Jul 162008

A month away from the start of the new season and the summer that has so far seen very little action all across the continent is finally springing into action. And our players are very much part of the merry-go-round.

It all begins with Barcelona, who are having a changing of the guard. Deco has already joined Chelsea, and with new manager Josep Guardiola making it clear that Ronaldinho wasn’t needed either, every attacking midfielder with any talent has been touted their way.

The main two have been Arshavin and, of course, Alex Hleb. Tonight’s confirmation that Hleb has indeed made the switch probably ends the Catalan interest in Arshavin. Hleb moves for around 12m, possibly rising a couple of million higher on clauses that hopefully don’t rely on goalscoring. The man amusingly labelled Belarus’ greatest ever (go on, name me another) predictably claimed to love Barcelona on arrival, which will last precisely as long as it takes to realise the Spanish city isn’t a quiet country retreat.

Barcelona’s funds have come mainly from the sale of Ronaldinho, who has now confirmed his move to Milan, with the Italians since claiming that their spending is done for the summer, slamming the potential of a big money move shut for Adebayor.

Our Togolese frontman now appears to have only one possible destination, and that is once again Barcelona. But they already have an abundance of strikers, even if they do jettison Eto’o as has been mooted, and they are unlikely to pay Arsenal’s asking price for a reserve.

All this leaves the agents of Adebayor and Arshavin with egg on their faces, having attempted to get the clients a big money move, and in turn secure themselves a large fee. Neither now appear to have a viable destination, and while Arshavin may be able to return to Zenit having not himself expressed a desire to leave, Adebayor may find it somewhat trickier to win back the affections of a fanbase that had begun to warm to him. This summer may be one he ends up regretting.

Arseblogger makes a good point about the state of the transfer market today, explaining how many of the top clubs are resisting the big money purchases this time around. And he’s right – if you take a look at the blogs of other clubs you’ll see a considerable wave of discontent. Some Liverpool fans are uneasy about their signings so far, as Benitez does not have Wenger’s success when buying unknowns, with more Voronins than Cescs, while United haven’t yet moved to improve their squad, may lose their forty goal winger, and of course were usurped on the Ramsey purchase.

Only Chelsea have pounced, but even they’ve been quiet by their standards, Deco’s arrival perhaps signalling the end of Lampard’s time with the club. Our 16m outlay on Nasri and Ramsey suddenly looks considerable.

And more will surely come if Gilberto does make the switch to Greece, as our defensive options in central midfield wouldn’t stretch far beyond Diaby.

The next month could be very interesting.

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