Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “It is with considerable regret that we announce that Setanta has been unable to meet their obligations. As such the existing licence agreement between us has been terminated with immediate effect.” – a statement form the Premier League.
Runner-up: “David Villa is not for sale. But if there is an offer that is scandalously scandalous we will consider it.” – Valencia’s president, Manuel Llorente.
Today’s overview: Setanta have blown it, and now sit on the brink of collapse after failing to meet their financial obligations to pay Â£10 million to the Premier League by Friday. But what ever happened to the rescue bid from Access Industries which was trumpeted by the fifth estate earlier in the week?
According to Tom Dart, “[Setanta] had pinned its hopes on a rescue by Access Industries, a conglomerate owned by Len Blavatnik, a Russian-born American oligarch. However, Access has pulled out of a deal to save Setanta, which is likely to enter administration.” Blavatnik as the villain of the hour printing “Setanta is expected to fall into the hands of administrators after being stripped of its right to broadcast Premier League football matches next season and after its supposed Russian white knight pulled the rug from under a multimillion-pound investment.”
But a different reality is tabled by Owen Gibson and James Robinson in the Guardian writing “a source at Setanta said tonight that the rescue deal, under which Blavatnik had promised Â£20m for a 51% stake as part of a plan to restructure the broadcaster that would have also included another Â£20m in fresh investment and Â£50m from existing venture capital backers, had not collapsed. But at 6pm yesterday the Premier League decided it could wait no longer.”
Yet, over in the Telegraph Paul Kelso muddies the water surrounding Len Blavatnik even further. “Len Blavatnik… was understood to have put up Â£20million to service payments to the Premier League while conducting due diligence on Setantaâ€™s books. It is understood that the deal was thrown into doubt in the last 48 hours when due diligence revealed questions over alleged tax liabilities, both in the UK and in Luxembourg. The discovery is thought to have prompted Blavatnikâ€™s investment vehicle Access Industries to ask for more time to complete the technicalities of the deal, a request the Premier League rejected.”
Henry Winter delivers a tirade against the ridiculousness of the money sloshing around in the transfer window. “Football risks alienating even the most faithful supporters with its repulsive economics. Where footballers used to be sold for the cost of a new house, now they trade for the price of a new hospital… Unfortunately in football at the moment, mediocrity is rewarded.”
Having taken just as much as he can throughout the Confederations Cup, Simon Burton reads the riot act against the South Africans incessant tooting of their vuvuzelas. “It sounds like a platoon of ninja bumblebees with a bad mobile signal have left you a 45-minute answerphone message… Some people say the vuvuzela originates in a tribal instrument made from the horn of the kudu, blown to summon villagers to important meetings. Others say the vuvuzela originates in a plastics factory in China. The truth is unclear.”
Having lost to Egypt,If Egypt was impersonating the Italy of old, itâ€™s hard to say what the Azzurri looked like… [Lippi needs] to give the Azzurri a firm footballing identity, something theyâ€™ve lacked for a while now.”
We end with the vast column inches of transfer lies.
Starting on the continent, the big news is Valencia’s refusal to now part with striker David Villa. The main losers stand to be Real Madrid, with the Telegraph suggesting “the decision, if confirmed, could force Real to look for other forwards, with Spanish media pinpointing France international Karim Benzema of Lyon or Atletico Madrid’s Uruguayan star Diego Forlan as possible alternatives.” Staying in Spain, Darren Lewis claims that Barcelona are now tracking Ashley Young, and the story is repeated by Danny Fullbrook who adds Barca are ready to launch a Â£25m bid for the Aston Villa winger.
Poor Michael Owen. The Daily Mail look to name and shame the striker this Saturday by making public the striker’s full 32-page dossier produced in an effort to find a new employer.
As standard, Manchester City are said to be homing in on several transfer targets with the Independent’s Sam Wallace and Ian Herbert splashing with news that “Manchester City are confident they have the deal in place to sign Carlos Tevez… City [will] get Tevez for the asking price of Â£25.5m.”
James Ducker pens that Manchester City are set to bid Â£12 million for Kolo Toure. “[Wenger] has accepted that Toure wants to leave and would rather sell now than lose him for nothing when his contract expires next summer.” More frustratingly though is the article submitted by Mark Ogden on a sticking point in the Santa Cruz deal. “City are understood to be willing to offer Â£15 million for the Paraguay forward, with Rovers holding out for Â£18 million for the former Bayern Munich star.”
Moving onto the red half of Manchester, Christopher Davies claims “United are ready to give back some of the Â£80 million they will revceive from Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo for Spain goalkeeeper Iker Casillas.”
Liverpool fans will be angered by the Daily Mail who today issue a faceless article bleating “Javier Mascherano is set to leave Liverpool, with Barcelona preparing a Â£35million bid… [Barca] will offer around Â£20m plus possibly striker Bojan Krkic.”
In a round-up of the gossip circling around the top-flight London clubs, Pat Sheehan links Chelsea with aÂ Â£12 million moves for Roma’s Philippe Mexes, Darren Lewis spills the beans on how West Ham are trying to capture Mario Balotelli on a loan deal, while the Mirror print “Tottenham striker Roman Pavlyuchenko has ordered his agent to find him a new club.”