Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “I will return to the club and hope to sort this out as soon as possible. I feel it is important to underline that I did not return to Brazil because of the Kaka deal. He is one of my good friends and it would have been great to see him at Manchester City, but it had nothing to do with his decision. I am committed to helping Manchester City become the force the owners assured me they will become.” – Robinho.
Runner-up: “So far it is only us who has been prepared to make concessions. We agreed to reduce the asking price for Arshavin and provide for other favourable conditions of the deal. But Arsenal is still stubbornly offering us only Â£12million. If the Londoners would meet us half-way, their chances of getting Arshavin would be very good. But it hasn’t happened yet.” – Zenit general director Maxim Mitrofanov.
Today’s overview: Another day, another trauma for Manchester City. Having missed out on Kaka, focus has now centred on their ability to hold onto Robinho after the Brazilian walked out on their training camp in Tenerife.
According to Daniel Taylor, the writing for Robinho maybe on the wall. “Robinho reacted to the collapse of Kaka’s proposed Â£91m deal by packing his suitcase and arranging for a private jet to take him back to Brazil. He left without informing the manager Mark Hughes and has told his team-mates that he is seriously considering his future because of a combination of the club’s inability to bring in Kaka and the team’s poor results.” Oliver Kay goes about stirring the pot writing “while Chelsea are not in a position to make a bid for him this month… Robinho has been made aware that Scolari would like to bid for him again in the summer.”
Ian Herbert and Jason Burt also play up the Chelsea-Robinho link saying “City are walking a tightrope where the Â£32m signing is concerned, needing to discipline him â€“ two weeks’ wages of Â£320,000 will be the probable fine â€“ but aware also that the threat of Chelsea attempting to turn the player’s head is a genuine one.” It was left to Jamie Jackson to write the rebuttal, reporting “the Â£12m they received from the sale of Wayne Bridge to Manchester City is available… but the club will not go far above that limit, ruling out a move for Robinho.”
As the failed Kaka deal fades into annals of history, David Conn advises the City management to “think hard about City now, not just about how to build a football team, but about what the ‘brand,’ the sky blue Manchester club truly represents.” The Guardian also invited George Galloway to express his views on the failed transfer, and the politician jumped at the chance to preach his rhetoric. “I have extensive and deep links with Muslim populations here and abroad and I can say that many of them are, to put it mildly, disgusted with the notion of spending Â£108m on a footballer when one group of Muslims, in Gaza, is dressed in rags, suffering from hunger and living in ruins.”
James Lawton, on the other hand, was far less diplomatic in his assessment of City’ behaviour in the failed Kaka saga. “How do you extricate yourself from such an embarrassing denouement? In the case of City’s chief executive, Garry Cook, you come up with a statement of mind-numbing fatuity in which you accuse Silvio Berlusconi… of “bottling it”. Bottling what? Presumably, the job of persuading one of the world’s best players that his true destiny lay not with one of the top teams in Europe but the other football outfit in Manchester, the one whose only significant achievement… has been to receive a blank cheque from a sheikh who apparently believed, right up to around 10 o’clock on Monday night, that everyone has his price.”
And while City are down, they also receive a good kicking over their purchase of Craig Bellamy. Jeremy Wilson quotes the description from Oasis’ Noel Gallagher “of Â£14 million for Craig Bellamy, who has scored nine goals in 18 months for West Ham, as ‘insane.'” Steven Howard mocks the “Â£14m – probably Â£6m over the top – on Bellamy, a player whose price has nearly doubled after scoring nine goals in 23 appearances over two seasons at West Ham. ”
Christianity Even if some of us doubt the rationality of Kaka’s beliefs, none of us can doubt their potency… As Muhammad Ali put it: ‘How can I lose when I have Allah on my side?'”
There’s trouble on the Tyne this Wednesday, Taimour Lay reporting that Newcastle’s “training session had to be abandoned following a fist-fight between the French midfielder Charles N’Zogbia and the striker Andy Carroll.” George Caulkin added that “although one witness described the dispute between Nâ€™Zogbia and Carroll, a boyhood fan of the club, as â€œhandbagsâ€ â€” team-mates nonetheless had to pull them apart â€” it will heighten the perception that Newcastle have lost all semblance of control.”
Martin Samuel dives into the mire of Rafa Benitez’s contract negotiations with Liverpool. “To stay at Liverpool, Rafael Benitez, the manager, does not require a team of lawyers working overtime to insert unworkable clauses into his new contract. He needs something altogether more decent, simple and old fashioned. Trust.” Keeping with the Reds, Richard Williams calls Robbie Keane “a man haunted by a Â£20.3m transfer fee” urging Liverpool to sign Emile Heskey.
On the transfer front, Spurs have “signed Carlo Cudicini for around Â£1 million,” according to Leo Spall, while Oliver Brown adds that the Lilywhites are closing in fast on Wilson Palacios. The Daily Mail also claim that “Tottenham hope to beat Wigan to the signing of Reading winger Stephen Hunt” was is reportedly available for Â£6 million. And the final Tottenham transfer story sees Alan Nixon write “Harry Redknapp is making a Â£7million move for Inter Milan’s Argentine hard man Nicolas Burdisso – and wants to tie up the deal in the next 24 hours.”
Lastly, there are two stories on West Ham. With England facing Spain on February 11, Matt Hughes claims that Fabio Capello is considering including Carlton Cole in his England squad. And in the transfer news, Richard Bright links the Hammers with a Â£10 million move for Brescia’s Savio Nsereko and a loan move for Fiorentina’s 23-year-old Daniel Pablo Osvaldo.