When I heard Sir Alex Ferguson complain about an overheated transfer market because he lost Carlos Tevez to Manchester City (who will also apparently add Emmanuel Adebayor), I thought the remark rung hollow. After all, this United fan correctly notes that the Red Devils have completed plenty of big money moves. And while the blogger is skeptical of Michael Owen at this stage of his career, the deal could certainly be a good one because Owen has proven that he can still score when healthy. Also, the signings of Gabriel Obertan and Antonio Valencia, coupled with the returning Owen Hargreaves, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, and perhaps even a few more gems from Man U’s academy, Owen, Wayne Rooney, and Dimitar Berbatov should get plenty of good service into the box.
Speaking of Tevez, footbo takes a somewhat comedic look at his departure from Old Trafford. This move was definitely more about money (which Man City has plenty of through their Middle East-based ownership) than playing time, or even which manager he liked more, which is just how things work nowadays. Also, he may end up buying Cristiano Ronaldo’s old home. Crushed Ferrari not included, I suppose. Phil McNulty says that Tevez’s signing will be worth the millions it cost to buy out the agency which owned his rights, along with the millions in actual salary, because this move, as with buying Robinho last year, is for a player proven to get it done at the highest level and who should have many more great years to come. Good point. It’s way different from signing over-the-hill names just to sell tickets or merchandise. Man City and manager Mark Hughes want to win. Adebayor’s loss may not be lamented by some of my fellow Arsenal fans, but he does score goals when his mind’s on the game. I’m also not so sure about McNulty’s argument that Arsenal’s forwards are good enough right now to fire the Gunners to a league title. They have Andrei Arshavin, but Robin van Persie and Eduardo need to stay healthy, while either Carlos Vela or Nicklas Bendtner has to take a big step forward. I suppose they might bring somebody in, but splashing the cash is not usually Arsene Wenger’s way. Who can argue with his results though! In closing, I hope Mark Hughes can figure out how to divvy up playing time amongst his countless new signings at Eastlands, because failure to do so effectively may see him run out of town almost as fast as not winning enough games.
The “overheated market claims” sounded even more absurd when Rafa Benitez complained upon signing Glen Johnson for over $25 million. It may just be that Liverpool are building a strong team overtime, with one or two big additions a year instead of a huge spending spree like Man City or Real Madrid. That being said, is Glen Johnson really the best choice for a top-level team’s defense? Rafa thinks so, and he has gotten some of the bigger moves he’s made right, like Fernando Torres and Xabi Alonso. But I’ll respectfully disagree. Chelsea wasn’t exactly in a rush to keep him a couple of years ago.
Robert Burns has a good summary of what’s gone on across the EPL to date.
And I have little argument with Real Madrid’s big moves. Ronaldo, Kaka, and Karim Benzema went for silly money, but it’s hard to say that they aren’t signing some of the world’s very best players. Of course, off-field considerations may help– as long as they continue to be a soccer team, not a global concert tour.
So far, it seems like most other clubs are buying pretty shrewdly too. I think the global economic crisis is forcing teams to make carefully calculated decisions. It’s a few teams that truly have the money to go big right now- Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea, Man City, Real Madrid, Barcelona (although they haven’t so far), and a couple of others across Europe.
But we’ll really be judging everyone when the primary European window closes at the end of August, and then again when we see the league standings in January (midseason and the second transfer window) and of course at season’s end in May.