Like the death of Michael Jackson or Andrew Flintoff's latest injury, the news that Carlos Tevez is to
sign for Manchester
City was a little
shocking but in no way surprising.
Tevez has been City-bound ever since getting the hump with
Manchester United for refusing to guarantee his place in the team after
starting the season with a run of two goals in 20 games.
Alex Ferguson said yesterday he suspected the deal was done
in January, when Tevez rejected a United contract offer and, most damningly of
all, failed to respond to two text messages from the gaffer.
That's the kind
of social snub from which relationships simply cannot recover, and from that
moment Tevez was always going to leave.
declared United's close-season business
over, attempting to draw a line under a disastrous summer that has seen them
replace Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo with - in Fergie's
own words - two youngsters and an old codger.
United have suffered the humiliation of losing all their
clout in the transfer market as Manchester City and Real Madrid hoover up
players like Diego Maradona hoovers up... well, you get the idea.
Yet Fergie has put the most tenuous of brave faces on
things, saying the club's lack of
activity is exactly what the supporters wanted to see, saying: "I can only
placate fans in one way - that's by
not being stupid."
Tevez is likely to be followed into Eastlands by Emmanuel
Adebayor, who should be taken off Arsenal's
hands for around £25 million.
Given the array of attacking talent at Mark Hughes's disposal, it is probably fair to say Benjani has had
Darius Vassell has already been released and Jo sent for
another season on loan at Everton, with Ched Evans, Felipe Caicedo, Valeri
Bojinov and Benjani likely to go before the end of August.
Even if that sextet departs, Mark Hughes will still have
Robinho, Craig Bellamy, Roque Santa Cruz, Carlos Tevez and probably Adebayor at
his disposal - the upshot being that Bellamy will have to take a five-iron to a
lot of team-mates' shins before he
has any chance of playing.
This is why City's
buy 'em all experiment cannot work.
Either Hughes must rotate his strikers - never a good idea - or settle on a
first-choice pair and mightily peeve three expensively acquired
And we all know how well Tevez reacts when asked to fight
for his first-team place.
Chelsea were successful because he kept a relatively small squad, identified
the players he wanted and then used the club's
vast wealth to pay whatever it took to get them - players like Didier Drogba
and Michael Essien.
approach suggests a team with no clear idea of its transfer targets, willing to
grab any big names that come into their orbit. ED suspects it could be a tough
season at Eastlands.
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Disappointingly, it seems the public war of words between
David Beckham and London Donovan has come to a close.
At every stage, both players have been at pains to say that
such matters should be discussed man-to-man, before promptly continuing their
bickering match through the press.
Donovan: "Maybe he's not a leader, maybe he's
not a captain. Fair enough. But at a minimum, you should bust your ass every
day. That hasn't happened. And I don't think that's
too much for us to expect. Especially when he's
brought all this on us."
every player's eyes throughout the
world it would be unprofessional to speak out about a team-mate, especially in
the press, and not to your face."
Donovan: "I'm not going to apologise for the way I felt. What I
feel badly about is that I should have been a man and told David how I felt as
opposed to telling a reporter."
Beckham: "It's over. I'm
not going to talk about what was said. That's
between me, Landon and the manager. But it's
finished. It's over. So we move on."
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: Newcastle's Steve Harper goes off-message from the corporate
Mike Ashley line: "What happened last season was desperately
disappointing, but just when you think there's
an opportunity for this club to put itself right, build and get straight back
up, the opposite happens. We want it to be resolved so we know where we are and
where we're going because at this
moment the football club is dying a slow, painful death. For five or six years
now it's been a gradual slow
implosion. The situation is very, very frustrating for all of us. To be fair to
Chris Hughton, Colin Calderwood and the lads, we have made the best of what is
a dreadful situation. But at the moment the club isn't
rebuilding -- it's in a state of
limbo and that is no good for anyone."
FOREIGN VIEW: Argentine midfielder Andres D'Alessandro of Internacional has been suspended for
60 days by a Brazilian sports tribunal for his pivotal role in a fracas in the
Copa Brasil final against Corinthians.
D'Alessandro received the "minimum
punishment" for an "attempted aggression" on Corinthians captain
William during the second leg in Porto
Alegre on July 1.
drew the second leg 2-2 but lost 4-2 on aggregate, said they will appeal
against the ban, which will keep the hot-headed D'Alessandro
out until September 12.
The former River
Plate, VfL Wolfsburg, Portsmouth, Real Zaragoza
and San Lorenzo playmaker faced a possible
two-year ban but the tribunal ruled he had not actually attacked any opponents.
"I don't know what's
going on in my head right now ... It's
not a good moment to talk. I don't
want to speak so I don't say anything
stupid," D'Alessandro said.
of the match shows D'Alessandro, who
had just been sent off, punching the air and calling defender William to fight.
The match referee's report said he sent D'Alessandro
offfor kicking Corinthians' Cristian
while he was on the ground waiting for medical attention. The Argentine was
handed a one-match ban for that incident.
midfielder Elias and Inter full back Kleber, who were involved in the
second-half fracas, were also suspended for one match.
Menzes of Corinthians and Inter's
Tite, who had both been banished from their benches for coming onto the pitch
during the fracas, were cleared by the tribunal.
COMING UP: It's Bastille Day, so get
your beret, string of onions and lunchtime drinking ready for a Tour de France
spectacular - it's Limoges to Issoudun, and it's bound to feature lots of crazy French breakaways.
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ED wishes John Hartson all the best in his battle against cancer.