Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Grab: 06.07

Would you mind giving me and my pillow some privacy?

If you're an England fan, despite what you think of Steve McClaren, you've gotta be satisfied with the performance of last night against Estonia. It'll take a few more games, with some improvement, a healthy Joe Cole and a healthy David Beckham to give England a chance to qualify for next year's Euro 2008 tournament. If you're a Real Madrid fan, you've gotta be a little pissed off about Goldenball's current state of fitness. Substituted halfway through the second half for Kieron Dyer, Becks strained the internal lateral ligament in his left ankle, making him a doubt for Saturday's match in Zaragoza. With two games remaining, tied on points with Barcelona, but above them on head to head goals, this could be a crucial blow to los Merengues' chances of lifting the domestic title for the first time in four years. Considering that a fit Beckham has been the vital element of Real Madrid's recent run of form, Fabio Capello must be a little ticked, especially with DB picking up a knock because England aren't good enough to decisively compete in their group without the set-piece master. Alexi Lalas, are you watching? [Reuters UK]

Chelsea's best balding, diving, benchwarming winger Arjen Robben is apparently in talks with Real Madrid about a move from Stamford Bridge to the Bernabeau. Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon reacted angrily to this, apparently unaware of the irony of a Blues player being tapped up after they tapped up Ashley Cole, which led to the England international's transfer from Arsenal to Chelsea and gave the media months of fodder. With Jose Antonio Reyes looking set to leave Madrid for Sevilla, perhaps, Real Madrid could use Robben on a left wing that's short on depth. [Sky Sports]

Gooners, you can definitely forget about Franck Ribery making a box-to-box run in an Arsenal strip this year. Flush from the nearly $35M they got for selling Owen Hargreaves to Manchester United, Bayern will pay Olympique Marseille over $35M in a transfer fee and an additional $6M if he helps the fallen German giants qualify for the Champions League next year. Anything less for FC Hollywood would be a failure, and so far the French international has been the big-money signing of the off-season, still roughly $13M shy of Andrei Shevchenko's $54M transfer from AC Milan to Chelsea last year.

It's tough being a Newcastle fan. On one hand, you've got one of the largest stadiums in England, a rabid fan base, and some semblance of footballing history. For some, that's enough to make them forget about the lack of other things, like nutritional diets and personal hygiene. Then again, if you're a long-suffering fan of NUFC, the only way is up, unless of course Fat Sam allows them to be relegated next year, which isn't going to happen. Now, it looks like Mike Ashley's takeover bid is going to happen, as Fat (sensing a theme here?) Freddy Shepherd will surrender his stake in the club to the billionaire owner of Sportsworld and Lillywhites. Ashley, in either an act of goodwill or desperation, has allowed Shepherd to remain on as chairman in return for selling his shares, which begs the question, how long until we see Fat Freddy's head on a stick the next time fans protest at St. James' Park? [BBC Sport]


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