With the “big kick off” only a month away pre season training and games are in full flow. Transfer activity also takes on increased urgency as clubs scramble to finalise their squads before the deadline.
By the way if anyone from Sky is reading this feel free to use the phrase “big kick off” in your August advertising. My “finders fee” is based on the number of times you shoehorn the phrase into your programmes, double if Richard Keys mentions it more than twice in the same sentence in a “this is the moment of truth for the world” manner! Can you also let me know what inappropriate piece of poetry you’re planning to use in the intro to the first televised Premiership match? I thought it would be apt to use something by Pam Ayres this time but I’ll leave it up to you!
This week a theory has developed. Actually it’s always been there but I’m just highlighting it now as another excuse to talk about what I seem to have been talking about all summer – more transfer tosh! The theory is the “domino principle”, that one seemingly unrelated development in the market could have a “knock on effect” on another clubs transfer fortunes. Liverpool are no exception to this rule.
For example the news that Aston Villa have agreed a fee with Chivas (I thought that was a jelly manufacturer not an American league team) for goalkeeper Brad Guzan effectively means that any hopes Scott Carson had of making his stay at Villa Park permanent are scuppered. Add that to our signing of Diego Cavalieri and the “knock on” effect seems to be that Mr Carson has suddenly become surplus to requirements at L4 and therefore this summer’s “must have” keeper.
Reports are that Stoke have had a £4m bid agreed by us. However, in yesterday’s papers it seems that West Brom, like Steve Ovett used to do in his pomp (come on, the Olympics will be with us soon), will come from nowhere with a perfectly timed run, or in this case bid, to steal the race for Carson’s signature?
If Carson does go to Stoke, or West Brom for that matter, my guess is that he will be a busy keeper, an extremely busy keeper! With all due respect to these clubs one wonders about the wisdom of this move. If the recent records of clubs promoted to the Premiership are anything to go by, Carson could find himself back in the Championship next season? However, at least he will have the relief of knowing that the uncertainty surrounding his previous loan spells has been lifted?
No doubt the extra funds we get from this deal will come in handy for our transfer targets but the domino theory as had a mixed effect. On the positive, but slightly more tenuous side, the revelation that Blackburn’s Roque Santa Cruz wants away to a so called bigger club has reportedly alerted Spurs’ interest. Would securing Santa Cruz’s services make Spurs more amenable to doing business with us over Robbie Keane?
Of course one doesn’t know how much spare cash Rafa has in the pot. We’re told that he has to wheel and deal to get his players this summer but it’s been suggested that he’s been given £20m. So if he is to secure Keane AND Gareth Barry then the sale of Xabi Alonso to Juventus appears to be more and more crucial. Cue those dominoes again!
Yesterday’s announcement that Juventus had signed Christian Poulsen, a midfieder, from Seville, for a sum considerably less than the £15m or so we are asking them to stump up for Alonso, was surely bad news for Rafa? No funds for Xabi, or so it seems at the moment, means no funds for Barry or to put towards Robbie?
If Alonso cannot be sold and stays then perhaps, and I say this in hope more than expectation, the need to sign Barry will disappear leaving us free to concentrate on Keane? Naturally one would need to consider the reaction of Alonso to the prospect of another season with a club were the boss was trying to get him out of the door, however in my book this would be a perfect solution to the summer’s negotiations. We’ve secured another top class striker and kept an infinitely more superior player than Barry. As a nice side issue, Martin O’Neill, having burnt his bridges with his top man, is left with almighty headache – a just “reward” for trying to make us feel like the cads of the highest order because of his cantankerous, overreaction to our perfectly reasonable approach for Barry? Unreasonable logic? Woolly minded thinking? Probably so but the lack of games and news does that to you! Roll on August 16th.
Meanwhile after Saturday’s “work out” against Tranmere the squad decamps to Switzerland for training and a couple of friendly games, against Lucerne today (16th July) and then Wisla Kraow on Saturday. Hopefully we will get a look at Andrea Dossena whose debut on Saturday was delayed due to work permit delays? Javier Mascherano and Dirk Kuyt have also returned from the beach to strengthen things up.
Back with more excuses to talk about the same stuff soon!