2011 Transfer Time: Silly Season Is Going Down! Bottom’s Up!

Ah it’s silly season…when rumors of Wayne Rooney heading to Barcelona, Manchester City signing every player from Barcelona and AS Roma signing all the Americans run rampant.

Let's sell some papers....AND it came true!

First, stop what you’re doing. If you haven’t read our piece from last transfer season about how most US (and pretty much any nation’s) transfer rumors are really just a stupid spiral of creating clicks from your computer to some failing online newspaper, be sure to do that.

Here’s the equation again, if you don’t want to fall into our trap of clicking on one of our columns:

US (or any) Player + Newly promoted team with budget OR Team with history of employing players of same ilk as Player + Dodgy, Sensational Publication = Suspect Rumor

Keep that one in your back pocket as you hear the ridiculous rumors of Wesley Sneijder bound for City, Landon Donovan for Newcastle or RVP for Mars. (Not sure even Mars wants to deal with Van Persie’s ego….unless he’s healthy.)

Oh and by the way for all the bbbbbuzz about AS Roma picking up every American from Jermaine Jones to Jack McBean, the tally of Americans at Daniel De Rossi’s stomping grounds is precisely zilch.

So let’s kickoff our silly season coverage with the following:

• Here’s what’s gone down (over the past week)

• Here’s what’s rumored to be going down (some more incredible than others)

and…

• Here’s some hypothetical trades….if there were, you know, trades between teams and leagues.

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Shouldn't this be Cesc in this picture?

Here’s what’s gone down (over the past week)

» Stewart Downing rolls from Aston Villa down to Liverpool to join newcomers Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson

The skinny: Along with the addition of Sunderland up-and-comer Jordan Henderson and Blackpool standout (though apparently locker room villian) Charlie Adam, Liverpool’s front six (with a healthy Andy Carroll presumed) is taking on a very lethal appearance….and perhaps more importantly doesn’t need to rely on the health or wistfulness of one Steven Gerrard (might Gerrard be Fed-Ex’d somewhere shortly?).

Just yesterday, Liverpool scooped up the Revivalist Known as Stewart Downing. Once the heir apparent to David Beckham on the Three Lions, Downing went down with Middlesborough in relegation a few years, was procured by Aston Villa, proclaimed his allegiance to the club and became a mainstay on the flank for them. He’ll get the same chance at Liverpool and add width to an attack that includes carbo-burner Dirk Kuyt as well. Scary…scary as well for Joe Cole who now may need to look for work in Germany…or Turkey? … or the Red Bulls….(now that would be good rumor starting right there….)

Seems like Liverpool’s Carroll splash has done the job, no?

» Gervinho to Arsenal

The skinny: The Eduardo that Arsene Wenger never had. TSG is predicting a fantasy explosion for the Lille forward winger. With Andrei Arshavin motivated by (night)club appearances and Samir Nasri playing “He loves me; he loves me not” with Wenger and the Emirates, a solid pick-up here for the London powerhouse.

Another Riise....really?!!!

» John Arne Risse’s left boot and that’s about it inbound to Fulham from Roma

The skinny: Unfortunately this isn’t the 2002 version of Risse. It’s real nice that Risse wants to link up with his brother Bjorn (also at Craven Cottage), but if you’re trying to appeal to the wandering eye of Clint Dempsey or Brede Hangeland, there’s got to be something better up the Cottagers sleeve this month or that Michael Jackson statue is going to get vandalized by frustrated fans.

» Ashley Young once a Villian, now plays a Red Devil

The skinny: Ashley Young to Manchester United–that’s going to be a nightmare for opponents. So now United possess two capable and true wide players in Antonio Valencia and Young, either of whom can be offset or rested for Nani.

As in Nani, the 1st half MVP for United last season.

Fergie has figured out that to give life to Wayne Rooney, it’s not follicles that are needed, but license to drop deep for ball reception and linking, with acreage provided ahead of him by the off-ball movement of Chicharito. Scary. United are going be a bundle for their foils next year with a formation that’s going to look more like a 4-2-4 with a diamond at the top.

» Brad Freidel to carries a Rednapp(sack) next season.

The skinny: Hmm, stay at Villa where the management is in flux and the club is hemmoraging attackers OR….or…head to Spurs and challenge Heurelho Gomes for a starting role and the right to watch Bale’s rumbles from an excellent vantage point?

Where do I sign?

The days of playing in the snow with Robinho are over for Micah Richards

» Gael Clichy, just your everyday Citizen.

The skinny:  That sound you just heard? Either it was the thud of coin hitting Clichy’s bank account or it was Micah Richards hitting the treadmill realizing that the good ol’ days are over unless he restricts the waistline.

» Mourinho gets his man, Fabio Coentrao

The skinny: Ashley Cole’s number has just been deleted from Mourinho’s contacts. This is the year for Real Madrid if it ever will be under Ye Old Special One.

Malaga...yes Malaga...here we come!

» Malaga. Okay, who wants to join Malaga?

The skinny: Malaga has been downright insane this offseason. They’re like Manchester City’s bastard child or something.

Here’s who they’ve already rolled the dice on: Jeremy Toulalan, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Joris Mathijsen, Isco, Martin Demichelis.

There like your buddy in your fantasy league who buys on reputation…from 2004 and he may get real lucky….or not.

Next up, Lucho Gonzalez or Damien Duff? How ’bout Michael Owen?

» US national David Yelldell with a doozy of an opportunity at Leverkusen

The skinny: Okay, you make the call. More amazing? Yelldell is a solid American goalkeeper and he has hair or incoming from Duisberg Yelldell finds himself in the thick of a battle for the starting spot at the #2 team in the Bundesliga because ace keeper Rene Adler is out with knee surgery.

Yelldell, perhaps the most interesting American abroad to watch as the 2011-2012 campaign gets underway.

» Fabio Quagliarella, Andres Pirlo to Juventus

The skinny: Wedding season at Juventus as they pick up something old in midfield maestro Pirlo from Milan and something new, “Q” who should set the league on fire freed from a Napoli team that often wasn’t enough about him.

Juventus also picked up Cagliari’s Alessandro Matri and Udinese’s Simone Pepe. Wow.

» Lazio picks up a pair to play up top.

The skinny: It’s Serie A’s new version of the Odd Couple: Djbril Cisse and Miroslav Klose inbound to the bottom rung Serie A side. Anyone else feel that Klose should only be allowed to play in Germany?

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Rumormongering

Your Roma starting eleven?.....C'mon!

» The entire USMNT to join AS Roma.

The skinny: At one time or another this offseason the following USMNT names–in no order–have been apparently eyed by Roma who of course sport a new American owner: Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones, Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez, Timothy Chandler, Steve Cherundolo  and probably a handful.

Sensing a trend here as not a single one of them has signed on.

Good. Me too. (Remember that fun little equation up top?) Let’s move on.

» Luka Modric to procure Abramovich’s giraffe in a move to Chelsea

The skinny: This one’s got a little bit of bite. Modric is clearly wanted by the Blues…and he’d be an absolutely perfect fit for them. The tableclother has also put in a transfer request apparently.

Me thinks that good ol’Arry is just waiting out for a transfer figure higher than $30M.

» The entire Camp Nou for one Cesc Fabregas
The skinny: Like a needle being jabbed under my fingernail.

» Gary Cahill bolt’on to Chelsea

The skinny:  (Well first, you just skipped that fine print in the one before…right)

The Blues better pray this move doesn’t go down–though it does seem very unlikely. David Luiz just needs some seasoning and Gary Cahill partnering John Terry has Chicharito and Jermaine Defoe salivating….profusely.

» The Spurs and Real Madrid in hot pursuit of Emanuel Adebayor

The skinny: …because he brings it every game?

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Okay, enough….here’s some hypothetical–and near-impossible–trades or transfers put together by the staff at TSG. As you can see this piece has went from far-fetched to Lindsay Lohan in a real hurry.

Cesc....magical....

» (Patrick, La Liga experct) Since we aren’t constrained by reality lets set up a 3-way NBA-style swap-em and send Cesc right on over to AC Milan for Thiago Silva. Arsenal get Seydou Keita and recently-shamed young’un Jonathan Dos Santos + (e)37m for cCsc.

Why does Arsenal do this?

Boatloads of money, for one, and the elimination of a huge annual distraction. Keita will provide some steel and experience to an Arsenal midfield that could use a lot of both and Dos Santos gives Wenger a new possession toy for his midfield (and possibly a future Cesc to sell back to us, the cycle never ends!)

Why does Barcelona do this?

Pep loves players that are calm on the ball and capable of playing more than one position. Silva fits the bill perfectly, capable of pushing up into a central midfield role should it require more steel.  Besides, in a team of midgets, Silva provides another big body match up with on set pieces both for and against the Catalan side. Center defense for the next half-decade? Fagetabout

Why does AC Milan do this?

With a midfield of potential MLS DP candidates, i rossoneri could use Cesc’s youthful velvet boot to complement the old iron foot of Gattuso. Besides, with Pato and Ibrahimovic on the receiving in of Cesc’s excellent service, we may find ourselves with another treble winning team from Milan.

Overall Quality of the Trade:

Everybody wins! Even the fans who no longer have to deal with Cesc-to-Barca articles. Well, maybe Arsenal doesn’t do as well as they could, but nothing new there….

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(Did we just find a replacement for our Gonzalo Higuain Euro Dance Train video! I think we did! You know you want to click that link.)

» (Chris, Bundesliga expert) Transfer: Arturo Vidal from Bayer Leverkusen to Arsenal

Arsenal will likely be searching for a new creative midfielder as doubts of retaining both Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri linger. Their answer could be Bayer Leverkusen’s flourishing Chilean midfield maestro, Arturo Vidal. Vidal would slot perfectly in Arsenal’s central midfield next to Wilshire or Diaby, give them a creative spark in the absence of one, possibly two of their most creative players, as well as the work rate to not only to get up the pitch and reinforce the attack, but also drop and help the back four as he did so often in Leverkusen.

This move would certainly benefit Arsenal more than Leverkusen. After finishing second in the Bundesliga and qualifying for the champion’s league, Leverkusen will need a deep squad to get them through a season facing stronger European competition than their 2010/2011 Europa League campaign. Losing last season’s leading goal scorer and assists man – with 10 and 11 respectively in 33 appearances– won’t help their cause.

Leverkusen’s other central midfield options include the aging and injury prone Michael Ballack (34), captain Simon Rolfes (29), Hanno Balitisch (30), and the promising Lars Bender (22). While Rolfes has consistently proven his defensive ability in the holding midfield role, more attacking and creative responsibility would fall to Ballack and Bender; both somewhat unproven through an entire season recently in Leverkusen and often kept out of the side last season because of Vidal’s prominence. Unless Leverkusen invested in a replacement for Vidal with the funds gained from his transfer, they will have to hope for either a revival season from Ballack or a break out season from the young Bender twin. This also means more pressure would be put on their new attacking addition of Andre Schürrle and their outside midfielders Renato Augusto and Tranquillo Barnetta to make up for their newfound lack of central lethality.

Leverkusen’s Director of Football, Rudi Völler, is adamant about keeping his star midfielder, having already rejected bids from Bayern Munich, Napoli, and AC Milan. However, after Vidal revealed in April that he would love to play under his ex-coach Jupp Heynckes in Munich, there is no doubt the 23-year-old would welcome a move to a larger European Club.

Even in the case that Arsenal kept Nasri for the last year of his contract next season (Nasri joining AFC’s Asian preseason tour bolstering these hopes), Arsenal’s chances of holding off Barcelona’s attempts for Fabregas (not included in the Asian tour) look slimmer and slimmer as the transfer window progresses.

Despite Völler’s confidence of keeping Vidal, Arsenal receiving something in the area of 35 million pounds means they could easily reach the highest asking price from Leverkusen – believed to be around 15 million Euros. Added to the fact that Leverkusen has already stated they would only sell Vidal to a foreign club, Arsenal surely would be the perfect fit.

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Everything suddenly (or not so suddenly) makes sense....

» (Ryan, Not A Barcelona Fan) Carlos Tevez (Man City) to Real Madrid in exchange for Kaka.

These two clubs need to exchange South Americans. Jose Mourinho seems like the one manager in football that might be able to quell Tevez (and his agent). Tevez work-rate up top might be just the thing to disrupt Barcelona. In the crowd of attacking midfield talent at Madrid, Kaka is the odd one out. He gets a fresh start at Man City, who will hope he’ll settle better than their last Brazilian.

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» (Eric, Serie A expert) Real Madrid sends Álvaro Arbeloa, Lassana Diarra, and $10m to Arsenal for Cesc Fàbregas.

Think about that for a second.

Why From a Real Madrid Stand Point

We are aware that Cesc would like to leave North London for his home country of Spain. We are also all aware of Cesc’s undying love for Barcelona, the club he played for in his youth, and how he would like nothing more than to return to Catalonia to play with his famous footballing friends. For the past two years, the media has bombarded us with a “Will he? Won’t he?” storyline and, I think I speak for all soccer fans worldwide, frankly, it has gotten tiresome.

There are few things that delight Real Madrid as a club, and José Mourinho as a manger, more than sticking one over on their rivals. How perfect would it be Real Madrid to swoop in and not only get another quality player, but steal that player right out from Barcelona’s grasp.  While Fàbregas doesn’t fill an immediate need, this is more about sticking it to their rivals a way that is suited for the Real Madrid – Barcelona rivalry and will add more ill will to an already contentious rivalry.

Why From an Arsenal Stand Point

Arsenal must be aware that they will lose Fàbregas at some point. It’s inevitable, but why not get quality players at positions that are so obviously lacking for the Gunners. With Gaël Clichy’s move to Manchester City, and Laurent Koscielny and Sébastien Squillaci not doing a whole lot last season to prove they are truly Arsenal material, a new, veteran defender would be a welcome addition to the squad. Arbeloa’s versatility along the back line, where he can play at any position, would give the club some flexibility in terms of their lineup.  Arbeloa is also now a bit of a surplus at Madrid with the arrival of Fábio Coentrão from Benfica and a move to England would offer more playing time.

While this would be Diarra’s second go around at Arsenal after being with the club for five months from August 2007 – January 2008, this time he has more of an ability to make an impact. He finds himself down the Mourinho’s pecking order behind Sami Khedira and Xabi Alonso and could be keen on a move elsewhere. At Arsenal, he fits the role that Abou Diaby, Denilson, or Alex Song could never quite fill. Diarra brings the muscle and tackling ability that Arsenal has been lacking since the departure of Patrick Viera and Gilberto Silva.

Rate the Trade

In this imaginary trade, I give the edge to Arsenal but only slightly. They are able to get rid of a player that is only going to serve as a distraction, pick up two quality players that can step in immediately and start, and pocket some cash that the club will just sit on and not spend (zing!).  Real Madrid picks up a borderline world-class player to add to their ranks and one I think could fit in nicely with the talent already in place. Obviously, the biggest reason to pull this trade for Madrid is the ability to stick it to their Catalan rivals and sell a few shirts while they are at it.

The big winner, however, is all of us soccer fans worldwide who would be free of the Barcelona – Arsenal tug-of-war permeating every nook and cranny of our soccer world.

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Include your trade, transfer opine below. Or just throw in a three-way that’s better than a Sasha Grey photo shoot.

 

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87 responses to this post.

  1. There is no replacing the Euro-Dance-Train, but it will be nice to have two songs two rotated between now on my life-mix.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/07/15 at 9:00 AM

      Best….comment…ever!

      Reply

      • Posted by John on 2011/07/15 at 9:05 AM

        There is only one radio station that exists. Queue this up before reading euro transfers and prepare to have face melted.

        http://www.radiobumbum.net

        Reply

        • Posted by John on 2011/07/15 at 9:13 AM

          For Example: I just had a great experience of reading about Liverpool picking up Alexander Doni from Roma while listening to some kind of Euro,Pop,Emo-esque,Ballad…

          BUM BUM ENERGY…. IS GOOD FOR YOU!

          Reply

  2. Posted by EFG on 2011/07/15 at 9:56 AM

    Good riddance, Doni. You won’t be missed.

    Reply

  3. Posted by dth on 2011/07/15 at 10:05 AM

    You forgot the best move of the summer: Real acquires Sahin for, what was it, 12 million euros? Steal of the year. I have to rate Real as winning the summer…as they always do.

    Reply

    • Posted by Christopher on 2011/07/15 at 12:49 PM

      “as they always do”

      Last summer?
      they took some big hits… the 18 million bid on VDV that fell through only to sell for 8 mil to Spurs (15 goals. 9 assists..not to bad for 8 million).

      Spurs getting Gallas for no transfer fee. I’ll stop quite short though of saying the Spurs won the summer as they didn’t get a decent striker and still have several players (cough Bentley, cough Dos Santos) they can’t use and can’t sell (plus am too lazy to look back at the Real transfers of last summer…oh yeah Ozil..not too bad).

      Reply

      • Posted by dth on 2011/07/15 at 1:30 PM

        Well, I mean “as they always do” in an ironic, “Washington Redskins always win free agency” kind of a sense.

        That said, I do think Real’s moves have been quite brilliant this year.

        Reply

  4. Three thumbs up from the Euro Dance panel: Madonna, myself, and of course Gonzalo.

    Reply

  5. Posted by John Henry on 2011/07/15 at 11:38 AM

    Well, my hope and belief that Donovan would have been a great success at Liverpool is probably never going to happen with Suarez, Kuyt, and especially now Downing. Maybe the whole Everton thing always made that hugely unlikely, but the marketing savvy of John Henry (not me!) made me think it was possible. He’ll probably go Asian though for the real jersey sales (as Standard Chartered asked).

    Interesting British thing going on at LFC, hey?

    Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/07/15 at 12:09 PM

      John, there was an article in today’s The Independent about Dalglish getting an English / British spine and spirit back into the team.

      Downing is a very good player, but 20M seems a little steep. Still cannot believe nobody snapped him up when he was at Middlesboro.

      Reply

      • Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/07/15 at 1:57 PM

        Is this a US bias thing but isn’t 20M seemingly stupid money when you can Lando/Dempsey/Stu/Jones at half the price or lesss? In a non-US way isn’t Scott Parker at 10M a steal in comparison to Downing at 20M?

        Maybe I don’t watch enough EPL but I try to watch 2 or 3 games a week and I really don’t get how some teams rate players.

        Reply

        • Posted by Cory on 2011/07/17 at 9:22 AM

          I think this every time I see a player like Milner or Downing go for 20 mil pounds plus. Dempsey is every bit the player either of them are, could be had for half the price, and brings goals with him.

          Reply

      • Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/07/18 at 5:22 AM

        Downing IMO rates as a slow, one-footed David Beckham fanboy without the pizzazz. Other than that I love his game.

        Reply

  6. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/07/15 at 11:48 AM

    Surprised nobody has mentioned some of the ‘G14′ teams going after these youngsters:

    Hugo Lloris

    Mateo Kovačić: the new Luka Modric?

    Per Mertesacker

    Nilmar: can anybody afford him?

    Christian Eriksen

    Mamadou Sakho

    Erik Lamela: disclaimer: I’ve only seen him play twice, but this was the kid Barca tried to get when he was just 12!

    Yann M’Vila (most impressed by him. For some perspective for those unfamiliar, his performances for Rennes outshine Viera’s for Cannes…)

    —–

    Aaron Ramsey: getting an important pre-season in, I expect him to absolutely fly. Expect to see Rosicky and Arshavin getting severe splinters in their arse.

    Also, with Gael Clichy gone, expect to see Kieran Gibbs become Arsenal’s No.1 LB and the future England LB.

    Likewise, I expect to see Kyle Walker shine for Tottenham.

    I said before, watchout for Nathaniel Clyne and Wifred Zaha. They’re still young but getting valuable playing time, albeit, in Division Two.

    On a separate note. Do you know who Tim Chandler reminds me of? A young Kieron Dyer circa 1999. I have been racking my brain about this…

    Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/07/15 at 12:26 PM

      Erik Lamela is now Roma. Rumors that Roma intends to get Lamela American citizenship are unfounded.

      To add to the list of young players I wouldn’t be surprised to end up at a top club someday: Marco Reus of ‘gladbach. If I were Liverpool, I’d’ve gone after him instead of Downing. (Well, actually, allow me to speculate: my guess about Downing is this. My theory as to why they’re going after Downing, aged 26, and left backs like Enrique and Clichy, aged 25 and 26 IIRC, is that they believe their academy has ready-made replacements for them. So Downing/new LB get four years while Sterling and Flanagan get nurtured, and then the academy kids step in and play well. That’s my guess as to the plan.)

      Reply

      • Posted by John on 2011/07/15 at 12:32 PM

        Sterling? Raheem the MF? I’m thinking you meant Flanagan and Robinson?

        Reply

      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/07/15 at 1:31 PM

        Thanks for the update. When did he move to Roma? Who believes these silly rumours? Seriously, how do they expect to pull citizenship off?

        Yeah Reus is an exciting player. Surprised he stayed considering Monchengladback’s season. Another German that everybody is talking about Gotze. Germany seem to have plenty of youngster coming through, Ozil, Mueller, Khedeira… makes me sick!

        No Tim Ream to Europe rumours? People were waxing about him pre-GC.

        Reply

        • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/07/15 at 2:20 PM

          I think this is the second instance in this thread of someone not picking up on dth’s irony. ;)

          Reply

          • Posted by John on 2011/07/15 at 2:36 PM

            His posts are like a black fly in a chardonnay.

            Reply

            • Posted by dth on 2011/07/15 at 9:27 PM

              Ironically, none of the alleged ironies in Morisette’s song were ironic.

            • Posted by John on 2011/07/16 at 11:51 AM

              How dare you sir, next thing you know you will be telling me that Van Halen wasn’t really “Hot for Teacher”

            • Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/07/18 at 5:36 AM

              where else in the blogosphere can you get an Alanis Morrisette lyric reference as a followup to a detailed reckoning of Germany’s up and coming talent pipeline? Seriously. The rest of them ought to just close their doors.
              My nominee for the obscure (and ironic) post of the year.

        • Posted by EFG on 2011/07/15 at 2:52 PM

          I’m cautiously optimistic about Lamela. I haven’t seen him play but his price tag was pretty high for a kid. Just moved to Roma over the past few days. It also seems Argentina is calling him up for the U-20 WC so he isn’t joining the club for training until August. Does representing a nation at a youth WC tie you to that country? Did Subotic play in one for the US?

          Reply

          • Posted by dth on 2011/07/15 at 9:33 PM

            So the rules about official youth caps are kind of complicated. If you appear for an official competition for a youth team, you’re provisionally capped. If you want to switch, you can only switch to a team you were eligible for at the time you got capped.

            So let’s say Andy Najar played in a u20 qualifier for Honduras. He would’ve been permanently cap-tied to Honduras as he wasn’t eligible for any team but Honduras (well, and El Salvador I think since his grandmother was from there). Subotic played in a u17 World Cup for us, so he was tied to us and could only appear for us, Serbia and Bosnia. That foiled at least part of Subotic’s plans (he later gained German citizenship and announced he wanted to play for ze Germans.)

            Reply

        • Posted by dth on 2011/07/15 at 9:29 PM

          Re: Goetze. His own teammates compare him to Messi. Now, clearly, comparing anyone to Messi is ridiculous….but if you had to compare any player under 20 to Messi, Goetze is it. An insane player.

          Reply

      • Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/07/15 at 2:02 PM

        That would fit with the Henry/Red Sox strategy… Stars to fill holes while young players can come up. Once a young player is a star sell him unless he is a true superstar. Rinse and repeat. Foulke until Papelbon (young home grown talent) is ready, this year Papelbon will be gone (getting too expensive) and in his place will be Bard (young and cheap). Only hang onto the truly special ones long term.

        Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/07/15 at 2:35 PM

          Arsenal / Wenger have been employing this strategy for over a decade, it’s hardly a Henry / Red Sox thing. He has sold players at their peak arguing that they will depreciate in value and that he has gotten their best years out of them. Remember Overmars, Petit, Viera, Henry.

          I thinking it’s basic microeconomics and an “efficient” market at play here. If you’re desperate to plug a gap, then you’re going to pay for it, because of the inelasticity. Like DTH implies, it is all about making sure you’re never in a position to pay that desperation premium.

          Reply

          • Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/07/15 at 3:03 PM

            I apologize for claiming it was a Henry/Red Sox designed idea. Just not surprising that Liverpool is using it given the prior actions of the new owners.

            Not sure if its basic microeconomics but players in large get paid based on what they have done (with the exception of a few that get paid based on hype) not what they will do. Given this younger players tend to be a better bargin in a $ per performance metric.

            The one exception to this rule seems to be the truly great players who are probably underpaid based on their financial contribution (looking at selling seats, jerseys, etc versus Ws and goals).

            Reply

    • Posted by EFG on 2011/07/15 at 12:28 PM

      I’m cautiously optimistic about Lamela. I haven’t seen him play but his price tag was pretty high for a kid.

      Reply

  7. Posted by Crow on 2011/07/15 at 1:32 PM

    I may be mistaken and I know I am biased but why aren’t Spurs and maybe Arsenal looking at Deuce? I know Dempsey is nearing 30, but with those teams losing players, he could be a relatively cheap fix. He is skilled, can score goals, and would add some much needed grit to those two teams. Doesn’t anybody else notice this? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

    Reply

    • Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/07/15 at 2:05 PM

      Dempsey will move if he moves until much later in the transfer window. I love Dempsey but he is someone that would be a replacement for someone that left Spurs or Arsenal. You don’t get a replacement due to rumors of someone leaving. You tell the press that Nasri is staying. Once he officially leaves, you spend two or three days labeling him as a malcontent and then you make an offer for Duece.

      Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/07/15 at 2:05 PM

      Where and how would he fit in, especially given the players already there? Also, I don’t see he has the quality to improve either team.

      What about Guzan? Do you think he stays at Villa to continue being a No.2?

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/07/15 at 2:16 PM

        I think Guzan goes a Championship side. He doesn’t stay at Villa I don’t think.

        The question is…where does Specs go?

        Reply

      • Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/07/15 at 3:10 PM

        It was a bad post. That is what I get for posting at work. I wasn’t intending to speak to the fact that I think Dempsey will go to one of those teams (despite how my post read), I was trying to say that Dempsey is a second (or third) tier transfer and will be dealt with when we get to that tier. The market tends to have an order in which the biggest/hottest names go first (ie everyone chase Neymar) and once one team gets him then teams re-arrange their shopping lists and those that missed out on Neymar look at the next best player of their list.

        As for the quality comment. I don’t think Dempsey can be the same force at Spurs as he was at Fulham (single handedly winning numerous games) but he can be a very solid contributor to a team competing for a CL spot. Admittedly very biased but I would take Clint over Charlie Adams in a heartbeat.

        Reply

        • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/15 at 3:41 PM

          Charlie Adam is 25 and a central midfielder. Clint is a couple of years older and plays a different role.

          They should not really be compared.

          Adam was bought by Liverpool as part of an effort to bring depth to the effort to re-organize their midfield. In that sense he was bought to shore up the spine of that team.

          At this point in his career, Clint hasn’t been played centrally for an extended period and, at his age, it’s a bit of a risk to see if he can do it well enough for some big team.

          If he does get sold for big money, it will be to a team that wants him to do for them what he does for Fulham.

          Reply

          • Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/07/15 at 4:06 PM

            At 25 Charlie Adams is not that young. Yes he has a number of years ahead of him but he is unlikely to have any type of resale value. The only step up from Liverpool is a Chelsea/Man U/Man City/Barca/Real type squad and I don’t think any of them are looking to splash out major cash for a 27/28 CM. Charlie Adams next move is likely to be a Danny Murphy to Fulham type deal.

            I 100% agree that they play a different role and I am not suggesting that someone will pay Dempsey to become a CM, I just don’t get the idea that Charlie Adams is worth 20M to Pool yet Dempsey isn’t worth 10M to a Spurs, Arsenal level team.

            Stu would have been the better comparable to Charlie Adams if healthy. I don’t rate Charlie Adams that highly. If you told me a healthy Stu was going to Pool for 15M I would have called you a world class homer. Pre-injury Charlie Adams was having a comparable season (if not worse) than Stu.

            Reply

            • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/15 at 8:43 PM

              In 87 games for Blackpool, Charlie Adam has 28 goals.

              In 28 games for Bolton, Holden has 2 goals.

              Holden has never had a scoring rate comparable to Adam no matter where he has played.

              Different players, different roles. Goals being so important, other than Americans, you probably wouldn’t get too many people who would pay you more for Holden than Adam.

              Also where did you get 20 million?

              Liverpool paid 7 Million pounds (11.3 million dollars) for Adam. That’s about 11.3 million dollars.

            • Posted by Johninho on 2011/07/18 at 6:15 AM

              Adam (no s) carried Blackpool, and they almost survived. Imagine him playing for a side that isn’t under relegation pressure.

              Holden doesn’t have that body of work. I like him, too, but Liverpool wouldn’t ever look to a guy like that as a solution on the opposite wing of Dirk, There are a couple whole tiers of ability (and money) between Holden and whoever eventually plays that side for Liverpool.

            • Posted by dth on 2011/07/18 at 7:13 AM

              I do think Holden and Adam are about equal. Holden is a more consistent passer, but Adam can create chances with his beautiful diagonal balls and set pieces. Both are basically one-season wonders at this point, though Adam has sustained dramatically fewer injuries than Holden has.

              I suspect the injuries and the fact that Adam can play a different role are what attracted Liverpool to him. (After all, if Liverpool wants consistent, metronomic passing…they’ve got Lucas Leiva and Jordan Henderson.)

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/07/15 at 2:15 PM

      I don’t think Fulham parts with Dempsey cheaply and–if you look at the Donovan stuff from last year–teams are buying young more and more these days.

      It doesn’t help that Dempsey’s near 30 and not a Brit.

      Can’t see Arsenal — they always buy young winger/forwards taking a stab at him.

      Tottenham really has VDV in that role and needs more of a striker. I think that’s why you’re hearing fringe CL clubs in rumors at least.

      Reply

      • Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/07/15 at 3:13 PM

        I hope your right but I am not sure that Fulham won’t sell for 10M or so.

        As for the age thing I think the age and not being a Brit eliminates any top half of the table team that doesn’t think they have a CL shot. Those CL teams need to win this year and are hoping not to have to miss out on that pot of gold because a player is too green (Sturbridge for Chelsea/Bolton last year)

        Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/07/15 at 11:20 PM

          I do not think not being British has anything to do with it. It’s all about quality. Let’s be brutally honest here. As much as you Americans don’t want to hear this, Dempsey is a slightly above average EPL player. That is not a cuss on Dempsey, but a statement regarding the competitionhe faces in this league. So the question is: why would a top team pay [top dollar] for an almost 30-year-old who is not going to improve their squad or help the home grown rule?

          Reply

          • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/07/16 at 5:06 AM

            It seems that being a Brit whether its because of the homegrown player rules or just marketing gets you a significant extra bit in the transfer market.

            Reply

          • Posted by Crow on 2011/07/17 at 1:44 PM

            Dempsey is more than just a bit above average EPL player. He scored 12 goals generally from a midfield position. He might not be one of the top 5 or top 10 players in the league, but he isn’t too far off.

            Reply

      • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/15 at 3:54 PM

        Ferguson and Wenger have always developed their own or bought young. The difference between the two is SAF will occasionally spend big for an older (Berbatov, at 27-28) player while it seems Wenger never does.

        In European terms, at 28 Dempsey is about as valuable as he is going to get, unless he does something really exceptional in the next year or two. So if he is going somewhere for a big money deal, now would be a good time.

        However, I don’t see Fulham having a lot of incentive to sell unless they get stupid money thrown at them. Of course he cost Fulham a mere 2 million pounds, which is chicken feed by today’s standards. But can they replace his production for less money (seems unlikely)?

        The real question is what does Jol think of Clint?

        Reply

        • Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/07/15 at 4:11 PM

          I will start this by saying that I have been a Fulham fan since the days of Boca and McBride…

          To me the question is what are Fulham’s ambitions. Without Dempsey they can probably be a mid table (8-15) team that really isn’t too worried about dropping. With Dempsey they are probably not that much better (maybe 7-12). I don’t see them breaking the top 6 with 7th being their best outcome (although I did put $5 on them to win the EPL in Vegas at 2,500-1, got to love being a fan).

          Does Fulham decide that they end up in the same place but with 10M more by selling Dempsey?

          Reply

          • Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/07/15 at 4:16 PM

            A lot of Dempsey’s heroics last year were in part due to injury (Zamora/Dembele/AJ their three strikers were all hurt for long stretches – at the same time). Fulham has a decent but aging core.

            Reply

          • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/15 at 8:49 PM

            I don’t see Fulham getting 10 million pounds for Dempsey.

            Liverpool paid (some say overpaid) 7 Million pounds for Charlie Adam who had 13 goals for a team not as good as Fulham and who is a few years younger.

            But then again, the market changes daily as transfer targets get taken off the market.

            Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/07/15 at 11:28 PM

          Martin: when has Sir Alex brought through a player since the “Class of 1992?” The players outside that team have been bit part players at best. Sir Alex how this reputation, but he really does hurt the balance sheet, Ronaldo withstanding.

          Wenger has gone the youth route through financial necessity originally, then through ego and stubborness.

          Reply

    • Posted by Crow on 2011/07/15 at 2:24 PM

      I guess I’m assuming if Fabregas, Nasri, and other players who are rumoured to leave, do in fact leave. I’m sorry but you saw how many goals he scored with Fulham last year. He certainly has the quality to play for Spurs and Arsenal. I think he could help either of these teams in scoring, and he would bring some much needed passion and grit.

      As for Guzan, he just doesn’t seem consistent enough to contribute in the EPL. And personally, starting somewhere (Championship, etc.) would be better for him than still being a No.2

      Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/07/15 at 9:42 PM

      Besides the age issue, the main issue is that Clint is too weird a player for a top club. He’s very unconventional, and so a team can’t just buy him to fill a role. Is Dempsey better than Stuart Downing? I think so. But Downing fits a particular role perfectly. Dempsey is an unconventional player who doesn’t fit a role perfectly, which means the team purchasing him would have to build around him or at least adapt to him. But he’s not quite THAT good. So there’s a problem there.

      Reply

      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/07/15 at 11:35 PM

        DTH: you must be smoking the funky stuff if you’d rather have Dempsey over Downing.

        As for grit, Crow, Arsenal were found wanting defensively [only Man Utd scored more goals last year]. Check the table / stats.

        Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/07/16 at 8:24 AM

          Two different players–but if they were closer in age I would say Dempsey wins in a landslide.

          Downing has been completely up-and-down over the last few seasons and it’s not sure if he’s reached his ceiling or not. He has a hard time breaking down players if he’s not receiving the ball in stride or the defense is set–opposite for Dempsey.

          An important thing to remember is with the homegrown rule, young British attackers are–rightfully–highly valued within the system.

          Now with Dempsey’s age….I think Downing is the better pick-up for a club like Liverpool who still have Gerrard in the middle and Suarez dropping to the flank or back for reception.

          Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/07/16 at 9:55 AM

          Actually, I stand corrected — I thought Downing was younger. He’s 26, Dempsey 28.

          On an apples to apples basis Dempsey is clearly the better pick-up.

          However for Liverpool, trying to “be English” and with the homegrown rule there is a premium.

          A club outside the Prem would be much wiser to go after Dempsey.

          Remember, it was about this time last year where Downing was being mentioned in the same vain as David Bentley (another “heir apparent” to David Beckham”) — he hasn’t scored double digit in goals since 2006-2007.

          Reply

      • Posted by Steve Trittschuh on 2011/07/16 at 9:40 AM

        Since when is scoring 12 goals in the EPL for a fringe, small-club like Fulham, in a mostly midfield role, “not THAT good?”

        I think he is that good. All this talk about him slowing down because of his age is nonsense. Bigger clubs in Europe would be stupid not to make an offer on Dempsey.

        Reply

  8. Posted by Paula on 2011/07/15 at 6:44 PM

    Speaking of rumors … I notice a wide berth being given to the Canales piece on SI on various twitters and blogs. I would have thought this article would have generated more commentary given that there seems to be a large contingent of USA fans who agree with Eric Wynalda that Michael Bradley should not have his starting place.

    Pourquoi?

    Reply

    • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/07/15 at 7:57 PM

      While this incident is news to me the article basically rehashes things that have been covered on this and other sites to the death.

      Jr. Bradley is starting despite not playing for his club team, Sr. Bradley has always stressed the need to play for your club team, Jr. Bradley has a temper, US not doing well causes more negative media attention, Jr. Bradley is not playing as well at this time as his potential, Wynalda stirring the pot, potential nepotism because his father is the coach….

      Reply

      • Posted by Paula on 2011/07/15 at 8:39 PM

        Well, the news would be less about the angle of the piece than some of the suggestions made by Canales and Wynalda in re US Soccer: that a bad atmosphere within the team as a whole — caused by the Bradleys — is being deliberately neglected by the coaching staff and the federation and is causing the run of bad matches. I dunno, but to me the implication goes somewhat beyond “Michael should not be starting”.

        But yes, Wynalda could also just be stirring the pot, but isn’t Canales supposed to be a good journalist?

        Reply

    • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/15 at 9:10 PM

      Nothing new there. Yesterday’s news.

      Most of the conclusions Canales came to could are pretty obvious.

      Any of the contributors to TSG could have written the article, absent the Wynalda access. It is well known that Bradley is a hard task master so he probably isn’t a warm and fuzzy for most of the players. M Bradley, a borderline psycho? No kidding?

      And in international football, if you want to play for the US, BB is the only game in town. So love it or leave it.

      And why shouldn’t Bornstein be gracious? He is getting opportunities his talent does not seem to warrant. The dude is lucky.

      As for what is going on in the locker room, that is speculation on the part of Wynalda, an outsider; so until someone truly on the inside, for example an ex- USMNT player who will probably never play again anyway ( Ching? Casey? Hejduk?) we have no facts.

      Reply

      • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/07/16 at 5:19 AM

        There is one piece of this story that I find dubious… and that is the timing. Why now? Its been quite a while since this incident and by the sounds of things this was pretty public and no one really denied it occurring. So its not like it took three weeks to verify/research the story. Why did this not come out a day or two after the Gold Cup?

        Has Gulati said anything yet? There was the weird quote in the Times that was then backed off of but…

        Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/07/15 at 9:38 PM

      I think the actual story is uninteresting. SHOCKINGLY, athletes sometimes get angry at journalists/commentators. No way! Never happens.

      The fact that someone leaked it, however, is highly interesting. Between this and the unsourced report that the US players were “miserable,” I think it’s pretty clear someone on the inside of US Soccer is unhappy with Bob Bradley’s continued existence at the helm of the team.

      Reply

      • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/15 at 10:30 PM

        I’m surprised it took this long.

        Bradley hurts mostly himself by being so closed mouth and guarded. Since he never explains anything that forces everyone to speculate and speculation can be accurate or more often wildly off base.

        The USSF should have hired a media and image consultant and taken them seriously a million years ago.

        Contrast that with Klinsmann, a PR dream. The Germans long ago figured out his limitations and got over him. Americans, not as savvy, are dazzled by his articulate and charming ways. If he had a daughter I bet he could get away with playing her on the USMNT, so strong is his saviour status with US fans.

        Now that there seems to be a malcontent within the ranks (and it might not be a player) if it becomes a bigger deal Bradley is ill equipped to smooth out a potential media hit.

        Maybe this means the USMNT has finally hit the big time. Many of the best teams have their share of internal squabbles

        Holland should have won a few World Cups by now but it is hard to score goals when you are busy stabbing each other in the back. Even Spain had their little overblown Real-Barca tiff. With the US I can only think of the Harkes-Wynalda business and we did not know about the real reasons behind it until much later.

        Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/07/15 at 11:41 PM

          The whole General Franco dictatorial era was more than just a “Real-Barca tiff”. What’s wrong with you?!

          Reply

          • Posted by EFG on 2011/07/16 at 4:49 AM

            I think he means the current Real-Barca row. That’s how I read it anyway.

            Reply

          • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/16 at 7:21 AM

            George,

            You are going back in history a little too far in terms of what I am referring to.

            Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead. I’m not denying that the effects of his legacy lasted past his death but I’m referring to them in the more or less modern era.

            Until Aragones adapted to the Barca style after the 2006 World Cup and won Euro 2008, Spain were always considered talented but “soft” and unfocused. And of course, the rest is history.

            Reply

      • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/07/16 at 12:25 AM

        I think it’s pretty clear someone on the inside of US Soccer is unhappy with Bob Bradley’s continued existence at the helm of the team.

        Well, US Soccer encompasses a lot of people, so it would be pretty surprising if no one was unhappy with Bradley. I’m very skeptical that there’s someone going around planting stories in order to sow discord, however.

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but the “players are miserable” quote came from one opinion column in an obscure newspaper (not the place to plant it if you want word to get out), and was attributed to “someone close to the team”. There’s no indication of that person’s position (if any) in US soccer or any context for the quote. In fact, there’s not much of a reason to believe it wasn’t fabricated.

        We can assume the SI story went down as told, since they have Wynalda’s confirmation on the record. However, it’s attributed to a “witness” at the team’s hotel, who could have easily been an outsider (camera crew, hotel staff, etc.).

        Reply

        • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/16 at 7:32 AM

          Wynalda confirmed Canale’s reporting. MB blows up and yells at Wynalda, Wynalda fires back and says something most of you have already posted. Everyone gets all excited and then calms down. No one involved seems to be issuing denials. No one is hit; Michael isn’t sleeping with Eric’s wife(as far as we know).

          I believe the British refer to this as handbags.

          I believe we refer to this as no big deal.

          Reply

        • Posted by dth on 2011/07/16 at 10:13 AM

          Yeah, it wouldn’t be surprising if there was more than a few someones unhappy with Bradley from the very beginning. But think of it this way: those someones either weren’t leaking or journalists weren’t picking up the story before now?

          Let’s contrast the current difficulties with the difficulties in the 2009 Confederations Cup. Did you hear these kind of stories? Not really. You mostly read the patronizing “We’re not that good, you loudmouth ingrates” opinion pieces from journalists. You’re still reading those stories today (and it’s much less true now than then), but now you have at least a couple leaked stories indicating some discontent. These kind of stories only start to get play in a teetering regime–that’s when everyone senses it’s OK to start attacking the main players.

          Reply

          • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/07/16 at 10:23 AM

            I think that’s a pretty broad interpretation. You had the Michael Bradley blow-up with Alexi Lalas at the 2009 Confederation’s Cup.

            The story sells papers–biggest issue? Once again the coach’s son didn’t get disciplined or no comment was made.

            Reply

            • Posted by dth on 2011/07/16 at 10:36 AM

              Well, I think it’s useful to distinguish between accusations of “this team is bad” and accusations that the actual environment is bad. The earlier one is incompetence; the second one is a scandal.

              Most people were saying in 2009 that the team was bad but the talent was at fault.

              2011 seems to be considerably different–both the “miserable” story and the Bradley-Wynalda tiff allege some sort of scandal, and have an air of internal gossip that we didn’t hear in 2009.

              Put it this way. Everyone seems to have forgotten Bradley’s missing the final because of his unforgivably stupid harassment of the refs–in a game he won! That would never have been ignored in 2011.

            • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/16 at 10:57 AM

              Maybe they slapped him down in private. What would you discipline MB for? Arguing with Wynalda,a fairly contentious character in his own right? I regret that it wasn’t Harkes that MB tangled with. That could have been very interesting.

              Do you think this cavalier treatment of MB will lead to a wave of USMNT players suddenly venting their true feelings?

              MB has a long well documented history of tenuous impulse control.

              The precedent was already set. Like all teams, all the players are treated equally in a different manner.

              If they did not discipline the prissy Donovan for saying what amounts to “I don’t care if they fire BB or not”(after being benched during the Gold Cup),then why would they discipline MB for defending his dad and the team?

              Someone spoke of the timing of this story and why it didn’t come out right after the World Cup. It seems our mainstream sports media has only so much room for soccer stories and right now the USWNT is taking up all that oxygen.

              Losing and not meeting expectations, as it always does, leads to dissension. In a media used to teams such as the Yankees and the Lakers this amounts to a flea on the ass of an elephant.

            • Posted by dth on 2011/07/16 at 11:14 AM

              Like I said originally, I don’t really care about the story. Bradley shouldn’t’ve done it, but it’s not a huge scandal. This kind of stuff happens to journalists all of the time.

              The fact that it’s being reported, now, is actually quite interesting. Leakers don’t leak and journalists don’t write these kind of stories unless they perceive the underlying structure of whatever entity they’re attacking–whether it’s a sports team or the White House–as rotting. Since journalists and leakers typically know the most about the organization in question, these kinds of stories are interesting automatically.

            • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/07/16 at 12:24 PM

              I think you’ve correctly highlighted an unfortunate tendency in US journalism – the desire to buddy up to the strong, and only “speak truth to power” when the power is crumbling. But it’s not a hard and fast rule, and I’m not sure how much it applies to sports journalism. And if we discount the “players are miserable” quote – as I believe we should – we’re really just left with a single incident. There’s not exactly an inexorable trend here.

              By the way, MB didn’t miss the final of the Confed Cup because of the confrontation with Larrionda. He was sent off with a straight red late in the semifinal on a play that was probably borderline between an ordinary foul and a no-call. He ended up with an extra three games tacked on to the automatic suspension for the card, but he served those during the ’09 Gold Cup in which he wouldn’t have played anyway. Yeah, he shouldn’t have gone after the ref, but the guy had just denied him the opportunity to play in a FIFA tourney final on a total BS call. It’s a pretty understandable reaction. (Hell, if I were ever in the same room as Larrionda, I’d probably have a pretty hard time refraining from punching him in the face.)

  9. Posted by Antonio H. on 2011/07/15 at 7:50 PM

    Colin Kazim Richards to Villa…

    Reply

  10. Posted by EFG on 2011/07/15 at 10:11 PM

    Let me add to this, since I am obligated to comment on anything Roma-related here on TSG (since most of it is my doing) that Riise was a pleasure to see in the Roma shirt and will he missed. While his defense leaves a bit to be desired, he worked week in and week out for the shirt and truly endeared himself to the Roma tifosi (some of the most difficult to please). He also had a great piece on his blog after he got sold thanking the city and fans for his time in Rome and how he’ll always consider himself a Roma player and will continue to follow the club…which is rather refreshing to see in today’s game. I feel like I speak for all Roma fans when I say thank you John and we will miss seeing you wear short sleeves while everyone else is wearing snoods.

    Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/07/15 at 11:45 PM

      I must admit, I have never heard the use of “tifosi’ outside of F1.

      Reply

      • Posted by EFG on 2011/07/16 at 4:45 AM

        Is it used outside of the Ferrari team? Can’t say I watch F1 but I know that Ferrari has a team.

        Reply

    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/07/18 at 5:59 AM

      We were in Rome last yr and watched a few games with family who are rabid Roma fans. I was surprised to find that they absolutely loved his game. Of course anyone in defense not named Burdiso is a favorite.

      Reply

  11. Posted by Ufficio on 2011/07/16 at 1:17 PM

    I’m feeling very good about my decision to turn off that Copa America snoozefest and put on the SEA-COL game.

    Reply

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