From €100m Man Utd target to West Ham? The decline of Belotti

first_imgAt the height of the hype surrounding Andrea Belotti in the summer of 2017, former Torino striker Christian Vieri weighed in on what his supposed successor should do next.”I advise him to go to a big team quickly,” ‘Bobo’ said. “He must make another leap in quality.”This was an unsurprising stance from a man who moved clubs almost as often as he changed girlfriends during a peripatetic career.  Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? However, that doesn’t mean Vieri was wrong. As is said so often in Italy in relation to the transfer market, ‘Certi treni passano una volta sola’ (Certain trains only pass once) and, two years ago, AC Milan, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal were all offering Belotti a one-way ticket to superstardom.Last week, West Ham were linked with the Italian. That is how far Belotti’s stock has fallen in the interim.Of course, it is not exactly Belotti’s fault that he failed to secure a move to one of Europe’s top sides in 2017. He was never going to demand a transfer; it’s simply not in his character. He may resemble ‘Vieri’ on the field sometimes, but he is nothing like him off it. Whereas Vieri was in his element, mixing with the rich and famous, Belotti is a humble, grounded individual.”A life founded on the presumption of your ‘status’ creates nothing but false relationships,” he once argued.”I haven’t changed a bit since I was young. I’m still more eager to be a good person rather than a good player.”Andrea Belotti Capello PSWhich explains why there was never any chance he would go on strike over Torino’s refusal to let him leave two summers ago unless someone met the €100 million buy-out clause in his contract.It only applied to foreign clubs too. On the back of Belotti’s 26-goal 2016-17 Serie A campaign, Torino president Urbano Cairo would have charged Italian clubs even more money for his most prized possession.AC Milan even tried to make Mbaye Niang – whom the Granata actually wanted and eventually signed – part of a multi-million euro deal for Belotti.But Cairo refused to budge: either someone would activate or match the buy-out clause, or Belotti would stay put.Chelsea, Arsenal and Monaco were all ready to pay colossal fees for ‘Il Gallo’ (he used to chase chicken’s around his aunt’s farm as a child – hence the ‘rooster’ celebration) but not one was willing to hand over €100m for his services.Unfortunately, Torino overplayed their hand, as they would be lucky to get half that figure today.Belotti has scored just 17 goals over the past 18 months.Two minor knee injuries during the 2017-18 season have undeniably played a part in his loss of momentum. He missed three Serie A games on two separate occasions last term.Nonetheless, he still looks a pale imitation of the force of nature that prompted Fabio Capello to proclaim Belotti “one of the best strikers in Europe” 18 months ago.”He knows how to move. He basically knows how to do everything,” the former AC Milan boss enthused. “He’s fast, technically skilled and is probably better than [Gabriel] Batistuta.”Andrea Belotti Bruno PSFabio Cannavaro, though, viewed him more as a hard-working Vieri.”Andrea can seem like ‘Bobo’ in full flight but he’s also a player who runs and fights for 90 minutes,” the Italy icon pointed out. “Everyone likes him – team-mates, coaches and fans – because he never gives an inch.”Indeed, even the notorious former defender Pasquale Bruno was won over by Belotti’s aggression and passion.”Unlike many of his p***y team-mates, he’s not a fake,” the former Torino and Juventus centre-half declared. “He knows how to earn respect on the field.” Vieri, by contrast, seemed more interested in earning fame and fortune off the field, even admitting in his autobiography that he only left Juve for Atletico Madrid in 1997 for the money.However, one wonders if Vieri was right about the sporting benefits that come with playing for a stronger side. Andrea Belotti Torino Roma PSEven accounting for the effects of the injury, Belotti’s career, like his game, seems to have stagnated in Turin, playing for a mid-table team. Two years ago, Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri predicted that Belotti would be “Italy’s centre-forward for many years”. But he hasn’t even been included in Roberto Mancini’s last three Azzurri squads.Still, while Belotti obviously hasn’t progressed since 2017, it is worth remembering that he has only just turned 25. He still has time to “make that leap in quality”. The recent signs are encouraging too. After a slow start to the season, featuring just two goals by the end of October, Belotti has now scored five times in his past 11 outings in Serie A.Those are hardly headline-generating numbers – not when Atalanta’s Duvan Zapata is in the middle of a run of 14 goals in eight games – but they do suggest that he is belatedly recovering the momentum lost during his injury-enforced absences. There is even mounting speculation that Roma could take him to the Stadio Olimpico this summer, most likely as a replacement for Edin Dzeko, who will be 33 in March.Torino certainly won’t be holding out for anything close to €100m this time around, though. That particular money train has most definitely passed.last_img read more

Kirby Smart Getting Crushed For What He Just Did vs. Alabama

first_imgA closeup of Kirby Smart in Georgia Bulldogs apparel.AUBURN, AL – NOVEMBER 11: Head coach Kirby Smart of the Georgia Bulldogs walks the field prior to facing the Auburn Tigers at Jordan Hare Stadium on November 11, 2017 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)Georgia head coach Kirby Smart is facing some serious criticism for the move he just pulled late in the fourth quarter against Alabama.With Georgia and Alabama tied, 28-28, late in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs’ head coach pulled out the trickeration.It did not work.Georgia called for a fake punt in the area of their own 50-yard line on a 4th and 11 attempt. Alabama sniffed it out easily.The Crimson Tide took over in great field position and Jalen Hurts led the offense down the field for a touchdown.People aren’t happy.“FOLKS, MORE LIKE KIRBY DUMB,” one writer tweeted.FOLKS, MORE LIKE KIRBY DUMB— The Other Matt Brown (@MattSBN) December 2, 2018“Did Kirby Smart just give away a Playoff berth and SEC Championship on a fake punt?” another added.Did Kirby Smart just give away a Playoff berth and SEC Championship on a fake punt?— Brad Crawford (@BCrawford247) December 2, 2018“What are you doing, Kirby? On fourth-and-11????” Yahoo! Sports college football insider Pete Thamel tweeted.What are you doing, Kirby? On fourth-and-11????— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) December 2, 2018It was certainly a puzzling decision and one that instantly came back to cost Georgia and its chances of winning the SEC Championship Game (and, maybe, an appearance in the College Football Playoff).There’s still some time left, though.Alabama and Georgia are playing on CBS.last_img read more

Rai orders FIR against MS Ahluwalia Fire Protection Engineers

first_imgNEW DELHI: Delhi Labour Minister Gopal Rai on Thursday ordered an FIR against M/s Ahluwalia Fire Protection Engineers following his inspection visit to the GB Pant Hospital, wherein the minister found irregularities in working of the firm. The company works in the GB Pant Hospital’s Public Works Department unit. The minister also directed restoration of employees being fired by the firm adding that the file relating to removal any employee appointed on contract basis has to be referred to labor department. The minister listened to the grievances of people working as housekeeping, nursing, security staff, data entry operator and others. He further directed the concerned authorities to immediately resolve problems of the staff. The employees working at the hospital told the minister about delayed payment of salaries on which Rai asked the officials present there to clear the files relating to payment of salaries with immediate effect.last_img read more

Liberal deficits could hit 25 billion and still honour their fiscal anchor

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau answers a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. Now that the federal Liberals have shied away from their vow to keep annual deficits under $10 billion, they’ve latched on to another fiscal target — and this one will be much easier to meet.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld Liberal deficits could hit $25 billion and still honour their ‘fiscal anchor’ by Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press Posted Dec 13, 2015 12:22 pm MDT Last Updated Dec 13, 2015 at 1:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email OTTAWA – Now that the federal Liberals have shied away from their vow to keep annual deficits under $10 billion, they’ve latched on to another fiscal target — and this one will be much easier to meet.The new government is suddenly talking about the debt-to-GDP ratio, promising repeatedly to keep it on a downward track every year until the next election.The government calculates its debt-to-GDP ratio by dividing total federal debt by the overall size of the economy, as measured by nominal GDP.It represents a government’s capacity to pay back debt — and focusing on it gives politicians more spending flexibility.By targeting debt-to-GDP, the Liberals could instead be prepared to run annual deficits of up to $25 billion in the coming years and still lower the ratio — as long as the economy grows at a decent pace, economists say.“The government does have a fair bit of room if what they’re trying to do is just see the debt-to-GDP ratio go down,” said Mike Moffatt, who teaches economics at the University of Western Ontario’s Ivey Business School.The adoption of the debt-to-GDP ratio as a “fiscal anchor” is not new. It was mentioned in the Liberal election platform as one of the ways to keep spending under control. The campaign rhetoric, however, largely focused on the $10-billion annual deficit.No longer.With uncosted election promises piling up on top of unforeseen shortfalls in the underlying fiscal plan, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has emphasized the more-reachable fiscal anchor in recent days.“We will continue to decrease (the debt-to-GDP ratio) every single year because that’s important for the fiscal health of our country,” Trudeau said Wednesday, after casting further doubt on the $10-billion annual deficit target because of economic challenges.“We always targeted modest deficits, we had hoped it would be around $10 billion — we will see if we will be able to hold at that level.”Plain old math dictates the ratio can continue to fall even if the public books slide into the red — at least to a point.That’s because even if the federal debt gets fatter, the ratio will edge downwards if the economy is growing faster than the debt.Still, in an economy battered by low commodity prices, the debt-to-GDP promise doesn’t exactly look like a slam dunk, either.Earlier this month, projections by the parliamentary budget office suggested the government could find itself running annual deficits up to $15 billion once the Liberals’ costed, big-ticket election promises are factored in. On top of that, the party has also made several uncosted vows.Then, this week, the Liberals conceded their new tax package will, in fact, drain more than $1 billion net from the treasury each year.At the same time, economic growth is sluggish.When considering the forecasts, Scott Clark — a former deputy minister of Finance — believes the Liberals will already be close to the threshold that would start ratcheting up the debt-to-GDP.“Then you’ve got a serious problem because then no one’s going to believe you,” Clark said of the danger of not living up to the goal.“Your credibility will go straight out the window because if you’re going to have an anchor … you have to live up to it. As soon as you break that, the financial markets will come down on you like a ton of bricks.”The Liberal platform, which helped carry the party to victory in October, also contained a second fiscal anchor: balancing the federal books by the fourth year of its mandate.But experts believe balancing the 2019-20 budget poses a big hurdle unless the government cuts spending or hikes taxes — or both — to overcome the weaker-than-expected economy and the pricey basket of electoral promises.Many experts like Clark argue that lowering the debt-to-GDP ratio is a more-appropriate — and achievable — commitment for a government than a balanced-budget anchor.The government projects the ratio will gradually fall each year from 31.1 per cent in 2015-16 to 25.2 per cent in 2020-21.But Don Drummond, a former senior Finance Department bureaucrat, questioned the importance of striving to drop an already-low ratio that’s much lower than it’s been in the past.“Who knows whether it even needs to be brought down?” said Drummond, who was assistant deputy minister of fiscal policy in the 1990s when the ratio was close to 70 per cent.“There’s nothing in the economic literature that drives you towards the notion of an optimal debt-to-GDP ratio…I think it’s a second choice on their part when they can’t produce the deficit target that they want. This is kind of a defensive mechanism.”Economist Moffatt, who stress-tested the fiscal numbers in the Liberals’ election platform, said if nominal GDP growth returned to a more-normal level in the coming years — of about 3.5 or four per cent — then the government could probably run deficits up to $25 billion without pushing the ratio up.For 2015, the government only expects nominal GDP to grow by 0.9 per cent largely due to the squeeze of low oil prices, according to its fall fiscal update.That projection, an average of private-sector forecasts taken in October, also called for a turnaround of 4.1 per cent growth in 2016, 4.6 in 2017 and 4.4 in 2018.Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitter read more