Tag Archives: galatasaray

Growing middle class on deadline day

Let’s be honest. Who really thought Sunderland, Stoke and Birmingham would be the clubs making the biggest splashes on the final day of the summer transfer window? Sure, England’s biggest teams had taken care of most of their business already. But it was still a surprise, as the final hours ticked away, to see a club-record 13 million pounds splashed out to bring Ghanian World Cup star Asamoah Gyan to Wearside from French club Rennes. Who knew the Black Cats even had that kind of cash? You’ve sure got to turn over a lot of couch cushions to come up with that kind of loose change.

Only slightly less surprising was the triple swoop made by Birmingham, who landed former Arsenal midfielder Alexander Hleb on a season-long loan from Barcelona, defender Martin Jiranek on a one-year deal from Spartak Moscow and Chilean winger Jean Beausejour from Club America in the Mexican League.

The Potters, meanwhile, added four players to a team yet to record its first league points of the season, with Icelandic striker Eidur Gudjohnsen joining on a season-long loan from Monaco and former Arsenal, Birmingham and Liverpool man Jermaine Pennant coming over on loan from Spain’s Real Zaragoza until January.

The combined effect is a serious thickening of quality for some of the Prem’s mid-table teams. There aren’t many easy weeks in the EPL, even for those at the top, and those teams should all be strengthened by their deadline day dealings. The moves also make life harder for the unlucky few clubs left scraping to stay in the top flight.

Tottenham, as usual, left it late, leaving fans to play the ‘vaiting game’ over the status of Dutch midfielder Rafael van der Vaart, whose cut-price, 8-million pound move from Real Madrid reportedly requires Premier League approval, given that Arry and co. didn’t even start  on things until two hours remained in the transfer window. Yids will be hoping the deal gets done, if only so that Sylvie van der Vaart, his lovely missus, can brighten up the scene down the Lane.

As they prepare for a debut season of Champions League football, with Inter Milan looming large in Group A, Spurs decided not to parcel anyone out of North London, holding on to Robbie Keane and Jermaine Jenas, and bolstered their goalkeeping corps by finalizing the long-awaited arrival of Croatian Stipe Pletikosa on a season-long loan from Spartak Moscow. Things didn’t pan out yet for Tottenham’s other trialist, South African defender Bongani Khumalo, but he may still join in January.

Elsewhere, Man. City said so long to Brazilian bust Robinho, who set sail for AC Milan, Everton’s Joseph Yobo was loaned out to Turkey’s Fenerbahce, Liverpool finalized the signing of Paul Konchesky from Fulham (so much for Uncle Woy’s pledge not to plunder the Londoners) while letting Emiliano Insua leave for Galatasaray.

So, no more moves until the New Year, and we now await the naming of 25-man rosters for the next four months on Wednesday. Could be some difficult decisions to make at some clubs. Stay tuned.

Ian Harrison

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Filed under Champions League, English Football, Premier League

The Kids Are Alright

Macheda has a habit of scoring big goals for United

Twenty-four seconds. That’s all it took for Manchester United’s Federico Macheda to score against the best that the MLS had to offer. The creme of North America had done well versus international competition over the last six years, winning five of those matches.  But facing Sir Alex’s youthful juggernaut — a team still smarting from a weekend loss to Kansas City — the league’s best players ran into trouble after 24 seconds… and likely sealed their doomwhen they allowed the 18-year-old Macheda to score again just 12 minutes later. 

A massive crowd was on hand in Houston — 70,000 plus — but put that down to fans wanting to catch a glimpse of the Red Devils, rather than a show of continentalism.  Toronto FC’s Dwayne DeRosario managed a goal, as did hometown hero Brian Ching.  However, United’s “B” side are as good as any team in the MLS and that’s why the end result was 5-2.

Macheda and new signing Javier Hernandez seem to be the vanguard of the new Busby Babes, with Ferguson looking for both players to help Wayne Rooney with goal production this year.  Sir Alex hasn’t been at the helm of Man U for a quarter of a century for nothing.  Look for them to challenge for the Premier League title again this year, with a young and mainly British team in support.

Fergie Glazes Over Fan Unrest
Sir Alex says he’s quite happy with the Glazer Family ownership. Even though the club is a billion dollars in debt, Ferguson says they basically leave him alone. Just one more reason for Liverpool fans to envy hate United.

Lennon's miserable European run continues

Champions League
Two former European club champions are fighting to keep their infant CL campaigns alive. Celtic were handed their sheleighlies in Portugal on Wednesday, losing to Braga 3-0. The Glaswegians failed to get a single shot on net, and have been woeful on the continent underneath Neil Lennon.

Meanwhile, Ajax’s Champions Leagues hopes hang by a thread after PAOK Salonika scored a valuable away goal, to end the match 1-1. At The Rails’ own Late Night Lenny Grammenopoulos has been kidnapped by his new wife back to Greece… but we know the long-suffering PAOK fan is licking his lips at the thought of European football.

Woy's Liverpool wins with... That Guy... and Whatshisname...

Europa League
Roy Hodgson’s gamble paid off, as Liverpool’s youthful side comfortably beat Rabotnicki Skopje in Macedonia 2-0. Maybe it was the harsh lighting and concrete decor of the Soviet era stadium… but that might have been the most boring match this writer has ever seen. Oh well, expect Rabotnicki to get a whomping at Anfield next week.

Irish eyes were not smiling, as Juventus beat Shamrock Rovers 2-0 in Dublin. Amauri scored for the Old Lady two minutes in, and it’s basically curtains for Rovers.

Other scores: Goteburg lost 0-2 to AZ Alkmaar, Galatasaray drew OFK Belgrade 2-2 in Istanbul, Red Star Belgrade lost 2-1 to Slovan Bratislava, and Greek powerhouse Olympiakos beat Maccabi Tel-Aviv 2-1.

Sin Citeh
Former Manchester City manager Mark Hughes has signed a two-year deal at Fulham.  Meanwhile the most expensive player he ever signed — Robinho — has been told to report to camp.  The Brazilian was loaned out to Santos last year.

Brent Lanthier

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Filed under Champions League, Europa League, MLS, Premier League