Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Transfer Monday

I feel like I should be talking about the Gold Cup, and that's probably what some people might expect. But, I'm not going to do that for a few reasons. One: I've already put in my two cents about the USMNT roster. Two: The US tcob (took care of business) against Belize, as they should have. Three: I don't feel like it, and this is my blog. Fair enough?

Instead, I've decided to take a look at the recent big-name transfers. Since this is the "silly season" and players are moving left and right every day, I'll do my best to keep up with a weekly post. Let's take a look at some of the more high-profile swaps so far.

Simon Mignolet (GK) - Sunderland to Liverpool

Mignolet was one of a couple of BPL 'keepers rumored to move this summer. He is a good player, and looks to be the long-term replacement for Pepe Reina. The interesting bit, though, is that Reina is still on the Reds' roster. He has been linked with a move back to Barcelona (where he spent time at the famous La Masia), who still have Victor Valdes for one final year. So, until something is resolved with Reina there exist two possible 'keeper controversies to start the 2013-14 season.

Jesus Navas (Winger) - Sevilla to Manchester City

Navas is a very good player. During the Confederations Cup, he provided a spark for Spain coming off the bench against both Italy and Brazil. Unfortunately for him, Spain is stacked with attack-minded midfielders and wingers. In my opinion, he could replace Pedro as a starter, but the Barcelona chemistry has been difficult to overlook. Tangent over.

Man City have acquired another speedy winger. Scott Sinclair did not work out last season, and Navas will be given his shot. He has a well-documented history of homesickness and anxiety (I believe he often held out of the Spain squad during away matches earlier in his career), but having participated in the 2010 World Cup, 2012 Euros, and 2013 Confeds, it seems Navas has at least made an effort to put his worries behind him. Now with a permanent home in England we will see how his conditions affect his play.

Carlos Tevez (Striker) - Manchester City to Juventus

Tevez had a roller coaster of a spell with City. At one point he served as captain, but contract disputes and transfer requests climaxed in abandoning the team to hang out and play golf in Argentina during the 2011-2012 season. Once he returned, he was as reliable as ever for the Citizens. Now with the Italian champions, Tevez should thrive with Andrea Pirlo pulling the strings.

Paulinho (Midfielder) - Corinthians to Tottenham

Spurs signed a quality player. I didn't know much about Paulinho until coming down to Brazil at the end of last year. Since then I've been able to watch him play for the Seleção, as well as Corinthians, and let me tell you the man does it all. He shone in the Confeds and should do so in North London, as well. A box-to-box player, he kind of reminds me of Frank Lampard. Spurs' midfield is looking mighty formidable for next season.

Jozy Altidore (Striker) - AZ Alkmaar to Sunderland

Jozy in the Prem, take 2. I hadn't realized he had gotten so much playing time for Hull City back in the 2009-10 season. He took part in 28 matches, scoring only once. While those numbers are pretty dismal, this time around promises to be different. Jozy was red-hot in the Netherlands, which has finally transferred back to the Nats. This should help his confidence in battling for a starting spot. Sunderland are a better team than Hull was, and he will get some service from Sebastian Larsson and Adam Johnson. Who knows, maybe even John O'Shea will chip in.

Radamel Falcao (Striker) - Atletico Madrid to AS Monaco

Welcome back to Ligue 1 Monaco. What's that? You've got a ton of money now? Sure, you can buy trophies! Watch out though, it will be a bidding war between you and PSG... 

Monaco, once a European heavyweight (okay, maybe more of a middleweight), are well on their way back to prominence. I bet a move to a then-second division team isn't looking so bad now, is it Sean Franklin?

David Villa (Striker) - Barcelona to Atletico Madrid

The biggest surprise here is that Villa chose to stay in Spain, rather than the touted move to Spurs. Atletico Madrid aren't as far away from catching the big boys as one might think. They were in second place for much of last season before finishing comfortably in third. They've done this by building a strong core, and always having dangerous strikers. Before Villa came Falcao, who was preceded by Diego Forlan.

This was probably the best piece of business of the transfer window. Falcao was sold for roughly $75 million. Villa, still a very capable striker who had been forced to play on the left wing during his tenure at Barcelona, was brought in for about $6.5 million. Over three years.

Neymar (Winger/Striker) - Santos to Barcelona

Neymar is about to roll up his sleeves and get a little Messi in Barcelona. Neymar's performance at the Confeds silenced a lot of his critics. The biggest thing to watch for is how his style of play blends with the likes of Messi and Iniesta. Credit to my cousin JP who first pointed out to me that Neymar's game is much more comparable to Cristiano Ronaldo than to Messi. I've come to agree with that idea, and think it will benefit everyone mentioned, with the exception of Ronaldo (and Real Madrid).

Nicholas Anelka (Striker) - Shanghai Shenhua to West Brom

PSG, Arsenal, Real Madrid, PSG again, Liverpool, Man City, Fenerbahce, Bolton, Chelsea, Shanghai, Juventus, West Brom. Ladies and Gentlemen, the definition of 'mercenary'.

Carlos Bocanegra (Defender) - Rangers to Chivas USA

Poor guy. Charlie Blackmouth returns to southern California with the most hapless team in MLS. It will be an uphill battle for the former USMNT captain to regain a roster spot before the upcoming World Cup. I wish him luck.

Pablo Mastroeni (Midfielder) - Colorado Rapids to LA Galaxy

Conversation between Bruce Arena and one of his advisers... Let's just call him TJ.

Landon Donovan? check. Cobi Jones? check. Frankie Hejduk? Check. Greg Berhalter, Eddie Lewis, Tony Sanneh? Check, check, and check. How about Clint Mathis?? Yup. Alright, then let's bring in Pablo Mastroeni next.

Feel free to leave comments and feedback, suggest future topics to cover, whatever. Also follow me on Twitter @biasedsoccer

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