English Premier League: Weekly wrap

Vince Rugari Columnist

By Vince Rugari, Vince Rugari is a Roar Expert

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    Manchester United's new player Robin van Persie. AP Photo/Jon Super

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    How much is a goal worth in the Premier League? Whatever it is, it seems certain that Manchester United will get a sizeable return on their £24 million investment in Robin van Persie.

    Two starts, four goals. A match-winning hat-trick against Sunderland. With Wayne Rooney injured, the former Arsenal captain has slotted into his position seamlessly.

    In fact, Rooney may not get his spot back at all.

    Van Persie, at 29, was always going to be a no-fail purchase for whatever team scooped him up – that’s despite the claims from broken-hearted Gunners fans that he was a crock, as if saying that was going to make them feel better.

    Sir Alex Ferguson paid big money (in what some have called a vanity transfer) but he got a big striker. That’s generally how it works.

    Want a proven, quality striker that has a track record of scoring goals at the highest level?

    If you can pick the right one – one that will fit in with your system and compliment the other players in your team – then you’ll generally get goals, wins and points in return.

    The idea of picking the right one helps explain the Andy Carroll discrepancy, and that he was once worth £35 million in the eyes of Liverpool and Kenny Dalgish still astounds every time that figure is repeated.

    Incredibly, that’s £11 million more than van Persie. But I digress.

    More often than not, when you’re talking about the big boys and proper scouting, you get what you pay for in the Premier League.

    Sergio Aguero? £35 million, apparently, from Atletico Madrid to City. The return? 30 goals in 48 games, including the one that sealed the title.

    Third in the golden boot last season – behind van Persie and Rooney.

    Dimitar Berbatov was bought for £30 million by Manchester United in 2008 from Tottenham. In the context of his £4 million move (that’s an unconfirmed figure) to Fulham, that sounds steep.

    Indeed Liverpool fans have jumped quickly to describe Berbatov’s move as a Carroll-esque failure, as if one Premier League golden boot and 56 goals in 149 appearances in all competitions was nothing special.

    United got the best out of the Bulgarian, then palmed him off at the right time – he’ll be 32 in January. That’s a good piece of business.

    Which brings us to the Fenway Sports Group.

    Another good piece of business would have been if Liverpool had gone for Clint Dempsey for the £6 million that took him from Fulham to Spurs.

    He was perfect. Brendan Rodgers was chasing him all summer. He wanted long-ball lightning rod Carroll out, but that left only Luis Suarez and Samed Yesil on the books as proper, main strikers.

    The former is moody, the latter is 18. In desperate need of someone else, and with £4 million courtesy of Charlie Adam in the back pocket, FSG choked.

    Why? Was it because they were still spooked by the Carroll affair, or were the Moneyballers trying to play hardball?

    Whatever the case, Rodgers – a guy who will spend his entire career at Anfield under a special kind of pressure that managers at only a select few clubs have to deal with – has been left one man short for want of what is, in Premier League terms, chump change.

    With the spectre of Financial Fair Play rules looming large, every club that isn’t controlled by an egomaniacal tycoon is trying very hard not to overspend, especially after what’s happened to Portsmouth and Rangers.

    But FSG can’t be using that as an excuse under these circumstances. And this is a word of warning to world football as pursestrings tighten everywhere – you do get what you pay for, if you do your homework.

    Transfer fees are not simply avoidable, fashionable write-offs for billionaires. They are investments. Good investments pay dividends.

    Fenway Sports Group have failed Liverpool and poor old Brendan Rodgers, one of the most exciting tacticians in the Premier League, is the man who will be forced to deal with the consequences.

    Vince Rugari
    Vince Rugari

    Vince Rugari is an Adelaide-born journalist who cut his teeth on the sporting graveyard of the Gold Coast. He fancies the round ball and the Sherrin, and used to be a handy leg-spin bowler before injury curtailed a baggy green push. A Port Adelaide fan by birth, he now is a sports reporter for Australian Associate Press

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • September 6th 2012 @ 9:57am
      pete4 said | September 6th 2012 @ 9:57am | ! Report

      Fergie must have had some change left over. Man U would have been something if this came off

      United’s £38m deadline day attempt bid for Neymar

    • Roar Rookie

      September 6th 2012 @ 10:28am
      Sawyer said | September 6th 2012 @ 10:28am | ! Report

      Think you’ll find his hat-trick was against Southampton.

      As a neutral this article simply smacks of Liverpool-bashing. Van Persie’s transfer to Untied has obviously payed off incredibly well so far, but we’re only 3 games in and considering his injury record it’d probably be fairer to assess his impact later in the season.

      Carroll’s fee to Liverpool was certainly inflated (I don’t think anyone would argue otherwise) & his impact was poor aside from the last part of the season, but how could you not mention Torres? The man only scored 2 more goals than Carroll! Does that equate to the extra 15million pounds Chelsea paid for him? As for Suarez, who I personally think is a complete tosser, simply writing him off as ‘moody’ is ridiculous, even considering his poor season last year.

      I hope Van Persie continues his fantastic start because he really is a pleasure to watch.

      • September 6th 2012 @ 8:59pm
        MV Dave said | September 6th 2012 @ 8:59pm | ! Report

        “this article simply smacks of Liverpool-bashing” …and where’s the problem?

    • Roar Guru

      September 6th 2012 @ 12:05pm
      HardcorePrawn said | September 6th 2012 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

      I have to say Vince, as Sawyer noted, the hat-trick was scored against Southampton, not Sunderland.

      As a Sunderland supporter I can tell you that incorrectly referencing my team as the hapless victims of an RvP hat-tick just because they happen to wear a similar kit to Southampton, a team that’s located about as far away from Sunderland as it is possible to be whilst still remaining in England, is sure to aggravate most Mackems.

    • September 6th 2012 @ 4:08pm
      Dave said | September 6th 2012 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

      No offence intended to this article, but why on the day Del Piero signs with sydney is this one of the three ‘headline stories’ on the front page?

      • Roar Rookie

        September 6th 2012 @ 4:28pm
        Stevo said | September 6th 2012 @ 4:28pm | ! Report

        Exactly!!!! We’re talking about some foreign league when we should be celebrating our home grown achievements.

        • September 6th 2012 @ 5:06pm
          pete4 said | September 6th 2012 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

          • Roar Rookie

            September 6th 2012 @ 5:18pm
            Stevo said | September 6th 2012 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

            Haha, I knew Vince was just pulling our legs with this article. And I agree with him in his goal.com piece:

            “The landmark signing of Alessandro Del Piero by Sydney FC could be the A-League’s ‘Beckham moment’ – but only if Australian football can correctly channel his buzz into genuine growth and development.”

            The only issue is that football in the USA had its “Pele” moment and that came to somewhat of a halt. I surely hope ours is a Becks not Pele moment – apologies to the great man .. I think he’ll understand what I mean 🙂

            And maybe FFA should get Pele out to toss the coin at the first HAL8 game??? There’s a thought.

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