Fun Times In Babylon

According to Andy Hunter in Guardian, who is renowned for almost never making stuff up, Everton have got 17-year-old Caen striker M’Baye Niang over at Finch Farm for a few days.

Apparently this is with a view to making a £6 million bid for a player who is reported to have impressed Arsenal enough during a week-long trial this summer that Arsene Wenger made a £5 million offer that Caen refused. Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan are also said to interested in the French under-21 international.

Now, clearly the player is a guest of Everton’s, and there’s no doubt that he spent time at Arsenal too, as reported, but surely there has to be a little bit more to this story than what’s being reported on the surface.

For a start, it seems quite remarkable that Everton would be willing to hand over half of the cash they’ve just received from the sale of Jack Rodwell for a kid with no experience of English football whatsoever. Indeed, Niang has only played 17 times for Caen, who were relegated last season.

The Blues clearly need players who can go straight into the first team, and that would be quite a feat for all but the most outrageously talented teenager.

Perhaps Niang is just that player though, after all the Caen under-19 coach declared that the club have never had anyone like him before. However, if that’s the case, and he is essentially the next Thierry Henry, how come Arsenal baulked at paying the £1 million difference that, if the reports are accurate, would prove the difference between Niang playing in blue instead of red next season? The ‘brilliantly-run’ Gunners are about to receive £22 million from supposed financial mentalists Manchester United in return for Robin van Persie; they could easily outbid Everton if they really wanted to.

Is the truth perhaps that Niang is potentially a cracker, but still far, far from the finished article, and that any initial payments would be far less than has been suggested?

Probably, is the answer you are looking for there.

If we do sign Niang, don’t worry about not being able to come up for a song for him. Think Flashdance, think Michael Sembello. Oh aye. You are mouthing it now under your breath and it’s going to bug you all day once you get the words to fit properly.

Other players the Blues have been linked with include Adam Johnson, who is basically the new Shaun Wright-Phillips. Everyone reckons he would be ace if they got him, but his batty wages will continue to be a problem. Therefore he will eventually make a reluctant move to Queens Park Rangers, where he will be shit. The other is Clint Dempsey, who is a good player but surely a bit too similar to Tim Cahill, someone who kind of dictated our style to a large extent over the last few seasons, and not always for the better. Cahill’s departure gives us an opportunity to try something a bit different, to become more flexible in attack, and so bringing in Dempsey wouldn’t exactly represent a backward step but it could easily be perceived as something more like a bunny-hop on the spot. And no one wants that.

There are probably some others too, and more to come in the coming days. We can all pretend it is oh so tedious, but you all secretly love a bit of transfer rumour nonsense, made doubly exciting by the fact that since the Rodwell sale there is now an outside chance that some of it could feasibly be true.

Yeah baby, this shit just got real.