Thursday, August 2, 2007

Profiles of the new signings

Name: Elano Blumer
Age: 26
Position: Attacking midfielder
Height: 5ft 8
Nationality: Brazilian
Fee: £8m
Signed from: Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine)
Contract: 4 years

According to, Elano 'is a highly-regarded and skilful Brazilian midfielder who is happy in wide positions and able to strike the ball with either foot'. He's got a pretty useful scoring record too, with 9 goals in 29 matches for Shakhtar and 33 goals in 131 matches for Santos in Brazil.

~ Playing record; YouTube; Wikipedia; profile.

Name: Vedran Corluka
Age: 21
Position: Right back / central defender
Height: 6ft 3
Nationality: Croatian
Fee: £7m
Signed from: Dinamo Zagreb
Contract: Believed to be 5 years / £39,000-per-week

The Croatian has nine international caps including the 2-0 win against England in Sept 2006, which he describes as his 'favourite ever game'.

From what I've found so far he appears to be an emotional character. This story from June, claims the player has been depressed recently and cried after a match with Estonia, while at the official Dynamo Zagreb site Corluka lists his biggest shortcoming as being 'nervous'.

Corluka also listed City as the foreign club he's most like to play for, though I'm not sure when that detail first appeared. He is also nicknamed 'Charlie', according to a guy named Tomi who emailed me from Croatia.

According to Croatian reports, City paid a £7m fee and gave Corluka a five-year contract worth £39,000-per-week.

YouTube; Profile at Dinamo Zagreb site; Wikipedia.

Name: Javi Garrido
Age: 22
Position: Left back / left midfield
Height: 5ft 10
Nationality: Spanish
Fee: £1.5m
Signed from: Real Sociedad
Contract: 4 years

Career stats; YouTube;

No confirmation on Valeri Bojinov yet, though Reuters yesterday claimed the deal had been agreed and the player had flown to Manchester. But with the player already thanking Eriksson for the move, an official announcement can't be far away.

Name: Valeri Bojinov (sometimes spelt Bozhinov)
Age: 21
Position: Forward
Height: 5ft 10
Nationality: Bulgarian
Fee: £5.7m (€8.5m)
Signed from: Fiorentina
Contract: 4 years

At 17, Bojinov was described by one Italian fan as 'the best youth player in Italy'. A year later, in 2005, Fiorentina paid £9m (€13m) for him. A poster on another forum believes the move was a mistake, with Bojinov 'better out wide or playing off the front chipping in 10 goals or so a season', rather than the 20-goal-a-season poacher Fiorentina wanted him to be.

As Bianchi appears to be an out-and-out goal poacher, Bojinov looks set to play a deeper attacking role alongside him.

~ Playing record; YouTube; Wikipedia.

FiveLive fails the 'fit and proper programme' test

Well, FiveLive's broadcast on the Premier League's 'Fit and Proper Persons Test' hardly proved a great advert for the licence fee. In case you missed it, here is a summary of the main points of the hour-long show:

1. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International believe that Thaksin has a terrible human rights record.
2. Thaksin claims he is innocent, and both his lawyer and his PR agree.
3. Thaksin is loved and hated in Thailand in equal measure. He is particularly hated by journalists at the Bangkok Post.
4. The Sports Minister believes this is a matter for the football authorities while a posh fella from David Cameron's Conservatives thinks that the ownership of a British football club is a matter for the Foreign Office.

And that pretty much was that. It told us nothing we didn't already know, and if I was a supporter of a club other than City I probably would have switched stations out of sheer boredom. Which is a great shame really as the whole issue of the ownership of football clubs is a subject that deserves a much more detailed analysis then we got on Tuesday.

A key issue that wasn't even touched is whether this test could actually be enforced. Let's say a person buys a Premiership club and is then deemed not to be 'fit and proper'. What would happen next?

The Telegraph's David Bond did take the trouble to find out what the sanctions were, revealing that directors convicted of fraud can be 'forced to resign their position'. The only time a person has been barred from owning a Premiership club was in 1999, when the Office of Fair Trading blocked BSkyB's £623m bid for Man United, solely on the grounds that it was anti-competitive. As the Premier League does not have the power to force an individual to sell a private shareholding, this seems a bold claim by the League.

Bond reveals that the League has the ultimate sanction of suspending the club. I'm pretty sure that this would be unprecedented in world football, and certainly highly questionable in law. But the fact that the Premier League declined to be interviewed by FiveLive, merely releasing this statement to the media on Tuesday, suggests that this issue is not exactly its highest priority right now.

All of which makes me wonder whether this 'Fit and Proper Persons Test' is nothing more than a sham - designed to give the appearance that the Premier League actually cares about something other than money.

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