After the heroics of another Wembley cup final win the dust has finally began to settle on the season gone. After yet another turbulent year in the boardroom the players have once again done themselves proud and clinched a deserved pot for a season full of ups and downs. If it wasn’t for a particular midseason trough and subsequent turnabout in management quality it might have been a close run thing for the title. If it wasn’t for some of the worst refereeing since time began we might have been at a second successive European final. As it was, luck isn’t with on such matters, but we had the sizable consolation of a Wembley win in the sun and some hazy celebrations for our fifth FA cup. Not bad but the potential shown under Guus has left me wanting more. He got us believing again and that could be dangerous if Ancellotti can keep the juggernaut going. It seems with one or two additions Carlo may just prove himself to be a bit special.
Straight out the blocks in the transfer market have been two of our spending rivals, splashing the cash and aiming to pip others to the cheque book as quickly and as crazily as possible. The big hitters of Man City and Real have certainly made their intentions clear, money is no object and every player may just have their price after all. If money is the root of all evil then the Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine of world football are running amok, snatching players and blowing up long term contracts like a Death Star. Kaka was prised away from his family surroundings at Milan for an eyebrow raising £56 million. It would be a world breaking fee were not for confusing exchange rate issues at the bureau de change. No player can be worth such a ludicrous sum, given that entire squads have been put together for less, but it has marked Madrid as a football and financial force once again. For Gareth Barry’s posturing for Champs League it was in fact filthy money that turned his head and a weekly wage you could buy a house with. He actually said they were heading in the right direction, given that City finished lower than they did under Sven and failed to qualify for Europe, you can only hope he was being sarcastic. Both talked of being persuaded by ‘football projects’ which makes the dark arts of transfers sound only more sinister and conspiratorial than actually are. It also sounds reasonably ill-judged on their behalf, just ask Robinho, Gareth.
Meanwhile where is our own Darth Maul we wonder? Hopefully Roman is binding his time to snatch a galactico of our own. Firstly some of the names we’ve been linked with, out of the hundreds, aren’t headline grabbers but quality reinforcements. Daniel Sturridge would be a welcome addition to the strike force, a promising young Englishman who could develop into a top talent learning from two of the best. Yuri Zhirkov would be a great asset providing stern competition on the left side for Ashley Cole and Malouda respectably. The curveball has been Glen Johnson, granted a top player who we should never have sold, but we seem to have more quality right backs and centre halves than any other position at the moment. A crown jewel signing though would certainly be welcome and something for the fans and players to be buzzing about before the season starts. A David Villa, Tevez, Pato or Ribery would flex our financial muscle and definitely show the club is still a big player in the market. Given that the transfer circus is now in motion Madrid themselves may need to lose their Dutch contingent such as Robben, Van Der Vart, Van Nisteelroy and Wesley Sneijder. The domino effect of Madrid and City showering clubs with cash and getting rid of last season’s stock may mean we see some of the biggest money spent in a close season this year, ironically when there is a global recession taking place. Here’s hoping that Carlo and Chelsea aren’t too late in throwing their hat into the ring or we may be playing catch up before the season even begins.