* Apparently Real Madrid right wingback and Brazilian international Cicinho is the next player on Rafa's wish list. He would be a great buy to back up Finnan and provide even more cover for right wing. Whether or not there's any truth to it, who knows, but it makes sense. The only thing that worries me is that the 27-year-old has been plagued with injuries the last two years, so much so that it has limited him to 27 total appearances since January of 2006, though the asking price of £5m seems quite reasonable.
* Both Lucas and Mascherano were called up for international friendly duty for their respective countries on August 22nd. Leiva and his Brazilian teammates face off against Algeria in Montpelier, France, while a suspiciously Tevez-less Argentinian squad will face Norway in Oslo. It's always funny how Man U players somehow get out of international duty in crucial times. I wonder if Riise was called up to the Norway squad? Anyhow, If at all possible, I'm sure Benitez will bar Masche from participating since we have 6 matches from the start of the season to 22 days later when the Euro-qualifying international break begins. What is a little surprising is that Sebastian Leto was ignored. After that Copa America final embarassment, I thought Argentina would be going younger and though they did a little, Leto would seem to be a great addition to the squad.
* Finally, our highly rated 18-year-old midfielder, Charlie Barnett, is being pursued by Mark Hughes and the Rovers. I'm not sure what the deal is with the two-time FA Youth Cup champ, whether he's still technically part of our squad or was released. He's been on-trial with Newcastle this preseason and since he's not listed anywhere on the official site , I'm assuming he's got nothing to do with us anymore. Cheers.