If you are a football romantic, then Andre Villas Boas to Tottenham could end up being one of the potential feel good stories of the new season. If you are a skeptic, then every single sign says Villas Boas will crumble more than an England player during a penalty shoot out.
The former Chelsea and Porto manager certainly has a point to prove on his return to the Premier League. His failure at Chelsea leaves many unanswered questions about his overall ability to manage a team at that level. Many would argue winning the treble with Porto is easier than winning the Premier League with Chelsea. Either way, there is an evident gulf between the two leagues but surely people can respect winning the treble at any level is quite an achievement.
The biggest question about Villas Boas returning to the Premier League will be whether or not he has learned from his serial mistakes at Stamford Bridge. Can he man manage veteran players at a high level of the game? Does he have the ability to park his ego aside both tactically and with the UK media? Ego and arrogance can hurt anyone in life, but in sports, it can destroy an individual or team if it’s not projected in the right way.
What do I mean by that? Jose Mourinho is probably one of the most arrogant people in all of sports. But his arrogance also has a twist of tongue n’ cheek. It has a comedic value and element that makes him likable. Plus when you can back-up your arrogance with winning in every country you’ve ever managed, it makes it all the more acceptable doesn’t it?
Andre Villas Boas arrogance made him an immediate hate figure with the UK media. He didn’t endear himself to them. He wasn’t as smart as Mourinho in terms of winning them over. He came across as bitter, snobby, superior and bitchy most of the time. He believed he was above everyone and eventually, he paid the ultimate price for his immaturity and naivety during his brief spell in England.
Had Andre Villas Boas been winning on the pitch at Chelsea, nobody would have complained about his ego, arrogance, brash style or tactics. He probably would have been labeled as a no nonsense boss who takes a tough stance on players and doesn’t care who he enrages in the pursuit of winning. So was it more about the Chelsea players not responding to his style of football or his personality? Clearly the Porto team he led to a treble responded well to both. Just ask Hulk and Falcao about their experience at Porto and in particular, Falcao, who enjoyed an emphatic record-breaking season in front of goal playing for Villas Boas.
The Chelsea players didn’t see him the same way as people did at Porto. Relationships broke down early, results were poor and the team was inconsistent. Granted the 5-3 loss to Arsenal at Stamford Bridge was more about woeful defensive tactics than players not putting in the effort. However, the manner in which the Chelsea players performed away to West Brom last season was completely unprofessional. By then, the relationship between manager and players was toast and the players showed how they felt about Villas Boas on the pitch. It was without question one of the most unsavoury and deliberately negative performances of any top team during the 20 year history of the Premier League and Andre Villas Boas did nothing but help the players cause. He even put the final nail in his own coffin after the Champions League debacle in Napoli. Leaving veterans like Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard out gave the players more ammunition that this guy had no clue or idea what he was doing. There was no turning back.
Despite Villas Boas unsuccessful time at Chelsea he has been given the opportunity for redemption and he will have to earn it. The sports universe does love a comeback and if he leads Tottenham to glory, it will be an incredible story. If Villas Boas can learn from his rookie errors, he has the talent and belief to make a team successful. Like every other manager (other than Carlo Ancelotti), Villas Boas had to live in the shadow of Mourinho. He suffered more than any other manager from “Mourinho Syndrome” because he was Mourinho’s boy during the Special One’s time at Chelsea. Despite returning to the club as a man, people still saw him as whatever he was before. A bit like the Secretary who makes it as an Executive but many people still see her as a secretary. It’s hardly fair is it?
The good news for Spurs fans is that the White Hart Lane dressing room is not like the Stamford Bridge dressing room. Regardless, Andre Villas Boas does bring a stigma with him and he will still have to win over players like Gareth Bale, Rafael van der Vaart and future superstar Kyle Walker. Players talk. Players from opposing teams are mates. Tottenham players have read and heard a lot about what happened at Chelsea. Hopefully they will focus on Villas Boas success at Porto and not the tidal wave of disasters at Chelsea.
If there is one man whose neck is on the line even more so than Villas Boas if things don’t go well it’s Daniel Levy. The Tottenham Chairman has taken a huge risk with this appointment. Bringing in a younger manager with a tarnished reputation to follow in the footsteps of a hugely popular man like Harry Redknapp who changed Tottenham’s fortunes is more risky than investing in today’s stock market. Levy is willing to take his chances with Villas Boas in order to build Tottenham into a global brand. He will definitely have more patience than Roman Abramovich and perhaps he sees this as a very similar situation to when Chelsea initially drafted the Special One as their man.
It will be a fascinating situation to watch. Who isn’t already excited about Tottenham v Chelsea next season? Something tells me Andre Villas Boas will have success down the Lane and that this time around, lightning won’t strike twice…
Teams can lose their best players, and before you know it, the season is over. However, teams can also buy great players and see their season end in a winning fashion. Either way, people either love or hate this time of year.
The January transfer window hasn’t exactly set the world on fire, but the last few days can always prove to be a shocker. And there is a story brewing that is making all the headlines. Fernando Torres is being hunted by Chelsea. Surely Liverpool don’t want to sell him, do they?
With Argentine strike Luis Suarez on his way to Anfield from Ajax, this could well be the time where the scouse house finally part ways with the Spanish superstar. Suarez impressed at the World Cup for Argentina and could be a perfect replacement for Torres.
Torres could use a fresh start. He has been ravaged by injuries the last couple of seasons and we haven’t seen the best of him. He is however finding some form of late and could join Chelsea at the perfect time. But should Torres leave?
In other transfer happenings…Edin Dzeko’s move from German club Wolfsburg to Manchester City is at present the most expensive transfer in this January window. I always thought he was a quality player who could do some serious damage in the Premier League. But did he join the right club?
Other transfers that made headlines include Emmanuel Adebayor to Real Madrid from Manchester City on loan, but do we care?
Darren Bent seems to get more expensive as he moves from club to club. Aston Villa paid Sunderland 18 million pounds with the transfer fee rising to 24 million. Is he worth it?
Ryan Babel finally ended his Liverpool nightmare and darted off to Hoffenheim for 6 million. That’s a good move for him and he needed to get out. Should another Premier League team have picked him up?
England has beens David Bentley and Wayne Bridge went on loan deals. Bentley left Tottenham for Birmingham and Bridge left Manchester City for West Ham. Can these players resurrect their careers with these latest moves?
We are heading towards the most exciting part of the season fellow footie fans and it’s all leading to a massive crescendo. Take a deep breath. Oh and by the way, the Diva is back…
Joe Cole has moved to Liverpool as a free agent and he couldn’t be happier. Having lost his way at Chelsea over the last couple of seasons, Joe was certainly ready for a new challenge. Could this move be the making of his career?
When he first burst onto the football scene at West Ham United as a wee puppy, Joe Cole was deemed a future England superstar. And when he scored that beautiful self-made volley for England against Sweden in World Cup 2006, we all thought he would go on and evolve into a very special player as everyone had predicted. He certainly played well and won lots with Chelsea, but I don’t think we’ve seen the magic he is capable of in recent seasons.
Joe Cole now gets the opportunity to play with Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres. And as Liverpool had nothing short of a mediocre season last term, Joe can certainly become an instant hero with the Kop, if he gets off to a good start. He was excited to sign-up for Roy Hodgson’s Liverpool revolution and can play a key part in lifting the hopes of their fans as they begin their battle for the title once again. Can he make a winning difference to Liverpool?
At Chelsea, Joe Cole felt very under appreciated and he wasn’t feeling the love at all. His relationship with Ancelotti was strained and he believed he was worth a lot more than the recently crowned Premier League Champions did. In Liverpool, he feels he is playing for the best club in the world and he is certainly feeling the love from the club and the fans.
Could this London lad fall in love with one of England’s most beloved Northern teams? He has 19 million reasons to…
As we move swiftly into October, the rumour mill is bubbling once again as the next transfer window looms. We’re sure to hear of Barcelona chasing Cesc Fabregas and there’s no doubt Manchester City will be linked with every single player in the universe. What I wasn’t expecting to hear was a move for Robbie Keane to Celtic. Really?
Having fought for a transfer back to his beloved Tottenham, it surprises me to hear that someone somewhere is trying to shift Mr.Keane away from the Lane. The purported move is splashed across the back pages today and you have to wonder, who is responsible for this? Is it Tottenham? Could it be Keane’s agent? Or is Rafa up to no good again?!
Even though Keane bagged 4 goals against Burnley, he has failed to score in 14 of the 21 league games since his return from Liverpool. I thought he made quite the statement with his performance against the Clarets, but it appears even that hasn’t squashed the question marks surrounding Keane’s current form. Something isn’t quite right with the Irishman and most would have thought he’d be happy with life and football once he returned to Tottenham.
According to most media outlets, Keane’s dream is to play for Celtic one day. Celtic is a fantastic club with great tradition and pedigree, but if you’re a hungry player wanting to win things, surely your best best for serious glory is to stick with Spurs? And being the captain, you’d think lifting trophies for the club he fought so hard to return to would be the priority. But it goes back to where did this story originate from and who is angling for Keane to move?
Do you think Keane will leave Spurs? Is ‘Arry looking to shift the Irishman out so he can start Defoe and Crouch up front? Is this the work of an agent? Does Keane really want to go? If you are a Spurs fan, would you like to see him stay or go? One thing is for sure, it would be a superb deal for Celtic…
So Xabi Alonso finally joined Real Madrid for a reported 30 million pounds. The midfield maestro leaves Liverpool after 5 years of quality service. I’m sure the fans are sad today as they loved watching Alonso play alongside Gerrard, Mascherano and his fellow countrymen, Torres. And if the fans are looking for someone to blame for Alonso leaving, they should look no further than their coach Rafa Benitez. After the debacle that was trying to sign Gareth Barry last season, Alonso felt a little insulted and wanted out of Liverpool from then. Well done Rafa!
The Liverpool coach is however hoping to ease the fans pain with the signing of Italian midfielder Alberto Aquilani who joins Liverpool from Roma as a replacement for Alonso. Aquilani cost the reds 18 million pounds and is an exciting prospect who has shined for Roma in Serie A and the Champions League. He does have some question marks with regards to injuries, but it seems the Anfield medical crew are happy with his status following the ankle surgery he had in May.
Will Liverpool be as strong in midfield without Alonso? Will this effect Gerrard’s play in any way? What do you think of Aquilani as a replacement? Now Benitez is in charge of transfers, do you think he’s doing a good job with it all so far?
And what about Real Madrid? They have signed Ronaldo, Benzema, Kaka, Alonso and let’s not forget Arbeloa who is also a quality player. If the coach can super glue this talent together, we could see one of the most exciting elite European teams in years. I for one will be watching to see how the new Glacticos fair against the current princes of Spanish football, Barcelona. Can Real Madrid knock the Catalans out of their treble-winning tree?
Alonso has moved on from the Premier League and the Gareth Barry saga to fulfill a childhood dream. Like so many other players, he has always wanted to play for Real Madrid. And for the Spanish international, he certainly feels like he’s back home in the place where he belongs…
Warning…this is not a Manchester City blog! Let’s hope the spending stops soon people. In the meantime…
Kolo Toure, the last man standing from the 2003-04 Arsenal “Invincibles” squad has signed for Manchester City. He follows Adebayor out of the door and heads-up north to start another chapter in his successful Premier League career.
I guess Toure and Adebayor can continue their stupid dance celebration when they score for City now!
In fairness, Toure served Arsenal well. He hasn’t been very happy over the last couple of seasons and he confessed today that this move has been in the works for 6 months. Rumours are abound that Wenger wanted to get rid of the so-called bad influences in the dressing room at Arsenal. It’s surprising that Toure was one of them. They say Eboue is next.
Whatever the reason for Toure leaving, he certainly served Arsenal well. The Gunners are losing a quality defender who may go on to have his best years at Manchester City. Sure he was influenced by the money as was Adebayor, but Toure played honest for many years at Arsenal and gave them 7 good seasons. Doesn’t he deserve this move?
For Arsenal fans this is a splash of good news and bad news. If he was a disruptive influence in the dressing room then it’s good he has gone. But what will Wenger do to replace him? They need to sign Hangeland from Fulham more than ever now. And they could certainly use a fighter in midfield like Lee Cattermole from Wigan. Problem is he’s English! As a fan, you have to believe Arsenal and Mr.Wenger will pull the rabbit out of the hat at some point during this summer transfer window. Surely they don’t think they can magically win things with the team as it currently stands? Are they ready to compete, let alone win?
The “Invincibles” era has evolved into the “Invisible” era at Arsenal and that could mean a sad day if you are a Gooner…
The Sun and other media outlets are reporting today that Patrick Viera is about to make a shock return to Arsenal. I couldn’t believe it when I read the headline. I think this could be more shocking than Michael Owen going to Manchester United. Don’t you think so? Nobody was expecting this were they?
The truth is Arsenal have never filled the void left by Viera when he joined Juventus in 2005. He was a great captain. He was a phenomenal leader. He was Arsenal’s rock and he became a legend. Now he could be making one of the most dramatic returns in Premier League history. The questions is, does Viera still have the legs to play and compete at the top level?
Let’s face it, he has not had a huge impact since leaving Arsenal and he can’t hold down a regular starting spot under Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan. So what makes Arsene Wenger think he can still play? Is this a desperate move having lost Adebayor, Toure and possibly Eboue too this summer?
Generally people say when a relationship ends you should never go back. They say it’s never the same second time around. Even Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor couldn’t make it work after a second chance. But could Arsenal and Viera fall in love all over again? Could they re-ignite their love affair and live together happily ever after? If Viera can still play with the best of them, anything is possible.
There’s no question the French star is unhappy playing in Italy and he wants a move to another club. Tottenham, Birmingham and Fulham are also after his signature, but who do you think he will sign for? Can you see Viera going back to the Gunners? Will Arsenal fans be happy? Do you think Arsenal would rather buy him back than watch him play for their arch rivals Spurs?!!
He does look good in red and white. I need another drink…
John Terry a.k.a JT and Mr.Chelsea is staying at the Bridge. This could mean he’ll be on his way to Manchester City in a week or so!!! Stranger things have happened but it does look like the Chelsea faithful got luckier than a lottery winner this summer. Their boy has vowed to fight on for the Blues. Could be one of their best signings this summer! What do you guys think?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has sealed his switch from Inter Milan to Barcelona. Eto’o is supposedly going from Barcelona to Inter Milan. I think we’ll go larger on these two stories once we see the lads in their new pin stripes! Who would you prefer on your team…Zlatan or Eto’o?
Peter Crouch is on the verge of moving from Portsmouth to Tottenham. I guess he misses his old boss Harry Redknapp. What is it about ‘Arry the lads love so much? I’d play for ‘Arry. But will he partner Keane or Defoe or will he come off he bench?
Looks like Arsenal might lose yet another player. Kolo Toure is close to joining Manchester City. Adebayor desperately wants his dancing pal to join the City revolution. Will Toure leave Arsenal for the megabucks of the North? Should Arsenal be worried about losing another player? Can Nicklas Bendtner, Carlos Vela, Eduardo, Djourou, Kieran Gibbs & Co step in to save Wenger if he doesn’t splash the cash a little this summer?
Darren Bent, the 17 million pound Spurs flop could be bound for the North of England and a place in the Sunderland starting line-up. Crouch leaving…Bent arriving…makes sense to me, how about you?
Stuart Downing joined Aston Villa from Middlesborough even though he’s injured and won’t be able to kick a ball until October! Never saw the fuss about this player and don’t rate him as an international at all. Lots to prove as far as I’m concerned. Do you guys rate Downing?
Honorable mentions…Zat Knight joins Bolton from Aston Villa. Sam Ricketts joins Bolton from Hull City. Dean Whitehead leaves Sunderland for Stoke City.
It looks like Arsenal fans have been given something to shout about this summer…they’re finally shot of Emmanuel Adebayor!
The love-hate relationship is over. Adebayor’s taunts about leaving have to be heard no more. And surprisingly, he didn’t end up at his “dream club” AC Milan. Adebayor signed-up for the Manchester City revolution and a whopping salary of 130,000 pounds a week. So much for wanting to play Champions League football and joining an elite European club.
Adebayor had one great season at Arsenal…in a contract year! This guy is a greedy little bugger who was out for the big bucks. If he really wanted to stay at Arsenal he would have. Robin van Persie just signed an 80,000 pound a week contract to stay with the Gunners. He made it very clear his next contract wasn’t about the money, it was about winning. Van Persie realizes he already makes a ton of cash. He was courted by Manchester United and Chelsea this off-season but he chose to stay at Arsenal. Adebayor on the other hand took an offer from the highest bidder and isn’t even guaranteed a starting place when the new season kicks-off in August.
Adebayor could be a huge success at Manchester City. He could also flop. So many players that have left Arsenal have failed to shine when they moved for bigger, better money. Look at what’s happened to Alexander Hleb at Barcelona. Flamini at AC Milan is doing much better now, but it was tough for him at first. And in the past Viera, Petite and Overmars flopped when they left Arsenal. They were not the same players. In the end, Adebayor’s pockets might be heavier, but he may have less silverware to admire when it’s time to put his feet up from his playing days.
Will Arsenal replace Adebayor? Is he a great loss to the team? Do you think Adebayor moved for money? Will he start at Manchester City? How loud will the boos be when he goes to the Emirates next season? I wrote an article about Adebayor last season. Check it out. http://britishsoccerdiva.com/prod/?p=61. Just shows you a leopard never changes its spots…
Dear Arsenal Board,
We hope you are having a sizzling summer season so far. Manchester City and Real Madrid sure are! They’ve both created some gigantic waves across the whole of Europe this summer and boy are they having a blast! Even Manchester United have had a little dive in the deep end of the transfer pool. Chelsea and Liverpool haven’t been splashing around as much because they don’t need to get that wet. And you Arsenal…well once again you insist on plodding around in the baby transfer pool while every other major European team continues to swim in the big pool with the big boys. Why?
The Gooner nation is curious…
1. When you are going to buy another player so Thomas Vermaelen doesn’t feel like the only new boy in the changing room come the new season?
2. Are you going to buy that battling midfielder you so desperately need?
3. Do you plan to hijack John Terry’s move to Manchester City?!!! (LOL)
4. Do you have any plans to challenge for trophies next season?
5. Will it be another year of promises and let downs?
For now, the Arsenal Board receives a Red Card to match those red faces that are frying instead of tanning on a beach somewhere around the world. Get your fingers out and your cheque books ready money men because let me tell you…this will be the last season of patience for Arsenal fans. If you didn’t get a copy of the memo, they are over you! They want to win and they want to win now. Don’t let them down or you could find yourselves with red faces again come the end of next season…