Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “The reports are absolutely ridiculous and so far wide of the mark it’s unreal. KakÃ¡ would command a price around that of previous world-best players. But at the moment it is difficult to pick an exact number. A hundred million, in pounds or euros, is ridiculous. It doubles the previous record for a transfer and, in the current economic climate, how could there possibly be a return on that or a salary of Â£500,000 a-week? You could do so much else with that amount of money. And, whatever happens, there would be no lump sum payment: payments would be over time. You have to remember also that the player has not even been spoken to by us â€“ he is simply one of a list that interests Mark Hughes. We merely said, ‘Ok, this might be nice.’ It’s a process like viewing a house. If you like what you see, then you take it on a stage. It should be remembered that Manchester City’s owner is an intelligent man. He will not just throw money at anything. And Gary Cook [City chief executive] was formerly at Nike so knows all about intellectual property rights.” – “a highly placed source close to City’s owner” according to the Observer.
Runner-up: “The phones are there. Pick up the phone, it works both ways. I don’t have a problem to talk to anyone in the club. They offered me to talk about an extension and I said OK, but we have to do it quickly. After two months of conversations they know my ideas. I said OK, we cannot progress, finish the conversations and concentrate on football. I have an agreement with Liverpool for one and a half years and I want to be here for a long time. I can guarantee I am focused on winning games and trophies for Liverpool.” – Rafa Benitez.
Today’s overview: The Sundays, as may have been expected, are saturated with reports on Manchester City’s bid for Kaka. But while there is the usual mix of nonsense and unsupported speculation, several talking heads also make themselves look rather dumb by inventing arguments as to why the deal in principle makes no sense.
The News of the World raise the bar on the Kaka story by reporting that Real Madrid could hijack the deal. According the David Harrison, “Madrid can match Cityâ€™s bid but will not come close to equalling the Â£500,000-a-week wages that the Eastlands club have offered.”
Paul Hayward goes on the offensive against the Kaka-City rumours, mocking the Citizens for being run by “a sheikh who is buying a side by remote control and sees no discrepancy in plonking Brazil’s best player in the same squad as Danny Mills.” Paul Wilson adds his pessimism to the mix claiming “all the money in the world could persuade Kaka to leave Milan, in other words, but could it persuade him to join Manchester City?”
Somewhat prematurely, Duncan White and Rory Smith are with their fingers in the cookie jar, spending the Â£103 million which AC Milan hope to raise from the Kaka deal. “Top of their list of targets are the Arsenal pair Emmanuel Adebayor and Gael Clichy, with Milan prepared to part with close to Â£40 million to bring them to the San Siro.”
On Saturday night the Milanisti made their feelings clear, Ian Hawkey observing how “they unfurled a banner over the vacant space: ‘We too are weighing up the offer.’ In short: Take the money for Kaka and lose our season-ticket income.”
One transfer apparently in the bag at Eastlands is the capture of Craig Bellamy, Ian Herbert then adds two more players to the City squad saying “City were awaiting a response last night to their increased bid for Newcastle’s keeper Shay Given, believed to be about Â£10m, and Steve Bruce was also resigned to Mark Hughes signing Wilson Palacios.” While Bob Cass, without a shred of supporting evidence, enters the realms of fantasy land claiming that City are set to target Leo Messi, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney!Â£14m.
Jumping on his leftist soapbox, James Corrigan whinges about the figures being spoken of in the Kaka dealings. “Some will find it impossible to blot out images of the new hospital wings, schools and inner-city playing areas that could have been built with the money he will cost. That’s because to us it is just wrong. And that is a feeling that will remain stubbornly unaffected, however persuasive the debate.” And also offering a pompous and self-righteous opinion is Piers Morgan who argues “Sparky, the honest, tough, feet-firmly-on-the-ground professional football man has been replaced by Sparky 2, a ridiculous, idiotic laughing stock who seems to have taken all leave of his senses.”
Another daft opinion is offered by Andy Dunn, who conjures up an argument that by destablising Kaka with rumours of a Â£100m plus bid, that in itself is evidence that City should pass on the Brazilian. “What is wrong with Cristiano Ronaldo? Or Lionel Messi? Or Fernando Torres?… Not only do those individuals know that greatness is not measured in salary noughts, they are indispensable to their clubs. Kaka clearly is not. And that should be the loudest amidst a cacophony of alarm bells ringing in City heads.”
In a standout article from Ian Ridley, the Mail on Sunday journalist compares the situations at Eastlands and Anfield. “Coming alongside Rafael Benitez’s refusal to sign a new contract at Liverpool until he is given more direct input in transfer policy, it shouts of the power struggles and new dynamics within the modern, moneyed English game and begs the question of just who runs clubs these days.”
Patrick Barclay criticises Liverpool’s internal politics for doing “little but offer the players an excuse (which, to their credit, they show a reluctance to take) for missing out on Liverpool’s best chance of a domestic title since 1990.” Yet Sir Bobby Robson empathises with Rafa’s position, identifying that “this is a guy who is trying to build the club from top to bottom, like I did at Ipswich, or Arsene Wenger has at Arsenal. I’m not sure they can find anyone else to do it with such passion and commitment.”
Is the Roman revolution over? It seems so according to Sadie Gray also reports on the story, adding “city analysts say Â£800m would be needed to buy Mr Abramovich out of the Premiership club.”Abramovich, the Russian billionaire, has been taking soundings over selling Chelsea football club to Gulf Arabs… [yet] there has been no evidence so far of a potential buyer.”
In a fine critique, Rod Liddle rants against the lack of loyality in the Premier League. “There is not a soupÃ§on of loyalty among the players, just a bottomless pit of hubris and venality. The notion that a player should have a sort of spiritual commitment to his club, to his teammates and to the supporters has long since gone.”
Lastly, the NOTW’s Rob Beasley copmes to the defence of West Ham in the Tevez affair by publishing “documents West Ham insist will prevent them being hit with a points deduction and another massive fine in the long-running Carlos Tevez scandal… So today, we publish the full, incredible story of how former Hammers boss Alan Curbishley personally handed Tevez a terse legal letter West Ham claim terminated his controversial third party agreement with the club.”