The Lead

You know it. I know it. Today’s the day. Rather than waste a perfectly good lead on Transfer Deadline Day, or TDD (it’s not truly horrible until it’s an acronym), let’s first discuss something completely different (I’ll have a special rolling TDD post up a little later this morning).

Remember the Africa Cup of Nations? Of course you do, because you’ve been reading Gary Al-Smith’s excellent round-up in this space every Friday. You should be aware that it’s currently the best football tournament so far this year, and one you can’t watch on TV in Canada. Jonathan Wilson fills us in:

This has been a tournament that has restored the joy to African soccer. Without the traditional powers of Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt, it is as if a great weight both of expectation and fear has been lifted. Only Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are playing with the albatross of favoritism around their necks, and both have been notably cautious in their opening matches; everybody else seems liberated, as though the subconscious dread of humiliation at the hands of one of the great names has gone (Botswana, who lost by a record 6-1 to Guinea, might regret that). It has been a tournament of fluid, constant attack.

This is a marvelous adjustment from previous AfCons, which produced a lot of dull football on the way to Egypt winning. Ever since football the enjoyable Saturday afternoon pastime became Football The World Historical Legacy Tour, international tournaments have been characterized by fear. The ACN seemed to get it, bad.

Now with the grown-ups all away, the kids are having a blast pouring beer on the sofa and scoring 25 yard drives in the final moments of a match to beat Senegal and put the co-hosts through to the quarterfinals.

Canada

Toronto FC finally signs Chilean full-back Miguel Aceval.

Waking the Red provides a good overview of the WPS season suspension.

The Paul James on Soccer podcast.

Sebastian Le Toux on his way to Vancouver?

England

Transfer Deadline Day liveblogs with all the pertinent details on just WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING here, here, here, herehere and here.

David Conn says maybe the quieter transfer window means clubs are starting to get the message about overspending on players, but then says we’ve seen quiet transfer days before so I guess he got paid to fill that column space.

Tottenham to redevelop White Hart Lane. A less vertigo-inducing camera angle would be a start…

Carlos Tevez continues to fight the good fight.

In the news that’s not news department, Arsenal chief says money isn’t everything, and Alan Hansen criticizes Manchester United.

Italy

All that talk of Thiago Motta staying at Inter may have been gobshite.

I have no clue what Antonio Conte is going on about with this headline quote.

Germany

Bayer Leverkusen’s failed Ballack experiment.

The German Football Association (DFB) to investigate a Pogatetz punching incident.

Spain

Is Atletico Madrid the new Osasuna?

Bits and bobs

Behold, the world’s greatest football GIF (via @lukeymoore).

And that, give or take, is the story so far…