As recent transfer rumblings have taught us, playing like a complete no-mark can have a surprising effect on your marketability and price in the English market.A recent Guardian article listed several players, notably Titus Bramble, Lassana Diarra and Tal Ben Haim, as shining examples of how ineptitude or lack of experience can cause your value to skyrocket. The hapless Ben Haim has been touted to Spurs by Chelsea for the princely sum of 8 million nicker. Diarra, having played (cough) games as a sub for Chelsea and showing his talent in (cough) Cup appearances for Arsenal, has been rumoured to have asked for £90k a week from the prospective suits of Newcastle and Pompey.
That Diarra is a player of nascent talent is unquestionable. That his value should have quadrupled in the two years or so that he’s been here is astonishing, given his lack of opportunity and the patchy performances he does turn in. But this leads me onto another point-ette.
While chancing through the morass of despair and bobbins that is Newsnow, I happened upon the headline “Chelsea ace in Sunderland loan move”. Who could this be? Well, penetrate me with a fishing lure if it didn’t turn out to be Steve Sidwell, arguably the least effective number 9 in Chelsea history. Which begs the question: at which point does a player become an “ace”? I wonder just what Sidwell has done to justify this particular soubriquet whilst working at SW6. A long-distance goal or two. A couple of hard-working performances during Essien’s ban, demonstrating amply to the world that he has neither the touch, nor vision, nor bite of the Ghanaian international.
Another “ace”, but one that richly deserves his plaudits, has seized on his international duty with the Ivory Coast to speak his brains, presumably coming to the conclusion that if he vented his feelings whilst in London, Chelsea’s Pravda-Ogpu hybrid of a PR department would have him in the Cobham dungeons with electrodes on his gonads before he could say “disaffected”. Chelsea ace / star / marksman / etc / yawn, Didier Drogba, has tied a yellow ribbon (with scarlet and navy detail) outside his Surrey mansion and begged Barcelona to team him up with the lightning-quick Samuel Eto’o. It may just be me and my wounded pride, but the big Dog’s pronouncements are starting to get a little hysterical. The little daemon that lives in my head desperately wants to see him snapped up by the new billionaire owner of… oh, I don’t know, Grampus 8 or Samsung Bluewings, so he can take his constant agitation for a move and continue whining about it in the Far East. It seems that as Anelka has matured and presented the world with a slightly softer face, so Drogba has regressed. Well, good luck to him. We’ll certainly miss the world’s finest striker when, as seems pretty much certain, he departs in the summer. We certainly won’t miss his soap-boxing.