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Tag:soccer
Posted on: January 16, 2008 9:48 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2008 3:38 pm
 

World Soccer Club Power Rankings

Well, let's go. Feel free to dispute and bash these rankings. I'll try to cover the entire world (and by that I mean South America and Europe), and consider that my rankings consider the recent form and overall talent.

1) Inter Milan
Juggernaut in their domestic league, and a top seed in Champions league. They are just classes ahead in Serie A. Good blend of youth and veterans. As good as they are, they are half of those classes ahead because of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Inter will go as far as he will take them.

Buys: Inter will always go after the big names. They may not need players, but they'll get them anyways. Elano comes to mind. But then again, why do they need him when they have "El Mago", Jimenez? They could use a world-class goalie though. Moratti has always wanted Buffon, but that's not an option anymore. If they want a goalie, look for them to go after the brightest young goalie prospects. Remy Riou of Auxerre or Marco Amelia of Livorno.

They could also go after Riquelme. Nevertheless, overall, I think Inter will most likely stay dormant this transfer season or add some young pieces to their U20s (since many of their indispensables are pretty old), like Diego Valeri of Lanus.

Sells: This may be farfetched, but I could see Adriano leaving permanently. They have Balotelli coming up the ranks, and he is quite talented. Too much of a distraction. Besides that, I don't see many names leaving.

The Argentinean national team will roll on...

2) Manchester United
I'm disputed with Arsenal and my Manchester United at this spot, but Arsenal slipping in league to a resilient Eck side and ManYoo reclaiming first gives them the edge. ManYoo and Arsenal are simply better than the rest of the sides in the Premiership. I remember the times when we all "worried" if United would score goals. I could see this year's race ending in goal difference, and guess what? ManYoo has a good advantage in that column.

Tevez and Rooney are clicking much better than we thought they would, and Ronnie. Oh my... And the experience and depth of the squad is quite good.

Top seed in Champs League (albeit a very tricky tie), tied for first in the Premiership. Good things going for the club. The debt really disturbs me though. We see Liverpool and their troubles refinancing their loans. The Glazers put the debt from buying the club on the club, whereas Arsenal's loans were loaned to build an asset, the fabulous Emirates Stadium. Nevertheless, money shouldn't be an issue for now.

Buys: We hear these big names like Huntelaar and Benzema, but do you really think they'll come here for a bench role? I could see another Lyon player come here, by the name of Fred. Saha for Fred swap deal in the works? I also like Nikola Zigic. The out-of-favour striker is 6'8", and very much resembles Miroslav Klose. A better version of Peter Crouch. I also think Fergie is out to find Gary's replacement. Whoever he finds will be much better, I can tell you that. I like Valon Behrami of Lazio and Mattia Cassani of Palermo

Sells: I really doubt they'll sell. Maybe some reserves here and there, but I don't see any changes in the first team. United might be tempted to sell Brown and take the money before he goes on a Bosman, but they could use the cover. If they get cover, then I could see him at Toon.

3) Arsenal
I'd give them the two spot, but that draw with Birmingham drops them to 2A/3. Not much to say about Arsenal besides that fact that Eduardo's emergence makes them quite dangerous.

This team has the talent to win the Premiership, but then again, they aren't "battle tested." I don't really believe in that stuff, but I do think that Manchester United's experience gives them an edge. What will bite them though is their lack of cover for the ANC. They have adequate depth with a full squad, but a depleted squad leaves them vulnerable in defense.

Buys: Their buy is locking up Flamini. Wenger will scout and do his thing, but their top transfer priority is keeping Flamini. He's been key for them. I don't see any big names coming to the Emirates, although Arsene should move for a solid defender, maybe on-loan. Or free transfer David Albelda.

Then again, I'd love to see Arsene play centre back in their next game like he said he would.

Sells: I don't think they'll sell. Why would they when they are losing key players to the ANC? Anyways, their squad players and backups are young, developing players, so there really aren't many players to sell. I don't buy the Hleb or Rosicky rumours.

4) Real Madrid
This is more of a pick by default. There are no other clubs that are more deserving than Real for this spot. The loss to Mallorca in the Copa del Rey hurts, but they are a strong, strong team. San Iker is doing his magic and Ruud is being himself up front. Arjen is injured, Raul is doing his thing, with the help of his hypoxic chamber, and recent signings are already on the block.

Buys: More midfield cover would be nice. Obviously, there are the rumours with Ronnie, but that won't happen. I've heard rumors about Real being interested in Lucas and Tiago. I could see either of those deals happening.

Sells: They'll probably unload Saviola and Drenthe, and maybe Balboa.

I have to leave right now, so I'll continue my commentary when I come back. I'll probably go to 30 or 40 teams, and give detailed analysis for the first 20 or so. =]

(continued)

5) Bayern Munich

They are the class of the Bundesliga because the ability of their players are too good for that league. They should be "invincibles". Much like Lyon, they should win every game in their domestic campaign. I also see this spot as a pick by default. I haven't been very impressed with their overall play, and I am quite disappointed with their UEFA Cup form. They may be winning, but in that competition with their ability, they should be thrashing teams, but scraping wins. Tied for first place doesn't cut it for me.

Their talent scares me though. Next year... Oh my do they look good. Good depth and a good first team. This team, given meshing time, could compete for a title in any league around the world.

Buys: They'll continue their revolution. Their acquisition of Breno shows this. They are buying talent so that they can mesh with the elite. Look for them to continue snapping up wonderkids in the week or so we have left. Nuri Sahin, Andres Guardado, Julian de Guzman, and Oscar Utari come to mind, especially since Bayern need to find a capable successor to Kahn. I don't know if Rensing or Grun will cut it.

Sells: Eh, Sagnol? Stefano Celozzi.... I expect some of the fringe players to leave. Bayern needs to raise funds if they want to buy premium talent. And maybe look for Podloski and Marcell Jansen to go out on loan.

6) AS Roma
I think you guys know how much I rate Daniele de Rossi. When I talk about Roma, I talk about De Rossi, because he is simply the best all-purpose, box-to-box midfielder in the world. As long as he stays with Roma, they will be competitive. I see this team as a somewhat polar opposite of Bayern. Sure they are talented, but I don't think their talent is up there with the elite teams. But they are considered an elite team because they play well as a team. Good football, and a great team to watch. Second in Serie A and a knockout stage tie is good. Maybe they can give Real all of their money's worth.

Buys: I could list plenty of positions they could upgrade, but this transfer window has been a quiet one and I don't expect Roma to buy. Roma's first team is up there with some of the best first team's in the world, but they lack depth. Very weak team in terms of depth. They need to shore up everywhere, and I think that they are a big enough club to lure some good talents onto the bench in the summer.

I'm tempted to say that they should buy some wing backs (and a replacement for Chivu), but they have an amazing youth system, and Rosi is rising fast through the ranks.

Sells: Really, I could see any of the Roma fringe players going. They all aren't very good.

7) Chelsea
They are rising fast in league and their quality of football has improved. Who needs the "Special One" when the "Ordinary One" can produce the same results with better football? =] Considering all of the distractions Chelsea had after Mourinho's sacking, Grant has done an amazing job straightening the ship. Four points back in league is manageable for them, and they have one of the easiest ties in the knockout stages. Now you may look at their results table and see that they've been squeaking results, but their passing has improved noticeably and their defensive play has been pretty good as well.

Buys: They've bought enough in this window. The Serbian defender Ivanovic will help with their oft-injured defense, and Anelka covers for Drogba. They won't win the title this season, so I look for them to undergo massive changes in the summer. I could see Eto'o and Ronaldinho coming in. Those rumours we hear can actually come true.

Sells: Ben-Haim will probably leave. He's not Chelsea-quality. Sidwell already left on loan, and he'll leave permanently in the summer. They went with all free-transfers (except Malouda) last season to prove a point. It was quite stupid of them. Lampard could leave for Barca (or Juve if they can't secure Van der Vaart, or if they want both), Drogba to Barca (unless Eto'o comes?), SWP to Toon. The list goes on...

8) FC Barcelona
You may think Barca is underachieving, I frankly believe they aren't a very good team. You can't win with Galacticos, as we have seen with Real, and Barca is the second rendition of the Galacticos. Very lacklustre form and too many outside distractions. Nevertheless, they are second in league and into the knockout stages.

Buys: They won't buy now. Look for them to raid teams during the summer season. Huntelaar, Benzema, you name, we hear the rumours. That's how the big two run... Maybe a few loans here or there to cover for the ANC.

Sells: Santiago Ezquerro, Sylvinho, Oleguer should be sold. And Barca should buy Ustari. Valdes isn't a Barca-quality goalkeeper in my opinion. Nevertheless, we'll be hearing plenty of rumours about Gio dos Santos and Ronaldinho leaving in the summer.

9) Lyon
10) Juventus
11) Werder

I'll come up with the analysis later.
Category: Soccer
 
 
 
 
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