TOP MAZEMBE!

You know you are doing something right as a chairman when your club makes it to ESPN’s Tommy Smyth’s Top 25 Clubs of 2010. Especially when your club is from an impoverished and war-torn African country that has become a byword for political and economic instability.

Yes, I know that Tommy Smyth’s list is not the definite gauge on a club’s progress or achievements and that the list is subject to the many whims of the Irishman but it surely takes a lot of doing for a club from the Congo to make it to any list in the Connecticut USA based sports broadcaster’s headquarters.

The history of the Lubumbashi based club makes for interesting reading. Founded in 1939 by a bunch of Benedictine monks, TP Mazembe was a force on the African continent, winning the African Cup of Champions, as it was as then known consecutively in 1967 and 1968. A feat that would only be repeated by Enyimba F.C. of Aba, Nigeria in 2003 and 2004.

Then after a raft of appearances in the finals of the continental competition, the club disappeared, as it were, from the surface of the continent for 18 years. Then there came the then 38 year old Moise Katumbi Chapwe.

The self-made millionaire, who also happens to be the governor of the Katanga province where the club is located, came into play as chairman and turned the fortunes around for the club, winning five Congolese league titles since the turn of the millennium.

But it is on a larger stage that the evolution of Tout Puissant Mazembe, to give the full name, became more apparent.

After defending their CAF Champions League title with a resounding 6-1 aggregate win over Esperance ST of Tunisia late last year, the club went on to put on amazing performances at the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup.

If beating C.F. Pachuca of Mexico, the CONCACAF representatives, 1–0 in the quarter final phase was unexpected, then defeating Internacional of Brazil, the COPA Libertadores champion shocked the world and made us sit up and take notice.

Not even the 3-0 loss to a Samuel Eto’o inspired Inter could distract from the exciting style of play, Mazembe always put on offer. I’m sure Esperance defenders will still be having nightmares from the brilliant counterattacking they were punished with during the second leg of the Champions League Final.

Whenever you see Katumbi speak, like I did during a CNN interview, you are immediately struck by the passion he shows for his club. A passion we all witnessed in Orji Uzor Kalu when he was Governor of Abia State and lead Enyimba supporter.

But that is where the similarities end. While Kalu’s passion for Enyimba didn’t last beyond his residency in Abia State Government House, despite winning two Champions League tiles back to back.

The half Jewish half Congolese philanthropist was chairman even before he became governor and judging by his plans for the clubs, including building a stadium, one can be sure his love affair with Mazembe will outlive his political career.

So there you have it. The template to establishing a successful club in Africa.

All you need is a dedicated and passionate club chairman who is willing to sacrifice for his club to succeed. Just like Katumbi said when he was being interviewed by CNN’s Isha Sesay, that if he was asked to choose between being Governor of Katanga province and being the chairman of TP Mazembe, he would pick the club.

That says it all.

WHERE’S MY MONEY?!

There are always those phrases or words that stick in one’s mind once they are heard or read and seem to live forever and never leave us. They can even transcend the medium in which they were first propagated and go on to represent much more than they were first intended to.

These words do not have to be deep or poignant or even poetic. They could be as mundane as a small child’s mispronunciation of an older sibling’s name giving rise to a nickname that the older sibling wears on the back of his jersey when he becomes a professional football player. And that’s Kaka by the way, if you didn’t already know.

It could also be something as trivial as a line from a classic movie which becomes a catchphrase which informs the title of this post. In the film ‘Jerry Maguire’, the moment you heard the Cuba Gooding character ask Jerry Maguire played by Tom Cruise “Where’s my money?”, you had an inkling that you would be hearing that line many more times and surely couldn’t wait for an opportunity to use it.

Now will not be a good enough time for Emmanuel Adebayor to say it to his new manager Jose I’m-Special-Because-I-Say-So Mourinho. Now or any time in the next few months!

Simply because this represents the last opportunity for him to disprove the widely held view that he is a money-grabbing, self-serving mercenary. I mean Adebayor here.

Yesterday, when Real Madrid announced the loan singing of Adebayor, the news came as a mild surprise to most people. Who would have thought the biggest club in the world (yes, Man Utd fans, Madrid is still the biggest, just ask Cristiano Ronaldo!) would come knocking at Emmanuel’s door?

Adebayor was introduced to the world football stage when he moved from Monaco in France to Arsenal and was almost immediately taken to by the fans of the North London club almost immediately because of his work ethic and commitment to the club’s cause. And then there was the badge kissing every time he scored. And lots of badge kissing too! And the goals eventually increased to the region of lots.

Which is when the wheels began to fall off for him at Arsenal. Suddenly, his work ethic went missing and he began to coast through games, probably thinking he had nothing left to prove to his team and the fans.

But that could be forgiven by the fans. What could not be forgiven was the famous ‘Beyonce’ TV interview. The interview he compared other football clubs that he alleged to be interested in signing him to being as desirable as Beyonce and by so doing obviously comparing his then present club to well, Nkiru Sylvanus.

No one likes to be compared to Nkiru Sylvanus.

So he was sold to Manchester City FC. But only after he spent one more season at Arsenal making all the effort of slug with a mobility impediment. And everyone thought that maybe, just maybe Adebayor had become a slug. We always knew he was slimy, so maybe.

Then the whole world was witness to the fastest 90m dash at the City of Manchester stadium since the 2003 Commonwealth Games held at the same venue. The infamous dash that irked scores of Arsenal fans at Adebayor’s first match against his old team and showed that even Craig Bellamy could be a peacemaker in a fight.

But Adebayor didn’t just pick fights with the Arsenal fans; he also picked fights with every teammate and his mother at the Eastlands club. And he managed to antagonize his manager which goes a long way to explain why he has only made a fistful of appearances this season.

And with the new boy, 27 million pounds Edin Dzeko seemingly blending with the team and Carlos Tevez, the fact of the Togolese striker being surplus to requirements has been brought closer to home.

But Adebayor really has Gonzalo Higuian’s dodgy back; Karim Benzema’s misfiring in front of goal and Real Madrid President Florentino Perez’s intransigence with the purse strings to thank for the Les Merengues’ knock on the door.

So he has gotten his wish. He has moved to the biggest club on earth. He has also moved to a club with a manager well renowned for not suffering fools gladly. A manager that expects total commitment from his players and is ruthless at dealing with players when he doesn’t get it.

So Emmanuel Adebayor, you have your Beyonce. Treat her well or all your stuff will go in a box to the left.

OPEN ALL HOURS!

Like you might have guessed already from the title or not, this post is going to be about the ongoing Australian Open which is just entering its second week. And it’s not because I have discovered a new love for grand slam tennis, it’s rather because I’m still hung-over from staying up late to watch the AFC championship game between the Pittsburg Steelers and the New York Jets.

The Steelers won 24-19 by the way, staving off a determined Jets comeback to advance to the Super Bowl where they meet the Green Bay Packers who had hours earlier beat the .Chicago Bears in the NFC championship game

And I really can’t bring my sleep-deprived brain to trawl through hyperspace to bring up any exciting news or stories happening or have already happened over the past week.

Except if you consider the interminably boring January transfer window or Arsenal’s Denilson’s ‘leadership’ comments about his team or even the choice of Davis Love and Jose Maria Olazabal as respective choices as captains for the US and Europe Ryder Cup teams as worthy of a few inches of this blog.

Mind-gripping stuff.

So rather I’ll be providing you with a rundown of recent happenings at the Rod Laver Arena and maybe some predictions.
Let’s start from the top then.

On the side of men’s draw, the world number 1 and 2 are still alive and kicking like newly hatched offsprings of a mountain dwelling bird. Rafael Nadal batting away all opposition that comes his way with the insouciance of a baby eagle while Roger Federer continues to make hard work of his like the struggling infant eagle that usually gets kicked out of the nest by the mother eagle.

British hope Andy Murray continues to impress with a string of impressive victories and is on a collision course with surprise package Ukraine’s Alexsandr Dolgopolov who has already accounted for the major scalps of Robin Soderling and Jo Wilfred Tsonga in his quest to win his first Grand Slam.

On the women’s side, mother of one and possibly pregnant Belgian Kim Clijsters looks like a sure bet for the title while Czech Petra Kvitova is proving to be the surprise package of the women’s draw with a come from behind win over Flavia Pennetta to make it to her first quarterfinal at the Australian Open.

Meanwhile Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova were involved in a marathon three setter in the fourth round at the Australian Open. The match, which lasted 4 hours and 44 minutes and is the longest ever females match at a Grand Slam, comes just about 7 months after the epic 7 hours match between John Isner and Nicholas Mahut at the Wimbledon Open last year.

It would likely prove to be a pyrrhic victory for Schiavone as she would most definitely lose in the quarters to her opponent and number one seed Caroline Wozniacki that is if she recovers fast enough to be even able to be beaten in straight sets.

Now as to predictions, I’m sure if you read between the lines, you will see that I’ve already made them.
So that would be it. Off to catch some zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

BENT OUTTA SHAPE!

When I was young, okay much younger, there was this cartoon show that I used to love watching. I don’t remember anything about it, I don’t remember its name, its basic plot, and I don’t even remember any of its characters. But what I do remember is that the cartoon was produced by a production company called Bent Outta Shape Productions.

And I remember this because after the credits roll at the end of the programme, the logo of the production company comes up which if I remember correctly features an image of man contorted in a ridiculous position.

Now, the reason behind the trip down my cartoon memory lane is that somehow, somewhere in my warped mind, I see a correlation or a connection if you will between Darren Bent’s recent 18 million pounds transfer to Aston Villa and my treasured childhood cartoon.

Apart from the obvious terrible pun (my mind thinks in puns by the way), something just seems not right with this deal. Whether it’s the fast break alacrity with which the deal happened; it took less than Usain Bolt’s 100m winning run at the Beijing Olympics.

Or maybe it’s the price, by which Bent was bought, which could rise to 24 million pounds depending on appearances and goals for his new team. I know Bent is a proven goal scorer in the Premier League, in fact I know that only Wayne Rooney and Didier Drogba have scored more goals among current strikers in the league.

But I disagree that Bent is worth at least 5.33333 times than Tottenham Hotspurs new boy Steven Pienaar. He might be a lot taller and more melanin endowed than him but surely he is not that much better.

He might even do the impossible and lift his new club to the lofty heights of a European place on the place but at what cost? Oh yes! We already know! 24 big ones!

So where does Sunderland go from here? Apart from smiling right to the bank, I think this might actually be good for the club. Not only can they buy a raft full of players, the club might actually start playing better without Bent.

And the club has already shown this season that they are capable of incredible performances without Darren leading the line. The 3-0 demolition of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge happened without him being in the London Greater Area.

Also because of what I like to call the ‘Owen’ phenomenon, I think the club fortunes might actually improve. Let me explain.
Michael Owen left Liverpool for Real Madrid in the summer of 2004 and less than 12 months later, the club won the Champions League with a come from behind extra time win over AC Milan.

Of course I know that there are more extenuating circumstances like the arrival of Rafa Benitez that same summer and the amazing capitulation of the Milan defence that night in Istanbul bit it can’t be denied the departure of their star player allowed a few other players to shine forth.

Hopefully for Steve Bruce, the exit of Bent will give the rest of his team the impetus they need to push on and achieve more.

Now if only I could find such an impetus to update this blog more regularly.

MY GATEMAN’S NAME IS ADAMU!!!

As you would have rightly guessed, this post will not be about Alhaji Adamu, my office’s gateman or to put it more politically correct my office’s resident security consultant. Although, when I think about it, tabulating the ages of his wives (yes, I said wives) and children in a spreadsheet could be made to look a football league table.

But no! Rather this post is going to be about our own dear Amos Adamu, FIFA Executive member, all round Nigerian sports superintendent and presently the most beleaguered man in all of sports in all of the world.
Can we begin? From the very beginning?

Right after God said let there be light and parted the Red Sea, Amos Adamu was the Chairman for the LOC of the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship held in Nigeria, I think. And I say I think because I was quite young then and mostly followed the competition through commentary on my father’s bush radio courtesy of NEPA’s failings. Yes NEPA has always been terrible.

But I digress.

While some may say that the competition wasn’t a resounding success because the Flying Eagles exited in the quarters, let me remind you of some of the players that were introduced to the world stage courtesy of this tournament. Roque Santa Cruz, Estebian Cambiasso, Damien Duff, Simao Sabrosa, Ronaldinho, Diego Forlan, Xavi Hernadez, Seydou Keita, Mamadou Diarra and of course Pius Ikedia (yes, I said it!)

Now I’m not attempting to hold brief for Amos Adamu. In fact I wouldn’t even hold his briefcase. Which reminds me of the first time I saw Amos Adamu in person.

It was late 2005 and I was returning with my father from Abuja to Lagos. We were stuck in the departure lounge of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport, waiting for an unsurprisingly behind schedule flight, when I saw him.

He was wearing a rumpled blue babariga that looked like it came out of a bag an hour ago with a brown embroidered cap and a tattered black suitcase. The briefcase had sheets of paper peeping out from the sides and also had a broken lock that looked like the briefcase had been forced open more than a few times.
But the most remarkable thing about his appearance was the look on his face. You know that look you get from an enormous house rat when it has just been cornered in a corner in the dark and a bright torch is being pointed at it? You do, don’t you?

Now I would be the last person to say it out aloud that Amos Adamu has a rodent look about him but surely we have all thought it any of the various times he has flaunted his pockmarked face on TV.

But its also that look of seemingly helplessness and resignation that Adamu also shares with that of a rat or as that Americans like to say, a moose caught in the headlights of a fast approaching car.

There is never an excuse to indulge in corruption and far be from me to condone it but we all know Adamu is not the most corrupt man in Nigerian sports.

Now I have spent a few hours thinking of how to end this post with all the solutions to corruption in Nigerian sport or give detailed directions as to where one can purchase a magic wand to wish away all our sporting problems.

But the only sure silver bullet is the complete evisceration of not only Amos Adamu and his ilk from our sporting bodies but also of their sponsors i.e. the government. Until the sport associations are forced to seek funds from corporate bodies and they stop functioning as an instrument of government patronage, there can be no way forward for sport in Nigeria.

But who am I kidding? That would never happen.

PARK WELL!

For those of us who may not be familiar with the street slang that is also the title of this post, I can only say to you that what type of closeted, sheltered, narrow-minded life have you been living?

But no worries, I will attempt to explain what it means. You see, the slang is usually used mostly as a declarative interjection (I’m making up words here!) to order the person being addressed to go-and-sit-down, as we like to say on these shores. Especially when that someone is trying to exaggerate or just plain lying.

So every time you hear Sir Alex say that he still has the money from the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to spend but he hasn’t seen a player worth buying, you can simply retort: Park well joor!!!!!!! And so ends the lesson in urban slang etymology.

Now for some sports. The reason why an urban slang is informing the title of a post on a sport blog is that I was watching the Man Utd versus Wolves match over the weekend and was frankly astonished by the performance of a certain Korean Man Utd player. That is Ji-Sung Park for you football novices!

The astonishing thing wasn’t only that he scored the only two goals that his team scored in the match but could how actually see this player becoming the marquee player for his team.

This being a player who has been nothing more than a bit player in the squad for the past 5 years and despite what Sir Alex might say was signed with replica shirts sales and product endorsements in the Far East in mind.

So what has brought about the improvement in Park’s game? What I know about the Manchester United training program couldn’t even fill underneath my nails but I am sure spending 5 years at Carrington training ground has something to do with it.

You will to be a complete footballing dunce for your game to be unaffected by such a length of time. And judging from Park’s performances for his national team and for PSV Eindhoven, he is no fool.

So maybe the guys at Old Trafford really do know something about nurturing, well not young talent, well not that much of a talent anyway, into something that can only be qualified as, well!

In other news, the Ashes is around the corner. Yes I mean ashes, like the powdery residue left after the burning of a substance, those same ashes! But more specifically, I’m talking about the 18-monthly cricket test series between Australia and England.

And it is called the Ashes because the trophy to be won is actually an urn containing the ashes of the cricket ball used for the first test series between the countries many many years ago. Which makes one wonder what the first series was called?

So that’s all for now. I will try and provide some updates on the Ashes series and maybe some motorsport during the week

Till later.

Of All Pippo!

This post is meant be a short one so I’m just going to dive right into it.

There appears – well at least to me – to be a certain quality missing amongst footballers of nowadays. I mean a certain je ne sais quoi about the modern players.

They are all beginning to seem the same, play football the same way and even playact the same way. It’s almost like they are being pushed out from a production line with their names stamped on their jerseys as they leave the conveyor belt and then put into cardboard boxes and shipped off to clubs in far flung places.

There is no really is no way of telling them apart from they way they play. For every Cristiano Ronaldo you have a Nani, for every abundantly gifted but disappointing Dimitar Berbatov, you have an equally abundantly gifted and disappointing Zlatan Ibrahimovic. No way of telling them apart if they wore the same jersey and had the same ridiculous hairdo.

Gone apparently are the days of the archetypal footballers. Players who you could identify with a particular skill. Players who invented football moves and had moves named after them. The Panenka chip and the ‘Maldini’ sliding tackle come readily to mind.

And this thought came to me when I was watching the Champions League group stage match between AC Milan and Real Madrid at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium. With Madrid leading in the second half, the Milan coach decided to bring on Filippo Inzaghi. I almost screamed at the TV “Of all people, Inzaghi! Aleghri, have you lost it”

Happily I didn’t, cause Inzaghi rescued what seemed like a sure loss with two of his trademark goals. First, he bundled the ball over the line from like 2 yards with a part of his anatomy, then he was clearly offside for the second but still finished with measured aplomb. This is a player so renowned for being on the shoulder of the last defender that Sir Alex once remarked that he must have been given birth to in an offside position!

And then the trademark celebration. Running to the corner flag and gesticulating like he has never scored a better goal or that no better goal has or will ever be scored.

Now juxtapose that with the younger players where the only place you can tell them apart is off the pitch with all their late night binge drinking and drink driving, pimped out SUVs, WAGs and assault convictions. Well that’ appears to be their own idea of a good time!

Meanwhile for Inzaghi and his ilk, a good time consists of dinner with the family and a bottle of wine afterwards. Hmm!

Which goes a long way to explain why the 37 year old is currently the all time most prolific goal scorer (with 70 goals) in European club competitions.

Take a bow Mr. Filippo ‘Pippo, Pippo, Pippo’ Inzaghi!

Where there is a will there is a Bale!

Or so the saying goes! Actually, the saying says ‘will’ instead of the Tottenham Hotspurs football star (the last time Tottenham and football star were used in the same breath must surely be when a certain David played for the Sp*rs!), but you get the idea nonetheless.

On the few occasions during the match that Bale wasn’t tearing Brazil right back Maicon a new one, I got thinking while watching that there really is no limit to what one can achieve what one can achieve with the right amount of innards.

Who would have thought a mid table English club would have the beating of the reigning champions (yes, Tottenham, it takes more than one season of finishing 4th to become one of the big boys, just ask Everton!).
Guess it says about how not too terrible a coach Mr. Harry Redknapp is. And I to call him Mr. because he is the oldest coach in the Premier League. Just like our own Garba Lawal was given the epithet Mr. during the Mali 2002 Nations Cup by the French accented television commentator most likely on accounts of age, declared or real.

You know they say respect should be given to who is deserving of it, so it’s about time we give props (like my hip hop friends say) to the Inter coach. No, not the present one; the Spanish waiter! I mean the present Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho.

And yes I know he is no longer the Inter coach but it’s still his team by and large. And for them to be exposed, especially defensively, so easily by Sp*rs shows there is something they used to do last season, that is surely beyond Rafa Benitez.

Which brings to mind how adept Benitez seems to be at dismantling successfully teams slowly but surely. Before you mention that night in Istanbul, I’ll remind you that that was his first season in charge and so could not have enough time tearing apart the team to pieces.

Yes, I know it’s easy to kick a man when he is down, but Benitez just makes it easier. We always knew that man management wasn’t his forte but the one thing that he is supposed to be good at has apparently deserted him like a spurned lover.

No I don’t mean statistic filled rants at press conferences, I mean tactics! That was meant to be his strong suit but now appears to be no more like a flimsy singlet on his shoulders!

How else can one explain the tactics he used against Sp*rs? How does one justify playing four central midfielders with one striker on the wing and Eto’o upfront with no winger to counteract the pace of Bale especially as Maicon was shown incapable of doing it in the first leg?

Instead, Rafa decided on playing with a system his players couldn’t implement rather than the simple option of putting Eto’o on the right of the Inter midfield thereby helping Maicon out in defense and at the same time putting pressure on the Sp*rs left back! How could he not have seen that?

To end this post, I have decided to give an update of an American sport. Still don’t know what special name to call it but suggestions are welcome! I know many of us are not fluent with American sports, which is precisely the reason for the section of the post. So read and learn!

On Monday night the unfancied San Francisco Giants defeated the equally unfancied Texas Rangers in their home park to take the series 4-1 and clinch the World Series. That’s baseball for all you folks! This is like Kaiserslautern F.C defeating Birmingham City to win the Champions League. Improbable.

Two teams no one gave a chance at the beginning of the season but going to defeat more illustrious opponents to appear in the showpiece event of baseball.

Guess what they say is true. Where there is a will, well there is a Giant!

Dunno!

So why hasn’t this blog been updated for only God knows how long? Dunno! Oh, that wasn’t the question on your mind! Too bad! Cause i was kinda hoping someone knew the answer!

It’s not like there has been no sporting action to talk about.

The Spaniards won the World Cup like every sporting pundit and their mother predicted, playing their tiki taka football but only winning by the odd goal over the Dutch.

Rafael Nadal continues to beat every player that comes up against him as long as the player’s name does not rhyme with injury.

Tiger continues to have a rotten game even after shelling out approximately two thirds of his wealth to Elin to the extent the almost had to grovel to be picked for the Ryder Cup team. This was a man who treated the Ryder Cup and the President’s Cup like nothing more than a minor irritation on his playing calendar.

The Red Bull and MacLaren drivers continue to conspire to allow Ferrari back into the chase for the F1 championship with Lewis Hamilton crashing out in successive races.

And our beloved Samuel Peter was pummeled, pounded and then punched by one of the Klitschkos. I forget which.

Wayne Rooney seems to have forgotten where he left his footballing boots or he wants to forget where he left them! With the extensive coverage of his private ‘spending behaviour’ seemingly impacting on his form, coming after John Terry’s own issues, all a football fan can pray for is for the next expose to be about a rival team star player!

Which reminds me! I need to find takers for Drogba! Where did I put my phone???

Somehow, somehow, against all odds, difficulties and the millions of obstacles put in his way, Cesc Fabregas is still an Arsenal player. Incredible!

Speaking of Arsenal players, Tuesday was a good time to be Łukasz ‘FlappyHanski’ Fabiański! Who ever thought he was capable of having a perfect game should be called a professor. Wait, he already is! Nothing beats the feeling of being derided by the press and even your own fans as the worst thing to kick a ball only for you to turn it around in one game and be consequently hailed as the best keeper since Yashin!

Sure there is a an exaggeration in there somewhere but since I am too lazy to put up more than a few links, I’ll leave you to it.

More later.

And The Biggest Of Them All!

Now that the WC has finally ended, i guess we can move on to more pressing but definitely not bigger sporting matters.

But something must be said of the end of the tournament, the final that is. Now I am not one to recommend or even condone violence even (yes even!) in the face of extreme provocation but surely we must see where the Dutch are coming from.

As a team you find yourself up against what is without a shred of doubt the best midfield in the world and you are stuck with players like De Jong and van Bommel, what are you to do?

Contrary to what people (well, most journalists) were suggesting after the match, the game plan of the Dutch wasn’t to kick them off the park, or the pitch in this case. But rather they were trying to replicate what the Inter team accomplished in CL semis last season against Barcelona.

That is to close down the space between the Spaniards and stop them from playing those their cute little passing triangles that make you want to scream: WILL YOU JUST TAKE A SHOT AND STOP TORTURING US AND YOUR OPPONENTS?????????? PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SHOOT SOMEBODY!!!!!!!!!!!!

So why did said plan fail horribly? Simple! Van Bommel is no Cambiasso! Neither does De Jong play on the same footballing planet as Javier Zanetti.

But one thing that really irks me is the self-righteousness of journalists and pundits alike in condemning the tactics used by the Dutch when the same people see absolutely nothing wrong when the Blackburns and Boltons of this world kick a club like Arsenal, for example, all over their cabbage patch of a field.

It is all fine and dandy when it is pesky Frenchmen and Croatians being kicked, but when it is nimble footed Spaniards, suddenly a righteous storm breaks out.

While on the subject of Spain, what might supposedly be the likeliest biggest transfer of the season might be the probable transfer of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona. Note the number of adjectives of uncertainty I used in the last sentence!

The reason being that I don’t that think that this transfer will take place, well at least now because firstly I don’t think Barca can raise the kind of money required to prise him from the steely clutches of Arsene Wenger.

Secondly, I think Cesc might have had an epiphany of what his Barca career might be like if he moved now. No, I don’t mean the news that former Arsenal player and idol Thierry Henry has left Barcelona to go to the MLS to play for the New York Red Bulls.

But rather as Cesc sat on the bench and watched the 7 or 8 Barca players playing for Spain construct teeny-weeny isosceles triangles around the pitch, the thought must have sped through his mind like an Arsenal counterattack. The thought that maybe, just maybe this might be his view of the Nou Camp pitch.

Another reason why the supposedly biggest transfer will not happen is because the biggest transfer has already taken place and for once it didn’t happen in football.

On Fri, the 9th of July, LeBron James the best basketball player right now, announced he is leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join forces with fellow All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh at the Miami Heat next season in the hope of winning an elusive NBA championship.

For all basketball illiterates reading this, let me provide a little background. You see LeBron James is the Lionel Messi of basketball. Not only is he the best player but he is one of those few players who can carry on a team on his back on the way to a championship.

But incredibly, he has been unable to do that in the past 7 years with the Cavaliers. Which is why he is leaving to join the Miami Heat to form what could be called a ‘galactico’ team with Wade and Bosh.

Because basketball is one of those sports where a single player can have a tremendous impact on a team, I suspect that this team would be much more successful than the previous ‘galactico’ project under the previous and now present Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez in the 2000’s.

Strange how we could let a big story pass us by because we insist on living in a football insulated world.