by Steven S
The week began with Luka Modric picking up a two week fine for skipping Tottenham’s USA trip, a move designed to push the Tottenham board into a selling position, except that Daniel Levy is sticking to a price tag higher than Gail McIntyre’s bouffant. Rafael van der Vaart offered a sober reminder of how the players view the whole transfer process very differently to us on the other side of the fence. The anger and resentment from the fans held toward players angling for a transfer couldn’t be further from the minds of fellow professionals aware of the need to maximise a career spanning 15 years at best. If it isn’t one of their teammates it could well be they are mentioned in the gossip columns – it is easy to forget that the glitz and glamour of the league is created by us off the pitch, more so than their weekly run outs.
With Olympic football under way we have the opportunity to see some of the players who only seem to exist in football forums or transfer pages, namely most of the Brazilian squad. Lucas Moura has been linked with Manchester United for a short time, this week being told their initial bid for the winger was not sufficient enough and to come back with a larger offer. Central midfielder Oscar has completed his expected move to Chelsea for a fee around the £25m mark – somebody somewhere has to get creative with a Sesame St song – adding to the lavish spending and bidding coming from their Russian owner.
After boring the pants off Europe on their way to a Champions League victory it seems that Abramovich is now moulding his own mini Spain, with hundreds of midfielders and Torres/no striker. Hulk is another man over in the UK who has been very closely linked to the Blues although as the weeks have progressed the rumours appear to be dying a death. Quite a busy week for Ashley Cole once again, joining Twitter and taunting Arsenal fans over their lack of success before joining the Olympic parade to proudly carry the Mozambique flag. “11 to me 0 for you!!” was one of his trophy taunts over the social network, although we are not sure if he was talking about the total amount of friends he has made or silverware.
Joey Barton was back in the news, Fleetwood Town being his unlikely destination for the next few months to allow him to keep in shape for a return after his lengthy ban. There have been rumours of a loan to the League Two team although he may struggle to hold down a first team spot amongst such superior footballers. Craig Bellamy scored Great Britains first Olympic goal for 52 years after being linked with a move away from Liverpool to QPR who are overhauling their whole squad for the third time in a year.
Liverpool will face either Macedonia’s FK Renova or FC Gomel of Belarus in the third qualifying round of the Europa League next month, a competition the club would do well to take seriously. Joe Allen to Liverpool is another rumour that threatens to break out into a real transfer apparently breaking an agreement made between Swansea and Rodgers upon his exit. Andy Carrol exit rumours continue with West Ham rumoured to be preparing an £18m bid, £2m put down initially and the rest a season later, presumably once West Ham have been relegated. The eastenders also signed 19 year old Raphael Spiegel this week from Swiss side Grasshoppers for an undisclosed fee.
Tim Cahill has left the Premiership to join Thierry Henry at the New York Red Bulls ending an eight year stint at Everton. His work ethic can be replaced by an always hard grafting squad but it is his goal threat that will be missed – something Moyes will hope to find by securing the signature of Steven Pienaar. Argentinean defensive midfielder Claudio Yacob joined West Brom on a three year deal whilst Peter Odemwingie has been the subject of a bid from Qatari Al-Gharafa, which was rejected by the Midlands club. Norwich also confirmed the signing of Leeds captain Robert Snodgrass, giving the winger the chance to prove his ability can make it at the highest level.
John Terry was charged by the FA for using “abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour” toward Rio Ferdinand, the Chelsea captain responded seeking a personal hearing to resolve the matter. In the court trial a decision has to be made ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ whilst the FA will base their decision on ‘the balance of probabilities’. A ban seems more likely than not as the law enforcers of the game will want to follow up the Suarez verdict with another statement of intent. Fleetwood Town could have a new captain come September.
The pieces are slowly moving into place for a number of transfers so the next few weeks will remain slow and drawn out before either selling prices are dropped or met by the clubs involved. The Olympics got off to a fantastic start on Friday night so that will prove to be a helpful distraction before the Community Shield is played, two weeks today. The sun is out, there is beer to be drunk and women from south America all over east London for 15 more days. I may be gone some time. Peace out suckers.