I’m talking about Emmanuel Adebayor and the Gelato Man, Aliaksandr Hleb. Both players had, in the media’s eyes the most fantastic of seasons, but I really opt to differ. Adebayor is definitely a great investment from AS Monaco and the goals did come in this season. Still, I’m just starting to believe in the credo of team spirit rather than individual effort.
The Oranje played superbly in the first 2 matches this Euro 2008; deployed a second string for the 3rd academic match; and lost to Russia in spectacular fashion. It was almost as if the Group of Death ‘C’ was actually the Group of Jesters. Italy were never really in the groove throughout; France conceded a whopping 8 goals and only scored once against the Dutch and looked more like the ‘media-touted’ Austria team than anything else; whereas Romania shot themselves in the foot despite holding a slim advantage over the aforementioned 2 national teams. I was reading Ernst Bouwes’ article on Soccernet and approved of his observation that the Oranje were really lacklustre and seemingly opinionated of the Russians who hadn’t had a great start in the Euro 2008. The Dutch arrogance of old had resurfaced and when utter shock turned to response, the Russians were already streets ahead in the match. No way back for the Dutch at all.
So, here we are – the Arsenal bound to lose 2 more players of which the media thought that they were influential and all that bla, bla stuff. Rubbish. If the player has thought long and hard of leaving, then he would leave eventually. Makes no sense to defer his sale for one more season; see his form dip to another all-time low and then settle for less than his pricetag of the previous season. Cash in on Adebayor, make the twig-leg leave for Barca for all I care and make a tidy profit.
What makes me concerned is the fact that there seems to be a really canyonesque gap between the big clubs and the giants. You know who the big clubs are – the Arsenal; probably Bayern Munich; PSV Eindhoven and then maybe Celtic FC- add the sleeping giant Ajax Amsterdam; Olympique Lyon and Valencia CF to the equation for a better picture. The big clubs are now even being supply clubs for the giant clubs. The giant clubs, on the other hand, are always there with their big foul-mouth vice presidents doing all that rumour-mongering and player unsettling campaigns. If they want a player, they’d go to all ends to get him and his signature. That would include throwing crazy transfer fees around hoping that the player would notice their wealth and then decide that the richest clubs win the most prizes – or at the very least, has the better chance to win something of note in European football and the domestic league.
The giant clubs would probably be AC Milan, FC Barcelona, Man Ure and Real Madrid. Whenever any of these clubs opened their stinking gap, the players would make up their minds very quickly and a deal has to be sealed. Chelscunts are also part of this setup but I kind of figured that their purchases of late have been somewhat bizarre and uneducated. I’d say that they would be better off retaining Drogba than trying to buy another striker but their loss is the Arsenal’s gain in a way. Plus, you don’t see the Chelscunts making noises of signing Adebayor or what not.
Now, AC Milan has decided that Adebayor is their only real transfer target this summer and would not settle for anyone else. Reeks of desperation this. The way I see it, the team needs more than just a striker to really compete in Europe – their ancient defence needs more tweaking and the midfield duo of Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso are no longer that fearsome. They are probably buying Adebayor to deny the Arsenal the chance at beating them again at some point in the Champions League for next season. If Adebayor is worth£30 million, it’d be damn stupid to let this opportunity loose without giving it a thought. Of course, Wenger has to secure another replacement first but I think that the money earned would be quite good for the transfer market.
Aliaksandr Hleb. This Belarussian may be the best dribbler or whatever you may care to label him but I think that the way he plays stagnate the team more than helping the team forward. I still think that it’d be more amusing to watch him play for Barcelona; bring the ball really deep into the penalty box; get into a great 1-on-1 with the opposing goalkeeper only to look for a pass rather than to shoot for goal. This guy doesn’t have flair in his game as well – more like raking the opposition final 3rd for options rather than to create them. I don’t care what the other Gooners say – if Hleb is gone this summer, it’s a mighty good piece of business.
Then we have the club’s prized player Cesc Fabregas telling Barca to be a bit more dignified in their approach for players. I agree – the club has massive reputation but they are perpetually sullying their own name by making themselves look more like prostitutes soliciting for services. They just can’t seem to back off a bit, look at the transfer market again and think of how they could shake up their team a little. Real Madrid even blew the nuclear reactor top by even leaking into mainstream news that Man Ure player Cristiano Ronaldo may be sold for as high as£100 million; then revised to £45 million with Wesley Sneijder and then Arsehole Ferguson was told by Ron that the gaffer’s views don’t matter. Classic Real Madrid approach. If Ronaldo is just as talented as Danny Higginbotham and making these sort of noises to the Arsehole, you can bet that Ron’s own arse won’t be able to serve its primary purpose of providing support while being sedentary. We’ll wait and see how this bit of transfer acticity goes but I’m quite certain that the Arsehole won’t be bothered by Real Madrid’s blatant money-throwing approach. Would money be a consideration for Man Ure? Probably – we know about the Glazers and their debts but to what extent is open to worthless debate; but the Champions League and EPL double would have ensured the sort of windfall rarely heard of in this day and age with the game going absolutely global in scope and ambition.
Now, in hindsight, I should say that the Thierry Henry sale to Barca was actually a blessing in disguise. I was really torn inside when he opted to leave but now feel somewhat comforted by the fact that he wasn’t the same player as before. Did he even turn up for ‘Les Bleus’ in the Euro 2008? Franck Ribéry sure did. FC Barcelona was making the same sort of bleating and braying commotion again instead of focusing on their own team, addressing the dressing room atmosphere and kicking the ass of those players who chose dissent as the way to get more say in the club. I’ll tell you – Hleb may be one of the more quieter personalities at the Arsenal at the moment but the fact that his agent seems to be ruling his future speaks volumes about his own integrity. Why would he need more money for? To found another club with his own name – the only one in Belarus. Are his chances of winning the Champions League any higher with Barcelona than the Arsenal? Not so. FC Barcelona is in the midst of a major shakeup this summer – Ronaldinho looks very likely to leave with Samuel Eto’o in tow and Deco joining them. If Thierry Henry underperforms like he did in the Euro 2008, the team would lose some more glitter. Lionel Messi is great but he’s no Maradona yet.
So, like I’ve said, if Hleb chooses to leave, it’s a neat piece of business. Very astute if Wenger thinks so.
We hear of France’s Olympique Marseille talent Samir Nasri almost signing along the dotted lines for the Arsenal. I really don’t need to care why it was taking so long. The work of agents may be said to be very lucrative but I’d go for players who know what they want. If Nasri thinks that the club is a good stepping stone for the future, then good luck to him. I’ve seen him play at Euro 2008 but he sure needs a lot to learn. Forget the goal compilations and all that Zidane-replica skills – winners need consistency and he’d still need to prove it. Videos count for nothing in this tough modern world of football.
Poor PSV. They’ve lost Peruvian striker Jefferson Farfan to Schalke 04 and hasn’t really shored up their starting eleven with a able replacement. Even now, top goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes has been approached by the Spuds and PSV is looking at Sweden goalkeeper Isaksson as direct replacement. I fear for PSV Eindhoven.
Then we have Valencia CF open to the bidding pressure as well. Their well-documented La Liga farce last season and their mounting club debts meant that their top players are likely on the way out. Their club infamous trio of Santiago Canizares; David Albelda and Miguel Angulo also revealed a certain standard of decay at the club’s foundations. So, with Spain performing relatively well in Euro 2008, their David duo of David Silva and David Villa has attracted interest from vulture-eyed clubs with the cash to splash. Both players have reiterated their desire to remain at the club but the rumour-mill hasn’t stopped. Sometimes, we’d just wish that the media just shut up about all the speculation and concentrate on the real deal when it happens.
In Malaysia, we have the local radio stations, like Litefm and more, repeatedly reporting similar incredible and unfounded rumours surrounding the Arsenal amongst others. The news are always the same – the Arsenal interested in signing so and so player or their so and so player is the transfer interest of another club. What’s worse is that these news items are pure recycled stuff. Look, we may be half the world away from the thick of the action but we ain’t stupid to believe every single ‘news’ that you care to report to us. If there’s nothing new in the transfer market by way of a done deal, so be it. Intense speculation reveals the dumb mentality of lapping it all up from football forums for these sort of news. I’ll tell you why speculations are annoying: not only are half-truths not a truth; but they also cheapens the local news station’s credibility since dealing with speculations should be better left to the Barcelonas or the Real Madrids with their vehicle Marca and the like. Imagine hearing about the Adebayor saga day in and day out as if it was breaking news or the David Villa epic making references to the Arsenal from time to time as if it was the first time. I don’t know – gossip may be the lifeblood of most people but I think that the sports segment of local radio stinks.
Well, there you have it. I’m slowly getting quite detached from football these days – not enough Bergkamps and Batistutas in the football world today; the players of this generation – here today, gone next minute; and the giant clubs perpetually flaunting their wealth and influence and haunting the smaller clubs for players as if they werePelé or whatever legend which they are not. Wenger couldn’t have envisioned the day when his own Arsenal would be an annual supply club rather than one challenging for honours without fail season in/season out.