Additions of James McCarthy, Gareth Barry help Everton offset Fellaini loss

Leave a comment

For a team reputed to be a bit cash-strapped, Everton had an active deadline day, one fueled by Manchester United’s quest to sign their two most-prominent players: Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini. Bill Kenwright and Roberto Martínez were ultimately able to hold on to the one they truly wanted to keep, Baines, while getting a heavy chunk of change for the Belgian always destined to go. That however, left the Toffees with some work to replace the quality Fellaini took from the squad, and it was no surprise Martínez looked to his old stomping grounds to strengthen.

James McCarthy had been linked with Everton ever since his former boss took the Toffees’ job in early summer. The move just made sense. Dave Whelan, however, had Wigan hold out, at times approaching the same rebuking tone that Everton took while rejecting Manchester United. Ultimately, however, the Ireland international moved to Goodison Park for just over $20 million, though Whelan, always good for an honest evaluation, offered the obvious about Monday’s pomp:

“Why they leave it so late, I do not understand. But we have accepted the offer from Everton for James McCarthy.”

Earlier in the day, Whelan was equally candid (and more expansive) to the Irish Independent:

“Roberto is chasing James. If Everton sell Fellaini, they are going to come in again for our boy.

“It depends whether Fellaini goes today. I have heard that he’s definitely going.

“If Fellaini goes, Everton are going to get their £30m or whatever. Roberto knows what James is valued at, so they’ve got to come back in with the right amount. You’ve got to be talking £14m or maybe a little more.”

I suppose that’s the circumstance to go with McCarthy’s pomp.

The now former Latic isn’t the only midfield reinforcement Martínez was able to snag with his Fellaini money. Gareth Barry, a former regular at Manchester City who had missed out on the first three games of this season, heads for Everton, albeit on loan. Making City-level money, he would have otherwise been a poor fit for Everton, but with a deal worked out between the Toffees and the Sky Blues, Barry should help replace some of the defensive value lost with the Fellaini sale.

This is about as good Everton could have hoped for, should they lose one of their big two. In McCarthy, Barry, and Romelu Lukaku, Everton could even be better than they were Monday morning. Players have to bed in, and only one of them is on a permanent deal, but although the Toffees have lost Marouane Fellaini, there’s isn’t reason to think they’re worse for it.

AT THE HALF: Manchester derby scoreless after 45 minutes

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Leave a comment

After 45 minutes, the final Manchester derby of the 2016-17 Premier League season — the one that’ll go a long, long way toward deciding which of the city’s sides will finish in the top-four — is scoreless, but not without incident.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

The game’s best chances thus far fell Manchester City’s way, as Sergio Aguero missed a clear-cut chance after 10 minutes — Kevin De Bruyne whipped in the perfect ball to the back post, and Aguero put it wrong side of David De Gea‘s post.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Ander Herrera has, once again, be Manchester United’s danger man, combining well with Marcus Rashford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but Claudio Bravo made the one save he was forced into during the first half. One thing to keep an eye on during the final 45 minutes: Rashford picked up a knock very early on, and struggled to move around the field after that.

STREAM LIVE: The Manchester Derby

Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The third Manchester Derby of the season is the first away from Old Trafford, as Manchester United visits Manchester City (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.

There’s much on the line, as the sides sit just two points apart in the race for the Top Four. Man City would leapfrog third-place Liverpool with a win, while United could join the Reds on 66 points with a match-in-hand.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

Sergio Aguero starts for Man City, with Gabriel Jesus on the bench.

On the other side, it’ll be a physical middle-third guarded by Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick, and Marouane Fellaini. Wayne Rooney and Jesse Lingard start on the bench.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Bravo, Zabaleta, Kompany (C), Otamendi, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Sterling, De Bruyne, Sane, Aguero. Subs: Caballero, Sagna, Fernando, Navas, Clichy, Gabriel Jesus, A. Garcia

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Darmian; Herrera, Carrick, Fellaini, Mkhitaryan; Rashford, Martial. Subs: Romero, Shaw, Fosu-Mensah, Tuanzebe, Young, Lingard, Rooney.

Ex-Liverpool CEO shares biting story of Suarez transfer

Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ian Ayre’s got jokes.

The former Liverpool CEO lifted the lid on some transfer stories during a Merseyside lecture this week.

Of note, Ayre admitted that the club thought Dele Alli demanded too much given what he had produced when the Reds has the chance to sign him as a 16-year-old, and said that Liverpool could’ve landed Alexis Sanchez but the player wanted to live in London (“We couldn’t move the football club to London, unfortunately,” he quipped).

The best part relayed by Sky Sports had to do with Luis Suarez, and shows the relentless nature of the transfer market. Clearly Barcelona had interest in Suarez before the fiery striker bit Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, because, well…

“I remember the sporting director of Barcelona calling me during that game, immediately as Suarez bit the player, and he said to me ‘my friend, he’s bitten somebody, how can this be the price?’ I said ‘he’d already bitten somebody when you first bid!'”

We’re sure there’s a certain amount of storytelling in there, but undoubtedly some truth.

Given Barca paid a reported $84 million for the striker, the asking price couldn’t have started that much higher.

Men in Blazers podcast: Chelsea tops Spurs, Top Four predictions

@MenInBlazers
Leave a comment
Rog and Davo return to discuss Chelsea’s FA Cup semifinal victory over Spurs, update their Top Four predictions (again), and dive into the depths of the relegation zone. Plus, the very important movement to change “Hudson Street” to “Ray Hudson Street.”

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

Subscribe to the podcast OR to update your iTunes subscriptions ]

Click here for the RSS feed ]