Pre-Season Modus Operandi

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Fernando Torres proved the adage true, in as many ways possible. Though silent throughout the tournament, with amazing speed, skill and guile, his wicked eye for the goal, he gave Spain their much-deserved win after 44 years. Such was his efficacy that Chelsea’s oil tycoon owner Roman Abramovich has offered him 85 million pounds to lure him from the five-times European champions Liverpool.

This is a just a preview of what is to follow in the coming weeks with all major tournaments drawn to a close, and the transfer window thrown open after the break. New managers appointed and a careful scrutiny done of the prospective in the European Championship, exchange of money is taking place at great speed. With innumerable stars coming into the limelight in the Euro 2008, clubs shall be fighting vigorously and throwing the big bucks around over the next six weeks.

Chelsea has stuck with its policy of changing their manager every season and this year, it is the turn of former Portugal and Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari to take over from Avram Grant. It seems finishing second best is not Abramovich’s cup of tea, but motivation to pump in more and more money into the club, bestowing 250 million euros into the managers’ hands to fill in the team slots is. The work has already started with the signing of Deco, the Portuguese playmaker for a puny eight million. Now that can be called trying and trying until you succeed.

Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has taken up Inter Milan as his next venture and is almost on the verge of signing Frank Lampard for a meager 13 million euros and his eyes are set on Didier Drogba as well, if Chelsea sell. League and European champions Manchester United will probably not be signing anyone this summer but the cloud of Ronaldo’s transfer still hovers above. Spanish giants FC Barcelona have shown interest in star Russian winger Andrei Arshavin after his astounding performance, scoring two goals in as many games despite being suspended at the start. A transfer ranging from 22-25 million euros is expected. The Catalans have made good of the transfer window, having already made four defensive signings since its third pace finish – its worst for five years.

In the light of such never-ending transfers is another controversy that UEFA boss Michel Platini has raised. Keeping in mind the debts of high-profile clubs such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal resulting from transfers, they may be disallowed to enter the Champions League from next year. The UEFA also plans to control money received from TV rights and publicity through competing in European Competitions. From Abramovich’s spending at Chelsea in the form of loans to the United-Glazer deal resulting in default, which carries an interest amount of 42 million pounds per annum. From the Liverpool’s refinancing package of 350 million pound from its buyout to Arsenal’s loans after spending 360 million pounds on its new Emirates Stadium, the big players in the Premiership have a long way to go before they sniff European glory. Because it sure seems that Platini will make sure it is no longer the survival of the fittest, but of the fairest.

Deshan Tucker


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