Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “It shows the lack of talent in the game today at the top level if a player is valued at Â£100 million. If City succeed in buying KakÃ¡, it will be the start of something that must finish with some level of success very quickly. It can only qualify as success if they do very well. If not, it will be a disaster. Time will tell. As for Santa Cruz, Cityâ€™s money is of no interest to me. I donâ€™t give two hoots about their money.” – Sam Allardyce.
Runner-up: “I am the victim, the club is the victim. No player is victimised more than the coach and the club. There is no scapegoat, we are all in this together. I choose Nicolas Anelka for Southend, I choose options and now, for Stoke City tomorrow, I need to choose again. This is a time for everyone to play as a group, as a spirit, as loyal to Chelsea. It is not about Didier, I speak for all my players. We need to fight together, we need to play to love Chelsea, to play with heart.” – Felipe Scolari.
Today’s overview: Liverpool takes on the image of a house of cards this Saturday, with the league leaders looking on the verge of collapse with rumours and counter-rumours all pointing to Rafa Benitez’s exit from Anfield after his contract talks broke down again.
According to Andy Hunter, unless the Spaniard receives “complete Âcontrol over transfer policy at Anfield… Benitez, who walked out on Valencia for Liverpool over a similar dispute in 2004, has made it clear to the club’s hierarchy that he would rather quit at the end of his existing deal in 2010 than compromise.” And in a secondary article Andy Hunter blames the Liverpool hierarchy for allowing “individual interests [to be] placed before the team’s challenge for the Premier League title.”
Paul Kelso tries to identify to the root of the problem, writing “sources close to the owners said they would not give in to Benitez’s demands but suggested that his outburst had been prompted by a personality clash with Parry.” While Ian Herbert also picks up on the Benitez story noting “the prospect of him walking out on the club this summer appears to be a real one. The Real Madrid manager’s seat may be in the back of his mind, if Juande Ramos falters as many believe he will.”
Lastly on Liverpool, Terry Venables appears to be stuck in the past, using his column in the Sun to talk about Rafa’s rant from almost a week ago. Showing his finger to be firmly off the pulse, El Tel farted “I can guarantee his players and the Liverpool fans will love the fact he has stuck up for their club by having a go at Fergie.”
As reported by David Hytner, Didier Drogba’s days at Stamford Bridge seemed numbered after the Ivorian has “been dropped again from the Chelsea squad and told that he is not even required to turn up at Stamford Bridge today for the Premier League fixture against Stoke City.”
Returning to the week’s hot topic, the Mirror announce “Kaka is expected to join Manchester City next week after he was railroaded into accepting the Â£108million move.”
Antonio Maria Filho injects a Brazilian opinion into the Man City-Kaka story stating “if Manchester City have the money to hire the best player in the world, congratulations to them.” Fernando Torres also gives his two cents to Martin Samuel over the proposed Kaka move saying “Manchester City is not the right team for Kaka. Seriously, how can they pay Â£100million for Kaka? Manchester City must first play UEFA Cup or Champions League football because I cannot see how any big player would want to play for them until then. Big players want to win trophies and Manchester City is not even in the race for trophies in England, let alone Europe. They are fighting to stay in the Premier League, or to get to the middle of the table.”
James Lawton defends Arsene Wenger’s right to whinge of the proposed Kaka transfer. “What is the purpose of City’s move for Kaka? We are told that it is merely a building block towards a super team. It is not. It is an ill-conceived block-busting, corner-cutting attempt to catapult City into the elite membership they crave â€“ and mistakenly believe can be achieved simply by splashing money, which Wenger points out so bitingly, will always be unrelated to their status as a working football club rather than winners of a Middle Eastern lottery.”
Staying with the Citizens, Oliver Kay announces that “Cityâ€™s ultra-ambitious owners have identified Jose Mourinho as the man to lead the club towards world domination if Mark Hughes struggles with the heightened expectations.” Other new signings could include Shay Given for Â£8m (The Sun), plus Wilson Palacios and Nigel de Jong (Alan Nixon).
Boffin Daniel Finkelstein looks at the red-card myth, announcing that analysis proves that sides rarely take on a more resilient edge when reduced to ten men. And staying with boffins, Peta Bee writes that “IQ analysis is set to become a tool that is widely used by professional clubs across the UK” in an effort to safeguard against brain damage for footballers.
With Ramon Calderon being forced to resign from Real Madrid after the voting scandal broke this week, Sid Lowe comments “Calderon departs utterly unloved. All that money, all those trips, all those photo opportunities have only served to make him look desperate.”
In the transfers, all media outlets (i.e. The Times) today report on how Craig Bellamy has walked out on West Ham after being refused to move to Tottenham. Another player who may or may not join Spurs is Wilson Palacios, Sam Wallace reporting that Tottenham’s Â£12m bid for Palacios may have been hijacked by Manchester City.
Having missed out of signing Joao Moutinho in the summer, the Daily Mail now claim Everton are trying to sign the Sporting Lison midfielder on loan. And finally, in an almost crazy story (which surely cannot be true) Shaun Custis claims that Scolari is “offering Â£15million plus FOUR players, Nicolas Anelka, Florent Malouda, Salomon Kalou and a centre-back, for Robinho.”