In his new regular column Kieran Davies looks at UEFA windfarms, Master Arsene, and insomniac reading.

The corks had barely been picked up from the floors of the Etihad Stadium when UEFA announced the sanctions they were imposing on the champions for failing to meet Financial Fair Play regulations. As was expected the threats of throwing clubs out of European competition failed to materialise and UEFA imposed a £49m fine and a restriction to their Champions League squad of 21 players. Well done UEFA. Fining Man City £49m is like Environmental Health finding the conditions at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory unsanitary and fining him in sweets. As for the restriction to the squad size, well you’ve just given them an excuse for another early exit. Let’s face facts, anyone who thought FFP would balance the scales of power and let other clubs compete also probably cling on to the hope that the green tax element to their utility bills is actually funding wind farms up and down the country.

Most countries have named their provisional squads for the World Cup in Brazil which comes as a delight to any football fan who struggles without the beautiful game through those summer months. I’m hoping this one serves up a tournament worth writing home about as I don’t think we have seen a World Cup tantalise our football taste buds since Mexico 86 or Italia 90. Too often we see sides cancel each other out or play out a chess like game of tactics while exchanging occasional jabs at their opponents like two boxers showing each other too much respect. There will be a few absentees at the tournament but the likes of Bale and Ibrahimovic can only rue their parent’s geographical choice of where they call home. The hosts are the favourites with the bookies understandably as they have never lost a competitive tournament on home soil, but there are a lot of pretenders to the throne this time around. Argentina have such a wealth of talent at their disposal that Carlos Tevez couldn’t even get a spot on the plane for the short journey. Pressure will be on Ronaldo to try and single -handedly take his country to glory but it always seems too much to ask of the Real Madrid man. The Belgium squad absolutely brims with quality in every area of the park and you could easily see them as the best hope for European challenge but don’t forget those Germans.

Lionel Messi will go into the World Cup a little bit richer after signing a new contract with Barcelona which makes him the highest paid footballer on the planet. If ever there was a player justifying such an exorbitant salary, then someone who hasn’t posted less than 40 goals a season for the last 7 years would be that player. His talent is un-doubtable but when you look back at Mexico 86 or Italia 90 those Argentina sides were carried through the tournament, sometimes single -handedly, by Diego Maradona. Messi has to emulate this for me for him to even feature as one of the all time greats. That may seem harsh but the true greats have done it on the international stage also and this is a mark of someone who is one of the world’s best. He is however always in the top 3 best players in the world season on season so it is easy to see why Barcelona have offered such a wage. It does beggar belief how Wayne Rooney dictates a wage all be it less than Messi but more than Cristiano Ronaldo, another player who posts in excess of 30+ goals a season for some time. Someone’s maths is a little bit off in my eyes at Old Trafford.

It’s that time of the year again where hacks dust off their Luis Suarez transfer gossip  stories again and no doubt they again will be that far off the mark you wonder whether their ‘source’ is smashing a load of mind altering drugs down his neck as soon as their back is turned. If Luis Suarez committed a crime and was released on tag with him not being able to go 201 yards away from Liverpool city centre without him triggering a response team to track him down, these same hacks would be trying to convince us that they’ve been eating paella with the Real Madrid president while he was writing the cheque for the Suarez transfer. On the plus side these articles are fantastic reading for the insomniac amongst us. Predictably all the sides with supposed money to spend in the summer are being linked to every player in the land and they’d have you believe every club wants to sign Thorgan Hazard because he’s scored 9 goals in division 4 south of the Belgian league. Clubs will want to get the majority of their business done before the World Cup as good performances will see prices inflate quicker than an EDF Energy tariff.

This weekend sees Arsenal look to complete their own personal quest for their precious……..silverware. In comparison Master Frodo’s quest to Modor over three ass-numbingly long films seems like a quick trip to the shops when compared to Wenger’s hunt for a trophy in North London. The match up versus Hull which has Arsenal as massive favourites seems to be giving me a groundhog day feeling over last year’s match up and if Arsenal have any complacency set in (Lukas Podolski claiming to not even know who the Hull forward Matt Fryatt was) I’m sure Steve Bruce is experienced enough to pull off the unexpected. He’s without his two big name strikers who are cup tied but they have enough quality in other areas of the park to make this a tight affair. The underdog tag will no doubt give their players an air of freedom to just go out and express themselves as nothing is expected of them and this could be a recipe of disaster for Arsene.

Arsenal and Hull City fans aside, this game will struggle to attract the football purist as La Liga serves up a winner takes all encounter at the Nou Camp between Barcelona and Athletico Madrid at exactly the same time. Madrid have a terrible record at the Nou Camp over recent years but this isn’t the Athletico side of previous years. They have a young hungry manager in Diego Simeone who seems to inspire this team and get the best out of them every time. Maybe they think he’s Danny Trejo and they’re taking the wise advice that nobody crosses Machete or maybe this man has the Midas touch. It would seem that Diego Costa will be leaving in the summer so what an opportunity for him to sign off in style and give the adoring fans from Vicente Calderon what they crave…….the La Liga title. They won’t be thinking about Champions League finals in the lead up to this one, Simeone won’t let them, the league is theirs to lose with even a draw giving them the trophy. Barcelona have given the Madrid fans such a small allocation of tickets for the game that even if they do seal their win, they probably won’t be heard as there will be more stewards at the game than Athletico fans. One thing is for sure you will be able to hear a pin drop if Machete’s men are dancing around the Nou Camp pitch, trophy in hand.