First things first. FutbolNation would like to take a moment and extend its sympathies and condolences to the family of Dani Jarque. The 26-year old newly minted captain of a promising Espanyol side, Dani died on Saturday while on preseason tour in Italy. He was speaking to his girlfriend, who is seven months pregnant ,when he was struck down by a heart attack. He joins the list of other tragic deaths in the world of football, including that of Antonio Puerta just two years ago on the field. I can still remember watching Puerta's death live in Spain. Jarque, like Puerta and all the other footballers who died far too young, will be remembered by fans forever.
Though its seems trivial after such somber news, perhaps some coverage of other happenings will help lift the heavy hearts throughout football.
Part I of Bobby McMahon's preview of the entire EPL starts here.
Everton have rejected Joleon Lescott's transfer request. Manchester City are running out of time in their last ditch efforts to shore up the backline.
Barcelona continue to pursue Cesc. For now it seems Wenger and the midfielder are on the same page...but for how long?
It looks like most of the major teams playing the qualifying stages of the Champions League will make it through, but Arsenal drew a tough test in Celtic, so at least one stalwart club will be out. The only other intriguing tie is Atletico Madrid v. Panathinaikos.
Hopefully Wenger noticed, since he's been so busy running his mouth, accusing Real Madrid of "financial doping." I guess that makes Arsenal's signing strategy this summer the equivalent of having a booze and coke-fueled orgy before a big game. Nice.
Maradona is pushing for Gago to have more minutes at Madrid. Maybe he doesn't have as many minutes, because he's not that good. And more importantly, does Diego know that Higuain plays on Madrid - and that he's collecting much more than minutes, he's collecting goals? Does el pelusa think some goals might help Argentina qualify?
Almunia talks all things Arsenal and English citizenship in this interview.
Barcelona daily, Sport, does a completely unbiased write-up of why Madrid doesn't scare Barca fans - because Barcelona is better. The sidebar link titles are: 1) Messi replaces Cristiano as number one in the world; 2) Ibrahimovic is the most complete "9"; 3) Xavi is the best creator in the world; and 4) Kaka was what Iniesta is today. Do they have a point?
As you may have heard, the Argentine league has been delayed. Julio Grondona of the AFA has indicated that the Argentine league could resume as early as this week, "with or without television." The delay of perhaps the top South American league has its roots in the enormous debts teams have to both lending entities and more pressingly, players. Now the money tied up in television rights is at play, as the entity with broadcasting rights has offered 40 million Argentine pesos to grease the wheels and get the league moving. Grondona meanwhile wants football gambling to go legal in Argentina and demands a doubling of the income clubs receive for television rights. While his proposals border on the absurd, Grondona argues his focus is on resolving this problem for the long term. If that's true, Grondona would do well to launch corruption investigations into the teams and their debts. The simple math just doesn't add up. Argentina sells players constantly, and at the highest sums for South American players. Almost every team in Europe boasts at least one Argie. The entire national team plays abroad. Yet Argentine teams can't keep up with their debts? It's a simple concept - they're skimming too much from the top. And that has nothing to do with television rights or gambling, it has to do with greed.