Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “Many say Cristiano [Ronaldo] will leave but only he knows the answer. It’s clear a guy like Franck [Ribery] would be the ideal solution for United if Cristiano left. Of course I talk to Franck about it, I tell him ‘you had better come here.'”Â – Patrice Evra.
Runner-up: “You know, when someone has great qualities sometimes they don’t have to put much effort into things. Sometimes the things I do look effortless but it’s not like that. It’s very difficult, but because of my style of play I make it look easy.” – Dimitar Berbatov in an interview with Sam Wallace.
Today’s overview: It’s the day after the day that was for Newcastle fans, and the rebuilding work at St. James’ Park is already starting to take shape. Well, that’s in the papers at least.
The big news for the Toon, as reported by Louise Taylor, is that Alan Shearer is preparing to negotiate a new four year contract in which “the former England captain seems set to demand autonomy over recruitment, a radical backroom revamp and a significant transfer budget… possibly as much as Â£30m.” Shearer’s demands drop in The Times, demand complete autonomy over playing matters at St James’ Park and will request a transfer budget in excess of Â£10 million on top of whatever money he can bring in through player sales.” Picking up the middle ground is Simon Bird, writing “Shearer wants control of all recruitment and a budget between Â£10m to Â£15m to rebuild the squad.”
But, according to Paul Kelso, finances at Newcastle have been crippled by their relegation. “At a stroke wiped an estimated Â£90 million off the value of a club priced at twice that nine months ago. Relegation is a sporting disaster for the city of Newcastle and the north east, but for its owner the financial implications of this car-crash season run deep.” Over in the Independent Newcastle’s losses are made to look slightly better, Michael Walker writing “even taking into account so-called parachute payments, Newcastle’s income is estimated to fall Â£50m in the first year alone.”
In a supplementary article by Louise Taylor, the hack paints the picture that Newcastle may be too poor to be cheap with regards to appointing Shearer, in which “it will be a major surprise if the former England captain does not get his way as the reality is Ashley desperately needs Shearer onboard, and onside, if he is to recoup the cash he has poured into Newcastle.”
No sooner have Burnley won their Premier League promotion, before party-pooper Jamie Jackson bursts the Claret’s bubble. “Of the 17 previous occasions a team has reached the nirvana of Premier League football courtesy of the play-off final 10 have gone straight back down. This has to be a concerning statistic for the Clarets, and one that explodes the myth which says the jackpot received by clubs for reaching football’s most lucrative league will allow them a long and comfortable stay in the big-time.”
Tony Cascarino continues to shovel the bad news in Burnley’s direction, farting “the best team Burnley have had for decades are no longer good enough. Without shrewd and significant investment in the transfer market â€” Iâ€™m talking Â£20 million â€” they will go down.”
Owen Coyle is placed on a pedestal after orchestrating Burnley’s playoff victory. Dubbed “the latest in a long line of visionary Scottish managers” by Oliver Kay, Conrad Leach labelled Coyle an “inspirational manager.”
Henry Winter flags up his Premier League team of the season, commenting “Stephen Ireland has raided forward fantastically well for Manchester City, Ian Ashbee has been a real leader for Hull while Danny Murphy has galvanised Fulham’s midfield.”
Proving that some footballers barely get a summer break,Theo Walcott has been caught in the middle of a club-versus-country row after he told Arsenal that he wants to play for the England senior and Under-21 teams this summer. If Walcott gets his way, he would have only six days off before the start of next season.”
Looking ahead to the Champions League final, Daniel Taylor runs the risk of counting his chickens way before time, talking about how Manchester United will honour Darren Fletcher should they win the trophy. “One possibility is that they will wear T-shirts in his name for the lap of honour, as they did for Alan Smith when he missed the 2006 Carling Cup final victory because of a broken leg.” Also making his predictions for a United victory, Martin Samuel readies himself by arguing “make no mistake, if Manchester United beat Barcelona tomorrow, it will be the most significant victory by an English club in European competition.”
Several United players receive their own features this Tuesday.
In an article focusing on Dimitar Berbatov, Oliver Kay observes how the Bulgarian “has been more passenger than driving force as the United bandwagon has accelerated towards its goals.” James Ducker looks at United’s South Korean star, Park Ji-Sung. “While his every move is pored over in his native South Korea â€” think David Beckham or the Queen â€” barely a word outside of the obligatory mentions in match reports has been written about the energetic midfield player in this country.”
From left-field, Ian Wright rants against those who want Barca to win the final. “Purists? Puerile more like. You know the types. They drink their cups of tea with their little fingers in the air and prattle on about how La Liga is so much more sophisticated than the Premier League. They have not got a clue. I am sick of hearing how Barcelona deserve to be crowned champions of Europe because have more technically-gifted players than United. What rubbish. What about the technically-gifted players at United?”
Terry Sheringham writes a guest post in the Guardian reliving his 1999 Champions League final experience. “It was a complete shock how we turned it around and to this day people come up to me and tell me that by the time they had finished celebrating the first goal we were celebrating the second one.”
Turning to Barca,He quickly stamped his authority, introducing stricter discipline after the slackness of the last days under Rijkaard. Idling players, notably Deco and Ronaldinho, were moved on and greater teamwork was emphasised.”
North of the border, Gordon Strachan has walked out on Celtic, leaving a ripple effect of rumours and speculation in the papers.
In the space of three paragraphs the Guardian’s Ewan Murray manages to spread his net wide linking Tony Mowbray, Owen Coyle, Mark McGhee, Mick ÂMcCarthy, Alan Curbishley and long-shot David Moyes to the vacant job at Parkhead. Tony Mowbray, Owen Coyle and Mark McGhee in The Times, while also throwing the name of Dundee United’s Craig Levein into the hat.
Keeping with the managerial merry-go-round, according toSteve Bruce has indicated that he would be interested in discussing the managerial vacancy at Sunderland.”
But one manager staying put is Jose Mourinho, Jason Burt in the Telegraph, barking “Jose Mourinho has agreed a new three-year contract with Inter Milan worth a staggering 9.5 million euros (Â£8.3m) a year which, in all probability, makes him the highest-paid man in football.” While over in The Sun, it is reported that “the Special One will earn Â£8.8m a season AFTER tax â€” around Â£170,000 a week â€” until 2012.”committed himself to Inter Milan until 2012 by signing a contract extension that could earn the Portuguese almost Â£15.4 million per year.” A different balance sheet is offered by
The Guardian have their usual Tuesday European round-up, beginning with Paolo Baldini’s report on Paolo Maldini’s last match for AC Milan at the San Siro, which was ruined by “seeing one of the greatest defenders of all-time leave the club he dedicated his entire career to with taunts and whistles in his ears.” Moving to Germany, Raphael Honigstein shines the spotlight on Felix Magath for leading Wolfsburg to the Bundesliga title, noting how “the 55-year-old’s feat also represents the triumph of a very risky experiment. Magath was given near total control over sporting matters by the club, an unfamiliar set-up in the Bundesliga, which has always prided itself on checks and balances.”
In France, Ben Lyttleton realises that while Bordeaux are on the cusp on the title so their line-up is set to be diosmantled. “[Marouane Chamakh] may not be the only departure. Gourcuff’s future is still up in the air, midfielder Fernando is on his way to Serie A, while centre-back Souleymane Diawara is on the wish-list of Marseille’s new coach, Didier Deschamps.” Lastly, Sid Lowe give all the details ahead of the final day in La Liga. “From 14th to 18th, five teams, separated by just two points, can now slip into the relegation zone next Sunday: Osasuna, Sporting, Betis, Getafe and, for the first time, Valladolid. When the dust settles, head-to-head goal difference looks likely to settle it. In fact, yellow cards could even settle it: if Betis lose 1-0 and Getafe lose 3-1 while their rivals win, Getafe would go down because they’re dirtier.”
We end, as standard, with the transfer gossip.
After months of rumours linking Kenwyne Jones to Spurs, the Guardian’s David Hytner now suggests that the Liltywhites will turn focus on the other Black Cat forward. “Tottenham Hotspur will step up their pursuit of Djibril Cisse after the striker severed his ties with Sunderland. Spurs are confident of closing the deal with Harry Redknapp, their manager, prepared to listen to offers for Darren Bent and Roman Pavlyuchenko.” Staying with Spurs, The Sun claim that “Tottenham are poised to make it second time lucky in their bid to land Bulgarian winger Martin Petrov.”
The Daily Mail summarise the latest rumours circling on Wolves. “Wolves have abandoned an ambitious bid to sign Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone after being quoted an asking price of Â£8million.They are still pursuing Standard Liege defender Oguchi Onyewu, Chelsea’s Michael Mancienne and Celtic striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink.” Elsewhere in the Mail we learn “Chelsea believe they have beaten their former manager Jose Mourinho to the Â£12million signature of FC Twente striker Marko Arnautovic.”
In the last of the rumours, John Cross claims “Arsene Wenger has made an Â£8million move for Fulham star Brede Hangeland,” while Danny Fullbrook pens that “Manchester City and Spurs are in a Â£12m head-to-head battle for Gareth Barry.”