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The Van Gall Era at Old Trafford
So the David Moyes thing didn’t go so well then. The 2013/4 Premier League season was dominated with the rest of the league laughing at what was happening to a side that ended up seventh.
Of course putting up a big “THE CHOSEN ONE” at the ground did not cause the problems, but it did provide a focus for the ridicule.
Louis Van Gaal’s performance at the World Cup involved getting slightly hysterical praise for bringing on a substitute goal keeper for a penalty shootout, receiving minimal criticism for botching the same move in the next match, and a lot of complaining about having to play the 3rd place play-off. Nationality aside, this would indicate he will make a much better SAF clone than Moyes was ever going to be.
And the main advantage is that he has talked the board into digging deep into that war chest to buy a new team. It may take time, but they won’t be coming seventh this season
Liverpool’s Dirty Money Windfall
So Suarez is gone. A banned player has moved to a club with a transfer ban hanging over its head and who has Qatar Airways on its shirt. Modern football summed up there.
This time last year Tottenham Hotspur got a similar windfall when Gareth Bale moved to Spain. And they spent it as if they had won a Reality TV competition and they had 120 seconds to get whatever they could from a supermarket for free. Except it was like that contestant was drunk.
Seven high profile signings, three times beating the club transfer record and only Christian Eriksen, one of the cheaper signings, fitted in.
So now Liverpool finds itself in the same situation. Suarez cannot be replaced directly, and the defence needed strengthening anyway, so where do they throw the money?
They have started by signing Rickie Lambert, 47, from Southampton.
Good to see the Sloane Square show ponies living up to their name. They may have got lucky in offloading David Luiz in the most ridiculous transfer of all time. But look at how they are managing to waste their roubles in the meantime.
A combined 62 million pounds for an over-the-hill Cesc Fabregas and the ego of Diego Costa who got shown up more than a little in Brazil. Trolling Arsenal is fun, but in signing Fabregas seems a pricey way to go about that.
And why would attacking players want to sign up for a side managed by Jose anyway?
— Ronald Koeman (@RonaldKoeman) July 28, 2014
Well at least Ronald Koeman has a sense of humour about what he has inherited at Southampton because, increasingly, it looks as if he hasn’t inherited a lot. A classic example of being victims of their own success last season’s over-achievers have lost pretty much a complete starting line-up; mostly to bigger clubs.
It is not as if any individual transfer has been bad business; 34 million quid for Luke Shaw is a really good example of Crazy Money, but to lose a team’s worth in a month or so is pretty careless.
So what do they do now? They have around 100 million in the coffers so they too can go on a spending spree akin to Liverpool 2014 and Spurs 2013. The difference being that they need to buy a full team. In the meantime they need to convince those remaining, and keen to join the exodus to change their minds.
The new boys
In 2001, Blackburn, Fulham and Bolton were promoted to the Premier League, and all three survived the drop. This has not happened since.
This time we see Chris Wood’s Leicester City, Burnley and Queen Park Rangers move up, and the odds say that at least one will bounce back down. QPR, allegedly, have a higher salary bill that La Liga Champions Atletico Madrid.
Watch these sides. The gap between the divisions does not get smaller, and the pressure will be on from the opening weekend.
REDACTED: West Ham United v Leicester City
We are back to two New Zealanders in the Premier League (Cameron Howieson is in only in Burnley’s development squad). Although, to be fair, Chris Wood normally comes off the bench for Leicester.
The fun bit here, unlike when Reid and Nelsen were on the pitch at the same time is that Reid will be marking Wood. Bring it on.
Well, that will not happen after all. Chris Wood was seen to be surplus to requirements at Leicester, who are now at a new level. New Zealanders get a new Championship side to support, because it certainly won’t be Tommy Smith’s Ipswich Town.
All odds for the season are now up on William Hill online bookmakers. Chelsea are that favourites, but hardly runaway. Burnley are favourites for relegation.
Robin van Persie is offering shortest odds to be the league’s leading goal-scorer, which adds to the theory that he never really tried under Moyes. And if you want a laugh Torres is paying 51:1 in that category.