Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “They [Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie] are two fantastic players and it will be great to have both of them. It gives us more strength and more combinations up front. In 1999 I had Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the four best strikers in Europe. We are going towards that now with Javier Hernandez, Wayne Rooney, Robin, Danny Welbeck and Shinji Kagawa. It is a fantastic collection of players and hopefully I pick the right combinations It is great to have a player of Robin van Persie’s qualities to come into the squad. I am very pleased.” – Sir Alex Ferguson.
Runner-up: “To strengthen an enemy is the other negative point of this loss. We wanted to avoid it but we couldn’t. Honestly, I’d rather sell him abroad, to Paris Saint-Germain for example. Manchester United know him and know his qualities. He’s really an exceptional player, believe me.” – Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal after RVP: Is Song next?
Arsenal threaten to hijack Liverpool’s Sahin plan… if Song moves to Barca (Mail) Arsenal have made a last minute attempt to hijack Liverpool’s move for Nuri Sahin as they contemplate selling Alex Song. The Real Madrid midfielder was all set to join the Anfield club on a season-long loan but the Gunners have asked him to wait until Song’s future is resolved, a request the 23-year-old has agreed to. It is understood Sahin, who would rather join a Champions League club, prefers a move to Arsenal.
Arsene’s Nuri hunt (Sun) The Turkish Real Madrid midfielder was due to complete a one-year loan to Anfield deal yesterday. But Sahin, 23, was asked to delay a decision by the Gunners, who still believe they could end up selling Alex Song to Barcelona for £15million.
Life after RVP: Wilshere will inherit Dutch striker’s No 10 shirt at Arsenal (Mail) Sportsmail has learned that Wenger is unlikely to jump straight into the transfer market until it becomes clear he needs more firepower. Athletic Bilbao centre forward Fernando Llorente features highly on his wishlist and Arsenal spies have extensively watched Atletico Madrid forward Adrian Lopez.
Manchester United’s new attack
RVP will hand Utd title and fire-up Rooney (Steven Howard, Sun) United’s main rivals will be Chelsea with City dropping back to third and Arsenal completing the Champions League places.
Rooney’s new goal? Supply the bullets for his new partner in crime RVP (Jamie Redknapp, Mail) You imagine that Van Persie and Rooney will be the first-choice front pair, although you’d expect Rooney to drop deeper for big matches and a lot of European games, when Sir Alex prefers to play one striker. Rooney can then help out in midfield, sit on the opposition’s defensive midfielder and provide goals for the Dutchman. A lot of Van Persie’s goals last season came from central balls from Alex Song and Rooney might end up being the creator as much as the goalscorer.
Gunners have hit target with sale of Van Persie (Simon English, Independent) The £24m the Gunners will pocket for Robin van Persie is, he says, a fantastic piece of business. According to ex-Spurs boss Harry Redknapp, the striker could win the title for Manchester United. “He could be the difference,” says ‘arry. Alternatively he could be injured pre-season and unavailable until March. Van Persie cost Arsenal less than £3m so the money from Man U represents a return on their investment of 900 per cent.
Manchester United deal for Robin van Persie can’t mask Glazers’ intentions (David Conn, Guardian) The signing of Van Persie is the boldest of statements for the forthcoming Premier League season, and a reminder of what might have been, if the Glazers had not inflicted their leveraged takeover on United, which has since cost the club over £550m in interest, fees and charges. Van Persie is United’s first truly major signing of an outfield player – with due respect to Ashley Young and Phil Jones – since the club paid £30.75m for Dimitar Berbatov on 31 August 2008. That was the day Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan bought Manchester City, and from then, with Mansour intent on pouring almost £1bn in, the opposite of the Glazers’ financial drain, United’s signings have been eclipsed by City’s.
City beware – this is the equivalent of United’s Cantona coup (Independent) Make no mistake, landing Robin van Persie is right up there with the acquisition of Eric Cantona back in 1992, when winning had become a forgotten art-form for the country’s biggest club. A brilliant manager buying a brilliant player will always make sense.
Why losing your leader is no laughing matter (Martin Keown, Mail) He was their leader, captain and top goalscorer. It seems every summer now Arsenal lose world-class players — they have become a donor to other clubs. The Emirates was supposed to be the promised land but the club is losing players. That is so hard for the fans because it’s difficult to retain any excitement.
Don’t blame RVP for joining Utd (Ian Wright, Sun) It is a massive shame that the Dutchman is becoming the latest star to leave Arsenal, though I am not surprised. If Arsenal supporters are being honest with themselves, they will not be too shocked either. It is the sign of the times… Some people are saying Van Persie should have shown more loyalty, after all the injuries he has suffered. But as I have said before, the only loyalty in the game currently comes from the fans and this is something that just has to be accepted.
Arsenal ready for Van Persie-less future without needing to panic buy (Dominic Fifield, Guardian) If there is any consolation to be had from the sale of a talismanic striker who contributed 30 Premier League goals last term, it comes in the reality that the Londoners are better prepared for a parting of the ways this time round. The fracture with Van Persie had been signposted since the spring. Everything about Wenger’s transfer policy since has been aimed at softening the blow.
Oussama who? Liverpool’s new signing
Assaidi to join Liverpool for £3m from Heerenveen as Rodgers continues to strengthen (Mail) The 24-year-old is in the final year of his contract and will move to Anfield after turning down an offer to stay in Holland from Ajax. He was also wanted by Spartak Moscow and Galatasaray… Assaidi will triple the £7,000 per week wages he was being paid by Heerenveen and will sign a four-year contract on Merseyside, plugging the gaps in the squad that have been left by the departures of Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez.
Liverpool snap up Assaidi (Sun) The Anfield gaffer is determined to add more options out wide, and moved for Assaidi after Cristian Tello chose to fight for a place at Barcelona ahead of a move to Merseyside.
Barton to Marseilles
Bad boy Barton set for shock move to Marseille as QPR close in on Bosingwa (Mail) Joey Barton is poised to join Marseille on a season-long loan as QPR line up a deal for Jose Bosingwa… The midfielder is heading to France in a move that will circumnavigate his ban here and may lead to a permanent transfer. Marseille centre back Stephane M’bia, 26, will be going the other way.
Marseille what? Barton to spend a season on loan at French giants (Mirror) Barton, perhaps teasingly, wished his Twitter followers “Bonne nuit” – French for “good night” – on the social media network this evening.
Premier League Previews
Why it’s still going to be City’s title despite United buying RvP – and the rest of my predictions (Robbie Savage, Mirror) Roberto is frustrated at the lack of signings, Tevez coming to work in that sort of mood will be like a new one. Sergio Aguero is an absolutely fantastic player, and I believe his partnership with Tevez will be better than van Persie’s with Wayne Rooney. It will be close – and brilliant for us to watch – but I still back City to hold off United again.
My 10 to watch in the Premier League this season (Jamie Redknapp, Mail) Rickie Lambert, Southampton I’ve watched him grow into a real threat as a centre forward, scoring goals in Southampton’s back-to-back promotion seasons and rising to each new challenge since Alan Pardew signed him for £1million from Bristol Rovers. Rickie has scored 78 goals in 132 League games for Southampton and was the Championship’s player of the season. Look out for his free-kicks, struck with power and dip. He might need to score early to help his confidence, but Grant Holt adapted last season. Lambert can, too.
Raul with it? Tottenham eye Meireles as they prepare to sell Modric (Mirror) Andre Villas-Boas is keen on Chelsea midfielder Raul Meireles… The Spurs manager claims to have ended his pursuit of two potential midfield newcomers, Portugal international Joao Moutinho and Yann M’Vila of France.
Sinclair refuses to sign new Swansea deal as City move beckons for winger (Mail) Sinclair’s swift exit now seems inevitable as Swansea will not want to risk losing him for nothing next summer, but Laudrup made it clear he will not hesitate to pick him for Saturday’s Premier League opener at QPR.
Fulham renew interest in wantaway Blackburn midfielder Nzonzi (Mail) Sevilla and Stoke enquired about taking him on loan but he was reluctant to join them while Sunderland dropped interest.
Mart swoops for Saha (Sun) Louis Saha has given Sunderland’s forward line a boost by signing a one-year deal.
… and finally
No pressure! Maradona’s son set to join third division Argentine club (Mail) Diego Sinagra Maradona – often known as Diego Junior – is expected to join the club El Porvenir… Diego Junior was born in Italy in 1986, the offspring of a relationship Maradona had with an Italian woman Cristina Sinagra, while he was playing with Italian club Napoli.