Monday, February 15, 2010

Xavi injured, bring on Cesc.

With the news that Barcelona Maestro Xavi Hernandez out two weeks, including a Champions League game, it will be interesting to see how the nearly flawless Blaugrana midfield plays without their field general. If the team does not perform well, fuel will be added to the 'bring Cesc back' fire. Check back this week for our thoughts on the whole 'Cesc to Barcelona' saga.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A.C Milan...the 'Pato-centric' system

I get it, Milan are not exactly wearing out the soles of their shoes running back and forth to the bank, they are not bleeding euros out of every orifice, and good old Silvio should make sure he saves some loot for the dental bills he will soon be getting after getting smoked by a porcelain virgin Mary statue (hilarious). But after selling Kaka to the Evil Empire for as tidy €59 million, the best that the Rossoneri could come up with was Klaas-Jan Huntelaar for €15 million? Don't get me wrong, the Dutch Daddy is a predator in the box who got a raw deal in Madrid, getting the boot after scoring eight goals in 13 starts for Los Blancos.

But Milan's strike core is one if the most diverse in top flight football, tons of forward, one world class (Pato), one ready for the nursing home (Inzaghi), a few young guns and two good, but not world class players in Huntelaar and Borriello. Whoever thought quantity is better than quality never considered Milan's grouping of strikers. And although the forward spot is not the only place the Rossoneri need help, it may be the most important. So leave it to Euros n' Sense to devise the perfect summer transfer strategy for Milan's most storied team.

Even with the loss of Kaka, Milan seem to prefer playing a 4-3-1-2, leaving Ronaldinho to sit behind the two strikers in a creative role, and while its always better to be safe than sorry, I don't think it is necessary to have eight forwards on the first team. Poor Inzaghi is 37 years old and has played about as many minuets this season, coming on mostly as a substitute. After a renaissance year of sorts in 08/09, the geriatric bandit has not produced at all this year finding the back of the net only once while playing set up man three other times. Verdict: GOTTA GO.
Next Milan need to make a decision on what to do with some of the young guns they have waiting in the wing, the only thing that is for sure is that Dominic Adiyiah who just signed in November needs to have a spot on the team, the Ghanaian international is the Milan version of Inters Mario Balotelli, and could be just a few years away from forming an impressive partnership with Pato (both are only 20...hello future!!!) Although he is probably the best (outside Pato) young striker Milan, Adiyiah, who scored 17 goals in 18 appearances for the Ghana U-20 team, is certainly not the only one.
The Rossoneri boast a trio of 17 year old starlets (Marco Zigoni, Simone Verdi and Giacomo Beretta along with Nnamdi Oduamadi , who is the groups senior at 19. For a team like Milan who only plays with two up front, five youngsters that are wasting space on the bench based solely on 'potential' is excessive. Verdict: KEEP EM' out Zigoni and Beretta while giving Adiyiah and Verdi an occasional call up next season as they seem to be the two most ready for first team action, especially the Ghanaian kid.

Finally we come to Huntelaar and Borriello, who are both very nice players, but may not be the right fit to play next to Pato. Borriello is a strong player, who is good with his head, and does well playing the role of a holding striker, unfortunately for him, his style is so similar to Pato's, it makes it difficult for the two to play together. If you ever watch am Milan game, there attack varies between build up play through passing and direct play with balls going straight from defenders to a striker usually Pato. What Milan needs is a striker that can make runs off of Pato, while being an absolute killer around the net. While Huntelaar may fit the role a bit better than Borriello (he is a super finisher), he does not posses the speed, agility and awareness to become an outstanding 'off the ball' striker. Milan own both outright so any money coming in from potential sales could be used to purchase someone who better fits the 'Pato-centric' system. Verdict: At 27, and coming off 18 months of good form, Borriello is the one to go, slap a €10 million price tag on him and send him to a team like Lyon or Werder Bremen. Plus Huntelaar will only be one year into a four year deal, and can be the first striker off of the bench until on of the young guns can take that spot from him.

If my math is correct, we have loaned out two starlet's, shipped Inzaghi of to the MLS and let Borriello go for €10 million. If I am Leonardo, I am asking Silvio to add about €30-€35 million to that kitty giving me €40-€45 million to spend on my front line, which is not to implausible seeing that thong boy (Ronaldo) went for €81 million.
With that money Leonardo's responsibility is to find a quick striker (preferably who likes playing slightly left, as Pato tends to drift right) who can make runs off of Pato's hold up play, and be a deadly finisher in front of the net. He also needs to purchase a second striker for around four million euros who can, along side Huntelaar, fill in for either Pato of the new signing. Without further adieu, here is my list of potential players who could fit these roles at Milan.

Starting striker:

Dirk Kuyt- With Liverpool's implosion eminent (if they miss out on Champions league play), the tireless Dutch forward would be the apple in Pato's eye, making runs off Pato and linking up with the bucktooth Brazilian (Ronny). Bringing in Kuyt would also mean that Milan would have one of the best defensive front front lines in football as both Pato and Kuyt track back well. Could be a cheap buy before the world cup as Hicks and Gillette need the money, but he is just one glorious world cup away from seeing his price skyrocket over €20 million. Could get it done for €15-19 euros

Jermain Defoe- Defoe is the prototype for what Milan needs, as he compliments Pato's style perfectly. A deadly shot, and quick as hell, I could see it working out well. Has had a great first half to the premier league season, and is on track to start next to Rooney in South Africa, inflating his price even more. Transferred from Pompey back to White Hart Lane for 15.75 million pounds. If it goes down its gonna cost Milan...let's go with €27.5 million,

Robinho- It fits!!! A new (Holy Trinity) replacing the Kaka Brazilian link with Robinho. The crazy ex-Santos player (back on loan) is bursting with pace, and is technically brilliant, and has experience playing with Pato on the national team. The only person that would stop this move would be Robinho himself, he may be done with Europe. Manchester City would not get there money back ob the Brazilian, but they could come close €28 million sounds about right.

Carlos Tevez-Another prototype player with a South American link, would do well in Italy due to the constant use of offside traps, and his ability to destroy them. Very similar to Robinho, but has more experience playing up the middle. There is an argument in how much the Mancys paid for Tevez, but Milan would have to splurge for the services of the little Argentine. €30-€35 million.

Now that we have decided who will start up front with Pato, lets spend the rest of old Silvio's dough finding a €5-€10 million bench striker to (along with Huntelaar) relieve the strikers.

Nicklas Bendtner- Keeping with the youth movement, Bendtner is a quality player who does not get a shot with Arsenal. A big guy, who is good in the air, the big Dane would be a nice fit. €7-9 million

Carlos Vela- a quick Mexican striker who also cant get a shot in the Arsenals lineup €2-5 million euros.

Jeffern Suarez- Already in his 20's he may be to old and to far down the list to ever get a game with La Blagurana. A super fast and super versatile player who was raised in the best system in the world. €3-5 million euros.

I know it was a long post, but I hope you enjoyed the read, next up we will get in to MAN U.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Barca and the Left Wing

With Thierry Henry closing in on his 83rd birthday, and the New York Red Bull seemingly interested in the ageless Frenchy, the reigning champions of everything are no doubt in the market for a replacement at left wing. Last season, the French international had a renaissance year, scoring 36 goals in 55 starts, alas all good things must come to an end as the "ageless one" has scored just twice in 24 games this season. Thank god for little Pedro Rodríguez Ledesma, who has subbed in at left wing all season, granting old man Henry's weary legs a rest, while scoring a nifty 15 goals in the process. As good of a player Pedro seems to be, and no doubt he will be a really good one, he lacks the world class potential necessary to lace up the boots consistently for La Blaugrana. So where does that leave the champs, glad you asked. One great thing about La Blaugrana is they are not Real Madrid (financially speaking), meaning that the club has the finances to pull off any deal that Pep Guardiola, and whoever the teams new president will be come this summer, feels necessary. Assuming that Don Andres Inesta stays in his play making midfield position Barcelona will surly be in the market for a new left wing. Let's take a look at some possible replacements whose names have been tossed into the ring thus far.

Luis Suarez- Some people say that playing in the Eredivisie automatically doubles your goal total, but if that is the case, Suarez still has a nasty goal hull. Suarez has 22 goals in the league alone including a double brace (4) in one game last week. Suarez just resigned with Ajax, and no matter how that sounds, that actually makes it easier for him to be sold. Cost Ajax are in line to make some big money off Suarez, having bought him for 800,000 Euros. I can see him being sold for somewhere between 15-23 million Euros. Chances 65%

Frank Ribery- This may be the ideal fit for Barcelona, a very creative an attack minded natural winger, Ribery will see Real Madrid and Barcelona both fight for his signature. The 26 year old Frenchmen is quite injury prone, and his value will be nowhere near the 75 million Euros that Bayren were quoting teams last summer. Cost:30-47 million euros. Chances:55%

David Villa- Ahh...a perennial Pichichi contender, Villa would be a great addition to Barcelona, as he brings what the team lost when Eto'o left for Inter, a true goal scorer with a nose for the back of the net. He would fit well with Messi on the right and Ibra sitting pretty in the middle, Villa would make Barcelona's front three the most formidable in the world. If word it to be believed, Villa is waiting on Barca to make a move, so he may be willing to give Barca a discount for Champions league play consistently. The only downside on Villa is possibly his age, at 28 he is no spring chicken. Cost:30-40 million euros Chances:55%-60%

David Silva- If you ask the guys at Barcelona Football Blog, Villas partner up front at Valencia, David Villa may be the perfect fit for Barcelona. A natural left winger, Silva can fit in to Barcelona's system without much trouble, as he seems to see the field the same way as Barcelona's play makers do. He is also young and would be the cheapest of the lot. Cost:20-25 million euros Chances:60-70%

Welcome to Euros n' Sense!!!

With 109 days left until the summer transfer window opens across Europe, clubs all across the continent are methodically preparing to sell or buy players in the hopes of improving either the squad or ensuring a positive financial return.While all of this commotion is underway in boardrooms in each in Leagues all over Europe, sporting directors, managers and club presidents alike are all hoping that their most valuable assets (the players) can make it through the World Cup without any injuries or major slump in form. But just because the market is not open for business does not mean we here at Euros n' Sense are taking a break from all of the speculation that comes during the slow season.
Here at Euros n' Sense we will try to make sense of all of the crazy rumors and backdoor deals that we read about every day in the rags around the world. Want to know if your favorite team is gonna get the striker they so desperately need, just check out Euros 'n Sense for the answer.