First, you know it’s a slow summer when ESPN is leading each newscast with an update on Albert Haynesworth’s conditioning. “It’s Day 5 of camp here in Somewhere East Coast Seaboard, and Fat Al has just consumed some Frosted Mini-Wheats and is spending five minutes on “Level 4″ on the stationary bike.”
Anywho, Shaun and I spoke last night and it went something like this:
Matthew: “You’ve got any pieces coming up? I’m working on some longer term things.”
Shaun: “Well, I could write a piece, but you’d rip it apart for not being qualitative or deep enough. There is nothing going on in the transfer market right now, and we’re kind of in the dead zone of the soccer year.”
Matthew: “Well, maybe just write something on Liverpool anyway so I can have fun ripping it apart.”
Shaun: “Nice try.”
Let’s start off with some quick forum discussion points for today with “decoding transfer talk” and Liverpool:
• This Week’s Decoding Transfer Talk
» Mark Hughes takes the reins at Fulham and issues the following statement on his transfer planning: “Some of the players may be out of our scope in terms of money and wages, but we’re actively looking at bringing in better quality than what we already have here.”
Translation: “I may not get a deal done before the beginning of the season for an attacker unless Craig Bellamy’s asking price from Man City comes down. Please be patient, I know we need more offense.”
» Fernando Torres pledges his love and his abilities to Liverpool with this statement: “This is the best club in the country so the targets and expectations are always high. At Liverpool the aim is to fight for every title. It was difficult last season, but we are sure we can improve this season.”
Translation: “I’ll give Hodgson a shot. I expect to be playing for a title this year after last year when we didn’t show up for it. Liverpool has told me they can’t sell me for a cut-rate price, and that I need to make it seem like there is zero chance that I want to move to drive a decent offer. This Joe Cole guy better be good.”
» Kanu (remember him?) on his request to stay at Portsmouth: “I’m keen to stay with Pompey despite their relegation from the Premier League.”
Translation: “I’m 34 years old, I have a family, and really–where am I going to play where I still have brand equity and don’t have to fight for a spot at the same dollar amount? Sign me up Portsmouth! I’m one less problem. I’ll be a good soldier.”
• West Ham are rumored to be just a stride away from closing an $8M deal for Everton striker and Nigerian international Yakubu. There go a bunch more Lanverton rumors (good to have that nickname back, no?).
And continuing on the Mikel Arteta-to-Barca-if-no-Cesc rumors. Those sentiments have been floating for awhile. Hard to see a team like Barca with aging high quality midfielders, taking on a 28-year-old with a history of his own maladies. Arteta at Arsenal is a good stop-gap fit if Cesc goes Catalan.
Everton with a Yakubu and Arteta sale then has some bank to work with, but will they spend it on a 28-year-old who likely is overpriced due to his MLS golden boy status?
(I would love the answer to be “yes” to make this transfer window more exciting, but…)
• More on Mr. Gatorade…
A revealing write-up on Landon Donovan’s market value through the eyes of his agent Richard Motzkin.
• There continues to be media reports out of both Germany and Turkey of a $5M move for Michael Bradley to Turkey’s Galatasaray. I don’t believe them and neither should you.
Bradley recently got elected to Bo’Munchen’s player leadership council and I can’t see Bradley taking his game down a few leagues.
Plus the same publications that are reporting a potential move all have Michael Bradley starting in the middle with Thorben Marx come the season opener. Ironic.
• I wanted to write an in-depth column on Don Garber and review his tenure in the wake of his 4 year extension by MLS. I’ll need some time on that, but in the meantime here’s an excellent piece by Pitch Invasion’s Tom Dunamore on Garber’s reign and the challenges within.
• As I wrote in the comments for an earlier piece, it will be very interesting to see another team in NY, especially a team with the brand of the Cosmos.
As TSG community member GeorgeCross rightfully points out, Red Bull Arena has not been near full capacity for most of the team’s home games this season.
I think the real challenge there is transportation management.
Despite the PATH train from NY, you’re asking city dwellers east of the bifurcation line that is 5th Ave to take a crosstown bus, then a subway, finally followed by the PATH to get a game at Red Bull Arena. At rush hour, that’s cutting it mighty close for the evening Red Bull games.
I’m wondering–and I’ll look into it–if the Cosmos will play at Icahn Stadium which they used to fill up in the heyday.
The stadium sits on Randall’s Island which is technically in the Bronx, but it’s accessible by the entire East Side of Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn (for those Gothamites reading this: is Staten Island accessible to anything?), and Long Island.
The negative is that the stadium seats only 5,000 right now.
Therefore, I think the New York metropolitan area might be able to successfully house two teams and, frankly, I would be more worried about NYRB attendance.
• Shh…are you an MLS fan…have you seen the “newish” (3 weeks old) ESPN homepage?
If you’re a religious ESPN.com reader (or even just a passerby) you’ve likely noticed the new navigation on the top of ESPN.com. If you choose to select news by a category, the far right on the nav bar reads “Soccer”–only now “Soccer” is broken up into two categories: “U.S.” & “Global.”
This is not only for ease of finding the soccer home page (note: if you’re an avid follower of soccer on ESPN you may bookmark the page), no this is also a marketing/product test to see if the average ESPN fan is interested–predominantly–in soccer stateside or football elsewhere. ESPN will record the unique clicks over a set amount of time and have its answers…
…so if you’re an MLS fan and want to help the league, just keep clicking on the “U.S.” link up there (well, click, clear cache, close browser, repeat), and get your friends to do the same.