September 8, 2006
Jim Brennan becomes the first player to sign for Toronto FC [TSN]
Didier Agathe has been offered a place to bring his pace and, uh, his pace by Aston Villa. [The Mirror]
Thomas Gravesen fails to realize that people are able to watch games featuring Real Madrid in other countries. [Sporting Life]
William Gallas continues to upset Chelsea by saying he is willing to play left back for Arsenal. [Sky Sports]
I will be ready to buy those tickets for the 3004/05 season at Liverpool’s new stadium. [Soccernet]
September 1, 2006
Chelsea – So rich they can choose who to sell to, and affect where the best young prospects in the world can go. The Damien Duff transfer was a showcase of selling and not ruining your chances of winning the league. Roman Abramovich’s money probably played a role in Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano’s relocation to Upton Park. Let’s not forget their bullying of Arsenal that gave them one of the best left backs in the world in Ashley Cole.
Relations between Ajax and Feyenoord – For the first time since 1992, the two clubs collaborated on a transfer. Greek striker Angelos Charisteas moved from Amsterdam to Rotterdam in a €2.5 million move.
Juventus – The Serie B strugglers managed to hold on to more of their world class talent than they deserved to, although their ability to cope with the physicality of their new surroundings has not yet been tested.
Barcelona – The Catalan giants did not need to do much this summer and they still managed to improve. Aging legend Henrik Larsson departed with a Champions League medal, and Eidur Gudjohnsen was brought in from bitter rivals Chelsea. The additions of Gianluca Zambrotta and Lilian Thuram should help them retain the Primera crown.
Arsenal – With no depth at the wing positions, and very little experience at the back even with the addition of William Gallas, it is difficult to say the Gunners really improved at all this summer. The future is bright though.
Fans of Corinthians – Not only have they had to endure a fall from grace from winning the title a year ago, they also had to see two of their best players leave yesterday with the club seeing none of that money. The very existance of the club is a real doubt should they be relegated this December.
MLS – The league continues to be unaware of its rather low place on the economic totem pole of the transfer market. Turning down a decent bid for Clint Dempsey was the last thing they needed to do to a player desperate to prove himself in Europe.
Manchester United – They brought in an overpriced, unproven midfielder in Michael Carrick. Then they acquired a backup goalkeeper in Tomasz Kuszczak, who was once scored on by the opposing keeper from 90 yards out. Sure they got £12 million for a player who never played a game for them in John Obi Mikel, but the depth in the squad has been utterly decimated. The damage of which is after the jump. Now they find themselves trying to win the league when Darren Fletcher and John O’Shea will be regular partners in the center of midfield. At least the Glazers have reduced the debt a little, right?
With Euro 2008 matches going on, this may seem like a difficult mission to find five good league fixtures. I will let you know at the end how hard this really was scouring the globe for good ones.
Melbourne Victory v. Sydney FC – The Victory, inspired by captain Kevin Muscat (left) finally knocked off Adelaide United last week to open the season with three points. Champions Sydney have to deal with the departure and exchange of words upon the departure of Dwight Yorke to Sunderland. Expect plenty of fireworks and few goals from this encounter.
FC Dallas v. Houston Dynamo – The Texas rivalry continues to build in a match between the top two sides in the Western Conference. Dallas will be hoping to end a four-game losing streak in front of the Pizza Hut Park faithful. The Dynamo will be looking to go top of the conference with just a few weeks remaining in the regular season.
Brentford v. Bradford City – It is early days in League One, but two promotion contenders meet to decide who can hang with leaders Nottingham Forest. Brentford, despite the long injury list they are sporting, are unbeaten this season. Bradford continue to be carried by Dean Windass, whose four goals have taken the Bantams up to third in their last four matches.
El Nacional v. Deportivo Quito – Someone will have to win this match in the hopes of ending Barcelona’s march to the Clausura in Ecuador. Deportivo Quito sit three behind in second place, while El Nacional are third; a further two points behind with a match in hand.
Sportivo Luqueño v. Nacional – The Unofficial World Club Championship hits Luqueño on Sunday. The bottom side in the Paraguayan Clausura will be hoping to move up against the Champions who are nowhere near the top of their own domestic competion.
As you can see from the placement of a League One match in this, it was quite difficult.
August 31, 2006
Not to be forgotten are the two other highest rated leagues in Europe, as they conclude their own deals on deadline day.