Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “One of the great attractions of the Premier League is that it is a bit like the wild west. Paradoxically, the American sports model is very controlled. It [football] is a really challenging environment in a lot of different respects. It surprises me that we have allowed the game to come to a point where there are so many unscrupulous operators and third parties taking money out of the game.” – Arsenal chief executive, Ivan Gazidis.
Runner-up: “Victor was already very upset he hadnâ€™t been starting matches. It must have been the last straw when the deal failed to go through. He saw it as Everton who were stopping him from leaving. When he turned up for training he flatly refused to get changed and then had a huge row with assistant manager Steve Round. The players were on the way out to training when Steve went to get David Moyes. When he came in it all kicked off. They were swearing at each other and Victor told him to â€˜f*** offâ€™. Thatâ€™s when Moyes told him to leave and asked two members of the medical staff to make sure Victor left the premises.” – a friend of Victor Anichebe, as reported in The Sun.
Today’s overview: With the dust settled on the Andrei Arshavin transfer to Arsenal, today the post-mortem on transfer is carried out.
On a tactical analysis of the purchase, Dominic Fifield writes that “privately [Wenger] might concede that this purchase represents a risk given the philosophy he has imposed upon Arsenal. He must hope it also sparks this team’s pursuit of the top four.”
Many are critical of the manner in which the Arshavin transfer was only ratified yesterday. Ashley Gray traced how “problems over paperwork were the final developments of a twisted saga of broken promises, false hopes and behind-the-scenes negotiations that predated his starring role at last summer’s European Championship. Eastenders script writers would have been proud.” According to Oliver Kay, “the delay over the Arshavin deal will lead to calls for greater transparency from the Premier League and the FA.” While Sam Wallace suggests that “the doubts over the process are likely to provoke an outcry from Arsenal’s Premier League rivals, such as Manchester United and Aston Villa, who completed their transfers well within the deadline stipulated by the authorities.”
Andy Hunter writes a feature on Marouane Fellaini ahead of tonight’s FA Cup Merseyside derby. “Hairstyles alone do not make a cult hero at Everton, particularly when the player underneath arrived amid such expectation and with even greater responsibility, and it is testament to Fellaini’s ability with a ball, not a brush, that his return to face Rafael BenÃtez’s side is viewed by many in blue as their key to reaching the fifth round.”
Robbie Keane’s loyalty and Daniel Levy’s ability to turn the other cheek are questioned by Neil Ashton. “Head turned. Commitment absent. Negative influence. Welcome back, then, Robbie Keane… Frightening football, isn’t it? It is such a fickle game, a forgiving sport where the only moral is to act immorally. Levy is actually a decent guy, with Tottenham’s best interests at heart, but the return of Keane is difficult for the supporters to accept. It has to be.” Dan Silver also rips into Robbie Keane, arguing “there have always been suspicions that Keane couldn’t cut it on the biggest of stages, and by choosing the easy way out he’s more or less confirmed his status as a second rate striker.”
And keeping with Spurs, Tim Sherwood lays out his concerns to Antony Kastrinakis. Sherwood: “Individually, some of the players have the fight and some havenâ€™t. Robbie cares. He really falls out with people when things arenâ€™t going well. We need that. Thatâ€™s why we tried so hard to get Craig Bellamy because weâ€™ve got a lot of nice guys at the club and, no disrespect, but Craig Bellamy is not very nice. The guy is a winner and heâ€™ll let people know if theyâ€™re not pulling their weight. Robbieâ€™s got that in him also. Thatâ€™s what we need, for sure.”
The big economic football story of the day is deliver by Nick Harris explains the impact of the deal – “The importance of the rights’ sale cannot be overstated. In short, huge TV income equals big-name players on big wages, competitiveness in Europe, and success by various definitions.”English footballâ€™s television rights bonanza was in full swing last night as Sky paid more than Â£1 billion to secure its grip as the main Premier League broadcaster… No figures are known, but it is believed that the company will have paid close to the present Â£1.314 billion.”
I’d bet that one of Newcastle and Portsmouth will go down. Itâ€™s hard not to be pessimistic â€” they werenâ€™t active enough. Ryan Taylor, Peter Lovenkrands and Kevin Nolan are not enough to stop their downward spiral, especially when Newcastle have sold their brilliant Given. It might take a few more dodgy penalties such as the one they received on Sunday for them to stay up.”
The same exercise is taken by the Mirror, but with contrasting results. “Ricardo Quaresma: Inter Milan to Chelsea (loan) A deadline day signing that took almost everyone by surprise, Ricardo Quaresma is a genuinely talent who will be desperate to prove he can cut it outside of the Portuguese domestic league. The natural width he provides, meanwhile, could provide a crucial fillip to Chelsea’s title challenge. Good business for: Chelsea.”
Finally, taking a more panoramic view on the transfer window is Neil Ashton, arguing that “teams in the Premier League play it out in public, lifting their skirts for grateful newspaper reporters and then denying everything the next day on rolling sports news channels.”