Nick Powell: United's latest discovery from their much-lauded academy.

by Steven S

Car windows were on half mast across some parts of London on Wednesday as the news of our beloved Harry Redknapp’s sacking sprung from rumour to absolute truth. For the past week or so there had been talk of a one year contract being put on the table and not the four years Harry believed he deserved, leading to the tabloid classic ‘showdown talks’. And so it proved.

Levy clearly has a vision for the club and appears to be a man that will get his way above all others, as buying clubs have shelled out above the odds, Modric being told to sit down last summer and Harry this time round have discovered. Many opposition fans are surprised that a manager who has led the club to fourth, fifth and fourth in his past three seasons would be moved on so easily. The ambition at Tottenham is obviously to aim higher and looking at the bigger picture it can’t be a move for 3rd position in the league, only a move to go for the title.

So a huge gamble to take on Tottenham’s solid progression over the past 7 years which has seen them finish in the top 5 on five occasions; a massive improvement when you look at the consistent midtable finishes beforehand. Even Chelsea were a top five team before they took the leap into champions so it is only Manchester City that have made such an unprecedented jump into the upper echelons of the division. Spurs owner Joe Lewis is a rich man and has put in a fair amount of money to date but we won’t be seeing Eithad levels of investment to push them on. With a stadium move also high on the clubs agenda, you have question if David Moyes would be able to push them on significantly.

The argument against Redders is of course based on his apparent indecision over the England job, the terrible run of form that saw them blow third spot last season and his shifting of the goal posts when it came to their targets. ‘Arry seems to believe that if the current squad stay together it has a chance of winning the Premiership, a sentiment obviously shared by the board who clearly want a lot more.

Over in West London Di Matteo was begrudgingly given a two year contract by his loving Roman after failing to bring in his main targets. Roberto has maintained quite a dignified silence since becoming champion of Europe last month and will face his toughest test should he take on the role. Building a team capable of challenging the Manchester teams is one thing and doing so under the watchful eye of an expectant owner brings a whole new set of challenges. Bobby’s round face still has not received the attention it deserves so far but my campaign for ridicule will increase after the summer.

The legend that is Michael Laudrup will be managing Swansea after securing a two year deal with the Danish master. He has not achieved much in his managerial career spanning Russia, Spain and Denmark pointing to something of a gamble by Chairman Huw Jenkins. Their football identity will remain in place which is vital and the two year deal offers them a safety net should things not work out.

With all the big stars over in Poland and Ukraine for the next couple of weeks, transfer news is limping along like some sort of Joey Barton casualty. Montpellier’s manager René Girard told French radio this week that their star striker Olivier Giroud, currently with the French squad, is as good as an Arsenal player, fee discussions pending of course. His pedigree last season was at a premium although he remains a mystery to a vast majority of Arsenal fans who are also clambering for a glimpse of the lean, mean Podolski at the Euro’s.

Robert Green has agreed personal terms with QPR as he heads out the door of Upton Park whilst seeing Big Sam’s Mr Reliable, Jussi Jääskeläinen head back to his old master. News has also filtered back that the walrus was in Italy talking to Juventus officials regarding some fringe players such as Eljero Elia and Milos Krasic, although the latter is a class act probably aiming a bit higher, with Liverpool apparently interested. All bets could be off however if Fat Sam can finally prove that he should be in charge of Real Madrid.

Manchester Utd have snapped up Crewe starlet Nick Powell for £3million, rising to double that based on appearances and all those usual sort of intricate contract clauses Premier clubs force upon the smaller teams. The 18 year old scored 16 goals last season for Crewe as an attacking midfielder, so it will be League and perhaps some FA Cup appearances for a while. Southampton broke their club record snatching striker Jay Rodriguez from Burnley for £7million to bolster their attack for the season ahead. 36 goals in the past two seasons at the age of 22 show he has plenty of room to grow so it will be interesting to see how he and The Saints progress.

Newcastle were told by Ajax that they will have to double their £4million bid for left back Vurnon Anita who would’ve been at the Euro’s if not for an injury. Rumours continue to grow that lil’ Mickey Owen will be joining Stoke very soon, which either marks a complete change to their philosophy or no one else was interested in taking him on.  At least Jonathan Woodgate will have an old England pal in the treatment room next season.

Speaking of the League Cup, we somehow missed out on the announcement that Capital One have now secured sponsorship rights for the trophy, replacing Carling. The competition has been derided over the past decade losing its once lofty status in the domestic game and the blame is usually placed squarely on the shoulders of the top four with their focus elsewhere. Would it be ludicrous to suggest that the FA have completely ruined its integrity ever since the first rebranding back in the 80’s? Dairy Crest, Littlewoods, Rumbelows, Coca Cola…you name it, everyone seems to have had a pop. Now branded as The Capital One Cup, it sounds like some sort of Sunday League trophy or something retired ex-pro’s would win in a six-a-side tournament.

Whilst one cup is run into the ground the country’s glittering prize is showered with yet more astonishing amount of money. Sky and somewhat bizarrely BT won the next batch of rights to show Premiership games live, with the figures increasing 71% to £3billion over three years.  ESPN will no longer be in the frame after next season as BT come to the table, most likely aiming to stream games online. Not just any games either as they have a total of 38 games a season, 18 of which will be ‘first pick’ games; in other words they will get to choose which game to show live.

Scudamore called for reinvestment back into club academies and infrastructure warning against the ever increasing wage bills in the league. Just when you thought a player could not earn any more a week, the figures become ever more astonishing and that will continue for the foreseeable future. We all know that if you earn more, you spend more so your absolute minimum income continues to rise alongside it. That same principle will continue in the Premiership that is now a Redknapp free zone so no club should suffer any financial meltdowns in the near future.

And that is all I have in the tank for you this week me old buds. The Euro’s are shaping up nicely and the final round of group games usually throw up a few great games which may mean as half the teams go home some interesting transfer news might start to kick in. Either way I’ll find plenty to keep you entertained, don’t you worry about that. Until another work break, see-ya.