round up #15

for as much as i hate the highly packed winter schedule that the premier league throws at the clubs (it’s like 15° outside and the league feels it’s necessary to make each club play three times in two weeks. why put so much stress on the players?), i go a little stir crazy in between game days. getting near daily doses of high quality football, my brain get’s acclimated and i end up developing a soccer dependency. it makes me feel like a coke addict or something.

luckily, i’ve had the transfer rumor mills and stories of clubs up to their necks in debt to help me keep distracted during days between matches. although, i could really do without all of the major injuries to USMNT members as of late. that’s getting annoying.

anyway, here’s a small sampling of what i found worth reading over the last week or so.

racing's sergio canales has shown up on the radar of many of europe's top clubs.

canales wanted by manchester united & chelsea – telegraph.co.uk
when a highly rated prospect pops up on the radar in continental europe, it can almost be expected that major clubs will be rumored to begin circling like sharks come january. the newest, and possibly most inspiring, to garner the attention from the big boys is racing de santander’s 18-year-old starlet, sergio canales. i’ve watched the young attacking midfielder several times this season (he was particularly impressive against sevilla, netting a brace), and have been thoroughly impressed with his play and style. and since he’s out of contract this summer, he can be had cheaper as his club look to cash in on him before they lose him for nothing. and while chelski, the mancs, and arsenal are all rumored to be leading the race for his signature, i would really prefer that madrid sign him as the primary back-up to kaká.

fox to launch 2nd soccer network – sports.yahoo.com
it looks like fox has noticed that it’s north american based fox soccer channel has garnered a rather large following in the last few years (i’ve been a subscriber for the last five years), and it plans to build on that success and launch a brand new network in 2010. the new network, to be dubbed fox soccer plus will look to expand on their current content offerings by showing additional english premier league, FA cup, serie A and champions league games. additionally, the entire network will be broadcast in HD, which is a more than overdue offering for he american market. while i have absolutely no problem with fox adding another channel devoted exclusively to soccer, i have two problems with this announcement.

first, i was hoping they could use the new channel to  expand their line-ups to include matches from other leagues (la liga, ligue 1, or bundesliga perhaps?). i know a lot of this has to do with getting the contracts with those leagues (which can be pricy), but they can’t even adaquately fill FSC with a full day’s worth of content. now they’re adding a whole other channel to show the same exact leagues they already show. however, the nice part is that they should be able to show a full slate of weekend premier league games now.

problem two involves the complete lack of time frame and information about who will cary the network. the article states that fox is “negotiating with cable carriers to determine whether they want to place it on a select tier or offer it as a monthly subscription service for a fee.” so there is no guarantee that every network will carry it or not, and you may have to pay for it separately each month. and considering all of the trouble that fox has created by raising it’s licensing fees as of late, i’m not optimistic that cable/satellite carriers won’t just pass on the costs to me and my fellow consumers.

wenger: donovan can shine at everton – arsenal.com
if you had the chance to watch either of landycake’s first two matches for the tofees, you would be hard pressed to disagree with the arsenal manager. despite having just stepped off the plane from sunny southern california into snowy, frozen over england to play an away match against one of the title contentders, landon handled himself very well. so, yes arsene, i agree with you that landon has — so far — passed the premier league litmus test.

but that’s not what interested me in this article, as i expected so much out of donovan. what was much more interesting was wenger’s comments regarding his views on the american talent pool. the arsenal manager, who has quite the track record for developing young players, thinks that the US harbors a large, capable set of youngsters that could become great players and that he would like to open an academy in the states at some point. however, the current climate is not suitable for doing so because of england’s stringent work permit restrictions. in wenger’s words:

It would be very interesting if we had really a good potential to get the players easily in here, we would create a full-time academy over there and get the best young players and work with them to get them over here. But at the minute that is impossible and that’s why I believe we have a big handicap.

unholy row over world cup trumpet – bbc.com
as much as i’m looking forward  to this summer’s world cup finals in south africa, it’s no secret that i’m not at all looking forward to the constant drone of those damn vuvuzela horns that will accompany each game. don’t remember it from the confederations cup? here’s a short video link, but be prepared to want to rip your eardrums out of your head to stop the sound. and despite the fact that TV broadcasters hate them, the players hate them, and most fans hate them, fifa have stood tall in defense of the horns due to it being “a part of the south african football culture.”

i'll back any efforts, no matter how ludicrous, to bring death to the vuvuzela horn.

well, it appears that some crazy form of christianity (shembe) in south africa claims that they invented the horn. their church leaders are planning to bring legal action against the tournament organizers to ban their use next summer due to an invasion of their religious practices. look, i’m certainly not a fan of a religion that bans “smoking, drinking and fornicating,” but i will gladly stand united with them in their efforts to prevent the sound of a million angry hornets coming out of my tv in june and july.

so will rooney be the next to go? – thesun.co.uk
the tabloids are having a field day with manchester united’s debt issues as of late. it’s become popular knowledge in the last week or so that the red devils are in a precarious situation, with mountains of debt piled against the club due in large part to the glazer takeover in 2005. with a reported £700+ million in debt to try to clear, rumors are beginning to swirl of the extreme measures that united will have to take to keep the club afloat. there is speculation that the club might have to sell their carrington training ground, and possibly even old trafford (this will cause severe rioting if it goes down).

it’s likely that ronaldo’s lucrative sale this past summer was fueled by the need for cash, probably also explaining why sir alex wasn’t able to use all of that money to restock his squad. it’s also been mooted that rooney could be put up for sale as well, since he’s the only other player in the squad that could bring in another large sum. while i could easily see the mancs selling carrington, my guess is that the sales of the theatre of dreams or rooney is purely tabloid filler… for the time being at least.

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