It’s now roughly a month to the beginning of Europe’s major football leagues and the anticipation is hitting fever pitch. I know the pay channels always hype the following season as the most exciting yet.. This time, the hype is real. This hype has been fuelled by two major factors; the various mangerial changes around the big European clubs, and the blockbuster transfer sagas mostly involving Europe’s premier attacking talents.
Managerial musical chairs.
As always, I’ll do a quick recap for the rock dwellers. The wily old master Sir Alex Ferguson retired from football to ‘see the world’. Jose claims it was his impending return that forced the Scot into retirement but then again Mou claims he is now ‘the Happy one’ so it was all in fun. Well, Fergie was replaced by David Moyes at OT, a decision in which Fergie had a say. It has been said he vetoed Jose due to his cantankerous nature. The non-cantankerous David Moyes’ vacant chair at Goodison was filled by Roberto Martinez, the man who gave the term ‘bitter-sweet’ a whole new meaning by winning the FA Cup and getting relegated in damn near the same week!
But the real catalyst of the managerial stampede was Pep Gurdiola. He was a prime target for all big clubs outside Spain’s Big Two. Gurdiola chose Bayern. A spurned Roman Abramovich turned to old frenemy Jose Mourinho who was tired of not being adored at the Bernabeu. Mourinho replaced the revilled Rafa Benitez, who in turn replaced Walter Mazzari(who moved on to replace Andrea Stramacioni at Inter) in Naples.Meanwhile, after lengthy ‘vibing’, Carlo Ancelotti took Mou’s seat at Madrid with Laurent Blanc replacing him(Carlo) as Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s nanny at PSG. Carlo, it is rumoured, has a ‘no poach’ clause in his severance with PSG; he can’t take any of their players. As I had predicted severally, Roberto Mancini was fired by Citeh and replaced by the Chilean Pellegrini. Am out of breath. Did I miss any? Ohh.. there was no movement on the Wenger front.
So the subplots begin. How can Pep possibly improve the best side in Europe? There only seems one way for Bayern to go from here and it’s down. Pep is likely gonna wanna impose his Barca philosophy and replace ‘beasts’ with ‘beauties’. Bayern dominated last season because of a perfect mix of technique and dominant brutality. Pep is likely to get rid of the latter. Still in the Bundesliga, how does Jurgen Klopp re-organise after the sucker punches BVB has suffered at the hands of FC Hollywood over the past four months? The signing of Mkhataryan and Aubameyang should help keep them competitive.
How will Moyes step out of Fergie’s shadow? Will he be able to go toe-to-toe with Mourinho and City, with considerably less resources and talent just as Sir Alex did in his final years at OT? Who becomes the new chief bully of referees in the Premier League? If it’s a question of seniority, then Arsenal fans may have something to cheer about; we could have ‘Wenger time’ soon. Manuel Pelligrini, meanwhile, was brought to City to deliver the champagne football and domestic and European glory that people who reside on Forbes lists require. Wenger will frustrate and entertain as usual. What’s not to love?
Player transfer sagas
First, Bayern bought Mario Goetze, a future Ballon d’Or winner to many in German circles, from bitter rivals BVB; a move who’s announcement before Dortmund’s Champions League semi against Real had Jurgen Klopp tearing out his mane and calling Gurdiola names. Then the Bavarians secured a pre-agreement with Robert Lewandowski that had all 600,000 Dortmund fans seething.
Lewandowski was one of three marquee strikers on sale this summer, the other two being the spelling-phobic Edinson Cavani and Colombian superstar Radamel Falcao. Falcao moved to Monaco to earn a tax free $15m/yr while he(reportedly) waits to move to Madrid next season. Apparently he didn’t want to move straight from Athletico to Madrid and get the ‘Judas’ tag. BVB held on to Lewandowski and risk him walking for free next summer. Unless they manage to convince him to move to a club outside Germany in the next few weeks. Edinson Cavani moved to PSG for 63m Euros, proving once again that cash rules everything. On PSG signing Cavani, Zlatan predictably tossed his toys out of the pram and his agent Mino Raiola is currently shopping him around for a ‘cut-price’ $25m and ~ $15m/yr wages. I don’t see any one paying that kind of money for a bad tempered 32yr old prima donna. One can’t rule out a return to Milan though, stranger things have happened.
Luis Suarez also decided to cook up a manure storm by batting his eye lashes at Real Madrid and conducting himself with the general douchebaggery that is tolerated purely because of his mastery with a football. Amazingly Madrid have largely ignored him and no bid has been lodged so far. Instead he has been linked to the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and even Barcelona. One fascinating story I read was that Luis uses outrageous acts of violence as a way to leverage himself out of a club. Basically he does something so outrageous the club have no choice but to defend his inane behavior or sell him; and it usually involves his teeth.. Bollocks I know.
We had anticipated fireworks and ‘handbags’ when it came to ‘fighting’ for the above three strikers and many of us were pleasantly surprised when things weren’t so protracted. Then came the Wayne Rooney saga. Rooney is suffering from first born syndrome(among other debilitating ailments). The second child(RVP) arrived and took away all his shine, all the attention and most of the love. And he’s sore. He acted out and the parents(Fergie) responded with the stick, not the carrot. He was supposed to talk to Moyes, to smooth things over. We aren’t really sure what happened there.
|Rooney is suffering from first born syndrome(among other debilitating ailments). The second child(RVP) arrived and took away all his shine, all the attention and most of the love. And he’s sore.
What we know is that someone leaked a story about Chelsea bidding 10m + David Luiz or Juan Mata for Mr. Potato Face. As the frenzy peaked, it turned out that Chelsea had made a full cash bid. United saw this as an affront and an effort to distabilise their player further so they responded by attempting to distabilise Chelsea’s players by putting out the news of the player plus cash bid. Everyone knows that David Luiz is a fan and Board(read Abramovich) favorite and has been fingered as the club’s next captain. As for Juan Mata being up for sale, the less said, the better.. So the saga drags on. Personally, I see Rooney staying at United and this being put down to yet another adoloscent rebellion by the Scouser goon. Besides, I don’t think he’d be able to communicate with people in London; and he might get arrested for peeing on roadsides at 3am whilst looking for a sausage stand.. I kid.
In other news
Meanwhile, in Catalunya, Barca swiftly concluded a deal for Brazilian superstar Neymar; a move that could turn out as titillating(if he gels with Messi) as it could be disastrous if ‘the Little dictator’ treats Neymar the way he did Zlatan or David Villa(it’s all conjecture along with knowledge gleaned from Ibra’s autobiography)
Disclaimer: I am not slandering Messi’s character. I know some people think his poo smells like roses
Man City just bolstered their attack with the twin signings of Alvaro Negredo and Stefan Jovetic to add to the earlier signing of the previously agorophobic Jesus Navas and Fernandinho That should spell the end of Edin Dzeko’s City career. Pelligrini normally uses one striker so that situation should be interesting. I hear BVB are nosing around for Dzeko to partner/backup new signing Pierre Aubameyang from St. Ettiene. This all leads me to believe Lewandowski could still be on the market but BVB want to deal from a position of strength. Fiorentina signed Mario Gomez to replace Jovetic and Napoli are in the running to replace Cavani with Higuan(who was apparently a done deal at the Emirates just the other day). And so the game of musical chairs continues..
NB: Arsenal are still making positive noises but without tangible results. I heard they were trying to put in a 35m bid for Luis Suarez but I think they were filming an episode of ‘Just for Laughs’. Olivier Giroud scored hi first hat-trick for the Gunners so I guess that puts to bed their interest in strikers this summer.