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Gary Cahill talks of ‘massive opportunity’ at joining Chelsea

Not to labour a point that’s already been made, but there seems to be a bit of a disconnect here. Gary Cahill, on completing his move to Stamford Bridge:

“Chelsea is a massive club, it is a club that looks to win trophies season in, season out and it is a big opportunity for me to be a part of that.

Opportunities like this, you can’t turn down.

This is the right move for me at the right time and I would like to thank everyone at Bolton because I’ve had a great four years at the football club.

My spell with Wanderers has enabled me to break into the England squad, and I would particularly like to thank the fans for their support along the way.”

Yup, an opportunity so valuable and so hard to turn down that Cahill took two weeks to agree on personal terms. Apparently, Cahill had to eventually settle for just the £80,000 a week - rather than the £100,000 that he was asking for. Tough times.

I know that the ‘players get paid too much’ opinion has been around for a long time now, but is there not an issue when average players are asking for such exorbitant wages? Even more so when players put their demands for cash above the advancement of their careers.

Football fans have a long memory, and if Gary Cahill gets off to anything other than a flying start, those protracted negotiations are going to haunt him. The moment he hesitated, Chelsea should have told him to do one - Andres Villas-Boas needs players that actually want to play for the club, not those that are happy to as long as they’re paid enough to do so. Huge difference. Cahill’s not a good enough player to be behaving like this.

Oh, he’s an England International is he? Well, only sort of - and anyway, so was Matthew Upson.

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Gary Cahill’s hesitation over prospective Chelsea contract is extraordinary

Some of you will remember a situation a few years ago between Liverpool and Lee Bowyer. Back when he was still good, Bowyer was targeted by the Merseyside club and was on the verge of a move to Anfield. Unfortunately, the player dallied so long over the personal terms offered to him, that Liverpool eventually retracted their offer - the logic being that if his decision was predicated so heavily on financials, then he obviously didn’t want to play for the club enough.

The same series of events looks to be repeating itself with Gary Cahill and Chelsea.

This is a 26-year-old player approaching his prime, who’s being given an opportunity to play his football - and enhance his international credentials - at one of the biggest clubs on the continent. Frankly, whatever Chelsea were offering should have been enough for the player to snap their hand off.

Since when did the difference between £80,000 and £100,000 override ambition? This is Chelsea and this is Gary Cahill, the player needs to be more aware of how little bargaining power he has in this situation - if the desire to play for the club isn’t there, then Chelsea should treat this as a red flag. There are plenty more centre-halves of Cahill’s ability elsewhere.

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Tottenham - Guessing the transfer window

“If we’re going to make a signing, let’s make one big signing. That would send out a message. But it’s difficult finding that player who would make a difference.”

Guessing the mysterious ways in which Harry Redknapp is likely to move during his favourite time of the year is probably a thankless task - but let’s do it anyway. Presumably Redknapp won’t be able to resist doing a couple of mid-to-low-level deals, but lets stick to speculating on who the marquee signing could be.

Fernando Llorente

Big, skillful forward with an abundance of footballing and finishing ability.

Pros: Redknapp and Daniel Levy were reported to have been sniffing around Llorente in the Summer, and anybody who’s watched the 6ft5 26-year-old will know why. Yes, his goal record is slightly underwhelming, but he possesses the physique and the nous to hold the ball-up and link the play. Both commodities that fit very snugly into Redknapp’s attacking philosophy.

Cons: Gouging Llorente out of the Basque Country would take an absolute boat-load of cash - which would amount to quite a risk before ensuring a Champions League revenue next season. Also, given the way Spurs have approached the last couple of transfer windows, there’s nothing to suggest that they do actually possess that kind of disposable income.

Kaka

Off-colour Brazilian star, currently being marginalised at Real Madrid.

Pros: An old Redknapp quality - the ability to get the most out of individual players. Is there a player in the world whose stock has fallen further than Kaka’s? Wishful thinking it may be, but Tottenham could actually be the antidote to whatever ailment is so obviously stalling the Brazilian’s career.
He is also available, reportedly, for a cut-priced £22m.

Cons: It’s ‘Kaka’ and it’s ‘Spurs’. His wages alone would probably make Daniel Levy choke a little bit on his bagel, and the club would probably be unwilling to break the wage structure for anybody other than Luka Modric. There’s also the caveat that the Brazilian may very well be in terminal decline rather than simply ‘out-of-form’ - and nobody needs a £22m deadweight loss.

Leandro Damiao

Internacional starlet long-admired by Europe’s elite

Pros: Very few actually, because his exposure to a more European-style of play is very limited - and he still doesn’t have the international experience to be compared to anybody outside of the Copa Libertadores and the Brazilian league. At a stretch though, he is a close friend of Sandro Raniere…

Cons: He’s not going anywhere, and is recently on-record declaring his loyalty to Internacional. He’ll end up in Europe soon, but it won’t be in January.

Guiseppe Rossi

Pint-sized Italian-American

Pros: Well, the obvious - he scores goals. Villarreal are also currently rubbish, which may make him favour a move to greener pastures.

Cons: Much like Llorente, he would cost a fortune. Plus of course, he doesn’t really have a natural place in the Spurs team - he’s not big enough to fill the role played by Emmanuel Adebayor, and Harry Redknapp has already ruled-out selling Jermain Defoe. On that basis, it’s hard to see Spurs mounting a serious bid.

Gary Cahill

Over-hyped and over-priced ‘next-generation John Terry’

Pros: Cheaper than he would have been because of his contractual situation, but isn’t that the same logic that sees people buy things in the sales that they don’t need? One plus though, he’s young and rarely-injured. Novelty.

Cons: A whole raft of them; Chelsea seem to have this deal all but signed, he’s not better than what Tottenham already have, and the obvious one - he’s not actually anywhere near as good as everybody think he is.

Andriy Yarmolenko

The next great Ukranian export

Pros: Talented, really, really, talented. The Ukranian press have already anointed him as Andriy Shevchenko’s successor, but they’re slightly different players. 22, pacey, skillful, comfortable all across the front line and a goal-threat from anywhere within thirty-yards. And…with the exception of Cahill, probably the cheapest player on this list.

Cons: There’s nothing to indicate that Kiev would be willing to sell their prize-asset just yet. While a move to a more high-profile club is probably inevitable, it won’t happen without an enormous cat-fight between Europe’s elite.

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Gary Cahill: Half as good as everyone thinks, three times as expensive as he should be

Am I missing something with Gary Cahill? Has everybody seen something that justifies the lavish praise he seems to receive - and was I just not watching that weekend?

Cahill reminds me of Jamie Carragher, a player who’s built a reputation on recovering from his mistakes rather than actually being a good defender.

Is this all because he’s a ‘footballing centre-half’? Has being comfortable with the ball at your feet suddenly become a more precious defensive commodity than positioning? Than anticipation? Than marking forwards out of a game?

That ‘footballing centre-half’ thing is actually only valuable when it’s coupled with all the above, because ultimately a defender is at his most important when he doesn’t have the ball.

Cahill is an example of the increasingly common English tax that seems to be applied to homegrown players - and that’s an ability mark-up as well as financial. If Gary Cahill was playing for a Bundesliga side, or a team in Ligue 1, would Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal really be falling over themselves to try and overpay for him?

“Oh, fuck me, he’s British, he must be worth twice as much and be twice as good as his performances suggest.”

This is the Jordan Henderson rule, that being English is the intangible that makes everything reasonable.

“Oh he’s developing.”
“He understands the league”
“He’s grown-up in the physical culture of the domestic game”

Yeah, yeah - whatever. There’s a reason why Bolton concede so many goals and are rooted to the bottom of the league.

Whoever buys him deserves to get their fingers burnt, he’s a myth - the only saving grace to which being, that his contract expiration date will half his transfer fee.

Another January window-catastrophe waiting to happen.

Best & Worst of the weekend - Blackburn and Bolton

Best…

Yakubu’s Quadruple

That’s how you finish. He may not be in the best shape, and I don’t believe for a second that he’s under thirty, but what a priceless commodity the Nigerian has in his game - goalscoring. I wrote last week that one of the few positives that Blackburn fans can cling to, was their team’s ownership of a proven Premier League forward.

His first was sensational, his second and third were studies into goalscoring instinct, and his penalty was the knockout blow that did for Swansea.

Worst…

Gary Cahill’s sending off

A nonsense. It’s not referee Stuart Attwell’s fault that this occurred on the same day as Mike Dean’s failure to dismiss David Luiz, but that it did just serves to demonstrate the lack of consistency in Premier League officiating.

If that’s William Gallas or Younes Kaboul making that tackle, are they seeing red for it? I doubt it. Apply some common-sense here - Scott Parker is fifty yards from goal, there are covering defenders on the other side of the pitch. How is that a clear goalscoring opportunity? I can accept bad decisions when they’re debatable, but not when they contradict the rulebook.

Attwell likes to give big decisions, that they’re frequently incorrect seems to go unnoticed by the FA and Keith Hackett - this is also the referee that awarded the phantom goal between Reading and Watford in 2008. Do you want a conspiracy theory? Go on then…

Attwell, at 25, was the youngest referee to ever take charge of a Premier League game. He took charge of his first football league game in 2007, and by 2008 was officiating at the top of the pile. That’s a pretty steep progression. Attwell has been fast-tracked to the Premier League for the public relations benefit of having a young and visible referee at the top level.

What do you see if you look back on his career? A history of ‘losing control’ of games and of baffling decisions. Not just ‘poor’ decisions, but ones that are genuinely mystifying.

He’s making ‘big’ decisions in order to demonstrate his authority in games - he’s taking every opportunity to show that he can face-up to the personality of the league.

Tenuous? Maybe, but still…

Invented tabloid rumours about Bolton’s Gary Cahill moving to Inter

Well, at least it wasn’t just another Manchester United/City/Chelsea/Arsenal/Tottenham rumour.

The Sun have decided that Inter Milan definitely, definitely want to sign Bolton centre-back Gary Cahill. It certainly does make a good headline.

Unfortunately though, the credibility of the article seems to hinge entirely on whether you believe the first line - which, I’m sure quite deliberately, is a complete contradiction of the headline. Is ‘tabling a bid’ now the same as being ‘ready to make a shock move’?

“INTER MILAN are ready to make a shock move for Bolton defender Gary Cahill in January.”

Are they? What makes you say that? Are there any comments from anybody that might be involved in this? The player? His Agent? Anyone from Bolton or Inter? No?

Oh wait, no - ‘sources in Italy’ confirmed Inter’s interest.

Oh, I see what you’ve done there. Clever.

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Premier League Betting - Week 5

Could the fixture list be any more cruel to West Ham? Probably not, as short on confidence, quality, and defenders they head for the Britannia Stadium tomorrow lunchtime. Buoyed by the last minute heroics against Villa, get on Stoke at 19/20.

For the vast majority of Monday night’s capitulation, Aston Villa looked far more secure. So, with Gary Cahill suspended for Owen Coyle’s Bolton, expect the home team to ease past Bolton at 8/11.

So far this season Everton have been a huge liability to punters, and Newcastle have all the ingredients to take points away from Goodison park tomorrow - avoid that game like the plague. Much the same is true of Sunday’s Wigan and Man City encounter - everything points to an away win, but combine Wigan’s tendency to be all Jekyll & Hyde, and Mancini’s negativity away from home and you have no certainties. Pray thee, stay away.

The low-point of last weekend was undeniably Bobby Zamora’s horrific injury. Fulham have a tendency to roll-over away from home, which now seems even more likely without their attacking focal point. Blackburn win by two or three, take the home win at Evens.

Accumulator? Oxford, Huddersfield, and Tottenham look fairly solid.

Message Board ‘Legends’

If you tell an impressionable person something enough times, eventually they will start to believe whatever you’re preaching. This is obviously the MO of The Sun, and it appears that their unquantified ‘we need young players in the England team regardless of how good they are’ campaign has hit home. Well, reader only1song has been taken in at least:

We don’t need this donkey, his legs have gone……. WE NEED YOUTH!

The player he’s talking about? Rio Ferdinand. Yup, who needs the finest defender in the country when we have Gary Cahill.