Eriksson in position; Torres in position; Tevez in....Copa America?
The season 2007/08 a month or so away from kick-off, starting a season leading to the European Championships, the Premiership signings are buzzing and I have been keeping an eye on events thus far. I wondered if anyone else had any opinions. The 'will it, wont it' question regarding former Thailand PM Thaksin Shinawatra's takeover of Manchester City Football Club has finally emerged near successful for the entrepreneur as a £81.6m bid was accepted. Shinawatra currently owns nearly 60% of the club and needs fifteen more to make a full takeover. Sven-Goran Eriksson has emerged as the man to manage the squad but nothing can be done until Shinawatra gains the 75% ownership, after which Eriksson can fully enjoy some finance to adjust the squad accordingly.
For me, Eriksson is a good man for the post. Many England fans who are City fans too may feel disillusioned with Eriksson after his reign as England coach but Eriksson has a better track record domestically within three European leagues, where he is the only manager to have obtained the double of the league and major domestic cup in Portugal, Sweden and Italy. Eriksson brings to the City of Manchester stadium prestige and history having coached elsewhere and it's the kind of position where he can do well to slug it out and show the kind of pedigree he has. Man City are a middle of the table team at best and Eriksson couldn't have picked a sterner test to come back into football with.
Predominately will be the objective of replacing Joey Barton and Sylvain Distin and looking to secure a strike force of goals, with the lacklustre production from Georgios Samaras and Bernardo Corradi. Samaras is rumoured to have had offers as City may release him yet the Greek is said to prefer fighting for a place under Eriksson. Eriksson looks surely to bring in another striker and release Paul Dickov at the least, toy around with youngster Daniel Sturridge and the pace of Emile Mpenza and Darius Vassell.
With the sale of Thierry Henry and purchase of Dinamo Zagreb's Eduardo da Silva (see T's article previous), the Gunners gear up to prepare their campaign for the title, despite Didier Drogba's comments. Liverpool have done likewise with the signing of renowned Fernando Torres from Atletico Madrid. AM fans staged a protest at the departure of Torres from the Vicente Calderon stadium as Torres stated Liverpool was the only club he wanted to go to, something which Rafael Benitez likes to hear with profoundness when signing players. Craig Bellamy had the same effect when he signed and is now a rumoured target for West Ham, so having a desire to sign is not a catalyst to regular excellent performances. At least a player wants to come to a club, wants to play for that club, and hopefully can feel settled and flow with the traits and talents he is purchased to display.
Andriy Voronin has also been confirmed as a Liverpool player, another Ukrainian striker who played at Bayer Leverkusen with Dimitar Berbatov, so I'm hoping he can have the same start and effect as the Bulgarian did. Voronin has had a career in the Bundesliga with his best spells happening with Mainz and Bayer, with 29 goals from 75 appearances and 32 goals from 92 appearances respectively, averaging a goal every two to three games. Can Liverpool make a more solid challenge to the title? I say yes without bias. Torres and Voronin are not the only signings required at the moment and Benitez has said he is interested in two wingers. I think with two good wingers Liverpool can forge for the title, the names of Simao Sabrosa and Ricardo Quaresma have pipped up on occasion. To do so is to match the other top clubs for results and performances and not to begin with late starts. With Peter Crouch signalled to remain, Dirk Kuyt, Torres and Voronin, the competition for places up front should now stiffen and produce more goals. Unfortunately that means Bellamy is surplus.
Then there is the spaghetti junction of Carlos Tevez' future. The Argentinian is competing with his nation in the Copa America competition in Venezuela currently and has said nothing about his future will be spoken of or decided until the competition has finished for Argentina. So to hear he is near to signing for Man Utd is confusing, particularly with the West Ham chairman Eggert Magnusson stating nothing will be happening with Tevez unless West Ham are contacted. Tevez is loaned to the Hammers until 2010, so he is a Hammers player until then or until West Ham discontinue the loan. Tevez is loaned from Kia Joorabchian's Media Sports Investments and Just Sports Inc. offshore companies, and already there could be a dispute between the companies and West Ham. The Premier League insist anything to do with Tevez going anywhere is to go through West Ham, while the offshore companies insist Tevez is their player and they solely can negotiate any loan or sale without West Ham's permission.
This maybe academic until Copa America has finished, but the parties involved will not be waiting until then to sort things out. Magnusson is undoubtedly keen to keep Tevez. Utd are keen to obtain the services of a player they rejected the chance of signing in September last year. For my money, the offshore companies can agree any deal with whoever and cut short Tevez' loan contract with West Ham, duly paying agreed compensation. That could depend on what terms are in the loan agreement and whether West Ham can reject the approach to sever the loan or not. This looks to inevitably end up in the commercial courts. Meanwhile I understood Tevez has a liking for Real Madrid, where Fabio Capello has been axed and replaced by the Getafe coach Bernd Schuster. With a new coach, Madrid are also rumoured to have their hooks out for Cesc Fabregas and Arjen Robben to ensure they do not have a repeated near-miss performance for the Spanish title again.
Copa America ends in eight days time. In football, a lot can happen in one day, much less eight.