A little light this week. Lots going on at the TSG Hall of Justice. That’s a good thing.
• Arsenal: Poor fantasy trading?
The skinny: Well, how did you think they made out. Let’s put it this way. If I told you at the beginning of, say, June that Arsenal would add Per Mertesacker, Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun, you would would probably say the London club was prepping for a run for the top of the table–adding in bit parts to around a core of Wilshere, Nasri, and Cesc.
You see where I’m going.
Many will point to Arsenal “not having a plan” this offseason. More questions, first, I think should be asked about their executives rather than Arsene Wenger, for the most part. Just how much do they have to spend? Has Stan Kroenke tightened the reins a bit? Or are they just prepping for a run next year when Wilshere, Frimpong and the rest of the youngsters will have a little bit of experience under their belt.
Beyond that though, hard to argue this transfer season wasn’t at least poorly played. Arsenal looked to secure players from the worst possible leverage point, flush with cash from the sale of Nasri and Cesc and when they certainly were in need of at least some quality depth. Benayoun was a blessing from Chelsea who didn’t need him and Everton battling a credit crunch was the only way Arteta was getting over there by the end of day yesterday.
A massive bid for arguably the most talented youngster on the planet in Mario Goetze didn’t come to fruition.
• Chicken dinner to Fulham
The skinny: In short, Bryan Ruiz–arguably a player in better form than Mikel Arteta–for $12M Euros was a heist. (Note: Greg Seltzer with the correction on the price paid for Ruiz. Thanks Greg.)
Many though that a Ruiz purchase might be a conduction bump to Clint Dempsey moving out of town, but in reality the small sum paid for the talent of Ruiz (as 26 still available to be sold one more time before his peak) is just bit insurance to Fulham avoiding relegation and–should an injury befell any of their attackers–to not being taken to the cleaners in the January window.
Oh, and, as we noted on Twitter, have to believe Clint Dempsey to Arsenal was nothing more than a fabrication at all times. Only one dodgy publication had it and here’s the thing: Dempsey is a worth a premium to his value to Fulham.
Given his age, US passport and Fulham’s aforementioned attacker shortage, a team would have to come in with a massive transfer fee for Dempsey. And, as you saw yesterday, those fees were barely being brandished at players five years junior to the American. C’mon.
• A set of golf clubs lands at Anfield
The skinny: Perhaps the most important signing yesterday was Liverpool dropping what could a cherry in Craig Bellamy on the colossal sundae they just scooped together over the past year.
Liverpool signaled intent–which is all it had to do–with their bank-breaking acquisition of Andy Carroll earlier in the year.
They added Luis Suarez who looks to be this decades Didier Drogba of the Premiership and heft in the midfield with Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson.
All they needed was some pace opposite Stewart Downing or Dirk Kuyt. Bellamy tiptoes the touchline on daring runs like no other, if his head is straight. Massive move , if his head is straight.
The skinny: Am told that no bid was put in for Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey or any other American as Roma. Either the front office there is testing the acceptance waters or something fishy is affront in the media world.
• Dos Diegos
The skinny: Forlan our and Ribas da Cunha in–or just “Diego”–at Atletico Madrid on loan. Forlan has moved permanently at Inter. (Note: will be interesting to see how Forlan and Wesley Sneijder coexist as both like to dominate the ball a little in the center of the pitch.)
What happened to Diego? Once a promising player at Bremen, the Brazilian who is the ideal false nine has stumbled. Is Atletico his last chance to put himself back on the superstar map?