Wheeling and dealing in the EPL
Credit crunch and slow economy be damned, the soccer world is still spinning from the record-busting $131 million fee Real Madrid is on the verge of pumping into Manchester United's coffers for FIFA World Player of the Year
Ronaldo to Real, plus
Several names have been mentioned, but United has been frustrated so far in its quest for replacements. Knowing that Man U is sitting on such a sizable war chest, clubs appear to be upping their asking prices. United has offered Wigan Athletic $20 million for Ecuadorian winger
At Chelsea, new boss
Elsewhere, Ancelotti's attempts to raid his old club for players seem destined for failure in the case of Brazilian striker
Wenger has hinted at a willingness to sell Adebayor, but not to another EPL club. A big-money offer from Chelsea could change that position. Arsenal, which finished in fourth place this past season, spent the entire previous offseason lamenting the departures of first-teamers
Cash-rich Manchester City is hoping it's that much closer to breaking up the "Big Four" party. Chairman
City already has splashed $50 million on
City is also making an audacious $50 million play for Barcelona's
Eto'o would be a major coup for City, but his arrival won't please fans as much as it would Tévez. City is expected to win the race for the Argentine as soon as July 1, when his Manchester United contract expires. A world-class striker turning down a hefty new contract at Old Trafford to sign for United's smaller crosstown rivals is a key marker of City's growing status and influence -- one that won't go unnoticed in the pubs of Manchester. Expect many men in blue swaggering like
Tévez felt undervalued by United, and that its offer, though substantial, came too late and was only made when it became clear he was intent on leaving. Tévez's representative,
One man who loves Liverpool is
His Newcastle contract expires on June 30 and Owen then will leave the recently relegated side. At age 29, Owen now looks to be on the verge of another plum move in his illustrious career -- to Hull. Or Stoke. Yes, really. You couldn't make it up. How much would the man who left his beloved Liverpool for the status of being a
Injury-ravaged and reportedly troubled by a gambling addiction, none of the major EPL sides so far have shown interest in Owen. Cast into inner turmoil, the humanitarian side of Team Limey hopes that he's snapped up by a Europa League-chasing side for which he shines. Then again, the heartless, banter-loving side of Team Limey would love to see him fighting relegation at Stoke or Hull.
Fans in the U.K. won't be watching Owen on Setanta next season. Following the Irish broadcaster's filing for bankruptcy this past week, its domestic EPL rights have been bought by ESPN. The American network has the money to produce excellent coverage, and should use its 46 matches for the forthcoming season, and 23 a year for the following three seasons to establish itself with the British public, prior to the next EPL television-rights contract competition.
How it differentiates its product from Sky's will be interesting. Team Limey would like to see ESPN focus on producing soccer for the older, thinking man with some real characters fronting it up -- something fun that inspires conversation and controversy. However, we fear the reality may be a little too slick and insipid, with too much attention paid to the desires of corporate sponsors. Save us from yet more good-looking, clean-cut 30-year-old yes-men, Worldwide Leader -- Team Limey wants on-air eccentrics.
Let us know who you think your team should be shipping in, and who it should be shipping out, along with any other EPL-related banter to the usual address: