Sunday, August 31, 2008

What's going on?

The Robinho Saga
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Robinho has finally opened his mouth on the saga with an official conference and from the sound of it, we're in trouble. I point my finger at Calderon for this: how they spent an entire summer to fruitlessly pursue Cristiano Ronaldo when we had Robinho already and Robben recovering from injury and finding his form. There is clearly no more point to hold on to Robinho now that he has made it very clear that he wishes to leave. I really think that Madrid should seriously work on the deal with Chelsea.
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Robinho has declared that he's ok with spending a year on the sidelines if he has to: that's not good for him and Madrid at the same time. Barcelona-based Sport floated the idea of Chelsea including wantaway Drogba in the deal and lessening the fee to 25m. Schuster is a supposed fan of the Drog who can also be the answer to RM's need for a 3rd striking option (though his age is a detriment). This would mean that Higuain would either move down the pecking order for playing time as a striker or playing him as a winger.
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Word from the Madrid press however (Marca) indicates that Schuster is still asking for David Villa, which is insane. Valencia would never be in stupid enough to sell a player who they've just signed to a contract extension.
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One idea which came to me however as I watch the Chelsea-Tottenham match on the TV as I write this entry is that if Chelsea are unwilling to include Drogba in the deal, then perhaps then can offer cash + Malouda... say 30m+ Malouda for Robinho? I don't think that's so bad. That would actually allow us to have perhaps the first summer where we actually made a good profit from the transfer market! After all, I do remember that Malouda was one of the old targets of Madrid back when he was still with Lyon.... and he's a winger who should be now used to be on the bench but has the quality to fill in should the Robben get hurt.
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There are still a few more hours before all this can be settled: or worse, left un-sorted.
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Champions League Draw - Juventus, Zenit-St. Petersburg, BATE Borisov
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We are in the group of Death! Italian giants Juventus, UEFA Cup and Supercup Champs Zenit St. Petersburg and little-known BATE Borisov of Bulgaria. We are in such deep trouble now because of this!
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We're lucky enough to have BATE Borisov AT HOME as our opening game. I would think that we can beat them handily at home. Beating these teams from the east in their stadiums though would be very, very tough. I imagine that they're a physically powerful team, capable of being defensive and have an extremely intimidating homeground. Ditto for Juventus. As for the Andre Arshavin-led Zenit, they have Bayern Munich and Manchester United among their scalps: I wouldn't be surprised if Real Madrid are included among them too.
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Perhaps the bright side of this situation however is that should we make it out alive from this group, we'd be battle-hardened enough to get past the first elimination round. I'd like us to target the semis as a minimum for the CL this year.

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