Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
Liverpool’s Rafa Benitez may feel he got a good price for Xabi Alonso but he is in no danger of dislodging Arsene Wenger as the Premier League manager with the Midas touch.
Wenger has received criticism of late for not ‘spending big’ on replacements for departing first-teamers. He should be receiving credit for earning a huge pile of cash for players no longer in his plans. Does anyone in football generate as much money from transfers as Wenger?
The wily Frenchman has built a career on signing young prospects for small fees and selling them for gigantic ones when he feels the time is right.
Most recently Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure moved to Premier League rich boys Manchester City for a reported combined fee of 39 million pounds after being brought to Arsenal for much less.
At last, Real Madrid have got their man. Liverpool agreed on Tuesday to sell Xabi Alonso, a Real target going back at least six years, for a reported 30 million euros.
It’s decent money for a player Rafa Benitez appeared happy enough to consider selling 12 months ago but Alonso is the sort of assured holder and passer of the ball who is hard to replace at any price.
Fuelled by millions of petro-dollars from the apparently bottomless pockets of their Abu Dhabi owners Manchester City have spent the summer accumulating what is beginning to look, on paper anyway, a squad that will challenge for the title.
Significantly, the players bought by manager Mark Hughes are tried and tested in the Premier League which augurs wells for City’s chances of shaking up the established pecking order in English football.
Has John Terry got a bit big for his boots by questioning whether Chelsea’s ambition matches his own?
The defender and club captain said that was the reason for the delay in him nailing his colours to the Chelsea mast in the wake of Manchester City’s reported 200,000 pounds per week offer to take him away from Stamford Bridge.
Manchester City are finally shopping at the luxury end of the market, as befits their status as the richest of the rich, and as a result the fans can start to get excited about the new season.
Back in January I blogged about the depressingly familiar rollcall of mediocre players being linked with City: the likes of Scott Parker, Roque Santa Cruz, Craig Bellamy and Matthew Upson.
Champions League qualifying has begun so the new football season in Europe is well and truly underway.
But while Mogren of Montenegro celebrate their victory over Hibernians of Malta in the first qualifying round last week, spare a thought for those famous European sides who are unlikely to grace the competition even in a qualifying tie, let alone the group stage.
Much like a homeowner who decided to hold out for a higher offer and now finds himself stuck in a credit crunch, negative equity nightmare, Premier League side Portsmouth have made a highly regrettable financial faux pas.
Amidst the crazy antics of the January transfer window, Portsmouth decided to reject a 3.5 million pounds bid for midfielder Sean Davis from rivals Bolton Wanderers. On Wednesday he joined Gary Megson’s side for free.
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez fought long and hard for greater control of the Anfield club’s transfer funds and first through the door since he agreed his new contract is Portsmouth’s Glen Johnson. He didn’t come cheap, either.
At a reported 17 million pounds, Johnson is an expensive acquisition for a player who never quite made it at Chelsea, and has only recently found success in the England team after raiding down Portsmouth’s right hand side last season.
The new Premier League season kicks off on August 15 and the first real eye-catching fixture is at Old Trafford a fortnight later when Arsenal visit champions Manchester United for the first twist in the title race.
United manager Alex Ferguson will clash with new Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti at Stamford Bridge on November 7, two weeks after visiting rivals Liverpool at Anfield.