Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Chop's away again - this time to the Mackems?!

Around this time last year we were waving farewell to Michael Chopra. Despite apparently being offered a new short-term deal, the local lad once dubbed the new Michael Owen opted to join Cardiff City in a £500,000 deal. One goal-strewn season on and it looks as though he could be set to move back to the Premiership for ten times that fee - and with the Mackems.

The deal still isn't done, but Bluebirds boss Dave Jones seems resigned to losing his star striker, consoling himself with the thought of all the money he'll get in return: "The money could go on to make us stronger. This is good business for us and after all, we are in a business. And for Michael it means Premiership football - we cannot stop him. We wish him all the best with Sunderland".

As we said at the time, Chopra left us "having never really fulfilled his early potential". We had little doubt he'd be a hit in the Championship (particularly given his form during his loan spell at Watford), but he never quite cut it in the top flight - and I'm not sure much has changed in the last twelve months. And even if it has, is he really now worth ten times as much as we sold him for?

Of course, the fact that it's the Mackems who are poised to spunk all that cash on him is potentially hilarious - not to say "ironic" in the strictly football-pundit-not-acquainted-with-a-dictionary sense that he's most fondly remembered on Tyneside for his only Premiership goal, against the Great Unwashed, which hauled us back onto level terms barely 60 seconds after he'd stepped onto the pitch and which set us on the road to a famous 4-1 victory in what turned out to be Alan Shearer's last game for the club.

Not a lot else happening on the news front today. One of Portsmouth's two new forwards, the Nigerian John Utaka (the other being David Nugent), has claimed we were interested in him, along with Man Utd, while on the Guardian's Sport Blog Paul Doyle reckons we should be salivating like Mark Viduka in Greggs at the prospect of Deco checking in. Predictably enough, the ensuing comments thread consists mainly of opposition fans scoffing at the possibility - but it wouldn't be the first coup of this type that Allardyce has pulled off, and in the past he's done it with a less obviously attractive club. Of course, we shouldn't be under any illusions that Deco would be coming for the pay cheque (after all, starved of anything even remotely approaching success, that's how we've attracted most of our big names in recent seasons), but that wouldn't matter so long as we got our money's worth out of him.


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