Ashley Cole is the subject of more transfer speculation this morning, today’s Independent claiming that Chelsea will be activating the oft – reported £16m Release Clause in his contract. I cannot quite fathom if (a) this is a rehash of old news or (b) this is some irrelevant speculation on the part of a lazy journo on a slow news day. More interestingly, Lauren is rumoured to be a target of Sevilla. Given that he is Andalus by birth (as opposed to nationality), there is a hint of truth. Certainly the rumoured £4m fee would be taken seriously by Arsenal given the emergence of Eboue and the return of Justin Hoyte from Sunderland. For a number of seasons both fullbacks were guaranteed their spot in the team due to a lack of adequate replacements, the reverse is now true. Whilst Gael Clichy is not as good as Cole, that seems a situation that will be rectified in the fullness of time. Flamini is a surefooted replacement for Clichy should that necessity arise. The summer could prove an opportune moment to consider moving both on – Wenger showed with Vieira that he does not tolerate too many summers of speculation surrounding players although Henry would be the exception to that rule – and a total of £20m could be well invested in new players, particularly in the forward line and centre of defence.
Wayne Rooney continues to occupy the minds of the media hacks and if we are to be believed, the nation as a whole. The Broken Metatarsal allowed them to rehash all of the articles from four years ago and just substitute Rooney for David Beckham. Eriksson is currently working for the first time in his England Career on a Plan B, with the ludicrous suggestion from Rafa Benitez that Liverpool’s Peter Crouch could replace him. No, I’m not following that one either. Crouch should be Plan B if you need to lob a long ball forward and have Owen and Rooney running onto the knockdown. To my untrained eye, the obvious replacement is Joe Cole, creative enough and capable of scoring. Where England fall down is a lack of width. It will be interesting to see if Eriksson has the brass balls to take Aaron Lennon with the squad as a possible option for the left hand side should Cole be moved to a more central position. Whether this will work remains to be seen but he would be the unknown quantity for any defence to try to handle in much the same way that Rooney was in Euro 2004. Danny Murphy makes an interesting point that the boots may not be to blame for the recent spate of this injury, instead blaming the pitches. The Spurs midfielder believes that wear and tear on the feet leaves them open to potential damage as most pitches are firm which is conduicive to the standard of football in the Premiership these days. However, this does not appear to hold true for Rooney or indeed, Beckham. Both men suffered injuries as a result of poor challenges by opponents which came on the top of the foot. This has resulted in broken bones, most likely because of the slimness of the leather uppers on the top of the boot they were wearing. The time may be coming where manufacturers will have to thicken these or put in a more protective design. Given the penchant for retro shirts, what price retro boots combined with modern footwear technologies?
On the subject of England, Steve McLaren seems set to be named as the new England Coach. This is something I would not agree with nor do I think will work long term. Despite ‘Boro’s Eurpean run, it should be remembered that in the League they are what could be politely termed as infuriatingly inconsistent. Capable of hammering Chelsea and Manchester United but losing to woeful Sunderland and Aston Villa teams at home. The recent home matches have masked deficiencies, two down to Basle and three down to Steaua do not fill me with hope. One thing is for certain his teams are capable of recovering although Sevilla could be one step too far for them. I would still prefer Sam Allardyce for the role, with Stuart Pearce as assistant. It appears however, that the FA have a dream team of McLaren, with Peter Taylor as his number two and Pearce assisting. Ho hum.
Todays Tunes are from The Who, a concert from Oakland on 9th October 1976, the late John Entwhistles birthday.
I Can’t Explain