Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Real Madrid no longer calling the shots in the transfer market...

There was a time not so long ago that a click of El Presidente's fingers would have seen the biggest names in world football scurrying to sign for Real Madrid. However, things appear to have changed somewhat over the last couple of years. Madrid tried and failed to sign our very own Cristiano Ronaldo, they would no doubt have loved to have signed Thierry Henry too, but they did not.

Madrid are currently trying to prize away two Chelsea players in Robben and Ballack, but times have changed I suspect that they will only be allowed to leave Chelsea if the blues want either or both of them out of the door.

Many fans despise many things about the 'play thing' that is Roman Abramovich's Chelsea, but at least the Russian's cash has made it more interesting at the very top end of the European transfer market.

Some things haven't changed though and that is Madrid's seemingly never ending efforts to unsettle players. Bernd Schuster, the Real coach, this week openly invited Ballack to join him at the Bernabeau. Today it's being reported that next summer's No 1 transfer target is Arsenal's Cesc Fàbregas.

Ramón Calderón, the current President has made the rather bold prediction that Madrid will eventually capture Robben, Fàbregas and Kaká: “There’s a chance that they will all be here by the end of my third year in office.” When asked if that could mean Robben this summer, Fàbregas next year and Kaká the next year, Calderón said: “I think so.”

Arsenal only allowed Henry to join Barca because Wenger was happy for that to happen. The same will no doubt apply to Fàbregas, any deal for the Spaniard will be on the Frenchman's terms.

Wenger is a very smooth operator in the transfer market, there is none better. Added to which, unlike Madrid the north London club doesn't have a policy of unsettling other clubs and their star players.

Many Reds supporters despise everything that the 'new Chelsea' stands for and in particular Peter Kenyon (the 'Manchester United fan'), but even the former Reds marketing man doesn't go around openly stating that he will soon sign a top trio from Arsenal, AC Milan and Chelsea. Madrid's continued public advances towards rival star players should be dealt with by UEFA, but don't hold your breath...

Real are still of course a massive club and only a fool would argue otherwise, but they are no longer getting their own way where it concerns signing the very top players because they are no longer calling the shots in the transfer market, they even contrived to allow Beckham to slip through their fingertips.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Football Trivia: 12 of the best World Cup quiz...

So if you think know your stuff, let's see if you can answer these questions in our 12 of the best World Cup Quiz:

1) Why is King Karan of Romania significant in World Cup history?

2) Which two teams contested the first ever World Cup game?

3) Why was the kick-off in the 1974 World Cup final delayed?

4) Why was the kick-off in the 1978 World Cup final delayed?

5) What was rumoured to be Mussolini's encouraging telegram to the Italian team before the 1938 world cup final?

6) In which World cup tournament was there no final?

7) In which World Cup tournament did all four home nations qualify?

8) How many goals did Hungary score in their 5 matches in the 1954 tournament?

9) Which two teams were involved in the infamous "battle of Berne" in 1954?

10) Which two teams were involved in the infamous "battle of Santiago" in 1962?

11) What was the nationality of the referee who allowed Geoff Hurst's second and England's third goal in the 1966 final?

12) Which two London stadia were used during the 1966 World Cup tournament?

IF you have any of your own questions (and answers :0)) send them in along with your answers to the above.


United season ticket 'waiting list' disappears...

We have an update on a story which we brought to you last week regarding the supposed 'waiting list' for United season tickets.

Last Friday was the deadline for season ticket renewals, and given that United have claimed in the past to have anything between 10,000 and 18,000 members on the 'waiting list', it is somewhat surprising to say the least that the club are now offering season tickets to any Tom, Dick or Harry. So much for the 'waiting list'.

Waiting list - what waiting list?

Many disgruntled supporters are deeply unhappy about being forced onto the clubs Automatic Cup Scheme, which stipulates that fans must agree to purchase tickets for every home game including cup matches.

The ACS massively increases the price of a season ticket, and coming on the back of huge price increases for next season, it has been reported that the much maligned ASC scheme was the last straw for several thousand supporters, who have given up their season tickets.

Fans are so unhappy about the ACS that the club are set to be challenged in court by a supporter who is being backed by fans group Manchester United Supporters Trust.

MUST want to see the government in the form of the Office Fair Trading intervene and take action over what they see as the club misrepresenting the facts in order to manipulate the market by falsely creating a demand for season tickets which in turn drives up the cost.

A MUST spokesperson commented "The way loyal Manchester United supporters are now being treated makes one wonder whether the Glazers' sponsors,
companies like AIG, Audi, Nike and Budweiser, treat their own customers
with such contempt as the owners of the company they are sponsoring? As a
first step MUST is currently taking advice with a view to a complaint to
the Office of Fair Trading regarding this abuse of a dominant market
position and if the ghost of the season ticket waiting list is resurrected
by the Glazer spin doctors then this will surely form part of the evidence
which will be submitted."

WE here at United blog towers implore all fans to join MUST

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Tevez saga end in sight?...

It looks like West Ham United may have buckled under the weight of pressure being exerted on the club by the agents who represents Carlos Tevez, because MSI have hinted that the transfer saga over the Argentine's proposed transfer to Manchester United could be resolved next week.

MSI have issued proceedings against West Ham and it looked as though the matter would have to be decided by the High Court. However, the threat of court action looks to have brought about a settlement of a dispute which has dragged on for far too long.

West Ham could not afford to be on the wrong end of any court decision which would have no doubt led to further court action by relegated Sheffield United.

It remains to seen what compromise deal has been agreed between West Ham and MSI. The Premier League haven't handled this saga well in any way shape or form and they too will have to agree with any settlement that sees Tevez finally moving to United.

United fans will be hoping that the deal goes ahead in the next few days and it's looking promising , but the saga isn't over yet.

Football Trivia: Match of the Day question.

What was the name of the first player to kick the ball on the very first Match of the Day programme? Here's a clue. The player concerned has been in the news a lot recently.
Don't send your answers on a postcard. Send a comment via the form below....

Friday, July 27, 2007

The duplicity of UEFA...

So UEFA is finally taking a tough stance against teams whose supporters (sic) cause trouble by eliminating those teams from European competitions.

This week Serbian giants, Partizan Belgrade were kicked out of the UEFA cup as their fans created havoc when they played their first round first leg in Zrinjski, Bosnia Herzegovina. Given the tensions in that region, surely both teams or even UEFA could have foreseen the possible problems and taken action to play the game at a neutral venue? But that’s another issue

Only two weeks ago, Legia Warsaw suffered a similar fate when their fans travelled to Lithuania and rioted before and during the Intertoto Cup game with Vetra Vilnius.

I am not for one minute attempting to condone the actions of the supporters of Partizan and Legia and fully support UEFA in eliminating both teams from the respective competitions

What I am taking issue with UEFA is, their double standards in dealing with “big clubs” and the lesser one’s. Let’s face it, who, outside Belgrade or Warsaw, really gives a damn about these two teams missing out on a possible lucrative cup run? Neither of them really had a chance to win either tournament and were there just to make the numbers up. Perhaps if one of them had been drawn against one of the big boys, their finances could have improved slightly but that’s about it.

However, what if United, Barcelona, Real, or Milan fans had behaved in such a fashion? What would have happened to those teams? Do you think that UEFA would have been as tough and uncompromising? I think we know the answer – a hefty fine, a slap on the wrist and a severe warning is the most the “giants” of European football could expect. The more cynical side of me would suggest that UEFA would be more concerned about the loss of revenue should, Lord forbid, one of those teams supporters give reason to act in such a manner.

Regular followers of United in Europe will, no doubt, still have the memory of their trip to the Olympic Stadium in Rome last season. Here they were met by a group of supporters (the Ultras) who had an amazing array of weapons openly on display. The Rome police, were totally oblivious – no, completely ignored this and allowed the Ultras to slash, bash and attack United supporters with impunity. Any reaction from United supporters was met with horrendous police brutality. United fans are not alone in this mindless thuggery of Rome’s football fans and the riot police – Leeds and Liverpool fans have also suffered – one suspects there are many others too.

Once described as the “English disease” football hooliganism has spread alarmingly throughout Europe, notably Holland, Italy, the former Eastern bloc countries where the problems are far more serious than England ever experienced, and, let’s not forget, Turkey. Any followers of teams visiting the later will have returned with horror stories

So what have UEFA done about this? Nothing! Punitive fines and warnings to the larger clubs, expulsion for the colloquial ones. Duplicity at it’s worse.

For UEFA to have the temerity to ridiculously accuse Liverpool having the worst behaved supporters in Europe just shows their reluctance to face up to facts and act in an equitable manner for all clubs.

As for the English disease? We appear to have recognised, not fully cured but quarantined the problem. The rest of Europe should take note. However, I fear that it will take another tragedy; please God not another Heysel, before the hierarchy at UEFA will start to take proper and appropriate action against ALL teams. It can’t come soon enough for me.


Liverpool's new stadium: It looks dire......

I cannot believe how bad Liverpool's proposed revamped stadium looks, it is absolutely awful from the outside. It looks like an office building. It looks nothing like any football stadium that I've visited, new or old.

That said, who among us longstanding football fans really likes any of the new stadiums which have sprung up over the last few years? They all look the same. There's no character about them.

According to Rick Parry, Liverpool's CEO, the fact that none of the four new stands are alike was part of the thinking behind the design, this we are told is an 'asymmetrical design'. If someone from Man City had come out with that line we Reds would be wetting ourselves with laughter. In other words it's a dogs breakfast of a design.

Design is of course a very subjective matter and personally my favourite despite all the money that has been lavished on these new stadiums is the Nou Camp, which was built between 1954-1957. The Nou Camp is built around the classic bowl shape, as with many things you cannot beat simplicity.

However, the angles of the different levels of the Nou Camp are so steep that you feel as though you are right on top of the action - even in the ends behind the goal. It is therefore somewhat ironic that a stadium that was completed over 50 years ago is still more pleasing on the eye that those like the new Liverpool stadium and the others which have been built recently and I include the new Wembley in that respect.

Credit to Liverpool's new owners though, at least they've had the vision to expand so as to fulfil the Merseyside Reds full crowd pulling capacity. Liverpool are only second to United in that sense.

Before I get any hate mail from you Scousers out there. I don't think that much of the Old Trafford design either, that too is something of a hotch-potch. At least OT is still sited on its original ground though.

Rick Parry has been talking up the possibility of stadium naming rights (nothing wrong with that - easy money as far as I can see) but given the names of some US 'soccer' stadiums you do wonder what they will come up with.

I cannot see it being 'Dick's sports goods Park' or 'Pizza Hut Park', but we United fans live in hope :0).

It wasn't so long ago that Liverpool fans were chanting USA, USA to visiting Reds fans. The worm has turned and so far it's looking good for them it has to be said under the new regime.

It is still however early days.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Not looking good for Roy Keane and Sunderland..

Roy Keane is putting on a brave face having been given the knock-back by several players, the latest was Wigan Athletic's highly rated fullback Leighton Baines.

The Black Cats have also failed in their quest to capture Scottish goalkeeper Craig Gordon from Hearts because they couldn't match the club's £10m valuation.

Former Preston striker David Nugent also snubbed Sunderland, having signed for Harry Redknapp's Portsmouth.

You do wonder if Keane has been given the full support of his board of directors in financial terms. Niall Quinn told the Black Cats fans that they would back their manager, while they've talked the talk, they have clearly not walked the walk.

As things stand Sunderland are bound to be among the bookies favourites for relegation.

Scholes injury not serious...

United have been boosted by the news that Paul Scholes will only miss a couple of games at the beginning of the new season.

The ginger prince has returned to England for a minor exploratory operation on one of his knees, but Fergie has confirmed that he will back sooner rather than later "It's 100% good news. There was just some bruising on the cartilage. He will be back in three weeks."

Meanwhile not so good news to report on new signing Owen Hargreaves who is still suffering from knee tendinitis and will not play any meaningful part of United's Far East tour.

Worringly for United and Reds fans the manager says he does not know when the £17m signing will be able to make his United debut.

"It's just tendinitis. It's becoming an irritant rather than a big problem," he said.

"It's something we're going to have to do something about - not an operation, but we may have to give him an injection at some time."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

United season tickets: What is going on?

There's has been a great deal of speculation over just how many Reds are on what some United fans describe as the clubs 'mythical waiting list'. The club have maintained for some time that they've had a waiting list of 10,000 fans chomping at the bit to snap up a season ticket.

However, last year the club brought out a new one year season ticket and the Manchester United Fans Trust recently speculated that this mythical waiting list figure was largely made up of fans who'd recently purchased a year season ticket. The thinking being that just maybe the club were massaging the facts to come up with the figure of 10,000.

Following on from this the club is set to be challenged in court due its decision to try and force all season ticket holders onto the automatic cup scheme, which has proved to be extremely unpopular with many long standing cash strapped season ticket holders as it dramatically bumps up the price.

As of yet unconfirmed reports have also claimed that as many as up to 8,000 season ticket holders may have recently given up their cherished season tickets on the grounds that they can no longer afford it.

The very latest news, and this is purely anecdotal evidence, is that all may not going to plan regarding the sale of season tickets, because the club have made what can only politely be described as a very poor attempt to convince fans that owning a season ticket is something that's worth shouting about by launching a dedicated website to do just that...

To put it mildly this a heavy handed and crass piece of marketing and it's unlikely in the extreme that any fan worth his salt would embarrass himself or herself by sending in a totally uncool video of themselves jumping for joy about owning a season ticket. Times must be bad.

I'm not providing the link because I've given this embarrassing crass piece of marketing hype enough of a plug already.

Could the Tevez, Rooney partnership really work?

Fergie has been talking about the virtues of his prospective new strike partnership stating that he believes Rooney and Tevez could work together as an attacking force.

Both are classed as strikers, but neither are considered to be out and out number nine's, many would describe them both as second striker's, on their respective days, both lethal in that role.

During his time with United, Wayne Rooney has at times been given a free role to drop deep and collect the ball, the former Everton man has even been deployed from the left flank, not in the true sense of a winger, but this has been his starting position in a fair number of games. When Rooney has been played wide left, he's almost always then come inside as the game has progressed.

When the then England manager Sven Eriksson and more recently Steve McLaren deployed Rooney wide left they were both slaughtered by the media. Largely because the general consensus is that Rooney needs to be played down the centre to get the best out of him.

Ferguson can of course get away with more because of his record as a manager and it's fair to say that Rooney has also done ok on occasion when he's been asked to play 'out of position'.

Interestingly Tevez has also started wide on the left for West Ham this last season and so here again both players have something in common.

So how well will this new prospective strike partnership work for United? Personally I think it has legs, not least because both players are very mobile and as such they will give many central defensive partnerships something to think about, especially when they start drifting wide and deep.

However, this new strike force will have to go some way to be considered United's best ever. In my living memory, United's best ever striker partnership was Cole and Yorke, because they both brought something slightly different to the table.

Yorke could receive the ball in almost any situation, he could be totally relied upon to then control it and then bring others into the game, he was also very mobile, often dropping deep and when the need arose he could hold up the ball. He was superb with his back to the opposition's goal. In front of goal he was coolness personified. Cole was a lightning quick predatory striker and he clicked superbly with Yorke and it was a match made in heaven.

IF Rooney and Tevez come anywhere near reproducing what York and Cole did for United, the Reds wont be far away from more silverware next May.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

FIFA prove to be no use at all in Tevez row....

Perhaps not surprisingly to some, the world's governing football body FIFA has taken, what many will no doubt view as the easy way out over the row surrounding the proposed transfer of Carlos Tevez to Manchester United by deciding that the best decision for all concerned is for the case to heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland - which is an organisation with strong links to the IOC.

Many within the game, and we are led to believe even the UK Government wanted FIFA to take make a ruling over the Tevez deal and also on the whole issue of third party ownership of players, which is at the very centre of this row, but no, instead it's a case of buck passing from the world's governing body.

All too often we hear Sepp Blatter blathering on about issues which affect the beautiful game and yet here was a chance to really make a stance and prove some worth but no, it isn't too be, instead it will be left to an organisation with links to the International Olympic Committee.

The fact of the matter is that FIFA have turned a blind eye to third party ownership of players as the practice is common place in South America, and as such the whole issue looks to be a huge can of worms, because if FIFA had made such a ruling it would have implications for other third party deals around the world. So it seems rather than take on this case FIFA are happy to let a court with no real ties to football rule on this very important issue.

Quite what the this court of Arbitration for Sport will make of this case remains to be seen, there's even talk that MSI the player's agents could take the case to the High Court to get the matter resolved.

United onto a loser over Heinze to Liverpool move?

As ever there's a lot of hot-air coming out of Fergie's hairdryer, this time over the future of Gabriel Heinze. Arch rivals and bitter enemies Liverpool have set the cat among the pigeons by trying to sign the Argentine defender who has been dislodged from Fergie's first choice eleven by the much improved Patric Evra. Not only that Reds fans can look forward to the fast emerging Jonny Evans stepping into the limelight this season and no current 1st choice defender at the club will be safe when he get his proverbial feet under the table and becomes accustomed to life in the big league.

So what about the Scousers interest in Heinze? Well for starters, the Liverpool bid is the only serious offer for the player on the table. Somewhat suprisingly David Gill has hinted that because the club is no longer a PLC they are under no pressure to sell if they do not want to. Given the lavish spending this summer and the Reds debt mountain you might have expected that they were only too willing to cash-in on a player who is nearly 30 years of age, added to which before the seasons end there was talk of a player cull at the club.

United would clearly be mad to sell a good player to a top four rival, but what choice does the club have? As I understand it, under FIFAs new rules, Heinze can if he so wishes buyout his contract which would cost him nearly £7m. Livperool would then get the player on a free transfer. The Merseyside Reds would then compensate the Argentine with a hefty signing of on fee.

Sadly and this will annoy many Reds fans, I think Fergie and United are backing a loser here and that Heinze looks set to become the first player since 1962 when Phil Chisnall switched between these two North West football giants.

Fergie is blowing hot-air at present, but it's good to see that he's still the got fire in his belly.

One final question. If it came to a choice of selling either Heinze (to even Liverpool) or say Rossi what would you do? For me at least anyway it would be bye, bye, Gabby.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Scholes out for up to a month..

Paul Scholes has been sent home from United's summer tour of Asia for minor surgery on his knee. Fergie has confirmed that the ginger prince could be out for up to a month.

Arsenal issue warning over parasitic owner investors...

Rivals Arsenal have issued a warning to their supporters over the dangers of new ownership. The words of wisdom come in the wake of yet more media talk of potential new investors who are being linked with the North London club.

Bernie Eccleston the F1 supremo has become the latest name to throw his hat into the ring, the talk is that he could join forces with Stan Kroenke the American billionare, to mount a Gunners buyout.

However, Arsenal's MD Keith Edelman has warned that any potential investor could take more money out of the club than they would put in.

"Anybody who invests in a club, particularly from overseas, will want financial returns.

"Some other clubs with billionaire owners, their debts are mounting up."

Edelman isn't the first to talk about the debts of other clubs, Doug Ellis the former Villa owner and David Whelan of Wigan Athletic have also said the same thing.

It doesn't take a genius to workout who the three big-wigs were referring to, our very own Manchester United. The clock is very much ticking for United, under the Glazers' and their debt laden regime.

While things are looking very good on the field of play together with a summer of big new signings and coming off the back of a fabulous title victory, many United supporters are now feeling the pinch following the all too predictable huge increases of season tickets and everything else from the price of pies to match day parking.

United recently decided to force all season ticket holders to join the club's automatic cup scheme - a move which further angered many already cash strapped supporters.

United are easily the best supported club in the land and last season they were more or less sold out every week, and so it was entirely unecessary to force reluctant season ticket holders onto the auto cup scheme. A United supporter is making a legal challenge over this very issue and it remains to be seen what the outcome will be.

Roman Abramovich is something of a one off as few can match his wealth and generosity, but nonetheless Chelsea are very much a rich-man's-play-thing, it remains to be seen what will become of them when the Oligarch has satisfied his needs.

Sadly, I suspect that it is only a matter of time before Arsenal follow the other clubs who've been sold over the last few years.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tevez transfer meeting news...

A spokesman for the Premier League has confirmed that they are set to meet FIFA on Monday to discuss the Carlos Tevez situation. Last week David Gill, stated that the matter would be resolved by going to arbitration with FIFA. However, it seems that the United CEO was somewhat premature as a spokesman for the PL confirmed “There will be a meeting between the Premier League, the FA and Fifa on Monday to discuss the Tevez situation.

“One of the issues to be decided is whether to take the matter to Fifa for them to rule on the dispute between the parties.”

FIFA have long known about third party ownership of players, as the practice is common in South America, so on the face it there would appear to be no problem on that score. The Tevez situation is of course a very complicated business though, because Sheffield United could launch a £50m lawsuit against the league.

If FIFA came out and supported Tevez and backed up his claim that he should be able to cancel his contract because he reportedly had a get-out clause in his original contract with The Hammers, that may well confirm that the player was still owned by MSI and it would stand up in the law courts thus giving The Blades enough ammunition to launch that lawsuit against the Premier League.

The most simple solution would it seems be for West Ham to cancel the player's contract themselves. However, there remains a nagging feeling that this saga will be decided by the law courts.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

United CEO prefers Asian soccer market to US.

Manchester United's David Gill has been talking about the Red Devil's popularity in Asia, hinting that the market will always more important than the US soccer market. The Reds claim to have over 75 million fans world-wide, and according to 'research' over half the population of South Korea support Manchester United.

The Reds are currently on tour in Asia, in their most recent game they thumped FC Seoul by four goals to nil, with Ronaldo, Eagles, Rooney and Evra on target for for the visitors.

However, longstanding United fans have heard all the marketing nonsense before about these Asian markets, because it is one thing filling a few grounds to capacity while on a summer tour, quite another turning these 'supporters' into die-hards like those home based fans who've followed the club through thick and thin.

The club will no doubt he hoping that one day they can cash-in when viewing live Premier League matches over the internet becomes the norm. Until such times arrive then these supporters from afar might as well be from another galaxy for what real worth they are to clubs like United, Chelsea and Liverpool.

In today's cold hard business climate, the only fans who really matter are those who are prepared to pay the often sky high prices for match tickets, tv subscriptions and official merchandise.

Things are getting so bad regarding the latest season ticket price increases that some schools of thought suggest that the Red Devils might not be sold out every home game this coming season, as it's thought that several thousand fans may have had to give up their season tickets because they can no longer afford it.

We shall see how many fans United really have then.

Why BSKYB is likely to remain the dominant player in the live football TV rights market...

A few years ago BSKYB was outbid for Football League TV rights by an outfit known as ITV digital, or ONdigital, who were beset with technology problems due to the encryption on their dodgy set-top boxes being cracked. As a result many ONdigital customers were watching live Football League games for free. A subsidiary of Newscorp, who own BSKYB, was eventually sued for releasing details on the encryption technology.

Further to which the speculation was at the time that BSKYB had actually allowed ONdigital to win the live Football League TV rights knowing that ITV Digital overpaid in the bidding process.

Predictably ONdigital eventually collapsed in 2002 leaving many football League clubs in near financial ruin. ITV Digital was a total disaster. Following the collapse of ITV Digital, BSKYB and other broadcasters were left to pick up the pieces and were given the Football League TV rights.

Roll the clock forward to 2006 and Setanta Sports won the live TV rights to screen 46 Premiership games for the coming season ahead, their gain came at a very high price though, £392m to be precise.

When this news broke I actually personally spoke to one of my contacts who works for BSKYB and he told me that they weren't bothered at all about losing these 46 live games, because Setanta are a satellite broadcaster and as such SKY's technology would still be utilised.

So despite losing the TV rights to 46 games BSKYB remain in the loop. Further to which it was put to me that it wouldn't come as any surprise if Sky had allowed Setanta to over bid to win this contract, thus raising the spectre of another potential ONdigital like collapse.

The very latest news is that Sentanta have had to broker a cut-price wholesale deal with Virgin Media because according to The Times they haven't currently attracted enough subscribers. Analysts are predicting that once Sentanta reaches its targets, it will eventually be sold on, but it's doubtful that Virgin Media will turn out to be a likely buyer, because they too could soon be sold. All of which points to BSKYB remaining the dominant broadcaster of Premiership TV rights for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fergie sticks boot into Heinze's agent and says no to Liverpool move..

Sir Alex Ferguson has quite rightly told Gabriel Heinze's agent that there's no way the Argentine will be joining rivals Liverpool. The United manager has also let it be known that the player's agent has been angling for a move for a year-and-a-half. Fergie isn't having a go at Heinze though, that much is clear.

He stated: "I can assure you Liverpool will not be getting Gabriel Heinze.

"Heinze's agents are rolling the ball all the time but no matter what his agent thinks, we are in the driving seat.

"I don't exactly know what Gaby thinks because it is all coming from his agent but this has been going on for a year-and-a-half now."

Fergie was talking to the BBC.

Rooney looking forward to linking up with Tevez..

Wayne Rooney has been speaking about the prospect of linking up with Carlos Tevez and has described the Argentine as 'unbelievable'. The United striker says that his goals kept West Ham up last season and that he's really looking forward to linking up with the man at the centre of one of the longest running transfers sagas in living memory. Rooney says that he's not sure how the partnership will work but good players can play off each other. I'm sure many United fans will be thinking exactly the same as Rooney, it is a mouth watering prospect. Bring it on.

FIFA called in to resolve Tevez transfer...

At long last FIFA have been called in to resolve the long running Tevez transfer saga. David Gill, United's CEO remains confident that by the time the new season arrives the player will be training with the Red Devils. Added to which the Premier League have been criticised over their handling of the move by the PFAs Mick McGuire who says that mistakes have been made. Let us hope that once this deal is completed everyone will be aware of what the rules are so this does not happen again.

Meanwhile Heinze continues to be linked with a move away from Old Trafford, Spain looks like being the most likely destination with a number of clubs being linked to the former PSG star, but rivals Liverpool remain a possibility.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tevez being treated like a prime piece of Argentine beef steak..

They've always said that footballers are treated like lumps of beef, often sold on to the highest bidder. That metaphor certainly rings true regarding the Carlos Tevez move to United. West Ham United, no doubt quite rightly fearing reprisals from the Premier League, are holding firm stating that they will control this deal and that any deal must be agreed with them. What else can they do, given the threats from the Premier League?

Meanwhile, MSI the players representatives, who own the Argentine's 'economic rights' want the lions share of the fee.

It is without doubt the biggest shambles that I can ever remember regarding a transfer. Before this sorry episode the Premier League were viewed by many to be on a higher plane than the hapless FA, not any longer.

Here's a thought, if West Ham United were able to cancel the contract of Javier Mascherano and he subsequently signed for Liverpool, then why can't the Hammers do likewise with the Tevez contract?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Once in a lifetime New York Cosmos...'unmissible'..

It isn't often that you see a tv listing described as 'unmissible', and I cannot ever before recall that term being used to describe a football documentary/film, but that is how 'Once in a liftime - the story of New York Cosmos' was billed in the UK press over the weekend.

I sat through the film transfixed and at the same time amazed at this wonderful story about the rise and fall of the New York Cosmos.

The BBC timed its screening to coincide with David Beckham's arrival in the US and the former England captain's arrival has as expected been newsworthy, with 'Golenballs' taking centre stage on the front cover or Sports Illustrated.

However, I seriously doubt that Beckham will have the same impact as the one and only great Pele with crowds of 77,000 turning out to see him play at the Giants stadium. Time will soon tell on Beckham.

But back then for the Cosmos, it really was a fantastic time for all those connected with the New York club. Words alone do not do this great piece of documentary making justice and the good news is that if you didn't see it on BBC2 on Sunday night, it is available on DVD.

It is worth every penny, so go out and buy it.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Tevez transfer hits the buffers...

Listening to Sir Alex Ferguson discussing the much talked about prospective Carlos Tevez transfer to United over the last few days and anyone would have thought it was more or less a formality, but it was never going to be that simple given the various complications surrounding the deal.

One report over the weekend suggested that once David Gill, the Reds CEO, returned from holiday on Monday the matter would be resolved with one phone call. Not so.

Instead of conveying any hints on what the likely outcome is going to be, or telling us all what timecale United are working to for the deal to be concluded, Gill has simply stated the deal is now 'over complicated'. This is a 'bears shit in the woods' statement if ever there was one - we could have told Gill that before he went on holiday.

We the fans know the Tevez transfer has become 'over complicated', but what are you going to do about it?

For now the deal has hit the buffers.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Chelsea to ditch the diamond formation...

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has spoken about what Blues fans can expect next season, the dull and negative diamond formation looks set to bite the dust. The self anointed 'special one' has vowed to make Chelsea more exciting to watch, stating that he believes his players are the best in the world. Well he would say that, wouldn't he?

Privately Mourinho would no doubt concede that he only changed his 4,5,1 winger system to accommodate Michael Ballack. The theory goes that the Portuguese manager was never that smitten with signing the German and Shevchenko - who could yet return to AC Milan if a deal can be agreed.

Last season the former champions definitely lost width and became quite predictable in many ways. Despite this switch to a more attacking formation, Chelsea will not I precict have things their own way. Liverpool, United and Arsenal will press the Blues very hard and right now as far as I'm concerned there's not much between the top four. The only thing that I will predict is that Arsenal will probably finish fourth.

As for United, a lot will depend on how Fergie's new signings bed in, the Reds have made a lot of changes in pre-season and so the test will be how quickly this new team gels. We need to seal the Tevez deal too. If and when that deal is agreed I fully expect the Argentine to miss the early part of the new campaign as think Fergie will give Tezev at least two weeks rest.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Reds confident of Tevez deal..

According to the latest news Manchester United are confident of wrapping up the Carlos Tevez transfer this coming Thursday. Fergie has laid down the gauntlet to the Premier League challenging them to stop the deal if they can find legal ground rules to do so. United fans and Tevez will be hoping that the manager's confidence isn't misplaced given the problems surrounding ownership of the Argentine.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Great US expectations: Beckham is the provider, he is NOT the savior..

The day that he makes his debut for LA Galaxy probably cannot come soon enough for David Beckham, because as ever, there's been far too much talk surrounding the former United star and his move across the pond.

Even the great Pele has thrown his tuppence in calling Beckham 'a showman'. Which in my view is grossly unfair, but I will be kind to the Brazilian legend and say that his comments have been somewhat lost in translation, because anyone who has studied Beckham play would never describe him as a showman.

Beckham is a provider, and on occasion a taker of goal scoring chances. He is a team player in the true sense, he gives his all for his team-mates. That is what the LA Galaxy and US soccer fans in general can expect.

For all his qualities, one thing Beckham most definitely is not, is the savior of Major League Soccer. The success and future of US soccer will not depend on Beckham's next few seasons, his time in the US will just be another noteworthy footnote in the history of the US game. Beckham will bring many things to the table and he will improve LA Galaxy, expecting anything more than that is to expect too much and here again this comes down, as ever, to the media who continue to build players like Beckham up only to knock them down again at their time of choosing.

Until the game is fully embraced by a substantial number of US adults then it will be continue to be viewed as a game played by kids and women and those interested in minority sports.

Mourinho is safe as long as Chelsea keep on winning...

There's much talk in the media about the appointment of Avram Grant, the former Portsmouth director of Football who has just taken up a similar position at Chelsea. Jose Mourinho has apparently given 'blessing' to the move, but he's also warned the Israeli and his paymasters that he will accept no interference.

Chelsea had Frank Arnesen doing a similar job for the Blues last season after his defection from Spurs. However, unlike Grant, Arnesen wasn't given a place on the Chelsea board and there has been some speculation which suggests that the former Spurs man will have a diminishing role to play.

Many fans will be wondering why there's even a need to bring in these extra bodies, given that they aren't Mourinho appointments. As far as the Portuguese manager is concerned he picks the team and runs the show, which is fair enough, but the speculation is that Roman Abramovich may well want to exert his own influence on team affairs via Grant and Arnesen. This is the crux of the matter and this clearly why Mourinho has made it clear that he will not tolerate meddling.

As long as Chelsea are winning I personally do not see anything changing in terms of the coming season. But Peter Kenyon's recent claims that the blues will not make the same off the field mistakes as they did term seem a little premature especially given Grant's appointment, rather than calming the waters the appointment has made yet more waves.

I for one strongly expect that the bare minimum requirement for Chelsea this season will be to win either the Premiership or the Champions League - if the latter does not happen then there could be blood on the carpet.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Alan Smith 'not' joining Sunderland...

According to the Sunderland Echo United's Alan Smith will not be joining former team-mate Roy Keane at Sunderland. The former Leeds striker has been linked with a move to the Black Cats along with Kieran Richardson. Keane hasn't ruled out making a move for Richardson.

Everton and Man City could be in the frame to sign both players.

Tevez transfer row going to court?

According to the latest news the saga involving Argentine Carlos Tevez, West and Man United might, worst case, have to go to court to be settled.

The Premier League are insisting that the bulk of the transfer fee, which could amount to £30m should go to West Ham United, but the Hammers do not own the ecomomic rights to the player so that scenario seems unlikely.

Further to which speculation suggests that some are now saying that the Premier League can no longer be an arbiter on this transfer and that it's likely FIFA and the FA will be brought in to try to resolve this issue. If that fails then all parties could have their day in court.

Sheffield United will be watching devolopments very closely...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Leeds United: Where has all the season ticket money gone?

Once again the future of Leeds United is in complete turmoil after the club was put up for sale again last Friday afternoon by administrators KPMG.

The announcement followed on from the news that the Inland Revenue (one of Leeds United's major creditors) were not happy with the deal that saw the club being taken out of administration and then sold on to chairman Ken Bates' new company.

Would be interested parties needed to have their bids in place by 5pm on Monday. The speed of the events took many potential new owners and investors by complete surprise, as the lack of time to properly make sense of the club's finances state left them with little room for manoeuvre.

To the complete amazement of those potential new owners, there is no guarantees over the season ticket money which has already 'been banked' for the season ahead.

According to insolvency expert Gerarld Krasner, this latest saga would not have come about if Ken Bates had offered the creditors a 'proper offer' in the first place. The original offer was one penny in the pound...

Where has the season ticket money gone?

Full story

Leeds could be bought for as little as £5m

It's official: Ferguson was an advisor to Tony Blair!

Alistair Campbell, the Labour party's former spin doctor in-chief, has this week published his official diary which logs the daily events of his time directing the government's PR machine.

Much of what went on during his time in office has been left out of the first volume, largely because Labour are still in government and Campbell did not want to rock to boat too much, and so it made perfect sense to release only what he saw fit as this juncture - even though this is very annoying for the media - they will just have to wait for the remaining five volumes to be published.

One thing of note which has come to light is that Sir Alex Ferguson was often consulted on such important matter as the war in Iraq, hard to believe I know, but it is true.

You do wonder if Campbell used to call Fergie with a view to getting his thoughts which he planned to use later this in his diary to gain some extra publicity for his book? It makes a bloody good story even though only the halfbakes of this world will take it seriously.

There's nowt wrong with seeking the opinion of your average man in the street on politics, everyone has one, much the same as everyone has an opinion on football.

Perhaps Campbell should have asked Fergie for his views on football clubs being taken back into private ownership and specifically the Glazer family, maybe this will come out in subsequent volumes. Too risky right now folks...?

You do get the impression that nobody messes with the man from Govan at Old Trafford, but judging by the following extract from the diary Fergie is giving the impression he's been silenced by his paymasters: "But Sir Alex insisted that his involvement was kept quiet because he said some board members at Manchester United had "slaughtered" him for raising his political profile".

As someone once famously said: Are you a man or a mouse!?

To which Groucho Marx replied: Put a piece of cheese on the floor and you'll find out!

Some fans would like to know if Fergie is indeed a man or mouse, perhaps we need to see the cheese test in action... :0)

Striker talk latest: Red legend drops big hint...

Ferguson remains confident that West Ham's Argentine striker Carlos Tevez will soon become a United player, according to the man from Govan, as far as he's concerned everything is in order and that the only thing which could be holding up the move is the Premier League. David Gill, United's CEO, is currently away on holiday and that could also be a factor in bringing the move to its conclusion.

However, reports claim that the deal could take some time to be finalised, the transfer is caught up in the row with Sheffield United and there's still question marks about who will receive the bulk of any fee for Tevez.

As far as the Premier League are concerned, West Ham should receive a fair chunk of the cash for the player - which may well be a bone of contention for his agent. The good news is that Tevez and his advisors want the deal to go ahead and so fingers crossed the wheels will soon be in motion and the deal will be completed in the next week or so.

Moving on to other news and Roy Keane, United legend and Sunderland manager says that everyone needs to 'chill out' regarding the lack of activity on incoming players. The Black Cats boss let it be known that he has agreed prices and deals for other players, and that all will become clear in the days ahead. Reading between the lines, this could well mean that Alan Smith and possibly Kieran Richardson could soon be heading to the Stadium of Light to link up with their former team-mate. Watch this space...

City to sign Reggina striker as Shinawatra's court date looms...

On the very day that reports have strongly linked the Blues to Reginna's Italian striker Rolando Bianchi, 24, in a deal that will cost £8.8m, the club's new owner Thaksin Shinawatra has been told to report back to his homeland to face charges of corruption - it could only happen to Man City.

Bianchi was fourth top-scorer in Serie A last season with 18 goals. Reggina finishing 14th in the league.

It the deal goes through it will be Sven-Goran Eriksson's first signing since being installed as the new City manager. According to reports the former England manager has been given a 'substantial transfer budget', the Swede is apparently scouring the Italian market for potential new summer recruits.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Has Keano lost his magic?...

A few years ago in the mists/smog of time, Bryan Robson AKA captain marvel, assembled a team of big name players at Middlesbrough. Granted Robbo had the full backing of perhaps the best chairman in the land in Steve Gibson, but prior to the former United skipper taking over as manager 'Boro had never been really able to attract players of the calibre of the likes of Italy's ' White Feather' Ravanelli, Brazilian Juninho and Nick Barmby (he was considered useful back then, yes really...).

At the time it was widely acknowledged that Robson was in indeed instrumental in attracting this collection of big hitters, which in turn helped to establish Boro in the top flight.

Move the clock forward to 2007 and near neighbours Sunderland have been talking a good game after promotion, but it doesn't look as though The Black Cats are going to walk the walk in the transfer market.

Apparently manager Roy Keane is mainly interested in players who have Premiership experience, and we know top British talent comes at a premium, so assembling a team that is going places in the big league is going to be very expensive indeed if the Sunderland board have any ambitions of turning the club around.

It doesn't follow that Keane is against signing overseas stars, but perhaps the Irishman needs to broaden his horizons and look to the continent for new recruits, because on the evidence of what I've see so far, Sunderland are going to really struggle next season.

If you cannot cannot even capture the likes of David Nugent, then what hope is there? As I understand it, Nugent would rather sign for Everton or perhaps even Portsmouth. You might have expected that the Preston man would have fancied linking up with the legend that is Keano, seemingly not. Where is the player pulling power that Bryan Robson imbued?

In an ideal world, there'd be few foreign stars in the Premier League, but we are living in the real world and you simply cannot rely on British players all of the time. Harry Redknapp and Sam Allardyce have made their living on the back of value for money signings who hadn't previously played in the Premier League.

If Keane has ambitions of being a United manager one day, then he will have to get to grips with the concept of signing players from overseas and those without prior experience of playing in the Premier League.

The Sunderland board need to wake up and smell the coffee too, you cannot expect to stay in the top flight if you do not fully back your manager in the transfer market.

If Man City was a book it would be called 'Great Expectations'..

The story of Manchester City's recent history is one that is littered with managerial casualties, the latest into the breach is of course Sven-Goran Eriksson. The former England manager gave his first press conference last week, the contents of which sounded pre-scripted, as we've heard it all before 'City are a big club' was mentioned six times and 'we will soon be competing with Manchester United' blah, blah, blah. Kevin Keegan came out with this same old tripe as have a few others.

It's one thing trying to kid some of the people some of the time, but football fans know that you cannot kid the fans all of the time and we all know that there's leagues within leagues in England's top division.

The fact of the matter is that City will do well to avoid being embroilled in a relegation dog fight along with the rest of the also-rans, and the good news for Blues fans is that there's plenty of contenders who could slide down the Premiership greasy pole into the bleak house that is the Championship.

Any of the following clubs could be down among the dead-men this coming season Fulham, Derby, Wigan, Bolton, Birmingham, Reading and Sunderland.

Eriksson says that his recent hiatus from football has been the most stressful time of his career so far, but should things go pear shaped this season, you do wonder how stressful things will get in his new job.

For now it's a case of great expectations, but chances are it will be the usual tale of two City's, the same as on previous occasions after a new managerial appointment, the talk never matches the reality but it makes good fiction...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Smith and Richardson to join Sven's new England revolution?

According to reports new Man City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson could be about to sign Kieran Richardson and Alan Smith, both players are surplus to requirements at Old Trafford and they've been linked to a number of clubs over the last few weeks including Everton, Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

City have become the latest club who are reportedly interested in the two England fringe players, added to which Eriksson is apparently keen to recreate 'team England', so there could be some credence in this latest link.

Richardson has never really been able to hold down a regular starting place at United. When he was first given his chance, he was used as a left winger, but all too often he either didn't produce the final killer ball or he lost it. He was later given a shot at left-back, but he couldn't quite get to grips with the defensive side of that role. More recently he's been used in midfield, but he's never quite been able to do enough to impress and retain a regular place and so he was only ever going to be a squad player at United and so it is time to move on.

Smith was signed from arch rivals Leeds United and it's fair to say that many, including myself, were not sure about the wisdom of signing a player who had previously stated that he would never join the Reds, such is the depth of feeling between the supporters of both clubs and coming from the suburbs of Leeds, Smith was very much a local boy and as such it was expected that he would despise everything connected to Man Utd. If you are born and bred Leeds United, by birth-right you will loathe the Red Devils.

In fairness to Smith he had to overcome those rivalries and those Leeds fans who shunned him like a proverbial Leper when he eventually did leave his beloved home town club to join the Reds. In doing so he won over many United fans whenever Fergie gave him a chance - which in fairness to the ex-Leeds player hasn't been that often.

Smith has in most games for United given it his best shot, and his no nonsense style has been welcomed by many fans, but not everyone is convinced about him and importantly Ferguson appears to be among his doubters hence the exit door beckons.

Would moving to City be a good move for both players? I'm not sure, because like Leeds fans, the Blue faithful despise everything about the Reds and coming from United to play for City wont be easy. Andy Cole and Brian Kidd managed to do it probably better than other ex-reds who have donned the Blue shirt, so it can be done.

Smith is likely to receive a warm welcome if indeed he turns out for the Blues at Old Trafford, that will be until he carpets Ronaldo or one of our other big name stars, so he will I strongly suspect soon be cast back into the role of arch villain.

Tevez determined to join United...

According to the People, the sunday newspaper, Carlso Tevez says that his agents have told Ferguson that he's joining the Red Devils and that he is not going to change his mind...watch this space for further developments.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Tevez transfer - it isn't a done deal yet...

IT seems that the transfer of Carlos Tevez to Manchester United isn't a done deal after all. The Red Devils have stayed silent on the proposed move, and it was the lawyers who represent the player's agent who spoke out stating that Tevez had agreed personal terms with United and that the discussions between the player and suitors was done so with the full knowledge of West Ham United who currently hold the player's registration.

Reds fans will be hoping that Manchester United and West Ham United can broker some sort of deal in the week ahead, because the only thing for certain at this stage is that Tevez wants out of the East London club and judging by his comments he is desperate to play for the Red Devils.

So Manchester United have to broker some sort of deal with West Ham, the big question is what sort of fee will the Hammers try to prize out of United for a player who they do not own? Granted the Hammers do hold the player's registration which is now seemingly a very valuable document.

When you think about it, when was the last time that a player 'agreed personal terms' before the transfer was officially announced by either of the clubs concerned? I cannot ever remember this happening before and it therefore seems that the players agent has spoken out of turn.

Many fans, including moi, will have assumed that all parties have been inlvolved in the discussions, but reading between the soundbites which have been coming out via the media, seeminly not. The whole transfer saga is of course caught up in the court case with Sheffield United which centres on ownership of Tevez and Mascherano and the deal that took them to Upton Park.

This situation only serves to highlight why third party ownership of players is fraught with difficulties. Further to which, apparently third party ownership of players is not actually against the rules of the Premier League, but what is very much against the rules is something known as "side agreements" which translates to third parties holding influence over the club in question, in this case West Ham, or United if the deal goes ahead.

United may well take the view that they agree with paying the Hammers a fee, because further down the line the Red Devils could find themselves in a similar situation, ie wanting a fee for a player that they do not actually own. However, the most likely scenario is that when Tevez does actually move on, and he will at some point, it will be to a club in Europe. Quite where that would leave United is open to question, I guess like the Hammers the Reds would hold that player's all important registration which again could prove to be a very valuable document.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Bates to lose control of Leeds? Whites up for sale...

Well, well, well, a few weeks ago on this blog I posted that I simply could not believe that the creditors of Leeds United would accept what was at the time one penny in the pound and in my view a totally derisory offer. Unbelievably, to me at least anyway, that is exactly what happened. More recently Bates has offered to pay creditors eight pence in the pound. Let me remind you that Leeds United have a £35m debt and the Inland Revenue are owed some £7.7m for unpaid taxes.

The Revenue were not at all happy with the deal that would have seen Leeds taken out of administration and this week challenged that deal in court which ended in an adjournment, the net result is that a fresh court date has been set for September 3, and the talk is that Leeds United might not even be able to start the forthcoming season.

However, those in know are now suggesting that Leeds United could well have new owners and it is unlikely to be Ken Bates. I for one will not be upset if this comes to fruition.

The very latest news is that KPMG who have been in charge of administration have officially put Leeds United up for sale again...

Sven takes over and says 'City are a big club' six times.....

It hasn't taken Sven long to latch onto the Man City 'big club' mantra, because during an interview with the often hapless Evening News, the former England manager and lothario managed to say that City are a big club no less than six times. It was almost as if he was trying to convince himself that they are indeed a big club. No doubting Sven was just trying to buddy up to Blues who never stop telling us all what a big club City are and so it goes...

I actually wish Sven and Tord Grip well, the Swede was forced out of the England job by our gutter press, he did not deserve that. How long the Swede will rein at Eastlands remains to be seen, a lot will depend on what money the new management team will be given to spend and of course there's still the business of 'Frank' Shinawatra's outstanding court date, which could, worst case, be catastrophic for both the former Thai Prime Minster and the Blues.

In terms of management style, Sven is the exact opposite of Stuart Pearce, the former City manager spent most of his time jumping up and down on the touchline often remonstrating with his own players or the officials. The most action City fans are likely to see from Sven is the odd shrug of the shoulder, and during moments of high drama on the pitch the Swede has been known to perform the odd buttock shuffle on the bench, but to all and intensive purposes City fans wont actually be aware that he's there.

No doubting many a City fan will be already dreaming of a European spot finish at the seasons end for the Blues. The fact is that so far they haven't signed anyone yet this summer and like Sunderland they'd better get busy or face the prospect of what will be a very difficult season.

Tevez to become United's missing link?

So then after much speculation it seems that Carlos Tevez is indeed set to become a United a player, albeit on loan for a couple of seasons. The transfer once completed will go down as one of the most complicated that I can recall concerning a United player, but it will by no means unique as Javier Mascherano has a similar deal at Liverpool.

Under the terms of the deal, the Red Devils will hold the players registration while his agent will retain the ecomonic rights to Tevez. In other words a third party will still effectively own the player, this it transpires is not against Premier League rules. What is against the rules is something called "side agreements" which in translation means that a third party could in theory hold some influence over the said club. It is, as I say, a very complicated business and it's one that I'm personally not that comfortable with going forward. Imagine a scenario whereby some third party owned five Man United players and five Man City players, it doesn't take Einstein to see the potential dangers of match fixing.

However, now is not the time to be pessimistic, Reds will no doubt be excited about the forthcoming season, and rightly so, as matters on the pitch are looking very optimistic indeed with the capture of three young world class players, add in the mouth-watering prospect of Tevez arriving and it will surely represent one of Ferguson's best ever summers on the transfer front.

So what about Tevez the player, just what is he likely to bring to the table and how well will he fit in at United? For starters, he's got one season under his belt in the Premier League, which is great, he isn't unproven. Whenever I saw the Hammers play last season he was their star man. He is also a former Brazilian footballer of the year - given that he's an Argentine, that speaks volumes in itself.

Personally I think that Rooney and Tevez could terrorise defenses next season, both on the domestic and European stage. True neither is an out and out centre forward and both are classed as second strikers. But in their favour, both are extremely hard working and make themselves hard to mark, unlike many traditional centre forwards who lack movement, Tevez and Rooney drift across the forward line. Even Van Nistelrooy, despite his many goals, became quite predictable and easy to mark during his final months in the United shirt.

For me the Rooney and Tevez partnership could be explosive and it could go down as one of the most successful in the clubs history - providing that they click, they will be for me the deadly gruesome twosome.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Tevez to United talk hots up as more controversy looms

The ongoing on saga of Sheffield United's battle with West Ham and the Premier League surrounding the row over Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez could well end up costing Manchester United, because the latest news is that the Red Devils have been in talks about signing Tevez, possibly on loan as I have been saying for some time on this blog.

However, the Blades who have been relegated have announced that they've been given a high court date of July 13th to challenge last weeks ruling which backed up the Premier League who fined the Hammers £5m over the deal surrounding ownership of the two Argentines.

Further to this media reports claim that the Red Devils might not be allowed to sign Tevez until ownership of the player has been completely resolved.

The Hammers claim that they own the registration of Tevez after the league accepted in April that the club had terminated all agreements with MSI and the player's agent Kia Joorabchian, but the latter point hasn't been clarified, there has even been talk that Joorabchian could go to court himself on behalf of the Blades.

The Premier League are apparently insisting that any fee for Tevez must go to West Ham. It would appear that the way around this would be for Manchester United to strike a similar deal to that of Mascherano who has signed for Liverpool, but as I understand it this is only a loan deal, so surely United could do likewise?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Heinze to sign for Real Madrid?

Reports claim that fans favourite Gabriel Heinze will sign for Real Madrid once the Copa America is over. According those in the know, the Argentinean has become unsettled since the arrival of Patrice Evra. Liverpool are said to be interested but it's being reported that United are understandably 'uncomfortable' about the prospect of a star player signing for our big North West rivals. The last player to transfer directly from United to Liverpool was Phil Chisnall who moved to Anfield in 1964 after helping the Reds to win the FA Cup in 1963.

If Heinze does leave it is expected that the club will receive around £6m.

Kieran Richardson is once again in the news, the United and England bench warmer is being linked to Sunderland along with team-mate Alan Smith.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Richardson to Everton talk as rivals show their muscle in transfer market..

It looks increasingly likely that rivals Liverpool will capture Spanish scouse fan Fernando Torres. Many United fans wouldn't have been too keen on him signing for the Red Devils given the amount of brown-nosing he's been doing regarding his impending move to the 'Merseyside Reds'.

Personally, I believe that Liverpool still lack width and until they resovle that situation then I think / hope that United will continue to edge them out, but I fully expect a stronger challenge from them this season.

Arsenal have also moved to replace Thierry Henry and how typical that Wenger has made an £8m profit on the deal that sees prolific goal scorer Eduardo da Silva, 24, switching from Dinamo Zagreb. The jury will be out on the former Brazilian, but if his goals per game record is anything to go by, Arsenal fans wont be carping for much longer.

Chelsea's injury problems continue with the news that Ballack will have to undergo another ankle operation. Jose will be most unhappy about this news, the Blues were none too pleased with the German's end of season antics, this latest setback wont help relations.

There's also reports claiming that Robben could yet be sold. If that happens the talk is it's likely Lyon's Florent Malouda will be signed as a replacement as well as Royston Drenthe from Feyenoord who looks like a real star in the making. Geremi has today moved back to the North East, this time to play for Newcastle - where he's perhaps best suited, because frankly he has never looked like a Chelsea player.

As for Roy Keane's Sunderland, as I posted a few days ago, the former United skipper is finding out now how tough this coming season is going to be in terms of the size of the challenge. So far Keane has been unable to attract any decent strikers - the word is the Irishman is keen on signing players with Premier League experience. Defoe doesn't reportedly fancy it nor it seems does Preston's Nugent. Keane may well now be forced to look abroad. However Sunderland are being linked to Alan Smith of United who continues to be the subject of speculation along with teammate Kieran Richardson who is being linked to Everton. If the Black Cats do not get busy soon and sign some genuine quality they will become one of the bookies favourites for relegation next season. It is time to get busy...

And what about happless Man City and this controversial takeover? Contrary to some, Britain does indeed have an extradition treaty with Thailand and has done since 1911. The only thing which may stop 'Frank' Shinawatra from being sent for trial in his own country is the fact that the current regime is a Military Junta. But with every passing day it looks increasingly likely that the former Thai prime minister will face charges of corruption when he's finally dragged back to his homeland. The Thai government were not aware that their former PM had any sizeable assets overseas and they would like to know where this money has come from. There is talk of money laundering...Will the Thai goverment eventually own City at some point in the future? Surely not, so we cannot rule out another firesale.

As far as City's new manager in waiting is concerned. Apparently Sveng is talking about recreating 'team England', which translates to capturing 'the coathanger' AKA Peter Crouch, from talking to a few Blues they were hoping for a 'bigger name' - but they would, wouldn't they? All in all, it looks like City will continue to keep us amused for a good while yet.

Monday, July 02, 2007

United wrap up three signings in one day...

Following on from the news that Owen Hargreaves completed his big money move to United over the weekend comes the news that the Reds have completed the triple signing of Nani, Anderson and Tomasz Kuszczak who was on loan last season from WBA.

Nani and Anderson have penned five year deals and so the future is looking bright on the playing front. The Red Devils just need to find a new striker now and that particular saga looks set to run a while longer as United have yet to reveal their hand on who they are trying to sign. My gut feeling is Tevez.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Hargreaves completes United transfer...

More good news to report on the transfer front because as expected Owen Hargreaves has completed his protracted move from Bayern Munich to the Red Devils. United will now hopefully finalise the Nani and Anderson deals as well as tie up a new striker in the remaining weeks of the summer transfer window.

Full story

Arsenal and United battling it out over Tevez?

Media reports claim that Arsenal have emerged as the only serious bidder for the signature of Carlos Tevez. The Gunners are also reportedly in the hunt to capture Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o, a move which seems destined to almost certain failure.

With Arsenal having sold Henry to Barca, the Gooners will be hoping that Wenger comes up with a big name signing and Tevez comes into that category. The fee could prove to be a stumbling block for Manchester United. From the Gunners perspective, with Wenger's ability to balance the books a fee of £20m for Tevez which is being bandied around today would be within the Arsenal manager's scope.

As things stand Wenger has acquired Lukasz Fabianski for just £2m, he sold Henry for £16.1m and Jeremie Aliadiere to Middlesbrough, £2m, as ever, it seems the Frenchman is on target to once again be prudent in the transfer market even allowing for the possible capture of Tevez if indeed that move comes off.

Personally, I'm not 100% convinced that Wenger is indeed looking to sign the Argentine, he might go for Huntelaar instead.