David Moyes signs Mata


I think it is a purely financial reason. That is the first time I come to that conclusion with Chelsea

-Arsene Wenger

The football world was agog at the news of the imminent transfer of Juan Mata from Chelsea to Manchester United. This was a move no one expected because Mata has been Chelsea’s Player of the Season for the two previous seasons, is a firm fans’ favourite and there had never been a transfer from the Blue side of London to the Red side of Manchester. Juan Mata, however, completed a £37 million move to Manchester United a few days ago. Despite that Mata evidently adores his Chelsea supporters (as seen in his emotional open letter), this is a move that benefits himself, Manchester United and Chelsea – the three parties involved.

Mata is an extremely gifted player and is second only to the amazing David Silva in creating goals in the past three seasons. All Mata needs is game time, and he is going to get plenty of that after becoming the most expensive signing of his new club. Mata truly loves and adores Chelsea, the fans and London, but he would not mind a new challenge especially one that sees him play week in – week out. Aside boosting his confidence levels and improving his fitness level, he now finally has a genuine opportunity to prove to Del Bosque that he deserves to be in the Spanish team come Brazil 2014. Perhaps the biggest bonus to Juan Mata (although it is obvious that Mata plays for heart than for money) is his greatly improved wage from £70,000 a week to £150,000 a week, amounting to a whooping £7.8 million a year! Nice going, Juan Mata!

Some say playing Juan Manuel Mata might mean less traditional wing play from Manchester United. However, it should be recalled that in the previous seasons with Chelsea, Eden Hazard thrived from Mata’s central free-roaming play. This is a good deal for Manchester United (sorry, Shinji Kagawa) because Rooney and the in-form Welbeck can demonstrate their lethal talents in front of the opponents’ goals. When the attack of any team is formidable, it relieves pressure from the defense and this is exactly what Moyes needs for his shaky defense. Mata can also instigate a lethal classic United counter-attack and can also score directly from free kicks. Juan is just 25 years and is nowhere near his peak.

Mata provides ample creativity

Mata provides ample creativity

This might prove to be a long-term deal breaker for Manchester United. Mata’s current deal means he would earn £7.8 million a year, meaning by the time he gets to 28 (Rooney’s current age), he would have cost Manchester United only £60 million in transfer and wages (assuming of course, conditions remain as they are). Compare this to £47 million that would be given to Wayne Rooney in wages alone over three years if his current contract talks bear positive fruits – this shows value for Mata’s purchase, not forgetting the fact that he will propel the club’s position.

Critically, this transfer is as much tactical for Chelsea as it is financial – that’s where Prof. Wenger gets it wrong. With the impending arrival of the UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP), Chelsea is simply making a statement of intent. Aside cashing in on an extra £14 million on Mata’s sale (a huge figure considering his immense role in that successful period), Chelsea is trying to meet up with the Break Even deficit of the FFP rule. In the year ending June 2013, Chelsea announced a £50 million loss; this does not help their cause to meet up with the FFP deficit of a loss of not more than €45 million. The one viable solution here was to sell Mata – an unused talent deemed surplus to requirements – at an inflated fee, because they knew Moyes’ desperation and frustration at failing to land big names signings would propel him to dip his hands into his wallet. For this financial year ending June 2014, Chelsea cannot afford to lose more than £4.5 million to comply with the FFP. Stamford Bridge accommodates 41,837 people and ticket sales alone might not make a considerable input. It was either they sold Mata and essentially ‘balance the books’ or they continue to rely on Abramovic to subsidise the loss. This is one of the reasons Chelsea has recently been recruiting young players they can deal on should in case the moves prove to be a fail.
It does not take one to be a football pundit to realise that Chelsea’s apparent hijack of Willian’s deal from Tottenham was initially a tactical move – to weaken a direct opponent and strengthen the club itself. The same can be said about Mata’s sale to Manchester United, as it acts firstly to water the ground for a possible Wayne Rooney bid and secondly to derail other possible title contenders. Chelsea and Manchester United cannot come against each other again this season (unless in the Champions League, of course, which Mata still won’t play in). It is no doubt that Juan will elevate United’s play and can help his new team win matches against Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool – all title contenders this season. This could all be Mourinho’s tactical plan; besides he has £37 million in the bank to buy players he wants, from selling a player he does not want. In this vein, Chelsea (and Mourinho especially) has also considerably won.

I wish Juan Mata the best of luck as he begins his new journey.

All images are courtesy of Google


Life is the climb

Nice inspiration

Ekoñ Ñke

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. Allen Saunders

A dear friend once said,life is the climb not the summit, the struggles,the joys, the fun moments sandwiched between tough times, that’s life. Many people shut down when bad things happen, like life can be paused, like life stops, well it does, when we take our last breath,only then. While we live, we have to do more than exist. We have to realise everyday is a gift, life is happening,the tape is rolling. We have no scripts to follow, its a camera-less reality show. Life is the long,tedious, awe-inspiring,adrenaline rushing, scary climb, not the exhilarating relieve of the summit.

Our lives don’t start when we ‘arrive’, the reality is that most people never get to that point of contentment anyway, most people never ‘arrive’. Besides ‘arriving’ comes with its problems. You’d think all your problems would disappear…

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There is one thing that is obvious, which is I can’t change the rules and I can’t start the match with 12, 13 or 14. I’d love that because many people deserve to play and Juan is one who deserves to play because of the way he works, behaves, the way we see him every day. But if I play him and I don’t play (Eden) Hazard or Oscar, you are asking me about Hazard or Oscar in this moment. It’s a consequence of the squad we have where, for these positions behind the striker, we have so many options. It’s hard for me. I don’t have a special pleasure leaving players out. I enjoy playing them and making them happy, but there’s nothing I can do.

– Jose Mourinho, November 2013

When it was announced that Mourinho would be taking over the helm from Rafa Benitez, few would have expected Azpilicueta to start more games at left back than Ashley cole. Even, fewer would have expected Mata to be resigned to just three starts in as many games. None would have expected Mikel Obi to have scored more goals than Mata at this time; but that is the current situation. Juan Mata, famously Chelsea’s Player of the Year for the past two seasons, finds himself resigned to the bench, a place he’s only well accustomed to when playing for Spain.

On the surface, it looks like Mourinho’s decision is more personal than professional, but I see no yardstick for such conclusion. Some conspiracy theorists even suggested that Mourinho was against Spanish players; but his apparent belief in Fernando Torres coupled with his decision to pick Azpilicueta over Ashley Cole at left back blatantly indicates otherwise. Mourinho has a knack of controversy and he’s no stranger to high profile radical decisions. If you take Mourinho’s word for it and keep sentiments aside, you’d see he has a point. For a player that can easily walk into most teams in the world to be left in the shade, there has to be a rational reason.

From the moment news came that Chelsea was pursuing Willian, it was evident one of the midfield triumvirate was going to be left out. When a coach comes into a club in the off-season period, he spends time to analyse his players and see those he can work with. During training sessions, he notes the abilities of each players and picks his team using that ability. Of course, in the course of the season, a coach’s preferred starting lineup might change when players’ attitude changes in training. Mourinho simply iterated that his decision to fade out Mata was because he (Mata) does less defensive work than his midfield counterparts, however amazingly talented he is offensively.

Oscar, Hazard and Willian are in sizzling form. Mourinho’s preferred formation is 4-2-3-1, meaning there’s only room for three playmakers behind the striker. Oscar made 109 tackles in the 2012-2013 season, compared to 69 tackles from Mata and Hazard combined. Surely, Mourinho observed this defensive work he does! This season, he has a 61% successful tackle rate. He loves to shoot and is arguably Chelsea’s best long ranger behind Lampard – this season alone he has racked up 34 shots. He also has the added advantage of using the Confederations Cup to woo Mourinho to his side, hence Mourinho already saw his work rate competitively. Oscar could easily be Chelsea’s next Frank Lampard as he has all the qualities to get him there. He thrives when he plays the No. 10 position, just behind the striker – which coherently is Mata’s preferred position too.

If Oscar had sent out a message that he was the man of the moment, Hazard has done well to show otherwise. The young Belgian possesses a quality that none of his other competitors have – his quick feet and mesmerising dribbling (he has completed 65 dribbles, more dribbles than any other player in the league). This brings a different flavour to Chelsea’s attack and this somehow makes him untouchable. Not only is he one of only two players in the league to have surpassed 100 attacking contributions (assists, dribbles, crosses, shots on goal), he has the second best shot accuracy rate of any player in the league to have had more than 25 shots, with 66.7%. His talents make the opposition drawn to him thereby creating space for the rest of his teammates. With a sudden, explosive change of pace or a powerful curler, Hazard can change a game in seconds.

When a club with many midfield talents buys another midfielder for £30million, one would expect the new player to feature often. In all honesty, this was a no-brianer! William was expected to play often otherwise he would not have been bought at such fee. Willian is the most hardworking of the trio – he has played less games than Mata but has made more tackles – something that Mourinho craves . He is a player that can hold unto the ball and fits perfectly for Mourinho’s aim of mixing rigidity with flair. If Mata (and maybe Schurle) was to displace any one of the midfield trio, it would have been Willian. However, his superb work rate makes him the best fit for Mourinho’s desire for ‘hardworking’ players. He, like Ramires, never gets tired of running and chasing down oppositions when his team isn’t with the ball, a reminisce of Arjen Robben. If Mourinho was looking for a hard worker, he certainly got one!

Having said this, we can see why Mata is struggling to fight his way through. The trinity of Oscar, Hazard and Willian are performing and it’d be unfair to blot anyone of them from the starting lineup. It has to be said though that Mata is an extremely gifted player – blessed with a sublime first touch, ability to give eye popping passes, very deadly at delivering those set pieces, calm and has a great personality. He is very good when his team is on the ball, but when the opponents are in possession, Mata isn’t the one you can rely on to win the ball. The game literally passes by him until a twist of fate brings the ball to his teammate. However, he makes a team tick very much offensively, no wonder Mourinho keeps reiterating his desire to keep him, insisting he has ‘a big role’ to play.

The Deadly Trio: Oscar, Hazard and Willian are I'm scintillating form and it'd be unfair to faze anyone out for Mata

The Deadly Trio: Oscar, Hazard and Willian are in scintillating form and it’d be unfair to faze anyone out for Mata

What then is the way forward for the Spaniard? His talent is one that’s needed in very many (if not all) teams, Chelsea included. Mata has a wealth of clubs to pick from, should he finally decide his time at Stamford Bridge is over. Chelsea will be understandably unwilling to sell a player of such calibre to rivals team as Arsenal and Manchester United. The first club has a rich array of world class midfielders so it is unlikely that they’d need him. The latter club is well in need of Mata’s services, and valued at £30 million, he will be a good buy. He can play behind the striker and sometimes operate from the flanks, giving room for the wingers to dip in the crosses, United style. Again, Chelsea don’t need to sell Mata to a rival club; they don’t need to sell him at all. Other clubs like Atletico Madrid and PSG could see Mata ply his trade with them, but if reports from the press are anything to go by, it seems likely that Juan Mata will wait till the summer and force a move to Bayern Munich; after all, it isn’t like he is guaranteed a berth in the Spanish team, come Brazil 2014.

He is undoubtedly the best player not getting what he deserves in Europe, but for the right reasons for Mourinho. With time, I hope his situation is resolved because such talent should not be left to rot.

Thanks for reading. If you found this interesting, please share. Comments and constructive criticisms are welcome in the ‘comments’ section.

You Have What It Takes

Enough motivation for the year

Vincent Egoro

An old saying says; “When fate throws a dagger at you, there are two ways to catch it: either by the blade or by the handle” If you catch the dagger by the blade, it may cut you. But if you catch the dagger by the handle, you now have a weapon in your hands to fight your way through.

In life when fate throw obstacles at you, seize it the obstacle by the handle. Let that obstacle rouse up your fighting spirit. “You cannot get anywhere in life without a good fighting spirit.” So use it, and it will draw out your latent spiritual and physical powers within you into action,and this would give you what it takes to overcome even the impossible.

Remember, “When the rock is hard, we get harder than the rock. When the job is hard, we get harder than the job.” Don’t let…

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10 signs your girlfriend/Wife is cheating on you

Spot on

Nikky's Love Corner

Finding out that a girlfriend is cheating on you can be a sickening shock. There is so much
press about men cheating on women, the fact that women sometimes cheat on men is
unheard of. If you suspect that your girlfriend is being unfaithful, look for a combination of tell-tale signs and clues. However, keep in mind that there is no more definitive sign of cheating
other than catching your girlfriend in the act.
1. She pays increased attention to her appearance. Women involved in new relationships often
become preoccupied with their looks. Its not that she can’t do it in her relationship but mostly among the married women,she could start getting serious about it. According to AskMen.com, it is a sign that your girlfriend is cheating when she suddenly
changes hairstyles, starts wearing a new perfume, buys new clothes (particularly lingerie) and starts working out more at the gym…

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It was like eternity, but in reality it was just a few minutes past. He could not feel his spine, it was like his legs and everything below his waist had been replaced with a column of air. Blood was oozing out of his head but he was unbothered about that. He was more focused on the fact that he was not hearing voices audibly even though he was very sure the voices were just nearby. At this point, he tried with all his might for only the umpteenth time to part his eyelids so he could see the world at least for one more time. This time it took less effort than his previous futile attempts, and in a fraction of a second later his eyes were opened.

The first thing he saw was a trinity of stars hovering around his eyes. After two or three painful blinks, he could now see visibly and the next daunting task was to figure out exactly what was going on. It didn’t take him long to realise that he was being whisked on a stretcher at almost superhuman speed to the ER. He tried pushing his feeble mind to the events leading to his current predicament. All he could remember was his beloved fiancée, Ella, had asked him to rush to the nearby mart to get more eggs for the cake she was to bake. He thought further and remembered he was driving to Willy’s Mart and was listening to some classical songs he had just got from his sister as an engagement gift. He wanted to force a smile but the voices above him quickly reminded him of his current situation. Suddenly, he remembered something: he was singing joyfully and was about to make the turn into Willy’s Mart when he heard a loud honk and a split second later, a white delivery van was taking his car out of the way head on from the drivers’ side. He could remember he must have spun at least three times in the car as the impact was severe.

“How Ella must be waiting for me”, he thought. “Shit! Where’s Ella?!”


The future Mrs Ella Duke was happily conversing with her bestie who had just come in to spend some quality time with her. She had finished mixing the part-dough for about four hours and was waiting for her fiancé to return with the eggs. But for the company of her ever-supportive best friend, she’d already have most certainly picked the phone to call him. She had known Freda almost all her life; from the days they were growing up in struggles to this time. Freda was the sibling she never had but always longed for. She wasn’t the only one that shared this wish; her parents also wanted more kids because they wanted a greater chance at family continuity. Ella was a gem to them, as they had her relatively late, but they’d have really loved to add two or three more children to the family, especially a son to carry the family name on.

This was the best time for Ella and Freda to reminisce, and they’d been doing just that. Freda had reminded Ella how she met Johnny Duke two years ago at a fundraiser her company had raised. Johnny was not the richest of guys out there but he had a huge charm coupled with a great personality. He was from a fairly wealthy home and was the only son, but he never let that get into his head. He worked hard to get to where he was and a fundraiser from an up and coming company was the perfect platform to garner more clientele for his equally newly established law firm. Well, Ella was blessed with divine beauty and Mr Duke Jnr. couldn’t take his eyes off her when she was cheering her friend giving the opening speech. He too was a handsome lad, well built and was overdosed in confidence. He walked up to exchange pleasantries with her, and the rest is history.

Not every parent was going to take lightly the fact that their only son was dating a girl who had been a stripper for three years, and the Dukes were no different. They were a strong Christian couple and believed in core values, and dancing erotically semi-naked on poles at pubs to ‘pitiable’ men didn’t count as a good value. At one point, they threatened to disown him if he didn’t leave the abomination he called his girlfriend. Although they didn’t disown him, they cut off all personal and financial ties with him and told him not to approach them again until he agreed to leave Ella. He tried convincing them that her past was past and the future held better, but to no avail. Freda was doing well to remind Ella of these sacrifices this man had made for her.

In her defense, Ella never wanted to be a stripper, no one does. She needed money to survive and her parents were out of job. She had tried working at a cafeteria before but she didn’t like the pay, and when she heard there was an opening at Rog’s Strips, she couldn’t pass the chance. Three years on and she’d been a client favourite; Rog wouldn’t let her leave just like that. Besides, she needed the money to pay for her university tuition.

The girls’ reminiscence came to a halt when Ella’s phone began to ring. She smiled as she saw who the caller was: her boyfriend of two years-now-fiancé. She was happy because in about a few months, she’d be a Mrs Duke in her own right.

“Hello honey”, she said while sporting a wide blushing smile, before putting the speakerphone on. The voice that replied wasn’t a familiar one. It wasn’t the smooth and calm voice of her lover, but rather a coarse and deep voice.

“Hello madam”, the voice replied. “I’m Doctor Kelly from Tamu hospital and I’m sad to inform you that your husband has been involved in a severe auto accident. Please come right away!”, the voice continued.

Ella was as perturbed as a mouse in a maze and didn’t know the first line of action to take. Freda had heard everything through the speakerphone and was equally bamboozled. However, she regained control of herself quicker, and did the honour of reaching out to Ella’s parents. There was no time to dress up, and Ella quickly took the key to the car Johnny had bought for her two months ago on, on her birthday.

The journey to Tamu hospital was light years away, at least for Ella. She was weeping even as Freda tried exacerbatingly to console her. She couldn’t stomach the sight of seeing the man she loved going through pains. She cast her mind back to almost a year back, when Johnny took almost all of his savings to pay for her final fees at the university and settled all her outstanding debts. That wasn’t all though, as three months after graduation she was diagnosed of cerebral haemorrhage and who else stepped up to help, other than Johnny himself?

It was a miracle how she simultaneously drove and flashed back without dire consequences. As soon as she was at the entrance to Tamu, she jolted herself out of the car and ran straight to the reception like a bull attacking a matador. She could smell blood everywhere and she prayed the blood of her fiancé wasn’t in the air. She ran to the front desk, with Freda running closely behind her; she was never the athletic type. She gave her name to the nurse on duty and requested to immediately be allowed to see her betrothed. She was ushered in to see the doctor first, citing that he had stressfully requested that Ella should be brought to see him before anything else, after all Duke was in ER and she was not going to be allowed in. The journey to see Dr Kelly was ages far to Ella, and she was already fearing the worst. She was thinking her man must have died; this would be the end of her world, she thought. She recollected how her parents always bemoaned that they had just one child and were so eager to see a grandchild soon. Her aged dad at one time joked that he’d be dead in a couple of years and would fancy himself being called a granny before he passed on. On numerous occasions, she’d sit and imagine what it’d be like to carry a pregnancy for nine months and feel the symbiotic partner kick her from within her stomach. How great that’d be, to have her parents smile and congratulate her when she’d give birth to a baby.

She was interrupted in her thoughts as the nurse introduced her to Dr Kelly, who wore a grim look on his obviously experienced face. It was obvious he was struggling to conceal a painful and bitter truth. He could see that Ella had cried a lot and her friend waiting for her was no different.

“Ella”, he started. “Your fiancé was rushed in here about four hours ago. I’m gonna be straight up with you, Ella. From the looks of things, the trauma caused a Class A damage to his sacral segments S4-S5. He’s suffered injury to his lower vertebral column and although it’s too early, we have observed that sensory function is lost. His conus medullaris suffered from the impact”.

He could see the perplexed look on Ella as she was struggling effortlessly both to stop crying and to grasp what he was saying.

“This means that Johnny might not be able to walk anymore. He’s lost all feelings below waist level and he might also be unable to get you pregnant. All hope is not lost though, because there are extensive rehabilitations that can help his condition and we have surgeons working around the clock to ensure………”

Those words were like a bomb to Ella. She could hear no further. In fact, she didn’t want to hear further. She was weeping profoundly even as the doctor continued to calm her. In all honesty, she was more perturbed about the future than the present – the prospect of not having a child with Duke. She wept out of the office and her friend waiting outside knew something was grave but gave her no respite from her cries. She could see her parents rushing in the hospital even though her eyes were teary. Her mom was already crying even though she was oblivious to the true seriousness of the incident.

Two minutes later, and Ella had explained everything to her parents in her typical direct manner. Freda had left the family to converse, and all she could hear in between spasms of cries were inaudible whispers. Suddenly, she heard her Ella’s mother shout:

“I’m sorry Ella, but you just cannot continue with this relationship! We want whats best for you and this is it!”


What would you advise Ella to do?

DISCLAIMER: The characters in this article are purely fictitious. Any resemblance with any person, living or dead, is a coincidence and is never intended.

P.S, I wrote this piece on-the-go in a short time, developing the plot whilst typing. Please bear any inconsistencies in the story as it’s just a rushed piece of fiction. Just trying a different form of writing

Stephen Keshi for CAF Presidency in 2018? – By Akintayo Ayo-Bamisaye


A Monk's Words

The thoughts around the next CAF president have been swirling round my head since the re-election of Isa Hayatou for another 5-year term in 2013. I will not go into the intrigues of how that election transpired or the events that led to it. The fact of the matter is that the man Isa Hayatou is firmly in the driver’s seat as far as African football is concerned.

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No Text Please, We’re Parents

Interesting piece

A Map of California

When I visited my parents recently, I sat down with my mother to show her photos on my iPhone.  There were photos from Thanksgiving, from Hanukkah and from my father’s eightieth birthday celebration, along with pictures from back in the summer — some really good shots I took of our family Fathers’ Day brunch in Los Angeles and my nephew’s college graduation dinner.

Although my mother enjoyed the photos, the problem, she says, is that they’re not real.  You can’t touch them, put them in an album, let them gather dust in a closet until you pull them out for special occasions.

I assured her that the photos can be printed and that we would make this happen.

After we got home, I emailed the photos to my wife, who uploaded them to walmart.com.  For about three dollars, Wal-Mart printed them and mailed them out to my parents.

They called…

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Dwayne Johnson Joining Batman vs. Superman?

He’d pass for Black Adam

Movie Prescription

There have been lots of rumors surrounding the much-anticipated Batman vs. Superman movie. There have also been lots of Rumors surrounding the future of DC. One rumor in particular that has been going on for years is that Dwayne Johnson is attached to a DC project to play in. One of the rumors was that he was going to play Black Adam in the Shazam movie that was then discarded and was also rumored to play Lobo.


Well, the Rumor is over because Dwayne Johnson will be in an upcoming DC movie, he confirmed it yesterday on his Twitter and this is what he had to say:

Dwayne Johnson

So does this mean he will star in the upcoming Batman vs Superman movie or will he be in an unknown DC movie? My guess is that he will be in the Upcoming Batman vs Superman movie. But, what character could he play?…

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