July 1st – And so it begins…

Last Sunday, July 1st was an important date in every football fans’ diary.

The footballing feast that Spain served up to Italy in the Euro 2012 Final was a marvelous spectacle for Spanish fans and neutrals alike. Even Italian fans would struggle to argue that the emphatic win was not deserved, indeed Cesare Prandelli said as much – “They completely dominated the contest this evening,” he admitted “We have to congratulate a great team.”

But with the end of the Euro 2012 Final , the last competitive ball has been kicked in anger until the EPL returns on Saturday, August 18th. That’s right – no competition for the football fanatic like you and I to analyse and discuss for another 7 weeks! That sounds like agony!

Thankfully July 1st not only marked the end of the Euros, it also signalled the start of transfer season. Like Boxing Day, the metaphorical stores are open and there is a bargain to be had. Each supporter holds dreams of their team making that next big signing, whilst others just pray that their star player simply stays put.

The rumour mill is already in full swing. Luka Modric looks almost certain to leave Tottenham, whilst Arsenal face a battle to hold on to Robin van Persie as his contract is expiring in 12 months and no new agreement seems to be on the horizon. Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood insists the club “are not in the remotest bit interested” in selling RVP, but this story definitely seems set to rumble on for a while.

Indeed, a few pre-agreed deals have already gone through. Chelsea have spent a reported £32 million on bringing young gun Eden Hazard to the club, Arsenal have bolstered their attacking stocks with the captures of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud (again – this perhaps foreshadows the exit of RVP?), and ManU have signed midfield maestro Shinji Kagawa from Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund.

In terms of done deals on the Australian front, Brett Holman has become a Villain in a move that was looking disastrous not two months ago. Thankfully, Villa have stayed up and they have replaced the dour Alex McLeish with the more progressive Paul Lambert. Hopefully Holman can get a buckletload of game time as Aston Villa make their way back up the EPL table.

Harry Kewell and Lucas Neill are yet to decide their future, although the Championship and Asia – respectively – seem like likely destinations. Rumours also abound that Tim Cahill’s time at Everton may be coming to an end. Coming off a year that was way down by Cahill’s standards, speculation is that Everton may look to cash in on its ageing star – especially as they look to make Steven Pienaar’s move back to Goodison Park permanent.

And so, the next seven weeks provides an opportunity for us all to play some real life Football Manager. Who is the one man that you would love your team to bring in? What bargain player are all the major clubs missing out on? Who is going to be this season’s Andy Carroll?

Let the hypothesising begin!

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