Never won the Premier League XI:

In the latest 4-2-3-1: Pepe Reina; Bacary Sagna, Jamie Carragher, Ledley King, Stuart Pearce; Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano (or Didi Hammann); Steven Gerrard, Cesc Fabregas, Gianfranco Zola; Robin Van Persie

Standard 4-4-2: Pepe Reina; Bacary Sagna, Jamie Carragher, Ledley King, Stuart Pearce; David Ginola, Javier Mascherano, Cesc Fabregas, Gareth Bale; Gianfranco Zola, Robbie Fowler

Honorable mentions: Shay Given, John-Arne Riise, Thomas Vermaelen, Gareth Southgate, Martin Laursen, Tino Asprilla, Les Ferdinand, Jimmy-Floyd, Fernando Torres, Ashley Young, Steve McManaman.

Not including folks who had won the old first division, and Gascoigne and Waddle and the other pre-premierleague stars, or Gullit and Shevchenko or Hierro or Klinsmann who were really all-time greats but were far from their peak when they came to the premier league. Neither including Mancity’s new recruits.

An ‘Iconoclastic’ mail about the Premiership stars

On Mediawatch today (Ref: ’24 hours later’) you mention that

    “We should also take a minute to savour Mr Smith’s words ‘He is, perhaps, the only true global icon plying his trade in the Premier League’ and offer the words ‘Wayne’ and ‘Rooney’.”

Well, let me be a bit of an iconoclast here – great player that he is, the two words ‘Wayne’ and “Rooney’ do not make a global icon. A global icon is not necessarily (one of) the best footballers in the world. David Beckham was probably never among the top three players in Man United leave alone the world, but was he, for a long time, the face of the Premier league to the greater world? Oh yes he was. Cantona was a global icon. Henry was a global icon. Zidane was a global icon. Cristiano Ronaldo is currently the biggest footballing global icon. Messi and Kaka are global icons. And before you say that probably one has to be reasonably okay looking to be a global icon, Ronaldinho, and before him bucktooth Ronaldo, with faces that could sink a thousand ships, were global icons too. However, Rooney is not. British icon he may well be, footballing world icon he is not.

The Premier League is a huge global brand, especially because of its reach, it reaches the non-footballing superpower countries and regions (Africa, Arabic Asia, the Cricketing subcontinent, South east Asia, for example) in a way in which no other football league manages. Only the world cup compares with the Premier League in reach. And I have a bit of a vantage point here, as I am currently in India, and have a fair idea about the football following culture in South east Asia and Arabic Asia, and a little about the South Americas. Rooney is not the face of the premier league to the greater world, Torres is. Even Gerrard and Lampard are bigger global brands than Rooney. If anything, Sir Ferguson is a bigger brand than Rooney to the greater world. Arsenal is similarly icon-malnourished. A match between Arsenal and Man United is always advertised as the clash of Arsene and Sir.

And the shirt sales numbers are misleading. Man United is the most supported club in Asia by a distance (Liverpool comes second). I believe in the rest of the world it is fairly evenly distributed. So how is Torres’s shirt selling the most? It is because the casual not-virulently-supporting-a-club Premier League fan (yes, those exist) will buy the shirt of the biggest icon, and that is Torres. As for Rooney’s shirt sales being the third or fourth highest, that number is misleading too. This club has had global super-icon after super-icon. This club has had Cantona, then Beckham, then Cristiano Ronaldo. This club is the most supported in the shirt-buying world (that mostly excludes Spain and Germany and Italy too. They buy their own clubs’ shirts). The United fans are still there, remember? So whose shirt can they buy? The best player of their club, of course. And that’s Rooney.

Jaxx [{( If Rooney goes to Real Madrid, he will be out of the top 10 in shirt sales )]} B

Jaxx View 3: Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona – Logic Applied

From F365:

I am pretty sure this mail will not be published as this is not drastic, controversial or rabble-rousing. But let me say this nonetheless. To Carl (Please Arsene, please give the armband to Vermaelen), AFC, you surprise me. Comparing the Cesc scenario with the Adebayor scenario is pretty damn ridiculous. Adebayor was not a Man City trainee (or a Manchester born-and-bred), and neither was be brought up as a 16-year-old at Arsenal. Why is it so difficult to understand, Cesc has always mentioned in interviews that he wants to return to Barca someday, and all of us Arsenal fans were kind of okay with the ‘he will return someday, but not soon’ rhetoric. Now who decides if that someday is today? Cesc does of course, not us. (Caveat: All Arsenal can do is decide whether they will sell him, and if yes, at what price)

Now similarly, in all the interviews, Cesc has claimed nothing but admiration for Arsenal, and post-World Cup, he has had only good things to say for our club. I have no doubt that he loves Arsenal, we indeed are the club that brought him up from a young upstart to the best central midfielder in the world. I am similarly sure he loves Barcelona more. Is that the right or wrong thing to do? That’s not for us to decide, really. That’s his call. And I believe the two options that are suggested to him by assorted hacks and fans.. those of a) either tell Barca to f*** off as he is an Arsenal player; or b) Throw a strop and demand a move to Barca, are neither feasible to him as he admires both the clubs. So what does he do? He pretty much shuts up, and would talk to Arsene Wenger this week, not to the media. It’s obvious he has decided that he wants to move, but not at the cost of a detriment to the club that brought him up. I think that is a good thing, and the right thing to do. And I sincerely believe that his discussion will be about how much money is enough for Arsene for Cesc to move next year.

Barca has been despicable (Xavi, especially, shut up already you moron), and if I would have been Cesc, I would have lost some respect for the club. But losing some respect does not mean hating Barca and not wanting to move, it probably just means wishing that they would just sit down and not embarrass him any more (and maybe, in 2011 or maybe 2012 when he lands up there, landing a punch up Xavi’s nose…now that would really be good). But Cesc wants out, and it is the job of the club, and M. Wenger, to ensure that they get fair value for him. and that is 60m. In the summer of 2011. Jack will be ready, and Rambo will be back by then.

Fourth paragraph. I really have made it impossible for you to publish this now, haven’t I?

Mukesh Ambani and Liverpool

(Click Here)

Mukesh Ambani is one smart, smart man. And a proper businessman above everything else.

Owning an IPL team (and he indeed owns Mumbai Indians, the costliest of them all – with Sachin, Jayasuriya, Duminy etc) makes sense because much of the ad revenue goes directly to the owners; plus the Reliance guys have historically have had great clout with the who’s who of India… and owning the biggest IPL team is a major positive in that regard.

What does owning Liverpool give him? Nothing. Can he make money out of Liverpool? He cannot through running the club, the money will have to be ploughed back to the club. Through the eventual sale? Naah, I don’t think Ambani will think that turning around the club and reaping a profit by sale would be worth it because a) the day-to-day hassle would be immense; and b) The glory day of club buy-and-sell is gone. It is not a regulated market like the American sports. The prices will just keep on rising…

Mukesh Ambani isn’t a football buff like Abramovich, so the club will not be a millionaire’s plaything. The Ambanis are not Russian Oligarchs. They are businessmen. And thus, owning a football club does not make financial sense to him at all.

Unfounded rumour, IMHO. False.

Subrata Roy Sahara, however, I am not so sure about.

Adebayor

Question: With RVP a regular injury worry, wasn’t it ideal that Arsenal had Adebayor in its ranks still?

Answer:Arsenal, one would agree, would have been better served for the last month or so with Adebayor, but one would agree that Arsenal would not have had the form they were in during the first part of the season without the 4-3-3, in which Adebayor does not work (or rather in Arsenal’s 4-3-3 with a creative midfielder, unlike the Man City one, with the primary creative source a withdrawn striker). And could you have kept Adebayor on the bench for the season?
And RVP is not always injured in the way Dean Ashton was always injured or Darren Anderton was, or even Eduardo… of course that is unless one suggests he has a tendency of breaking his foot. he has had horrible luck with injuries, something that can certainly change. It wasn’t a hamstring or a ligament or something. He’s never had recurring injuries.

Anti-Arsenal Propaganda

Am not a doom merchant, but click here

Matt Hughes in the Times says about Arsene Wenger:

…after a 3-0 home defeat by Chelsea on November 27, he claimed that Didier Drogba, the match-winner, was overrated and that the runaway leaders would drop so many points as to allow his side back into the title race. Wenger’s views on Drogba still seem like sour grapes…..

Here’s what Wenger said (also check the first comment to the article).

““Drogba is a good player. It’s funny because he doesn’t do a lot, but he’s efficient in what he does. You would be surprised by the number of balls he touched today. Jimmy Greaves was a great player, you still remember him. And Drogba is a great player, nobody can deny that. He’s very efficient.”

Spot the difference?