(Hello all. I’d like to apologize for the absence over the past few months; a combination of technological difficulties and creative deficiencies. I am working on it.)
Now that the European soccer season is when well and truly over, we’ve entered the period of time Sir Alex once described as ‘silly season’. This is a period when we are bombarded with transfer news and rumors, both real and imagined. I just thought I’d examine some of the transfer deals that have been done; those in the pipeline and of course the purely outrageous.
The Head scratchers.
Some moves, while brilliant on paper, don’t take team dynamics into consideration. It would seem that some clubs just chase players to indulge themselves. For example, Real Madrid’s pursuit of Luka Modric at £30m plus is baffling. There are only two players in Madrid’s midfield who are dispensable; Sami Khedira and Angel di Maria. The former is a defensive midfielder and the latter is a winger; not positions where Modric is comfortable, let alone accomplished. Let’s not forget they also have Nuri Sahin, Kaka etc fighting for midfield positions. Staying in Madrid, Kaka’s position isn’t yet clear. Apparently, he’s being hawked about for 25m. I don’t think, even PSG would fall for that con.
Robin van Persie’s PR machine goofed big time. My understanding of the situation is that he is fed up of Arsenal’s lack of ambition and what not. That’s his right. Why he had to come out this early and say it is beyond me. From his statement, it’s clear he wants to leave the club on good terms with the fans, which he has now made very difficult.
Considering RVP’s price tag and wages, I’d assume there are six clubs that can afford him; Chelsea, the Manchester clubs, Madrid, Barcelona and PSG. (Sorry Juventus fans, this is a different money league) Defecting to Manchester, and West London to a lesser extent, would make him a traitor, to the fans. Barca and Madrid don’t seem bothered; and the French league is small time for a star of RVP’s caliber... Let’s hope him and his boys know something we don’t. Realistically, he can only move to City; and the Gooners will not like it one bit.
One of the earliest moves of the transfer window was Man Utd’s signing of Japanese international Shinji Kagawa. I am very curious about how Kagawa is going to be deployed, given that United play two upfront, with Rooney as the deep lying forward. At Dortmund, one can argue that Kagawa’s best form came when he played as a deep lying forward, behind Robert Lewandowski. It’s intriguing to see if Fergie will want him to be Scholes’ long term replacement, and how he’ll adopt to playing a deeper role in a more physically demanding league.
Bayern Munich’s purchase of Mario Mandzukic is another head turner. The differences between him and the incumbent striker Mario Gomez are few; Bayern hasn’t played a two striker system in a decade and going by Gomez’ showing in the UCL final, and the latter stages of the Euros, I think everyone seems to have discovered that he and Andy Caroll are twins, separated at birth. Only his football education in Germany makes him technically better than dear old Andy. I can’t yet figure out Bayern’s thinking on this one. If all they wanted was a Mario-Mario striking duo, they should have gotten Balotelli.
I am also eager to see how the German Lucas Podolski fits in at Arsenal. I hate to be a pessimist but I don’t see how this will work out. Podolski has never really excelled, at the highest level, in club football(see his time at Bayern) He has always seemed to do his best work for the national team but his 2012 Euros’ performance didn’t inspire confidence. And if RVP leaves, the expectation will weigh even heavier.
The great signings.
Off the top of my head, the signings of Eden Hazard, Olivier Giroud and Jordi Alba by Chelsea, Arsenal and Barca are as sensible as they come. Hazard brings youth and creativity to an oft stagnant Chelsea outfit. In Giroud, Arsenal get a proven goal scorer who also possesses raw power, an attribute that has been severely lacking in Arsenal’s frontline for a while despite Chamakh’s best efforts. Jordi Alba fills the gap left by Eric Abidal, on the left side of FCB’s defence. His La Masia schooling also adds an extra level of comfort with ‘the Barca way’ of football.
There’s none better than Andy Caroll’s rumored move to AC Milan. Silvio Berlusconi and Adriano Galliani maybe crazy; they let Pirlo go to Juve for free, but they aren’t that crazy. Pairing Caroll and Zlatan Ibrahimovic may have a certain symmetry to it; two pony-tailed behemoths, but that’s where the comparisons end. Besides the rumors were sparked off by Pier Silvio Berlusconi, one of the Milan president’s sons. And here is the kicker..Pier Silvio is more interested in fashion than he is in football. It, indeed, is silly season.
Just for laughs.
Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi, on signing for oil rich Paris outfit PSG, claimed he was joining for footballing reasons. He got that quote straight out of the Samuel Eto’o playbook. Enough said.
Marouane Chamakh is supposedly over the moon because of the aforementioned van Persie transfer saga. I hear he feels like his time to shine will come as soon as RVP leaves. Still at The Emirates, Arsene Wenger is planning to unveil a new policy on captains; from next season, the most useless players will be made skipper so that Man City and co. can bid on them the subsequent transfer window. Chamakh, Fabianski and Djorou are running neck to neck
Thanks for reading.