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Transfer deadline extravaganza!!! September 2, 2013

Posted by michaeltomlinson in Dutch soccer, English soccer, European soccer, French soccer, German soccer, Italian soccer, Spanish soccer, Transfer news.
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The unofficial FIFA Transfer deadline day thread, unofficially endorsed by Sepp Blatter’s jowls!

– Mesut Ozil just needs to pass a physical in Munich and he is set for a $42 million dollar move to Arsenal. It is said the he is set to make 6 million a year under the terms of his new contract with the North London club.                                                                                                         —          UPDATE 1: Check out Real Madrid fan’s chanting “Don’t sell Ozil as Perez announces Bale. What is his reaction you ask? To “Shhhhh” them of course. This is a must watch!


– Everton head man, Roberto Martinez isn’t ruling out keeping Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini amidst multiple reports Manchester United are keen on signing him. If this is true there reports this could free up $15 million necessary for the Toffees to bring Porto man, Fernando to the Merseyside.

Manchester City’s 20-year-old striker Harry Bunn joins Sheffield United on a month’s loan, according to the Premier League club’s Twitter feed. (external) In addition, 21-year-old midfielder Mohammed Abu joins Denmark’s Aarhus until the end of December.

– Liverpool has seemingly lost out to Atletico Madrid for the services of Ajax defender Toby Alderweireld. The talented 24 year old Belgian centerback spurned offers from many English sides to join Atletico for an undisclosed fee.

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EURO 2012 Preview #1: Holland. Dutch team not ridiculous enough. Here’s my suggestion. November 14, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Dutch soccer, Euro 2012.
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These are some things I don’t really care about in a Holland team: Winning games, tradition, picking the best players in every position, consistency, sanity.

These are some things I like in a Holland team: As many ridiculous players as possible, complete arrogance, losing the run of themselves, Clarence Seedorf, hopefully a complete meltdown or two.

This is how Bert van Maarvijk should line up if he wants my support at Euro 2012.


Ajax v. Milan thoughts September 29, 2010

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Champions League, Dutch soccer, Italian soccer.
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Not in an entirely good way, watching Milan these days always throws up the unexpected. Here are a few points about their performance Tuesday.

  • Pressure Ajax’s wide players? Why bother, right? It’s such a glaring, fundamental weakness, and one that has cost Milan every goal the Rossoneri have conceded this season.
  • I always wonder how Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri thinks he’s going to get away with that. The obvious answer is that he is forced to accommodate as many as possible of his star forwards — Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexandre Pato, Robinho and Ronaldinho — none of whom track back*, otherwise Italian Prime Minister/Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi will fire him. Fair enough, but surely Berlusconi will also fire him for losing a bunch of games, which he will do if he doesn’t defend out wide, right? Except …
  • He would probably lose a bunch of games anyway, since he doesn’t really have too many useful fullbacks, who are supposedly the most important players in modern football. Gianluca Zambrotta, Massimo Oddo and Marek Jankulovski were world-class when they were in their mid-to-late 20s. They are now in their 30s and very slow. Ignazio Abate and Luca Antonini are dodgy at best. Daniele Bonera is slow and doesn’t go forward. Despite this, Milan has never turned to loan signing Bruno Montelongo, so you know he must be putrid.
  • If that wasn’t enough, (hackneyed point warning): Milan is extremely old. It was kind of sad to see Gennaro Gattuso and Andrea Pirlo wandering through midfield in the last fifteen minutes like disoriented geriatrics who had somehow ended up in a motor speedway, while Eyong Enoh, Demy de Zeeuw and Rasmus Lindgren whirled around them stealing the ball before they even saw it coming, dribbling, and generally being big bullies. The entire Milan team started looking desperate for the final whistle.
  • You have to wonder about what happened at Milan this summer. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho are two of the most obscenely talented players on the planet, but Milan already had a pretty stacked forward line, picking from Pato, Ronaldinho, Marco Boriello, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Pippo Inzaghi and Clarence Seedorf. They cried out for a midfielder who could do some running, and genuinely pacy fullbacks. If Milan could pay the wages of the two they signed, plus the transfer fees, then surely they could have thrown together enough money for Raul Merieles, Cristian Molinaro and a loan for Martin Caceres, which probably would have been much closer to what they needed.
  • Luis Suarez is a dirty little player, isn’t he, but Mounir El Hamdaoui is fun to watch.

World Cup Post-mortem part 1 July 6, 2010

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Dutch soccer, European soccer, German soccer, Spanish soccer, The World Cup.
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What’s that you say? “The World Cup isn’t even over yet! How can you think of doing a post-mortem?”

To that I say that the only sides that matter to me at the World Cup are the ones from outside Europe. Without teams from the other continents, it’s simply not the World Cup, because the World Cup is an experience richer because it allows new players and new ideas to take center stage in the footballing world. The final, whomever wins between Germany and Spain, will be 4-2-3-1 vs. 4-2-3-1, chic European technocrat vs. chic European technocrat, winger with defensive responsibilities vs. fullback with attacking responsibilities, and Champions League winning captain vs. captain who has at least reached the final of the champions league.

All this from a tournament that, at one stage, promised a reinvigoration of footballing ideas: South American demigods, careworn East Asian ghosts, Argentine revolutionaries, and Iron Curtain throwbacks in chintzy suits and chintzier ties were among the managerial stars. We suddenly discovered three-man defenses working in harmony with three-man attacks, lopsided systems that actually worked, goalscorers and speed-demon wingers repurposing themselves to remarkable effect as trequartisti.

And then nothing. It’s over. Who cares which European giant triumphs in the end? It’ll just confirm that Europe’s trendiest system is the one true God; that a slick, generously subsidized national youth development project in a large country with a sizable immigrant population can yield extremely effective footballers and very successful national teams when welded to a competent bureaucratic structure. That, readers, is not rocket science.

But when we look back on this World Cup, if we look back on it, unless we’re celebrating in roja or oranje on Sunday night, it’s unlikely we’ll remember anything about the Spanish or Dutch (except for what a resolutely negative presence Mark van Bommel is in our lives, and perhaps Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s thunderbolt). And if we remember the Germans, it will likely be in the context of the greater things the likes of Ozil, Muller and Khedira go on to achieve, and how funny it was when they were alloyed with Miroslav Klose, Arne Friedrich and Lukas Podolski.

On the other hand, it will be difficult to forget Diego Maradona’s touchline charisma, the absurd injustice of Ghana’s defeat, Marcelo Bielsa’s thrilling quixoticism, North Korea’s bizarre appearance, Slovakia’s thrilling victory over the World Champions, and at least four brilliant Uruguayan goals.

The final and the champion are of lesser importance. In the greater scheme of things, competent bureaucracy, devotion to youth, 4-2-3-1 win out, but it’s no surprise when things that are well funded and organized come out on top. We don’t watch the World Cup to see that. We watch to see what’s wild and new and free, or at least I do, and with the tournament now rid of all of that, I think we’ll call it a month, no?