“City are aiming too high too soon and it is dangerous” – Cascarino; “Knock yourself out, Sheik. Let’s see what happens.” – Samuel

Comment & analysis round-up

Quote of the day: “Unfortunately me and Joe came together but we just got put in the stands by Phil Dowd. I was contesting the fact that every time the ball came to Danny Cousin, Coloccini came through the back of him. It was blatant. Newcastle’s dug-out didn’t agree, though, they were arguing Danny was diving but I know the lad and he’s not the type.” – Phil Brown.

Runner-up: “I am extremely happy here. I want to grow old at Milan. My aim is to become, at some point in the future, the captain of this team. I know there is a pecking order, with [Paolo] Maldini at the front and then [Massimo] Ambrosini, but after that … I have already turned down some major offers.” – Kaka.

Today’s overview: Sit back and prepared to learn everything to do with Kaka, as the papers go overboard in analysing every aspect of Manchester City’s pursuit of the Brazilian.

Even though there is huge doubt whether Kaka will move to Eastlands, Kevin McCarra finds a silver lining for Manchester City. “It confirmed just how far Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan is prepared to go; the British record acquisition of Robinho for £32.5m was a Bosman deal by comparison.” By comparison, Lawerence Donegan seems slightly put out by City’s mega bid for Kaka, ranting “You cannot buy sustainable success in football, it needs to be built over time, perhaps over a period of 20 years. Big spending is required, no doubt, but so too is a belief in home-grown talent, an ability to dig out undiscovered potential and, most of all, patience.”

James Lawton echoes the same sentiment – “A voice in the Sheikh’s ear seems to be saying that if you have enough money you can buy anything. You can’t – and this is as true of football as anything else.” Henry Winter also talks down the transfer contesting that “City need Yaya more than Kaka. They need a bulldozing, midfield enforcer, like Barcelona’s Yaya Toure, not another beautiful Brazilian butterfly.”

The most extreme opinion is offered by The only reason that the brilliant Brazilian would consider joining a mediocre team… becomes crystal clear: the money. What other reason could there be and what basis is that for a harmonious long-term relationship? None, of course… City are aiming too high too soon and it is dangerous.”

Martin Samuel though delivers the perfect response to Cascarino. “Is there a down side? Yes, but not one that impacts on the neutral… Knock yourself out, Sheik. Let’s see what happens. At least this is going to be worth watching, not another tedious investigation into how many mediocre, hard-working players it takes to stifle Arsenal to secure an away point.”

Looking to put a positive spin on the potential Kaka transfer is Oliver Kay claiming that the “club and player realise that the money could prove too good to turn down… [Kaka] would demand an escape clause that would allow him to leave City for a predetermined fee at the end of the 2009-10 campaign if the club had not qualified for the Champions League.” And towing the same line are Jason Burt and Ian Herbert, who chirp up with “the bottom line is believed to be this: Kaka will move to Eastlands if an agreement can be reached and City are confident they can achieve that.”

Neil Custis lists four conditions which may swing the Kaka transfer in City’s favour. “Sheikh Mansour remains the owner of the club and continues his substantial investment. City qualify for the Champions League within two years. Robinho is not sold. His representatives remain in sole ownership of his image rights.

Frank Dunne lists the four main reason why Kaka may be sold by AC Milan. “There are four main theories: (1) Kaka and fellow Brazilian Ronaldinho… have not gelled… (2) Milan want to bring back the 22-year-old Yoann Gourcuff… (3) Milan intend to extend David Beckham’s contract through to 2010… (4) Kaka is no longer the golden boy at Milan, the mantle having passed to Brazilian striker Alexandre Pato.”

For Jeremy Wilson and Rory Smith, they claim that “City are to make a renewed effort to sign either Gianluigi Buffon or Dida as they try to convince Kaka that Eastlands now represents a viable home for the world’s greatest footballers.” But in almost direct contradiction of understanding what makes Kaka tick, Oliver Brown argues “a major factor in Kaka’s rumoured rejection of Manchester City’s overtures could be his studied aversion to materialistic concerns.”

ou probably have to go back to Muhammad Ali to find the last global superstar who was so up front and devout in matters of faith.” And looking forward as to how Kaka would fit in at Eastlands, if [Hughes] intends to play the 2007 Fifa World Player of the Year in his best position, between midfield and attack, the supporting cast will have to be carefully chosen.”

Nemanja Vidic and Jonny Evans were outstanding at the back” in contrast to “Paul Scholes gave the ball away with worrying regularity, Carlos Tévez huffed and puffed to little effect after replacing Rooney, and Nani was just dreadful.” Wayne Rooney’s injury picked up during the match with Wigan last night has left Paul Wilson wondering whether Dimitar Berbatov and Carlos Tevez can lead the line successfully in the upcoming fixtures.

Despite Chelsea’s win over Southend in the FA Cup, Sam Wallace remains highly critical of the Blues. “Chelsea proved themselves still to be a complete shambles when it comes to defending set-pieces but fortunately for them they were up against the Shrimpers last night rather than one of the bigger fish.” Brian Moore then analyises the troubles at Chelsea, highlighting “the pursuance of a ‘just for today’ recruitment strategy that is predicated on the continuous availability of money.”

On the transfer front, Andy Hunter and Ewan Murray join forces to report the AC Milan are closing in on £8.5m Daniel Agger, before Andy Hunter went out on his own to report Bolton “will attempt to capitalise on protracted contract negotiations between Jimmy Bullard and Fulham by lodging a bid of about £5m for the midfielder.”

In other transfer news, the Daily Mail report “Tottenham hope to finalise a £14million deal for Wigan midfielder Wilson Palacios today after having a bid of £12m bid rejected yesterday.” But according to the Sun, “Manchester United were last night planning a £14million bid for Wigan star Wilson Palacios.”

Stuart James turns the spotlight on Aston Villa, with an excellent article analysing the pluses and minuses in O’Neill’s team. “Combine those characteristics with the individual qualities that Martin Laursen, Gareth Barry, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young possess and then throw in the energy and industry that James Milner and Steve Sidwell have added to the midfield since arriving from Newcastle and Chelsea in the summer, and it is easy to see why Villa are now being taken seriously.”


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