Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Everton's Saha clearly doesn't get it

There's nothing wrong with a player talking up a club's chances when he joins. But Louis Saha's belief that Everton can reach the Champions League seems to be based more in the world of fantasy than reality.

The 30-year-old's judgement could be blurred by his delight at the chance of regular first-team football and, despite his injury history, Everton seem to have done well to snap him up for around £2million on a two-year deal. But Champions League? If not this season, they never will.

Saha told his new club's official site: "The ambitions of this Club are about progression. When you finish fifth in the table you try to be in the Champions League the next season. We've got the quality to do that. Desire is not enough though - we have to show it on the pitch, and I will try to help my team-mates to do it."

Everton, like Aston Villa and Spurs, to name just two teams in a similar situation, have to make the Champions League this season or they probably never will. At least not in the current format or until after football dies and is reborn in a new format. Assuming Manchester City do not gel immediately, and that their money in January won't be enough to bring in enough players to propel them to the upper echelons of the Premier League, established clubs could, with a bit of luck, break the top-four this year.

But with the practically unlimited spending power City now have, there is little doubt they will use their cash next summer to build a team genuinely capable of challenging for the Premier League title, and possibly winning it. Some will say "but it takes time to build a team" and in the past they would have had a point. But the past and the present are very different and not even Chelsea had the ability to do what Man City can.

So my advice to the likes of Saha would be "keep your chin up, keep the fans happy, but in this new, crazy world of terminally-ill football, don't get either your hopes or their hopes up very high". For unless a club has stupid, Man City money, they are really there to make the numbers up and roll over for the superstars every week.