Why Liverpool are not in danger from debt (yet) & could Alan Shearer be set to take over at the Baggies?

Comment & analysis round-up

Quote of the day: “Some movement was not okay. Some movement on the pitch was not perfect so I suggested to some players a different move. I’m very happy with the performance of the team. They started very strong but after 20 minutes we improved. This was an important win because it was three points away from home. Now we have to win our next game and that will give us 21 points — a very good score before the last three games.” – Fabio Capello.

Runner-up: “It is disgraceful United are allowed to rape Brazilian football. The big teams have the money and can take our best players. It is a big problem in Brazil. The clubs cannot keep hold of them if they are good young players because they can make much more money in other countries. They should change the law so at least until the age of 20 or 21 the best players are playing in Brazil and get some experience before moving to Europe.” – Carlos Alberto.

Today’s overview: The papers struggle to come up with anything too inspiring after England went to Kazakhstan and won comfortably against a team they were expected to beat.

Flying the flag of St. George high, Patrick Collins gushes “England are sailing towards qualification with a perfect record. Times have changed. And Fabio Capello may take most of the credit for changing them.”

For Paul Wilson, “once England got a grip on what was always a physical contest, they were rewarded,” while Paul Hayward offered a slightly more detailed critique writing “England left a febrile venue with another quartet of goals and a clean sheet. To adapt Sven-Goran Eriksson: first-half not so good, second-half serene.” Completing the air of quiet confidence, Kevin Gardside penned “England looked like a team reinforcing belief that a corner is being turned in the fortunes of the national side.”

Others though chose to focus more on the negatives.

On the opening half hour of the match, Ian Herbert commented “for 30 minutes his side looked anything but world class and the Kazakhs fleetingly seemed set to do what the Dutch did to our cricketers at Lord’s 48 hours early.” Rob Draper went a step further to call out those who underperformed, shouting “England’s worst offenders were Gareth Barry and Matthew Upson, who conceded possession with a regularity that belied their status.”

Yet the consensus opinion was that Theo Walcott was England’s worst performer as The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph and the Sunday Mirror all awarded the winger a lowly 5/10 in their markings.

Comfortably, the most poetic summary was delivered by Jonathan Northcroft. “England played some of their worst football under Fabio Capello yet won handsomely and scored one of their best goals of the modern era, courtesy of Wayne Rooney. It was like watching a room of monkeys bashing haphazardly at typewriters before one came up with a Shakespeare sonnet.”

However, Henry Winter did his best to offer a similar lyrically-impressive match report, opting to focus attention on Gerrard and Roonay. “If England are to shine next summer, Capello knows he will rely heavily on Rooney and Gerrard. Technically adept, innately adventurous, the pair share Capello’s obsession with not giving away the ball. To an extent, Gerrard and Rooney are forces of nature, best when emulating the street football of their youth, when invited to express God-given talents.”

In arguably an article that it is too soon to write, Ian Hawkey wonders who will win the 2010 World Cup, suggesting “European champions Spain will be the team to beat in 2010, but the Egyptians and Brazilians should give them a contest.”

YaaBooSucks to all those Liverpool naysayers!

Liverpool have reacted bullishly to claims that they are on the point of financial meltdown by insisting they expect to be able to outspend both Manchester United and Arsenal in the transfer market this summer.” In a supplementary article Nick Harris further explains why Liverpool, and their Big Four compatriots, are in no imminent danger from debt. “Debt in itself will not bring down United, Arsenal, Liverpool or Chelsea any day soon. It’s the smaller clubs — the Darlingtons, Accringtons and Chesters, and in the Premier League, ailing Portsmouth before the recent Middle East saviours came along — who are being, and might be, brought down by debt. And by relatively trifling sums.”

Yet others appear not to have received Harris’ memo. On the Red’s activity in the transfer market, Duncan White observed “everywhere they look, Liverpool are being outmanoeuvred. Instead of adding to their squad Liverpool have been put on the defensive.” Elsewhere, Jamie Jackson repeats the calls for Liverpool and Everton to join forces on a joint new stadium. ”

Could it be the Alan Shearer is in fact not being primed as Newcastle’s messiah?

In an amazing article from Bob Cass in the Mail on Sunday that challenges all the guff of the past few weeks, we learn that “owner Mike Ashley has made it clear that fans’ favourite Shearer is not his first choice as manager to revive the club after their disastrous relegation from the Premier League. The Mail On Sunday can reveal that even if the former striker had succeeded in keeping Newcastle up in his eight games in charge, Ashley would have risked yet more anger from supporters by offering the job to Steve Bruce instead… whatever regime emerges, it is increasingly unlikely to include Shearer.”

The News of the World go one step further, plotting Shearer’s next movements in football. According to Martin Hardy, “Alan Shearer is ready to quit Newcastle and take over at West Brom… Shearer emerged as the shock favourite to replace Baggies boss Tony Mowbray, who is expected to move to Celtic this week. Once Mowbray’s departure is confirmed, negotiations will begin with the Shearer camp.”

And the madness around the Magpies does not stop there as Brian McNally lifts the lid on an EXCLUSIVE regarding a possible takeover of the Black and Whites. “Former Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd will launch a £75million takeover bid this week to resume control at the stricken Tyneside club.”

Slightly out of leftfield, but nevertheless still a hugely valid point, Ian Bell rants against the ridiculous salary levels of Premier League footballers. “Players’ wages are a reliable source of bafflement, but a vicious recession can make you wonder just who is deluded: us or those we reward outrageously when thousands are losing their jobs. Yet a country up in arms over the piddling fiddles perpetuated by MPs puts up with football’s vices. The monster is too familiar.”

We end off with the transfer gossip, kicking off with a helpful article from the Independent on Sunday’s Steve Tongue that collates all the mooted Premier League comings and goings from the last seven days.

The Mirror peddle a heap of unlikely stories, beginning with Steve Stammers’ claim that “Robin van Persie is wanted by Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan. The Italian champions are preparing a £25million bid for the Arsenal striker.” According to Michael Morgan, “Sir Alex Ferguson has joined the chase for Sheffield United’s £7million-rated whizz-kid Kyle Naughton.”

Brian McNally quickly comes charging in with news that “Sunderland are set to launch a £15million bid to keep Middlesbrough’s Stewart Downing in the north-east,” before the hack loudly farts that “Roma are eyeing a summer swoop for Michael Owen.” Keeping with Owen, Chris Bascombe contends that “Owen will have to take a staggering £70,000-a-week pay cut if he wants to resurrect his career at Aston Villa.” And the Owen-Villa link is cemented by Alan Oliver who prints “Michael Owen will turn his back on Everton – and join his former Liverpool strike partner Emile Heskey at Aston Villa… The forward is prepared to take a 50 per cent cut in his £100,000-plus weekly wage to end his four years of misery on Tyneside.”

Removing any doubts from the equation, Paul Hetherington claims that “England right-back Glen Johnson is heading back to Chelsea in a stunning ­£16.5million deal.” No one seems to have told the NOTW who print “Liverpool are confident of beating Chelsea to the signing of £10million Glen Johnson.”

Joleon Lescott is in big demand this weekend. According to John Richardson “Everton will allow Joleon Lescott the final decision on an £18million move to big-spending Manchester City. The England central defender, 26, is also on Arsenal’s radar but Arsene Wenger is only prepared to go to £12m.” Yet a slightly different take is offering by Andy Dunn claiming “City will offer Micah Richards as bait in their bid to snap up Joleon Lescott.”

Scraping the barrell, the NOTW link Sunderland with Titus Bramble, Alan Nixon bleats “Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce is ready to swoop for Paris St Germain star Jerome Rothen – and make him into the new Tugay,” while the bombshell in the People sees Scott Piecha announce “Tottenham are leading the race to sign Ruud van Nistelrooy – with Real Madrid ready to let the Dutch hitman go for just £1.25million.”