Friday, 30 March 2012

Rumour Mill: 1 in, 1 out?

The Daily Mail today gives us 1 'story' and one total 'non-story' but lets run with it! The 'Fail' are reporting that City are going to make a Summer move for Spurs midfielder Luka Modric, and then they are running an altogether more believable story about the end of Nigel De Jong, claiming the writing is on the wall for the Dutch destroyer.

The crux of the Modric story seems to be based on nothing more than here-say, still that probably means its more accurate than about 90% of the other stories in the paper.  The author of the piece has taken direct quotes from the manager (that were interestingly given to The Sun and not to the Mail) and cobbled it together into an article suggesting a move for the Croatian is a near certainty.  To be fair, the Italian's comments are pretty flattering and show clear admiration for the player, but whether it is anything more than that remains to be seen:

"Luka Modric is an outstanding footballer, a great player….He is definitely one of the best in the Premier League….It is by no means easy to get him because he plays for a big club, Tottenham. It is unlikely that they would let him leave...We are lucky to have another great player from these parts in Edin Dzeko….I have worked with quite a few players from these parts — not just Croatians, but Bosnians, Serbs and Montenegrins….I have many friends among them and I am very proud of it….They are really something special and they mostly play with invention and creativity."

Firstly, as with the botched Vieira interview this week, we have no idea what questions were asked to lead to this response, he could have been pressed for his opinions of the player, and he has admittedly given an incredibly glowing report, but does that mean we will be splashing the cash on the midfielder this Summer?

My initial thoughts are no.  Not that he isn't a quality player, but with Nasri, Silva and Yaya Toure who can all set up attacking moves from the middle of the field it just seems an unnecessary signing to me.  As Bob pointed out in his statement, to convince Spurs to sell him would take a huge amount of money, Chelsea supposedly failed with a £40million bid last Summer and since then the he has signed a new deal.  For the money involved we could sign a far better player and probably in a position that we actually need to strengthen, someone who can give us some natural width certainly wouldn't go a miss, Eden Hazard anyone?

Now for the more believable nugget picked out of the Mail back pages.  It regards the future of Nigel 'The Lawnmower' De Jong.  Whilst the same article talks of a bumper pay day for Silva putting him in the top earners bracket alongside Toure and Tevez; it also states that there will be no new offer for the defensive midfielder.  City offered De Jong a deal last Summer but it was rejected, it is believed he has taken advice from Kia Joorabchian, a man who is about as unwanted at City as Fergie.  The rumour goes that Joorabchian made De Jong aware of what others were earning, and this apparently has left the Dutchman keen to earn more.  

The paper claims he decided to hold out for a new deal, something that could be likely, but they go on to say that the initial offer is now no longer on the table, meaning if he isn't sold this Summer he would be able to leave for nothing in 12 months.  I wrote some months ago about how ineffective the 27 year old had looked this season, but it is fair to say that in recent weeks he has started to look back to his old self.  I wondered at the time if it was the stop-start nature of his season that had held him back, he was injured for a while and then came in and out of the team, which to be fair even the best players struggle with.

Now that he is beginning to reach his best again though, I am still unsure as to whether we really need him.  Last season our team was set up to be tight at the back, and NDJ was crucial to that, but this year, with our more offensive style we need ball players and that isn't something that De Jong really has in his game.  Having said that there are not many better 'destroyers' in world football and losing him would be a real shame.

Essentially though money talks, De Jong is no longer a regular starter and he shouldn't be holding the club to ransom in terms of a new wage, a raise sure, but to put him in one of the top brackets would be crazy.  If a deal can't be agreed, then he is a very saleable asset, and in the days of FFP any money we bring in for Nigel can be spent in other areas where we are perhaps more lacking.  So seriously, Hazard??

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