Thursday, August 31, 2006

Amazing duo transfer blow..

...morning update on the last day of the summer transfer window.

Many United fans woke up to the news that Newcastle United have agreed a loan deal to sign Rossi until January, with Fergie saying 'he'll come back with more experience and will be of more use to us'... United fans now await to see if this news means United are about to sign another striker...

However, the biggest news of the day so far comes from East London after Argentine superstar Carlos Tevez, 22, announced that he and Argentina team-mate Javier Mascherano, 22, have agreed to sign for West Ham United.

This news has rocked many United fans, as many reds have been pinning their hopes on the duo signing for Manchester United. Tevez is a striker and Mascherano is a midfielder - both are viewed by many as potential serious long term answers to United's problems up front and in midfield.

The fact that the deal is only a loan deal for one season has sent the media into speculation overdrive, the suggestion being that both Argentine's will eventually end up playing in West London for Chelsea. Apparently both players are 'owned' by London based Media Sports Investments, which is in turn is owned by Iranian-born businessman Kia Dzhurabchan, the same investment vehicle financed the controversial 18m transfer of Argentine Olympic hero Carlos Tevez to Corinthians from Argentina's Boca Juniors. The media are speculating that Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich is backing MSI....

IF the rumours are true, you cannot help but think it's a very good move for both West Ham and Chelsea. The Hammers get use of both players for a season, and of course once they've become acclimatised to the rough and tumble of Premiership life and settled in, Chelsea can reap their reward when they switch from East to West London and link up with the blues.

Onlookers will been keen to see what happens when West Ham face Chelsea this season, will both stars pick up some mysterious injury or some such that enforce their absence???

It seems Chelsea are to rules what Uri Geller is to spoons..


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Roy Keane's appointment at Sunderland...

Let's get one thing out of the way at the outset, very few people apart from those involved saw this move coming. When the news broke it was nearly as much as a shock as the announcment that Roy Keane was to be kicked out of Ireland's World
Cup squad in 2002, after famously falling out with the then Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy, during Ireland's world cup preparations in Saipan.

The fall-out centred on Keane being unhappy with the Republic of Ireland training camp facilities and a whole lot more besides. One of the principle players in the Saipan saga was Niall Quinn, who was at the time a senior player, who played a leading role during this high-profile spat between the skipper and the manager, which of course ended in a sorry mess and brought Keane's international career to a premature end.

All the more surprising then that it was Niall Quinn the now Sunderland chairman who'd announced that the Black Cats would soon be appointing 'a world class manage who would make the Sunderland fans happy' that man eventually turned out to be Roy Keane - a player with no managerial experience at all.

We all know about Keane the midfield warrior, the man took no shit off anyone on the park, his standards are as high as anyone’s within the game, past or present. Keane doesn’t suffer fools, nor does he pull in any punches with things need to be said. In short Roy Keane is a born leader, someone who others follow. The sort of man you'd want fighting alongside you in trench warfare.

So how will Roy the manager shape up? The jury is keen to find out, but of course being an exceptional player isn't enough to ensure success when directing operations from the dug-out as another former United legend Bobby Charlton will testify. Ergo, good players don't always cut the mustard as managers.

Roy's chances would be enhanced greatly if he'd inherited a good squad of hungry players and a great set-up, going off the early season results, the performance indicator would suggest that is very much in the negative, as Sunderland found themselves rooted at the foot of the champhionship with no points.

Once the news of the appointment broke, the speculation suggested that Keane would be assisted by former United coach and all round good-egg, Brian Kidd, but again many were left surprised as Keane announced that his old friend Tony Loughlan would be his assistant manager/coach. This particular observer isn't sure about Keane's wisdom here, but who is going to argue with Roy Keane, a true United legend who will never ever be forgotten by the Red Army.


The summer of discontent...

David Gill, United's CEO, promised the fans that this summers spending would be wrapped up before the World Cup got under way - nothing happened - the World Cup came and went and no signings were forthcoming. Mind you Gill also said Glazer would be bad news for United...yet he's still there spinning a different line.

Eventually Michael Carrick was signed at a huge expense, the club agreed to pay Spurs an eyebrow raising £18 million - this for a player who'd cost a fraction of that fee two years ago from the then relegated West Ham United.

Of course there's nothing new about Fergie spending big, many United fans believe that the club are their own worst enemies. Who will ever forget Peter Kenyon's statement that United were 'cash rich' on agreeing to pay Leeds United £30m for Rio Ferdinand, this at a time when Leeds were on their knees? IF you act like the village idiot with the cheque book, don't be surprised when you get treated accordingly.

Many United fans have been asking why couldn't Fergie have spotted Carrick's potential while he was at West Ham United, in doing so saving the club a fortune? The only other signing thus far is Tomasz Kuszczak who the club signed from West Brom. The midland's club initially rejected an offer of £2.5 million, eventually the deal went through with United offering cash plus two young players. The actual final terms of the deal haven't been released.

However, as things stand the club looked to have actually made a small net profit on signings this summer with United selling Ruud Van Niselrooy to Real Madrid for around £10m and of course United agreed a £12m fee with Chelsea for Nigerian star John Obi Mikel, who never actually kicked a ball for United.

At the time of writing United could still make one more signing before the summer transfer window closes. However, one player who isn't coming by the looks of things is Owen Hargreaves, his agent has today stated that no deal will be done this summer. Hargreaves has had a very mixed reception from both the down market tabloid hacks and the moronic elements among England fans, this view has changed somewhat following good recent performances in his favoured central midfield role for England

Midfield has undoubtedly been a problem area for Fergie over the last few seasons, whether or not Carrick will prove to be the long term answer, time will tell, what we do know is that Ferguson wants another midfield player and of course United have been linked with a number of central midfield players including Marcos Senna of Villarreal, will Fergie re-ignite his interest in the Spaniard, now that the door has closed on the Hargreaves deal?

United fans and many pundits are also asking about the wisdom of allowing Ruud to leave and not replacing him, United are relying on stars like Saha, and Ole who've both suffered terrible injury problems over the last two years. The club also has Rooney and Rossi, the former brilliant, but the latter is very much unproven and in any case both are second strikers and not true centre forwards

United are currently sitting at the top of the fledgling Premiership table, but this is after only three games and obviously it's far too early to get carried away - and they could have easily lost against Watford last weekend. The usual suspects Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal will eventually rise to the top, as cream does. Now is not the time to judge Fergie's spending this summer, but many believe it has been largely a summer of discontent