• Happy New Year, sort of
Villarreal striker Nilmar…bad news. Kid is out up to 8 weeks with meniscus damage in his knee.
This should open up playing time for Jozy here in January at El Madrigal for the American.
Rumors may be swirling that someone like Carlos Vela will bridge the Nilmar shelf time, but Villarreal are hurting financially. Can’t see a purchase and only a short-term Landon Donovan-type loan makes sense.
• More tests for Holden
Coming off a fine performance against Chelsea, Stu Holden heads to Anfield this weekend to face a wounded Reds side.
Can’t help but remark, again, how Stu looked a little Scholes-y at the Bridge yesterday, albeit it with better closing down on tackles (Essien’s goal-scoring play excepted) and making better forward runs.
I said in May of this year that I could see Holden blowing up at Bolton this year and him being the apple of a big club (like Manchester United) next year. I think that timetable is aggressive, but I think the roadmap is sound.
…oh and who else didn’t like frisky Stuie shouldering Frank Lampard to the ground even after the ref whistled for offsides on the Chelsea man…outstanding…
Commentary follow-up on Holden:
Apologies, perhaps a little ornery today.
TSG trumpets Holden quite a bit. Do we feel a tad of “claim” to him, yeah sure we were beating the Holden drum a year and a half ago. So be it.
On referencing players, we’ve referenced Beckham for Holden’s free kicks and crosses (as has the Bolton faithful mind you) and now Scholes. It’s easier for an audience to grasp references to great players. If I told you that Holden has a little Gaizka Mendieta in him most on this publication probably wouldn’t have a frame of reference.
Do I think Holden is as good as those two…of course not.
On the comparisons to Scholes, first way ahead on the Dax McCarty reference. No brainer. Easy one for Scholes later in his career.
In regards to Holden, it’s myopic to think just because he’s not a spitting image of Scholes that he doesn’t offer the same effect.
Holden may not sit in the hole as much as Scholes, but he has a good feel as to when to push the action, when to switch fields and when to keep it and send it for a restart to the backline–that recognition is something that Scholes is and was very good at.
Next, a knack for a big play. I don’t know how many times just a few years ago someone would tell me the scoreline of a hard fought game for United and it would be 1-0 and 2-1. I’d ask the game winner, hear the Ginger Ninja’s name and think, “Scholes, of course.”
Holden seems to be getting close to those plays. Nailing the game winner at Blackburn and yesterday losing his mark to force a save from Peter Cech on a header.
Playing passing lanes, Holden has proved very adroit at, an area where Scholes excelled.
When I say I can see Holden fitting in nicely at United it’s because he seems like if he were to go to a top 3 or 4 club, United would be the best fit. Not Chelsea, Arsenal or Tottenchester City or who’s ever now up there.
Okay I feel better now…apologies for the outburst
• Gervinho inbound?
I’m a Gervinho fan, so that’s why this little blurb makes TSG.
Multiple reports this evening have Liverpool hot-and-heavy to land Lille striker-forward Gervinho at the tidy sum of about £11M. Note, Gervinho’s wikipedia page says the deal is done at $12.5M Euros on a four-year contract…take that with a lump of salt obviously.
Perspective for USMNT fans? If that deal does through and on the heels of Yossi Benayoun, 30-years-old and Ramires, 23, to Chelsea for £5M and £16M as well as Dembele to Fulham at £5.5M or Asamoah Gyan to Sunderland at £13.25m….I have a hard time putting Landon Donovan’s current value at more than than £8M (or currently $US 12.5M) on a Premiership move at max.
As for the move by Liverpool who looked very Leeds circa early 2000s on Wednesday, Gervinho would be an ideal player for their system given him flexibility. He could used on the flank oppositive Dirk Kuyt with Fernando Torres manning the middle or he could be used in a two-striker system with El Nino or even as a withdrawn forward. Gervinho would give Liverpool that complementary sniper that they’ve missed since the days of 5-Iron Bellamy and missed on with the acquisitions of Ryan Babel and the inconsistency and eventual sale off the aforementioned Benayoun.