Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “Sometimes you have to spend a little bit more. You can’t compete in the top four of the Premier League unless you spend some money. We were looking for a player of quality and also somebody who is British because of the new Champions League rules. Glen Johnson fits both categories. We have a plan. We can sign one more player if necessary, but that’s without any players leaving.” – Rafa Benitez.
Runner-up: “We lost Hleb and Flamini last summer and we have had to rebuild. But we have done that now and the future looks bright. We donâ€™t want to have to rebuild again, so I want to keep all the players together for next season. I donâ€™t want to lose anyone. I want to add to the squad and have identified one or two targets. But identifying players and buying them are two different things. Ideally I would like to bring everybody in before we start back in pre-season training in July. I donâ€™t want to leave it until the end of August.” – Arsene Wenger.
Today’s overview: The ever increasingly depressing demise of Setanta continues, James Robinson and Leigh Holmwood recording how “Setanta has been placed into administration after rescue talks designed to secure new funding collapsed. the UK part of the business, which employs about 200 staff… will now be made redundant.” But that figure more than doubles according to the Telegraph’s Paul Kelso. “Around 420 Setanta employees will lose their jobs in the UK and Ireland, and several sports have been left staring at potential financial shortfalls.”
From a football perspective the SPL find themselves holding the short straw, as explained by Ewan Murray. “Scottish clubs will need to introduce stringent cost-cutting as a result of the Scottish Premier League’s termination of its deal with Setanta but provided a new television contract is put in place soon no clubs should go out of existence.”
Andy Hunter sets about answering why Glen Johnson justifies his whopping transfer fee from Liverpool. “[Johnson offers] the adventure with an end product that Liverpool have lacked from right-back since Markus Babbel was cut down by illness… Johnson has given the Liverpool manager and his squad a timely vote of confidence.”
In a similar vein, Mark Odgen discusses whether Carlos Tevez is really worth Â£25.5m. “It is difficult to suggest that Tevez is in the same league as Nicolas Anelka and Fernando Torres, both of whom heavily outscored him last season and cost their respective clubs less than the Â£25.5m price tag on Tevezâ€™s head… if he recruits wisely, Ferguson should be able to find a more prolific goalscorer than Tevez for less than Â£25.5m.”
The Daily Mail provide the latest news in the takeover of Portsmouth claiming that yet another unknown foreign manager will be taking over at Fratton Park. “Ivory Coast coach Vahid Halilhodzic is reportedly in talks to become Portsmouth’s next manager.”
Martin Samuel brings a spurious piece on the future of Arsenal talisman Cesc Fabregas, the former Times hack suggests the Spaniard could be on his way out of the Emirates. “Do Arsenal line up 4-2-3-1 on occasions next season, and will that formation find room for Fabregas? If not, is Wenger pre-empting the trouble he foresees if Fabregas does not always start, particularly in some of the bigger games? It seems unthinkable. Yet the whispers continue. We shall see.”
The main transfer gossip threads today surround Emmanuel Adebayor, Joleon Lescott and Sergio Aguero.
John Cross in The Daily Mirror claims: “Emmanuel Adebayor has been offered to AC and Inter Milan â€“ to stop him from being sold to Chelsea. Arsenal are determined to auction off Adebayor this summer and have hired agents to try to strike a Â£25million deal.” The Times double team of Gary Jacob and James Ducker suggest the Rossoneri are the most likely destination for the Togo striker. “Arsenal’s chances of selling Emmanuel Adebayor increased last night after AC Milan admitted that it would be difficult to sign Edin Dzeko, the Wolfsburg striker and the Italian club’s main target. Milan’s contingency plan is a move for LuÃs Fabiano, the Seville striker, or Adebayor.”
The Mirror and The Guardian go with the news that Manchester City will bid 15 million pounds for Joleon Lescott this week whilst the Daily Star rip off Spanish paper Marca, claiming Sergio Aguero is on his way to Old Trafford.
Various papers (including the Daily Mail) are reporting how Chelsea have won the fight to sign Daniel Sturridge from Manchester City but that the fee will go to a tribunal. While it is also common knowledge that Stuart Taylor has completed his move from Aston Villa to Manchester City. (The Sun)
A faceless article in the Daily Mail links Tottenham with a move for West Ham’s Julien Faubert after the Hammers completed their loan move for Luis Jimenez.Â While The Sun print another faceless rumour suggest that “Patrick Vieira is closing in on a move to Paris St Germain.”
Finally, there are two comment pieces in The Guardian that are well worth a read.
Investigative journo David Conn looks into “why the FA has yet to beak its silence on Panorama.” “Almost three years from Panorama and two since Quest’s final report there has, from Soho Square, been only resounding silence. Many have concluded that the FA has failed to follow up properly the evidence which could not have been more publicly broadcast. Not only have charges not been brought but innocent people may have been left dangling by the failure publicly to clear anybody.”
With the European Under-21 Championship going into the semi-final stage, David Hytner praises the Young Lions and Stuart Pearce. “England’s squad is packed with pace on the counter-attack and power. Defensively they have been their own worst enemies, with individual errors creating greater problems than anything their opponents have conjured, but they can take some comfort in this. Moreover, as Pearce says time and again, the spirit within the camp and the intensity in training are excellent.”