Every year, nearly all of us get given vouchers or just plain cash for Christmas so that we can choose for ourselves what we get, rather than relying on pot luck. Which handily means I can offer more gifts out to the footballing community.
1) Several clubs, including ‘big clubs’ like Arsenal and Liverpool, seem to be having a bit of difficulty finding decent players for decent prices. So what those clubs might want to do is go out and buy themselves a copy of Football Manager 2013. The FM series has already been used by several clubs (notably Everton signed up to use its database in 2008) to scout potential players and it can be much easier to do a quick search in the game than send a scout off to watch dozens of matches. OK, maybe you won’t get as good a feel for the player by looking at their FM profile than if you watch them play a live game but there’s no reason why clubs shouldn’t use the computer game to find a few potential candidates who they can then scout in more detail. Arsene may well want to invest.
2) Seeing as Demba Ba has moved to Chelsea, Newcastle United may wasn’t to exchange their previous gift for a new one. This could either be to keep Cisse scoring or to buy another Ba-esque striker, especially as they are still lingering worryingly close to the foot of the table.
3) The last gift in this post-Christmas shopping spree may require more gift vouchers than money can buy. As a United fan, I won’t often be hoping for a genuine gift for Roberto Mancini but I do hope that Balotelli will repay Mancini’s faith in him. City spent £23m on the striker at the insistence of Mancini and, so far, those who originally opposed the deal may well be telling the Italian ‘we told you so’. It’s a sad story of football that Balotelli’s talent is going to waste and you can understand Mancini’s frustration. It may well be that their spat at the training ground earlier this month was only slightly to do with Balotelli’s lunge and more to do with the underlying tension between them.