-year-old Turkish forward, who is valued at £9m. (the Sun)
Erding is presumably surplus to requirements at PSG given their signing of Kevin Gameiro from Lorient.
Blackpool midfielder David Vaughan, 28, is eyeing a Premier League return with Sunderland after rejecting a new contract offer, believed to be in the region of £10,000-a-week. (Daily Express)
Whenever I saw the Seasiders play (about four or five times during last year), Vaughan stuck out more than Charlie Adam.
Ipswich striker Connor Wickham, 18, will snub Sunderland in the hope of landing a move to Liverpool. (the Sun)
A very promising striker, Wickham has been linked with just about every leading English club and a couple on the Continent, just as Titus Bramble and Kieron Dyer were as young Tractor Boys.
Leeds winger Elliot Kebbie, 16, has joined European champions Barcelona on trial in the hope of securing a permanent switch to the Catalan side. (the Sun)
Poor old Leeds have developed a lot of talent — James Milner and Aaron Lennon made their pro debuts — that has gone on to bigger clubs. Catalan Aesthes have been linked with approaches to a couple Arsenal youngsters in the past, too. I predicKen Bates will sure say something bigoted and jingoistic and completely self-serving.
Given some of the interesting tattle that’s exciting the Fleet Street gossip girls, I’m going to post links in the morning and then break down transfer tattle after lunch.
Gabriele Marcotti explains why Lille and Udinese will be punished for their success during the summer transfer season.
Sam Kelly previews the Copa Libertadores final between two of South America’s most storied and decorated clubs.
Jonathan Wilson profiles the Serbian genius behind the development of a strong line of USA keepers.
Well we’re back and after a week free of newspapers, radio and the Internet, I was mildly curious to see what I missed. Hmmm, Arsenal signs a promising youngster on the cheap from Charlton. Well knock me over with a feather!
Stockport Massive are linked with just about every single big-money move in Europe. WOW! I certainly missed a week full of quotes from agents or various “insiders” bigging up the latest gambits for Alexis Sanchez.
Neymar is linked with Chelsea. GASP! I hadn’t heard THAT one before!
About the only two concentrate bits of business seem to be that Sir Alex Ferguson won a bidding war for Phil Jones. At last, something that we can sink our teeth into. First, it appears all the talk during the season of an impending bid for Jack Rodwell was slightly off the mark. Second, it marks the second straight time the wily old knight has pipped Holloway Road Properties to a promising young defender. Three, I can understand how Rovers might be a touch exercised with Fergie getting his buyout clause spot on with his first bid. As the empurpled one isn’t talking to the BBC anyway, perhaps Panorama might want to go there because it certainly appears Salford LBO benefited from some inside info there. Fourth, it is a staggering sum of money for a youngster who has played all of nine Premier League games and United don’t appear to be slowing down in that area with impending purchases of Ashley Young and David de Gea. Whether this will reduce the number of Norwich City colours at Old Trafford next year is open to question.
The second bit of ACTUAL NEWS was Liverpool’s signing of Jordan Henderson, a promising young box-to-box midfielder for 13 million and David N’Gog for a putative price of 20m. I won’t quibble about whether that’s too much for him. He did fade in the second half of the season but so did Sammy Nasri, who is currently holding a gun to Arsene Wenger’s head while shoving a “pay me 110k a week” demand letter into his face. What is more interesting is Henderson’s current position is one where the Reds are well stocked. I would have thought they’d be looking at a wider player. Does this mean Steve Gerrard finally gets shifted out wide? Meireles looked a little out of sorts when asked to go wide. Second, this still leaves the same laundry list of needs they started with in the summer — a wide boy, a left back and a striker. The gossip girls on Fleet Street suggest King Kenny will try to gazzump Wenger’s bid for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, January’s it boy for the “buy British” crowd. I can’t see it myself — the kid’s father has already made it clear he wants the boy to go to Holloway Road for the sake of his “development.” Presumably he doesn’t know about the stellar record of the Holloway Road HMO staff, which has led to stars going to the Baltic region to have horse placenta rubbed on their ouchies. Thank God for the ignorance of British footballers!
As for the other needs, Jose Enrique is balking on signing a new deal at Newcastle while Gael Clichy is engaging in the same stall so I suspect one of them will wind up at Anfield. Wenger can be a real bastard, though, I would expect to see Clichy shopped all over Europe before he is sold to a domestic rival. And based on last year’s season form, Enrique might be the better option, especially in defending.
To the links, where there is a very thin gruel. Ben Lyttleton profiles Sochaux playmaker Martin Marvin, the latest in a long line of “new Zidanes” and someone who could move in the summer.
John Nicholson reckons Aston Villa were crazy to snub Steve McClaren as their manager.
Stephen Griffiths dismisses the epitaphs of Paul Scholes’ career as so much hype. I doubt this kind of criticism will fuss Scholes much given what the likes of Patrick Vieira, Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry and Xavi have said about him.
After the Three Lions reverted to form, serving up another tepid performance on the Wembley potato patch graced a week earlier by the spellbinding artistry of Catalan Aesthes FC, Fleet Street returned to a common theme. Rather than castigate the (cough) “world class” talent for whom they may have occasion to scribble an autobiography, lest they look like hypocritical jackasses, they trudged down the well-travelled avenue marked “Blame the Eye-Tie.” Because it was clearly Fabio’s fault that Frank Lampard played like an arthritic donkey. Or James Milner suffered a brain camp and moved out of the wall and allowed Joe Hart to be beaten on the near post. Jesus wept. Or would if He saw that performance and how it was cast by the red tops.
It’s not even schoolboy defending. Any kid on my team who would have done that would have been benched. And what’s more, they would have understood why, something that apparently escaped clueless monkeys such as Phil McNulty, who bemoaned Capello’s conservatism, and Henry Winter, who questioned his squad selection.
I guess they are marking time until the wheeler dealer takes over and can provide the nuanced tactical instructions and legendary man management that apparently flummox Capello, who decided to pass on the opportunity to feed the truth troops a cheeky quote about Darren Bent’s passing of the ball over an open net.
Speaking of the wheeler dealer, Surreal Football outlines his transfer plans for the summer.
None of those name feature in the ever-excellent Raphael Honigstein’s list of Bundesliga stars who might move this summer.
What’s interesting is how many players Blackburn, Liverpool and Newcastle are linked with on this list.
Have a good week — links and rumours will return on Monday, June 13. Please feel free to keep adding to this blog.