I find the moves and the proposed moves in the transfer market rather interesting. The top six clubs in the Premier League at the end of last year were Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Everton and Aston Villa. We have acquired Carlos Tevez from United, been linked at one point with Xabi Alonso, gone hard after John Terry, said to be close to signing Emmanuel Adebayor, have apparently put in a bid for Joleon Lescott and signed Gareth Barry and Stuart Taylor.
Whether we sign Terry and Lescott their respective clubs have been disrupted by the attention City have paid to their players and in the case of United, Arsenal and Aston Villa each club is worse off after their players joined City and yes I'm taking into account the signings of Michael Owen, Thomas Vermaelen and Stewart Downing in that evaluation.
Has this been by design? Because if it has, it's wonderfully Machiavellian. I'd love to think that we have strategists at City sophisticated enough to have upset all of our rivals while improving the squad. Certainly it will take time for City's new players to become a woven team, but in requiring every one of the top 6 to go through a similar adjustment have we leveled the playing field?
And a stray thought. I only saw the Alonso rumour in one location but I'd love for it to be true. Easily one of the top ten players in the Premier League the idea that Rafa Benitez seriously thought about selling him tells you all you need to know about the Liverpool manager. I respect Arsene Wenger, David Moyes, Martin O'Neill and the squad building of Old Purple Nose has been second to none. I can't think of anything positive to say about Benitez. Buys players and plays them out of position, lost a Champions League final because he didn't play Craig Bellamy and only won the other because Steven Gerrard played out of his skull in the second half.
I still remain disappointed in the pursuit of Terry and Lescott. Given the excellent record of Mark Hughes in scouring the Bundesliga for talent I'm somewhat surprised that we haven't raided the German clubs for the defenders that the club could use.
Elsewhere... Rather an interesting appointment by Southampton in naming Alan Pardew as the new manager. Pardew has always struck me as a Joe Royle like figure. Capable enough in the lower leagues but unable to make it at the Premier League level. Southampton will start the season not only in the old Division 3 but with a 10 point deficit to make up. Could be a long season. There are some classic clubs down there these days. Leeds of course but also Norwich, Southampton and Charlton. I remain baffled, truly baffled, why an investor hasn't purchased Leeds. Sure it would take a few seasons to get back up to the Premier League but Leeds remain one of the Premier brands in football.