Arsenal can’t compete in the transfer market, while Manchester United have included Darren Fletcher in their Champions League squad. Michael Owen has finally signed for a club, while Joey Barton’s talks of life in France. TheHardTackles takes a look at the top news doing the rounds in England.
Darren Fletcher in, Florent Malouda out
As the English clubs announced their 25-man Champions League squads, there were quite a few surprises on the offering. Darren Fletcher made it to the United roster, while Chelsea left out Florent Malouda and reserve goalkeeper Henrique Hilario from their squad. Furthermore, Arsenal haven’t added Jack Wilshere to their A-list but the Englishman is expected to make the B-list, while Manchester City didn’t include Kolo Toure for the group phase of UEFA Champions League.
“Darren’s put a lot of weight back on. He’s back to his normal weight from two or three years ago. It’s a case of wait and see. But Darren comes into the 25-man squad quite easily, without me having to leave others out because we have a number of players who we don’t need to register because of the time they’ve spent with us as an academy player. That’s an advantage. He’s training well every day and played really well the other night for the U21s.“, said Ferguson.
Fletcher, who had been suffering from a career-threatening illness, hasn’t played for United since last November, and this is a clear indication that he’s on the right track. He was once an invaluable player for Ferguson and the manager would hope that his compatriot can return to the form of old; United’s midfield can certainly use that player today.
The case of Malouda lies on the other end of the spectrum. Chelsea wanted to sell him, but whenever a move seemed close, the Frenchman’s high wages and his reluctance to take a pay cut came in the way of his departure. He wasn’t a part of the Super Cup squad, hasn’t played a part in the Premier League this season and now exclusion from the Champions League roster is the death knell of his Chelsea career. He may still leave for Russia or Turkey, but a more likely outcome is that he sits out the last year of his contract and leaves next summer.
Wenger knows, says Arsenal Chairman Peter Hill-Wood
“Arsène has money to spend but there’s a limit. We can’t spend £50m on one player. At a certain level, we can’t compete. I don’t think [majority shareholder] Stan Kroenke is going to put the sort of dollars in that [Roman] Abramovich or Sheikh Mansour are putting into Chelsea or Manchester City. That’s not the way he thinks clubs should be run. Luckily, Arsène understands that. He got an economics degree from Strasbourg University so he’s certainly no fool. He knows how a club should be run. That annoys a lot of people but clubs have to be sustainable. We’re not going to go bankrupt in the way one or two other well-known clubs have.”
Arsenal have a solid financial structure in place, as they continue to pay off the debt accrued by the development of Emirates Stadium. Their transfer strategy is to live within their means. The North London club hope that the Financial Fairplay regulations would be strictly enforced by the regulators when the time comes, leaving then is a much favorable condition, as compared to other clubs in Europe. We have seen clubs such as Leeds United, Portsmouth – and not just Rangers – suffer in the past. By operating in a controlled manner, Arsenal are perhaps the farthest from such a scenario.
Defoe talks about the uncertainty at Tottenham Hotspur on deadline day
Tottenham signed Moussa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen, Hugo Lloris, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Clint Dempsey during the course of the summer transfer window, while Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart left White Hart Lane.
“It was a bit mad. You walk into the changing rooms, see the lads and don’t know if you’re going to see them the next day. It’s funny. I had my wisdom tooth out one day, came in and Tom Huddlestone had gone to Stoke [although the move stalled]. Someone else went. I miss one day and all the players are gone! Every day I would walk out of my house and fans would come up to me and ask whether I was staying. I would love to have turned round and say I was staying but I was not too sure. When you are unsettled, it is not good.“
They say, no one plays the market better than Tottenham Hoptspur. Chairman Daniel Levy is known to be a very astute businessman; one that always drives a hard bargain. Tottenham unquestionably had a successful transfer window, despite missing out on Moutinho. However, the uncertainly in the dressing room, also depicted by Defoe’s remarks, doesn’t bode well for the club. Villas-Boas tried to offload Dawson and Huddlestone, but they are still at White Hart Lane. He brought in Lloris from Lyon surely not to warm the bench, but immediately hinted that Friedel remains the first choice keeper at the club. Then there’s the case of Tottenham appearing too disjointed and demotivated on the pitch. Spurs would hope that Villas-Boas has learnt from his time at Stamford Bridge.