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Morning Ticker: Liverpool bids on Barry, UEFA Cup finalists set and Flamini set for Milan move


                                                                 Photo by ISI Photos

Good morning everybody. Here are some news and notes from the soccer world that you may or may not have heard about.

Liverpool makes Barry bid

The race to sign Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry has begun and Liverpool is the first team to step up, making a $19.7 million bid for Barry. A Barry-Steven Gerrard tandem would be an imposing one for Liverpool, to be sure. One report had Liverpool offering a package including forward Peter Crouch and cash for Barry.

UEFA Cup finalists set

Zenit St. Petersburg stunned Bayern Munich with a 4-0 drubbing on Wednesday to secure a place in the UEFA Cup Final. The Russian dominated play from the start to eliminate the tournament favorites from Germany, which looked vulnerable after drawing with Zenit in the first leg.

Zenit will face Rangers, which downed Fiorentina on penalty kicks. The sides played a pair of scoreless draws before consecutive penalty misses by Fabio Liverani and Christian Vieri doomed the Italian squad.

The UEFA Cup final is set for May 14 in Manchester, England. 

Pachuca wins Champions Cup again

Mexican side Pachuca defeated Costa Rican champions Deportivo Saprissa, 2-1, on Wednesday to win the CONCACAF Champions Cup title for a second straight season. After tying Saprissa, 1-1, in the first leg in Costa Rica, Pachuca road goals from Christian Gimenez and Luis Gabriel Rey to win the match and the title.

Flamini to sign with AC Milan?

Arsenal was fully aware of the possibility that French midfielder Mathieu Flamini could leave the club this summer because his contract is up. That possibility appears to have become a reality, with reports emerging on Friday morning stating that Flamini is set to join AC Milan. A bulldog of a player with skill and bite, Flamini surely impressed Milan with his performance against them in the Champions League, where he did an excellent job of shutting down Kaka. He looks to be a ready-made replacement for Gennaro Gattuso, who showed signs of slowing down this season. If Arsenal has, in fact, lost Flamini then Arsene Wenger will make replacing him a top priority in order to give star playmaker Cesc Fabregas the support he needs in central midfield.

Ajax defeated Michael Bradley’s Heerenveen, 2-1, in the first leg of their Dutch League playoffs for a place in next season’s Champions League. The second leg is set for Monday in Amsterdam. …


  1. Chase,

    I dont think Barry has said anywhere he wants to leave. In an article today he was quoted as saying he wouldn’t address it until the end of the season.

    Also I think Lerners money has alot to do with it, because they can put together a club that compete for Euro spots every year

  2. As much as I love MB and his future for the nats, he doesn’t have the technical skill to play for Arsenal. Diaby would play in center mid ahead of him based just on that, and since Wenger has already shown he is hesitant to do that because of his inability to control the pace of games, I just don’t see the point in buying a player that needs time. Arsenal’s players they bring in this offseason will be much like Sagna and Eduardo. ie Able to step into a starting role or at least contend for one at the start of season. Michael Bradley couldn’t do that, imo.

  3. Matt, I was thinking the same thing. Ives keeps hinting at a big club that will surprise. The move could make sense and fits Wenger’s history of spending less $$$ on names not everyone is talking about.

  4. EDB,

    Lerner’s money does nothing when Barry wants Champions League football.


    Barry would almost certainly play LB, LM, and platoon in CM when needed, especially as Risse is all but gone and Aurellio is chronically injured. And I would say that Alonso’s poor form this season renders him expendable if the right offer comes in.


    There is no way Liverpool spends 10 million and exchanges a player, if this deal goes through LFC only spend about 5 million pounds plus whoever is sent to Villa (Risse, Carson, maybe Crouch). Hicks and Gillette have invested very little of their own money, I wouldn’t overstate their financial committment (especially when they are both going to get a pretty big payoff to leave in the next couple of months).

    You also forgot an important element for why the Prem is the best league in the world, the fan support and atmosphere, something the MLS fundamentally lacks outside of Toronto…

  5. I dunno, I think Rangers have been getting at least as much criticism as kudos.

    The only irony here AFAIC is that some Italians are bellyaching about how Rangers got the result.

    And those drawing comparisons between Rangers and Italian-style football are overlooking one key component: Rangers don’t dive and roll about like a bunch of sissies.

    Anyway, for all the criticism, the Whittaker and Novo chances were as clear-cut as anything Fiorentina were able to muster despite the disparity in possession.

    Yep, we suck so bad we’re still in contention for 3 trophies (and already have one in the case), lol

  6. Dante – I dont care how italian teams lose, as long as they lose…. except Roma & Torino, as for the rest i wish ill will on them all

  7. Anyone else think it’s more than coincidence that the story about Arsenal needing to replace Flamini was followed immediately by a mention of Bradley?

  8. Reid,

    When is the last time you saw one of the top Italian teams play like that? Milan certainly didn’t win the Champions League last year playing like that. Juventus? no. Past Milan teams? no. Inter? no. Roma? no. Italy at the 2006 World Cup? no, except for the Australia game when Materazzi was given a red card.

    Again, it’s a stereotype that lazy soccer fans use as reasons to hate on the Italian game.

  9. Ha! Insult to injury!

    Christian Vieri’s penalty that sailed high over the bar against Rangers was probably his last kick for Fiorentina.

    The former Italy forward was diagnosed with a pulled leg muscle Friday and will miss the rest of the season. He will reportedly move to another club for next season.

  10. How about a hand for Zenit St. Petersburg? They just took Bayern apart, great soccer to watch.

    Props too for Pachuca and their great pirate goalkeeper, I have to say that I love that each tournament they play, they are in it to win it. Gotta respect that, and I can get behind rooting for their goalie.

  11. no argument there, I hate it when its english, scottish, italian, dutch team plays like that, but especially when they are technically gifted, which i think is why people bag on italians.

    Their game should be better then that style. Thats why I atleast dont like when italian teams play like that

  12. No one is arguing that Rangers did what they had to do. The problem is that everyone will praise them for it, but if the shoe was on the other foot then…

  13. While there may be a double standard, those idiots at fiorentina who thought Rangers were gonna play wide open this match are idiots, of course they are gonna play for a shutout. That was there best option. Sucks to watch, but those guys can’t be serious with their expection

  14. So all Hicks has done is spend money on players to improve Liverpool and the stupid scousers can’t stop complaining. Why don’t they go have a chat with their ManU brethren who were pulling the same act with Glazer two years ago, becasue I’m pretty sure that’s working out OK for them.

    The English need to get over themselves. the only reason their precious Premiership is the best league in the world is becasue of foreign ownership and funding, whether it be American or otherwise. Which just happens to be spent on foreign players and foreign coaches to amke it what it is.

    Maybe they should focus their angst on their mediocre national team? Oh that’s right, they had to look abroad on that front too, where their coach is the only reason for them to have any optimism.

    Thank you for letitng me get that off my chset. Rip away.

  15. George,

    I agree with you too. There is a slanted view of the soccer world from US fans. I understand the language barrier may prevent people from watching games from Italy, Spain, France, Germany, etc., but in this day and age that’s not an excuse. All of these games are broadcast with English-speaking announcers.

    What gets to me though, is how the Brit teams can do no wrong, but if a team from another country does something then it is a black eye for soccer. A lot of this also has to do with stereotypes about how teams play that are so outdated. Italian teams aren’t all-out defensive, Spanish team’s aren’t just offensive forces and German teams are not efficient (I never understood what that meant anyway).

    Ok, enough of my rant. I just read an article describing Rangers’ performance last night as “brave.” That just set me off.

  16. I don’t understand how Liverpool could afford all these transfers when all they can talk about is how far in debt they have had to go and how they had to take out a loan for the Torres signing. All seems sketchy, unless DIC is involved I guess.

  17. @Pete,

    Great point, I definitely think Italian and Spanish football is underrated in the U.S. soccer world / Blogosphere.

    Honestly, I don’t mind an all English CL final, but I would have loved to have two opposing styles square off.

  18. Yep, totally agree with span and Dante. People see whatever they want to see, and for some reason because Brits speak the same language as we do, many Americans see the game from a British perspective.

    It’s a shame, really, because so many people are missing great soccer in Italy, Spain, Argentina, etc.

  19. @Miguel,

    Of course Flamini isn’t Viera! No one is arguing that point. Viera is one of the greats at that position.

    IMO…In regards to players today still in their prime or reaching their prime, Flamini is definitely in contention for world class status. In the EPL I would group young talent like Mascherano, Flamini, and Mikel John Obi (seriously).

  20. span,

    I agree with you 100%. That display by Rangers was a joke, and if that was an Italian team everyone would be going crazy. Instead, Rangers’ performance was genius. Nice to see the double standard is kept up by the Brits.

  21. if flamini leaves wenger has to pounce on veloso from sporting. he was rumored to united earlier in the season but seeing as united already have a glut of successful midfield players it should be a little easier for wenger to offer veloso alot of playing time in the first team, maybe even a starter. that’s who they need.

  22. Mig, Bradley won’t be around next year even if Heerenveen does win. But a game with something on the line like this is definitely a good thing for Bradley. Hopefully wherever he ends up next year will be in the Champions League anyway.

  23. Ives, one interesting caveat about the Flamini move to Milan is that AC has not yet wrapped up a Champions League spot for next season. That could definitely possibly affect Flamini’s (and other incoming player’s) decisions.

    And 20 million for Garreth Barry is a complete waste of money for Liverpool. Is it Barry really 20 million better than Xabi Alosno or Mascherano? Hell no. Liverpool would be smarter to use that money to improve at over other players at other positions, such as support forward (Kuyt) or fullback (Riise).

  24. See I was thinking that Liverpool might be going for David Bentley. Should be an interesting summer with Rafa wanting 4 or 5 new guys.

  25. Flamini to Milan. This is the worst way to start a morning.

    I cannot even imagine how we will replace him. Wenger’s gotta come up with something brilliant.

  26. Wenger now needs to buy a quality defensive midfielder to replace Flamini. I hope he gets an established player, and doesn’t go with a very young guy. He needs someone with experience to partner Fabregas. Also, he needs a World Class striker to partner Adebayor, a World Class Center Back and a World Class keeper. These are must-haves, or else Arsenal will find itself in the same situation as it finds itself now: stuttering at the end.

  27. I dont see why Villa can’t keep the team together. Lerner has cash and O’niel is a quality manager. And unless they get a european spot , I’m not sure why they would want crouch.

  28. It will be a real shame if Villa can’t keep their current squad together. They have some real talented players just starting to come into their own. If Barry leaves, along with Young and some of their others, it will be a long time before they can put together another team as talented as what they’ve got now. Shades of West Ham in the 90s.. (Joe Cole, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, & Michael Carrick)

  29. If an Italian side had played as negative as Rangers played these two games against Fiorentina, the British/Anglo media would have been shouting “catenaccio” from the rooftops and complained about negative dull Italian soccer blah blah blah….but when Rangers plays this crap and succeeds it’s dubbed “heroic”. Anybody else see the double standard?


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