Monday, June 6, 2011

Transfer Shenanigans - May 29 to Jun 06

The season is now well and truly over and the Transfer Rumor engine has already notched up a gear in the last week. Another Prick In The Wall was expecting a sudden outburst of crazy rumors, but what the blog hadn’t prepared for was the number of confirmed signings this early in the transfer window, which is actually quite good given the fact that teams that wind up their transfer business sooner get more time to prepare and gel in the pre-season. The blog fully expects the two leagues – One between Real Madrid and Barcelona and the other between the rest of the teams – to pan out with cut throat competition between opposing teams.

So without much ado, let's look at all the crazy transfer allegations and confirmed news touted by media all over the world during the last week as per each Spanish province...


The Usual Suspects
Unsurprisingly, leading the charge in the transfer market is Real Madrid. The blog wonders if displaying the same intensity in the league as that in the transfer market could help the club winning a Liga title. After the quick fire acquisitions of Nuri Sahin and Hamit Altintop from Germany, the capital club is now rumored to be close to signing Fabio Coentrao and Kun Aguero from Benfica and Atletico Madrid respectively.
 Apparently, Mourinho is "quite satisfied" with the reinforcements so far and had a meeting with Floppy to discus outgoings, which in the blog’s opinion is a smart opinion as the club is already over the 25 player limit. Mourinho has reportedly made it clear that he wants Coentrao and sees him as a top player who can play in several positions and even fill the hole left with Lass' imminent departure. The blog feels that this is a gross overreaction from the Madrid gaffer who seems to want to turn Real Madrid into a peace pact between Portugal and Turkey. One person who’s clearly not happy with the couple of new signings is the ever pouting Lassana Diarra. Both Mourinho and Florentino reportedly talked with Lass, who’s adamant about leaving. There have been rumors of Benfica and Juventus interested in securing his services, and hence he wants to do the run seeing as he probably won’t get adequate playing time with the arrival of Sahin and with Khedira and Xabi Alonso already ahead of him in the pecking order. As part of the yearly summer clearout, Pedro Leon & Canales have reportedly met up with Madrid’s three stooges Mourinho, Floppy and Zidane. The ex-Getafe winger has been told to pack his bags and leave as he’s no longer in the club’s plans (The blog wonders at this point if he ever was), whereas the club wants to hold on to Canales, but send him on loan. Schalke have reportedly tabled a loan offer for Canales, but the player himself wants to stay in Spain. Villarreal and Valencia are understood to be interested in him, but for a permanent offer. The blog feels that if push comes to shove, Madrid may end up selling Canales to either of the two clubs with the famed buy back option.

The biggest news regarding Real Madrid is that Real Madrid is interested in securing the services of Eduardo Inda as the Director of Communication at the club. Inda, until recently, was the editor of Madrid’s looniest rag, Marca. Given this fact, the blog can’t help but wonder how low the club can drop to next season on the Spout-The-Potty meter. From Mou-bytes to Mounda-bytes. Sheesh, onward to the next club…

Erring Atletico Madrid are finally in the news for the right reasons. After yet another disastrous season prior to which the club made hash out of yet another transfer window, Atletico have taken pre-emptive action this summer by firing Jesus Garcia Pitarch as the Sporting Director. Former Atletico player, Jose Caminero has taken over this vacant spot in the hope that he can bring light to the Rojablancos. It has also been rumored that Atletico were in contact with unemployed Rafael Benitez who, after his stint with Liverpool which ended in disaster, has not been able to find a club to his liking. The blog feels that the rumors linking him to the Madrid club are probably unfounded seeing as Benitez has issued a “Come Get Me” plea in a press conference stating that he would like to coach an English club side. Meanwhile, Joaquin Caparros, currently coaching Athletic Bilbao has also been linked to the Atletico job. The blog cannot imagine where Caparros’ aims and Atletico’s project coincide, especially since Atletico can currently offer nothing more to Caparros which Athletic cannot, and the latter have a better and more organized team than Atletico currently does. Coming back to Atletico, the club has confirmed that Rennes’ right back Rod Fanni has joined the club in a three year deal which cost them five million euros. This news comes on back of yet another full back related rumor, that of Atletico being interested in Fenerbahce’s Andre Santos, which probably would not come to fruition now. Atletico have also secured permanent services of Eduardo Silva after Benfica has forgone the option to get the player back.

At Getafe, Michel’s sacking has been well received. But the better received news is that Luis Garcia, who was the architect of Levante’s miracle season, has signed up for the club for three years. Levante have made a nifty million euros in buyout clause as part of this deal.


Yet Another Cesc Wringing Summer
Down in Catalunya, Barcelona’s staff and players still haven’t got out of a triumphant season’s hangover and have continued with the self-important trash talk. A triumphant Gerard Piqué, post Sunday’s celebrations, drooled, “We don’t do doping, nor do we dive or buy the referees. Barcelona only do one thing: play football”. The blog feels that the quote would have some real comic value had it been Dani Alves saying it, but it seems that the club’s PR department is doing a good job by giving the right guys the right quotes. For instance, Xavi, who had yet another feather in his cap (of not having a single foul called against him in any of the matches in UCL this season), tut-tutted, “It was disappointing to see how such a good team like Madrid adapted totally to the opponent. United lost with their head up high”. Moving on to the boardroom where the top brass take all the shady decisions, it seemed as if Barca were close to signing Jose Angel from Sporting Gijon for 4.5 million euros, however the negotiations have since then, broken down. There has been no news of getting back acclaimed Catalan centre-back Alberto Botia from Gijon, so looks like Gijon will get him for keeps. Instead it has been rumored that Barcelona are more interested in seeing if they can prize away AC Milan’s center back Thiago Silva who has had an absolutely fantastic breakthrough season, for around 25 million euros. Knowing how the two Milan clubs are habituated to ripping off Barcelona in the transfer market, the blog fully expects this deal (if it goes through) to be a cash plus player deal involving the said 25 million and a couple of players. Maxwell is rumored to be included, but the blog wouldn’t bet against Bojan being put on the selling platter as well. Meanwhile, the Catalan dailies report that Barcelona are very close to signing Kiko Femenia from Hercules. Some crazy rumors from the Madrid based media seem to suggest that Barcelona's priorities for the summer transfer market are Cesc (Arsenal), Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal), and Alexis Sanchez (Udinese) and Barcelona are willing to listen to offers for Milito, Jeffren, Bojan and Thiago, if that’s what it would take to fund the transfers.

According to reports in Italy, Luis Enrique is very close to being the coach for AS Roma. Enrique has been juggling the little problem of “Atletico or Roma” for quite some time and in between debating if he should have recently retired Perico, Ivan De La Pena join his coaching staff at whichever club he moves to. The blog would very much like to see Enrique remaining at Barcelona and trying to get De La Pena to serve on his staff. The Barca fan boys may just abandon the youth academy in disgust. Talking about the Pericos, Espanyol reportedly have 45 million euros in their transfer kitty to add on to their mildly successful season. That apart, the club is looking to offload David Garcia, Javi Chica, Ivan Alonso and Aldo Duscher. The blog wonders if 45 million plus the pittance they’ll get from the probable sale of the said players would be enough to rebuild in the summer and get in good replacements.


A club in Resurgence...
Down in Andalusia, Marcelino Garcia Toral of Racing Santander and Chile’s ex-coach Marcelo Bielsa are being linked with the coaching job at Sevilla. The blog for its life, cannot understand why Sevilla want to sign Marcelino seeing as he’s been an accomplished second division coach and a failure in Primera. The aims of the club and the reputation that precedes Marcelino could not be more diverse. Having Bielsa at Sevilla though is a prospect that the blog is really looking forward to. For starters, the team would probably start playing some attractive, attacking football that they’ve generally been associated with. But what’s got the blog’s interest hitting alarmingly dangerous levels is the prospect of seeing Mourinho and Bielsa slug it out against each other in a tripe spouting contest every weekend, through the press. Meanwhile, Renato has left Sevilla to play for Botafogo in his native Brazil in a three year deal. Sevilla have also relieved themselves of the services of Didier Zokora, who has joined Trabzonspor for five million euros. The summer clearout might just be completed once they manage to find a home for Romaric, the club hopping midfielder who would probably be looking for company to indulge in his nightlife now given that Zokora has already left. Sevilla have able replacements for the two castaways in Medel and Rakitic, both signed in the last season’s winter transfer window and are looking to bolster the squad after having exercised the option to permanently sign Martin Caceres who is on loan from Barcelona. After completing the signings of Trochowski and Manu del Moral in addition to Caceres, Sevilla have signed right back Coke from Rayo Vallecano. Coke’s deal with Sevilla runs till 2015 and the 24 year old has a 15 million buyout clause.

The blog’s latest darling club Malaga have finally secured the services of free agent Ruud Van Nistelrooy who was presented before a club record 15000 strong crowd. The club has also reportedly concluded negotiations with Marseille for Lucho Gonzalez who is expected to join Malaga for 12 million euros. Jeremy Toulalan is also reportedly in Spain to wind up his signing with Malaga. Joaquin, the injury ridden Valencia player has reportedly agreed terms with Malaga and will earn 2.2 million euros per year. The only thing that remains is a bargain to be struck between Malaga and Valencia. From what is undersood, Valencia want 5-6 million for the player but would agree if they’re paid four. Malaga meanwhile, are playing hardball, not wanting to pay more than 2.5 million euros. Some crazy rumors have suggested that Malaga have bid around 35 million euros for Palermo’s Pastore. The president of Palermo, who values Pastore at 50 million has scoffed at this news and denied that there has been any offer from Malaga. Malaga’s transfer juggernaut has nevertheless seemed to roll on with them being reportedly interested in Osasuna’s Nacho Monreal, though the reported 8 million seem excessive to the buying club. Malaga have also struck a pact with UNESCO as part of the “Imagine Peace” movement and would be sporting UNESCO on their jerseys in the coming years. More about it here.


Valencia CF have confirmed the signing of Diego Alves from Almeria who will serve as backup to Vicente Guaita who has renewed his contract with Valencia till 2015. Valencia’s Cesar, who became surplus to requirements after Diego Alves signed on, has moved to cross town rivals Villarreal in a one year deal after which he’d probably hang up his boots for good. Valencia are reportedly interested in securing the services of Dani Parejo from Getafe. A fee in the region of 7 million euros has been mentioned and this rumor might just turn out to be true given the fact that Real have conveyed to Getafe that they are not interested in invoking the 5 million buyback clause for Parejo. So an additional 2 million for the capital club and no one’s the wiser, in the blog’s opinion.

1 Euro
After making 1 million euros from the contract settlement of coach Luis Garcia, Levante have utilized that money in securing the permanent services of Caceido who has signed on for 3 years with a buyout clause of 10 million euros. A number of clubs namely, Sevilla, Atletico, Villarreal and Valencia are reportedly interested in signing Caceido and Levante would no doubt love a bidding war leading to the sale of the player, making a healthy profit in the process which they can then utilize to secure other areas. For a club that operates on an year ly income which is lesser than Messi’s salary, a transfer fee of around 13 million would mean that Levante would be relatively in a much secure position compared to last year.

There has been no news of any confirmed signings coming out of Villarreal, however, Villarreal’s Damian Escudero has expressed his desire to join Boca Juniors and would probably be laid off.

The Others

Down in Basque Country, which is probably the calmest region in Spain due to its inactivity in the transfer market (owing to the philosophy of a strong bias for Basque players), the only news is that Osasuna have signed Mallorca’s center back Ruben. Meanwhile in the Balearic Islands, Michael Laudrup seemed optimistic about the coming season as he quipped, “I intend to honor my contract with Mallorca. The club is better prepared at planning for the coming season. Last season, things didn’t turn out as expected because everything was done in haste”.

In Galicia, freshly relegated Deportivo La Coruna have announced that Jose Luis Oltra will take over as the coach, while the club’s goal scoring goalkeeper, Dani Aranzubia has committed to the club provided an offer doesn’t come along. Duh, if an offer doesn’t come along, everyone’s committed yeah?

Until the next gossip filed column goes into print, you can check out the transfer liveblog set up by Another Prick In The Wall, which will undoubtedly leave you with an euphoric of revolting feeling depending on what news you just read and the club you support.


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