Get your Phoenix memberships ready, kiwi footy fans, because as if David Villa wasn’t enough, Frank Lampard is signing a short term deal with Melbourne City too. It’s been expected for a while that he’d join Villa at New York City FC but the Aussie loan deal wasn’t a sure thing. The Wellington Phoenix host Melbourne City on November 22 at Westpac, when both Villa and Lampard should be playing.
The hottest property in all football is suddenly James Rodriguez. The 22 year old Colombian has taken the world by storm with his heroics in Brazil, leading to the usual rumours that the biggest clubs in the world will all be lining up to take him from AS Monaco. Young James has been dominating all World Cup, scoring in every game so far, but it was his stunning chest and volley against Uruguay that was his breakout moment. Rodriguez is a natural left winger, but one capable of drifting in and scoring goals. After a few years at Porto, scoring 32 times in 105 games, he joined Monaco for a fee of around about £36m – the second most expensive in the history of Portuguese football (after Hulk). He had a pretty good season in France too, but despite their investment, you’ve gotta think that if Real Madrid come knocking with £50m or so, they won’t have a choice. Rodriguez has drawn many comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo, a player whom he openly admires, and has said that a move to Spain would be preferable (no surprise, given he’s a natural Spanish speaker).
As for Luis Suarez, Liverpool obviously want to keep him, and his 4 month ban probably helps them in that regard. However Suarez is pissed off with the English media who for some reason keep on reporting things about him biting people after he bites people. He issued an apology for the bite (after first claiming he “tripped and fell”) which LFC had no say in, and has been seen by some as his clearing the waters ahead of a move to Barcelona. Or maybe Real Madrid.
Manchester United have finally made a splash in the transfer market, much to the relief of embattled Chairman Ed Woodward. And once the first name dropped, a second was soon to follow. Spaniard Ander Herrera has signed from Atletico Bilbao, and Luke Shaw from Southampton.
Herrera is a silky midfielder, capable of playing deep but also drifting forward and creating goals. Not a huge scorer (goals from midfield are something the club is lacking), though a guy with incredible vision and a battler above his slim weight on defence. Cesc Fabregas is probably a fair comparison. Luke Shaw meanwhile is the 18 year old England international most recently seen kitting up against Costa Rica. An EPL starter for 2 years already, he has a long future ahead of him and should be the England left back at the next half dozen major tournaments at least. Herrera cost around £29m, and Shaw a few mill extra (including incentives). A lot of cash, but the team is apparently ready to spend up to £200m to revamp this squad. Nice work, Woodward.
Louis Van Gaal will be pleased with the efforts of his new board, and so committed is he to his new job that even if the Dutch go all the way to the World Cup final he still intends to be on Manchester United’s preseason tour. No break, no holiday, straight back to work.
Rumour is that Thomas Vermaelen will be next for Man Utd in a busy summer, but their rivals are hardly resting on their laurels themselves. Manchester City have completed the signing of Fernando and as usual are being linked all over the place, especially for a reserve goalie to keep Joe Hart on his toes. Former Blues midfielder Gary Barry is nearing a £2m permanent move to Everton after his successful loan spell (he’s a free agent, but there was a clause in the loan deal) while on the other side of the coin, Yaya Toure continues to want out. Barry’s loss is a drop in the ocean but if Yaya was to walk? That could be trouble. The combination between Fernandinho and Fernando will be a fun one for commentators though. Here’s the new boy celebrating getting sent off for Porto against rivals Sporting Lisbon.
Liverpool are closing in on 19 year old Belgian forward Divock Origi, while Adam Lallana’s transfer to Merseyside will be completed any second now. Brendan Rodgers has told fans that more signings are imminent. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is close to getting Morgan Schneiderlein from Southampton, and is keen to bring Sami Khedira to The Emirates as he feels he can bring out the best in Mesut Ozil. Albeit his pursuit of Mario Balotelli seems to be stumbling. The Gunners have also had an enquiry over Roma midfielder Alessandro Florenzi rejected, but at least they’re willing to spend money these days.
As for Chelsea, they’ve been quiet after their initial splash. Felipe Luis is surely gonna be in Blue by the start of the season, the Atletico left back is so desperate to make the move go through that he’s cut off all contact with his current club. Apart from that we’ll just wait and see. It’s not like they’re short on cash. Maybe the Diego Costa thing will be finalised soon.
In much more boring EPL news, Robert Snodgrass has joined FA Cup finalists Hull City from relegated Norwich. Hull are also close to signing young winger Tom Ince, son of Paul and confirmed Jake Livermore earlier this week. Swansea’s bagged 28 year old French striker Bafetimbi Gomis, though Ben Davies is set to move to Spurs. Former City benchwarmer Joleon Lescott will be with West Brom next season. Things are starting to happen.
Former Brazilian star Kaka is a bit if a forgotten man. Having been overlooked for the World Cup squad, he’s headed back to his homeland after being released by AC Milan. He’ll play for Sao Paolo next season, and in the meantime will pick up a short term deal with Orlando City in the MLS.
Staying in Italy, Juventus have no intention of selling French World Cup star Paul Pogba to Chelsea, and Pogba has no intentions of leaving. Not sure if we can say the same for Arturo Vidal, who is wanted by Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United, though he says Old Trafford is his preference. His Chilean teammate Alexis Sanchez is also wanted by every big club in England, but would rather stay with Barcelona (who themselves just signed the Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo).
And to polish things off, Inter Milan are going to retire the number 4 jersey in honour of the great Javier Zanetti following the Argentinian's retirement after 19 years and 858 games for the club. He's also been announced as their new vice-president. Nooice.