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This week Goal.com starts a new column 'Food For Thought' that would look at the major footballing stories everyday. It would be published on a daily basis and would feature Goal.com's opinions on the major stories. Subhankar Mondal inaugurates the column by looking at the biggest news stories making the headlines on Monday and gives his opinion on them.....

Are Real Madrid Destabilizing The Transfer Market?

So far this summer Real Madrid have been the most dominating team in the transfer market and have spent in excess of €200 million on just four players. This is turning out to be one of the most expensive summers in Europe ever and suddenly global recession seems to be alien entity. Madrid's almost obscene spending spree has resulted in the inflation of the transfer market with some rather ridiculous price tags being assigned to wanted footballers and now AC Milan, who themselves are suffering financially and were forced to sell Kaka to Madrid earlier in the summer, have blasted Madrid for their rather too obvious over-spending.

Vice-president Adriano Galliani said, "They demand €20-30m for a striker? We say goodbye and go home. A domino effect triggered by Real is setting in, because every club asks €20-30m for any player these days. After all, only Real Madrid have spent money so far. The top four English clubs have done nothing. And only Diego arrived in Italy from abroad at Juventus."

You can sense sense in Uncle Fester's words as Madrid have raised the bar on players' prices and these days even Cagliari president Massimo Cellino seems to think that "only Real Madrid would be able to afford (goalkeeper Federico) Marchetti's price." Of course, you cannot blame Madrid for signing the players whom they want and if they have the money to do so, then let them buy. On another font, Madrid paying big sums to other clubs mobilizes the money and the clubs who are being paid can then utilize the money to sign other players. It's that simple, isn't it? Or maybe it isn't.....

Don’t AC Milan Really Need Any Summer Reinforcement?

AC Milan supremo Silvio Berlusconi said something strange on Monday. Speaking on his club's summer reinforcements the much talked about man in Italian football said, "Reinforcements? The problem is not the names. If on the market some doors open up, someone can arrive, otherwise we’re fine like this. We must not buy at all cost." Understandably the Milan fans did not agree and some of them have already been demonstrating at the club's training grounds. On paper Milan's squad do look decent but the on-pitch story is hugely different. Milan haven't won the Serie A since 2004 and have won nothing for two years, even finishing outside the top four in the Italian top flight in the 2007-2008 season.

Kaka's departure to Real Madrid earlier this summer has left a hole in Milan's creative nest and although the likes of Ronaldinho, Andrea Pirlo, Alexandre Pato, Gennaro Gattuso, Alessandro Nesta are still there, the problem is that they are either still young, past their best, injury prone or have lost their old self. Milan desperately need cover-up in defence, a world class striker and perhaps understudies to Pirlo and Gattuso. As Berlusconi says, the Rossoneri do have some promising players but for a club like Milan promise isn't always enough.

Is There A Need For Buy-out Clauses In Indian Football?

Air India coach Bimal Ghosh made a very interesting statement to Goal.com on Monday. Speaking on the transfer policy prevalent in India and the signing of the players often at the detriment of the 'selling' club, Ghosh said, "A buy-out clause would be good for Indian football. It shall help the smaller clubs who often tend to lose their players, due to the lure of money." Now, that is an interesting thought. Of course, the buy-out clause for an Indian footballer won't go into millions but a decent amount would make the whole affair that much more professional. A club trying to sign a player from another club does have to pay a certain amount of transfer fee as decided by the two clubs in question but often in India players move at the end of their contract. A buy-out clause might not mean anything in the initial stages but it would certainly make Indian football look more professional.

Yuri Zhirkov To Chelsea - Hit Or Flop?

'Russian Ronaldinho' is in town but will he light it up? Chelsea have made their first major signing in Yuri Zhirkov, who is a versatile left sided player able to play either as a left winger or as a left wing-back. Presumably recommended by former Chelsea coach Guus Hiddink, the 25-year-old Russian is expected to import flair and speed to the Chelsea midfield along the left-flank and is expected to make it big in the Premier League. Of course, like all players just moving into the Premier League, there is the usual suspicion that Zhirkov, who won the UEFA Cup with CSKA Moscow in 2005, might have to struggle initially but given that he is Hiddink's 'choice' Zhirkov should turn out to be an excellent buy for the London club.

Is La Liga Better Than The Premier League?

Now, the debate pertaining to which between La Liga and the Premier League is a better league has been raging on for long and Cristiano Ronaldo’s star move from England to Spain is only going to add spice to what already is a much heated debate. Ronaldo might not have played any Liga match so far but that does not deter him from expressing his views, which are somewhat La Liga-leaning.

The Portuguese international said, "The Premier League is a very good competition but I think that the Spanish league is going to have a little more quality because of the players who are arriving. Both leagues are going to be very good, but I think that with Florentino Perez’s signings, the Spanish league will be superior to the English."

Now, if you carefully read Ronaldo's words, you will notice that he doesn't actually say that La Liga is better than the Premier League; he says it will be. Which is something quite legitimate, given that majority of the world’s finest and most gifted players will be featuring in the Spanish top flight next season.

Subhankar Mondal