Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “I will start each day with the usual emails and correspondence, and I’m sure there will be some player activity going on while we are over there.” – Manchester United chief executive David Gill.
Runner-up: “I don’t know what they [City] are offering but I’m confident John is going to remain with us. John is a talisman, he’s the heart of Chelsea, he came through our academy, he’s our captain and he’s also become captain of England while he’s been with us. We’re very confident John will be remaining here as captain of Chelsea. We’re not going to sell John so from that point of view it’s really irrelevant what another club will offer. He’s too important to us. We’re very confident he will be leading us forward in the years to come.” – Peter Kenyon.
Today’s overview: As John Terry’s move to Eastland’s becomes more unlikely with Chelsea heading off to the United States, the question now is whether Emmanuel Adebayor is stalling in hope that a better club than Manchester City will make their move for the striker?
According to Daniel Taylor, “Adebayor has concerns about being perceived as money-driven if he should leave a club that is hugely popular in Africa and go to one that has a much lower standing.” Matt Hughes offers a different reason to explain why Adebayor is waiting before signing on City’s dotted-line penning. “Adebayor has asked for more time to consider the move rather than report for a medical yesterday as planned. The Togo striker is understood to have misgivings about leaving a Champions League club for City.”
The Daily Mail inject the tabloid sensationalism into the mixer farting “Emmanuel Adebayor was offered to Manchester United after negotiations with Manchester City over a Â£25million move from Arsenal stalled.”
It is left to the Telegraph to suggest that Adebayor is simply looking for a bigger employer. “Reports in todayâ€™s press indicate that the hold up may also in part have a ploy be the player himself to see if AC Milan would come to the table.”
Flipping the Adebayor story 180 degrees, Rob Kelly considers what the striker’s departure will mean for Arsenal. “Arsenal should profit from Adebayorâ€™sÂ departure in a number of ways. His propensity to drift into offside positions has long been a source of intense irritation at the Emirates, while his arrogance and ego will not be missed in the dressing room either. Adebayor may have been lethal at times – not least when heÂ scored a sensational goal against Villarreal in the Champions League – but those times becameÂ rarer and rarer as the season progressed.”
On Adebayor’s replacement at the Emirates Max Short claims in The Sun that “Wenger has been told top striker target Marouane Chamakh will cost Â£7million PLUS defender Mikael Silvestre.” And there is more bad news for Arsenal fans this Thursday as several papers report (Guardian) how Juventus have signed the midfielder Felipe Melo from Fiorentina after beating off competition from the Gunners.
The John Terry-Manchester City affair continues to chug on unabated with Simon Burnton finally losing his patience with the whole saga. “[Mark Hughes] says John Terry needs ‘a change of scenery’… How Terry must yearn to experience getting knocked out of the FA Cup by some League One chancers, to end his seasons scuffling desperately for a Europa League place, and for a chance to watch at first hand the inner workings of a club which has over the years become football shorthand for comic failure.”
Finally on City, the Mirror invent the unlikely story that “Manchester City have made a surprise move for Tottenham’s David Bentley… The 24-year-old has also attracted interest from Aston Villa, Everton and Atletico Madrid but none of them have the financial clout of City when it comes to meeting Tottenham’s Â£12m asking price.”
Could Spurs land a serious serial goalscorer?
Perhaps, according to Peter Landsley in The Times, as we learn “Tottenham Hotspur need to revise their offer and payment schedule to Real Madrid for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar after the forward had a change of heart. The Holland international wanted to move to a team in the Champions League, but is not keen on Stuttgart, who had a Â£17million offer accepted. The North London club have offered a higher salary to Huntelaar, who moved from Ajax for Â£19million in January.” Elsewhere, the Independent offer more encouragement that the Spurs’ striker-force will receive a boost printing “Tottenham were last night understood to be closing in on the signing of Real Madrid striker Alvaro Negredo.”
Staying with Spurs, Colin Young links the Lillywhites with a slew of other players boasting “Tottenham also want [Fabien] Delph after the chase for Downing came to an end, but Leeds are believed to have rejected a Â£6.5m offer for the 19-year-old starlet… [while] Everton edged ahead of Spurs in the competition for Sheffield United full backs Kyle Naughton and Kyle Walker after the Championship club set a 48-hour deadline to complete the deal.”
Beanpole striker Peter Crouch receives a hefty amount of column inches this Thursday. On the footballing side of things Jamie Jackson and Louise Taylor club together to report “Portsmouth have accepted a Â£12m offer from Sunderland for Peter Crouch,” although Michael Walker is keen to point out the competition for Crouch’s signature. “Crouch is also wanted by Fulham and is due to meet their manager, Roy Hodgson, tomorrow but the indications are that Sunderland are favourites to sign Crouch. It would be a club record transfer fee for the Wearsiders.”
And then there is Crouch’s showbiz news, with The Sun’s Philip Case blabbing “Peter Crouch is to wed his girlfriend Abbey Clancy – after he crouched down on a lanky bended knee to pop the question.”
Aston Villa have signed Stuart Downing from Middlesbrough, with hacks left wondering what the impact will be for the Midlanders sought-after forward Ashely Young.
For the mischievous Sandy Macaskill, “Young plays in the same position as Downing on the left wing, and has already been mentioned as a possible Chelsea target. It is thought that should a significant bid be tabled â€“ and it would almost certainly have to be in excess of Â£30 million â€“ Villa would consider it.” Yet Stuart James delivers a quick rebuttal firing “there is no suggestion that Downing’s arrival will precipitate Ashley Young’s departure, with O’Neill determined to hold on to the former Watford winger and confident both players can be accommodated in the same team.”
In the rest of the transfer tittle-tattle the Guardian write “highly rated South Korea winger Lee Chung-yong is in line for a switch to Bolton in a deal worth in excess of Â£2m, according to his agent,” the Daily Express are one of several papers to report that Birmingham are close to a Â£1million deal for Barry Ferguson, and the Sun publicise that “Everton are vying with Real Mallorca and Real Zaragoza for Spanish defender Marc Torrejon.”
In other news the Guardian’s Owen Gibson makes public how “ITV is to lobby for all World Cup and European Championship qualifying games involving the home nations to be added to the list of sporting events protected for free-to-air television.”
Will South Africa be ready for the 2010 World Cup? Nick Cain is hugely skeptical having just watched the Lions tour. “What Blatter needs to answer is this: If the country’s transport and accommodation infrastructure was bursting at the seams when 40,000 Lions supporters descended on the country, how the hell is it going to cope if the projected 400,000 football fans arrive for the 2010 World Cup?”
Changing focus to the UEFA Cup holders, Jonathan Wilson examines what the season holds for Shakhtar Donetsk. “Their biggest problem, in fact, could be that their minds are already focused on the Champions League and their attempt to become the first eastern European side since Semin’s Lokomotiv six seasons ago to reach the knockout phase.”