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No Wild Guus Chase


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Tricky business transfers. Especially when you’re dealing with star-name, top-flight subject matter and you consider how many pieces need to fall into place for all parties involved in the deal to be happy. Player, club, fans, the list of people needing to be placated is as long as your arm or as deep as your club owner’s pockets. Gone are the days when supply and demand dictated events and if you were ManU and needed a burly centre-half as back-up you simply pinched him off a neighbouring club for a shilling and the promise of a ‘friendly’ next season to boost the coffers. Now it takes a bit more subterfuge, a superior legal team for added muscle, plus a pliant media eager to write the words ’Indian poultry farmers’ as many times as it might take to undermine claims of football business know-how.

Job done on Jones and Blackburn then, but, not to dwell too long on United’s efforts to buy English and early (to quell (fan) disappointment later if really big name snubbing starts occurring?) why don’t we take a look at the European scene, which is a lot less parochial and currently bursting at the seams with high-powered ‘delegations’ opening ’talks’ anywhere there’s a superstar to be found who wants to move up to the next level of greatness. This, I would humbly contend, is where the Chels, Citeh, Barca and Real reside, some for a longer period than others, admittedly, yet it is also in this rarefied atmosphere that Arsenal is epitomised by an oft-affronted Arsene Wenger’s gulp for air. Sadly for Bayern, both Milan clubs and a Glazer-gutted ManU, a feeling of financial decay fills their airspace and will continue to do so until a genuine cash bid is made by any of them for at least one of the current crop of truly world class talents available.

I’d list these players [in no particular preferential order] as follows:- Alexis Sanchez, Wesley Sneijder, Carlos Tevez, Neymar, Cesc Fabregas Sergio Aguero and Luca Modric, although the last of these was said by ‘Arry to be unavailable in a typical statement that in itself suggests he might be the first to be sold. That said, what these players do have in common is a price tag that will put them out of reach of all but the residing powers, thereby guaranteeing a brokering bonanza by agents and owning clubs alike. Of course, the player/agent relationship sometimes decides a player’s future, as we’ve seen with Tevez and will no doubt see with him again, but in the main the clinching factors, no matter the b******t given to us by an agenda-driven press corps, are finance, current club status, environment and past history - and probably in that order of significance too.

So my, albeit simplistic, method of gauging who might go where is therefore based on a rating of these factors by every targeted player, based on what they have said of late (quotes always important, though never taken with anything other than a pinch of salt), assuming that every club concerned is searching for the selfsame thing - an indication that the player is keen to join them and he is both wanted and affordable. For instance, Tevez is relatively easy to rate, as it is obvious that Manchester is out, Barca have other fish to fry, the Arse won’t bid that high, Bayern and Milan can’t bid that high, leaving us alongside Real, or a one-way ticket to Boca Juniors. Carlos has no concept of club status other than to make a quick check to see if they’re in the CL and that they’ll pay his wages. Also, after going to West Ham, past history is of no importance and just that. Verdict:- 50/50 between the two of us, probably dependant on other signings faltering, but his age would suggest Jose gets his man this time…rather than Sheva. As for the others…

Alexis Sanchez:- Delegations galore at Udinese (allegedly) with the latest count standing at five, both Mancs, Barca, Real and Inter who must have to sell Sneijder first. Apparently, we haven’t gone in mob-handed on this one, although I do recall mention of a Chelsea entourage trip to Italy some months ago which prompted ‘exclusives’ on the original £30m mystery bid being of our own making. Now, as a pro-Fergie press pack begin to row back from possible Sneijder and Modric rebuttal, we don’t even feature anymore. Status is important, although I’d expect Nani-the-bargaining-chip to be about as much use as Bojan was before he turned down the Udinese move. Verdict:- Media desperate for him to go anywhere but the Bridge, even though ‘The Telegraph’ have him as one of our top three targets, and it’s maybe 70-30 in favour of Mancini making Sanchez his solitary big signing in this window.

Wesley Sneijder:- Inter will pray for good news on the Sanchez front before opening Wesley’s cage and the fact that we have no manager in place means they can’t quiz anybody quickly enough on the possibility of a Dutch double at Chelsea. This is an advantage because, along with many, I’m convinced Modric is our prime midfield target and avoiding awkward questions on a possible rival for a key position suits us fine at the moment and could even lead to the Croat putting pressure on Spurs to sell. Verdict:- Sadly for his supporters amongst us and even more so after Citeh win the race for Sanchez, Sneijder may end up doing exactly what everyone thought he’d do in the first place - stay put.

Neymar:- It’s between us and Real and it’s in the lap of the football Gods, unless you believe in my rating system and his pro-Chels pronouncements. Finance tick, status tick, environment (plus Brazilians) double-tick, only past history is surpassed by Real and that, to my mind, shouldn’t be enough in the long term to sway his judgement. Verdict:- Going 70/30 on this, please let it be so.

Cesc Fabregas:- Turn that rating system on its head for him and you have a cast iron reason why he will return home. End of, other than to point out that Barca limited their war chest to £40m for a purpose and Javier Pastore fits neatly into a viable alternative option category should Arseneal dig their heels in over price..

Sergio Aguero:- Someone on another site gave 7 reasons why Aguero should be signed, the most convincing of which was his potential match-winning partnership with Torres. I’ll provide another - my eldest grandson once asked what a Sergio Aguero was and, now that he fully appreciates the skills, I’d love the opportunity to show him firsthand. Once again, Real are the only financial opposition and this time history is their very own negative factor. Verdict:- 50/50, but only because I don’t want to jinx what would be a great buy.

Luca Modric:- Discussed earlier and quite possibly the euphemistic missing piece in our jigsaw. He could well provide the faster drumbeat we badly need to march to and, as our midfield metronome, service to the strikers would improve immeasurably. Another who ticks all the ratings boxes, except the one marked ’simply pinch off neighbouring club’, for it will be no easy matter without assistance from the player himself. As with Torres and Liverpool, clubs seeking to hold on to quality players see the light eventually, although in the Scousers case it was shrouded in misguided disbelief that a player could ever want to leave them for betterment. A final thought - Scott Parker going to the Lane could be the catalyst for a Modric move sooner rather than later, unless Big Sam is more of a motivator than I give him credit for.

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A great post Dorset, your usual high standards.

I do wonder how it's all going to turn out. I try not to get wrapped up too much into the media hype of we're buying this player or that player, but it still makes me excited and puts a fire in my belly.

Spending some time thinking of Modric in our midfield makes me smile. I think he would provide the faster drumbeat, as you say, that we need along with giving our striking core and Torres in particular the service he needs to excel. And there's no doubting his ability to play in in England. He's been doing that.

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