It’s been a while since I posted anything here, and I’ve been quite eager to get back to writing, especially with all the transfers going on.
I’ve been kept busy by this leadership training thingy The Star asked some of us to do, and I’m finally graduating tomorrow (fingers crossed), after SEVEN months of seminars, workshops, talks and projects. The last project was a real killer, but thankfully, I survived.
But if there’s one thing the programme taught me, it’s that talent is incredibly important to any organisation.
The same goes with football clubs, and I’m glad my club Manchester United has been investing wisely in youth once again.
As for the other clubs, business has been slow as usual – they never get anything done until the last second.
But there have been plenty of mooted moves so far, hot off the transfer rumour mill, and here’s what I think about some of the bigger ones:
Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona
I think this move should be wrapped as as soon as possible, for Arsenal’s sake.
With his hamstrings troubles and problematic ankle, Fabregas was not his unplayable self for many games last season.
Samir Nasri, on the other hand, was much more dangerous in central midfield, but was often forced to play out of position to accomodate Fabregas and Jack Wilshere.
I say sell Fabregas, and use the money to tie Nasri down to a long-term deal, and make Nasri-Wilshere the central midfield partnership of Arsenal’s future. And don’t forget, Arsenal also have Aaron Ramsey.
More importantly, with the amount of money he’ll get, Arsene Wenger would get to invest in the positions that really need it – centreforward, left-back and left-midfield.
Alexis Sanchez to Barcelona/Manchester City
I don’t think this would be a good move for Barcelona.
Sanchez is the kind of player that holds on to the ball a lot. He’s a bit like one of those Cristiano Ronaldo showboating types – stepovers and all that.
That’s not a bad thing. He’d be brilliant for teams like Manchester City, Manchester United or Real Madrid, where their style of play relies on that kind of individual skill.
But with Barcelona, it’s all about the clockwork passing, the incessant rhythm and movement that bamboozles oppositions and creates space.
Messi might be the master of dribbling, but he only dribbles to create space for the pass or the finish, he never stands still with the ball.
Sanchez is not like that. He holds on to the ball in wide positions and his first instinct is not the next pass or where his teammates are. His instinct is to beat the defender in front of him, and then he’ll think about the pass.
Barcelona would be better off promoting a young midfielder who understands their style of play, give him some top-level experience and mould him for the future, rather than to gamble a fortune on Sanchez.
David de Gea to Manchester United
He’s essentially a mini version of Edwin van der Sar, but he has so, so little experience.
No offense, but the pressures of playing for Atletico Madrid in La Liga is different compared to Manchester United in the Premier League.
I’m not convinced by de Gea yet. I would have been more comfortable with Maarten Stekelenburg, the giant Ajax keeper (apart from Manuel Neuer, of course, who I have been harping on and on about for the past year and a half).
He might not be as talented, but he has experience. He will be composed. Anyone who survived the kind of mauling Holland got from Spain in the World Cup would have learned some form of composure.
Plus, I’ve seen de Gea play before – he will have trouble dealing with crosses, set-pieces and those dreaded long throw-ins. He’s way too skinny! He might be a talented shot-stopper, but to be a goalkeeper in the Premier League, you’ll need way more than that.
Unfortunately, the deal seems done and dusted. Fingers crossed, he proves me wrong.
Luka Modric to whoever has the money
It would truly be a disaster for Tottenham Hotspur if he left, but I can’t see him staying for much longer.
At the moment, I think there’s a 70-30 chance he’ll leave.
I think Redknapp needs to decide whether it would be better to start a bidding war now, so he’ll have enough time to buy a top-class replacement, or to hold on to whatever slim chance there is that he’ll stay.
In terms of the destination, Manchester United should be his best option. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a United fan.
There is a void waiting to be filled there by Paul Scholes’ retirement. At Chelsea, he’ll have to compete with Frank Lampard, Florent Malouda and Yossi Benayoun for a spot in the first XI. At United, he’ll walk straight into the first team.
Chances will be even harder to come by at Barcelona, also said to be interested, and Manchester City, where David Silva already does a brilliant job in exactly the same role.
Juan Mata to Arsenal
This will be a brilliant move for Arsenal if it happens. I can’t believe it’s taken that long for someone to make a bid for Mata.
At 18 million pounds, it will be a steal too. He’s young, he’s been a regular for the Valencia first team for several years now, and he’s extremely talented. Everything he does is pure class, much like his ex-Valencia teammate Silva.
He could solve Arsenal’s problematic left-wing position once and for all, paving the way for Andrei Arshavin to bring his moping about someplace else, and Tomas Rosicky to recapture his form elsewhere.
Stewart Downing to Liverpool
I really don’t see the point in this, especially if the reported fee of around 17 million pounds is true. If they forked out a bit more, they could be in the running for Juan Mata!
Downing is a good player – he works hard and is capable of producing the odd moment of quality, be it a good cross or a long range screamer.
But is he really the kind of player to take Liverpool forward? He’s already 26! He’s a tried and tested Premier League performer, but Liverpool don’t need just another consistent performer – they need someone who will be an instant revelation like Luis Suarez if they want to stand any chance of challenging for the trophy next season.
It would make sense if he was cheaper, as he would provide good back-up. But if Dalglish is really thinking about getting him, he should just stop to think of the supposedly alright players Liverpool have signed recently – Christian Poulsen, Milan Jovanovic, Paul Konchesky, even Joe Cole. They just don’t have what it takes for the uphill battle Liverpool have ahead of them.
Javier Pastore to Man City, Chelsea, Madrid, Barcelona…
I’m not too sure about Pastore. I’ve only seen some highlight reels and I’m not convinced (and those highlight reels usually tend to focus only on the good).
In any case, to pay 44 million pounds, the fee demamded by his current employers Palermo, for a relatively untested player is a pretty big gamble. If you believe Barcelona, you could probably get Cesc Fabregas with that kind of money and still have some change!
I mean, he must be pretty good if ALL these clubs are going after him. But 44 million?? That’s way too much. Let the transfer hype die down a little, let Palermo hold on to him for a while more, and they’ll be desperate to cash in on him in no time. Maybe then I’ll think it’s a good deal.
Tell us what you think!