It’s not a matter of a transfer free, which would be insignificant for the 33-year-old Júlio César. We’re talking $1.5-$2 million – nothing for the kind of clubs that could be asking for the Confederations Cup Golden Gloves winner. If one of those clubs is Arsenal, whose solution (or lack there of) at goalkeeper could mean the difference between holding off Spurs or being passed for a Champions League spot,* a couple million dollars truly becomes a bargain.
*Since Joe Posnanski writes for NBC Sports, I have a little more license to do these, right? Good, because it’s pretty insane to talk about passing teams for Champions League spots the day the transfer window opens.
The bigger issue for the Gunners in any César pursuit are the club’s principles, ideas that usually preclude playing a player like him the $106,000 per week (£70,000 pounds) he’s making with Queens Park Rangers. Although you don’t hear the term wage structure floated around the Emirates as often as you used to, the club remains dogmatic in its approach to finances. It’s why $197,000 a week (£130,000) is controversial for Gonzalo Higuaín. It’s why the club’s record transfer fee remains a relatively low $22.8 million (£15 million).
But to dissociate transfer fees and wages when assessing a player’s cost would be mistake. There are levels in which that distinction may matter, but in terms of the financial commitment you have to make to a player, both have to be considered as part of a total outlay. It shouldn’t be looked at as $2 million being cheap for César or his wages being too high. The combined package should be considered against what the combined package for a similar talent would run.
Seventy thousand pounds a week does seem high for César. It’s undoubtedly how he was lured to a club like QPR. But at this point, Arsenal may not be able to get him off that number, a number that’s undoubtedly contributing to his low transfer fee. They may need to look at the near $7 million total commitment and ask if they could get a better deal elsewhere.
Given what we saw from César in Brazil, what we saw in the recent past at Inter Milan, and what we saw at times for QPR, it’s hard to imagine Arsenal finding that value elsewhere. As long as his transfer fee stays very low, Arsenal should be able to justify his wages.
It’s a big one, you know: Manchester United hosts Chelsea in a battle for table positioning on Sunday at Old Trafford (Watch live at 9:05 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
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Scrutinized summer signings Romelu Lukaku and Alvaro Morata start at center forward for their respective sides.
Morata scored the lone goal when Chelsea beat United 1-0 in November.
Jose Mourinho has opted for Scott McTominay over Michael Carrick and Juan Mata in the midfield, while Anthony Martial gets the call over Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard.
Chelsea will have Pedro and Olivier Giroud on the bench.
Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Young, McTominay, Matic, Pogba, Alexis, Lukaku, Martial. Subs: Pereira, Bailly, Shaw, Carrick, Mata, Lingard, Rashford.
Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Drinkwater, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Morata, Hazard. Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Zappacosta, Emerson, Fabregas, Pedro, Giroud.
The Daily Mirror posted a profile on Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang late Saturday, speaking with the Gabonese striker as well as a number of people in his life.
[ MORE: PL Saturday roundup ]
Most of the talk dealt with his obsession with soccer, which started as an admirer of his internationally-capped father, but the quotes getting attention come from Aubameyang and deal with his comfort as a flashy personality.
So for those wondering whether the 27-year-old is going to tame his off-field activities now that he’s moved to London, well, it’s unlikely.
Aubameyang has a bit of David Beckham in him, cognizant of his background and relishing his place in life.
“The clothes, the cars and all that are a bonus. I enjoy living this way. I like who I am and it doesn’t matter if other people can’t accept that – it goes over my head.
“As they say ‘you only live once’. It’s important to know where you come from and where your roots are – the rest is a big bonus.”
Any number of players, from Andy Carroll to Cristiano Ronaldo, have appreciated the very same things.
It’s not a big deal.
As long as on-field performances accompany them, any criticism is driven by envy or a need to attract a similar form of attention as the player himself.
Crystal Palace could find itself back in the relegation zone with a heavy home defeat Saturday, and Tottenham Hotspur is certainly capable of providing such misery (Watch live at 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
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Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Wan-Bissaka, Fosu-Mensah, Tomkins, Van Aanholt, Milivojevic, Riedewald, McArthur, Townsend, Sorloth, Benteke. Subs: Henry, Souare, Delaney, Rakip, Lokilo, Kirby, Lee.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (C), Aurier, Sanchez, Dier, Davies, Wanyama, Dembele, Lamela, Eriksen, Dele, Kane. Subs: Vorm, Foyth, Trippier, Rose, Sissoko, Lucas, Son.
LISBON, Portugal (AP) Jonas scored two late goals to lead Benfica’s 3-1 comeback win at Pacos Ferreira on Saturday, keeping it close to Portuguese league leader FC Porto.
Jonas equalized in the 72nd minute and gave the defending champion the lead in the 88th.
[ MORE: Man United-Chelsea meet in giant Sunday PL clash ]
Rafa Silva added a third goal after the host was reduced to 10 men in stoppage time when Gian dos Santos was shown a direct red card.
Luiz Phellype gave Pacos Ferreira the lead in the ninth.
The double increased Jonas’ league-leading tally to 27 goals.
Benfica moved to within two points of Porto before the pacesetter visits Portimonense on Sunday.
Sporting Lisbon is third at five points behind Porto. It hosts Moreirense on Monday.