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Arshavin Likes Fergie…

… and Scolari and Wenger. He thinks the Premiership is the best league; he watches the English league in the weekends; and, more importantly, he wants to change clubs. He said all this in an interview to the BBC [audio link — thanks to a comment from yesterday’s post.]

So where’s the catch?

Well, for one, he said a couple of days ago to the Spanish press that he likes Barcelona and that the Spanish league suits his style. His agent and the president of the Russian football federation made his interest in La Liga known; is he that public a figure in Russia that his deepest secrets are known to everyone? [On second thoughts I wouldn’t dispute the fact that, at the moment, he’s bigger than Putin in Russia.]

Anyway, the interview to the BBC, if you’ve already heard it by now, would tell you one thing: that the questions were framed in such a way as to put words in his mouth; obviously, anyone with half a brain would tell you that he would like playing in the Premiership or La Liga; obviously, anyone with half a brain would tell you that the pitches are better in England and Spain; and any half-wit if asked would tell you that he likes Ferguson, Scolari and Wenger (sorry Rafa).

[As an aside, I would like to know why he’s already started pimping himself to all and sundry — what tomorrow, the Italian media? — when his country has a semi-final against Spain, in Russia’s biggest game yet. Oh, well, that’s football for you these days.]

But besides all the obvious, one thing in the interview that appealed to me — although, perhaps, much of the actual meaning may have been lost in translation — was the statement he made, the essence of which was, “The club I will go to must show real desire to want me.”

For United fans an easier example would be Aaron Ramsey. Clearly Arsenal showed more desire to sign the teenager. So whilst the player would eventually make up his mind United must show a real desire to want him if they are to stand any chance of signing him.

At the end of the day, signing Arshavin would be one hell of a challenge and any club that snaps him would pull off a major coup. To be brutally honest — and risking brickbats for said honesty — I thought Arshavin was the perfect Arsene Wenger kind of a player as he plays in a short quick passing Russian system apart from his age and cost.

But I wouldn’t make his signing a priority. If we sign him, good and if we don’t, I am not going to cut myself over it. Excellent player, but our priorities this summer involve a striker a defender and I’ll continue to stand by that. Anyone else would be welcome and I certainly wouldn’t mind.

* * *

Round up from the rest of today (and a bit of yesterday’s) news

  • Rummenigge slam’s Madrid’s tactics: Finally someone, other than us, seems to think that Madrid may be doing things a tad on the wrong side.
  • The Sun’s exclusive reveals that Ronaldo will return to Manchester after his holiday. Erm… David Gill told us that before (and during) the Euros, that all players under contract will return to the club following their holidays. Anything else and, I think, it would be in violation of club rules, wouldn’t it? You return from your scheduled holidays and get back to work, wouldn’t you? Any plans of quitting would be done by having a word with your boss, and in the world of football (and contracts) it can’t be truer. So the Sun can shove their exclusive up their whatever — we know it already, numpties!
  • In hysterical headlines of the day, the award goes to the Daily Mail, who’ve come up with their late breaking news: “New United kit for a new season… but hang on, where’s Ronaldo?” Okay, it came on Sunday, but the fact that the headline was a bit too long was the least of its faults.
  • In blogwatch, James Ryddel draws up an elaborate theory on how Arshavin could be a pawn in Ronaldo’s move to Real. I don’t think that to be plausible, but good for a read although he is, essentially, thinking out loud.
  • And Scott is, as usual, at his Liverpool bashing best (in this case Arbeloa) — it’s always great to see a United fan having a good go at Shitepool; one can never tire of it. [Can’t wait for title number 18 to rub it in, although they’ll still come up with the 5 Champions’ League shite.]

And that should end this for the day, but for this link Ahmed suggested sharing with you all: Euro 2008 babes; and as with any picture gallery showcasing the best of the fairer sex, it may come with an NSFW warning. Speaking of Euro 2008, a rather tasty encounter today between Russia and Spain. I’d like either of them to go on to win the thing, but based on footballing excitement alone, I’d back the Russians to go the full distance; albeit with a shaky defence.

Anyway, take it away from here, people…



  1. Red Ranter

    June 27, 2008 at 1:50 am

    @Grognard: I don’t see much wrong with Spain’s brand of football apart from the play acting. More often than not they play the ball on the floor. And it’s only the last couple of seasons where it’s been widely acknowledged that England have the best league. All these years it has been Spain and Italy — that hasn’t stopped players from coming to the Premier League. So we can live with the tag of being the second best — as it is, England hasn’t even qualified for the Euros which hasn’t stopped most people from declaring that the EPL is the best.

    Being a neutral I’ll go with the purer footballing nation right now, which, to be honest is Spain. Although I do have a sneaky feeling that the Germans will pull off a win.

  2. Grognard

    June 27, 2008 at 3:30 am

    RR; “Purer footballing nation”? Are you kidding me? 3 World Cups, 7 finals, 3 European Championships, 6 Finals, one of the originators of total football with the Dutch and a history of far superior players over the past 50 years yet you call Spain purer football? Sorry but I don’t get that. Major International Tournament wins Germany 6, Spain 0. And don’t go throwing the Champions League into it because we know that Spanish teams that win that competition don’t do it due to a strong supply of Spaniards. You name 5 Spanish strikers in history that match Mueller, Seeler, Rummenigge, Klinsmann, and Klose. Raul and who? Name me 5 Spanish midfielders that have the reputation or acclaim in history that Netzer, Matthaus, Ballack, Sammer and Overath have had? How about defenders as good as Beckenbauer, Brehme, Breitner, Kohler or Vogts? And should I even bother with goalkeepers. Maier, Schumacher, Illgner, Kahn or Kopke. Most of the players you would use to fight this battle would be more recent players which says a lot for the current Spanish team and their current form of pure football. But to go back 30 40 years and tell me that Spain plays purer football when all they have been is classic underachievers and misfit in the game, I don’t think so. To say they played more pure football than the 66, 70, 72, 74, 80, 82, 90 and 2006 German teams would be falsehood of epic proportions. My God, one final appearance in 25 years. You think maybe Spanish players are just a bit overrated? Is it possible the Puskas’, Di Stefano’s, Cruyff’s, Netzer’s, Neeskens’, Maradona’s, Stoichkov’s, Krankl’s, Romario’s, Kempes’, Schuster’s, Stielike’s, Ronaldo’s, Ronaldinho’s, and hundreds of other great foreigners to play in Spain covered up for the true deficiencies in Spanish footballers for five decades? Take aside, about four or five from their present crop, and I can only think of Raul, Juanito Butregueno and Zubezerreta as players that can even compare to the German or foreign legends I have named. Sure I might be missing a few but I could call of 50 world class German stars from the past before I would get to 15 from Spain that are in the same caliber. One would have to go back to before 1960 to find quality Spanish players like Zamora etc.

    RR; The Germans get a lot of stick on this site and elsewhere and yet people forget that they are second only to Brazil in wins and stature. Italy may have won one more World Cup but they have not made as many total finals as the Germans. Spain isn’t even in the top ten I believe. And if they are, it’s certainly not even a close race. So forgive me if I defend their brand and quality of football as just as pure if not purer historically than that of Spain. It’s not even close. With that said, Spain play a purer game today than Germany but not by much. Their only real advantage is their pace and quickness. But that is a strong advantage. They should beat Germany on Sunday, but watch Germany do it yet again. Because they are capable of setting their ego’s aside and winning ugly if they need to. Can the Spaniards do that and are they able to eliminate 5 decades of failure in their minds. They may have more talent but they are inferior when it comes to mental toughness and will to win. Nobody but nobody beats Germany on mental toughness. Hopefully for them they will match them with will to win and class on the pitch to overcome Germany’s mental advantage.

    Germany was pre tournament favorite for a reason. They are good and they play pure football.

  3. Red Ranter

    June 27, 2008 at 3:44 am

    Would have saved your energy had I clarified what I meant by pure footballing nation. I meant Spain play the better football at the moment than Germany in my eyes.

    Germany are successful, I don’t begrudge that. I don’t have loyalties as far as international football (European footy) is concerned except perhaps Brazil. The Germans get the job done, that’s all I can give them credit for. Sorry.

    And I am talking about the current German team. I preferred the WC team of 2006 over this, tbh. All my decisions on which team to back in these kinds of tournaments are based on how they’ve played over the course of the tournament. So this Spain team have played better football than the Germans, added to the fact that I have a soft corner makes me back them over the Germans.

    Hope I’ve made my stand clear now.

  4. Red Ranter

    June 27, 2008 at 3:53 am

    And you don’t have to ask me for forgiveness for defending your opinion. 🙂

    So much defence over nothing really; I never challenged Germany’s pedigree and fully agree about their attributes. Perhaps I could have made it clearer so that I could have avoided a rant that’s arisen over a misunderstanding. I guess, it was your energy I ended up wasting. Sorry about that, mate 🙂

  5. sittingbison

    June 27, 2008 at 4:22 am

    perceptive article RR, Arshavin did in fact bottle it after the two great games and interviews (his agent is a magician), so we can scratch him from the transfer saga.

  6. Grognard

    June 27, 2008 at 7:52 am

    No harm done RR. You are correct though, I thought you meant historically. I too prefer the 2006 version of Germany. Not as much experience but Klinsmann through hios passion and personality had them playing with more fire, urgency and more pace. I for one believe Klinsmann is very underrated as a manager. I understand a little German and I watched the big documentary done in Germany about the German team’s run through the WC and their preparation. He is innovative and not as tactically naive as some thought. Low was there bu make no mistake, it was Klinsmann’s team and his motivational talks and attempts to emphasize a point was just fantastic. Personally I loved him as a player but I think he has potential to be an even better manager. Bayern will be a big test for him but I think he will do fine. It is different though, a club over a national team. Who knows? 😆

  7. karl

    June 27, 2008 at 9:19 am

    “Not only is Robben a Dutch Saha, he is also a classically trained diva and thespian. A terrible play actor and baby of the worst order”

    I understand what you mean and agree.
    But, hell he’s nowhere near our beloved CR7. I’ve noticed during the last couple of games that whenever he gets tackled, he EXPECTS a free kick and kinda “give up the chase” and just stand there waving his arms around. Strangely enough the last couple of games were the first time in my life that I got upset at one of our own players for play-acting.
    I think we can live with Robben’s antics (because we’re so used to CR7’s ones already). The injusry issue is another case however.

  8. Keith Kaira II

    June 27, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Arsenal didn’t show Ramsey more desire to be fair. They simply could guarantee him a shot at real first team football next season. Which we can’t with the size and quality of our squad.

  9. Grognard

    June 27, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Keith; Arsenal and Wenger flying the lad and his parents to Switzerland and wining and dining them while sweet talking them into getting his signature certainly shows more desire to me than having Gary Neville give the lad a tour of Old Trafford while both Gill and Fergie were improving their tans and while the boy’s idol Ryan Giggs was nowhere to be seen. Come on mate, be serious! Adding first team football was sure a clincher in the deal but the special treatment of the lad made all the difference. He felt appreciated and wanted by the Arse. 😯

  10. Grognard

    June 27, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    karl; Yes Ronaldo is pretty pathetic from his diving and bitching but he is still different than Robben. Robben dives and then cries like he has just been shot. And sometimes he actually stays down because he is brittle. I remember two years ago he went for a dive where he wasn’t touched and ended up leaving the game from injury. Now that’s useless and a total wussy I feel. 😉

  11. Keith Kaira II

    June 27, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    I’m sorry Grognard. I can’t agree. Nothing trumps first team football. Nothing. It wouldn’t have mattered if Giggs and Fergie had met the kid.

  12. gilbert

    July 8, 2008 at 10:41 am

    I believe that Ashavin is interested in playing at old trafford this summer becasuse he has spoken that he likes fergurson. I think united should be linked with him this summer because i am not happy over this attitude of not this attitude of late signing. united should please make signing so that the fans will be having joy because most teams like chelsea for instance have signed a popular playmaker.

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