• Champs League:
Mo Edu and Jermaine Jones cut the grass in Champion’s League action today.
Edu and ‘Gers take on Mata and Valencia who have been on form all season.
Jones and Schalke host Hapoel Tel Aviv. The only recognizable name for on Tel Aviv is former Espanyol and Portsmouth man Ben Sahar. Sorry folks.
Both are listed as starters.
• Niggling for Houllier:
Shaun sent me this text on Saturday after we both watched Villa draw Chelsea: “I still wish the US had courted Houiller. That was an all around top performance from Villa and they should have won it!”
Couldn’t agree more. FIFA technical review from Houllier aside, let’s just saw the Frenchmen should have been at least an option for USSF. At least he’ll coach three Americans this season.
• It’s Spin City over at Old Trafford today.
Let me start by posing this question? If Wayne Rooney’s decision to move on was really exclusively about “ambition” as his statement today illuminated and about the “lack of ambition” of the Manchester United board and ownership than:
(a) Why did he pledge his support to Manchester United in March after two windows where the team didn’t outlay any cash from the Ronaldo sale?
(b) Assuming Rooney is speaking merely to developments this year–a, than he must be talking about developments in this transfer window, no?
Well take a look around Wayne, no one really spent this August. At least United secured Javier Hernandez, Bebe, and Chris Smalling. Beyond Manchester City, the other top four from last year didn’t splash the cash.
Arsenal brought in Chamakh, but that was on a free. There only other acquisition of merit was Sebastien Squillaci. Nice, but not thrilling.
Chelsea may have brought in Ramires and Benyaoun, but they also saw Deco, Joe Cole, Michael Ballack, Ricardo Carvalho see their way out of Stamford Bridge.
Tottenham got Van Der Vaart last minute on the cheap and their “big one” was none other than the spry youngster who is William Gallas.
First here’s Rooney’s statement today:
“I was interested to hear what Sir Alex had to say yesterday and surprised by some of it. It is absolutely true that my agent and I have had meetings with the club about a new contract. During those meetings in August, I asked for assurances about the continued ability for the club to attract the top players in the world. I never had anything but complete respect for Manchester United. How could I not have done given it’s fantastic history and the past 6 years I’ve been a part of.
For me it’s always about wining trophies which the club has always done under Sir Alex Ferguson. Because of that the questions I asked were justified. However, when I met with David Gill last week, he didn’t give me any assurances I was seeking about the future squad. I then told him I wouldn’t be signing a new contract.
Despite recent difficulties, I will always owe Sir Alex Ferguson a huge debt. He is a great manager and mentor who helped and supported me from the day he signed me from Evertonwhen I was just 18. For Manchester United’s sake I wish he could go on forever because he is a one-off and a genius.”
Given that Rooney has not been playing, that Sir Alex Ferguson–who has been playing silent with the media across the board this year–just yesterday felt compelled to discuss Rooney’s injuries including being stretchered off the field instead of something in the vain of “Rooney is re-evaluating his relationship with the club,” today’s comments by Rooney smack of damage control.
They have everything to do with frustrations at his own performance, frustration and not playing and–as we wrote yesterday–a keenly navigated way for Manchester United and Ferguson to get top dollar for a star they don’t want to continue to bank on (excuse the pun).
Hence Rooney chalking up his desire to play for as big a club elsewhere (read: one that can actually afford him) and the new challenges that come with it.
Lest I turn my head at Manchester United ownership, this week’s development and last week’s Liverpool fiasco certainly have the vice turned on the owners from Florida. Get ready for Liverpool II developing at Old Trafford…unless this situation, against the odds, can come out smelling like roses.
Right now, the Glazers are losing every which way.
• Is the sentimental favorite enough? I now think so…
Had some discussion with various folks yesterday regarding the Landon Donovan buzz and “potential” funds earmarked for Everton as part of Wayne Rooney’s sale from the Toffees to the Red Devils. The clause is that Everton gets 25% of any forthcoming sale of it’s former academy player Rooney over the value ($27M) that United paid for him at the time.
Two buggy-before-the-horse points first:
• Rooney can’t get dealt until January and may not get dealt in that window.
Say Rooney is dealt at the earliest though, it probably takes most of the January window make and finalize that deal. I have a hard time seeing Everton purchase in advance or on the assumption that a Rooney sale will go through.
Meaning? Everton’s not looking at usable dollars until next summer.
• Any Rooney deal could be a player swap that would mute a recuperation of fees by Everton. Any sale–and this was a bone of negotiation when Ronaldo moved, will likely, because of the high price of the fee, include negotiation on payment delivery and perhaps negotiation with Everton and/or a refactoring of that sell-on clause to make a deal work.
The Rooney contract situation is explained well here.
So just safe to say, Everton’s haul is this one is something, but it’s not guaranteed or clear what it is.
Now on how that impacts Everton and potential, again, for procuring the services of Landon Donovan who signaled his love for Everton again yesterday.
My original cents?
My comments yesterday were that this is money better spent elsewhere. It’s no question that having Landon as a counterattacking, width-creating forward conduit to the attack is precisely what Everton needs.
However, as I pointed out yesterday, MLS is likely looking at a premium of fair value and Landon is moving passed the peak of his career and, as we know, he’s not Brit Isles home grown player. The Toffees have a big part of the core of their team as upcoming prospects who make up their max list of non-HG players.
In fact, the Toffees non-HG stable of players may become a little bit of an issue going forward, as nearly 65% of them are at or beyond the peak of their careers and probably can commend pennies on the dollars that were used to bring them in.
So, for what likely is now–thanks Rafael Van Der Vaart–a transfer fee no greater than 10M (Van Der Vaart was $8M) in my opinion, the Toffees could buy a much younger winger or home grown player with similar value.
Players that present better options, business-wise, for the club are: Better off buying an Matt Etherington, Stoke City(Brit), Gervinho (a stretch?, 23-years-old plays for Lille), Vladimir Weiss (on loan from Man City to Rangers, 20-years-old) or Roy Beerens (Sportclub Heerenveen, Eredivisie, 22-year-old winger) to name a few.
Any of those players would likely cost have half of what Donovan does and do an acceptably similar job. Then there is another $5 – $10 surplus or another purchase.
Basically solely on the business principles, Donovan is a pass for the Toffees.
That said, for a team like Everton, who frankly could use more identity than just Tim Cahill and a little bit of Phil Neville and Leighton Baines, there is something to be said for bringing in a charismatic, attacking player who actually wants to be there.
Also, there is the potential to recoup Donovan’s investment via jersey sales. As a comparison, Thierry Henry has brought in almost $4M in revenues through about 50,000 jerseys sales. The breakdown of profit to MLS or EPL and their clubs I need to research.
Therefore, in my opinion, Donovan, even at his age and price, might represent a solid risk purchase for Everton though it’s hard to argue there aren’t better and simpler options.