Date: 24th March 2011 at 1:00pm
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Bayern and Arsenal lead the hunt for Gary Cahill. Is it still January?

Afternoon all. Here we are, finding ourselves in the middle of an international break. And the middle of international breaks normally result in articles about five lines long, with a cheery interpretation of last night’s dream somewhere in the middle. (I scored sixty one and took two catches for Derbyshire(!) before walking around a campsite with a large jug of water, if you’re interested).

Not today. Today we have what is known as TRANSFER NEWS! News of comings and, as you will, goings.

It centres around our central defence, and it should come as no great galloping surprise that when I say ‘central defence’, I mean Gary Cahill.

Bayern Munich and Arsenal are currently gearing up to bid £10million, £15million, £18million insert astronomical amount here for our England defender. That this has not caused a ripple in any of the Arsenal sites that I have found. And, as I can’t speak German, on any Bayern sites that I have found, although they could be talking about it and I wouldn’t know.

Add onto this Villa, Spurs and Liverpool, who have all been mentioned in the past few weeks, and Gary is a marked man. I think we can all guess that, unless we can offer him some form of European football next year, he is a certainty to go. The only question would be how much and who too. I think we can pretty much rule Villa out. This is a team that is crumbling at the seams and, although they have money to spend, or overspend as they did on Darren Bent, there is no reason why Cahill would want to go to a) his old club who cast him off or b) a divisional no mark.

Liverpool will also not be able to offer European football, but that is not the issue there. After spanking £58million on Carroll and Suarez, it’s about how much money they will have to spend. Liverpool’s real need is a left back, not a central defender and, as Mrs X has pointed out to me, people who can play on the wings.

Arsenal have no need for another central defender. Vermaelen will be ‘like a new signing’ next year and Djourou has been a ‘revelation’ this. Add onto them Squillaci and Koscielny, and you can see no space for Cahill to fit in. It isn’t at the back that Arsenal have the problem, it’s someone who can put the ball into the net that isn’t Robin van Persie.

Which leads us onto the elephant’s graveyard of central defenders further up the Victoria Line at White Hart Lane. They will have the money after a great European run and, whilst they are fifth, you cannot necessarily look at a central defensive partnership of Kaboul and Gallas and shudder. Michael Dawson is inconsistent and both Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate should really be put out of their misery. Plus they are probably the one team out of that lot that Bolton fans probably wouldn’t mind him going to. Plus, with Honest Harry’s record of wheeling and dealing, we may be able to get £15-18million off him.

But who do we get to replace him? Well, current reports suggest that Ivan Ramis of Real Mallorca is your man. Bolton fans love players, especially Spanish ones, called Ivan and his surname brings to mind Egon Spengler of Ghostbusters fame, but only because he was played by Harold Ramis. The image of Ramis and Knight/Wheater crossing streams and putting Rooney into a little box has its upside, but we all remember the few months that Ivan Campo spent in central defence with bitten fingernails. Still, with £18million in the bank, we would probably still have change.

The JOB loan to Wednesday still rumbles on and Jlloyd could be off to Cardiff. Good moves both, as it gets a couple of players some needed game time and also clears the decks for them being released in the summer. And Riga Mustapha has finally found another club after being released in January, popping up as FC Cartagena in the Spanish Second Division. This, to be fair, was probably his level when he came to us.

In injury news, Sam Ricketts has spoken about his season ending achilles operation. If you’ve been watching the Sky Sports promo for the Wales – England game, you’d have seen his fizzog appear as one of the Welsh players, like he has made a comeback not seen since Mrs Lazarus attacked her husband, thinking he was a prowler when he let himself in the front door a couple of days after she buried him. In reality, he’s still on crutches and unable to put pressure on the ankle, but at least he now has some company in the treatment room apart from Sean Davis, who will be getting his own plaque attached to the table once he finally gets off it. Jonny Evans has spoken about the tackle that ushered Stuart Holden into the corner of the room with the sign ‘long term’ hanging over it, and has admitted it was a bad tackle but not malicious.

‘At the time I did think I’d gone in for a fair challenge and I’d won the ball. But looking back on it when I went straight off the pitch and into the changing rooms and saw the tackle again, I realised it wasn’t a good tackle from myself.’

Well, thank you very much for clearing that up Jonny. It makes us all feel a whole lot better. Maybe you’ll consider those words the next time you consider leaving the floor with your studs showing. Doubt it though.

Right, Mrs X needs a cup of tea. So, if you’ll excuse me, we’ll reconvene tomorrow.

 

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