Thursday, 20 December 2012

Nene and Luyindula in the departure lounge, Zlatan in the dock

A wild Luyindula, pictured in it's natural habitat - the bench
 Christmas is just around the corner, and people everywhere are hitting the shops to pick up those last minute gifts for their nearest and dearest.

The world of football is no exception, with plans being made in earnest for the opening of the January transfer window.

Over in the United States, New York Red Bulls will be unwrapping a slightly soiled Peguy Luyindula, after the striker's Paris Saint-Germain contract was cancelled, allowing him to join the MLS side. You may remember that Peg-Leg was frozen out at the Parc-des-Princes after a conflict with former boss Antoine Kombouare, but after threatening to take the club to court was awarded a new contract in the summer.

But having seen just 12 minutes of action this season, he's decided to start afresh across the Atlantic, where he will  link up with his old pal Thierry Henry and another Ligue 1 luminary, Juninho. I just hope the Americans aren't expecting Peguy to be as good as Henry, or they could be in for a nasty surprise; make sure you keep the receipt Red Bulls, although I doubt PSG will be offering any refunds.

If being given a Luyindula is the equivalent of finding a second hand pair of socks under the tree, then receiving a Nene would be like unwrapping a brand new Versace jacket. Confirming the worst kept secret in Paris, the Brazilian announced on Wednesday that he would be off in January.

It had already been revealed that Nene would not be joining the rest of the squad for their winter jaunt to the Middle East, and in a post on his official website yesterday, the former Monaco man confirmed that we've probably seen him in a PSG shirt for the last time.

"I love the city, the PSG and their fans, who always treated me with great respect," he said. "Personally and through social networks, I have received numerous messages from fans asking me to stay. It's a tough decision, but I think it is time to follow a new path in my career."

Nene also seems to think that PSG will just let him go for free, adding: "I believe we will reach a consensus and [I'll] be released from the remaining contract." If this is the case then I hope we'll stipulate that he can't join another Ligue 1 club - a move to Turkey, or back to Brazil, seems more likely, but it would be annoying if he pitched up at Lyon or Lille.

I wrote a long post earlier in the season about why we should let Nene go, but now it's actually happening I feel a bit sad. He's been a brilliant servant of PSG in the last couple of seasons, and his goal record of 48 in 112 games is particularly impressive for someone who isn't an out-and-out striker. Good luck wherever you end up Mr Nene.

Meanwhile, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was given an unwelcome gift this week, when French football's governing body, The Ligue de Football Professionnel, announced he would have to attend a disciplinary hearing to answer allegations that he deliberately stamped on Dejan Lovren in Sunday's match between PSG and Lyon.

I said on Twitter at the time that I felt this wasn't an intentional act on Zlatan's part - it looked a lot worse when put into slow-motion than at full speed. I suspect this hearing is only happening a) because he's Zlatan, and b) because Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has been carping on about it, but nevertheless, the Swede could be looking at a three-match ban. A date for the hearing has yet to be set.


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