It’s been 104 days since the 2005/2006 Premiership season ended. In that time, we’ve consumed the World Cup, watched several friendlies and counted down the days until the August 19th kickoff.
But the Premiership break is more newsworthy for the events that didn’t happen:
- Where did all the Italians go? After the match-fixing scandal, the anticipated exodus from Italy never happened, and most of the Italians who did leave moved to Inter Milan or Real Madrid. I guess the Italians must really love their mediterranean culture and abhor the cold, wet weather of the British Isles.
- No major signings other than Shev and Ballack. Chelsea was smart enough to secure their two big targets before the World Cup commenced. But since that time, there have been very few high profile transfers from overseas. The closest fit would be Didier Sokora and Dimitar Berbatov to Spurs, Benni McCarthy to Blackburn, Dirk Kuyt to Liverpool and Tomas Rosicky to Arsenal.
- No World Cup transfer frenzy. After the conclusion of the 2002 World Cup, the transfer market heated up with several big signings at that time especially involving Senegal (Diouf going to Liverpool was one example). This time, the market has been extremely quiet.
- Exit stage left. Two of the hottest strikers in England refused to stay with their clubs. Hernan Crespo went to Inter Milan, while Ruud van Nistelrooy joined Real Madrid. Both of these teams will prosper from those players, while United and Chelsea will rue their decisions.
- Martin O’Neill resurfaces. Many thought he was waiting in the wings for the Manchester United slot, but O’Neill surprised many by taking the Aston Villa manager job. I truly believe it’s a smart move. It’s a club with a lot of history and potential, and a fantastic stadium. And whatever O’Neill does will be an improvement and he’ll end up a hero.
Of course, the transfer window stays open until the end of the month, so there may be some last minute wheeling and dealing.
But taking a look at the above list, what surprises did I miss? Click on the ‘Comments’ link below and let us know.