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Posted by John Culea on 07/13/2012

Even with Euro 2012 keeping us going during the summer, life just hasn’t been the same since our beloved Premier League ended in May.

The new season begins August 18 and our withdrawal pain will be eased toward the end of this month when ESPN Soccernet launches its new Premier fantasy competition. At that time fantasy rosters can be assembled with unlimited transfers until kickoff.

Readers of Sir John’s blog know his thoughts on the rules for fantasy competition and his desire for changes. The most important involves player values throughout the season. Under the current system, the 100 million pound budget cannot increase if a player’s value goes up. A free enterprise system should be in play to reward managers and allow them to stock their rosters with better players. Conversely, the 100 million pound budget should decrease when player values drop. Sir John also does not favor the requirement to carry five defenders and two goalkeepers on the roster.

Sir John prefers a single season instead of splitting the season in two segments. We wait to see what changes, if any, the managers of the game will unveil.

On July 1, the Premier League’s transfer window opened and so far, the trigger has still not been pulled on the blockbuster deal that seems certain to happen, namely the departure of the biggest fantasy point-producer, Robin van Persie who will not seek or accept a contract extension. Arsenal cannot risk keeping vP for the one season remaining on his contract and get nothing when he leaves.

When RvP leaves, will the acquisition of Podolski and Giroud replace the offensive firepower of the Dutchie? In one word: no. Giroud was the top scorer in Ligue 1 and Podolski has had an impressive career--but they are not in RvP's class. That being said, it is fair to ask that based on his career, can vP have two injury-free seasons in a row? The odds are not likely. The Dutchie was an incredible EPL fantasy player but part of a sleepwalking Netherlands team that crashed out early in Euro 2012.

What kit will vP wear in the new season? Manchester City and Chelsea have been mentioned as possible suitors. There are pluses and minuses with each of those teams--what with the Balotelli-Tevez consideration at City and the Torres factor at Stamford Bridge. The Blues need to find someone to replace Drogba who is now playing in China.

Player moves of interest that have happened include striker Hugo Rodellega who signed a three-year free transfer deal with Fulham. The Cottagers were not able to sign Russian striker Pogrebnyak who played on loan for the team and was signed by Reading, so Rodellega is a must, especially if Clint Dempsey decides to leave, which, seems likely. Liverpool would be a great fit for the Texan. Longtime Fulham captain Danny Murphy will play for relegated Blackburn and defender Riise is looking for an employer.

The Reds, who were the Premier League’s most underachieving team, got good news when Luis Suarez remained in the fold. They will also be getting Lucas back from a lengthy injury but are stuck with Henderson, Downing, Adam, and at least for now, Carroll. Pony Tail has been mentioned as a loan possibility. Joe Cole has returned from the French lending library and will find playing time difficult to come by for new manager Brendan Rodgers.

The annual Will-Luka-Modric-leave-Spurs saga is underway again. Chelsea is mentioned; however, the Croatian does not enamor Sir John. Of concern to Spurs’ supporters is the contract situation of Emmanuel Adebayor who was loaned to White Hart Lane from Man City.

On the subject of Spurs, perhaps the biggest development so far in the off-season for Tottenham involves a non-player. The despised AVB was hired by Spurs to replace Harry Rednapp. Reporters covering Spurs went from a dream manager for quotes, likability, and managerial skill to an arrogant, humorless, in-over-his-head disaster that Chelsea wisely jettisoned.

Speaking of Chelsea, Victor Moses’ name has been linked with the Blues. The gifted Wigan midfielder with the heart-warming life's story has become one of the most sought-after players after his instrumental play in the Lattic's late season survival run.

QPR has made a push to insure another season in the EPL. The Rangers inked Park Ji-Sung from Man Yoo and signed a new deal with hot head midfielder Taarabt. They also got Andrew Johnson from Fulham and signed GK Rob Green.

SAF is looking forward to Japanese import Kagawa, while Chelsea hope to have productive seasons from Marin and Hazard. Kalou and Bosingwa are history.

As always, the open transfer window blows in a lot of foul rumors and among them are Gareth Bale going to Real Madrid or even more ludicrous, Bale and Modric in a package to Chelsea. A less ridiculous blurb was Spurs defender Assou-Akotto going to Liverpool if the Reds cannot land Clichy from Man City. Insurance in the event Assou-Akotto leaves Spurs is the signing of Ajax defender Vertonghen.

Everton has signed Naismith, a striker from the Scottish League David Moyes hope will make his woeful offense better.

And finally, the loathed and pompous AVB has expressed interest in Sneijder, Nani, and Lukaku. (Forget the first two--maybe on the Belgium forward.)

Special thanks to ESPN's Dom Raynor who has kept us in the loop on transfers.

Until later, I remain,
Yours faithfully,
Sir John


Posted by Roger Dela Rosa on 07/13/2012

WOO-HOO! can't wait for the season + fantasy to start!
transfer question: all the talk about luka modric, there has been a little bit of talk about him going to Man Utd. I live in San Pedro, CA where there is a large population of croatians and I know how they feel about serbians. so, getting back to Man Utd., Vidic, as you know, is their captain and also is a proud serb. would the two be able to get along? or is this something that keeps SAF from really going after signing modric?

Comment: Hello Roger. Thanks for your thoughts. Good to know you are just up the coast from me.
I don't have any inside information on the Serb-Croat factor within football; however, I have not read anything serious about players letting their ethnicity get in the way of their on-field performance. Frankly, to me there is more attention given to name-calling (i.e. the ridiculous waste of time, money, and drain on the British judicial system) for things like the Terry-Ferdinand spat than to international issues.
We will see where Modric ends up playing. I think just the thought of playing under AVB would be enough to have him take any offer--even if it were the Doncaster Rovers. Ha!

Posted by Michael Gerlan on 07/14/2012

Somehow, I get the feeling you don't like AVB.

He was poison at Chelsea and will be a disaster for Spurs.

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John Culea John Culea is an American living in San Diego who became hooked on football while serving in the Navy for two years in London. A former TV news Emmy award-winning anchor/reporter, John manages the Premier Fantasy league MCMUARTN and goes by the Fantasy honorary title of "Sir John". John is a devoted Chelsea supporter and offers candid, often off-beat commentaries on the Premier League from an American perspective. He invites open discussion on his blog and can be contacted at

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