By Joe Behan
There is a possibility that Bryan Robson was close enough to coughing up £1.5 million due in wages to Paul Gascoigne. Yet again, Gascoigne gets the headlines in another chapter and perhaps his last in a career full of controversy.
Gazza is the misfit of them all, but the wayward genius has been given a chance of a lifetime at Everton through Walter Smith, his father figure. Behave or face the consequences is Gazza’s clause in his two-year contract. Gascoigne has to watch his eating and drinking. It’s not a bad gamble at all. Twenty grand a week is his reputed comeback wage, but surely at this stage of his career it’s not about the money; well, Gazza really doesn’t have any options.
Kenwright, Everton’s big boss, is doing the media tough-guy bit, but if anybody can get the best out of the 33-year-old m’stro it’s Walter Smith. The formula worked at its best when both were at Rangers.
It’s a gamble. Gascoigne has put himself out of games in the latter part of his career. With Middlesbrough, he played as if no one could come in on him. He tried to "do" players and he was severely punished. He is not physical enough and definitely not quick enough to be carrying on like that. After all, he is 33. That’s not what we want to see. It’s a chance to redeem himself, whether you like him or not, he could do something for Everton under Smith’s firm ruling.
One of the quickest brains to play the game, Gascoigne has a last chance to bow out in style as an experience playmaker in the EPL. He dare not step out of line, as he knows he will face the serious repercussions, like he did at Ibrox.
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Juninho gone next
It’s likely Brazilian midfielder Juninho may be on his way back to Atletico Madrid after Boro could not agree on a fee with the Spanish second division club. There was friction in the air with fans when Robson did not include the on-loan and unsettled Juninho in the squad last season.
It simply wasn’t happening for Boro when Juninho and Gascoigne wasted time on set pieces while the rest of the team looked on to see who would take the free, even at Premiership level. Boro looked like a better team without the double act. But, they can be very effective if kept in the right place on and off the field.
Juninho was back in Madrid to begin pre-season training with the club who was relegated last season.
Aston Villa unsettled
For whatever reason, players become unsettled the game moves on and so do players.
Ugo Ehiogu, Gareth Southgate and Paul Merson are making headlines in the transfer market at Aston Villa.
Manchester City made a £6 million bid for Ehiogu last week. Wimbledon is hoping to bring Merson back to London. Southgate put himself on the market but no club made a bid.
Joe Royle has given insight to the kind of team he wants and it starts at the center of the defense. Royle wasted no time to go after the Villa defender, who is not settling down after nine years in his club.
Ehiogu has defended at Aston Villa in a quiet manner. A player with a lot more to give to the game. The Manchester City story will attract good players to the club. If any club would like to upset the run Manchester Utd. are having it could be there closest rivals at Main Road, a rivalry that could bring the best out of Ugo Ehiogu, and more.
Wimbledon is hoping to bring unsettled Aston Villa midfielder Paul Merson back to London. Manager Terry Burton worked with the former England international at Arsenal and sees the creative Merson in a rebuilding plan in the First Division.
As far as Southgate is concerned, Villa is now making it clear that they want him to finish his contract. No club came after him but there is long way to go. Villa’s best servants are looking to move on as Gregory continues to buy, big time.
Things heat up for Burchill
Even though Mark Burchill scored twice for Celtic against FC Copenhagen in a 2-all draw the young striker is uneasy at Parkhead.
Burchill has opened the transfer market with expressing his concern for first-team football. If it doesn’t happen this year, he may have to consider leaving Parkhead. He’s at the end of his teens and he needs to be playing all the time.
The Scottish player realizes that the arrival of Chris Sutton may be his sign to move on. It is something, he claims, he’ll have to think about as he knows expectations will be higher with Martin O’Neill and Celtic.
Meanwhile, the newest competition and teammate, Sutton, is making an impact that gives Gazza a run for his money. Martin O’Neil considers the £6 million signature of Chris Sutton a capture. The big front man may need to be held within certain rules as he has left a trail of controversial incidents on his road to Parkhead.
Shelbourne in the market
If there’s one thing you need to buy players, it’s the money, and Shelbourne have hit the jackpot by going into the next round of the Champions League. The small club, in the Eircom League in Ireland, stands to make a small fortune of about £400,000. It is a giant step for domestic soccer in Ireland. Shelbourne is the first Irish team to reach this level.
The club and managers can talk of Europe to interested players just like they do at Utd. and Real, fewer zeroes but in the market nonetheless.