Steven S looks back on the past seven days of transfer, rumours, and Didier Drogba being compared to Jackie Chan….
As we head to the end of the third week of this transfer window, things slowly start to gather pace and we can report that yes in fact, players are moving clubs. Money is changing hands. And journalists are still inventing news ways of reinventing stories full of complete guff.
Newcastle revive the old tradition of buying players, making the biggest noise so far and potentially one of the smartest signings of the window. My knowledge on Cisse is minimal at best but his stats in Germany look decent and there will be no worries about partnering Demba Ba if needs be. If Newcastle can hang in there with Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool over the next few weeks, they both return to bolster the squad for a final and very surprising push for a CL spot. It would be easy to dismiss their chances given the ability on paper of the other three teams yet that would only overlook the fact they have not dipped as predicted so far. The big trio around them are wholly inconsistent and will no doubt remain so come May, so Alan Pardew has the perfect chance to stamp his name on the Prem, something you get the sense he is eager to do. It does however seem to open up the door that little bit further for a Ba transfer out of the Toon come the summer.
Every transfer window is plastered with Wanted posters for Porto’s Hulk and this time his agent, Teodoro Fonseca, tells us he is worth the €100m price tag we’ve all seen on many other occasions. Do we really believe he’s worth that figure, the equivalent of buying two Torres’? Then again, when you put it like that…
Mark Schwarzer re-signs a contract, taking him into his 60’s; Martin Jol doing his bit for the aged.
Drogba threw a curve ball with news that Shanghai Shenhua are heading into talks about a possible move. Director Zhou Jun says “It’s like making a blockbuster film. When superstars like Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Zhou Xun have confirmed their participation, other actors and actress will be confident of the movie.” Carlo Ancelotti also told us this week that Drogba ‘devours’ Torres and any rival for his place in the team, so will it be a case of Drogzilla playing the bad guy in this movie?
Gary Cahill has sneaked into the Chelsea squad in what feels like a very underwhelming conclusion, given the amount of time the story of his unrest has been around. Where he fits in remains to be seen – apparently one of the sticking points was a guarantee of first team football – so it will be interesting to see if it is the Playstation wonderkid Luiz or the Big Man who will move aside.
Mark Schwarzer re-signs a contract, taking him into his 60’s; Martin Jol doing his bit for the aged. He’s still a solid keeper and his aim is to keep playing until the 2014 World Cup with Australia but I can’t see him still at Fulham then. Tevez continues to whore himself round Europe and with each new discussion comes the realisation that he really had no intention at all of being closer to his family. This will run all next week as the man in know Kia Joorabchian always gets the best deal and won’t let City and the Milan clubs get off that easily.
Part of the Kia stable of course is Mark Hughes, who is quickly getting down to deal making, with Milan’s Taiwo, City’s Onuoha and Sao Paulo striker Henrique all rumoured to be very close to arriving. Meanwhile a disgruntled Warnock held his post-sacking press conference and in a revelatory, sensational open chat with the media he revealed nothing of any note whatsoever. He’s close to retirement so don’t save it for the autobiography Neil, get it out there now.
Defoe has in fact scored 11 to Ade’s 9 so far and Jermaine has improved his all round game this season.
Samba is told in no uncertain terms that he will not be allowed to leave Blackburn yet it is hard to see any other outcome, given this story has been running for at least 12 months. Last year it was Arsenal, now QPR and Tottenham are apparently top of the list for his signature but it is looking like a summer job rather than January. Scott Dann apparently followed suit, less than a year after leaving Birmingham but you do have to wonder just how much up the Premier he can travel.
Man City did just enough to get past Wigan with a dominant yet still unconvincing win on Monday and head into this weekend 3 points clear and in smoother waters. They’ve lost two massive players in Toure and Kompany in recent weeks which will encourage Tottenham that little bit more, although I think they will still be too hard to handle at home. Spurs face a challenge themselves by losing Adebayor for the game, who has been the foil for their midfield to control games. Defoe has in fact scored 11 to Ade’s 9 so far and Jermaine has improved his all round game this season but this will be a game won from midfield and City’s strength at home will see them through. Let’s not forget that ‘Arry heads into his court case the following day, so it will be interesting to see if this has any effect on the team in the weeks ahead, depending on the outcome. Although it is hard to see anything more than a slap on the wrist being handed out.
Wolves lost their 3rd Round FA Cup replay on Wednesday, going down 1-0 at home to Birmingham giving more credence to the media vultures creating job pressure. 5 draws in their past 6 games shows what a solid, hard working side they are but their lack of a cutting edge has seen them slide back down the table. The table is still misleading as if they close the small gap on WBA, then mid-table is not a million miles away.
The other Super Sunday clash later in the day is Arsenal at home to Man Utd, with the visitors arriving as favourites amongst, well, pretty much everybody. Two defeats from winning positions have raised the annual questions about Wenger’s team, which includes the massive effect on the squad by injuries. Look past the first eleven and they struggle to be a cohesive unit, a stark contrast to Utd, who despite the reduction in quality of their squad, are still only 3 points behind a very strong City. Fergie will no doubt continue his re-seduction of Arsene, a man who he no longer see’s as an immediate rival and now shows him his friendly side *shudder* It’s just not right.
Finally, after the recent spate of ugly racism rows in the Prem we should all take note of the scandals plaguing some of the other areas of sport and be a little thankful real issues are bring addressed. On Wednesday the skiing world was ‘rocked’ by revelations of competitors wearing plastic underwear to gain an aerodynamic advantage over their rivals. I guess that makes it squeaky bum time.