Some Thoughts on the Final Transfers and Some Football Miscellany

Is Andy Carroll worth 35 million English pounds?  I’ll go out on a limb and make this prediction: assuming he stays healthy, Andy Carroll will have a greater impact for Liverpool than Fernando Torres will for Chelsea. I also think he’ll pair well with Luis Suarez.

The good news for Newcastle United, Carroll’s old team is that they have 35 million pounds to spend on transfers. The bad news is that they can’t do it until the end of the current season.

As for Torres, while Chelsea may be a good fit for him, they still need to shore up their defense. David Luiz is a good start, but John Terry’s form recently should have Ancelloti worried. Nicholas Anelka is now the odd man out among the strikers, but linking his name to a move to the MLS’s New York Red Bulls is a surprise.

As an Arsenal fan, their recent record still surprises me, but they have managed to hang on to second place and, while I’m not optimistic about them going to the championship game of the FA Cup, winning the league or upsetting Barcelona in the Champion’s League, the Carling Cup is their’s to lose against Birmingham City. Thomas Vermaelen, please get well soon. Samir Nasri, too.

Clint Dempsey is Fulham’s leading scorer and has scored as many goals in all competitions thus far as he did last season – and this season Fulhams did not qualify for Europa League competition.

For a guy who is often injured and goes to ground pretty easily, Arjen Robben should probably think twice before getting physical with his teammates. He does have a point regarding Muller, but there should be a better way to handle this.

Schadenfreude for this Barcelona fan? You betcha!

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58 replies
  1. 1
    MikeJ says:

    I used to live in SoKen which makes me a natural Chelsea supporter, but I’m a member of Red Sox nation, which has me going down to Liverpool to do nothing this year.

    Whatever. Just bring on good footie!

  2. 2
    Pooh says:

    I mean if you had told me before hand that Liverpool would basically swap Babbel, Torres and 1.5m GBP for Suarez and Carroll, I would have said that’s a good bit of business. Of course, once you get 50 for Torres, it looks less good.

    I do take one issue with your thesis – SUAREZ is the guy likely to have the biggest impact, simply because he’s build like an ox from the hips down, and will adapt very well to the english game, whereas Torres has always been that little bit fragile.

    Also, pour some out for the passing of Gary Neville?

    Finally, Michael Bradley to Villa! I have been on record for a long time in my enormous man crush on MB for a while in the various soccer fora I peruse, so I’m really looking forward to seeing him play week in week out.

  3. 3
    KG says:

    do transfers happen in futbol more than trades in US sports? because it sure seems like it to me. If so, why is that? I’m honestly curious, I don’t pay any attention really, to futbol, outside of the world cup and occasional MLS game, but it feels like the top players move around a lot more via transfers in futbol than they do in any of the mainstream US sports.

  4. 4
    Origuy says:

    I have a Barça flag outside my cubicle at work.

    I’m planning on going to Scotland this summer; who do you like in the Premier League? I want to sound like I know what I’m talking about.

  5. 5
    burnspbesq says:

    I am really struggling to manage my emotional investment in my boys. If they win on Saturday, and neither Swansea nor Norwich wins, they move into second place, and that would mean automatic promotion to the Premier League if they’re still there in May, and that would be teh awesome. But I can still feel the sting of the playoff loss to Blackpool last year, and the even uglier playoff loss to Yeovil (yes, fucking Yeovil) four years ago when we were still in League One.

    Being a fan is the worst thing there is … except when it’s the best thing there is.

  6. 6
    burnspbesq says:

    I have seen the future of American football, and his name is Mikkel Diskerud.

  7. 7
    Pooh says:

    @burnspbesq: I remember being extremely impressed in him in a brief cameo in a recent friendly, am I thinking of the right guy?

  8. 8
    Pooh says:

    @KG: It’s a combination of several things – first there are just so many more teams, which creates more possible interactions. Add this to the fact that rating football players is EXTREMELY difficult especially with the absence of meaningful statistics, and it’s pretty easy for there to be a situation where another club rates a player higher than his current club.

    Also, there isn’t really an analog to our college/minor league system, so the lower divisions/less leagues very much serve this role with players moving up and down the divisions a their careers progress.

  9. 9
    burnspbesq says:

    @Pooh:

    You probably are. You’re probably thinking of the neat pass, in traffic and under pressure, to set up the US goal in the friendly against South Africa at the end of last year.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KN-IRXEv0To

  10. 10
    KG says:

    @Pooh: i guess that makes sense. I’m just surprised that top level players move that much, even with so many more teams.

  11. 11
    bowery boy says:

    this is the first year ive followed the top european leagues but it seems to me that there is a fair amount of movement because players contracts are bought and sold via transfer fees as opposed to how most trades are conduct in us leagues especially in sports that have salary caps. just the idea that players can be loaned is antithetical to the way we do business. i am curious about the new rules that la liga (and others?) is putting in place to increase the competitive balance. dont know if that will include caps or just more equitable split of revenues.

  12. 12
    burnspbesq says:

    Here’s a fun highlight reel of American players in Europe.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUIb03d8z-I

  13. 13
    BGinCHI says:

    Welcome back Randinho! Bout the fuck time.

    Just finished watching the Liverpool-Stoke match. Seems to me a new day is dawning with Suarez and Carroll. Add them to the current lineup, with Mireilles scoring, and I think it’s gonna be fun to watch.

    As a Liverpool fan, and an Arsenal hater, and a Chelsea hater, I think the future suddenly looks bright.

    I wish Torres the best though. He’s a class guy.

    The real Superbowl this Sunday is Liverpool-Chelsea.

  14. 14
    BGinCHI says:

    Ps. I second the props for Dempsey and Bradley. Clint has really moved into the elite company of players.

  15. 15
    bowery boy says:

    what about ronaldinho? is he through with the major leagues or is he just biding his time?

  16. 16
    BGinCHI says:

    @bowery boy: Have you seen him lately?

    Ronaldinho McDonald.

  17. 17
    Pooh says:

    @burnspbesq: Yeah that’s exactly the one. I believe I remember him doing very well on the ball a few different times in that match.

  18. 18
    bowery boy says:

    @BGinCHI

    i saw bits and pieces of inter games but i dont have a lot of experience judging the ebb and flow of a player’s talents. like i said, im pretty new to european soccer. just started watching the champions league two years ago and first season for premier, la liga, serie a.

    obviously it seems like the top teams have lost interest so he just decided he would rather play at home than go to a second tier team in europe.

  19. 19
    frosty says:

    @MikeJ: Aw, come on now, that should have been a link to The Bangles

  20. 20
    MikeB says:

    After his performance against Sunderland this week, the talk now is about
    keeping Anelka and using him at at the tip of the diamond midfield,
    behind Torres and Drogba. Ancelotti likes the diamond, and Anelka is
    a clever passer/dribbler besides being able to score. Also, Lampard is
    getting better, and Ramires has improved.

    Interesting possibilities…

  21. 21
    Mark S. says:

    Schadenfreude for this Barcelona fan?

    Um, there are 17 games left in the season. I wouldn’t call it over. Barcelona’s +56 goal differential is quite impressive, though.

    I see only two teams from little nations made the round of 16.

  22. 22
    Pooh says:

    @MikeB: I really don’t think Anelka has the workrate or vision for that to be a good idea. So, as a United fan, I say DO IT!!!

  23. 23
    PS says:

    @Pooh:

    Also, pour some out for the passing of Gary Neville?

    Yes, indeed. In retrospect, Neville should have retired about three years ago, but he’d always have wondered. And his decision to keep trying typifies his desire, his work ethic, his determination to be the best footballer he could be. In fact, he tried so hard that people sometimes forget that he was a very good player. Admittedly, he grew up with even better ones — Giggs and Scholes and Beckham — but they knew how good Gary was: He was their captain, for heaven’s sake. An entire career with one club, and one manager, which admittedly Giggs and Scholes are matching. And a wildly passionate character when it came to rivalries. A real footballer. A significant figure in United history.

  24. 24
    jp2 says:

    Torres broke some serious hearts, mine included. To give the team ~72 hours to make a deal and to be lying for years about your commitments (as soon as 3 weeks ago he talked about how he would honor his contract)and to leave for a close rival in a close season…awful, awful human being.

  25. 25
    elle says:

    Blues for life!!!

    But seriously, unless by some miracle ManU loses at least 4 games while we lose none, Chelsea many be out of the running for the cup this season :(

    Nonetheless, I am heartened by the fact that Arsenal doesn’t stand a chance under any circumstance. Ha ha!! Bet you wish you hadn’t sold Adebayo now!!

  26. 26
    Alison says:

    My Toon Army heart is hurting over the loss of Carroll, especially now with Ameobi being injured and out for a couple months or some crazy shit. Pardew is going to have to look at the free transfers, but…I foresee trouble.

    Bradley to EPL was something I’d wanted to see for a long time and I’m glad it’s finally happened. I think he’ll slot in easily with Villa, and hopefully will end up staying. He deserves more notice.

  27. 27
    Alison says:

    @BGinCHI:

    The real Superbowl this Sunday is Liverpool-Chelsea.

    Fuck yeah. Thank God it’s at a reasonable time for the West coast :) Of course, I’d get my ass up earlier for it if needed. Going to be good…or better be, at least :P

  28. 28
    wengler says:

    As a Spurs fan I was a little disappointed that they didn’t pick up anyone in the January window. They have a real opportunity with the Round of 16 coming up and 4th place 3 points away…

    Oh who am I kidding? The Europa League awaits.

    Also Barca is my pick to win everything this year, including the Super Bowl.

  29. 29
    Amir_Khalid says:

    And not a word from Randinho about my team Melchester Rovers. Hmph.

  30. 30
    LGRooney says:

    I look forward to seeing Carroll in action. He’s 5 years younger than Torres and seems to have more heart. I am not sure whether that heart will be as big in red, however, since it’s still not clear why he left Newcastle. Of course, the world knows well Suarez’ capabilities but I am not sure he is the type to stick around when someone flashes a bigger check his way. I will be overjoyed to be proved wrong. Now, how much can we get for Maxi (incredible work rate but never adding up to much) and can we shore up the back line with those funds?

  31. 31
    Thlayli says:

    @jp2:

    See #26. Among all the wailing and woe-is-us-ing over how “disloyal” Torres was, there wasn’t even a peep of recognition that Carroll was doing essentially the same thing. Liverpool’s crap doesn’t stink any less than anyone else’s.

    ***
    @wengler:

    Stephen Pienaar isn’t “nobody”, but he’s not quite what Spurs needed.

    ***
    Anelka … it would be a headline, and the thought of him and Henry playing together has a certain appeal, but in a salary-cap situation he might not be the most efficient use of resources. Upgrading the playmaker position should be RBNY’s priority — I’m not convinced Mehdi Ballouchy is the answer there.

  32. 32
    Tony J says:

    It’s already been said, but £50 million for a player who hasn’t performed at anything like his full potential in nearly two years is VERY good business indeed. Whether it was the injuries he always seems to be carrying, or the fact that he was constantly getting seven kinds of shit kicked out of him by opposition defenders with zero protection from referees, Torres just didn’t seem interested in hard work and would spend most of his time sulking and shouting at the officials. Respect for what he did in his first season, but he’s not that player anymore and I, for one, am glad we off-loaded him for the price of two very good replacements. He’s Chelsea’s problem now.

    £35 million for Carroll? Probably not, but the pricetag for young, English and promising has been going up and up and up for years now. Why do you think most Premier League managers prefer to shop abroad? Give him a couple of seasons and we’ll see, but at present all he and Suarez have to do is provide that single element that’s been missing from Liverpool’s season so far – goals.

    My bet for Sunday. Chelsea 0 – 1 Liverpool. Carragher red-carded early on for kicking Torres into the stands. At least 12 more yellow cards brandished around, and one massively controvertial refereeing mistake that will give Chelsea a late penalty that Lampard will miss.

    And even better, no Andy Grey.

  33. 33
    Paula says:

    I’m clueless, but if Liverpool paid that kinda money for some guy I watched a grand total of once, should someone (else) have put out for Gareth Bale? I cannot believe that kid made it through transfer season still w/ the Spurs …

    Was expecting the Altidore move, but not that specific Bradley Jr. move. And yeah, looking forward to seeing him more often. Esp. looking forward to his first match w/ Fulham. Grabbing some popcorn for the first Bradley-Dempsey encounter on English soil.

    Hope Bradley gets more than a few minutes to play, though. Not necessarily a start, but a few commentators are wondering where he would fit given than Aston Villa have more than a few good MFs.

  34. 34

    And the Man Utd. fans just sit back and smile, sitting atop the Premiership table with an undefeated record…

    It was very nice to see that Rooney scored a brace on Tuesday, was it not?

  35. 35
    jomo says:

    Just noticed that Arsenal drew Barca in the knockout round of the UEFA Champions League. Oof

  36. 36
    Superluminar says:

    We’re pretty fucked against Barca, but we couldn’t lose to a better team. Luck of the draw /sigh

    as to this:

    Ha ha!! Bet you wish you hadn’t sold Adebayo now!!

    would you care to enlighten us as to the man’s record since joining City, with particular reference to his team morale building efforts? Wenger’s pretty good at cutting out deadwood – Anelka aside.

  37. 37
    Annelid Gustator says:

    Nasri has really had quite the season.

  38. 38
    gratefulcub says:

    Barcelona, the 10/11 edition, is the best team I have ever seen in any sport. I would love to run across Real in the Champions League, because knocking them out of the League, the Copa, and CL in the same season……..well, they might just implode.

  39. 39
    LGRooney says:

    @Paula: The problem for Tottenham was simple: Who would replace him? They weren’t going to sell if they couldn’t find an adequate replacement and there are few who could match Bale’s guile currently in their lineup.

  40. 40
    LGRooney says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): As a ‘Pool’ fan, it’s a sad recognition but I hope King Kenny can restore some pride and winning ways. However, full props to Sir Alex for truly finding the right players and knowing how to lead them. His statue must (metaphorically) stand next to Shankly in the hall of managers. Best move Ferguson ever made? Losing Beckham. He was overrated (had a good right foot from set pieces but lacked pace, vision, and a second foot) and thought himself bigger than the team.

  41. 41
    gratefulcub says:

    As a Spurs supporter, I would have been devastated if Bale had gone. If they really want to compete for the top 4 annually, and even try to win the league once or twice, they can’t sell their best young players as soon as they start to come into form. It was a huge non-transfer for Spurs.

    If they can keep Bale, Modric, and VdVart together for a couple of years, they have quite the core of a team.

  42. 42
    LGRooney says:

    @gratefulcub: Watching Spain in South Africa this summer gave me goose bumps. I know, there were plenty of stateside complaints about how boring it was watching them just pass-pass-pass but the fluidity and dominance of their ball control was tear-inducing for this former player. Barca have continued that game into the current season and there is little opposing teams can do, i.e., if you can’t get the ball… hell, they’ve only allowed 11 goals in La Liga (in 21 games)!! Yes, they have a defense that reads opponents better than anyone but more to the point they don’t let the other team get the ball. I’d love to see possession stats for Barcelona vs. other championship teams.

  43. 43
    gratefulcub says:

    They consistently put up possesion numbers like 70-30. You can just watch teams get frustrated as they chase the ball for 90 seconds, then hold onto it for two passes before it is taken back.

    World Cup games are always boring to non-fans. Every touch is so important, no one wants to make a mistake, THE MISTAKE, that eliminates their country from the Cup. It gets very defensive.

    What Barca did to Real is the most devastating defeat I have ever seen. They have Real’s soul proudly displayed on the mantle at the Nou Camp, because they ripped it out of them. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer group of Chosen Ones.

  44. 44
    Annelid Gustator says:

    Sort of on topic, sort of off topic: Here are some cool handegg/football jersey crossovers

  45. 45
    LGRooney says:

    @gratefulcub: Yeah, I saw that game. It was an amazing sight to see Real chasing, chasing, chasing. As soon as they got the ball, they were swarmed and lost possession. Xavi Alonso and Ronaldo, arguably two of the most talented players in the world, could do nothing in the face of that onslaught. In any event, as much as I appreciate Xavi Alonso’s talents, and all he did for Liverpool, Real Madrid have left way too much of the burden on the shoulders of Ronaldo this season. You can still see Ferguson’s imprint on him, that lack of patience and that insatiable hunger to win, and it doesn’t quite fit into the RM mold.

  46. 46
    mellowjohn says:

    more importantly, six nations rugby starts this weekend, with wales hosting england in cardiff tonight.

  47. 47
    LGRooney says:

    @mellowjohn: World Cup coming in September!!

  48. 48
    scott says:

    As a Reds fan, I think we overpaid for Carroll but had to since Nando kinda left us in the lurch with no time left. Still, he’s as good or better in the air than Crouch and way better on the ground and with the shot than Crouchie. I feel bad for the Toon fans though, especially having to put with that idiot Ashley – first they fire Houghton, then they sell their best player and don’t replace him before they’re assured of staying up! And now Ameobi’s hurt. Geez. Poor Toon!

  49. 49
    Sarcastro says:

    The real Superbowl this Sunday is Liverpool-Chelsea.

    What? There’s a game other than the Hamburg Derby on Sunday? The game where the only team in the Bundesliga from Hamburg plays… Hamburg.

    Heh, but the big game for me this weekend in the Revierderby tonight. I hate, hate, HATE Dortmund, but even I think it’s a shame they’re not in the UEFA Cup this year because they’re the only team in Europe playing at Barca’s level IMO. Luckily, Schalke often has their number even when the boys from Gelsenkirchen aren’t playing well otherwise. They tied in the first leg at the Veltins but they’re playing in Dortmund this time. Should be fun.

    Oh well, Schalke is still in the UEFA and they can beat Valencia. Probably draw Barca next though. Still, mo money! Plus if they can get a bank for Farfan perhaps Magath can load up over the summer.

    I’m also glad Bradley is moving to Villa. Now maybe we can get someone other than the woefully atrocious Munchengladbach on ESPN3’s Bundesliga coverage. We’ve got the Hamburg Derby on Sunday and the Revierderby tonight and ESPN is giving us two games featuring the bottom three teams in the league and Bayern Munich. WTF!?

  50. 50
    scott says:

    GolTV sometimes gives you more diverse Bundesliga, but even they are heavily focused on Bayern.

  51. 51
    BGinCHI says:

    @Sarcastro: Werder Bremen fan here. This season not much to root for. I’m so sick of nurturing the league’s best players and then seeing them kill us in BM colors.

    Agree that Dortmund is a great side. Really surprised by that.

  52. 52
    jp2 says:

    @Thlayli:

    Think we’re talking about 2 different things. Carroll didn’t have a choice. Torres did, and chose poorly.

  53. 53
    bowery boy says:

    sorry to act the noob, but what sort of leverage do these players have to demand trades? just expiring contracts like the nba or is there some other mechanism at work?

  54. 54
    LGRooney says:

    @bowery boy: It could be expiring contracts but more often than not it is the money on the table. There is a deep enough pool of talent that selling one player for gobs of money can mean the collection of numerous other talents, depending on the strength of the scouting system. After the transfer activity, Liverpool gained two of the hottest prospects in European football for all of £1.5MM, i.e., the net cost after the sale of two players – one of whom is already 27 y.o., had been crocked for a fair bit of time over the past two years, wanted away & allowed a massive fee and another who never made it as a first-team regular.

  55. 55
    seattle dba says:

    @mellowjohn:

    no doubt – even better – off to vegas for the 7’s next week – a fantastic party – it was a brilliant idea to move the us 7’s from san diego to vegas

    also just booked in to the heiniken final in cardiff in may

  56. 56
    Paula says:

    @gratefulcub:

    Hey, I like Bale. I like Bale w/ Spurs. The Big Four (or Madrid, or Barca, or FC Hollywood) can’t have all the big players.

    Yeowch. Arsenal v. Barca (again) … Too bad for Cesc Fabregas, my Continental Crush!

  57. 57
    The Voyeur says:

    Get your hands off my Cescy-wesky!

    Arsenal have Arshavin and Brazilian. Very smooth!

  58. 58
    sacman701 says:

    Liverpool probably could have gotten Carroll or a comparable player for less than 35m if they had waited until the end of the season, but I think overpaying for him now may turn out for the best. He’ll have much more time to get used to working with rest of the team before the start of the 11-12 season, and if the Reds finish this season strong it should help them retain their current players and/or bring in new upgrades.

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