Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “He wasn’t [protesting about United]. Before the game he [Tevez] said: ‘Someone told me there was an article in the newspaper about me last week’ and I said, ‘Yes, there was and they were saying you were not a prolific goalÂscorer.’ So he said: ‘I want to know where the pressbox is because I want to go and show them my ears if they wrote that.’ He pretty much feels that there is a very big chance that his time [United] has come to an end. He has loved his time there. The glory and the time he has had at Manchester United have been special to him but he also Ârealises they have not offered him a contract or wanted to sign him up and that means he has to move on… I don’t want to say it’s going to be Liverpool, City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham â€“ whoever you can pick out â€“ Milan, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus. The key is that at the present moment Carlos is a United player and he’s focused on being a United player for the rest of the season.”-Â Kia Joorabchian.
Runner-up: “Steven [Gerrard]’s performances this season have been of the highest quality. His drive and desire have underpinned Liverpool’s Premier League title challenge and ensured a tight finish to the season. Steven is clearly in his prime and quite rightly rated one of the finest midfield players of his generation and the FWA are delighted to honour his contribution to club and country.” Football Writers’ Association chairman, Steve Bates.
Today’s overview: With no one story dominating this Wednesday, attention is split between an analysis of the new government proposals for the Premier League and a collection of opinions over the proposed Ancelotti-Chelsea union next season.
Oliver Kay investigates the new quota system which is set to be introduced into the Premier League from next season. “Clubs [will be] required to name a squad of 25 players, including a minimum of four home-grown players (which means products of their own youth academies, even if imported from overseas) and another four home-grown players who can fall under the ‘locally trained’ category â€” for example, Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick at Manchester United.” Another proposal wrapped up with the new quota system, as reported by Paul Kelso, is “the possibility of setting aside a central pool of television money to be shared among clubs based on the performance of their academy system.”
Looking for more reform in football, Martin Samuel rants against the practice of loans. “Too often, loans are stop-gap, short-term, flags of convenience. They hold back investment in youth, thwart ambition and reward temporary strategies. Players have no roots and, worse, neither do clubs… At a time when so many wish football back to basics, it is ironic that the greatest carpetbagging scam of all is the modern game’s sacred cow.”
With Manchester United homing in on the title, Daniel Taylor comments on how Sir Alex is a successful tinkerman. “Ferguson has not named the same team for successive matches once this season and, with more changes planned tonight, it will be 65 games since he last resisted the temptation to stick with his starting XI, going back to the beginning of May last year… Ferguson has made rotation his forte, using a combination of computer analysis and his judgment.” But its not all good news for United fans this Wednesday, John Sterlicchi asks “are the Glazers, the enigmatic family that owns Manchester United and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, strapped for cash?”
Painting Chelsea as the doting mistress waiting for the call from their lover, Dominic Fifield describes how the Blues are on tenderhooks waiting to hear if Carlo Ancelotti will dump AC Milan for West London. “Chelsea may have to wait until Milan have qualified for the Champions League before knowing definitively whether Carlo Ancelotti is to swap San Siro for Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.” Chelsea are also described as the picture of instability in The Times, the broadsheet commenting how Ancelotti has “concerns about leaving a club he has served with distinction for eight years, particularly as his proposed destination represents the polar opposite of the stability he enjoys at Milan.”
Yet a totally different scenery is set by Jason Burt in the Telegraph, the scribe claiming “Chelsea remain confident that Carlo Ancelotti will become their new manager and are already discussing their summer transfer plans with the Italian, who has signed a pre-contract agreement on a three-year deal to take over at Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.” More positive forecasts are provided by Sam Wallace penning “Chelsea are already preparing the way for Carlo Ancelotti to take over as manager by making assurances to the current assistant first-team coach, Ray Wilkins, that he will be required next season to act as a bridge between the Italian and his players.”
Glenn Moore explains why Ancelotti fits Chelsea’s needs. “He has won the Champions League twice as a player (in its original incarnation as the European Cup) and twice as a manager, he is used to accommodating an interfering owner, and he has an even temperament.”
From Spain, Sid Lowe reports on how Florentino Perez is poised to reclaim the presidency of Real Madrid. “Under Ramon Calderon, Madrid won two successive titles; the galacticos went three years without winning anything but they had Zidane… and Ronaldo… and Roberto Carlos… and David Beckham. And that is the point. Where Calderon failed to get Kaka and Ronaldo, Perez will always be remembered for succeeding in signing stars.” Keeping with Los Blancos, Rob Smyth writes of “The Forgotten Story Of… Real Madrid’s 107-goal season.”
Onto today’s transfer shenanigans.
According to Rory Smith, and reported across the paper divide, Rafa Benitez is issuing one final attempt to sign Valencia’s David Silva, offering Â£15 million “on the proviso the indebted Spanish club do not use Liverpoolâ€™s interest to start a bidding war.” Potentially leaving Anfield, David Woods writes that “Arsene Wenger is planning to go back in for Liverpoolâ€™s Xabi Alonso this summer.”
The Sun appear to invent the story that “Aston Villa and Spurs are keeping tabs on Mark Schwarzer after his great season.” The Mirror fart that “Everton boss David Moyes wants to take England hopeful Michael Mancienne on a season’s loan from FA Cup Final rivals Chelsea.” And Chril Wheeler claims “a Â£20million deal has already been agreed in principle for Wiganâ€™s Antonio Valencia to join United should Ronaldo be granted his wish to play in Spain with Real Madrid.”
From nowhere, Blackburn look ready to bolster their ranks. The Telegraph’s Mark Ogden announces how “Sam Allardyce has made an audacious move to lure Barcelona striker Bojan Krkic to Ewood Park on a season-long loan deal.”