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The Pro And The Con Of Luis Suarez

 Posted by on April 22, 2013 at 9:15 pm  Blogs/Media, England, EPL, Liverpool
Apr 222013

I have no “Luis Suarez bit Branislav Ivanovic” jokes. The Internet burnt through them in about an hour.

Now that the aftermath of what happened has (somewhat) settled, Liverpool have a decision to make about what to do with Luis Suarez this summer.

Before Sunday’s incident, I made it pretty clear that I was worried about a seemingly destined move to Bayern Munich over the summer for the controversial Uruguayan. Juventus have played down rumors of Suarez heading to Turin, but it would be a good move for all parties involved if it came to fruition.

Now it’s hard to tell if teams will be willing to pay top dollar for the baggage that comes with such a brilliant striker.

Let’s say for the sake of argument, that nobody is willing to purchase Suarez’s services this summer. Should Liverpool want him back? I made a pros/cons list for Andy Carroll several weeks ago and I’d say now is as good a time as any for Suarez.

I will warn you though: the list is quite short. There is really only one pro and one con in this discussion.

Pro: He’s quite possibly the third best footballer in the world

Steven Gerrard has said as much and even the most passionate Liverpool haters would have to at least respect such a strong opinion.

If it weren’t for all his antics, more people might be inclined to make such a bold statement. When he’s on his game, Luis Suarez is an incredibly dangerous goal scoring threat. He makes brilliant runs. When the ball is at his feet, it stays there. He is always in control and always seems to be one step ahead of his opposing defenders. He can score from almost any angle and he can do it with any part of his body.

Liverpool need a player of this caliber. If Suarez were to depart, this team would be fighting for its lives in a relegation battle. He is the first Liverpool player to score 30 goals in a season since Fernando Torres. Only Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush, and Robbie Fowler have accomplished such a feat during their time at Anfield. Like it or not, he is in historic territory with one of the most prestigious clubs in the world.

He’s also the perfect fit for what Brendan Rodgers wants to accomplish. Suarez does not relinquish possession easily and he knows how to find his teammates while being double and triple teamed by opponents. He is, quite frankly, the only true goal scoring threat on Brendan Rodgers’ squad as it is currently constructed.

It speaks volumes about Suarez’s ability that a club as proud as Liverpool are even considering holding onto him through the summer after what he has done.

Con: He’s bat $h!# crazy!

This is actually the SECOND time that Suarez has bitten an opponent during a match. He managed to grab the attention of Mike Tyson via Twitter.

Then there’s the matter of his blatant disrespect for the game in South Africa in 2010.

And let’s not forget his incident with Patrice Evra last season that resulted in an eight game suspension.

Which is why bringing Suarez back could be detrimental to Liverpool’s 2013-14 campaign next season. The FA are already talking as if three games is not enough this time around. Suppose Suarez gets another eight game suspension: now he misses several games to start the following season as well. I can understand wanting to put up with Suarez for his brilliant play, but he cannot help the team if he is constantly being banned for whatever reason. At this rate you could pretty much put money on the man missing at least 10% of next season’s league schedule, if not more.

Then there’s the matter of appearances. The club’s already dinged up reputation will take a bigger hit if they bring him back now. Sponsors will only tolerate so much before they say “No thank you” to a lucrative deal. Even Liverpool’s most loyal supporters are being tested right now.

To bring back Luis Suarez next season would almost certainly seal the club’s fate as a red-headed stepchild that no player, sponsor, manager, or fan wants to be a part of going forward.

At this point there’s nothing left to do but wait. There’s really no point in speculating further at this time.

No one, not even Suarez himself, knows where he will be come August of 2013.

(Almost) Mid-Week Musings

 Posted by on March 27, 2013 at 10:46 pm  Blogs/Media, England, EPL, Liverpool
Mar 272013

Liverpool had the weekend off thanks to World Cup qualifying, so let’s go through some rapid fire questions to reset.

Will Luis Suarez leave Anfield this summer?

Yes. Yes he will.

Juventus are playing coy and it’s no secret Suarez is Pep Guardiola’s number one target for Bayern Munich. About a month ago I wrote about all the reasons why Suarez would want to leave. It basically boils down to his desire to play in the Champions League next season. Steven Gerrard himself has said the volatile Uruguayan forward deserves as much.

Should Suarez depart, he will bring in quite the payday but it will also deal a serious blow to Liverpool’s hopes at being competitive next year. The Reds have no backup plan for Suarez and they’re also going to need some upgrades to the center back and goalkeeper positions. But if you believe the rumors, Brendan Rodgers won’t have much to spend.

And speaking of goalkeepers…

Is Guillermo Ochoa the next Liverpool keeper?

Ochoa has been wallowing in Ligue 1 with Ajaccio lately. He also managed to earn a start in goal for his native Mexico against the United States on Tuesday. His start was controversial as Jesus Corona seems to be the next big thing in goal for Mexico.

So why did Ochoa get the nod? Reports are surfacing that Ochoa got the start in an effort to help earn himself a work permit in England. Why England? So he can join Liverpool of course!

Personally I’m not wild about the idea of Ochoa replacing Pepe Reina as the starter, but he would definitely serve as a suitable backup; though I’m not sure why that’s necessary since Brad Jones has done well this season.

What’s the deal with Joe Allen?

One week Brendan Rodgers is saying the Welsh central midfielder needs surgery, the next he’s starting him. Now it turns out Allen is in fact having surgery and will miss the rest of the year.

I would say this is a huge blow, but Liverpool blew their last chance at a Top 4 run when they lost 3-1 to Sunderland. Not only that, but Jordan Henderson has proven himself more than capable of performing well.

Is Jordan Henderson Liverpool’s Most Improved Player This Season?


He’s still not living up to his hefty 2011 transfer fee from Sunderland, but he has come a long way from being the punching bad he once was. He’s notched three assists in league play despite inconsistent playing time and he has developed a fine shot from long range. Look for him to continue turning heads now that Joe Allen is done for the season.

Will Liverpool bounce back against Aston Villa this weekend?


There aren’t enough adjectives to describe how poor Villa have been this season. Granted, they defeated Liverpool in the first meeting this season but the Reds have had time to rest and collect themselves and the loss to Sunderland is still fresh in their minds.

Look for Suarez to do what he does best and torture the Villa backline single-handedly.

Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Aston Villa

Jan 312013

A lot has been made about Liverpool’s newest signing, Philippe Coutinho, selecting the No.10 jersey.

The young Brazilian playmaker is the closest thing the Reds have had to a true “No.10″ in their ranks. Although he’s only 20 years of age and has yet to prove himself on a big stage, Coutinho is exactly the sort of player who can provide a spark to Liverpool’s attack.

With Steven Gerrard biding his time until retirement, Liverpool have been searching for a new midfielder who can pull the strings up top. Luis Suarez has had to resort to feats of incredible skill and majesty to carry Liverpool’s offense. Coutinho can make his life a lot easier and he’s also the perfect fit for Brendan Rodgers’ long term vision.

But before we go praising the youngster, let’s not forget a few things. First and foremost, Wednesday’s match against Arsenal showed us that Liverpool’s greatest need is in fact a world class defender, whether it’s on the left side of the back line or somewhere in the middle. Jose Enrique isn’t terrible, but he doesn’t always inspire confidence either. Andre Wisdom is not a natural fullback and even the once reliable combination of Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel seems capable of faltering at any moment. And speaking of Arsenal, they seem to have snatched up the best left back available in Malaga’s Nacho Monreal.

With Coutinho’s signing and Jordan Henderson’s rise in form, we can bypass the midfield and go straight to the top. While Luis Suarez is going to benefit greatly from Coutinho’s signing, he is also Liverpool’s second greatest concern. Bayern Munich’s new manager Pep Guardiola reportedly has a strong desire to sign Suarez this summer, to the tune of 30-40 million Euros. And it’s not just the price tag that Suarez will find appealing. Mario Gomez is inconsistent and Mario Mandzuckic has underwhelmed since arriving in Munich after a solid Euro 2012 outing. Suarez is the perfect compliment to Bayern’s stacked midfield. Guardiola would give him license to roam freely and feed off the service of guys like Toni Kroos, Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, and Tomas Muller.

Liverpool supporters should prepare themselves for the very real possibility that their only goal scoring threat could be gone in six months.

Yes, Daniel Sturridge is waiting in the wings but without Suarez to push him you worry he become too complacent. Sturridge’s biggest issue has always been his attitude and his second biggest issue is his selfish tendencies when he has the ball within 20 yards of goal. Even if Coutinho turns out to be the next Kaka, the idea of Sturridge being the No.1 striker is less than thrilling. Of course, if Suarez does in fact depart, there will be plenty of cash on hand to splash on another world class goalscorer if John Henry and Co. can be smart.

Hopefully we’ll get a good look at Coutinho in Sunday’s match against Manchester City. A win would allow Liverpool fans to hold onto hope and dream of a Top 4 finish. Just take a look at the remaining schedule. But said fans must also remain guarded. A new “No.10″ is nothing without someone to finish everything off.

Identity Crisis

 Posted by on January 24, 2013 at 8:54 pm  Blogs/Media, England, EPL, Liverpool
Jan 242013

It’s not a pun, but it still feels good to write a cliche headline again.

So last week it was announced Pep Guardiola will take over as Bayern Munich’s new manager this summer. Several days later the rumors started to fly that Luis Suarez was high on the former Barcelona manager’s wishlist.

Suarez has never complained publicly about much of anything during his time at Anfield. Despite his unsavory (and not entirely undeserved) reputation, the Uruguayan forward has always worked hard and produced goals regularly for a club so desperately in need of offense on a regular basis. Even the most stubborn of haters can’t deny that Suarez is currently one of the world’s finest players. There’s no reason to think he’s unhappy with Liverpool.

But it’s hard to tune out completely when you hear talk of a transfer fee upward of 40 million.

No one can definitively say right that whether or not Pep wants Suarez with him at Bayern to the extent that he’d pay 40 million of any currency. But if that is the case and such an offer were to come through, Liverpool would be foolish not to at least listen. The mere thought of things playing out like that has led me to wonder just how far Liverpool’s stature in the international community has fallen. They’ve seen numerous world class players depart over the last few years for places like Barcelona (Javier Mascherano), Real Madrid (Xabi Alonso), and Chelsea (Fernando Torres). Steven Gerrard is the last remnant of the group that captured our hearts in Istanbul in 2005.

But Gerrard is growing old and weary. Luis Suarez has become the only other truly world class player to populate this new Liverpool squad trying to form a new identity under Brendan Rodgers. That identity is starting to take shape on the field. But what about off of it? Are Liverpool still one of the premier destinations in Europe? Or are they falling by the wayside? The answer will reveal itself if Bayern come calling for Suarez this summer.

It’s somewhat appropriate timing for such a question given the latest deals completed in the last week or so. Swansea City locked up their diamond-in-the-rough strike Michu to a new four year contract. Newcastle United continue to pillage the youth ranks in France. Queens Park Rangers are trying to spend their way out of relegation with the purchase of Loic Remy. Tottenham have snatched up Germany U-21 captain Lewis Holtby, who will join Spurs in the summer. Most recently we’ve seen Southampton defeat Liverpool head-to-head for the services of Vegard Forren and the Saints are reportedly about to outbid the Reds for Inter Milan maestro Philippe Coutinho. Oh, and I’m just now mentioning the Clint Dempsey fiasco.

If Suarez is sold this summer, is anyone convinced about the remaining talent at Liverpool going forward? Do we trust in Daniel Sturridge, Jonjo Shelvey, Jordan Henderson, and Fabio Borini to lead the charge back to European glory? I, for one, do not. If the goal is to ultimately get back to competing in the Champions League, then Suarez’s departure would make that task seem almost impossible.  I’m not convinced Brendan Rodgers and John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group can come together and spend a significant transfer fee properly. I’m still not convinced Sturridge is worth 12 million pounds and he definitely can’t be the one who takes the torch from Gerrard.

But at this point everything is just speculation. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Suarez will stay and continue to try and carry this new Liverpool squad back to European competition. If does go, however, expect Liverpool to take a huge step back in terms of quality on the field and stature off it. A step so large, they may never be able to recover from it.


“Walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone!”


Pep Guardiola chooses Bayern Munich

 Posted by on January 20, 2013 at 10:08 am  The Ball is Flat
Jan 202013

Pepguardiola2 300x199 Pep Guardiola chooses Bayern Munich

This week, after taking a year long rest-filled sabbatical in New York City (which quite frankly is a bit of an oxymoron, you don’t necessarily go to Manhattan to power-down and recharge the batteries, quite the opposite really), but Sant Pep Guardiola i Sala of Santpedor has chosen Bayern Munich as his new assignment for the upcoming 2013-2014 season.

With the surprise announcement, Italian newspapers had already leaked the story and with the German season restarting this weekend, the Bavarian club wanted to mitigate any distractions the announcement might have caused. The reactions were obviously mixed, Barcelona were well-aware of the story beforehand and were supportive if distant in response, happy that their former colleague had returned to football and adding all the platitudes and well-wishes you expect, so nothing to controversial. Bayern Munich and their supporters were understandably shocked, that he had picked them and the Bundesliga over more attractive offers, but the reaction by the English media has been surprising.

Spurning years-long advances by the likes of Manchester City, who hired former Barcelona executives Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain to lure him in, and Chelsea FC, whose long love-affair with the sort of football that Pep espouses, the Catalan tactician left English clubs in the lurch. Did he make the easy decision? Was it a lack of ambition or side-stepping possible encounters next year with Jose Mourinho potentially moving there as well?

It certainly isn’t the easiest decision quite frankly. Everyone makes the case that FC Bayern Munich is the club that has most in common with Barca, a club owned by its members or socios and which traditionally vetts young players, and that Pep was looking for a club with compatible ideals and a similar structure but the situation is much more complicated than that. First of all, Bayern may be a club owned by its fans but it is most definitely run with an iron hand by a small group of very powerful men. That may seem on the surface very much alike to the blaugrana, but President Uli Hoeness and Vice-President Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, not to mention club talisman Franz Beckenbauer, are very different animals to the people that championed Pep Guardiola at Barcelona in 2008. Remember what happened when Jurgen Klinsmann? Fired for his clashes with the Bayern board, this is what he told ESPN’s Grant Wahl:

It’s going to be very interesting to see how he can implement his ideas, his philosophy, at a club like Bayern Munich where there’s a lot that’s “person-related,” you know. The club is led by three elephants with Beckenbauer, Rummenigge and Hoeness, and they got a fourth elephant in there last summer in Matthias Sammer. So it’s all kind of ‘person-based,’ what’s happened there. It’s not philosophy-based, like it was at Barcelona.”

He’s right. He won’t have the same support, and if people think that the pressure will be easier in Germany they just don’t know the Bundesliga at all. Bayern Munich are always just a transfer window away from dominating but the rest of the league is immensely competitive and the board in Munich doesn’t allow for extended slumps. Now, Guardiola has more experience than Klinsmann and he’s a more thorough tactician, but remember what happened to another former Barcelona coach (Louis Van Gaal) who traveled the well-worn trail from Catalunya to Bavaria. He won a Bundesliga title in 2009-2010, a DFB-Pokal and a DFB-Supercup in 2010, came in runners-up to Barcelona in the Champions League and was still fired because, as Louis himself put it, Hoeness kept “pressing for my sacking. I would never work with him again.” It’s not just Hoeness really, it’s the combination of four very driven and competitive men, former Bayern Munich players and legends all, who make the footballing decisions. Pep might well want just that, to concentrate on first-team coaching and leadership on the pitch and leave the media battles to other people with more of a stomach for it, but he’ll have to keep winning -or else.

Even that might be a tall order. Certain English pundits have intimated that just anyone would have won with the likes of Xavi, Iniesta and Lionel Messi to pull the trigger on his designs, but football has no memory. Barcelona were a veritable mess when he took over from Frank Rjkaard. He pulled them out of their self-imposed, lusterless form. He set his stamp on an undisciplined dressing room, eliminated some bad influences, and turned them around. Did he continue to have problems with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Samuel Eto’o and to a lesser extent Thierry Henry afterwards? Sure, but no one wins 14 titles or so in that stellar run by just throwing out the ball and have the “lads kick it about a bit.” That’s not what Johann Cruyff did as a player or a manager and that’s not what his disciples do either. That said, Pep always had someone to pull out of the Barcelona-B squad like Pedro Fernandez, Sergi Busquets, and Thiago Alcantara when he needed to raise the level of competition on the squad. He’ll have an entirely different challenge at Bayern. It’s not called FC Hollywood for nothing. He’ll have it difficult reigning in the very diverse personalities that run the Bayern dressing room and even more-so imposing his style of play. He might want to “play the Barca way” as he himself put it, but there are few clubs in the world in a position to adapt themselves stylistically over one Summer and win emphatically as the Bayern board demand.

It might just be that Pep Guardiola has made the more challenging decision. Manchester City already have a former Barcelona player in Yaya Toure, and players like Samir Nasri, Javi Garcia, David Silva and Kun Aguero who are suited for Pep’s philosophy. Chelsea are in a similar situation. Either club would have opened their coffers for anyone Guardiola wanted, but he chose Bayern Munich instead. We think we might have chosen differently but if we really wanted to test ourselves would we have made a different decision? It’s easy to say different, but I’m not so sure. It’s not like he spurned England really. In three years time would you have looked on your German challenge as a failure if it allowed an easier access to the English job you really wanted? Manchester United?

 Pep Guardiola chooses Bayern Munich  Pep Guardiola chooses Bayern Munich  Pep Guardiola chooses Bayern Munich  Pep Guardiola chooses Bayern Munich  Pep Guardiola chooses Bayern Munich

Dec 072012

It’s always bothers me when rankings are done with No.1 up high. Well we at Global Football Today do not encourage laziness, so you’ll have to start at No.16 and work your way down!

16) Galatasaray

The Turkish giants currently sit atop the table in Turkey, but only by a single point. They finished second in Group H, just two points behind Manchester United, by the skin of their teeth over Romania’s Cluj. After losing their first two matches against Manchester United (away) and Portugal’s Braga (home), they managed to earn at least a point in each of their remaining group matches. Burak Yilmaz quietly tied Ronaldo with six goals to lead all goal scorers in the group stage.

15) Shakhtar Donetsk

Shakhtar Donetsk are currently running away with the Ukrainian top flight title, but needed some help from the tiebreaker to advance out of Group E with Juventus. Many will point to Chelsea’s struggles, rather than Donetsk’s triumphs for an explanation as to why the latter advanced over the former. They’ll need to shore up their defense a little bit if they want to make a run at the quarterfinals.

14) Celtic

Despite the financial meltdown of their crosstown rivals, Celtic are locked in a battle for the top spot in their domestic league. The Hoops played very well in both matches against Group G winners Barcelona to help them beat out Portugal’s Benfica for the runner up spot. One has to wonder if they have enough left in the tank to reach the quarterfinals though.

13 FC Porto

Porto are currently neck and neck with Benfica in their domestic league, but advanced out of Group A thanks to some lackluster performances from Dynamo Kiev and Dinamo Zagreb. Even group winners Paris-Saint Germain (PSG) haven’t exactly looked like world beaters in this competition. Porto may be battling for a domestic league title, but they’ve yet to be tested in their European campaign so far.

12) Paris-Saint Germain (PSG)

And speaking of the Group A winners, PSG haven’t looked like the superpower they were projected to be after their summer spending spree. The French club paid a hefty price for the services of Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but the team has struggled to gel under the direction of Carlo Ancelotti. There are questions being asked about Ancelotti’s ability to get PSG to play to their lofty expectations and rightly so considering they are currently sitting fourth in Ligue 1.

11) Malaga

On the field, Malaga impressed many after winning Group C without losing a single match. But there are off the field issues surrounding their spending spree that goes back to 2011 creeping up at the worst possible time. They have the talent, but they’ll need to be mentally prepared to deflect the controversy surrounding the club’s financial state if they are to progress to the quarterfinals.

10) Valencia

Valencia are having a bit of a crisis in La Liga as they currently sit mid-table. But despite such a poor domestic campaign, they finished tied with Bayern Munich on points and only failed to win Group F because of tiebreakers. Their defense was solid, conceding just five goals in six group matches. Their desire to use this competition as a saving grace for their domestic struggles could make them a very dangerous opponent in the Round of 16.

9) Milan

Yes, they’ve struggled mightily in Serie A and they only advanced out of Group C by a single point. But this Italian side still has a lot of talent and plenty of pedigree in European competition. Anything can happen in a two leg series and nobody wants to have to visit the San Siro with a berth in the quarterfinals at stake.

8) Arsenal

Arsene Wenger’s squad are in the middle of a really poor domestic campaign. However, they still managed to finish second in Group B comfortably and Wenger can also approach the Round of 16 with a loose team that has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

7) Schalke

Schalke won Group B comfortably without losing a single group match. Their domestic struggles are not as worrisome as those of Arsenal, Milan, and PSG and they have some momentum going forward thanks to their impressive performances against a well rounded group. Klass-Jan Huntelaar had an excellent group stage run with four goals scored in six matches. The German side will lean heavily upon him to try and advance to the quarterfinals.

6) Manchester United

It wasn’t pretty, but Manchester United managed to win Group H despite a pair of ugly losses. Still, Sir Alex Ferguson has depth at the forward position and knows how to tactically dictate a two leg series. It’s hard to bet against the Red Devils in any major competition, especially if they can get a favorable draw.

5) Real Madrid

Real Madrid finished second comfortably in this year’s “Group of Death”: Group D. Unfortunately, they’ve struggled in La Liga and currently sit five points behind local rivals Atletico Madrid for second place. Still, Jose Mourinho has plenty of talent to work with and it’s hard to see them crashing out in the Round of 16 regardless of who they draw.

4) Borussia Dortmund

The surprise winners of Group D, Dortmund have relied heavily upon young, up and coming German talents like Marco Reus and Mario Goetze to get the job done in the group stage. Currently they sit in third, 11 points behind Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga but that speaks more to Bayern’s success than Dortmund’s shortcomings. With so many young, highly skilled players many would think Dortmund can make a run at the European title, but there’s no telling how they’ll react to the pressure of a two leg series.

3) Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich got off to an incredibly hot start in the Bundesliga by winning their first 11 matches. That success has carried over to their European campaign where they beat out Valencia on tiebreakers to win Group F. Yes, they had a bit of a mental meltdown against Chelsea in the Champions League final last season, but they still got to there by beating great teams like Real Madrid along the way. There’s no reason to think they can’t duplicate that run, especially if they continue to maintain such stellar form in the Bundesliga.

2) Barcelona

Lionel Messi gave everyone a massive scare after he came on late against Benfica in Barcelona’s Group G finale and was promptly carted off. However, he was back at practice the next day and with a six point cushion on Atletico Madrid in La Liga, they won’t feel the need to rush him back right away. Look for the Catalans to be right there in the thick of things leading up to the semifinals and possibly the final.

1) Juventus 

Like Bayern and Barcelona, Juventus currently sit in first in their domestic league and they won their group (Group E) with relative ease. Andrea Pirlo has picked up where he left off at the Euro 2012 competition with Italy and Sebastian Giovinco is quickly turning into a reliable goal scorer alongside Fabio Quagliarella. Right now Juventus look like a team that cannot be beaten over the course of a two leg series and until someone does so they have to be considered the favorites to win the whole thing.


We’ll have to wait until December 20 for the draw, but until then be on the lookout for a special Global Football Today podcast recapping the group stage results!





Sep 012012

Note: All terms are reported. Also, not all of these deals came on the deadline day. Many (such as Luka Modric) come from as far back as Monday. I ordered them in terms of player profile rather than chronology. 

Luka Modric

The deal everyone saw coming: Luka Modric transfers from Tottenham to Real Madrid for 33 million Pounds ($52.2 million). He signed a five year deal.

Clint Dempsey

It came down to the wire but in the end the American forward got his wish and moves on to Tottenham Hotspur.

Nicklas Bendtner

The, shall we say, polarizing Danish striker will join Juventus for a season long loan from Arsenal.

Hugo Lloris

The French goalkeeper completed a deadline move to Tottenham for 10 million Euros ($15.9 million). He’ll be expected to compete with American veteran Brad Friedel for the starting spot.

Javi Martinez

The Athletic Bilbao midfielder joins Bayern Munich for the next five years for a reported Bundesliga record fee of 40 million Euros ($50 million).

Julio Cesar

The Brazilian goalkeeper completed a move to Queens Park Rangers. Much more to come from the London side!

Rafael van der Vaart

The Tottenham midfielder completed a three year move to Hamburg SV in Germany on Deadline Day.


The Brazilian defender moves from Inter Milan to Manchester City for 3 million Pounds ($4.75 million). Not so long ago you could’ve added a zero to that figure and it would not have shocked anyone.

Nigel de Jong

The fierce Dutch midfielder moves from Manchester City to AC Milan for three years.

Gregory van der Wiel

The Ajax fullback joins Paris-Saint Germain for a “meager” 4.5 million Pounds ($7.1 million). PSG made headlines earlier this summer for signing the likes of Ezequiel Lavezzi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Thiago Silva.

Ibrahim Afellay

The Dutch winger joins Schalke from Barcelona on a season long loan. Afellay will not have to worry about missing any Champions League action as the German side qualified for the group stage as well.

Bojan Krkic

After spending last season on loan with Roma, Krkic moves to AC Milan from the Italian capital on a season long loan.

Javi Garcia

The Benfica midfielder completed a deadline move to Manchester City for 16 million Pounds ($25.4 million).

Javier Saviola

Another Benfica player was on the move this week as the Argentine striker completed a move to Malaga in Spain. Malaga qualified for the group stages of the Champions League after a massive spending spree last summer that may or may not have come back to haunt them.

Alberto Gilardino

Once a desirable transfer target for all of Europe, the Italian forward seems to be waning in terms of performance. He completed a low profile move from Bologna to Genoa.

Alessandro del Piero

And speaking of Italian strikers, the legendary Juventus captain has completed a move to, of all places, Sydney FC in the Australian A-League. Del Piero had long been a target of the Montreal Impact and New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer.


The out of favor Real Madrid midfielder moved to Queens Park Rangers and signed a four year deal.

Giovanni dos Santos

The Mexican international completed a move from Tottenham to Real Mallorca for four years. Dos Santos never could find a regular spot in the First XI under former manager Harry Redknapp.

Andy Carroll

The English striker will join West Ham United on a season long loan from Liverpool. The Hammers failed to convince Carroll to join them permanently after making a club record bid for him several weeks earlier.

Jermaine Defoe

The English striker signed a new three year deal to remain at White Hart Lane with Tottenham.

Dimitar Berbatov

The moody Bulgarian forward completed a deadline move from Manchester United to Fulham after many reports that he was headed to Italy with either Fiorentina or Juventus.

Michael Essien

The Ghanaian midfielder will join Real Madrid on loan from Chelsea. Essien has struggled ever since returning from a horrific knee injury several seasons ago.

Alvaro Pereira

The Porto left sided player completed a four year move to Inter Milan this week.

Moussa Dembele

Fulham sold another up and coming star across London as Dembele joins Clint Dempsey at Tottenham for a 15 million Pound ($23.8 million) fee.

Simon Poulsen

The Danish defender signed a three year deal with Sampdoria after his current deal with AZ Alkmaar expired this summer.

Stephane Sessegnon

The Benin international signed a new deal to remain at Sunderland this week after much speculation throughout the summer that he was headed for a high profile move.

Gaston Ramirez

The Uruguay international was highly sought after all summer long by many high profile clubs, but he ultimately signed with English Premier League newcomers Southampton for a fee of approximately 12 million Pounds ($19 million). That would be by far the highest fee ever paid by Southampton.

Stephane M’Bia

The Cameroon international moved from Marseille to Queens Park Rangers.

Joey Barton

And while it wasn’t a swap deal, the QPR midfielder completed a season long loan to Marseille.

Danny Rose

The Tottenham starlet who played well for Team Great Britain at the London Olympics will join Sunderland for the 2012/13 season.

M’Baye Niang

The 17 year old French striker joins AC Milan from Caen on a three year deal.

Petr Jiracek

The Czech midfielder signs a four year deal with Hamburg after departing Wolfsburg.

Matija Nastajic

The Fiorentina center back will join Manchester City in exchange for 12 million Pounds ($19 million) plus defender Stefan Savic.

Park Chou Young

After being signed by Arsenal last summer, the Korean striker will join Spain’s Celta Vigo on loan for the upcoming season.

Scott Sinclair

The Swansea City winger joins Manchester City for an undisclosed fee on a long term deal.

Pablo Hernandez

Swansea did, however, bring in Valencia winger Pablo Hernandez on a three year deal for 5.5 million Euros ($6.9 million) in order to replace the departing Sinclair.

Ryan Babel

The Dutch winger came to a mutual decision with Hoffenheim to terminate his contract and then proceeded to sign a one year deal with Ajax.

Kieran Richardson

The Sunderland standout joins Fulham on a three year deal with an option for a fourth.

Ahmed El Mohamady

Another Sunderland player on the move, but this was just a season long loan to Hull City. El Mohamady joined the Black Cats last summer.

Charlie Adam

The Scottish master of the “Hollywood Pass” will leave Liverpool and join Stoke City for 4 million Pounds ($6.3 million).

Jay Spearing

Liverpool also chose to loan out their young central midfielder to Bolton for the upcoming season.

Samed Yesil

And in a rather underwhelming move, Liverpool signed Bayer Leverkusen/Germany U-18 standout Samed Yesil.

Carlos Bocanegra

The American defender will leave Rangers and joins Spanish second division side Racing Santandor.

Maurice Edu

Another American departs fallen Scottish giants Rangers. Edu completed a move to Stoke City early in the week.

Zeki Fyers

The Manchester United/England youth defender signed a two year deal with Standard Liege in Belgium.

Thorgan Hazard

Just weeks after being signed, the younger brother of Chelsea star Eden Hazard has been loaned out to Belgium’s Zelte Waregam by the Blues.

Maya Yushida

The Japanese center back signed a three year deal with Southampton.

Richard Wright

The (at times) comically bad goalkeeper signed with Manchester City on a free move.

Bakary Sako

The St. Etienne midfielder completed a move to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Wolves were relegated to the Championship this past season.

Steed Malbranque

The Lyon midfielder signed a new deal to remain with the French giants.

Fabian Monzon

Lyon also beefed up its defense with the signing of Nice left back Fabian Monzon.

Razak Boukari

The 25 year old Rennes winger joins Wolverhampton on a four year deal for an undisclosed fee.

Jordan Bowery

The former Chesterfield striker signed a three year deal with Aston Villa.

Bryan Oviedo

The Costa Rica international signed with Everton in a deadline deal.

Theo Janssen

The midfielder has come full circle and signed a three year deal with Vitesse Arnhem after leaving Vitesse to play for Ajax.

Damien Perquis

The Sochaux defender signs a three year deal with Real Betis with an option for a fourth.

Massimo Volta

The Sampdoria defender will join Levante on loan for the 2012-13 campaign.

Federico Casarini

The Bologna midfielder will play on loan with Cagliari for the upcoming season.

Mo Bangura

The Celtic/Sierra Leone striker will play for his former club AIK Stockholm on loan until January.

Domingo Cisma

The left back completes a free move to Atletico Madrid from Racing Santandor.

Michael Ciani

The former Bordeaux defender signed a deal with Lazio in Italy.

Michael Rensing

The former Cologne goalkeeper signed a one year deal with Bayer Leverkusen.

Mark Bunn

The Blackburn goalkeeper signed a two year deal with Norwich City where he will be expected to back up John Ruddy.

Mohammed Abu

The Manchester City/Ghana midfielder will join Spain’s Rayo Vallecano on loan this season. Abu is just 20 years of age.

Anestis Argyriou

The 24 year old Greek defender was released by AEK Athens and signed a two year deal with Rangers.

Dane Richards

Just seven games after being traded to the Vancouver Whitecaps, MLS/Jamaica winger Dane Richards found out he will join Burnley during the January transfer window on a free move after his current deal with MLS expired.

Marco Pappa

Originally believed to be leaving in January, it came as quite a shock when it was announced the Chicago Fire midfielder will immediately join Heerenveen in Holland.


Phew! Glad that’s over with! See you again in January!





Too Much Basel in the Sauce!

 Posted by on September 28, 2011 at 7:08 pm  Uncategorized
Sep 282011
 55622330 55622329 1 Too Much Basel in the Sauce!
Ashley Young’s header off an exquisite Nani cross is a last second lifesaver for United!

Manchester United 3-3 Basel
Sure it was an aberration. A trivial one-off in the history of a great club. There’s no need to press the panic button. Ummm, well, not yet!  It’s not as if we lost. Not like when Liverpool gave us a hammering at O.T. two seasons ago and the Spanish tranny dominated Nemanja to the point of utter humiliation. So, why, after a night’s sleep and thinking on it, am I still depressed? The fact is, I am worried and I’ll  be a nervous wreck when we face Norwich City on Saturday, not least because their manager Paul Lambert has been an instrument of our destruction before in his Borusia Dortmund playing days.

Manchester United  put on one of their worst displays in memory at Old Trafford against a mediocre Basel team that, even on a good night, would normally be hard pressed to compete against the likes of Tranmere Rovers. United’s defense was so embarrassing and shambolic throughout the game that all the hard work and discipline which went into the season’s shockingly successful beginning could yet turn out to be meaningless. To err is human, but to blow a two goal lead against a crew of Swiss ham-and-eggers is ridiculous! There’s plenty of blame to go around, to be sure, but for a Manchester United side to be this arrogant and indisciplined a lot of blame has to fall at the feet of  coaches René Meulensteen and Mike Phelan, and, by implication, the manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.

“It was down to utter carelessness,” Fergie said after the match. “It was a wake-up call.”

Aside from late substitute Nani, only one United player deserves any serious credit. Danny Welbeck was picked ahead of Michael Owen and Dimitar Berbatov, thank God, and I’m certain he was  grateful to accept the opportunities offered him on a plate  by Basel’s equally gormless  defense. Of course, even at the beginning of this awful fiasco, United were fortunate not to be punished themselves as Marco Streller played in Fabian Frei . Only a panic attack in front of a frozen Ferdinand saved the red devils as he blasted his finish high into the Stretford End.  Following that Frei, Streller and the other unrelated Frei , Alexander, ran onto at least half a dozen long balls that  Fabio, Jones, Ferdinand and Evra chased backwards, repeatedly rendering the ridiculously slow Frei, Frei and Streller onside.

Yet by some miracle, the three Swiss repeatedly blew it while  Danny Welbeck scored twice inside 90 seconds. Welbeck’s first came after 16 minutes when he beat  keeper Yann Sommer with an awkward  scuffed finish off his laces  after he was set up by a sweet move from Fabio to  Ryan Giggs. Seconds later, Giggs jinked past two defenders and lobbed a perfect dish that a wide-open Welbeck fired home much more easily. This allowed United to enter the dressing room at half-time with a 2-0 lead and surely receive, one hoped, not so much the hair dryer treatment as a stiff reminder that the fundamentals were not being properly taken care of.

Things carried on in the same general way in the second half, though. Anderson and Carrick, although  they looked very relaxed about intercepting the opposition’s midfielders and collecting the ball by any means necessary, kept giving the ball away via mistimed and awkward passes and  a repeated inability to maintain possession.  Thus, with the narrow game not working, everyone at the back began hammering long balls into the opposition’s box and flanks. Consequently, what we had was a pub game played by professionals. That is, until thirteen minutes into the second half when the Swiss rollers  scored three goals in 16 minutes, putting United side on the very brink of their first home defeat in 17 months.

Goalkeeper David De Gea, who had been fine despite the shambolic defending,  made a crucial block of a well hit shot by Marco  Streller. But minutes later, with Phil Jones nowhere in sight and Ferdinand still in a concussion from his humiliation by Peter Crouch last weekend, De Gea saved a Strellar header, only for the rebound to be blasted home by an unmarked Fabian Frei. Seconds later, Ferdinand got away with a woefully blatant foul on Alexander Frei on the very edge of the penalty area. But while Frei and Ferdinand discussed this awful piece of refereeing like  best mates,  Jones and Evra were both  out of position enough to allow Fabian Frei time to take advantage of a huge empty space on United’s right flank, and he promptly delivered a perfect cross to the  the head of an unmarked Alexander Frei who had leapt into the air to meet the pass while Rio was still standing there talking.

The Swiss were not done, however. When Phil  Jones played a short pass to Valencia on the edge of the box, Streller  was there to dispossess the Ecuadorian winger-turned-full back. In a desperate effort to retrieve the ball, Valencia tripped the big Swiss and  the Italian referee, Marcello Tagliavato pointed to the spot. With that, an icy-calm Alexander Frei  sent De Gea the wrong way with his spot kick to give Basel a deserved 2-3 lead.

As the clock ticked down, a disinterested Dimitar Berbatov was introduced for Anderson. Nani, who came on for  Fabio was interested, however. The Cape Verdean adonis arrived like a hurricane, brimming with energy he gave the Old Trafford faithful the finish they were  praying for. Having only been on a few minutes, Nani put on a dribbling clinic,  dragging defenders Aleksandr Dragovic and Joo-ho Park out of position before firing in a perfect cross for Ashley Young to head home at the far post. to tie the match in the third minute of extra-time. For Young–who had an erratic night of near misses, more due to a diet of bad balls than anything he did wrong–it was a moment of pure, happy redemption.

Last, but not least, I felt a twinge of  sympathy for Basel’s coach, Thorsten Fink. A late midfield substitute for Bayern Munich in Manchester United’s  1999 Champions League Final  win, Fink had the rug pulled out from under him by the red devils once again.