Alan’s Season 2013-14 Diary (continued)
A round-up of the past week’s news in the League Cup, FA Cup and the January transfer rumours.
All Quiet on the Tottenham Front
Manchester United, last season’s champions by a country mile fail to beat Sunderland, who are fighting against relegation, over two legs in the League Cup. They are still in the Champions League but I don’t think they have Europe’s best quaking in their boots. This is real news for a Tottenham blog because all they have left is to hope to improve enough to fight for 4th place. I know it went to a penalty shoot-out but for me the moment an era came to an end was when De Gea fumbled that Bardsley shot into his net.The expression on Moyes’ face said it all. Shock, then resignation. You can trace this all back to United’s failure in the summer transfer window. They went out of their way to ensure they had their first choice manager in place early and then didn’t get him the players even Fergie would have needed to do the job. It’s going to take a hell of lot more than paying over the odds for Juan Mata this week to sort this mess out..
Apparently, unless Sunderland beat moneybags Man City to win the League Cup final, this result means that the 7th placed league team will qualify for the Europa League next season. That’s all we need.
For three of four days now, Sky have seemed to have the inside track on the story that Chelsea are going to allow Juan Mata to transfer to Man United. There have been no official announcements about it and they say the news comes from “Sky sources”. The price they quote has gone up from £30 million to £35 million to £40 million. Guillem Balague the Sky pundit on their Spanish games was initially expressing his views on the likely deal. He was the one who was right along last summer about Gareth Bale leaving Spurs for Real Madrid when Spurs and Bale said he was going nowhere.
Arsene Wenger in Yoda mode discussing why he has no signings lined up in this window,
If something exceptional turns up we will do it…Buy does not always mean strengthen.
Too right. With that in mind Sky are also suggesting that Manchester United are going to sell on last summer’s great purchase for the future, Wilfred Saha, to Cardiff. Moyes clearly not impressed. I suspect the feeling is mutual. Logan has already documented the rumours that about half of Spurs’ summer purchases are looking to get away to try and secure first team football elsewhere.
Saturday 25 January: A rest day. Well it is for Spurs. For anyone else of note it is the FA Cup 4th Round weekend.Sunday 27 January 2014
No real surprises in the FA Cup results. A few scenes of entertainment for us neutrals though. Chelsea comprehensively beat Stoke 1-0. They could and should have had 6. The winner was a fantastic free kick from Oscar. Mark Hughes reverted to type by blaming the referee for giving it in the first place.
Fulham, with nearly as many coaches as subs on the bench scraped a draw with Nigel Clough’s 10 man Sheffield United. Darren Bent stabbed yet another glorious chance wide from a few feet out. Another one for Harry and Sandra’s scrapbook.Andros Townsend and his Dad do a great job of the 5th round draw. They send Chelsea to Man City and Liverpool to Arsenal.
More Transfer Gossip
Sure enough, Mata has gone to Man United for £37.1 million. Mourinho damns him with faint praise by saying he is sorry he couldn’t make him a better player.
Kenwyne Jones out of Stoke, which was on the cards from the minute Mark Hughes arrived. No love lost there. Swapped with wandering journeyman Peter Odemwingie from Cardiff, who doesn’t seem to have been there 5 minutes since his long drawn out attempt to get away from West Brom.
Tom Ince: in the last transfer window he was rumoured to be attracting interest from Liverpool, Spurs and other top clubs. Now he can only get offers from Hull, Stoke, Cardiff and Swansea. Whatever happened there? If he is not careful, someone is going to make a sow’s ear out of a promising silk purse of his career.