Open Mike Monday: RvP Saga, Sepp Blatter, Michael Bradley, Justin Bieber's XI
Not too long ago, someone around these parts was running his mouth about how the summer doesn't necessarily have to be boring for footie fans.
Well, what do I know anyway?
"Long, lonely wasteland" was the exact phrase in question, and really, that couldn't have described the past week much better.
Sure, there were friendlies. Sure, some leagues are already going.
Yes, the transfer market is (sort of) heating up. And yes, the Olympic tournament is just around the corner.
But at no time so far this summer has a regular, routine, run-of-the-mill weekend of league matches felt like such a delightful prospect—or such a distant one.
Come quickly, football season. Please.
Longest Ongoing Transfer Saga
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Is it news? Not really, but ever since he dropped that bombshell on Arsenal earlier this summer, this qualifies as the most important development in the Robin van Persie Transfer Saga (patent pending) to date.
Like any good transfer saga, this one is light on facts and heavy on speculation. So far we know only a few things for sure.
First, Robin van Persie has announced he won't sign a new contract for Arsenal. That was the bombshell from earlier this summer.
Now, the bids have started coming in. That's what we learned this week.
The list is impressive: Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus are all confirmed bidders (Associated Press).
Meanwhile, the speculation continues. RvP has been dropped for Arsenal's preseason tour of Asia (Daily Telegraph).
But is that because he's leaving (or trying to leave) the club? Or is there another reason?
We'll find out soon enough, I suppose. As we all know, Arsenal aren't exactly inexperienced in this type of situation.
Biggest Foot in Mouth
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Only one word is needed to sum up FIFA president Sepp Blatter's week.
Even so, here are a few more words.
In an interview last Sunday with a Swiss publication, Blatter all but alleged that the vote to award Germany the 2006 World Cup was rigged. Immediately and not surprisingly, scores of Germans pounced on and condemned Blatter's words.
It wasn't a complicated task. Blatter, as usual, must have been off in la-la land when he made the original comments.
Blatter backtracked not long afterwards, saying he was only "making an observation," and that "one can always find a pretext to doubt the legality of a decision" (via ESPN).
No, Sepp, that's only true when you're involved.
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The news of Roma signing a midfielder from Chievo Verona for $4.6 million probably didn't register on many radar screens around Europe.
In America, though, it was eye-catching and headline-making news.
See, the midfielder is 24-year-old Michael Bradley, and for Americans, the transfer serves as the latest indication that the Yanks are making real in-roads in the European game.
Most European fans now know the name Clint Dempsey, who had actually been linked to Roma as well. Dempsey is playing the best football of his career and, at age 29, could move to his biggest club yet.
Now consider the fact that Bradley is only 24 and already playing for a legit big-name European club.
The future is as exciting as it is bright for American players in Europe.
Best Latter-Day Personal Parody
Speaking of America, the home of the Dream Team recently witnessed the return to form of a one-time world football great.
The formerly great player in question is 34-year-old Thierry Henry. Last week in a Major League Soccer match, Henry produced a jaw-dropping volley for the New York Red Bulls as good as almost anything he did for Arsenal back in the day.
Watch the video above.
Yup, he's still got it.
Best Biebs XI
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You read that right. The Bieber XI could be coming to a Los Angeles amateur league near you.
What's that? You don't live in LA? Lucky you.
The icing on the cake?
"I was going to ask my girl Selena and Victoria if they wanted to be cheerleaders for us,” he said.
“But hey, that might be pushing it.”