Rafael van der Vaart
In which I publish a list of notable transfers, in no particular order:
Rafael van der Vaart to Tottenham: For a measly £8 million, Spurs added an excellent player in Rafael van der Vaart. He’ll give the offense a bit of class and a lot of punch. I never understand why he didn’t feature prominently at Real Madrid, not do I understand why he doesn’t play more for the Dutch national team. And I don’t understand why Sir Alex Ferguson wasn’t all over this move, especially at only £8 million. Their loss is Tottenham’s gain.
Robinho to AC Milan: For €18 million, AC Milan added a supremely talented striker and malcontent. He’s one of those guys who needs constant attention, which must be exhausting, to be honest. However, I think he’ll provide a good return on the money because he’s motivated and he’s wanted at Milan.
Asamoah Gyan to Sunderland: Ambitious Sunderland added World Cup hero Gyan in a bid to give the offense a boost. I, for one, think it will work out just swimmingly.
Javier Mascherano to Barcelona: A terrible move for both club and player. Mascherano doesn’t fit Barcelona’s system at all. This is a vanity signing, pure and simple. And it’s destined for failure.
Raul Meireles to Liverpool: A good move for Liverpool because Meireles is a gifted player (despite his comically bad tattoos). I think he’ll work out fine.
Mario Balotelli to Manchester City: And City add another player. And overpay for the privilege, too. Of course, that’s been the story of the last couple of years. I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.
Ramires to Chelsea: A good move by Chelsea. And cheap-ish, too.
David Beckham in Milan
Well, that’s settled. Yippee-ki-yay. AC Milan have confirmed that David Beckham will return to the San Siro in January.
Sarcasm aside, good for him (it’s likely well-known that I actually like Beckham the football player, limited as he is. Perhaps it’s the Canadian in me and I appreciate his heart and the fact that he’ll play on 1 good leg for his country. That’s admirable, even with the underwear ads and other extracurricular stuff. But I digress.) and I hope he makes the 2010 World Cup team for England.
Oguchi Onyewu (Getty Images)
Now that’s a step up. Maybe.
US defender Oguchi Onyewu signed with AC Milan on a free today just when their fans were questioning their transfer policy. Not surprisingly, some fans are still upset that the team sold Kaká to Real Madrid. Go figure.
Milan has been linked to prominent forwards – including Luis Fabiano, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and Emmanuel Adebayor – but given that they have Alexandre Pato and he’s apparently not going anywhere, I think they need to shore up their back line. A quick look at their roster indicates to me that they have three or four quality defenders and that all of them are getting rather old. Onyewu is a good start but, really, they need to add more depth and quality there. Re-patriating Andrea Barzagli would be a good first step. As would looking for other young Italian talent. Perhaps, if they’re bent on adding an attacking player, Giuseppe Rossi should be a target since he would provide speed in midfield.
Although they haven’t really made any mis-steps in the transfer market yet, the team did hire an unproven manager: Leonardo Nascimento de Araujo, better known simply as Leonardo. While I understand the name has a certain appeal to Italians and that Barcelona hired unproven Pep Guardiola last year, it seems to me that Leonardo, who had worked at the Technical Director, is more cut out to be a backroom man than the guy up front. Then again, he might prove me wrong. Though I doubt players are lining up to transfer for him like they would be for Carlo Ancelotti.