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Summer transfer news

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I know I haven't posted regularly for the past 6 or 7 months, but it's summer time now and with the exams over I hope to post a lot more. What better place to start than with some summer transfer news.

First is the transfer of Ashley Young to Manchester United for a reported £20 million on a 5 year contract. In my opinion, a quality signing. Young has proved himself in the Premier League year after year and he has a real shot of breaking into the England team with several solid performances. £20 million might be a bit steep but United have proved they have money to spend, with Phil Jones reported to have signed and Samir Nasri constantly linked with the Red Devils. He will provide another attacking option, but may lead to the exit of Nani, who is reportedly unsettled at Old Trafford.

Second big transfer story is the transfer of Jordan Henderson from Sunderland to Liverpool. Not really sure what the price was, but I have heard it was between £16-20 million. Now, I thought Andy Carroll for £35 million was a ridiculous price to pay for at best, a Championship striker. I think Liverpool have made a big mistake. Henderson is decent, has potential and all that but they have payed way over the odds. I've seen him play a few times and he just looks like an average Premier League midfielder, and his career would probably have been best served at Sunderland.

No other major signing to report. Few tasty rumours though. Porto striker Falcao is keen to follow his former manager to Chelsea, Arsenal are apparently close to signing three players in Ricardo Alvarez, Chris Samba and Mamadou Sakho. Expect more news and rumours in the days to come.

Hiddink is the man for Chelsea; but is Chelsea the club for Hiddink?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Having seen Carlo Ancelotti being unceremoniously dumped from his role as Chelsea boss, most would have forgiven Turkey manager Guus Hiddink had he run a mile as soon as his name was mentioned in association with the role vacated by the Italian.

But rather than seeing the poisoned chalice the hot seat at Stamford Bridge has become, the Dutchman looks likely to take charge of Chelsea and attempt to do what three world class managers have been unable to do – bring the coveted Champions League trophy back to West London. He is currently the Sports Betting favourite to take over Chelsea.

Having splashed £50 million on Fernando Torres and £21.3 million on Benfica’s David Luiz owner Roman Abramovich has every right to demand the best of his employees, and having seen Jose Mourinho, Luis Felipe Scolari and now Carlo Ancelotti all fail, his sword is always placed against the neck of his managers waiting to go for the kill at the sight of the slightest slip up.

But the Russian had made a rod for his own back, and with the impending appointment of Hiddink, who enjoyed a brief spell as interim manager at Chelsea, likely to mean he is judged by the same criteria as his predecessors; no European glory in the next two seasons and he is out in the cold.

Abramovich’s treatment of Ancelotti was even more brutal than that. Not only was he sacked 12 months after winning the double, but was forced to deal with the news of his departure just hours after he had given a dignified speech where he spoke of the need of both parties taking their time and considering their future together.

There was little consideration from Chelsea as they hung the former AC Milan man out to dry in the full glare of the media spotlight, and with Hiddink looking likely to be the next man to put his reputation on the line, there can be little doubt of the severity of the punishment that awaits him should he “fail”.

Hiddink has the slight advantage of his stock being remarkably high at Chelsea after his spell in charge of the club, and will ride a wave of goodwill during his first few months of the 2011/12 season- he also has the trust of the dressing room, something which Ancelotti reportedly struggled with.

Now Abramovich has a problem on his hands. He had set a precedent with his repeated sacking of managers, and looks to be bringing in a manager adored by players and fans alike. Should Hiddink get the same treatment as Ancelotti then the fans may well find their voice in their opposition of the Russian; something which has so far been muted in the face of his big spending.

This is a dangerous time for Abramovich; he has backed himself into a corner. He must watch his actions over the coming months or face discontent from fans and worse, struggling to find a manager willing to put their reputation at stake.