Friday, August 05, 2005

Mixed messages

How to make sense of the situation currently surrounding JJ? Is he happy at St James's, or isn't he?

Certainly, this BBC article does little to clarify matters. It's trailed on the BBC Football homepage under the headline "Souness confirms Jenas wants out" - perhaps what the fans have been expecting for some time.

However, the article contains no quotes to corroborate the assertion that this is the case. Not only is the headline of the article itself - "Souness reveals Jenas discontent" - much more ambiguous, but Souness's pronouncements say the precise opposite; namely, that he is for the most part happy: "I've spoken to the player's agent and he tells me that JJ is quite happy with things at the club. But he says JJ feels that it is like living in a goldfish bowl being a United player in Newcastle".

No doubt the truth will out - and in any case, there's a difference between being unhappy or dissatisfied and openly expressing a desire to move on.

If he does leave, though he's never fulfilled his enormous potential he'd be a great loss. The addition of Parker and Emre this summer has been a major step forwards, but selling JJ would be a definite step back.

While I could understand him jumping ship to fill Vieira's boots at Arsenal, I'd be mortified if he left for Spurs, as is rumoured - not only should we not be selling our most talented players to our closest Premiership rivals, but also what message does it send out about the state of the club if JJ is prepared to move sideways rather than to a side which challenges for honours every season?

Update: The BBC headline has been amended to read "Souness reveals Jenas discontent" on the homepage now. Still mixed messages though...


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