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Sunday, January 05, 2014

OT: The Soccer Thread January, 2014

With no Champions League or international matches of note, it’s all about the clubs an cup competitions this month:

January 6th: Lazio vs Inter
January 7th: Sunderland vs Man U in the League Cup, Valencia vs Atleti in Copa del Rey
January 8th: West Ham vs Man City in the League Cup
January 10th: Leicester City vs Derby in an important promotion game, Montpelier vs Monaco in Ligue Uhn.
January 11th: Cardiff vs West Ham in a relegation 6 pointer, will Man U lose to Swansea at home again?, but the day’s HUGE game is Barcelona hosting Atletico Madrid. This could decide La Liga.
January 12th: Newcastle vs Man City
January 13th: Aston Villa vs Arsenal
January 14th: FA Cup replays featuring Fulham vs Norwich, second leg of Valencia and Atleti in the Copa del Rey
January 15th: Man City host Blackburn in an FA Cup replay, Lyon vs Marseilles in the French Cup
January 17th: St. Etienne vs Lille
January 18th: Lots of games, no real standouts
January 19th: Swansea vs Spurs, Chelsea vs Man U
January 20th: West Brom vs Everton
January 21st: West Ham vs Man City in the League Cup
January 22nd: Man U vs Sunderland in the League Cup
January 24th: Monchengladbach vs Bayern Munich, not that it really matters
January 25th: FA Cup 4th round featuring Chelsea vs Stoke, Lazio vs Juventus, Monaco vs Marseilles
January 26th: Barca vs Malaga
January 28th: Liverpool vs Everton, Southampton vs Arsenal
January 29th: Tottenahm Hotspur FC vs Man City, Stuttgart vs Bayern
January 31st: Feyenoord vs Chelsea B in Holland, Braunschweig vs Borussia Dortmund

I’d say that Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid is the game of the month and declare it the BBTF Off Topic Game of the Month! Be there!

Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 05, 2014 at 05:16 PM | 1016 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: soccer

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   401. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: January 21, 2014 at 09:23 PM (#4643769)
Flop
   402. JuanGone..except1game Posted: January 21, 2014 at 09:30 PM (#4643775)
I would also wait out the year, given that money is no concern for Chelsea. Fair enough that he's 4th choice right now, but in such a tight race, getting rid of such a talented player could really bite them if one of Hazard/Oscar/Willian gets injured.

I've resigned myself to Mata going at some point, but you've hit on my concern about this move. 1) We would only have Shurrle and Ramires as cover if one of our AMs gets hurt because of the de Bruyne deal and 2) Mata is so ridiculously cheap (70k per week) and there will be other bidders in the summer, that it just doesn't make sense to sell him now. The reason the fans love Mata is that he has been such a humble servant during his term so its impossible to believe that he would pull an "Odemwingie" or something like that. Then add the fact that ManU isn't going to even consider selling Rooney to us and I'm not happy about this.

The only potential saving grace is if this some Mourinho master plan to weaken a rival by keeping Moyes in full employment there for another few years.
   403. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 22, 2014 at 12:28 PM (#4644171)
The Mata move looks really close. I still can't believe this is happening (if it does go through). I'm never going to be unhappy that United bought a great player but I'm going to repeat that it doesn't make any sense now. I guess this means Kagawa is gone. Still need a midfielder or two, a left back (who may or may not be Coentrao) and a CB.
   404. Mefisto Posted: January 22, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4644310)
For anyone who's interested, analysis of the women's college draft is available here.
   405. Mattbert Posted: January 22, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4644363)
@GuillemBalague: All agreed. Juan Mata will be a Manchester United player. 45 million euros. All will be announced very soon
   406. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4644371)
Gah. Mata's my favourite player. Not happy right now. Going to go kick a wall or something.
   407. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4644388)
The tweeter is apparently the guy who announced that Herrera to United was a "done deal" in the summer. He could still be right, but I'm not believing it until one of the clubs officially announce it.

Also thinking about this - if Moyes is going to pay record money then Mata will be played in the hole behind the striker. So it could mean that RVP is out much longer than they're letting on and they'll figure out what to do with Rooney in the summer or that they'll explore selling Rooney now and definitely during the summer. So either way I think Rooney is gone.
   408. Spivey Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4644393)
I think that's way too much money for Mata.
   409. Mefisto Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:23 PM (#4644396)
I wonder if Moyes is planning a change to a 4-2-3-1. He could keep van Persie up top and put some combination of Mata/Janusaj/Rooney/Kagawa behind. The double pivot would probably be Carrick and Jones/Fletcher.

I'm trying to make sense of this move. I love Mata, but putting aside from concerns about overpaying -- it ain't my money -- I can't see how he fits in to the current lineup.
   410. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:29 PM (#4644403)
I wonder if Moyes is planning a change to a 4-2-3-1. He could keep van Persie up top and put some combination of Mata/Janusaj/Rooney/Kagawa behind. The double pivot would probably be Carrick and Jones/Fletcher.
That team would score goals, but they would be a sieve defensively. Carrick isn't good enough anymore, Mata and Kagawa don't play a lot of defense, and the back four aren't strong enough to deal with what got through.

My guess is that depth won't be an issue because at least one of Rooney/RVP will probably be unfit for most of the rest of the season, and United still have Champions League and cup matches to divide time. It sucks for Kagawa, but in Mata they get a better version of what people hoped Kagawa would be.

I don't get this for Chelsea, but fundamentally the problem is that analyzing Chelsea is impossible. If they were a normal football club, we could say that £40m is a good price for Mata and the club needs to strengthen elsewhere than AM, so they can turn this money into improvements at CM and striker. But they're Chelsea, their balance sheet is entirely notional, so why sell a really good player who still has a role to play? Why sell him to a club that's likely to be among their direct competitors for a title next year?

I am happy that Juan Mata, one of my favorite players in the world, probably will not be wearing a Chelsea shirt anymore.

EDIT: This post was probably a touch inflammatory for the norms of the football thread. I toned it down a little. Sorry.
   411. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:41 PM (#4644414)
I'll believe this transfer is real when it's real. Mata for Costa in the summer makes too much sense for me to think Chelsea aren't thinking about it. I wouldn't put it past Chelsea to string this out for the rest of the window and then pull the rug out from under Man U.
   412. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4644424)
Also, I wrote a piece on my skepticism of individual defensive statistics in football. The argument should be familiar to anyone here who's read Bill James. Which I figure is everyone here.
   413. Mattbert Posted: January 22, 2014 at 03:55 PM (#4644428)
I think you can forgive Balague for getting mixed up on that bizarre Herrera thing. He is usually pretty switched on when it comes to big transfers involving Spaniards or Spanish clubs.
   414. Mefisto Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:07 PM (#4644445)
That team would score goals, but they would be a sieve defensively. Carrick isn't good enough anymore, Mata and Kagawa don't play a lot of defense, and the back four aren't strong enough to deal with what got through.


Sure, but Utd games would be loads of fun to watch.
   415. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:10 PM (#4644453)
Sure, but Utd games would be loads of fun to watch.
Sherwood 2.0!

I get the attraction.
   416. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:18 PM (#4644462)
Its hard to keep track of who is credible and who isn't. Some sites/publications are terrible but may employ one or two people in the actual "know." If he's legit, then this is good, but confusing news for United.

Interesting stuff MCoA. My thinking was that teams who emphasize interceptions rather than tackling were better, but based on the data its hard to prove, even wrong. I think its going to be near impossible to rate some properly as an individual defender, especially in the context of team defending based solely on stats.
   417. JuanGone..except1game Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:22 PM (#4644465)
I'll believe this transfer is real when it's real. Mata for Costa in the summer makes too much sense for me to think Chelsea aren't thinking about it. I wouldn't put it past Chelsea to string this out for the rest of the window and then pull the rug out from under Man U.

The Chelsea buzz right now is that Costa has a release clause, and that we can trigger it once we make the sale. It would be great to string ManU around because of our Rooney experience, but if the Costa release is real then this begins to make more sense. Costa is exactly the type of hybrid striker/10 that thrives in the system that Mourinho is trying to implement.

But they're Chelsea, their balance sheet is entirely notional, so why sell a really good player who still has a role to play? Why sell him to a club that's likely to be among their direct competitors for a title next year?

I really think that's a stale statement at this point. If that was the case, Falcao or Cavani would be wearing blue right now. The fact is that Chelsea has shown in the last few years that there is a budget even if its a very large budget. I know many don't believe it, but all signs point to a move to a more fiscally stable team than years past.

I am happy that Juan Mata, one of my favorite players in the world, probably will not be wearing a Chelsea shirt anymore.

That stings MCOA. That stings.
   418. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:36 PM (#4644481)
but all signs point to a move to a more fiscally stable team than years past.

Howso? They lost another 60 million pounds last year despite the weird commercial sponsorship with Gazprom. The only reason they haven't gone for Cavani or Falcao is the bidders for those players were even nuttier than Abramovich. More fiscally responsible than PSG or Monaco isn't fiscally responsible. Enjoy the players and success Roman's money buys but you can't have your cake and eat it, too. (All that said, selling Mata and, if they feel like it, Courtois and Lukaku puts them way ahead in the next fiscal year. They've stockpiled enough assets that they can sell to buy for a while if that's their inclination. But I have no reason to believe Abramovich gives a crap about losing money or that FFP is a thing so, if Jose needs/wants a player, I will continue to believe he'll get that player, cost be damned.)
   419. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:36 PM (#4644482)
Yeah, I'm probably overstating things on Chelsea. You're right that "no budget" isn't a useful model either, since they don't spend £50m on every player, so there must be a limit somewhere. I'm still not sure that the marginal value of selling Mata for probably a little more than he's worth makes sense in that situation, though.

I can agree that "no budget" is a bad model, but are you saying there is a budget, and it's set around X million pounds of loss? Where, approximately, would you guess that X is? I don't see any clear pattern in the spending, which suggests to me that the budget is more notional / dependent on Roman's various feelings.

I am aware I'm not exactly objective on Chelsea. Feels like much more so than with Spurs. Can't clearly identify where the hate comes from, but it is strong in me.
   420. Swedish Chef Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:43 PM (#4644495)
Mata for Costa in the summer makes too much sense for me to think Chelsea aren't thinking about it.

Doesn't make much sense for Mata though, Atletico can't afford top wages.
   421. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4644499)
I thought I read from a reasonably good source that Costa has a release clause. If that's true, he's almost certainly gone in the summer for money, not talent. He makes a lot of sense for Chelsea. Especially after they loan out Lukaku again.
   422. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:49 PM (#4644503)
How much will Courtois cost Atletico to sign permanently?

Does the loser of the League Cup get Europe if the winner qualifies for Champions League? Wow - that's scraping the bottom of the barrel for expectations.
   423. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:56 PM (#4644508)
Atletico can't afford top wages.

They can't afford a bagel but look at their squad!

How much will Courtois cost Atletico to sign permanently?

Honestly, I don't think they have enough. Courtois' future is in West London. They don't have any 3rd party shenanigans available to snag Courtois.
   424. JuanGone..except1game Posted: January 22, 2014 at 04:56 PM (#4644509)
Howso? They lost another 60 million pounds last year despite the weird commercial sponsorship with Gazprom. The only reason they haven't gone for Cavani or Falcao is the bidders for those players were even nuttier than Abramovich. More fiscally responsible than PSG or Monaco isn't fiscally responsible. Enjoy the players and success Roman's money buys but you can't have your cake and eat it, too.

All I claimed is that we are moving to a more fiscally stable model not that we have one. Obviously, our success is largerly attributable to having a very wealthy owner, and I won't sugarcoat that. But my statements are factual, in that our wages have decreased about 20 million from just a few years ago and our transfer budget has decreased as well. Roman is still making money, but the club doesn't want to be as excessive as it has in the past, though it won't matter perception wise. I'm not arguing that we have the same budget constraints as Everton.

Sorry, anyway. I feel like I'm much more objective in evaluating Spurs than Chelsea. Don't have a clear explanation of where the hate comes from, but it is strong in me.

Don't worry. Sometimes, I'll find myself feeling shame that I root harder against the Yankees and Steelers than I will for my Indians and Browns. Then a day like today and I'm railing against the Yankees signing Tanaka while hoping that Chelsea can add another expensive forward.
   425. Howling John Shade Posted: January 22, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4644534)
Can't clearly identify where the hate comes from, but it is strong in me.
I can't speak for you, but for me it's the fact that they are pure, unadulterated evil.
   426. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2014 at 05:19 PM (#4644537)
This will be a shame if Sunderland can't pull this out. It's been a long while since they've been to Wembley. Then again, if they did get to the final and win we'd just have to hear them complain about the demands of Europe. Ah well.
   427. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2014 at 05:20 PM (#4644538)
Smalling should have been sent off as the last man, there.
   428. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4644547)
Ray Hudson is worse than Gus Johnson. Please please please stop yelling at me!
   429. Baldrick Posted: January 22, 2014 at 05:52 PM (#4644588)
I still think Altidore has it in him to be a top-quality club player, but man oh man is it not going to happen at Sunderland. He's made a couple of really excellent plays tonight that have immediately fizzled. He has really excellent control receiving long balls and some acuity picking out clever passes. But on the rare occasions Sunderland actually get the ball into the box, he never seems to be positioned to capitalize. And he never seems to factor into set pieces.

I didn't watch him much in his season at Hull, but that seemed to describe most of those games, too. He played very well in a support-role and delivered a solid number of assists, but basically never scored. I don't know if it's him or the coaching, but he's just not that useful a player if he poses no realistic threat to score.
   430. madvillain Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:02 PM (#4644597)
Altidore has lost all confidence. He's playing alright but man at AZ he'd have shot with no hesitation a couple of times, rather than making a safe backpass.
   431. madvillain Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:08 PM (#4644601)
Who the hell is this (scot?) on the color, he's awful. You don't have to freaking go "ahhhhhh" everytime a ball goes into the box.
   432. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:10 PM (#4644606)
Just on that last play, Bardsley sets himself up obviously to fire one across the face of goal, and Jozy just stands at the top of the six yard box instead of making the obvious strikers' run to the back post. I don't get him sometimes.
   433. Baldrick Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:10 PM (#4644609)
So that was...not very good goalkeeping.
   434. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:11 PM (#4644610)
Holy crap!
   435. madvillain Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:12 PM (#4644611)
haha, a howler FTW.

my god, nevermind.
   436. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:12 PM (#4644612)
Instead of Mata, maybe Man U should fork over the cash to Chelsea for Courtois.
   437. Baldrick Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:12 PM (#4644613)
LOL Sunderland
   438. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:13 PM (#4644614)
Officially insane.
   439. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:13 PM (#4644617)
FOOTBALL!
   440. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:14 PM (#4644619)
The thing is, I think De Gea is the best keeper in England right now. But that was all kinds of awful.
   441. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:15 PM (#4644622)
Also someone said this on Twitter:
I just wish Shinji Kagawa would play like the player we all pretended to watch at Dortmund.
   442. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:19 PM (#4644625)
Unreal finish. I'm listening on the radio and I think Ray Hudson climaxed.
   443. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:20 PM (#4644626)
He Puncheoned it!
   444. Baldrick Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:20 PM (#4644627)
So far, I could have taken better penalties than the first two attempts.
   445. madvillain Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:21 PM (#4644628)
This is crazy.
   446. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:21 PM (#4644629)
He Puncheoned it! Also!
   447. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:21 PM (#4644630)
Penalties are hard.
   448. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:23 PM (#4644633)
Poor Januzaj. Looks like he forgot rule #1 of penalty taking: just pick a side and hit it there. He got caught in between.
   449. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:23 PM (#4644634)
That seals it: Januzaj will play for England.
   450. Baldrick Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:24 PM (#4644636)
This is pretty hilaripus.
   451. madvillain Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:25 PM (#4644637)
oh come on let Jozy take it.
   452. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:25 PM (#4644640)
The English are rubbish at penalties.
   453. Baldrick Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:25 PM (#4644641)
What an utterly terrible set of penalties. I hope they're all embarrassed with themselves.

Edit: Except for Ki
   454. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4644643)
That was some epic LULZ the last half hour or so. Entertainment achieved.
   455. AuntBea Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4644644)
Oh my lord what a display of futility.
   456. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:28 PM (#4644647)
Edit: Except for Ki
And the other guy who scored his penalty for Sunderland.

De Gea's save on Johnson is a lost piece of brilliance, that was a well-struck ball. De Gea's fast-twitch muscles are insane.

The empathy center of my brain was trying to deactivate the HAHAHAHAHA center, but it totally failed.
   457. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:28 PM (#4644648)
Wow - complete and utter futility. I've been thinking to myself what would be worse - losing to Sunderland or getting tanked by City in the final. Such horrible choices.
   458. President of the David Eckstein Fan Club Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:29 PM (#4644649)
I think that shootout might be the funniest thing I've watched all year.
   459. Howling John Shade Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:32 PM (#4644652)
That was awesome.
   460. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:37 PM (#4644655)
ESPN is reporting 37 million for Mata is done.
   461. Howling John Shade Posted: January 22, 2014 at 06:41 PM (#4644658)
So is the Telegraph. They say Man U will more than double his salary.
   462. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2014 at 09:15 AM (#4644929)
Deloitte money league rankings.

edit: I can't get the url to link so, doing it the old fashioned way:

http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_GB/uk/industries/sportsbusinessgroup/sports/football/deloitte-football-money-league/index.htm?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social_media&utm_content=f2&utm_campaign=twitter_other_to_dfml13
   463. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2014 at 09:27 AM (#4644930)
Just looking at the Deloitte list, a few things that stand out:

Tottenham continue to punch above their weight. Spurs fans who get impatient with the chairman need to understand just how hard it is to hang with the big boys with that much less in revenue. Now that Liverpool have sorted themselves out this year may be the last chance at a CL spot for quite a while.

Check out PSG's increase in revenue. Heh. Thanks Qatar advertising! Conversely, Lyon and Marseilles both dropped off the list which does not bode well for the future competitiveness of French soccer. Welcome to the Old Firm model, France!

Galatasaray and Fener. Damn. Does the Turkish league have a wider appeal than I imagine it does?

Inter are in steep, steep decline.

Hamburglar are the biggest underachievers in the world. (Though, from a more positive frame of mind, you can say they have the most potential, too.)
   464. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: January 23, 2014 at 10:26 AM (#4644945)
WTF this is the worst deal ever. If Chelsea needed to balance books for fair play, WHY NOT SELL TO PSG
   465. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 23, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4644949)
Chels have already played their two games against MUFC this season, so Mata won't be used against them at least.
   466. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2014 at 10:32 AM (#4644950)
Chels have already played their two games against MUFC this season, so Mata won't be used against them at least.

Which Wenger, of course, thinks is unfair. I hope he'll be sporting and not play Draxler against Spurs if he ends up buying him this month.
   467. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2014 at 10:38 AM (#4644952)
Barcelona's president to resign

This Neymar transfer saga is blowing the hell up!
   468. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 23, 2014 at 10:55 AM (#4644959)
He'll be back when he wins the next election. I don't understand why he had to hide the true "cost" of Neymar - is it just to avoid taxes?

So is Mata having a medical yet? When do you think the "official" announcement happens? United's next game is Tuesday.
   469. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 23, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4644963)
Falcao tore his ACL. So does Monaco go scrounging around for another striker? I'd imagine that this puts any potential move to Chelsea in the summer in jeopardy too.
   470. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2014 at 11:00 AM (#4644965)
I don't understand why he had to hide the true "cost" of Neymar - is it just to avoid taxes?

I'm not sure. I'm sure there is some hanky panky regarding taxes going on but I also think Barcelona didn't want their other players to know just how much compensation Neymar is getting for obvious reasons. I'm kind of out to sea about the possible illegality of the transfer, though. It seems like a complicated one and both Spain and Brazil have become incredibly byzantine when it comes to moving around cash and soccer players.
   471. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4644968)
Falcao tore his ACL. So does Monaco go scrounging around for another striker? I'd imagine that this puts any potential move to Chelsea in the summer in jeopardy too.

They could just not loan Traore to Everton.

When do you think the "official" announcement happens? United's next game is Tuesday.

I think it will be today.
   472. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 23, 2014 at 11:09 AM (#4644974)
It sounds like Chelsea will do the Liverpool what they normally do to Spurs and swoop in last minute for a player. I guess Salah is a Mata replacement.
   473. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 23, 2014 at 11:10 AM (#4644976)
Its one thing to "hide" a 10K payment, but damn its ballsy if you think you can hide 40M.
   474. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 23, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4644978)
Why not use the Man United procedure and buy four worthless players from the same agent for 10M each?
   475. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2014 at 11:13 AM (#4644980)
It sounds like Chelsea will do the Liverpool what they normally do to Spurs and swoop in last minute for a player. I guess Salah is a Mata replacement.

I bet they just Victor Moses him if they do buy him. Mata to Salah is a HUGE downgrade.
   476. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2014 at 11:14 AM (#4644981)
Why not use the Man United procedure and buy four worthless players from the same agent for 10M each?

The catch is that the 40 million went to a shell company "owned" by Neymar's father, it's not going to a club you can buy 4 Bebes from.
   477. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 23, 2014 at 11:19 AM (#4644984)
Salah's a nice little player, but he'll be pretty clearly fourth in line for minutes behind Hazard, Willian and Schürrle. Is he better than De Bruyne? What is the purpose of this transfer policy beyond trolling Liverpool?
   478. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 23, 2014 at 11:24 AM (#4644986)
I guess depth - Mata still started 14 games this season along with five sub appearances.

Bebe jokes never get old. I'm sure Neymar's dad and Rossell could have found four guys off the street and sign them to deals in exchange for a free trip to Barcelona.
   479. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4644990)
Bebe jokes never get old.

Until we know what really went down on that transfer, the Bebe jokes will never die! My favorite rumor about Bebe was that it was a bribe to keep Nani's steroid use a secret.
   480. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: January 23, 2014 at 11:44 AM (#4645000)
Man, the Falcao injury sucks for Colombia. Will they be competitive without him?
   481. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4645002)
Man, the Falcao injury sucks for Colombia. Will they be competitive without him?

They should be, but it really puts a dent into their status as the dark horse favorite. Belgium or die, now.
   482. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4645005)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR THINKFACTORY!

Paulinho. Vertonghen. Sandro. Kaboul. All fit! No one knows where the hell Erik Lamela is, though.
   483. Textbook Editor Posted: January 23, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4645018)
Is there any hope at all Falcao can recover enough so he made the squad as an 80th minute supersub? This really sucks, as I was really looking forward to seeing what Columbia could do as a dark horse--he's such a good player.
   484. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2014 at 12:29 PM (#4645035)
Salah to Chelsea looks done. The Reds have been Willianed! It only stings for a bit. Trust me on this.
   485. JuanGone..except1game Posted: January 23, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4645047)
Salah to Chelsea looks done. The Reds have been Willianed! It only stings for a bit. Trust me on this.

Ha! We have scouted Salah for awhile, but with Mata leaving there was a need for depth on the wing

Is he better than De Bruyne?

For this team, yes. Salah is much more direct and we have Willian/Oscar/Hazard for creating.

This Barcelona saga is weird but expected. I know Shooty took the shotgun to my discussion of Chelsea finances, but being a massive club almost requires some painting outside of the lines these days. I'd love to hear thoughts on the purest of the massive clubs (Arsenal?). I'd throw Chelsea in, but we have an owner who has a yacht with anti-cruise missle systems and a wife who literally sits on human beings.
   486. The Voice of America Posted: January 23, 2014 at 12:44 PM (#4645048)
Sucks for Falcao, Colombia will be just fine though.
   487. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2014 at 12:48 PM (#4645050)
I'd love to hear thoughts on the purest of the massive clubs (Arsenal?).

You mean Woolwich? #Norflondonisblue
   488. Flynn Posted: January 23, 2014 at 12:55 PM (#4645056)
You mean Woolwich? #Norflondonisblue


lol wut
   489. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2014 at 01:07 PM (#4645062)
lol wut

bantz mate
   490. Swedish Chef Posted: January 23, 2014 at 01:55 PM (#4645093)
lol wut

Arsenal is the original MK Dons.
   491. ursus arctos Posted: January 23, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4645101)
If you are counting owners, Uzmanov has at least as many skeletons in his closet as Roman, and that's before you get to how Wal-Mart makes it money.
   492. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2014 at 02:20 PM (#4645109)
If you are counting owners, Uzmanov has at least as many skeletons in his closet as Roman.

He froze Han Solo!
   493. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2014 at 03:35 PM (#4645184)
As our resident socio, I demand ursus tell us what the hell is going on at Barca. Sid Lowe is saying La Porta is coming back!
   494. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 23, 2014 at 04:05 PM (#4645217)
So where are the Glazers on this hierarchy of arch-villainy?
   495. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 23, 2014 at 04:13 PM (#4645220)
Not sure this has been discussed yet but is there a reason that Arsenal/Coventry City is being played tomorrow rather than Saturday? Is that an FA Cup/TV thing or is there something else at work here?
   496. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2014 at 04:16 PM (#4645223)
HIPSTER THINK FACTORY!

Atletico vs Athletic is currently playing on BeIn or by other means currently. Simeone vs Bielsa is at least a 9 on the hipster scale, no?
   497. Flynn Posted: January 23, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4645229)
Arsenal is the original MK Dons.


Oh, I get the reference, I'm just reacting with amusement to the concept that North London is anything but Arsenal's. the only thing Tottenham has in North London is a shadow.
   498. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2014 at 04:23 PM (#4645231)
Proving I'm not a hipster--when did Bielsa leave Bilbao? They are managed by Ernesto Valverde and my humble apologies to him for not knowing who the #### he is.

Oh, I get the reference, I'm just reacting with amusement to the concept that North London is anything but Arsenal's. the only thing Tottenham has in North London is a shadow.

And I'm reacting to amusement that you took it seriously.
   499. Swedish Chef Posted: January 23, 2014 at 04:32 PM (#4645240)
Bielsa left quietly in the summer after his contract ran out.
   500. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4645242)
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