Friday, May 16, 2008

Three more months of this...

And so the transfer season is upon us once again. Oh frabjous day, calloo, callay.

The two big rumours this week are (1) Real Madrid continuing their attempt to lure Cristiano Ronaldo to the Bernabeu with a stream of hot and cold running hookers, and an unlimited supply of hair gel, and (2) Kaka being traded to Barcelona in exchange for Ronaldinho, Deco, and half a dozen bottles of rioja. But let's be honest: neither of those is really going to happen, no matter how ambiguous Ronaldo's latest quotes may be.

Even with those transfers that have actually happened, I'm still kind of befuddled. Like the whole Mathieu Flamini to Milan thing. I don't quite get why he'd want to leave Arsenal -- well, I'm sure it has something to do with Milan's willingness to fling oodles of money at him. But Arsenal did well this year (yes, even though they didn't win anything, they did better than most of us expected) and should only get better with a little more experience, whereas Milan have reverted to sucking and are heading for the UEFA Cup next season. Not to mention that Milan already have a surfeit of midfielders, including Gattuso in the vital running-around-and-kicking-people role. Of course, there are also rumours about Rino leaving Milan, since he's said he'd like to play in England sometime, but the club that seems to come up most is Bayern Munich. Which is, as far as I know, not in England.

Anyway, the whole thing doesn't make a lot of sense to me. And now Hleb wants to leave too, because London is apparently too noisy? As if Milan is going to be so much quieter. Maybe he should look for a little club in Switzerland or something like that instead. Seriously, what the hell has Arsene Wenger done to his players in the last month, that they've all started losing their minds like this? Next he's going to have to get one of those electronic ankle bracelets for Cesc Fabregas to keep him confined at the Emirates.

Also perplexing me: Gareth Barry to Liverpool. Yeah, this one hasn't actually gone through yet, but since Rafa Benitez says he wants to buy him, I'd say it's more than just a rumour. And again, don't Liverpool already have more central midfielders than they know what to do with? Even playing with just one up front, they can only shoehorn so many of them into the team at once. Now, Barry is versatile, and god knows Liverpool could use somebody solid at left-back, but would he really want to play out of his favoured position just to move to a Champions League team? By the way, if you think I'm just worried about this because I'm afraid it'll make Xabi Alonso more likely to leave, you are mostly right. Especally with Pep Guardiola -- who just happens to be Xabi's idol -- just having taken over at Barcelona.

It's the managerial merry-go-round that's going to be really interesting this summer, I think, with Sven-Goran Eriksson on his way out at Man City, Avram Grant still on a knife-edge at Chelsea, and Jose Mourinho angling for the best spot possible. And not just because of the managerial changes, but the effect it could have on where some of the players (Didier Drogba, this means you) end up. My vote would be for Mourinho to Inter, because then I can conveniently keep hating him.

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