Hulk like West London (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
I don't know how much stock to put in things heard on the Twitter but there have been some big things being reported as fact (vs. being reported as speculation). Here's the quick rundown and then we'll go to some deeper analysis of each after the break:
- Robin van Persie signs a contract extension with Arsenal
- Chelsea agrees to a deal to acquire Hulk for 40M
- Liverpool agrees to a deal with Brendan Rodgers to replace Kenny Dalglish as manager
Rodgers to Liverpool
If Liverpool are patient I think this is a great move. I spent a lot of words on an article praising Rodgers and pimping him as Wenger's eventual successor at Arsenal. Obviously this is too good an opportunity for him to pass up. The question is how it will go. My guess is that it will work out very well if Liverpool have a little patience. Rodgers is a system manager and as such needs players who fit his system. At this point, Liverpool don't seem to have the right roster to support Rodgers. Maybe I'm not giving enough credit to Liverpool's existing players but I don't see a roster capable of a possession game. Lucas, Suarez and Adam probably all fit the bill but I don't see Gerrard, Henderson, Downing or Carroll being particularly good fits which is a lot of high cost players to alienate with a managerial hire (see Chelsea + AVB for how well that worked out in the very recent past).
On the positive side, Rodgers has proven capable of assembling a roster that can fit his style on a very limited budget. If Liverpool can wait out a year or two of roster turnover then I think that with the improved resources available to him, Rodgers can assemble a roster capable of improving on Liverpool's recent (lack of) results in the league. The worry is the next 18 months or so. If tenured senior players like Gerrard aren't on board and the results don't look good as the system and the players are mis-aligned then this could look like Woy, Part II at Anfield. The reason I was so bullish on Rodgers to Arsenal (eventually) is that the right type of players would already be in place for him. At Liverpool, you just don't know how it will work and how patient management and fans will be if things go poorly.
Hulk to Chelsea
Another expensive signing for Chelsea as they look to assemble an attacking group to rival Manchester City for style as well as results. With Juan Mata in place and capable of playing on either the right or left side of an attacking three and Eden Hazard apparently on board as the heir apparent to Frank Lampard this (probable) acquisition gives them:
Mata (?) Hazard (Lampard) Hulk (de Bruyne)
Two from: Mikel, Essien, Ramires, Meireles
A pretty impressive group to say the least assuming that Hazard and Hulk are ready to take the leap and Torres is ready to be at least 75% of the guy he was at his peak with Liverpool. My big objection to Chelsea (their spending aside) has been the fact that it is rarely fun to watch them play as a neutral. With this sort of a line-up, that opinion may have to be revisited.
As a fantasy manager, you can't help but be interested in Hazard and Hulk as new players at low prices.
RvP to Re-sign With Arsenal
As I said, this is the least credible of the Tweets I saw today because I only saw it from one source. That source wasn't particularly unreliable but it feels like there would be more corroboration if it were true. If true then it really does put Arsenal in a position to have a strong summer. If Podolski comes in as a supplement to RvP rather than as a replacement then you throw in a holding midfielder and another center back and you have the makings of a significantly stronger team. At that point you'd have to imagine that the four Champions League places would be all wrapped up with Manchester City and Chelsea competing for the title with Manchester United a shade behind and Arsenal solidly in fourth.