Yes, I'm back, after a prolonged absence. It's at times like these I doff my cap to Arseblogger for keeping up the blogging in the face of the putrid non-news that has been steadily emanating from the media outlets since the end of the season. I could not bring myself to write until, well, something happened.
If we were to believe all the crap coming out of the blogosphere this week - which is now where national newspaper journalists pick up around 90% of their information - Adebayor would have signed for AC Milan for £32 million, yes £32 million, Hleb would have gone to Barca in a part-exchange for Yaya Toure, and we would have also picked up Roque Santa Cruz with the spare change from the Hleb and Ade deals.
Hmm I say. Hmm.
If Ade really is demanding a £100k per week contract, then adios. But until anything is proved I think we should really regard the Milan story as a little silly. Hleb, on the other hand, is clearly becoming desperate for the final big money move of his career, but, problematically, scoring 11 goals in 3 seasons as an attacking midfielder has meant he doesn't have a line round the block to sign him up. After all the rubbish he's come out with recently, if he does stay he should be on the bench for the beginning of next season due to his lack of respect for the club. I backed Alex for a long time but he's been a coward on and off the pitch since at least January. As for Santa Cruz? Very good player, but has a bad injury record, and let's not forget that Benny McCarthy scored 29 goals for Blackburn the season before Cruz arrived.
Right, spleen vented.
In actual news, we announced our first signing of the season today. 17 year old Aaron Ramsey has jetted in from, er, Cardiff. I wonder if the Daily mail will hammer us for signing another non-English player?
Aaron is quite a versatile player, and local Welsh journalists have likened him to Bryan Robson: a kind of all-action, ball-winning and passing midfielder. He can play anywhere across the midfield, and also in defence (he was being played at right-back at times for Cardiff last year), but his preferred position is centre-mid. Back up for cesc or his new partner? Who knows. One thing's for certain: he can't be worse than Eboue, and at £5m he could well be a bargain.
Samir Nasri should also be joining, and according to the Young Guns blog has signed a pre-contract. Can someone tell me what a pre-contract is? Surely if you have enough time to sign a pre-contract, you can sign a contract? Why must things be so complicated. Samir looks a talent, and is probably earmarked as the replacement for Hleb, if Alex does skedaddle. There is talk of Athletico Madrid trying to hijack the deal - possibly as revenge for us nicking Rosicky off them at the eleventh hour a few seasons ago. Again, the jury will be out on him until he arrives, but he's done well enough to get into Raymond 'crazy' Domenech's French squad so he must have something to him.
So that's one/two signings, and Carlos Vela, who will also be arriving in the summer. Three midfield players with a combined age of 55.
I still think we need an experienced central-midfield ball-winner - possibly in the Yaya mould, although Toulalon has looked good for France as well. On top of that I would also say that buying a centre-back who's taller than 6' might also be an idea, especially if there are questions about Senderos's and Gallas's mental strength after last season. I like the look of Mertesacker - 6'6" German CB - who also says he likes the way we play.
Gary Lewin has left after decades of great service, and we should all thank him for what he's given to the club over the years. This season alone, he may well have saved Eduardo's career with his quick thinking. It will a difficult position to fill, but Colin Lewin, Gary's cousin who is already on the club's staff, is mooted to be his replacement.
Finally, the new kits are out. Both are awful. The away shirt - a horrible, garish 'tribute' to the 1989 Anfield victory shirt - looks like a training top. The home shirt looks like it got mixed up with Charlton's home kit. After the great home shirt we've had for the last two seasons, I suppose it was too much to hope that we'd have a nice shirt again.
So, to end the post, a short message to Nike:
WHY IS THIS SO HARD YOU MORONS?
STOP MESSING WITH OUR KITS.