By Tony Attwood
The current prediction is that the Tiny Totts are going to be the big spenders in January. Or Man U. Or Man C. Or QPR. Or indeed Arsenal. Of course it depends which paper you read. I’ll come back to Arsenal in a mo, but first…
QPR certainly have the desperation, as if they go down, they are going into the Conference because they won’t pay the fine the Football League is levying on them for FFP – and then they will face a long legal battle to try and get themselves back into the league without paying the fines.
Such stuff may result in a shrug of the shoulders for you or me, but it has the opposite effect for players thinking of transferring. Would you go to a club that is facing ejection from the league?
It is indeed an interesting way to run a club. Of course the same could be true with Leicester but we just don’t know for sure yet. Their fans are eternally certain that there is nothing amiss vis a vis FFP, and I never claim to get each of these predictions right – maybe Leicester is where I get my FFP comeuppance.
Tottenham look like they will spend because the chairman alternates between a) blaming the manager and b) blaming the players. At the moment we are in b) mode so more players are needed, with all those young men bought with Bale money now leaving for half what was paid.
If anyone can be found to take them on at the salaries they are commanding that is.
And that last sentence sums up the transfer point. Get the transfer wrong, and the player will be inclined to stay and not play, knowing that the club will either reduce his transfer fee to nothing, or let the contract run out, when it is nothing. Or if he prefers, the player can simply say “Webster” (the Court of Arbitration in Sport ruling of 2008 that says that no player contract more than three years old can be enforced by the club). Either way, his salary will be enhanced next time round if his new club doesn’t have a transfer fee to pay.
Tottenham would like to bid farewell to “troubled” Emmanuel Adebayor, who the Telegraph reckon is on £9,000,000 a year salary. They also say Andros Townsend, Vlad Chiriches and Paulinho are being given the shove.
As for us, well you certainly don’t need me to mention what the press say all the time: “a defensive midfielder and a spare centre-half.” But I said it anyway.
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The Sunday Mirror has us after Croatia international and Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Marcelo Brozovic for £5m. He is 21, or maybe 22 (the Mirror quotes both ages in different paragraphs of the same article. Pesky things, ages.) The Mirror also said in their “three things Arsenal fans need to know” (so good of them to tell us what we need to know) that he’s experienced, but not a defensive midfielder and “Arsenal face stiff competition”.
Which is a set up for “Arsenal let wonder-kid slip through their fingers”. Two articles for the price of one.
Man City and Chelsea are boxed in by FFP, so can’t really buy much unless they sell quite a lot. – which is why the suggestion in the Express that Chelsea are buying Strootman for £30m seems unlikely.
And indeed this is where the big salary problem comes in. The people they might sell a high earning player to (PSG, Monaco, Barcelona) have problems. Barcelona can’t buy anyone until that appeal of their’s hits the CAS, which it isn’t doing, and PSG and Monaco are up against FFP. Indeed Uefa has been looking at Liverpool over FFP (although again this is something strongly denied by many of the club’s supporters, as with Leicester), and I reckon they too are going to have to do some unloading first.
But it is said the Liverpool could loan Balotelli back to Inter Milan – although really they need to sell him, to start getting some space within the confines of FFP.
Also lurking around at the foot of all the transfer talk is the suggestions that Man City will continue the loan deal of Lampard. This is seen as a crucial development, because if Uefa let this pass without comment then the door is open for every club to set up associated clubs, transfer players there, and then loan them across. FFP by-passed in one movement.
But some say it looks like Arsenal have at last lined up their first signing for the January transfer window as the Express is reporting that Arsenal have outbid Real Madrid in “the race to sign the Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva.”
Elsewhere it is said that the cost is £12m. Other rumours say he is going to Chelsea and Real Mad (although not both at one presumably) but some say he wants Arsenal because of Arsenal’s reputation of playing young talented players rather than loaning them out again (in the Chelsea style).
The other rumours out there seem so unlikely however it is a miracle that they ever become rumours. Take Marseille striker Andre-Pierre Gignac who has “turned down” Arsenal to go to Milan. He will be out of contract, in the summer and Marseille don’t want to keep him, and he is 29. Does it sound likely? We have more than enough strikers as it is – with some talent in the youth team, so why buy a 29 year old reject?
More possible is Asier Illarramendi of Real Mad who Real Mad might want to unload and who plays defensive midfield. Could be.
But sorry, no out and out defenders on the horizon at the moment. I think the people from the Star and Express are not doing their job properly. They really should give us a couple of defenders a day, surely.