Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “Some of the values across the world now are amazing; the numbers that get tossed about. The values of players have shot sky high. I don’t think any of the [big] transfers this summer are realistic but for some reason it has caught fire this summer. It’s an unusual summer and it’s very difficult to get value because of that. I can only placate the fans in one way and that’s by not being stupid. We have that wonderful sum of money from Real Madrid but there’s no way we are going to throw it away by putting an extra zero on the end of transfer fees when I didn’t think it was value. We went in for Benzema but, as far as we were concerned, the price tag was beyond his value. If other clubs want to go to that level, that’s entirely their business.” – Sir Alex Ferguson.
Runner-up: “Carlos is an international player of the highest class who possesses all the attributes that will help drive this club forward. He is not only outstanding technically but he is a reliable goal scorer and someone who will contribute fully to the team ethic. He gives us another exciting, attacking dimension. I cannot wait to welcome him to City. This is yet another deal that shows the commitment of the owner Sheikh Mansour to make this club the very best it can possibly be. I am sure our fans will give Carlos an exceptionally warm welcome.” – Mark Hughes.
Today’s overview: Having sown up the purchase of Carlos Tevez, the Manchester City spending machine continues to roll into overdrive as the Citizens have set about putting together a package to lure Arsenal’s Emmanuel Adebayor to Eastlands.
Daniel Taylor delivers the details of the deal so far, writing that City have “lodged a Â£20m bid with Arsenal for a player they know is available as long as the price is right. Arsenal want closer to Â£25m but both clubs are willing to reach a compromise.” And it could be that that compromise is agreed in the next few hours, with Ian Hebert suggesting “City are confident their wage offer could seal a rapid deal for Adebayor and it is not inconceivable that the 25-year-old will be among the small group of players, which is to include Tevez, who will fly out of Manchester to Abu Dhabi tomorrow morning.”
Looking to identify where the Adebayor-City deal may collapse, Mark Ogden argues that “City must overcome Adebayor’s preference for a move to Milan in order to lure him to Eastlands.”
From the Gunners’ perspective, Oliver Kay blabbers that Adebayor’s replacement has already been lined up “with Arsene Wenger having identified Marouane Chamakh, the Bordeaux and Morocco forward, as the leading candidate.” However, for Ian Ladyman, selling Adebayor would be a huge setback for the North Londoners. “Many Arsenal players would be glad to see the back of Adebayor, but his sale will be seen as another major blow to the club’s hopes of winning the Premier League for the first time in six seasons. Arsenal are also ready to listen to bids for midfielder Cesc Fabregas and the Gunners will surely face mutiny if they end up selling two of their top players in one summer.”
Yet amid all the excitement, Jamie Redknapp urges City to remain focused on trying to target John Terry. “[City] have to build a defence, or else it will be the Real Madrid galacticos reborn; lots of goals and nothing else to show for it. In seven of the last 10 years, the team who won the title have also boasted the best defensive record… Signing Terry would be City’s ‘Claude Makelele moment’, the deal that shows that they mean business.”
Bye, bye Alonso?
Sid Lowe updates Liverpool fans with news that no Scouser will want to hear reporting “Xabi Alonso has told Rafa BenÃtez that he wants to leave Anfield… Although Alonso is reluctant to go public, he has privately asked his manager to listen to offers from the Spanish club.” Yet Gary Jacob offers a caveat to Reds’ fans hoping that Alonso will stay put by announcing “Liverpool will permit Xabi Alonso to leave if the midfield player publicly expresses his desire to join Real Madrid… The proposed transfer would be worth about Â£32million, with Liverpool likely to use the money to sign an attacking replacement.”
Coming in with the dissenting opinion is Rory Smith who challenges that even if Alonso tries to force a move it may well be that Rafa refuses to sell. “Even a transfer request may not be enough. Benitez is also facing a battle to keep hold of Javier Mascherano, Alonsoâ€™s midfield partner, another player thought to have intimated a wish to move to pastures new, with Barcelona his preferred destination. In both cases, the Liverpool manager is resolute enough to risk retaining unsettled players unless a suitable offer arrives.”
Surveying potential replacements for Alonso, Ian Hebert scribbles “Internazionale’s Argentine Esteban Cambiasso and Udinese’s Gaetano D’Agostino are seen as prospective replacements.”
Have Manchester United really stopped spending this summer?
Despite Sir Alex’s bullish stance that the champions are unlikely to sign any more players this summer, Oliver Kay simply does not buy Ferguson’s statement in The Times. “By his own admission, he likes to tell porkies in press conferences… United have already been in contact with Gremio over a deal for Douglas Costa, the latest ‘new Ronaldinho,’ and are looking at a few other Brazilian and Italian teenagers, but I donâ€™t think theyâ€™ll be spending big, big money.” Matt Dickinson follows suit barking “Sir Alex Ferguson is as liable to tell the world his club’s transfer policy as he is to disclose his PIN on Sky Sports News. But if his declaration yesterday that Manchester United have finished their summer spending is based on fact, we can declare the championship race well and truly on – with Liverpool as marginal favourites.”
Poor, poor Newcastle fans wake up this Tuesday to read their worst nightmare in print, Louise Taylor claiming “there is a growing possibility that Newcastle United will not be sold this summer. A source close to the efforts to find a buyer for the Championship club has revealed that Mike Ashley may still be in control at St James’ Park this autumn.”
Are Spurs finally set to move in the transfer market?
The Telegraph splash with the news that “Tottenham set to offer Inter Milan’s Patrick Vieira pay-as-you-go deal… Inter Milan are said to have given their consent to Harry Redknapp to begin negotiations with the 33-year-old who could join on a free transfer.” The Mail’s Simon Jones jumps on the story too, excitedly reporting that “Vieira is so keen for the chance to work with Redknapp that he is willing to accept wages of around Â£35,000 a week, a massive reduction on his Inter Milan deal where he is among their highest paid players.”
Keeping with the Lilywhites, Alan Nixon claims in the Mirror that “Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp made a remarkable Â£11million double raid for Sheffield United’s young fullbacks Kyle Naughton and Kyle Walker yesterday.”
Aston Villa are also said to be gearing up to splash the cash with the Mirror linking the Midlanders with a Â£7 million bid for Leeds’ Fabien Delph while the Star’s Ian Edwards adds “Martin O’Neill aims to complete a Â£24m double move for Darren Bent and Stewart Downing this week.”
In other transfer news, the Independent let slip that “South Africa midfielder Kagiso Dikgacoi has been linked with a move to Fulham, after interest from Portsmouth was denied,” the Daily Mail print “Lorik Cana says he will back out of a move to Hamburg should Everton launch a last-gasp Â£6million bid in the next 24 hours,” while Martin Blackburn writes “Phil Brown will make a Â£10million offer for Cardiff duo Joe Ledley and Ross McCormack this week.”