Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “I am totally committed to Chelsea and always have been. Chelsea have also made it clear to me consistently that there was never any intention to accept any kind of offer. When you are linked with any club, or with a manager [Mark Hughes] who I have huge respect for, it will always make headlines, but me leaving Chelsea was never a possibility. I know there has been comment that I should have made a statement earlier. However, throughout this period there have been numerous discussions between myself, the owner and the Chelsea board and we all agreed that the timing of any statement would suit everyone involved in those talks, not any outside influences or agendas. What is clear to me following those discussions is that Chelsea’s ambition remains as high as ever.” – John Terry.
Runner-up: “The poster campaign in Manchester is a bit of fun between the fans. It is in a similar vein as the banner at Old Trafford which counts the time span since City’s last trophy win. We’re glad it’s got so many people talking. Sir Alex Ferguson is a man I hold the utmost respect for and he is fully entitled to his opinion. I am very happy with the transfer business Manchester City have conducted this summer, and that the players we have recruited are as excited as I am about the season ahead.” – Mark Hughes.
Today’s overview: Yippee! The king is dead, long live the king! Finally the John Terry-Manchester City saga is well and truly over and, unsurprisingly, the Chelsea captain has opted to stay at the Bridge.
Playing up to all the available stereotypes, Matt Hughes celebrates JT’s decision to stay put. “Terry’s renewed commitment and decision to reject a move to Manchester City is worth far more than any so-called marquee signing… Terry’s value to Chelsea is far more than symbolic, his role considerably greater than that of a figurehead, as he is at the coalface fighting for his club on a daily basis, admittedly for handsome rewards… Terry is more than an ordinary player.”
The Daily Mail’s Matt Barlow low-blows the Chelsea captain by headlining his article “Abramovich’s cash swings it for Chelsea skipper John Terry” and writing “Abramovich, in return, has relented on his early stance that Terry had three years of a very good contract remaining and should not receive a pay rise by accepting that his captain â€” a â€˜symbolâ€™ of the club according to Ancelotti â€” should be their best-paid player.” In similar fashion, the Mirror’s David Woods headlines his article as “Captain Cash” with the hack coughing that JT will be “rewarded with a new contract worth an amazing Â£160,000 a week” for staying a Blue.
Daniel Taylor wonders what is City’s Plan B? “Ideally Hughes wanted to partner Terry and Lescott at centre-half, with Richards at right-back and Bridge on the left. It looked like a Champions League back four. Now, at best, it will be a back four of Richards, TourÃ©, Lescott and Bridge â€“ and that does not.” On the same point Matt Hughes suggests that “Hughes will act quickly in response by offering Arsenal Â£14 million for Kolo TourÃ© and may also move for Matthew Upson, of West Ham United.”
Others, though, are on the prowl for City’s chief scapegoats. According to James Ducker, “given the failure to sign Terry so soon after the ill-fated attempts to lure Eto’o from Barcelona… and Kaka… questions will inevitably be asked about the future of Garry Cook, the City chief executive.”
Turning to tactical matters, Dominic Fifield examines what lessons have been learnt from Chelsea’s American tour. “Tactically, Ancelotti intends to play a diamond in midfield… the team’s play may prove far less direct than in recent seasons… Manchester City could regret letting Daniel Sturridge slip away… [and] despite the lack of a marquee signing to date, Chelsea’s squad retains its depth and quality.”
Heading over to Arsenal we once again find rumblings of discontent in the Gunners’ boardroom as Jeremy Wilson notes the split over the sale of Adebayor. “The divide between Arsenal’s biggest shareholders has further widened over the sale of Emmanuel Adebayor to Manchester City, with Alisher Usmanov’s Red & White Holdings admitting it would have preferred the forward to have been sold to ‘any other club.'”
More discontent is served up by John Wragg in the Daily Express as the hack takes pot-shots at Sven-Goran Eriksson’s move to Notts County after watching their derby match with Forest at the weekend. “Will this end in divorce much sooner than later? Had it not been for the 5,885 Nottingham Forest fans that filled the Jimmy Sirrel stand and over-spilled behind the goal, this would have been a major story played out in front of empty terracing. It cannot work.”
Like verbal diarrhea, Jamie Jackson appears to spew yesterday’s news on Tottenham’s well-known transfer targets. “Redknapp is keen on Crouch or Klaas-Jan Huntelaar of Real Madrid… [and] if Redknapp does bring one of the two â€“ he will not sign both â€“ it seems Darren Bent will be the player to leave White Hart Lane.” On Bent, the Independent record how Sunderland are still chasing the forward’s signature.
By all other accounts though, Crouch will sign on Spurs’ dotted line today.
Gary Jacob leads the calls writing “Peter Crouch is expected to have a medical today to complete his move from Portsmouth to Tottenham Hotspur,” and in a second article Jacob reports that “Portsmouth moved closer to a deal to sign Nikola Kalinic last night as a replacement for Peter Crouch.” Elsewhere, Ian Herbert appears to have the inside scoop on Crouch’s contract reporting “the club agreed a Â£12m deal which makes the England striker the club’s biggest earner on a four-year deal worth Â£70,000-a-week.”
And then there is more Lillywhite transfer speculation as Matt Law traces potential defensive cover for Tottenham. “Tottenhamâ€™s interest in Newcastle centre-back Sebastien Bassong is complicated by the uncertainty surrounding the ownership at St Jamesâ€™ Park. Redknapp could return to Portsmouth again to try to sign Sylvain Distin and is also interested in Manchester Cityâ€™s Richard Dunne.”
After watching the Sir Bobby Robson chairty match at Newcastle last night, Michael Walker details the latest rumours flying around St. James’ Park. “Their overwhelming collective feeling is that Shearer is the one person who can put a brake on this but as each day goes by, another room at St James’ catches fire. Yesterday brought speculation that the club overdraft is now up to Â£40m and that Dennis Wise is still on the pay-roll.”
Lastly, the Daily Mail take up the challenge of spreading the most amount of transfer gossip this Monday.
Beginning with news that “Sam Allardyce is trying to take Zenit St Petersburg striker Pavel Pogrebnyak to Blackburn as a replacement for Roque Santa Cruz,” the rag also farts that “Manchester United could rival Liverpool in a fresh move for Valenciaâ€™s David Silva,” and that “Sunderland, Everton and Aston Villa are back on the trail of Standard Liege midfielder Milan Jovanovic after he reiterated his desire to play in the Premier League.” Lastly, the tabloid claims that Atletico Madrid and Fiorentina are ready to pounce on Everton’s Steven Pienaar.