Tag Archives: Emmanuel Adebayor

The Tim Sherwood Story

“Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” crowed Tim Sherwood – for Timdays on end – in to the ear of chairman Daniel Levy, swapping the phrase “are we there yet” for “can I have the job”. Like any overworked parent, Daniel finally acquiesced, giving Tim the keys to the kingdom, keys he previously entrusted to a well-dressed Portuguese man with fluffy hair.

Daniel Levy“Now, Timothy,” he said sternly, peering over his fashion-friendly
glasses, “don’t fuck it up.”

As an ambitious tyke with full confidence in his own abilities, the 44-year old Tim immediately began stamping his own mark on the team, abandoning tactics and finding as many players as possible who the previous manager did not like.

“Hello, Ade? I’m going to put you in the team on Sunday. I Adebayorexpect a performance.”
“No problem, boss. You’ll get 100% from me. But no more than that, it should be noted.”
“That’s fine. Now you’re not going to score a couple in your first game and then disappear for the next three games, are you?”
“Noooo. No. Probably not.”

Tim was nothing if not wily. You don’t get to the position he was in without having full confidence in your abilities as well as saying and doing the right things at the right time. So with that in mind he immediately set about trying to win the fans over by doing opposite things to the previous bloke that they did not like.

“Right, lads,” he said to some lads who were nearby. “We’re going to shake things up a bit.”
“Great! The club needs some innovative ideas to get us out of this slump. What have you got in mind?”
“We’re going 4-4-2 with the emphasis on attack.” Eriksen
“That could work, Tim. This is great. How will Eriksen play in this 4-4-2? Will you play him wide like how Man City play their creative players sometimes?”
“No, in the center.”
“Ok…he’s not really got defensive qualities so you’ll probably play him with a solid defensive midfielder, yeah?”
“Well I thought Dembele given how he’s quite athletic and can run a lot.”
“Hmmm, well we’ll give you a pass on that one, barely. So, say he’s not available. Would you then put Capoue in?”
“Not at all. He’s not great at attacking. I only know one way to play. Attack. That’s the way to play the game. So I’d put Holtby in alongside Eriksen.”

With the players on board and the lack of tactics decided, Tim knew he had one more area to focus on – public relations. Although he had full confidence in his abilities, he knew he needed advice from a very smart manager. He flipped through his rolodex/contacts app and called up a very popular manager, a(n FA Cup) winner, a former Spurs hero, a man who had recently suffered relegation and won four out of his last twelve games.

“‘Ello ‘Arry.”
“Alright, mate! How’s it going? Heard about the gig. First smart decision Daniel has made since that time he allowed me to sign Ryan Nelsen and Louis Saha. Better off with those terrific, honest, top, top lads than your fancy dan Powlinos and Ceaușescus.”
“As you know ‘Arry I’m new to this. Can you give me a few tips on how to cope with the media?”
“Sure, sure. First of all, after a negative result, talk about how the lads gave you 100% – even Ade – and you couldn’t ask for anything more.  Then talk about the injuries. Throw in a “bare bones” reference and always have a list of unavailable players that you can rattle off. You can throw in a few extra names at the end like youth players or ‘Robbie’. No one’s going to try and figure out who you’re talking about.”
“Anything else?”
Arry in Car
“Make sure the electrics on your car are working good. You need to be able to roll the window down on 31st of January and talk about how there’s nothing doing out there and that you worked ever so hard to bring in players but ultimately clubs don’t want to let ’em go.”
“What about communicating the improvement I bring to the club?”
“Absolutely. Take whatever statistics you can and manipulate them in a bid to show how important you are to the club. For example, if you’re 8 points clear of the bottom three now but 12 points clear in three months, talk about how you’ve lifted the club away from the relegation zone. If you’re in eighth position now and no lower than that in May, you can tell everyone how Spurs were mid-table when you come in and you brought them in to contention. I’m not as stupid as I looks, Tim. Even though I can’t read very well and I writes like a child.”

Tim’s final stop was to see Franco Baldini, the man who became the new Damien Comolli, who was the new Frank Arnesen, who was the new David Pleat.

“Hello, Tim,” Baldini said, probably in an Italian accent.Baldini
“Don’t ‘hello, Tim’ me,” responded the indignant manager. “What we gonna do about all that tripe you bought in the summer?”
“Like who?”
“Chadli.”
“He’s good.”
“No he’s not. He’s good in Holland. And what about this Soldado chap? Bloody hell. He couldn’t hit a barndoor with a…ball”
“He’ll come good. He scored many times in the Spanish league,” insisted Franco.
“And Chiriches. It’s like a Ramon Vega tribute act,” Sherwood complained
“Anything else?”
“Lamela? He’s worth about a third of what Bale was.”
“Which is actually factually correct, Tim.”
“Look, all I’m saying is that these lads are no better than what we had.”
“And what do you propose?”
“We bring in Jamie Redknapp. As a coach.”

Jamie

And with that, Tim sauntered down to the training pitch to work on no tactics.

Adebayor channels Mercury and croons “I Want It All”

What scurrilous Tottenham rumours are doing the rounds today?

Adebayor channels Mercury and croons “I Want It All”
Well the Daily Mail reports that the Emmanuel Adebayor deal is potentially off as the brawny striker is demanding five million quid from Manchester City – basically all of the fee Spurs are willing to pay the Champions* – to compensate for having to accept a lower salary (that would probably still make him Spurs joint-highest paid player) at White Hart Lane.

Adebayor is basically in a no-lose situation here. He can stay at City and earn a lot of money for occasionally turning up on the bench (and putting paid to any Robin van Persie move). Or he can pocket a large wad and still pull in a respectable 100k a week or so at Spurs.

I will shed no tears if the deal falls through. Good and all that Adebayor was last year, the guy typically suffers from “second season syndrome” – an affliction that sees his form falter and his mood deteriorate wherever he plays. He’s a domestic disturbance waiting to happen and AVB should walk away.

* Well, technically.

Bit part midfielder moves to bigger club

Lies!

The Luka Modric thing rumbles on with “sources close to the situation” contradicting each other with regularity. It does seem that Luka did not apologize for anything but is training with Steven Pienaar and the reserves in London. Anyway, enough has been said about that to fill a season full of back pages.

The new development today was talented but very slow former playmaker Niko Kranjcar – now at Dynamo Kiev – weighing in with all sorts of accusations about how Daniel Levy is a liar and lied to Luka and all that sort of thing.

Brave Niko (now in Ukraine) said a lot of inflammatory and unnecessary things which is a bit unfair when he was presumably well paid and always treated well by fans.

Firstly, the old chestnut, “Dynamo Kiev is a bigger club than Spurs”, wasn’t long coming out. Yes, this pointless my-dad-is-bigger-than-your-dad nonsense that has absolutely no bearing on anything whatsoever.

Next up: “Levy did everything to protect the interest of the club and make a profit. He has also used lies to deceive the public, which is allowed in business, but if you were in Luka’s shoes, you would probably do the same as him.”

So, first of all Daniel Levy did his job. Fair enough.

Then we balance these so-called “lies” (presumably he wasn’t present to witness these promises that Levy reportedly made to Modric so we’re talking about the same source here) against the lack of integrity that Modric has shown as a professional footballer.  Don’t wish to labour a point that has been made frequently, but 12 months after signing a six year deal, Luka decided to agitate. There’s something wrong with the game when this is considered valid by the likes of Kranjcar.

Here’s more. “It was the same with me. They held me back for two years until, finally, my new club paid what they were asking, and not a pound less.”

I’m not really sure what the complaint is. Firstly, he was given a contract that promised him a salary regardless of whether or not he played. One can only surmise that the contract was not Klinsmann-like – i.e. it didn’t say he had to play if he was fit and could even lend tactical insight if he thought ‘Arry’s “get up and at ’em lads” rhetoric wasn’t having the desired effect.

So if by “held me back for two years” he means that he wanted to leave because he wasn’t getting a game but no one thought he was worth Spurs asking price then perhaps he should have negotiated a release fee in his deal at the time.

If players wanted they could try to negotiate 12 month contracts all the time. I mean that would put an end to transfer fees and being tied to any club for longer than a year. But players (and their agents) seem to want the best deal possible at the time. And three years of guaranteed income (unless you’re at Portsmouth – hey, count yourself lucky there Niko) probably seemed inviting at the time to Mr Kranjcar.

Four suggestions to help Spurs move forward

After a year away, Tottenham are poised to return to the Champions League next season.  Or at least they will do if they perform in their final seven – mostly winnable – games of the season.  Disarray at Liverpool and rebuilding at Chelsea have opened the door for Redknapp and Co and it’s an opportunity they must take.  It has been a largely successful season, let down dramatically – if not yet fatally – by a terrible recent run in the Premier League.  But there’s plenty of talent at White Hart Lane and with some brave decisions the club would be in a strong position to actually challenge for the Premier League title next season.

What are those decisions?

1. Accept an England approach for manager Redknapp

If Spurs do keep their nerve and finish in the top four (absurd though it is that it’s not virtually sewn up by now), England may follow through on their supposed interest in Harry Redknapp.

The competition for the top job – assuming the FA are scared off appointing a foreign boss after the Capello debacle – is underwhelming.  Roy Hodgson has enjoyed a relative renaissance at West Brom but his stock was damaged after the disastrous reign at Liverpool.  Stuart Pearce seems to lack something – perhaps personality – and has no track record of managerial success to call on.  Glenn Hoddle flopped at Spurs and Wolves after his short but reasonably successful 1990s reign with England.  Alan Pardew and Martin O’Neill are in good jobs in the north-east that are certainly not worth leaving while Sam Allardyce would be a disaster of Steve McClaren proportions.  Below them only Alan Curbishley jumps out but he’s been out of management for four years now.

While Redknapp has done well at Spurs, his limitations will become more and more apparent the longer he stays at the club.  Jamie’s dad is not a tactician – he’s a motivator (see Martin O’Neill, Kevin Keegan).  Winning the big games takes more than mere motivation and the peculiar tactics employed by ‘Arry at times (Bale playing centrally, Modric on the left) highlight this.  Bale returned to the left-wing against Swansea last weekend and was man of the match. If Tottenham do secure Champions League football then a clean break with Redknapp is perfect for everyone. He leaves full-time management with a smash hit album and gets to spend the second half of his 60s working part-time to bring England to the quarter-finals of the next World Cup.

This is a crucial time in the future of the club.  Perhaps Andre Villas Boas could find the set up at Spurs that he didn’t have at Chelsea – a relatively young squad without the heavyweight egos that repelled his attempts to rebuild his previous employers.

Glad I wrote that one after a victory.

2. Send Adebayor back to Eastlands

He’s scored goals, he’s worked hard, he’s been committed.  But Emmanuel Adebayor is not worth the mammoth investment that his permanent signing would require.

There’s no doubt he’s been an asset this season – a goal every other game – but he’s not a top class finisher and history shows that he tends to only have one good season per club.  A string of highly rated strikers have been linked in the last year – Rossi, Llorente, Damiao, Remy – and Spurs need a clinical finisher and a powerful presence up front to perform in the big games.

3. Transfer Modric abroad

I’m not sure Luka Modric will take the sun that well but that should not stop Daniel Levy from considering a transfer to Spain or Italy for the midfielder.  Modric failed to engineer a move away from the club last summer when Levy steadfastly refused to entertain bids from Chelsea.  While credit goes to Modric for eventually settling down and performing – occasionally brilliantly – he’s not the player he was last season.

It could be that his market value has fallen in the last 12 months but if Spurs could net the guts of 30 million pounds then it could be the best solution for everyone.  In partial return, a swoop for Swansea’s on loan Gylfi Sigurðsson (six goals and three assists in 11 games) would be a sound investment.  Sigurðsson is like a raucous rolling stone to Modric’s orchestral, considered verve but he’s young, hungry and been a success at Reading, Hoffenheim (voted Player of the Season even though he only started 13 games) and now Swansea.

4. Win it on the wings

Tottenham look a far weaker outfit when one of their wingers is out.  Indeed the resurgance of Manchester United since the return of Antonio Valencia has moved the winger debate on to the football websites in recent days.

Unfortunately for Spurs, Aaron Lennon has been absent for long periods this year, unbalancing the team and leading to Gareth Bale turning up on the right-wing and the center of midfield.  Rafael van der Vaart and Niko Kranjcar have played on the right but neither has the pace to challenge the opposition left back like Lennon (in fact right-back Kyle Walker is often the most advanced right-sided Spurs player).  I think the absence of Lennon coincided with Spurs worst form and cost them a number of points this season.  Blackburn’s Junior Hoilett is out of contract this summer and has improved in each of his three seasons in the Premier League.  He would be the easy target.  But I like the look of Adam Johnson at Man City who could be an asset once his talent is harnessed.

Why try to fix something that ain’t broke?  Well it’s not broke yet but Spurs have far more potential than they’ve even shown this season.  This is the time to make brave decisions.

Welcome to Manchester

It appears Alex Ferguson has lost his sense of humour somewhere along the way.  Yes, the lovable uncle who brought us running jokes like “flexible added on time when United are losing” and “signing crap midfielders” has been lashing out repeatedly at his now-rich footballing neighbours, (Manchester) City.

Last week he gave his opinion on former reserve Carlos Tevez when he said:

“The fans quite rightly have their heroes and I respect the fans, so I was happy to go along with a deal as long as it was the right deal. Our success is down to the fans and their support and we need them but, simply, he was not worth £25 million.”

I personally don’t think he’s wrong there.  I’ve made the point before that Tevez is a good player but not top quality and is way overpriced at £25m.  That was a fair comment from Ferguson.  But as for this …

“City are a small club with a small mentality. Arrogance comes in lots of different ways. They have had a problem ever since I came here — Manchester United. They think taking Tevez away from United is a triumph. It’s poor stuff.”

Welcome to Manchester That he would issue such a snide comment in the first place shows that perhaps Fergie is a little rattled, perhaps even envious of the money that City are now backed with.  One of the triggers for the outburst is the cheeky but amusing “Welcome to Manchester” billboard that hyped the City signing of Tevez.

In a bid to further undermine City, Ferguson alleged that former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor tried to get United to sign him even after he’d agreed to sign on at Eastlands.

“At the last minute, from what I can gather, either Emmanuel Adebayor or his agent phoned us after they had agreed a deal with City and then did the same with Chelsea. He was desperate to get to either Chelsea or us.”

This is a very plausible allegation but it seems an unnecessarily spiky barb for the current Premier League Champions to aim at a club who are light years behind them on and off the pitch.

Considering how gracious Ferguson has been about Ronaldo moving to a club whom he claimed he wouldn’t sell a virus to, his animosity towards City is puzzling.  City won’t challenge United next season but Ronaldo potentially stands in the way of another Champions League win.

All for one…

Loyalty?

Adebayor, Fat Frank, Robbie Keane and a twat

What price loyalty?

What’s going on?  Lampard wants to walk out on Chelsea, Ronaldo feels Man United owe him after he won every title for them single-handedly, Robbie Keane has decided to go back on his desire to “finish his career with Spurs” and Emmanuel Adebayor – after a good half season – reckons he’s the new Thierry Henry!

Usually the summer season is dominated by players at the less successful clubs being sniffed around by the big boys who then jump at the chance to further their career.  Sometimes it works (Michael Carrick – if you ignore the anonymous performances for Man U) and sometimes it doesn’t (Shaun Wright-Phillips, Steve Sidwell, Jermaine Pennant and loads of other examples).

But this season is unusual as stars at Man United, Chelsea and Arsenal have been hankering to get away for greener pastures.  Let’s take a look at these individuals – and one or two others – and see who is being unreasonable.

Frank Lampard – Chelsea

it was rumoured for some time that Lampard might be on his way this summer.  He’s taken flak over the years for being fat and useless but you can’t knock the goals he has contributed to the Chelsea cause, especially under Jose Mourinho.  After two seasons without the Premier League and his club coming up short in the Champions League, Frank has decided, at the age of 30, that he’d like to join his old boss Mourinho at Inter Milan and have a final fling on the continent.

Lowdown: Lampard wants a five year deal but Chelsea (quite-reasonably) have offered four given that Lampard is over 30.  Meanwhile, Inter Milan have offered Chelsea about £8m for a player who is in the final year of his contract and could go for free next summer.

Lampard has the hump and has threatened to walk away, buying out his contract if he has to. He is in a position of power given that he can sign a pre-contract agreement with Inter in six months and negotiate a huge signing-on fee.  Alternatively he can try to play hardball and see if Chelsea cave in.  Likelihood is that the fee will be fixed at closer to £10m and everyone will be happy.

Loyalty? It’s disappointing that what could be his final weeks at Stamford Bridge will end in such circumstances.  He has been loyal and delivered for the club.  But his demand for a five-year deal is a bit excessive and perhaps there’s a touch of the “lost the run of himself” about it all.

Judas rating (6 out of 10): Should he leave I think the fans will welcome Lampard back given his service and the fact that he probably won’t be that big a loss to the club.

Mathieu Flamini – Arsenal

Let’s start our Arsenal section with this guy.  After reneging on a verbal agreement to sign a long-term contract with Marseille in 2004, Flamini joined Arsenal.  He spent three seasons being something of a part-time utility player and it was only his excellent performances in central midfield last season that elevated him to the status of key player.

Lowdown: Arsene Wenger wanted to tie down the young Frenchman to a long-term contract but he chose a £50,000-a-week deal with Inter with the indications being that Arsenal’s strict wage-structure put paid to their chances of hanging on to him.

Loyalty? Well, he has form.  He did it to Marseille and he’s done it again.  He’s clearly a talented player but after three years of indifference he has a lot to be grateful to Wenger for who persisted with him and gave him a chance to shine.

Judas rating (7 out of 10): The Arsenal fans may not be entirely impressed with Flamini’s behaviour but I guess it really depends on what sort of esteem they held him in.  If they reckoned him to be not as important as he thinks he is then they may be fairly welcoming on any return he makes.

Emmanuel Adebayor – Arsenal

Now this guy is a clown.  He joined Arsenal for about £6m (estimated) in 2006 after a reasonable career in France.  His start was passable but there were few indications in his first season that he could deliver consistently in the games that mattered.  He changed that last season with 24 league goals although it is often mentioned that he got two hat-tricks against Derby County and leaving aside the second of those, he netted just twice in his last 12 league games.

Lowdown: Wenger would love to keep Adebayor and considers him a first-choice striker.  However, the Togoloese striker insists that he is worth what Thierry Henry is, looking for his generous basic salary to be multiplied.  Subsequently he has become a target for AC Milan and while publicly Arsenal say they don’t want to sell, they are not ones to look a gift horse in the mouth.  £25m for a good, but not great, striker?  Nicolas Anelka anyone?

Loyalty? His attitude stinks.  After half a good season it beggars belief that he could behave with such contempt towards his mentor (Wenger), his employers and the fans.  Good riddance.

Judas rating (10 out of 10): Horrible attitude and the boos when he returns will lift the non-existent roof at the Emirates.

Alex Hleb – Arsenal

Ok let’s draw the line at this guy.  I’m not picking at Arsenal here but it’s just phenomenal that these guys want to walk away from a great footballing life in London where 60,000 fans are supporting them every fortnight.  It’s not like they are not in the Champions League or putting up a bit of a fight for the Premiership every year.  Hleb joined from Stuttgart for about £10m in 2005 and was mediocre for two years on the right wing.  Last season he played in the “hole” and was much improved.

Lowdown: I’m not sure Wenger is that dismayed that Hleb wants to leave given the big money that Barcelona are willing to pay for him.  Hleb was decent last season but overall he’s been quite ordinary and not in the same class as Tomas Rosicky or Robin van Persie.  Having said that he still has to replace him if he goes so if he fails to net Samir Nasri from Marseille then it might put the breaks on the move.

Loyalty? He’s recently been quoted having a go at Wenger and Cecs Fabregas in the media although he later claimed “mis-quotion” as they often do.  Up till then he had behaved with integrity so this might be the fly that spoils his Arsenal “ointment”

Judas rating (5 out of 10): Hleb is unremarkable so I’m not sure the fans will be that bothered by his departure.

Cristiano Ronaldo – Man U

The never-ending circus that is Cristiano Ronaldo.  I’m surprised Sir Alex puts up with it given how he railed frequently against David Beckham’s profile and behaviour before flogging him to Real Madrid.  Ronaldo spent last season doing lots of nauseating step-overs, dived a lot and threw his arms in the air when someone had the audacity to tackle him but – most importantly – he scored about 500 goals.

Lowdown: Just before the European Championships it was revealed that Ronaldo wanted to move to Madrid to realise his “dream”.  Real aimed winks in his direction and the ball started rolling.  Suddenly we were talking about world record transfers and the (so-called) greatest club in the world were left to feel very aggrieved that one of their players had found a club he considered “greater”.

Loyalty? You can only laugh at Ronaldo.  He has negotiated this attempted transfer through the media, showing complete and other disrespect to the fans and management who have helped him become the star he is.  But United can use the hype to their advantage because Ronaldo isn’t as good as he thinks he is and getting a world record transfer fee for a player who can be replaced for a fraction of the fee he will command is good business.

Judas rating (10 out of 10): Without question, one of the most unbearable people in football.

Robbie Keane – Tottenham

The wheels are turning on this rumour – Robbie Keane is off to Liverpool. Keane gave up his vagabond lifestyle to join Spurs in 2002 for £7m and although his form has been patchy over the years, his last two seasons alongside Dimitar Berbatov have been exceptional.

Lowdown: The word on the street is that Spurs have accepted that Keane wants to join the club he supported as a boy and he wants to play Champions League football before he retires.  The other side of this is that Spurs are oddly accepting of the fact that Keane wants to go and thoughts are that manager Juande Ramos doesn’t actually rate Keane all that highly.  A bid for Espanyol’s Luis Garcia Fernández for about £9m (half what Spurs intend to demand for Keane) indicates that Keane might be very well on his way.

Loyalty? As a Tottenham fan I feel disappointed that Keane would jump at the chance of leaving given how he has said in the past that he wants to finish his career at the club – but then again they all say that, don’t they?  You can’t begrudge him a chance to make the step-up given that this is probably the only time he’ll get an opportunity to play for a top four Premiership side.  Because, let’s face it, I don’t think any other top four managers rate him that highly.

Judas rating (6 out of 10): I think largely speaking Keane will be welcomed back after sterling performances over the last six seasons.

Gareth Barry – Aston Villa

As far as I can make out Gareth Barry formed Aston Villa in 1874.  Maybe not, but he has spent 11 years at Villa playing in 327 games and really excelling in the last couple of seasons.  Before that fans seemed to rate Barry as a competent but not a key player.  His improvement under Martin O’Neill has been huge and he has even returned to the England team where he’s played quite well in most of his appearances.

Lowdown: As is Rafa Benitez’ way, he has thrown his eye at the clubs below him in the Premiership to try and cherry pick their best players.  When it became apparent that he wanted Gareth Barry I was sure that Villa would only manage to get about £5m or so for a player that would be a utility squad player at Anfield.  Benitez, for some reason, is willing to spend somewhere around £15m on him.  Obviously Gareth Barry feels he has done his time at Villa and can’t turn down the chance to move up at the age of 27.

Loyalty? It’s a difficult one, this.  Barry has done his shift for Villa in the same way that Keane has done his for Tottenham.  In fact the situations are quite similar.  Both have only one chance to play Champions League football given that it is unlikely Chelsea, Arsenal or Manchester United will come knocking for either player this or next season.  I don’t blame Barry for wanting to leave but at the same time I don’t blame Villa for staunchly sticking to their valuation.

Judas rating (4 out of 10): Rafa Benitez’ refusal to listen to what Aston Villa are saying (“£18m or go away and stop wasting our time”) has dragged this one out all summer and unfortunately painted Gareth Barry in a rather bad light.  I think he’s a genuine nice guy, a very good pro and he deserves better.  Hopefully when it’s all signed, sealed and delivered the fans will realise they’ve cashed in far beyond what they should have and got good service from a good player.

Slavery

Sepp Blatter came out today and said that Man U should stop treating Ronaldo like a slave and let him join Real Madrid.  He’s effectively saying that a contract is worth nothing.

It seems to be one extreme or the other.  Up until twelve years ago the contract was everything and even players whose contracts expired could not move until the clubs had agreed a fee with a tribunal. The power used to be with the clubs and now it seems we’re not far away from players giving a month’s notice and walking out.  Any of the situations above could be the one to trigger a legal challenge a la Bosman or Webster.

Tribunals

This week we saw Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan throw a fit after his 16-year-old, Tottenham-bound midfielder John Bostock was valued by a tribunal at £700,000, possibly rising to £1.25m.  He wanted £2.5m but Tottenham were valuing him far lower (as they would).

And you can see his point.  What is the purpose in these clubs spending money developing young players for bigger clubs to reap the rewards?

I do think that there should always be a sell-on clause for young players if the selling club wish there to be one.  Jordan said: “We have an academy who have produced a world-class footballer for someone else and got paid two-and-sixpence for it.”

If Bostock is world-class like Jordan says then he will move for big money in the next 5-6 years.  So how about a small initial fee, some add ons and then a 20% or 30% of his next transfer.  If his career doesn’t take off and the club have been sold a “pup” then no harm done. That’s about the fairest way to do it.

Magpies discuss Barton future

Magpies discuss Barton future

Man U News

In other news, the transfer merry-go-round continues.  Man U think they might fancy a bit of Colombian striker Falcao for £15m rather than shell out £30m for proven Premiership player Dimitar Berbatov.  Clearly the Diego Forlan fiasco didn’t dent Sir Fergie’s faith in South American strikers.

Perhaps more worryingly for Fergie is the news that Portugal want his assistant manager Carlos Queiroz to take up the post vacated by Big Phil Scolari.  The one season he spent away from Old Trafford in 2003/4 was a disaster for United and they’ve steadily improved since his return.

Rafa and his ways

Rafa Benitez is obsessed with signing Gareth Barry but he has indicated that his current £17m bid is to be his last.  Villa will probably accept but if they don’t then Gareth Barry may get very upset to the point of being quite useless and unmotivated next year.  That might actually be fun to watch.

Meanwhile Spurs deny that Robbie Keane has handed in a transfer request but the striker is thought to be keen to move to Liverpool if they lodge a formal bid.  As I said yesterday, a big money deal for Robbie would be good business for Spurs if they have a replacement.  And by big money I mean the guts of £20m – not £10m and Peter Crouch.

Spurs continue the clear-out

Paul Bobbinson fancies a move to Aston Villa but now Villa are sniffing around West Ham’s Robert Green.  Bobbins will cost about £5m, Green about £6m.  Who’s the best?

Kevin Prince Boateng who I have to say was utterly useless from what I saw of him, is going back to Germany on a year’s loan.

Darren Bent is off to Sunderland for £10m.  Considering his shambolic season we’re doing well to get that sort of money for him.  Having said that he did show signs of improvement towards the end of the season with his performance at home to Portsmouth being particularly impressive.  Good player, not good enough.

Let’s hope Tottenham aren’t going to spend some of those proceeds on £8m-rated Anton Ferdinand and instead work on getting Michael Dawson back to his best.

You must be joking

You have to admire Arsene Wenger.  In Emmanuel Adebayor he has the Togolese Kevin Beattie on his hands and someone wants to pay £24m for him.  The striker netted 30 times last year and 12 times the season before.  Sounds impressive?

I wouldn’t have a huge amount of faith in Adebayor despite his goal tally.  He seems to miss a lot of chances, his touch is poor and his temperment is lacking.  If he produces goals and quality for 2-3 seasons in a row then he can call himself the new Thierry Henry.  He thinks he already is the new Henry though.

“People ask if I’m asking for the same salary as Henry.  That is not necessarily the question.  But I am being considered a worthy replacement for Henry while not deserving his salary. The question lies on this level.  Either Arsenal give me what I want and I stay or they don’t and I leave.”

£24m?  Drive him to Barcelona, Arsene.

+++ TIGHT SHORTS +++

Josh Dutton-Black has been released by Southampton.

Oh you want something more high-profile?  How about Roberto Di Matteo being set to become the new manager of MK Dons.

Too much for you?  Did you hear that Paul Ince – the former Dons boss – wants to bring right-back Fredrik Stoor to Blackburn.

Not sure about that one, right?  Well, Ian Harte and Watford are so attracted to each other that a contract will be signed soon.

Anthony La Tallec reminded everyone that he was a Liverpool player by announcing that he has left them to sign a deal with Le Mans.  Liverpool officials are double-checking to ensure that Florent Sinama-Pongolle is gone too.

The Bottle of Becks

THE BOTTLE OF BECKS
Comedian Rob Newman ridiculed former England manager Graham Taylor in the early ninties by assuming his comical accent and uttering “we mustn’t underestimate the Estonians”.  In response to his own character assassination the funnyman countered that we must underestimate the Estonians: send out slx players, not even wearing the proper kit and in flip flops.

Clearly no one told Steve McClaren – who built the Balkans up to be the second coming of Brazil ’70 – therefore allowing David Beckham’s two assists and Michael Owen’s goal to render them living legends.

“You can see it, you know it and I know it: he’s immense,” said McClaren of the former England captain, as the Estonian central defence directed traffic out of the stadium car park.

“David Beckham is a very, very good player and deserves to be in the team. He got a knock early on but didn’t want to come off because he realized that playing a team of lumberjacks and plumbers was a great chance for him to look better than he really is,” McClaren kind of said.

With underwhelming competition for the right-wing slot, including Subbuteo figure Aaron Lennon, Lord Becks reckons he can play until Brooklyn is old enough to substitute him in his final game.

“I believe I can play for many years to come,” he said, while banging Los Angeles in to the Google Maps search engine.  “I have already said [LA] Galaxy will do everything possible to help me play for my country.”

We’re giving it six months, tops.

RATIONING COMING TO NORTH-EAST
Newcastle fans rejoiced for a single paragraph today after reading* that charming Chairman Freddy Shepherd is flogging his stake in the club to Flash American Mike Ashley – before it was revealed that he will remain in the ample-sized chairman’s, uh, chair.

As if local restaurateurs weren’t under enough pressure feeding Freddy, news that banquet season-ticket holder Mark Viduka is to roll along the Northern line from Middlesbrough in a huge barrel, has sent them off to purchase the new Sub Zero Pro 48 fridge-freezer for storage purposes.

“I’m over the moon,” he said, trying to take a bite out of its cheesy surface as he passed over it.  “I want to win things and Newcastle United is a club that has all the ingredients to do that, especially with Sam coming in.   Mmmmm.  Ingredients.”

Oh God.  We’d forgotten about Big Sam.  This won’t be pretty.

* Obviously when we said “reading” we meant that their care workers read it to them.

PLEASE DON’T BID FOR MY STRIKER.  OH, GO ON THEN.
Thierry HenryAs clubs line up for Thierry Henry, you have to wonder how long Blind Arsene Wenger will keep up the pretence that the biggest ego in London (and it’s up against stiff competition when you consider the proximity to Ashley Cole) is not for sale.

As Barcelona, AC Milan and, um, Liverpool all wink seductively at the smooth va va voomer, Blind is doubtlessly having a good think about the unmotivated, shoulder shrugging, sulking antics of his star striker and thinking about how many non-league French teenagers he can buy with £22m.

And sure can’t he rely on Emmanuel Adebayor to put those easy chances away?  The Togolese striker thinks so.

“”I need to work on my finishing, but I’m not so shit in front of goal,” Manny sobbed to a giggling Four-Four-Two journalist.  “You can’t just watch Henry 100 times and copy it, you must communicate.  Thierry tells me where and when to run, how to score one-on-one. He says, ‘You have to put your foot here’.”

A career in coaching awaits the insightful Henry we reckon.

+++ TIGHT SHORTS +++
Lots happening in the world of football.  West Ham, who are aiming to sell mediocre self-professed legend Nigel Reo-Coker, have replaced him in advance with 26 year old former Charlton, Chelsea  and Newcastle journeyman, Scott Parker.

Replacing the journeyman at Newcastle will be Man City’s former Street Fighter character, Joey “M Bison” Barton.

Chelsea boil Peter Kenyon did a great impression of a pot denouncing a kettle as black when they said they’d report Real Madrid for illegally approaching Arjen Robben.

Nani today passed a medical at Manchester United.  Didn’t they sign him weeks ago?

Hibernian won the Scottish Women’s Premier League title in style with a 6-4 victory over female giants Glasgow City.  Seriously, they are giants.  Have you been to Glasgow recently?

+++ TWAT OF THE DAY +++
“The decision of the player is to go to Los Angeles, he has always been a great professional, but a player who has such an important contract with another club, we cannot count on him. He is not going to play any more.”  Yep, it’s an old quote but with David Beckham a driving force behind Real Madrid’s nine wins in ten games and England’s first convincing competitive performance under McClaren, Fabio Capello sounds like a bit of a twat five months on.