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Monday, November 14, 2005

"You weren’t world-class when Arsenal signed you."

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At the end of the day, it was all about love. Yes, Vieira has finally spilled his guts about the move to Juve. Here's how Paddy saw things, according to the BBC:
"One moment I was on the phone to Arsene Wenger discussing our expectations for the season. The next I was told by David Dein there was an offer from Juventus and the club was neutral about my decision to accept it or not. Neutral? What was that was about? There had been offers before, particularly from Real Madrid. And every year it had been made plain Arsenal wanted me to stay. Had they talked to me the way they did the previous summer, there is no doubt I would still be at the club. But they didn't."
If only the Highbury boys had talked to poor Paddy! He's just like everybody else, he wants to feel special, and maybe you could bring home some flowers now and then, or take me out to dinner, or we could spend a weekend in the country.... But seriously, can you blame Dein for getting sick of Paddy's annual hard-to-get act? At 13.7 million pounds for a 29-year-old, "neutral" seems plenty loving to TDH.

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Did anyone spot Barcelona chief Joan Laporta at the cinema recently? Lapo must have taken in a showing of GOAL!, the new film about a Los Angeles youngster who lives his dream by playing for Newcastle United (sniff, TDH is getting all teary). It's the only explanation for a move that should have association bosses from around the world shaking in their golden boots.

So here it is: Barca are planning to found and sponsor a Major League Soccer team in the US. That Barca would even view MLS as a useful place for a feeder club is testament enough to how far the US has come. And it's really football the American way. Baseball franchises have entire networks of feeder clubs, usually at least half a dozen per team. Ice hockey clubs also make use of "farm" teams. The basketball and American football leagues just, erm, use our fine universities.

The bigger point, of course, is that the standard of play - and players - in the US is bound to improve. TDH last took in an MLS match in May 2004, accompanied by a die-hard Arsenal supporter. The committee's verdict was that DC United played on a par with sides from the English League Championship, e.g. Wolves or Preston North End. Indeed, several American players have easily made the switch into that division. But now, imagine if they reached the dizzy heights of Premiership football! That World Cup trophy wouldn't be so far away, eh?

Barca isn't the first team to show interest in the US market, no doubt heightened by merchandizing possibilities. Club Deportivo Guadalajara, a.k.a. Chivas, already have a club in MLS. Hannover 96 have a training and marketing deal with Real Salt Lake. If Lapo finds success, can "Lucky" Luciano Moggi (the nickname is no accident) or the Kaiser be far behind?

2 Comments:

Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

well, I gotta say I thought that the deal was a good one for Arsenal, but after Vieira's excellent start to the season, helping keep Milan 2nd, I do wish Les Imbattables had kept hold of him.

Of course the big problem was that Arsenal need more experience in the centre of midfield. If they'd held on to Edu, all would be peachy...

5:50 PM  
Blogger The American Geordie said...

I don't think anyone doubted that Vieira had at least one good season left in him - maybe even three. But you at that price, could buy a fresh Emre every year over the same period. And you'd still have enough left over for a Solano.

I bet several teams are now wishing they'd snapped up Cambiasso when he was out of favor at Madrid. I've been a fan since he was a teenager at Independiente. Do you think The Goon Show will enter a bidding war with Manure for Ballack? Not that he seems to want a trip to Highbury, of course....

7:20 PM  

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