Archive for June 9th, 2009


Kaka in Blue, they needed the money

It’s strange being a football fan. One day we’re arguing over whether it’s right to even argue about whether it’s right to criticize players, the club, and the boss and the very next day Kaka is sold to Real Madrid for a world record £59m making every football fan pause, take a breath and assess their club’s situation.

As Arsenal supporters we are used to the constant speculation linking our players out of the club: Fabregas has supposedly been going back to Barcelona now pretty much as far back as I can remember. If anything, this is an odd year for Gooners because we haven’t seen the ubiquitous “Cesc to Barca” summer story; perhaps Iniesta and Messi winning the Champions League has something to do with that. But whatever the case there hasn’t been much speculation about Arsenal players at all this season, really. There was a brief moment when Adebayor mentioned the word “Milan” which was spun into a tragicomedy about Milan “keeping tabs” on Ade and there is some speculation that Inter might go after Robin van Persie, but that’s it as far as any transfer speculation for Arsenal players. Maybe that will “hot up,” as the Brits say, now that Kaka has made the move to Madrid.

I kind of doubt it. After this season where he clearly wasn’t motivated to play his best, I think Arsenal are stuck with Adebayor. No matter the brilliant goals, potential buyers are going to wonder if taking a chance on this once brilliant player is worth the risk. Similarly with Robin van Persie, even though he’s had arguably his best season with Arsenal teams will have to look at his injury record and wonder what the return on their investment is going to look  like. Both of these guys are capable and I like both players when they are on, but both are going to be risky investments.

You also have to take into account the global financial climate, Kaka evidently did when he made his move, and ask what kind of money teams are going to be tossing around. Even after netting nearly £60m in the deal, if AC Milan are having as much financial troubles as Kaka says, then what are they going to be willing to splash out in transfers? After all, Milan, he says, are run like a business. Maybe they will take a look at Adebayor and maybe they will take a look at Dzeko, the player is certainly star struck by the prospect of signing for Milan. Either way, I expect Milan not to use all of their cash.

Meanwhile, the “financial crisis” at Liverpool is sparking rumors of a mass exodus of midfielders from Anfield. Last week Liverpool basically said that Alonso was only available for £23m+ and sensing blood in the water Mascherano and his agent are now putting out feelers for a transfer to Barca. Who know what crazy Liverpool would do with the money they netted IF they sold both of those guys, spread some around, pay off some debts, who knows.

And, of course, we shouldn’t rule out the insanity that will occur when City make some serious bids for world players. Or what happens when Ronaldo goes to Real Madrid for a new, new, world record? Maybe that will loosen everyone’s purse strings.

It’s not just transfers that are going to distort the market, England passed a tax increase raising the taxes on top earners to 50% and that too could have a deleterious effect on our favorite league. Already Arshavin has had to deny rumors that he was unhappy with the pay cut he felt he was going to take. What effect will this tax increase have on contracts and the ability for clubs like Arsenal to woo potential signings? Again, I’m uncertain.

In fact, if there’s anything I’m certain of, it’s that I’m uncertain. Unlike last year where I foolishly proclaimed my certitude about Arsenal’s future and that they wouldn’t be signing a defensive midfielder, this year I have no clue what Arsenal are going to do. It’s looking like we are going to sign Vermaelen for nearly £11m, but no one knows for sure. Vermaelen is either a defensive signing and will take the place of Toure or Gallas, or he’s the defensive midfielder that we’ve all been looking for, again no one knows. Hell, no one can even agree on how to pronounce his name!

I guess I’m just going to embrace this unknown. Hmmm… it’s a bit exciting not knowing what’s going to happen, like Christmas when you’re a kid. Hey is Barca really are after Mascherano, maybe we will get the Yaya that everyone put on their Christmas wish list.

Who knows?

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June 2009