Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “The punishment has been against the man rather than the incident. That is my underlying feeling. In the cold light of day, it was violent conduct — the club admitted it, Luis admitted it and understood he needed to be punished. He fell well below the standards of this club. But that doesn’t mean he should be thrown to the garbage. I certainly won’t be prepared to do that. What we have got is a punishment with absolutely no intention towards helping the rehabilitation of the player. That’s what is disappointing.” – Brendan Rodgers.
Runner-up: “I’m afraid of what Chelsea can do in the summer. We have to be prepared for them to be one of the biggest movers in terms of investment once the window opens. Even though they already have a great base to their squad, notably their young players such as Oscar, Juan Mata, Ramires and Eden Hazard, I think they will be busy during the transfer window. We’ve heard a lot of talk about Falcao. Some people say it’s already a done deal but I’ve heard nothing.” – Arsene Wenger.
Liverpool Defend Biter Suarez
FA are hypocrites (Phil Thomas, Sun) In 2006, Spurs’ Jermain Defoe escaped with just a yellow card for biting West Ham’s Javier Mascherano, while Chester’s Sean Hessey got five games for a similar offence on Stockport’s Liam Dickinson.
Liverpool should be grateful for Suarez punishment, not complaining (Jeff Powell, Mail) Had the FA not imposed something more severe than the seven-game suspension imposed in Holland for biting an opponent when he played for Ajax, they would have been acting against the natural course of justice. Lucky Luis? He doesn’t see it but the FA could have come up with almost any number in double figures and made it stick… Lucky Liverpool? They don’t think so and have been digging an ever deeper moral hole for themselves with their response to this outrage.
Why the Liverpool biter’s ban shows the FA’s moral code is all wrong (Robbie Savage, Mirror) I am stumped by the Football Association’s moral code in which you can be suspended for 10 matches for making a meal of an opponent – but only eight for denigrating the colour of another player’s skin (or four matches if you are an ex-England captain). Now we know where the FA stand on the two issues, I don’t think they have got their priorities right.
Luis Suárez case exposes need for FA to overhaul disciplinary system (James Riach, Guardian) The FA fears that any rule changes would open the floodgates for hundreds of cases to be heard every season. Any shift in policy would have to be agreed by Fifa, one of its stakeholders, and the FA stresses that every case is uniquely different – how can one compare biting with racism, or racism with an elbow to the face?
Basel 1 – Chelsea 2
Rafael Benítez got his priorities right (Paul Doyle, Guardian) The team’s shape and personnel were right from the start and so was the intensity, allowing Chelsea to make an authoritative start against a team who are normally dominant at home. This was Chelsea’s best European away display of the season.
David Luiz’s late show finally establishes Chelsea Europa League superiority (Sam Wallace, Independent) Centre-half, holding midfielder and, as of tonight, you can add the title of last-minute match-winning goalscorer to David Luiz’s list of strengths. He once walked a very fine line between chaos and brilliance but on nights like these the Brazilian looks like he will be an integral part of Chelsea’s future.
Man United Want Lewandowski, Sell Nani
Man Lew (Neil Custis, Sun) Manchester United must put together a £38million package to land Polish ace Robert Lewandowski this summer… Bayern believe they have an agreement in place to sign the 24-year-old, whose four goals demolished Real Madrid in Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg, for £20m… A bigger offer from United — a £28m fee and £200,000 a week in wages over five years — could persuade the Germans to sell to them.
Double and quits, Nani (Geoff Sweet, Sun) Juventus are ready to offer Nani £130,000 a week to leave Manchester United. The Italian giants hope to land the Portuguese star for £12million and tempt him with a three-year deal on DOUBLE his Old Trafford wages.
Spurs Seek Swiss-Based Striker
Spurs spying on Salah: Tottenham send scout to watch Basle forward in Switzerland (Simon Jones, Mail) Tottenham scouts ran the rule over FC Basle forward Mohamed Salah during the Swiss team’s Europa League tie against Chelsea. The lightning-quick Egyptian impressed over both legs of their Europa League quarter final and Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas is contemplating a move this summer.
Arsenal After Jovetic
Fearful Arsenal make early £25m move for Fiorentina striker Jovetic (Sami Mokbel, Mail) Arsenal have taken a big step towards signing top summer transfer target Stevan Jovetic after opening talks with Fiorentina. The news emerges as manager Arsene Wenger admitted he is ‘afraid’ of Chelsea’s planned summer splurge. The Gunners have watched Jovetic, 23, since 2011 and while the Serie A club value him at around £25million, Arsenal — who have around £70m to spend — are determined to agree a lower fee.
Buy Jove! Gunners want £25m Stevan (Charlie Wyett, Sun) Arsenal are in talks with Fiorentina over £25million-rated striker Stevan Jovetic… Arsenal are hopeful of completing their first transfer of the summer as they look to use some of their £70m transfer kitty. Yet they are unlikely to agree to the Italians’ demands and are offering below £20m.
Clattenburg’s Chelsea Return
Welcome back, Clatt (Steven Howard, Sun) Good luck to Mark Clattenburg who will referee Chelsea v Swansea on Sunday. He’s back at Stamford Bridge for the first time since the FA rejected charges of “inappropriate language” directed at Jon Obi Mikel during Chelsea’s 3-2 defeat by Manchester United last autumn. Chelsea players and officials were alleged to have stormed Clattenburg’s dressing room after he sent off both Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres. Let’s hope they’ve now put a lock on the door.
Other Transfer Lies
Kevin Mirallas looking elsewhere (Express) Everton’s Belgium winger also voiced his interest in joining home-town club Standard Liege. The 25-year-old has Spanish connections on his mother’s side and said: “My roots make me want to go and play in Spain . And I will play for Standard Liege one day, no matter what.”
Swansea eyeing up Alvaro Negredo move (Express) Michael Laudrup hopes the financially stricken club will drop their asking price of £13million.