Who wants whom this summer?

June 2, 2009

Gareth Barry
“Our team of reporters examine which players the Premier League and top European clubs are planning to buy and sell during the summer transfer window, opening today.” (Guardian)

Vote for your European goal of the season (Guardian)
“We’ve whittled down all your suggestions to a final shortlist of 12. But which one deserves to be named as our goal of the season?”

Before It’s Cone (Foot Smoke)
“Maybe soccer games can never truly live up to their hype. The whirring factory of the sport won’t let that happen. Before a game with weeks of buildup can settle in our memory, we have more championships to follow, transfer rumors to process, and international competitions to prepare for. The momentum of the sport turns with the globe.”

Ecuador’s defensive double act (BBC – Tim Vickery)
“Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand might not look back at the Champions League final with much pleasure, but a glance at Manchester United’s goals against column this season highlights the importance of a great centre-back pairing. It was Brazil who invented this concept – dropping an extra player into the heart of the defence to create the back four. Their first World Cup-winning side in 1958 featured the classic contrasting pair of centre backs.”

Last Italians in England: the hits and misses (The Independent)
“GIANFRANCO ZOLA – The diminutive Sardinian was idolised at Chelsea as a player. He was one of the first Italians to join the Premier League when he was signed by Chelsea in 1996 and is considered by fans at the Bridge to be one of their greatest ever players.”

European football’s changing of the guard? (CNN)
“As the season draws to a close across much of Europe there is a sense that the football landscape is changing, with a few unfamiliar names sitting proudly atop their respective leagues. In Germany, traditional powerhouses such as Bayern Munich and UEFA Cup finalist Werder Bremen were beaten to the Bundesliga title by a team from a relatively obscure town in northwestern Germany, more famous for being the home of automaker Volkswagen.”

South American numbers game (FIFA)
“As anyone in football will tell you, statistics can be misleading while sequences, no matter how good or bad, all come to an end sometime. With this in mind, FIFA.com delivers some interesting facts and figures ahead of Matchday 13 in South American Zone qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.”

All White on the night (ESPN)
“In these hi-tech days of sports science, it was touching to see Marseille boss Eric Gerets putting his faith in some tried-and-tested methods as he attempted – in vain – to help his side pick up the French title on Saturday.”

For the U.S., the (Fake) Grass of Another Country (NYT)
“Tropical flora, exotic fauna and faux grass will greet the United States this week when it plays Costa Rica in a World Cup qualifying match at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Aymá in San José on Wednesday.”

Rajevac: We need to be there (FIFA)
“Milovan Rajevac has reiterated his commitment to lead the Black Stars to their second successive FIFA World Cup in South Africa next year even though it is still early days in the final stage of African qualification.”