Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “Aston Villa offered Â£11m to sign me in the first half of the season. However, Wigan refused to get compensation as they had hopes to sign me and let me join another club later in order to make money. They did the same with (Wilson) Palacios, buying him for Â£1m and selling him to Spurs for Â£14m. Wigan are not one of the top four. All they want is to buy players for cheap and then make money by selling them to other clubs later. They would never pay ridiculous amounts of cash on me.” – Amr Zaki.
Runner-up: “I think that Terry is a symbol of the team, naturally he will be the captain next time; he says he wants to be at Chelsea next season and we want to keep him forever. There is no price â€“ he will be captain of Chelsea forever. There is no problem. For him, for us, the story continues for Chelsea. For captain I would like to have Terry. He is very close to [Paolo] Maldini in professionalism and I would like to keep him as captain.” – Carlo Ancelotti.
Today’s overview: It appears that Carlo Ancelotti has charmed over Fleet Street on his first day on the job as Chelsea manager.
Having watched the Italian’s first press conference, Dominic Fifield celebrated a “hugely impressive” performance from the former Milan coach. “The crash course he had undergone in the Netherlands since confirmation came that he would be leaving Milan has clearly paid off. He spoke better than Fabio Capello does after 18 months with the Football Association, and better arguably than Rafael Benitez when he first arrived at Anfield. Chelsea and their players will draw encouragement from that.”
Matt Hughes has also fallen in love with Ancelotti but the hack feels the need to explain why his new found crush is real. “It is easy for a football manager to seduce in the height of summer as Luiz Felipe Scolari demonstrated 12 months ago, but Ancelottiâ€™s opening display was more impressive, and not solely because of his superior grasp of grammar. Whereas Scolari started an argument regarding Frank Lampardâ€™s proposed contract extension in similarly difficult circumstances last summer, Ancelotti effectively ended the Terry debate by dismissing City as arrivistes.”
The Independent’s Sam Wallace disagrees with his peers high-praise of Carlo’s English skills. “His grasp of English will be a problem when he addresses his full squad for the first time on Thursday; it is at about the same level as Fabio Capello’s English when he arrived 18 months ago although he refused to speak it in his first press conference.”
Swimming against the tide, Matt Dickinson remains unconvinced by Ancelotti. “Pressed on his plans for Chelsea yesterday, Ancelotti spoke vaguely about making the team a little less physical and a bit more creative. And that was about that… There are more questions than answers, and all we really learnt yesterday is that Ancelotti does not take himself too seriously.”
Cristiano Ronaldo’s unveiling at Real Madrid is the second hot topic this Tuesday.
Picking up on the showbiz side of the affair, Nick was in his element last night, with 70,000 fans at the Bernabeu to see the Portugal playerâ€™s bow in the white of Real Madrid… The only person who looked as pleased with himself as Ronaldo was Florentino Perez.” Rory Smith followed in kind writing “Ronaldo, even with his love of the limelight and apparent sense of self-importance, would have struggled to envisage the hysteria his arrival triggered… If publicity is his oxygen, then the flashbulbs of 80,000 cameras are his lifeblood. He has started his Real Madrid career amid a fanfare greater than that which greeted Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo or even David Beckham. ”
When will things get better for Newcastle?
Not today according to Louise Taylor who reports that, after looking over the Toon’s finances, the prospective buyers are threatening to drop out the picture. “There are still realistic hopes that Newcastle United could be sold by the end of this week but the three potential buyers are understood to be balking at the financial liabilities they stand to inherit.” But life of Tyneside is set to get much rosier according to The Times who boast “Mike Ashley, the Newcastle United owner, has received two offers of at least Â£100 million to buy the club who were recently relegated to the Coca-Cola Championship.”
Middlesbrough find themselves in the headlines for the wrong reasons, with John Edwards exposing how “temperamental Egypt striker Mido, Brazil flop Afonso Alves and Turkey forward Tuncay were all missing as relegated Boro began preparations for their return to the Coca-Cola Championship… Southgate is sure to take disciplinary action against his absent trio and will step up his efforts to find buyers for all three.” One of the trio could be about to jump ship though, Louise Taylor writing how “Middlesbrough have received offers from England, Spain, Germany and Turkey for their Turkey international forward Tuncay but no one has yet matched their undisclosed asking price.”
In the transfer talk, the big splash in The Sun sees Phil Thomas claim “Alex Ferguson is preparing to make a Â£20million raid for Real Madrid striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar. Keeping with Dutch strikers on the way out of Madrid, Martin Blackburn comes storming in behind ranting “Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce has launched his ambitious bid to sign Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy.”
Louise Taylor toots “Steve Bruce wants to make an ‘impact signing’ this week in the 6ft 7in shape of Portsmouth’s Peter Crouch. Sunderland’s new manager is understood to be prepared to pay up to Â£14m for the England striker and has made his pursuit the club’s top priority.” Andrew Dillon puts the cats amongst the pigeons by announcing “Aston Villa have made a late charge into the race for Peter Crouch. Pompey are ready to sell the 28-year-old England striker but are unlikely to get the Â£12million price they want for him.Â Sunderland boss Steve Bruce believes he is in the driving seat to clinch a deal for around Â£10m.”
For the second successive day The Sun manage to claim more seaside scoops linking Mark Hughes with hints of tapping up players. Martin Blackburn now claims “Joleon Lescott stayed at the same Dubai hotel complex as Mark Hughes and John Terry last month.”
In news that will excite no Evertonians, a faceless Daily Mail article bleats “Everton are expected to confirm the signing of 22-year-old American midfielder Anton Peterlin… Moving from Ventura County Fusion for a nominal fee, he is expected to complete the details of a one-year contract. Fusion play in the fourth tier of US football.”
In slightly better news for the Toffees, James Ducker and Gary Jacob report that Jo is to stay with Everton on a season-long loan, as well as news that Hull have confirmed that they have an agreement to sign Bobby Zamora, Lucio has been linked with Manchester City and Tottenham are monitoring Craig Bellamy.