Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “I am Arsenal through and through. I’d never advise anyone to sign for Tottenham. Patrick Vieira is a grown man who will do whatever he has to do for his own career. But I have never advised anyone about their future because it’s not my business. I can’t have Arsenal fans thinking I am helping Tottenham in any way. The truth is I was talking to Spurs boss Harry Redknapp and he told me he was trying to sign Patrick from Inter Milan. I was very surprised because Patrick is like me. He loves Arsenal. I just said that Patrick would be a brilliant signing. But I also made it clear I would be shocked if it happened.” – Thierry Henry.
Runner-up: “I was very flattered by the fact that City wanted to sign me. It’s the first time in my career someone has come in with an official bid for me. But, as a player, when you get a phone call from your own club saying that, no matter what money, they won’t sell you… it’s unbelievable to just sit down there and listen to it from the owner. That’s the kind of relationship you can’t buy. You can’t put a price on things like that when he’s saying: ‘Listen, you’re the heartbeat of the team. You’ve been here for many years and we want you to stay.’ That’s all that matters… Everyone knows I love this club so much. It was clear from day one that they didn’t want to sell me and I’ve been at the club for 14 years and never wanted to leave. And to be in the Champions League is massive, particularly in World Cup year. You never know what [the England head coach] Fabio Capello’s response would have been had I not been playing Champions League football. I’m delighted and I’m sure he’s happy.” – John Terry.
Today’s overview: If you thought the papers would close shop on the John Terry to Manchester City saga, you were wrong.
With the apparent agenda of appeasing readers into appreciating that the story did at one time have legs, Dominic Fifield blurts how “it was a call from the [Roman Abramovich to John Terry] that effectively served to wreck City’s hopes.” In a second article Fifield continues his appraisal concluding “if there were ever any doubts over whether Roman Abramovich retained his initial enthusiasm for life at Chelsea, then they can surely be allayed now.”
Basking in JT’s decision to stay a Blue is the one-man John Terry cheering squad, led by Patrick Barclay. “He is to Chelsea what Tony Adams was to Arsenal and Steven Gerrard is to Liverpool. If he were to leave, it would be almost as sad as if Xavi HernÃ¡ndez or Andres Iniesta left Barcelona. For a man to be associated with a single club is increasingly rare and precious.”
The Times’ is the most powerful footballer in the Barclays Premier League by some distance.” “At the age of 28 he is already inquiring about player purchases and acting as a vital link between dressing room and boardroom, all with the blessing of the club’s owner, who happens to be one of the richest individuals on the planet.”
Flipping the conversation on its head, Barry Glendenning rips into JT for not moving to Eastlands. “Terry’s statement reveals him to be a man so lacking in ambition that he was unprepared to even consider the prospect of signing for a club whose financial clout and relentless, if ultimately unsuccessful, pursuit of the world’s best players and John Terry has been well documented. Let’s face it, a player so reluctant to even think about leaving his comfort zone is unlikely to stray out of position to cover for Jose Bosingwa or Ashley Cole the next time either full-back is left horribly exposed.”
Looking to take the middle road on the Terry analysis is James Lawton. “It can hardly be said that [Terry] has been an agent for stabilisation in the first days of Chelsea’s fifth manager in two years. He has, let’s face it, been above all an agent for himself. This isn’t to castigate Terry, just to remind ourselves of how modern football works, how loyalty is a card played as a first option by club and player until it no longer suits precisely their needs.”
The nagging tale of discontent in the Arsenal boardroom continues this Tuesday as Jeremy Wilson reports on how “Alisher Usmanov still hopes Arsenal can be persuaded to tackle the club’s debt with a rights issue and has not ruled out putting his idea directly to shareholders at the annual general meeting.”
And there is more negativity shone on Arsenal as Ian Wright questions the Gunners’ hopes for next season. “[Arsenal] will probably not be seriously challenging for the Premier League title. And I mean seriously. They will not even be challenging for second and third spots. No, my old club, who have not lifted a trophy since 2005, look to be aiming for a fourth place finish next season. And the saddest thing is they will consider the campaign a success if they achieve that.”
Stuart James runs his eye over Manchester City’s next moves in the transfer market. “City are in advanced talks with Arsenal over signing Kolo Toure, although their pursuit of Joleon Lescott remains at an impasse” while also talking up an Arsenal move for Fulham’s Brede Hangeland. Simon Jones goes one step further claiming that Kolo Toure “has agreed personal terms of around Â£120,000 per week – doubling his wages at Arsenal.”
Challenging this story that Toure is moving to Eastlands is Marc Isaacs. “Kolo Toure brushed aside speculation linking him with a Â£14m move to Manchester City when he was handed the captainâ€™s armband as Arsenal strolled to a 5-0 win over Szombathelyi Haladas in Hungary last night.”
Peter Crouch has completed his Â£9m move to Spurs, and his signing has had an immediate knock-on effect for Darren Bent.
Jamie Jackson reports how “Crouch’s arrival at White Hart Lane paves the way for the departure of Darren Bent, who looks set to sign for Sunderland. Bent yesterday boarded Tottenham’s flight to China for a pre-season tournament but disembarked after receiving a phone call.” Gary Jacob goes into even more detail about how Darren Bent was affected by Crouch’s transfer, writing “Bent left his seat on the aircraft after receiving a message that the clubs were close to agreeing a transfer fee and his luggage is thought to have been recovered from the hold.”
Matt Law wonders how Crouch’s arrival will effect Robbie Keane. “Harry Redknapp has solved one problem, but now faces a new dilemma ahead of the season. What to do with Robbie Keane?”
The hole left by Crouch’s departure from Pompey has already been plugged according to Simon Cass. “Portsmouth manager Paul Hart has moved swiftly to fill the gap left by Peter Crouchâ€™s Â£9million departure to Tottenham by agreeing a Â£5.5m fee with Hadjuk Split for Croat international striker Nikola Kalinic.”
Focusing on Spurs’ pursuit of Patrick Vieira, Rob Kelly spells out why the deal is a bad move for the North Londoners. “The signing of the France midfielder might be a PR coup that would infuriate the red half of north London, but in purely footballing terms it is not a deal that should be pursued… He would bring experience, leadership and, when fit, a degree of quality to the Tottenham midfield,Â yet he is a fading force.”
Villa fans waiting for some fresh recruits this summer will unlikely to be buoyed by Stuart James’ article linking Stephen Warnock to the Midlanders. Its a similar tale for Liverpool fans as Gary Jacob details how the Reds’ have expressed an interest in signing Juventus’ Christian Poulsen.
Other gossip includes the Daily Mail linking Stoke with moves for Danny Murphy and Portsmouthâ€™s Â£6million-rated winger John Utaka, The Sun print that “Manchester City and Bolton are battling it out to land Sporting Lisbon’s Miguel Veloso,”