Monster mash

Christopher Samba has joined QPR in a deal that has cost the struggling Premier League club a reported fee of £12.5million.

Throw in wages of £100,000 a week over the course of a 4 and 1/2 year deal and the deal will eventually cost the club a total of £35 million. Forget Financial Fair Play, this is financial suicide for a club who, as manager Harry Redknapp pointed out last month, have “a stadium that holds 18,000 people and shouldn’t be paying big wages.”

In 2010, Forbes Asia valued the club’s owner, Tony Fernandes, personal wealth at $400 million; it’s fair to say that this figure will have plummeted since he started flashing the cash at QPR.

Which brings me on to this from Who Ate All The Pies:

“This is an unbelievable signing,” enthused Redknapp of Samba. “[QPR owner]Tony Fernandes deserves a lot of credit for this one – he has worked so hard on bringing him in.

“I was speaking with him a month ago and he asked me who I would want to sign if Ryan Nelsen left, he asked me to give him a couple of names.

“I said to him, ‘Well, these aren’t possible to get but if you’re asking me who I’d have, I’ll give you a couple of players.’ One of them was Chris Samba. The next thing I know he’s telling me that he’s working on bringing him in! It’s amazing.

“Chris is just what we need. He’s a monster. Great in the air, quick, a leader, strong, fantastic in both boxes, hard as nails. He’s a proper centre-half.”

It was less than a year ago that this fearsome ‘monster’ was hotfooting it to Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala for an undisclosed fee

“I see it [the move] as a new challenge,” Samba said at the time.

“It’s a little club who want to become a very big one in Russia. A very powerful owner wants to transform the club and bring the club to greatness.”

With Anzi lying second in the Russian league and on the threshold of greatness, now would seem a strange time to throw it all away and join a club battling for its Premier League survival. What would lure him from a possible title in Russia to a relegation battle in England? The same thing that lured him to Anzhi in the first place of course – a sense of adventure. Only kidding.

Paris match

David Beckham is to join Paris-Saint-Germain on a six month deal that may well mark the end of a long and occasionally illustrious (but mainly long) career as a professional David Beckam-a-like.

Paris represents a dream move for his wife, and even for Beckham it at least affords him the distinction of finishing his career in reasonable quality league, spared the indignity of promoting the UAE Pro League Committee.

Of course, one cannot be absolutely certain that PSG will be Beckham’s final club. Let’s be honest here: he is not being signed for his footballing abilities but for his capacity to raise the profile of the club and its Qatari owners. So the possibility exists for him to continue signing these short-term, profile-raising contracts in perpetuity. It’s kind of shameless, albeit rewarding, for both parties. At least players from previous eras whose roles were largely ceremonial, had the decency to call themselves football ‘ambassadors’. Beckham, who fulfils similar duties, still insists, as he has done for the past decade or so, on being called a footballer.

Transfer mayhem

Apparently, so great has been the transfer speculation on deadline day, that Twitter actually collapsed under the weight of the (mainly) fallacious stories.

I think the news that QPR had tried to sign Dani Alves was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Playing the system

Argentine club Independiente and Italy’s Genoa have been fined for misusing FIFA’s electronic transfer system, FIFA has confirmed.

FIFA said Independiente had been fined 35,000 Swiss francs for charging Genoa a fee to provide a document known as the International Transfer Certificate (ITC) which should have been issued free of charge.

The Serie A club were penalised the same amount for “failing to submit information and upload relevant documents into TMS (Transfer Matching System) once the transfer contract had been signed”.

The player involved was Julian Alberto Velazquez, FIFA said. The transfer has stalled and the 22-year-old is still with Independiente.

All international transfers have to be conducted through a web-based system known as TMS, introduced by FIFA in 2010 to provide greater transparency and crack down on money laundering and third-party ownership of players.

It’s unclear whether the clubs were simply incompetent or attempting to abuse the system for mutual financial gain. This being football in 2013, the smart money would be on the latter.

Goal of the day

Wonderful solo effort from Gareth Bale showed why he is in such demand. The Tottenham midfielder burst through a couple of challenges before unleashing a unstoppable drive past the Norwich keeper.

Quote of the day

“The arrival of Beckham would be a good thing for the media exposure Ligue 1 gets. It would raise the profile of French football. He’s a great athlete because his image goes beyond football. Together with someone like [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, they can boost the profile of the French game. There’s not much I can say about whether he can add anything on the pitch. He’s a superstar and has six months to show what he can still do out there.”

France coach Didier Deschamps calls it right: Beckham’s arrival in Paris has nothing to do with sport, and everything to do with branding.

Racism rears its ugly head again (part one)

By the standards of recent clasico encounters Wednesday’s Spanish Cup semi-final first leg was a relatively tame affair on the pitch. But the game was not wholly without controversy with Barcelona’s Brazilian fullback Daniel Alves complaining of racist abuse.

“Shame about the result and even more shame about the racism you have in some places but I am happy the way I am,” Alves wrote on his Twitter feed after the 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu.

Somewhat depressingly, Alves also said that the fight to eliminate racism from football stadiums in Spain is “a lost war”.

Quizzed about the Tweet, Alves called for sterner sanctions for clubs and said the English Premier League was an example to follow.

“I know that people are fighting against this but these kinds of things keep happening,” he said.

“I have been in Spain for 10 years and it has been happening since the first day.

“Drastic measures should be taken,” he added. “For example, punishing the club more severely not just with a 1,000-euros or 2,000-euros fine.

“You have to go a bit further. Sometimes you have to make an example. In England it doesn’t happen and when it does the punishments are exemplary.”

A Reuters reporter at the Bernabeu on Wednesday confirmed that monkey chants had been directed several times at Alves by a significant section of the home fans.

The referee did not mention the abuse in his match report, though he did refer to a lighter thrown on to the pitch and lasers being shone at him and some of the players.

Glad to see he has got his priorities right.

Racism rears its ugly head again (part two)

Japanese striker Yuki Nakamura says he has left Slovakian club Rimavska Sobota because he was a target of racist abuse.

”It’s a real shame but I have come home because I have been subjected to racism at Rimavska Sobota and I can’t carry on living there,” the 25-year-old Nakamura wrote on his blog.

Nakamura, who has also played in Romania and the Czech Republic, says supporters would hurl abuse at him before and after games and that none of his teammates would offer help.

”This is not normal,” said Nakamura, who was on loan from Czech side Viktoria Zizkov. ”Some type of threat was made to the club but they said there was nothing they could do about it, so I came home. I doubt there are many players that have experienced this.”

If only that were true. Sadly, and unforgivably, it is is becoming increasingly commonplace in certain parts of mainland Europe.

Common sense

In a rare outbreak of common sense, the FA have announced that they will not extend Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard’s three-match suspension.

Hazard was charged by The FA following his side’s League Cup semi-final at Swansea City on January 23, a game that saw the Chelsea man sent off for tangling with a ballboy.

He was hit with an automatic three-match suspension, but the FA had the option of increasing the ban. However, an independent regulatory commission deemed the initial punishment was sufficient.

A statement from the FA read: “Chelsea’s Eden Hazard will not have his standard three-match sanction for violent conduct increased.

“Following a hearing earlier today [Thursday 31 January 2013], an independent regulatory commission was of the opinion the existing three-match sanction for this offence was sufficient.”


Several fans were injured when a fence collapsed during the so-called “avalanche” celebration at a Libertadores Cup match in Brazil.

The celebration, common in South America, involves supporters running down the terraces en masse towards the front, creating the impression of an avalanche.

However, in Wednesday’s match between Gremio and Ecuadorean side Liga de Quito in Porto Alegre, the fence behind one of the goals gave way after Elano scored with a stunning long range strike for the hosts.

Reports said that eight people were injured, thankfully, none of them seriously.

Gremio won the qualifying round, second leg match 1-0, leaving the tie level on aggregate at 1-1.

The Brazilian side then went through to the group stage by winning on penalties.