Real Madrid's Magic Money Could Top $400,000,000

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It’s pretty rare, but occasionally I agree with Michel Platini. Maybe it’s the hangover I’m nursing, but I think I heard him on the Beeb this morning say

These excessive transfers are happening almost every day. It is very puzzling at a time when football faces some of its worst ever financial challenges.

and

These transfers are a serious challenge to the idea of fairplay and the concept of financial balance in our competitions.

I don’t want to make a habit of it, but I agree with Platini on this. The more I dig into this deal the more frightening it looks. At a time when unemployment is nearly 18% in Spain, one man is set to make £29m a year, over £500,000 a week! Of course I’m not suggesting that the money Real is spending on the team should be used to hire some Spaniards to, erm, do something. Rather that football at its best is about connecting to average people. Anyone can play football anywhere in the world. Short folks, tall folks, men, women, rich, poor, grass, dirt, concrete or sand, all you need is some space, a ball, and some feet (hence the name foot-ball) and you can play. I don’t know what they are doing at Real Madrid but it doesn’t really look like football to me.

More frightening than the distorting effect that Ronaldo and Kaka’s unrealistic lifestyles and the bizarro “team” that Real will put together is the inflationary effect predicted in all aspects of the transfer market. Basically, the market is going to get really crazy, really quick and with pretty much every team in the EPL already burdened with huge debts the only folks who are going to be able to afford anything will be the billionaires.

And, of course, Sepp Blatter sees it exactly the opposite. He sees it as a sign of a healthy market, you know, “damn the financial consequences! People need stars” and all that.

Meanwhile, the sickening money that Real is projected to spend may come to our beloved Arsenal. No, I don’t mean Cesc, he’s Arsenal through and through and has rejected a move to Real, again. No, I mean Clichy. It would depend on the size of the offer but with Vermaelen reportedly able to play the left fullback position I’m not sure how I feel quite yet. Despite scoring a goal, Clichy didn’t have the best of years, and with reports of Toure outgoing, Gallas outgoing, and Hangeland and Vermaelen incoming (not to mention the return of the Senderos) the boss could be looking at a complete remake of the back line. It would be a risky move, to overhaul 3/5 of your defensive unit, but given the deficiencies we saw back there last year it could just be the spark the team needs to push for honors. And if Clichy was part of a remake I guess it would be ok.

I don’t know.

I do know that Fabianski signed an extension, that Wilshere wants to follow in Walcott’s footsteps, and that the idea of a 17 year old looking up to a 20 year old is, well, unsettling.

It’s funny, when I first started watching football and Arsenal were the team that won me over, my friend here (an Everton supporter) said “no, not Arsenal, they’re like the Yankees, or the Red Socks, they just buy up all the talent in the world.” And now we have 17 year olds looking up to 20 year olds, how times have changed, eh?

Oh and hey, if you’re a red level member, now is the time to renew and make sure you’re eligible to get tickets next year. Get on it.

Man U could basically buy everything

The ink was barely dry on their one record breaking contract to snag Kaka when Real Madrid turned around and destroyed their own previous transfer record and purchased Christiano Ronaldo from Man U for £80m. No need to link to a specific article, it’s all over the news, hell, it made NPR this morning.

And of course it made NPR, it’s f*cking insane.

That said, the deal raises more questions than it answers…

What will Man U do with the money? If they spend it, it inflates the market, if they don’t spend some they’d be fools. How does this all play out? Will they go for Ribery? Cause a 4 way fight for him, between Chelsea, Real, and the other Manchester?

How does Kaka feel? Like second runner up in the Miss Football pageant I imagine.

How long before Ribery joins them and for how much?

Where does Real Madrid get the money for this and will Sepp Bleater and Michelle Platini decry them for their financial doping?

What will Man U supporters do with their CR7 shirts? I recommend a bonfire.

There is one thing I know will happen: the English can go back to hating Christiano Ronaldo. There were at least 5 or 6 guys out there who were conflicted about Cron, just a few men who had yet to completely genuflect at the altar of the steppy-overy cheating diver. They were genuinely conflicted. Here was a guy who had raped their beloved England team, a man who disgraced English football pretty much every time he set foot on the pitch, but a man who scored goals and won medals for Man U. WHAT TO DO???

Well, most of them would privitely confide their dislike of the player or say things like “yeah I wish he wouldn’t do that.” But when he was up on the dias, cheekily biting the gold medal, all oiled and muscles rippling, they were there clapping along with all the other mindless Man U supporters.

And now that he’s gone, I am fully prepared for the deluge of Man U supporters who “never really liked him” drowning out the 5 or 6 genuine football fans who knew something was wrong all along. They will be there, at your local boozer, filling your ear with nonsense about how much they hated his cheating. Or how this is good riddance, because he was a cancer on the team. Or how he’s just a mercenary. Or my favorite, “he was overrated.”

No, asshole, that’s what WE say. YOU say “thank you Christiano Ronaldo, please may I have another?” Because we’ve been saying he was a mercenary, tart, diving, cheating, steppy-overy, take 20 free kicks to score one goal, overrated, chump, asshole, cunt, for 8 years and your sudden conversion stinks like rejection. Like a teenager rebuffed. It’s unrequited love.

Now, go crawl up inside your CR7 jersey, spread out all your signed pictures  of him on the bed and wallow in it. Have a good cry, because tomorrow you get to pretend to be a real football fan again, until the next steppy-overy, overrated, diving, cheating, seal dribbler comes along.

Poop Scoop

Ok, so we basically got nothing. There’s a report that Arsenal are after 16 year old Luc Castaignos, with his agent publicly saying that he only has eyes for Arsenal, but only if he stays at Feyenoord for another year. Yeah, Ok, another kid! At first I thought “isn’t 16 a little old?” and then I saw the picture in this link and I’m starting to think there might be something to this story.

I have some sad news to report, it’s looking like The Hoff is ending his long and glorious Arsenal career. A testimonial is the least we could do for him.

UEFA to FIFA, STFU

Ha! Tired old xenophobe and known Arsenal hater, Sepp Blatter has been told to shut the f*ck up by tired old xenophobe and known Arsenal hater Michelle Platini. See, as it turns out their collective idea to trot out some tired old xenophobic nationalism under the guise of a “6+5 rule” which would give England a world cup,  is a violation of European law.

Which I have said all along.

So, we can put this one to bed.

Setanta to fold, make football more watchable for America

With the company seeking £100m in “fresh investments” it’s looking increasingly like the world’s dumbest football-content provider may fold.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t call it “shitanta” without warrant. They were horrible, even unbearable at times. Like when they would have an hour preview of the matches where they would have some monchichi coiffed fucktard (Paul Dempsey) babbling on about all the shit he’d heard about on other tee vee programs. Inevitably he would spout one of the following before every Arsenal match:

Arsenal haven’t won a trophy in 4 years

Arsenal’s defense is a mess

Arsene and Arsenal are bad sports

blah blah blah Arsenal’s middle field need to bust their guts out won’t sign anyone don’t make me luff

That guy losing his job is the upside to this whole sordid affair. I think I can sum up their entire broadcast enterprise thus; their most popular segment, by every measure, was their puppet show. A puppet show. A show where grown men stick their hands up the asses of a doll and crack childish jokes while making ridiculous voices.

It will also be a relief to the rest of the world to put their “bloggers” and “reporters” out of their collective misery. No longer will drivel from the likes of Pat Dolan fill my RSS feed! In fact, the only reason why I subscribe to their feeds at all is that they usually re-print stories from other news sources and they allow comments, which sources like The Telegraph do not (or require registration to read the comments). Through the comments I can get a sense of what my fellow Gooners are thinking on a topic, so that little value-added bit will be missed.

Oh well…

Honestly I don’t know what they were thinking with their business model. They wanted people to pay for a subscription service to watch football. Why would I pay $2o a month (or more, some folks would have to upgrade their television service just to be able to subscribe) to watch football when I could take that same $20 and buy beer at the bar that’s showing the game? You know, hang out with my friends, watch the game together? Oh, I nearly forgot to add that even if you subscribed to the channel you would still have to pay-per-view some premium games.

Maybe the $20 paid for the puppet show and the thoughtful commentary.

I say all this knowing full well that as an American I have been very privileged. Because of Setanta and Fox Soccer Channel, I have been able to watch nearly every Arsenal match, including Carling Cup early round stuff where I’m the only one at the bar, over the last 3 years. Before Setanta, I would have to pay-per-view big matches and I would have to settle for watching some other crap and hoping to get live scores for Arsenal at half time.

But here’s the thing, because Setanta gave fans the ability to watch every single match, when they sell off the rights (which they will do) someone like ESPN will step in and broadcast games. Setanta built the demand, they did it stupidly, but they have built the demand. We all knew that ESPN was trying to get in on the EPL anyway so Setanta’s collapse just accelerates that. Moreover, the fire sale of rights means that it will be profitable, right away, for ESPN to broadcast these games.

Win-win.

Thanks, Setanta, for bringing us the world’s sport, now step aside and let the big boys have their time.

The Poop Scoop

If yesterday’s transfer rumors were dead, today’s are deader-er. There’s one article about Yaya, with his agent saying that Yaya is unlikely to come to Arsenal because they won’t pay him enough. A lot of people are looking at this as the death knell of the Yaya saga but to me this sounds like an agent trying to put pressure on Arsenal to up their offer. Everyone else is making up negativity about this, me, I’m making up positivity. In my world, Arsenal talked to Yaya’s agent and said, “we’ll pay him £40k.” Yaya’s agent said, “hmm, not enough, let me embarrass you in the media and see if you’ll up that to £60k.”

Meanwhile, Robin van Persie is preparing for his future as a Setanta blogger and has given us his analysis of Vermaline: he thinks Vermaline is the perfect signing for Arsenal. YAY the RvP seal of approval! Just what Arsene needed, rumor has it that this signing has been hung up waiting for RvP to give his approval. With that hurdle cleared, the deal should go through at any moment now.

And finally, the deal we’ve all been waiting for the press to break; Arsenal are selling William Gallas Agbonlahor.

William Gallas is now truly a #10

FAIL.