So we’re in the “no man’s land” of the footy calendar. The bit between the end of the season and a major international tournament. As England won’t be there, it makes it even more dull and pointless. Pity those in the squad who have to make the trip to Trinidad and Tobago when presumably all they want to do at this stage of the season is to go home, pack the suitcases and jet off to somewhere such as er… Trinidad and Tobago!
England’s game against USA was a pointless affair. The side showed some good moves but it’s not hard when the opposition is so awful or disinterested, I couldn’t work out which nor did I really care. On the positive side perhaps we saw a sign of things to come with Gareth Barry setting up Gerrard’s goal via a nice through ball?
Unlike those around him Barry himself has played a straight bat regarding his transfer rumour stating that he’s having talks but wants get the England “tour” out of the way first.
“Any sort of interest by a big club is flattering but I am still an Aston Villa player. I’ve got two years left of my contract and until some sort of bid is accepted, or the manager tells me otherwise, there is no decision to make. No decision has been made because no bid has been accepted.”
Meanwhile it looks like the man who Barry might replace, Xabi Alonso, is edging nearer the Anfield exit for Juventus. As usual the issue seems to be money. We want £16m, Juve want less. However with Euro 2008 only a week away, I cannot see anything happening until Spain do their usual trick of getting knocked out in the quarter finals!
One ex player, Jan Molby, has warned against the move.
“They’re once in a lifetime, players who can play, players who can dominate games like he can. There are always players at every football club you’re so reluctant to see leave and I think Xabi falls into that category. We don’t really want him to leave but maybe it makes sense if the fee that has been bandied about is the correct fee from Juventus.”
If Barry develops Molby’s class eye and passing ability (the best I’ve ever seen) the blow of the Alonso move will be softened. However if he develops Jan’s mobility we’re up s**t creek!
One deal that seems to be going nowhere, for the time being anyway, is the offer we put in for Cardiff’s Aaron Ramsey. At 17 years Ramsey is clearly one for the future even though he played a part in the FA Cup final and has just been called into the Welsh squad. It seems that our offer reflected his age with payments being linked to his future development. Don’t we offer straight cash anymore? It’s either a few players and a bit of cash or something else. It’s getting like Swap Shop at Anfield (apologies to those who are too young to remember). Will Barry be exchanged for £10m, John Arne Riise and a Buckeroo game?
Naturally Cardiff want more money on the table for Ramsey although they recognise that he will move. As a midfielder Ramsey must surely give serious thought to how big his opportunities will be at Anfield. What are the odds, if he signs, of him being out on loan fairly soon after? Unlike other sides we seem less prepared to take a chance on younger players preferring to nurture them, hold them back or ship them out on loan to other clubs. It would be nice to see that change always assuming that the player is good enough.
Meanwhile I had to laugh at reports in Monday’s Daily Mail that Chelsea are prepared to put £50m on the table for Torres. What next, Rooney to Arsenal or seeing as it’s the Daily Mail, “Member of Royal Family in Chelsea managers post link” or “That nice man Hitler was a Gooner”!