Silly Season Begins…

So as the dust settles from another league campaign, fans must brace themselves for the part of the year in which they find their clubs linked to a whole host of players. And thanks to the lack of any senior national tournament, this Summer’s transfer talk will go on even longer. And we have already seen a flurry of action. Man Utd got in early to secure the services of defender Phil Jones. And that business seemed vindicated following the ex-Blackburn man’s solid displays in the U21 championship. He seems like a solid centre-back and will surely be placed at no.3 or 4 next season behind Rio and Vidic, and alongside the impressive Smalling. But what does this now mean for Jonny Evans or Wes Brown? The latter already seems to be looking for pastures new, with Sunderland reportedly keen, but Evans would make a good addition to another Premiership club, possibly one looking to challenge the newly crowned ‘Top 6’.

Another solid piece of business looks to be Brad Friedel who moved to Tottenham. It remains to be seen whether big Brad will be given the number one spot, although given the continuous links with former club PSV and his string of comical errors which appears to be a seasonal thing, it wouldn’t be ridiculous to suggest that Heurelho Gomes has perhaps lost his manager’s confidence. And I don’t doubt for one second that Friedel is still a top quality keeper, although maybe not a long term solution for Spurs. The move also leaves a place open at Villa which could be filled by Friedel’s fellow countryman and understudy, Brad Guzan. However with Big Eck taking the reigns there has already been links with Blues stopper Ben Foster with whom he worked with only last month. The 28 year old would be a good signing, but one must wonder just how many players are willing to follow Big Eck to Villa, with Scott Dann another player linked to follow his ex-boss.

Dann however is also wanted by Liverpool, who seem to be a club going through a major refurbishment, probably something that was needed a year ago following Rafa’s departure. The addition of Suarez in January was definitely a welcome one, and although the price was massively inflated for Andy Carroll in the same window, the Reds can be forgiven given the equally inflated 50m that Chelsea gave them for Fernando Torres. Jordan Henderson has been added, and I would have to say the jury’s still out on this one. 20-22m, as has been reported, is a lot of money for a player, albeit a young one, who doesn’t have much high level experience to his name. Considering the Reds paid almost the same for Luis Suarez, a player with Champions League and World Cup experience, along with proven credentials, the question has been raised over whether it is indeed English talent that perhaps demands a higher price, particular following James Milner’s move to City last Summer st a similar price. It also takes Kenny’s tally up to around the 80m mark for the 3 players mentioned, which may seem a bit steep and will have Blackburn and Newcastle fans warning Liverpool of how Kenny spent big at their clubs despite minimal success, however I think despite the money, Dalglish is guiding Liverpool in the right direction following the disastrous additions recently such as Joe Cole, Poulsen and Jovanovic. I also wish the best of luck to Henderson, especially as a promising national player, as a player is valued at whatever a club is willing to pay, and in this case its a favourable figure, which hopefully gives him the confidence to excel at Anfield.

Another club reportedly in for Scott Dann, although he is just one name that has been thrown around the Emirates rumour mill as it is no surprise the club is looking for a centre back. Following Vermaelen’s injury last term you did wonder how the Gunners would cope. Koscielny had a decent debut season, albeit it with a few stutters, whilst Sebastien Squillaci’s signing became more and more questinable the more the Frenchman played. Last season did finally unearth the talents of Johann Djourou, along time waiting, but the boy came of age, putting in solid performances, sadly cut short by his injury at Old Trafford in the FA Cup. It remains to be seen if the Swiss defender can repeat this form next year which is perhaps why Wenger is looking to add to his backs with seasoned pro Chris Samba and promising Gary Cahill both linked to the club, and reportedly both keen on a switch. However, bigger problems loom for Wenger as it does most close seasons for Arsenal, with star players constantly linked with moves away. First up is Samir Nasri who put in a sterling effort in the first half of last season and seemed to be found wanting at the business end of the season, much like the fortunes of the team as a whole. Nasri is out of contract next year and seems to be holding out for big money as well as assurance that top players will be brought in. A bold move and one which I think Arsenal fans may welcome the logic behind, as it may force Arsene to finally splash out for those much needed extra players to push on to launch a serious title challenge. Wenger also sounded right in his evaluation of Nasri, stating he wasn’t quite the finished article and that a move would be premature, which I think is evidenced by the Frenchman’s performances last year. Arsenal fans will hope this will be tied up sooner rather than later to avoid a Summer long saga like with Fabregas last year. And of course the Fabregas furor continues with Barcelona again flirting with the option of buying him, despite his ‘stock’ depleting. Arsenal fans appear to be more welcoming now to the thought of their skipper leaving, possibly due to the emergence of Jack Wilshere and the return of Aaron Ramsey, and perhaps cashing in wouldn’t be a bad thing. Arsenal seem to be holding out for 45m whereas Barca seem adamant they will not be spending more than 35m having only received slightly mor for their summer transfer kitty.

And according to reports today they have agreed a fee of around 33m for Udinese playmaker Alexis Sanchez, who was also wanted by both clubs from Manchester. If this is true then the pot would seemingly be spent meaning a move for Fabregas would be off the table. BUT, in more gossip it would seem that the European Champions are looking to offer Spain International David Villa to both City and Chelsea for around 40m in a bid to raise funds for a possible Fabregas capture.

And the chance to link up with national striking partner Fernando Torres at the Bridge could turn out to be a tantalising option, and also one which could strengthen Spain’s Euro 2012 bid. It is reasonable to state that since his move to Chelsea, Torres has not had the best of times and struggled to settle following a hefty transfer fee. But with rumour surrounding a Didier Drogba departure, Fernando may be given a new lease of life, and I predict he will have a better season next term (it could hardly be worse!). And the arrival of Spain buddy Villa could be the welcome boost as one would assume that the partnership that was at the forefront of Spain’s World Cup winning side, albeit Torres wasn’t quite at his shining best, could also cause havoc in the Premiership. However any Villa transfer is surely on the backburner now as Chelsea still look to tie up a move for long-standing target Neymar. The Brazilian caught the Blues eyes last year and added to the admiratio with a fine display in Brazil’s friendly against Scotland last year at the Emirates. However former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is also an admirer of the Brazilian’s talents and the player is rumoured to prefer a move to Madrid, so the transfer seems far from done, with Neymar’s club also looking for around 40m for the player. Clesea of course will also be looking to tie up a new manager too, expected to be in the next few weeks, before the end of the month.

Well that’s a mammoth post and one which I will leave there for the dust to settle, however I expect I will be back as there is a whole heap of activity not mentioned, particularly from cash-rich Man City, who I’m sure will light up our transfer window once more, and the ongoing Luka Modric saga unfolding at Spurs, although I think I’ll let that one develop for a bit! Until next time, speak soon…

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By andymcdougall Posted in Posts

2 comments on “Silly Season Begins…

  1. I’m most interested in why Newcastle seem intent on buying only French-speaking players (after Ben Arfa, now Cabaye, Marveaux, Ba, attempt for Matuidi, poss Erding) – two theories spring to mind – a) Mike Ashley wants more of a ‘cafe culture’ at St James’ to drive up development values, or b) Mrs Pardew has signed her and Alan up for evening classes in French conversation and he figures he needs the practice.

    Whatever the reason, the French connection could serve them well. Interesting to see how that pans out.

    • I have heard rumours also that Ashley is an admirer of the Arsenal model (probably cause he doesn’t like spending money!) and wants to bring through young players like the Gunners do. However maybe he is now taking the Arsenal influence that one step further and is of the belief that if the team all communicate in one language ie. French then this may help! Marveaux and Cabaye are interesting signings which remain to be seen. Marveaux in particular as I believe he is in is late 20s so confuses me as to the impact he can have. Ba seems like a decent punt, still think they need a decent striker in there though as unfortunately Kuqi just wasnt up to the mark! Gutted they didn’t get Gameiro in but then when the Sheikh money comes calling… Don’t think Matuidi will be interested in a move, a few bigger clubs are after him and I’m afraid that our North East chums don’t quite have the same clout… yet. Exciting to see what Pardew does next year with the Toon Army especially with Ben Arfa back, hopefully not affected by his injury. Shame if they lose Barton now though, that will leave a big whole in the middle of the park following Nolan’s departure, and those to did provide a good balance of tenacity and distribution in there. Remains to be seen…

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