Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Not-so-secret stalker

Without actually naming him, Glenn Roeder today admitted to being an admirer of Southampton's teenage prodigy Gareth Bale.

Roeder blew his cover ahead of the Saints' game at the Ricoh Arena tonight: "I don't normally talk about specific targets, but if I am spotted at Coventry, it will be obvious who I am watching". So, no need for the hat, fake glasses and moustache, long coat and binoculars, then.

The BBC's headline, "Roeder stepping up chase for Bale", conceals the fact (conceded later in the article) that we are hardly in pole position for the 17-year-old Welsh international left back. With Arsene Wenger and Taggart both reportedly sniffing about him like dogs on heat (an unpleasant image, that - sorry), the chances of us securing his services in the summer are slim to none - and with fees of £9m being bandied about, it's not certain we'd be able to afford him even if the competition did drop away fortuitously.

Forgive my cynicism, but in reality Roeder's not-so-subtle admission - as well as his comment that "As far as our scouting is concerned, we are now in overdrive for next season" - seems calculated to get the fans excited. It smacks of the Rooney saga in August 2004, when we kicked off a bidding war we were never going to win. In other words, a pointless and transparent PR stunt.

Feel free to remind me of this post if Bale arrives at St James' to sign on the dotted line in the close season - but I very much doubt I'll be eating my words.


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