Is there any chance that Real Madrid could take a coaching session or two with the Atletico defenders before Thursday? They and Bayern Munich underlined the current dearth of goalkeeping talent at the top level in football. Arsenal being the next level down, are going to struggle this summer to fill that gap.
Neuer is on his way back from injury and will take over from Ulreich once again, but the latter is the kind of goalkeeper we will have scouted. And hopefully discarded. With a budget of £50m for transfers (supposedly), there’s little prospect of signing Oblak and Stoke will want £30m+ for Butland.
We’re signingJoe Hart, aren’t we?
Which sounds more of a threat than it should be. Former England Number One isn’t much to put on your CV when the competition was a bunch of kids and Rob Green. Football supporters have long memories and sadly for goalkeepers, mistakes tend to live longer in the mind than saves.
There are exceptions. John Lukic was slow to get down to shots from distance – like watching a redwood being felled – but I can’t immediately think of any mistakes. Anfield, White Hart Lane and Wembley erased them. I thought of one. Everton when Wayne Clarke scored from the halfway line.
We’ll try a test for the older reader. I’ll say a goalkeeper’s name and see what springs to your mind.
Ray Clemence. Yes, Kenny Dalglish’s shot going through his legs. Not a long, illustrious career, but the most humiliating moment he suffered.
Peter Shilton. Germany 1990 with the ball spinning over his head. And then you thought ‘Tina’. I know you did.
Dino Zoff. Bouncing the ball six hundred times across the penalty area – was it Argentina ’78 or Espana ’82? You got the point.
You’re an Errand Boy, Sent by Grocery Clerks, to Collect a Bill
This morning’s papers are all about who is replacing Arsène when he leaves. Liverpool’s now-departed assistant manager is the new favourite as the media in his native Bosnia claimed. ‘Journalists’ are no longer cultivating sources at clubs, they are either spoon-fed stories by senior executives or highly proficient with Google Translate.
Zeljko Buvac, otherwise known as the long-haired bloke who sat next to Jurgen Klopp, is the name on everyone’s lips thanks to the Mirror picking up on what the Bosnian press are claiming. Which proves my point. They read a website which cited the Bosnian press, found the story in that paper and then quoted it as the source for the story.
Back in the day, before the internet, they did the legwork, sank beers and got the editor to sign off their expenses which included payments to sources. Sort of like the Sweeney with their snouts, only less glamorous and a whole lot seedier.
Now, they spend the day in an orgy of self-congratulation on social media, currying favour with ‘fans’ by printing stories they want to hear or pushing grudges, only to become highly offended when they are labelled ‘no marks’ or usually, much worse.
Anyway, I doubt he is a candidate. Ivan was in Los Angeles at the weekend while Buvac was being told to do one at Anfield. Training ground bust-up, they called it in the old days. A “private matter” now. And in Rollerball, it was known as retirement.
Now I properly remember the feeding frenzy around the appointment of a new manager. All the early contenders fall by the wayside and out of nowhere comes the appointee. “We scoured the world and there is no better manager in football to take Arsenal forward than Steve Bould…”
That had you shifting uncomfortably in your seat, didn’t it?
The Horror…the Horror…
In proper footballing news, Rob Holding signed a new deal. Amazing how quickly the club can move when they want to, isn’t it. Judgement was swiftly passed on the former Bolton man when he didn’t turn out to be the new Cannavaro. Yet, I suspect he will be better than many think if a coach who understands defending is an art, gets hold of him. The same will most likely be true of Calum Chambers.
While some you can just see won’t improve with a change in boss – Mustafi, Koscielny – the youngsters have a chance. The bad habits they’ve picked up can be coached out of them, which is why dismissing Bellerin is foolish.
But the Chuckle Brothers? Lost causes, I’m afraid. Capable of outstanding performances? Definitely, and they will produce one on Thursday night to surprise us all as we cruise through to the final…
We can but dream.