Tuesday, May 15th, 2012
Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “The creation of the tasteless material is in itself reprehensible and, in accepting and brandishing it, Carlos has made a significant error of judgment. The club wish to express their sincerest apologies to Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United Football Club for any offence or distress caused.” – an unnamed Manchester City spokesperson.
Runner-up: “Under this manager I don’t have the feeling any more that he will put me in the side every week. I’m under no illusion about playing every week. But I believe I am still good enough to play for Liverpool every week. My physical stats are better than ever before. Last season I was scoring goals all over the place. But this season the manager bought three players who all played in my position. In the rotation system he used, I never found my rhythm again and never felt my old self. Deep in my heart I’d love to stay at Liverpool so I could have full revenge on everyone in my final season at the club.” – Dirk Kuyt.
What’s Next For Manchester City?
Manchester City’s next task is to strike Champions League gold (David Conn, Guardian)
City can sign anyone they want to now (Ian Wright, Sun) I genuinely believe the Etihad Stadium will now turn into one of THE places where any footballer on the planet would want to ply his trade. And yes, you can include the likes of Lionel Messi and even Cristiano Ronaldo in that as well.
Ferguson critical of triumphant City for paying ‘stupid money and silly salaries’ (Ian Herbert, Independent) Mancini retains a keen interest in Edinson Cavani… [while] Cavani’s Argentine team-mate Ezequiel Levezzi, whom Mancini also admires, has a €28m buyout, though he looks more destined for Internazionale. Mancini’s staff have also recently watched Athletic Bilbao’s exciting defensive midfielder Javi Martinez – not a top target but a contender. The £7m-rated Montpellier midfielder, Younes Belhanda, is being monitored, as a Hazard back-up.\
Tevez & The “RIP Fergie” Sign
City paint the town blue… but see red over Tevez gaffe as striker aims ill-advised barb at Sir Alex (Ian Ladyman, Mail) Tevez has a rudimentary grasp of English and there were doubts on Tuesday night as to whether the 28-year-old even understands what ‘RIP’ means. It is thought he may have just been caught up in the carnival atmosphere.
Manchester City apologise for Carlos Tevez’s ‘R.I.P Fergie’ banner (Guardian) Tevez was smiling as he lifted the banner above his head on the top of City’s open-top bus parade but later said: “I got carried away in the excitement of the moment and I certainly didn’t mean any disrespect to Sir Alex Ferguson, who I admire as a man and a manager.”
The Red Runners-Up
United’s financial reality? Trying to play catch-up (Independent) One-by-one, the competitive certainties which United once possessed in the transfer market are being whittled away. They can no longer say they pay the most, or that they win most and, looming on the horizon albeit possibly three years away, is the crater which Ferguson’s departure will form. From a United perspective, Manchester felt like a cold, unsparing place to be when the sky blue flags flew yesterday.
Reviews Of The 2011/12 EPL Season
A season of SHOCK and AWE! The craziest year football has ever seen (Matt Lawton, Mail) We have never seen more goals – 1,066 in all – and for the 12 million spectators who passed through the turnstiles, and the billions more who have watched around the world on television, there have been some belters… Today there should be a new toast. ‘Vive le Premier League.’ Absolutely bloody amazing.
A Premier League of ups, downs and outs leaves a legacy of flaws (Kevin McCarra, Guardian) The Champions League finalists finish sixth in the league, Manchester United lose an eight-point lead and Manchester City lose five away games but end up winners.
An exciting league season? Without a doubt. But the best ever? No chance (James Lawton, Independent)
Hodgson’s 1st Euro Pick: Gary Neville
Roy Hodgson’s decision to take Gary Neville to Euro 2012 with England makes sense in so many ways (Henry Winter, Telegraph) Gary Neville is England’s new ghost-buster, the new Bryan Robson of the England coaching set-up, brought in to fight the fears. Like Robson at Euro 96, Neville will get into the players’ hearts, easing doubts and inspiring them, while Roy Hodgson gets into their minds, organising them for the tactical tests ahead.
Well I Never! (Shaun Custis, Sun) The man who blasted the FA, backed Harry for England and tried to lead a players’ strike is appointed in England’s backroom team.
New coach Neville seen as ‘future England manager’ (Sam Wallace, Independent) It demonstrates Hodgson’s open-mindedness that he approached Neville over the job two days after the player admitted in his Mail on Sunday column of 6 May that he would have chosen Harry Redknapp as England manager. In the same column, Neville urged Hodgson to pick his backroom staff carefully. He wrote at the time: “I’ve seen England managers who have been surrounded only by mates, people who weren’t experienced at international level, and it didn’t work because they weren’t challenged.”
Get The Eck Out
Roberto Martínez tops Aston Villa shortlist after Alex McLeish is axed (Guardian) Wigan Athletic’s Roberto Martínez and Paul Lambert at Norwich City are the early frontrunners, with Swansea City’s Brendan Rodgers also likely to come under consideration as Villa step up their search for a young and hungry manager capable of reinvigorating the club.
Villa eye Lambert (Sun) Despite Norwich chief executive David McNally issuing a hands-off warning to Villa, it has become clear they are fighting a losing battle to hold on to the 42-year-old Scot, who defied the odds to guide the Canaries to 12th in the Premier League… Sources close to Lambert claim he would jump at the chance to follow in O’Neill’s footsteps and take charge of the ailing Midlands giants.
Villa make Lambert their top target (Independent)
Alex McLeish’s sacking is at least one decision Aston Villa got right (Stuart James, Guardian) Aston Villa’s owner, Randy Lerner, has made two disastrous management appointments. He cannot afford another.
Deja Vu: Can Arsenal Keep Their Captain
City in for RVP (Sun) The Arsenal skipper, will tomorrow hold showdown talks with Gunners manager Arsene Wenger over his future. The Dutch striker, 28, is entering the final year of his £80,000-a-week contract and new champs City are preparing an opening offer of £20million. His agent Kees Vos has been spotted at the Etihad Stadium.
Exclusive: Arsenal to offer £130,000 per week and £5m signing-on fee to keep Van Persie (Mail) Arsenal are putting the finishing touches on a club record £7million-per-season deal to keep Robin van Persie… Van Persie could earn as much as £220,000-per-week at Manchester City and the player’s agent Kees Vos was a guest of executive Brian Marwood at a recent Etihad Stadium match.
Robin van Persie’s curtain call: a platitude or a goodbye to Arsenal? (Amy Lawrence, Guardian0 Arsenal’s directors will look to ensure this week that the Gunners talisman does not bid a farewell to arms.
Is Robin Gunner leave? Manchester City are closing in on sensational £25m deal for van Persie (Mirror) Big-spending City are prepared to more than TREBLE his wages to £250,000-a-week.
Bad Boy Barton
While Joey Barton plays up to middle-class prejudices he remains a prisoner of his own violent nature (Paul Hayward, Telegraph) It was the malice in Joey Barton’s face as he kneed Sergio Agüero from behind that told you what really goes on inside him: not clever Nietzschean discourse or Chomsky-esque rumination, but a need to hurt, a faith in violence that is swiftly followed by a victim stance.
Sacking Barton may prove too costly for QPR (Independent) Queen’s Park Rangers want to dismiss Joey Barton, whom they expect to be banned for up to 11 games following his conduct at Manchester City on Sunday, though the lucrative terms of his long-term contract will make the cost of doing so a staggering £12.5m.
£13m Jan has VIP Spurs visit (Sun) Jan Vertonghen has been given a VIP tour of admirers Tottenham. Spurs are set to pip Arsenal for the Ajax skipper, who was snuck into White Hart Lane to watch the season finale against Fulham, before being shown around their new training ground.