Silly season? The newspapers are reporting that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been offered a 4-year £500,000 a WEEK deal by Manchester City. That’s a long way beyond silly. That’s mental illness so severe even we feel a little uncomfortable making fun of it. Worst of all, it could very well be true. Manchester City have taken the reckless spending antics of Roman Abramovic’s early days at Chelsea and injected it with a large dose of Sylvester Stallone’s growth hormones. Bigger, more powerful and difficult to ignore but as we all know, these things can have strange effects on your ability to not be mental, just listen to Mel Gibson’s recent phone manner. And let’s not forget about the performance issues…if you get what we mean. If not, we’re talking about steroids making your penis smaller and causing impotency. Which isn’t the worst analogy for how things went for Roberto Mancini last season…not in a literal sense, say our lawyers. Perhaps a new hairdo and a couple hundred million worth of new players will change that this season.
With the actual season about to begin, not that we won’t have another few weeks of potential transfer madness, we can at least focus on matters on the pitch. So even with all their billions are Manchester City serious title contenders? It’s difficult to say really. All the money in the world and all the overpaid players in the world aren’t going to be enough if the man steering the solid gold ship doesn’t know how to navigate the tricky waters of the Premier League. He may have three Serie A titles under his belt but with all the cheating going on, they don’t really count. Not really. He may have big money behind him but big question marks still remain. We wait and see.
For an insight in to how things could pan out in the title race, we thought we’d have a listen to one of the league’s true intellectuals. Here’s what Monsieur Wenger thinks:
“You expect Man City, who invest a huge amount of money, to be one of the contenders.” Rightly so.
“Tottenham can challenge if they can confirm what they produced last season. ” Fair enough.
“…and Aston Villa as well.” Hmmm…perhaps. “You could pick six or seven teams because Everton have a strong squad too..” Okay, calm down there Professor Yaffle. Maybe he’s not the most reliable tipster after all. Maybe we’ll just have a go ourselves.
Who’ll actually be in the running? Chelsea and United are no-brainers. Arsenal still need a decent goalkeeper but should be in the running. Liverpool can’t possibly be as poor as they were last season and if they get their Chinese investment before Christmas, then not just will the price of plastic lunchboxes drop in the Anfield giftshop but they’ll have some real financial muscle. Man City still have it all to prove. Tottenham may struggle trying to compete on two fronts. Villa’s season depends on who replaces O’Neill. Everton will be looking for a Champions League spot at absolute best and everyone else can be discounted.
Top Goalscorers? Drogba, Rooney and Torres are clear favourites for a reason but someone like Chamakh or Hernandez could be a surprise packet.
Relegation is too depressing a subject to ponder at this time of blind hope and delusion, so we’ll deal with it next week when reality has set in.