So then, of all the players we’ve speculated about the Blues selling this summer, we managed to avoid naming Tim Cahill, now departed to New York, and Jack Rodwell, for whom Everton have accepted an undisclosed amount of money from Manchester City.
It’s a bit of a weird one, really, and had this piece been written on Sunday morning, as planned, it would have outlined all the reasons why he wouldn’t be signing for the Premier League Champions. After all, Rodwell is a player who has never really held down a place in the Everton first team, leaving for a club so overloaded with midfielders that Dutch international Nigel de Jong – the player voted most likely to lead a Mexican drug gang in Breaking Bad – struggles to make the starting eleven.
You can’t help wondering whether Roberto Mancini’s much-publicised titty lip due to no new signings has led the City hierarchy to appease him by grabbing a player who was relatively easy to acquire compared to trying to land, say, Robin van Persie, their primary target this summer.
Will Rodwell be missed? To be honest, not really. Not like Leighton Baines or Marouane Fellaini would be anyway. All his value is tied up in his potential. He physically looks the part, and there have been flashes when he has been able to use his supreme athleticism to eye-catching effect – most notably his goal against Manchester United the other year. However, David Moyes has always struggled to find a position for him where he can be consistently effective. He started off as a centre-half but was quickly converted to a defensive midfielder, seemingly after one shite preseason match at Blackpool.
The game often seemed to pass him by in that deep midfield role though, and he was a bit too easy to pressurise on the ball, so Moyes then tried to utilise him further up the pitch instead – in what will always be seen as the ‘Cahill role’ – presumably thinking that his size and pace could be an asset in attack. Again though, he never really convinced.
Injuries last season held him back further, and the arrival of Darron Gibson and Steven Pienaar, as well as the massive strides taken by Fellaini, must have been enough to convince the club’s management that a presumably fair-sized chunk of change represents better value than a young substitute who may or may not develop into a decent Premier League player in time. Manchester City, on the other hand, clearly believe that the money – not something they are often in short supply of – is worth risking.
And the player himself gets a pay rise and the chance to play Champions League football, with all that entails.
Could you say that everyone’s a winner?
Evertonians will now be keenly waiting to see what moves the club makes in the transfer market now that Moyes is armed with an undisclosed percentage of an undisclosed sum. With Gibson picking up an injury in preseason and Rodwell on the brink of departure, some extra cover in central midfield is probably required – to spare us the sight of Phil Neville or Johnny Heitinga ‘sitting in’ – and no one would turn their nose up at another striker or wide player, to ease the burden on Victor Anichebe if nothing else.
In news relating to on-the-pitch type stuff, the final friendly ended in a 1-0 defeat away at Malaga thanks to an 80th minute header by the bizarrely named ‘Weligton’. Beef to his mates, as another website might say, and probably did.
So the football is almost upon us, although it seems almost as fashionable to slag it off in comparison with the Olympics as it is to declare that you have always liked immigrants all along. Well, the ones who run fast for Great Britain anyway.
Premier League clubs must be absolutely shitting themselves at the thoughts of all those fans deserting them in favour of the Diamond League athletics and season tickets for the Velodrome.