16 August 2006

Transfer Momentum

Good morning. Again, not so many posts here for a while, but that's because the biggest thing that's happening is nothing. At least publicly. Many of the biggest rumors center around Arsenal, but there's been no actual movement as of yet.

The Ashley Cole situation has settled down, in the sense that the volcano is no longer spewing lava, though it could erupt at any time. Both Wenger and Mourinho had set deadlines of last week for anything to happen... and nothing did. It appears that Arsenal are simply asking a price that Chelsea won't pay. So what now? There are still 2+ weeks for a deal to materialize, but both teams are probably looking to move on. The biggest news today comes from the Sun, which says that Cole's book will be held or edited if he stays with the Gunners.

Frankly, that's unlikely. Cole has burned his bridges, with the club, with his teammates, and with the fans. It's almost impossible to imagine him donning the colors again. But he's a top-quality English player, with a contract that runs through 2008, and there's no way the club should let him go without getting value for him. Perhaps they will look to sell him abroad, but of course that would need agreement from Cole also which complicates the deal. At this point, I'd say there's a 50% chance he still goes to Chelsea, a 10% chance he leaves England, probably for Spain, and a 10% chance he stays with the Gunners. That leaves a 30% chance that nothing happens, and he sits on the sidelines stewing until the January transfer window.

The story with Jose Antonio Reyes is something else entirely. On the one hand, it's looking very likely that he will leave for Real Madrid. If I read the tea leaves right, the deal is nearly there, and the clubs are working out the specifics. Real Madrid are probably going to send someone back the other way -- Baptista most likely, though Beckham is an intriguing possibility -- and involving an additional player will complicate things. But Reyes is clearly excited about the prospect, and has continually indicated his interest in the move.

And yet, I don't think fans are too upset with him. For one thing, he's been very complimentary to Arsenal in public. He's said that "Wenger has acted like he exactly is - a gentleman. I want to thank him publicly for everything he is doing for me." Emmanuel Adebayor returned the favor, stating that "Jose looks happy in training. He laughs and jokes and gets on well with the other players." So unlike Ashley, Jose isn't burning his bridges. But he wants away, and he'll probably get his wish. The latest news is that a delegation from Real Madrid are to arrive in London today. So it would not surprise me to see news on Reyes come out today. Here's hoping that it becomes a good move for player and club.

So we'll see what happens. I doubt we'll see either player on Saturday. Will Arsenal have any signings to report? We can hope!

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