So it’s mid June and it’s a year ending in an odd number which means no major international tournament. So we are scrabbling around the Confederations Cup and the Under 21 Championship for footballing succour!
Congratulations to Fernando Torres for this hat trick against New Zealand in the said Confederations Cup, which is being held in South Africa. Torres dedicated his hat trick to the African fans and then said that he expected to beat New Zealand, but not by five goals. Whether he expected Spain would score more than five or less is not clear!
Torres then shot down talk about links with Real Madrid and The Mancs. The Real thing is understandable, they’ve been linked with any player who has a pulse, however the Mancs rumour is clearly nonsense and quite simply not worth giving the oxygen of publicity in fact it’s not worth giving it the oxygen of oxygen!
Elsewhere Michael Owen has taken the novel step of issuing to all the top flight managers a glossy brochure advertising his services. I await an advert on TV but hopefully not a card in a phone box. Time to check Rafa’s recycling bin?
Sadly rumours about the departures of Alonso and Mascherano refuse to subside. Stories about Mascherano’s family being unable to settle in the North West presumably add fuel to the speculation? If either go then perhaps Rafa will need to alter his list of transfer targets? However at the moment he appears content to look at the back rather than the middle or the front. Glen Johnson, Sylvain Distin and Micah Richards have all been mentioned as potential signings.
I would have no major issue if we signed any of these players. Johnson and Richards are good, young international players who can only get better that the added experience of playing for us would bring. Johnson in particular appears to have flourished, at Pompey and on the international stage, since his move from Chelsea where his opportunities were limited. Rumour is that Rafa put a bid in for Johnson in the last transfer window however because of some impressive international performances he will probably have to pay more? At a rumoured £17m Glen Johnson looks a tad expensive however, name a player who isn’t these days? Ironically our main rivals for his signature could by Chelsea, his old club, and Manchester City. If the latter out bid us then perhaps this will free up Micah Richards for us?
At 31 Distin is more experienced. However, one of the reasons he choose Manchester City over Newcastle, with whom he was on loan, was so that he could play centre back instead of full back .Will he get the regular first team start he would want with Agger, Carragher Skrtel as competition?
Out of the three my inclination would be to go for Johnson or Richards as the position of full back as proved to be a constant thorn in Rafa’s side. Arbeloa and Aurelio have had their moments, particularly when going forward however, they have often been exposed when it comes to the spade work ie, marking up and defending especially from set pieces. And our other full back Andrea Dossena? He’s had, commendably by his own admission, a tough time of it however, as I’ve mentioned before in previous pieces, I believe we owe him another season. The puzzling thing is that he is Italy’s first choice full back however, visions of “catenaccio” do not exactly spring to mind when his name is mentioned, not yet anyway!
Finally warm and much overdue congratulations to Ian Callaghan for finally getting his 1966 World Cup Winners medal. There seems to be something very wrong that Cally, as a squad member, had to wait all this time when we saw Bobby Charlton getting a Champions League winners medal in Moscow last year.
Maybe Real will want to sign him too?