A draw against the European champions isnâ€™t bad for openers with Jake Livermore scoring a great goal. It looks like heâ€™s for real â€“ which is good because our pre-season so far has been mostly fantasy (apart from the Celtic defeat)..Â
Leaving gooner phobia to one side for a moment, do we really need Patrick Viera? He looked past it long before he left the Prem, making â€˜old manâ€™ tackles and getting booked. A bit like Paul Scholes really and you canâ€™t say worse than that. Then we keep hearing that weâ€™re interested in the Dutch striker at Real Madrid, Huntelaar. Real want to move him on but the snag is, his contract brings him around 128k a week, net. Yes, net.Â
One definition of fantasy is â€˜imagining impossible or improbable eventsâ€™ which is a fair description of whatâ€™s supposed to happen next. Huntelaar wants either Real, or us, to pay him around 5M up front. This is to make up the difference between what his Spurs salary would be, and the Madrid contract. Thatâ€™s for a Dutch player who is certainly no Cruyff, not even a Berkamp, but could definitely be a Dirk Kuyt! It all makes Crouch look like a bargain and heâ€™s definitely still in the frame, which will keep Defoe happy.
Moving on, Jonathon Woodgateâ€™s problem is a potential nightmare. All that time he spent on the treatment table at Real Madrid seemedÂ far away but heâ€™s struggling again. Which brings us to the French under 23 centre back, Bassong, who wants away from Newcastle. Who doesnâ€™t â€“ apart from Alan Shearer? Strange, I never saw him as fantasist, that club does strange things to the mind. They can still see an opportunity though. Given our problems, they want 10M for him against the 5M weâ€™ve offered. They only paid 500K for him last year! Ashley has dropped a few bob up there but Daniel Levy wonâ€™t be making it up for him. Yet apparently Bassong is only on 5k a week in barcode land so heâ€™ll be pushing for the move.
One of the biggest laughs of the pre-season is watching the panic at Old Trafford as purple nose realises that he canâ€™t really buy any big players â€“ a winger from Wigan to replace Ronaldo? While at the same time, over at City, Mark Hughes has the cash to buy anyone on the market. No wonder the old spin merchant is trying to rubbish Cityâ€™s chances!
As for us, we donâ€™t have Unitedâ€™s debt problems, or Cityâ€™s cash, but we do have everything to play for. COYS!
By Phil Rowson
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