Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “We [Manchester City] would like to think we could offer John [Terry] a different challenge. He’s been at Chelsea a long time and I know from my own experience as a player that when you have been with a club for a long time you get to a point when you think you need a new challenge and that a change of scenery would re-ignite certain things within you. It is not a question of finance, or money, it is about a different challenge, and John being at a different stage in his life and his career, and maybe that is why there hasn’t been a response [to commit himself to Chelsea] because John is seriously thinking in those terms. I went through that process myself as a player and I can understand if that is the way he is thinking… It’s well documented that we moved away from Samuel Eto’o and decided we wanted Adebayor, and it’s quite close.” – Mark Hughes.
Runner-up: “The first thing United’s fans have to understand is that a part of my heart will always be with them,. They were very supportive and they always made me feel good even when I wasn’t playing so I will always keep that in my heart. The second point is that the reason I did not stay at United was nothing to do with the fans. It was because Alex Ferguson and David Gill did not want to keep me there. I want to thank Ferguson, Gill and the fanbase for the years I spent there, but this is my new life, a new challenge. It is time that Ferguson and Gill took responsibility for the fact that I joined City because they didn’t want to offer me a contract and keep me there until it was too late.” – Carlos Tevez.
Today’s overview: With Carlos Tevez in the bag, all eyes remain fixed on John Terry.
Sparky has broken the silence over Manchester City’s aggressive pursuit of the Chelsea captain, and Daniel Taylor reports on how the Blues’ boss has bullishly forced the spotlight on JT. “[Hughes feels] sufficiently emboldened to question whether Terry recognised City were ‘on the cusp of something’ and he was speaking from a position of strength after several months of detailed inquiries behind the scenes to ascertain the defender’s exact position.” A similar conclusion is reached by Ian Hebert scrawling “the significance of Hughes making such an utterance cannot be overstated and is clearly designed to put pressure on Terry to ask for a transfer.”
Martin Samuel argues that Chelsea have little bargaining power in trying to hold onto Terry. “If Terry was the captain of Manchester United, Arsenal, even Liverpool, Everton or Aston Villa, a superior could sit down and discuss the way forward, with a nod to a successful past. Chelsea are not run like that. This is a club controlled by the whims of Roman Abramovich, the owner, and as a result there is no paternal management figure to cut through Terry’s confusion.”
Yet, a variety of talking-heads refuse to believe that Terry will head to City as the Daily Express quote former Blues’ boss Avram Grant saying “I would be surprised” if the transfer when ahead while the Telegraph highlight the soundbites of Terry Venables who contests that “I donâ€™t think this is the right time… Chelsea need experience and leadership and thatâ€™s what [JT] brings.”
Flipping the page to the the signing of Carlos Tevez, Daniel Taylor pokes holes at the Argentinian’s decision to move to Eastlands. “The irony is that Tevez felt he could not tolerate life at Old Trafford if he were not a mandatory first-team pick but is happy to join a club that will have 10 attackers on their books if, as expected, Emmanuel Adebayor becomes City’s next signing.”
According to Oliver Kay the deal for Adebayor is virtually done. “A fee in the region of Â£25million has been agreed with Arsenal for Adebayor, subject to a medical examination and to the Togo forward receiving a work permit.” Looking at the deal from Arsenal’s perspective Simon Cass pokes one in the eye of the North Londoners. “From Patrick Vieira, through Ashley Cole and Thierry Henry to Alexander Hleb and Mathieu Flamini, Arsene Wenger has been unable to hang on to key members of his squad, whether due to players’ ambitions or their financial demands.”
The revolving door keeps spinning in the Daily Mail where it’s reported that “Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is ready to offer Craig Bellamy a dramatic return to the North East.” And while we are on the topic of the Black Cats, a separate article in the Daily Mail boasts “Sunderland have had a Â£12 million bid accepted for Portsmouth striker Peter Crouch,” while Paul Jiggins farts “Tottenham have snubbed Sunderland’s Â£14million offer for Darren Bent.”
Casting a critical eye over City’s latest moves in the transfer market, Paul Wilson attempts to defuse the hype engulfing Eastlands. “City do appear to be building a team capable of achieving something, though apart from the reliably irascible Rafael Benitez, none of the top-four managers seem unduly concerned by project Eastlands. If City want to double Tevez’s wages, or Terry’s or Adebayor’s, then it’s their lookout. No one else suffers. Far from terrorising the top four, City’s fabulous wealth has so far merely provided a safety net for their cast-offs and senior servants.”
A second critique of City’s transfer policy, and it’s downsides, is forwarded by Oliver Kay. “With every new addition that is lured by the riches from Abu Dhabi, the question will be asked whether the club are losing something of their soul and indeed whether the players concerned… have sold theirs in pursuit of wealth.”
Changing tracks to local Manchester rivalries, Mark Ogden assesses whether City or United have the better forward-line. “Tevez, Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz could be some strike-force at Eastlands, but then Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen, plus the coltish talents of Federico Macheda and Danny Welbeck, ensure that Sir Alex Ferguson will not be short of firepower at Old Trafford either… Despite all the glamour of City’s summer signings, the smart money will still be on United’s strikers outscoring their rivals in blue.”
David Conn argues that “Kia Joorabchian should tell us where the Carlos Tevez Â£25m is going.” “Joorabchian has since made it clear he is no longer involved with MSI, but he still represents offshore companies who “own” Tevez. But he has never revealed who the investors are in those companies and now, even as English football’s biggest transfer fee of the summer is changing hands in Manchester, he has still not said where the money is going.”
On a lighter note Ian Herbert rips into Carlos Tevez’s choice of head-gear at his Manchester City unveiling. “Tevez is kidding himself if he thinks he is in Beckham territory with this woolly choice. Its excessive width makes him look like he’s recovering from a lobotomy, while the odd knit-one-pearl-one detail leaves one wondering if his Nan made it for him.”
Heading to Anfield, Rory Smith wonders how Liverpool will plug the hole left by the expected departure of Xabi Alonso. “Since he will not find such a perfect foil for Mascherano â€“ the only available option to match Alonsoâ€™s passing, crazy as it sounds, is David Beckham â€“ he may choose to change the nature of Liverpoolâ€™s midfield, adding more cutting edge by employing Mascherano to hold and deploying Alonsoâ€™s replacement further forward.”
Stuart James dishes the latest news on the comings and goings at Aston Villa, reporting how Ashley Young will not be sold while “Leeds United teenager Fabian Delph, Portsmouth’s Sylvain Distin and Middlesbrough’s England winger Stewart Downing [are] all targets.”
Sam Wallace claims that Patrick Vieira is keen on a move to Tottenham. “The player himself is understood to be keen on the move and simply wants to play first-team football, having not always figured under Jose Mourinho in the last season.” Simon Cass fleshes out the story further adding “for the deal to go through Inter must not only drop their demand for a Â£750,000 fee, they must also bridge the gap between Vieira’s Â£80,000 a week in wages and the Â£35,000 a week plus incentives Spurs are offering.” Cass also adds that “Roma have asked Tottenham about taking defender Gareth Bale on a season’s loan, while Nottingham Forest want to strike a similar deal for Chris Gunter.”
Newacstle are set to appoint a full time manager with Simon Jones revealing that Joe Kinnear is set to return to the Magpies. “In a crushing blow to Alan Shearer which will infuriate already angry fans, the 62-year-old is expected to step into the breach as Newcastle approach life in the Championship without a takeover imminent.”
Spreading unsubstantiated rumours,Peter Kenyon is considering leaving Chelsea.”
Wrapping up the transfer gossip the Independent link Hull to a Â£1.5m move for Sunderland’s Daryl Murphy, the Daily Mail print “Stoke are making a second bid to land Lens striker Aruna Dindane in a Â£3.5m deal,” Martin Blackburn says that “Sam Allardyce will give veteran Italian Christian Vieri all the time he needs to prove he is worth a contract at Blackburn.”
Transfers in England as set to become more transparent according to the Guardian. “The Football Association will force Premier League clubs to publish all fees paid to agents for player transfers… The rules will come into force immediately, and will allow both fans and competitors to see the inner workings of many transfer deals, including those being carried out this summer.”