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Sunday, July 5, 2009

10 worlds biggest transfers players

Slowly but surely, the days are floating by and the calendar is edging ever closer to the start of the new Premier League season.

Though it is still a bit slow for my liking, we are entertained by the anomaly that is the summer transfer window. Having just opened on July 1st, all the deals that were already arranged have been made official, and those that have yet to be hatched are in the incubation stage. Or something like that.

Anyway, as you’d expect English teams have been busy. Players in and players out up and down the country. Some surprises (Gareth Barry) and some forgone conclusions (Cristiano Ronaldo). Let’s take a quick look at the top 10 transfers that have gone down in the Old Blighty thus far:

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United to Real Madrid): I said it all along, despite ManU’s amazing success last season, and even with Ronnie saying all the right stuff, he’d still leave. He left. Job done.

Mark Hughes & Roque Santa Cruz | Reunited at last!

2. Roque Santa Cruz (Blackburn Rovers to Manchester City): He’s this high on the list because the ridiculous fee paid by Manchester City was a mistake, and me thinks they’ll regret it…even if they have millions and millions of pounds to just replace him.

3. Gareth Barry (Aston Villa to Manchester City): All my respect for Barry has gone out the window following this move. But then again, I might have done the same things. Maybe when ESPN offer me big money. Who knows.

4. Glen Johnson (Portsmouth to Liverpool): He’s a good player, on the rise, but again, the fee was a bit much, especially when Liverpool wouldn’t anti-up half that price less than six months ago.

5. Thomas Vermaelen (Ajax to Arsenal): The Gunners need a commanding defender to take some of the pressure off of Kolo Toure…Vermaelen should do the trick.

6. Luis Jimenez (Inter Milan to West Ham): Talk about a transfer coup. Gio Zola worked his magic and brought in this Chilean maestro to run his attack at Upton Park.

Luis Antonio Valencia
At least he won't complain

7. Antonio Valencia (Wigan to Manchester): The boy has big shoes to fill. All I’ll say about that.

8. Kevin Doyle (Reading to Wolverhampton): If Wolves want to stay in the Premier League, they’ll need goals. Doyle will supply them (18 goals in 40 matches last year).

9. Matt Derbyshire (Blackburn Rovers to Olympiakos): How many top flight-quality English players can you name that play outside of the world’s best island? A ‘whatever makes you happy’ move.

10. Jack Hobbs (Liverpool to Leicester): Suckers! Hobbs is going to be the next big center back in England, and we got him! Wahoo!

There’s my top ten. Obviously, many more are still to come and I’ll maybe do another list a few weeks from now, but as of right now, they are the big boys.

Speaking of big boys, Real Madrid continued to work their transfer magic, and their bottomless transfer kitty this week when they signed French starlet Karim Benzema from Lyon, right under Sir Alex’s nose. I can assure you, the Scot was not best pleased about this development.

All last summer Manchester United wooed Benzema, only to have him stay with the then French Champions. Now he’s the newest member of the Galacticos and Ferguson is left scratching his head about who he’s going to put up top this season. So who’s it going to be? Well, more on that a bit later.

Besides the wonders of the transfer market, the other thing that keeps my attention in the summer is the type of match that is so aptly named, the ‘friendly.’ Being a resident of the United States, we are blessed with a wealth of games between some of Europe’s top teams who travel stateside to increase their exposure in the world’s most powerful nation.

This summer holds some particularly intriguing match-ups, with Chelsea being the main EPL combatant to cross the pond. They’ll take part in the “World Football Challenge” with the two Milan clubs, and Club America. An interesting tournament that’ll have many people in the U.S. excited about soccer. I believe all the matches have sold out (or have come close), which is excellent news, especially given that they are being played in American football stadiums, not the dinky MLS soccer specific grounds.

The other big fixture on the list is the MLS All-Star Game. Obviously, to MLS this is not a friendly, but in the eyes of the competition, Everton, it is. Recently it was brought to my attention that in the five matches the MLS All-Stars have played against foreign teams, they have won five. Interesting. Not really. Regardless, it’s always nice to have foreign teams play here and it’ll be great to see the reception Tim Howard gets when (or if) he takes the field.

So it goes without saying, the summer isn’t that bad really. Except for all those terrible pictures of footballers on holiday, that is. As it stands right now, 42 days until the first kick of the season. It’ll fly by. On to The Toast.

The Toast (as in Of The EPL): The Replacing Ronnie…And Carlos, Too Edition

Michael Owen | Man, I almost signed with Hull!

Michael Owen, All alone in the world: In what is being considered one of the most shocking moves in recent EPL history, the much-maligned former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Newcastle striker is apparently set for a move to Old Trafford. Wowzers. It’s hard to say if it’s going to work out for United or not. My view is simple: Why not? He didn’t cost anything to buy, so you still have all that Ronnie money left. You still have two top notch strikers above him in the pecking order. He’s taking reduced wages, which will barely make a dent in the overall numbers. Give him a shot. If he stays healthy, he’s lethal. If he’s on a good team, and gets the ball, which he will at United, there will be goals. In all, a job well done for SAF if it goes through.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Inter Milan: The lanky Swede is the latest man on Sir Alex’s list to throw up top and bag some goals for United. Frankly, I’m giving those move a big N-O! To me, he’s has all the bad parts of Ronaldo, and none of the good. For those of you who hate Ronaldo, you wouldn’t understand that bit, I guess. I just think he’s got the wrong attitude to mix with Sir Alex, and let’s not forget about his glaring weakness when it comes to scoring in Europe.

Sergio Aguero, Atletico Madrid: My pick to lead United into the next decade, Aguero would be ideal in a Red Devils shirt. The strike force is in place with Rooney, Berbatov, Welbeck and Macheda, they just need supply and creativity. Aguero is that man. If United can pry him away, it’d be great, but unfortunately he’s keen on staying in Spain. Oh well.

Leicester Update:

The Foxes are back and training has begun for the upcoming season. Currently, we’ve signed six players and are on pace for more as the summer continues. The most exciting thing about the team right now is the consistency and stability throughout the organization. For the first time, oh I don’t know, since O’Neill left that can be said about the team. I still have problems admitting it, but I feel like the year in League One was a blessing in disguise.

The Dressing (as in What To Wear)

For the second week in a row, we shall examine a horror kit. Newcastle last week was gruesome, but thankfully for the Magpies, half of their matches will be in their usual zebra shirts. Unfortunately for a certain team in north London, they’re going to be ridiculed for looking ridiculous in all 38 matches this season.

2009/2010 Tottenham Hotspur Home, Away & Third Kits

Tottenham have always had one of the most basic kits in the league. A simple white top with navy trim and blue shorts. No longer though, as Puma decided it was a good idea to release these three disasters. Why the yellow? Are you trying to copy Newcastle? And is it necessary to have the Puma logo in about eight different spots. No, it isn’t. Needless to say, the shirt has been given a scathing review by the Lilywhite faithful, and I’d have to agree with them. If you happen to make it over to White Hart Lane this season, I doubt you’ll see more than a handful of fans wearing the shirt. Quite rightly. Grade: 3/10

Honorable Mention: 2009/10 Manchester United Home Kit (Grade: 7/10) and 2009/10 Chelsea Away Kit (Grade: 9.5/10)

And Finally…The Black Pudding of the Week

Nemanja Vidic, Manchester United: Now, I know I’ve gone a bit overboard with the ManU talk this column, but this is just happenstance. I support the EPL as a all-encompassing entity (mostly). Including Vidic as the Black Pudding has little to do with his play in a Red Devils uniform, but more to do with his recent comments about a potential move away from Old Trafford. In short, the Serbian said something along the lines of, “My wife wants to leave England, but I don’t care.” Avoiding the path Beckham took to Madrid (Posh wanted the sunny weather), Vidic has held his ground and showed some loyalty to the club who has made him who he is today. This ties in nicely to the transfer talk from the beginning of the column, because you don’t see that kind of dedication anymore. Everyone wants a bigger paycheck. In Vidic’s case, he’s getting one anyway and gets to stay at the club he loves. Well done.

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