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Top five transfers of the week July 20, 2009

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Uncategorized.
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Hey, we hope this will be a regular featuere. Please enjoy.

Barry Ferguson (Rangers to Birmingham) $2 million: So he has behavioral problems? That’s not even a bad thing overall if it knocks about $12 million off the price for a quality player who can slot in anywhere in midfield. I mean, Ferguson did fail last time he came to England, but that was before he was part of a Scotland team that slew a string of giants. And now he’s under a coach who knows how to get the best out of him and he’ll have something to prove. Of course, he could also peter out and suffer the same injury problems that scuppered his tenure at Blackburn. But at a price that low, it’s probably a risk worth taking.

Felipe Melo (Fiorentina to Juventus) $35.4 million: Proven in Serie A, proven on the international stage, powerful, skilfull, composed. And he’s a definite step up over Momo Sissoko.

Ricardo Oliveira (Real Betis to al-Jazeera) 19.8 million: How did that happen? Oliveira’s actually a damn good player. One can only speculate that a tremendously ill-advised stint at Milan, followed by successive relegations in La Liga (despite respectable scoring numbers) created the impression among interested parties that someone upstairs doesn’t much like Oliveira. And maybe the transfer fee was a little high too. But that means nothing to a club in the United Arab Emirates, where money would grow on trees if there were any. (As it is, it shoots out of the ground.)  Of course, maybe the hex hanging over Oliveira will drive Jazeera down the divisions too.

Marcus Berg (Groningen to Hamburg) $14.9 million: Why do I think Marcus Berg is a cast-iron guarantee of goals? Extensive experience watching his games in Holland? Scouting reports from expert witnesses? Hell no. Pure statistics: 33 goals in 56 goals in Holland is a hell of a ration. That, intuition, and the 22 years that have elapsed since the Swede’s birth are enough for me. Those and goals like this. I certainly think he’s got more of a chance at success than another Scandinavian hulk who changed hands this week.

Carlos Tevez (Manchester City to Manchester United) undisclosed,  rumored to be roughly $41 million: But Alex, isn’t that a hell of a lot of money? Oh, yeah, but wait, didn’t this guy keep a team in the Premiership singlehandedly despite having to play alongside Marlon Harewood, possibly the worst soccer player of the decade? Yes, he did. Wasn’t he also the first Argentine to really make it in Brazil in donkeys’ years, and didn’t he win a succession of Copa Libertadores singlehandedly before that? And whatever Manchester United fans are saying about him now, didn’t they put up 10 times as mich resistance to Tevez’s leaving as they did to European Footballer of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure? And this for a guy that never really got a look in in the team? Yeah, and the reason is that Carlos Tevez is a fucking superstar. Manchester City might have paid over the odds for him, but it was for top, top quality. He’s proven beyond all doubt in the Premiership. I’d put an early bet on a couple of derby wins for Manchester City this season if I were you.

Mistake of the decade? July 18, 2009

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Uncategorized.
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As a Barcelona fan, I groan at every mention of a certain center forward. Depite unalloyed brilliance, he demands too much money, turns up to too few games, and has and ego big for any planet, let alone dressing room, to contain.

Even if the club’s transfer honchos did nothing else this summer, I will still be thankful they dodged a bullet if he is playing in any colors but Blaugrana next season.

And because this is one of the most hackneyed tropes in a writer’s tookit, I’m sure by now you know I’m not talking about Samuel Eto’o, but instead Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Barca’s agreement to trade the Cameroonian to Inter for the Swede has been lauded by the Guardian, but I find myself feeling weary. I thought the aforementioned characteristics, alongside the imminence of Eto’o’s 30s, were the club’s reasons to jettison him. Though it tied my heartstrings in knots after five outrageous seasons of football from Africa’s three-time player of the year, I agreed.

Yet now we look poised to bring in a man with all the same faults. Ibrahimovic is also an utterly unprecedented talent and has been one of my favorite non-blaugrana to watch over the years. I doubt any footballer has ever alloyed such suppleness with that kind of verve. But Ibrahimovic is also, if anything, more combustible in the dressing room than Eto’o.

What’s more, though both are inconsistent, Eto’o had a habit of turning up on the very biggest stage, (and that’s balance-shifting goals in two Champions League finals, if you were counting) while Ibrahimovic is a notorious choker in big moments. Eto’o, at the least, has always demanded the ball as voraciously on defense as he does on offense, even when he’s not playing well. Ibrahimovic seems utterly uninterested in it. And Eto’o’s directness and verticality have leavened our studied build-up for years. Ibrahimovic is a man who slows the game down, very much like those Barca’s two otherwise-brilliant style-crampers of the decade, Patrick Kluivert and Juan Roman Riquelme.

Of course, above all else, Ibrahimovic also resembles Johan Cruyff, the key man in the last half-century of Barcelona history. As this blog points out, he’s never really played alongside a team this good, and internecine battles left bullet holes in the last dressing room he was part of. I’m not saying he’s a nailed-on failure. I’m just saying I’m damn nervous. And that I’ll miss Eto’o.

Football link of the week July 18, 2009

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Uncategorized.
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That would be the Guardian’s list of the top six team goals ever. Team goals are definitely my favorite type and these are all the better for their moments of subtle genius — Pele’s pause before he serves the ball up to Carlos Alberto in the 1970 final, the utter audacity of Clodoaldo’s beating four men in his own half in the same game, the siklen Dennis Bergkamp touch to Patrick Vieira in Arsenal’s 7-0 mutliation of Everton.

Carlos Tévez puts undeniably obscure yet cute friendship in jeopardy July 14, 2009

Posted by michaeltomlinson in Uncategorized.
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With the recent transfer of Carlos Tévez to Manchester city the Man United tripod of soccer justice lost its Argentine leg. The departure  left Frenchman Patrice Evra and South Korean national Park Ji-Sung to wallow in the rafters of Old Trafford for their former teammate and good chum, turned derby rival.

Carlito has officially moved along leaving one to wonder if  he will be attending  Park’s next birthday party? Sheer Vicinity would lead me to believe these three fine gentlemen can and will make it work. So don’t fret city of Manchester you may yet see one Ji-Sung and Tévez Popping…..dropping and eventually locking it  at a club near you!

Hi world. We like soccer. July 14, 2009

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Uncategorized.
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Hi there. Me and my accomplice, Mike Tomlinson, like soccer. We’re also loud an opinionated and spend most of our time on computers. So a blog seemed natural.

We live in the United States, possibly the world’s most sweltering soccer hotbed. It’s going to be difficult to rise above the deafening commotion of disparate footballing voices in this country of hearing-impaired soccer fanatics, but we’ll do our part.

No, seriously, nobody cares about the sport here. If it weren’t for a handful of millionaires with a fetish for the sport (or a very poor estimation of what is and isn’t profitable), it would be buried somewhere between the XFL and the LPGA (coming 2010, or thereabouts).

Support for a sport ought to come from the grassroots, otherwise it ought to be put out of its misery. We’re at the grassroots. Now American soccer just needs about 20 million more guys like us.

So in the coming months, expect us to make posts about soccer in the United States and elsewhere. They’ll be obnoxious, I’m sure, but maybe you’ll also find them entertaining. A few things you should know:

  • We live in Oregon, Eugene to be exact. We’re college students, albiet at a college with no men’s soccer program (the University of Oregon). What that means for you: despite its being the most passionately and sincerely followed brand of soccer in the United States, college soccer will receive little coverage here.
  • I am from Kane’ohe, Hawai’i, which hasn’t had a professional soccer team within about 2,500 miles since 1977 (and won’t until the Galaxy, Earthquakes and Chivas USA drift off the continent with the rest of California). I’m a Barcelona fan and I am also interested in the Puerto Rico Islanders (I was born ther) and Slask Wroclaw (my family’s homeland).
  • Mike is from Gresham, Ore., and also likes other sports. He’s also a Barcelona man and he also likes the Portland Timbers.
  • What that means for you: There will be a lot of effusive, myopic praise for Real Madrid and Espanyol.
  • Hey, wait a minute, who am I to tell you what you need to know? Sounds real directive. I’m not the boss of you, am I?

Any questions? Any thoughts? Want to tell me to go to hell? Leave a comment then. I hear that’s the way blogs work.