The Boss - the Jason De Vos column

IT is laughable that Chelsea have spent £88m on players but I really don't believe you can buy the title. If that was the case then it would have happened a long time ago.

IT is laughable that Chelsea have spent £88m on players but I really don't believe you can buy the title. If that was the case then it would have happened a long time ago.

At the same time it is every fans' dream, it really is fantasy football – 'I will buy him, him and him, and put together a side and win the title'.

But that doesn't happen, Chelsea tried last year, spending £123m. They came close but Arsenal were the better team. The excitement of the season is that everyone starts on level points and at the end of it we see who is the best.

I feel Arsenal will be hard-pressed to win the title again without Patrick Vieira. He does a lot of things in the Arsenal midfield which the average football supporter doesn't notice but people who play the game see and appreciate. Probably the biggest compliment he can get is from fellow professionals who have already said that if he goes they won't win the title. They know by playing against him week in and week out that he does all the grunt work.


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Thierry Henry will always grab the headlines because he is the scorer but Vieira is the one who does all the dirty work.

That said it is still hard to look past Arsenal because all the key players they have are now in their prime. Sol Campbell showed in the European Championships what a good defender he is, he was outstanding – especially in the final game against Portugal.

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Jens Lehmann in goal may have a few question marks against him but I felt he handled himself very well under extreme pressure coming in to replace David Seaman. He has a year's Premiership experience under his belt and will be even better now.

If Vieira stays they will win the title, if he goes they will lose a big piece of the jigsaw and it will come down to how they overcome that.

As for Manchester United, it is a tough call. The biggest mistake they made last season was not bringing in a replacement for Rio Ferdinand when he was suspended. To expect Wes Brown to come in after a long injury was a big ask and he is a good player.

It will be a big plus when they get Ferdinand back but that won't be until September. They have lost Nicky Butt but Paul Scholes retiring from international football will give him an incentive to show he is not past it and is still a world-class player, so I expect big things from him.

Ruud van Nistelrooy is out injured but they have Alan Smith.

So the top three will finish top three again, I will be surprised if any one else can muscle their way in there but the order is anyone's guess unless Arsenal keep Vieira – then I will go for them.

I WAS very surprised at the statement Newcastle made regarding Bobby Robson and this being his last season. He has done a fantastic job at St James' Park and to come out with that baffles me. To say that before a ball has even been kicked is disrespectful.

As well as that it is bound to cause disruption in the dressing room

Everyone wants to win things and be successful and I saw enough of them when they played here to believe they will be pushing the top three.

When they break on you they are so quick, it was as if the midfielders race to see who can get in the box first – it was frightening.

NEW managers come in and always want to put their own stamp on the team no matter what level that is.

The fact that we are talking about Real Madrid and Michael Owen leaving Liverpool or Vieira going there makes it that much more sensational.

Coaches like Rafael Benitez at Anfield and Jose Mourinho at Chelsea are going to want to make changes and bring in their own players.

It can also help players when they have a change of scenery. Different club with different training methods, different mentality and coaches can all help a player find his form again, because I'm sure Michael will agree that he has not been playing as well as he can play.

He carries a lot of responsibility in scoring goals for England because until the emergence of Wayne Rooney they did not have anyone who could be called world class.

If Owen goes, and Danny Murphy has already gone to Charlton, then that will be blow for Steven Gerrard who committed himself during the summer.

So it will be important for Benitez to bring in some top-quality replacements and to hit the ground running in terms of early results.

I'M getting a reputation as Mother Hen here after Tony Dinning's arrival and my involvement with the Canadian side which may bear fruit for Ipswich.

Millwall have signed two lads, Josh Simpson and Adrian Serioux.

They were in Canada with Hearts playing pre-season and they played a 'B' international side and impressed.

I don't know either lad, but I have heard good things from the national coach Frank Yallop.

I have been in England eight years now so I don't know the scene at home that well but Frank keeps me up to speed and has done with James Peters, who we hope to persuade to join Ipswich.

There are a lot of very good young Canadian players coming through and all they need is a place to come and learn the game. The Academy at Ipswich Town is fantastic and I couldn't think of a better place to come.

Tony Dinning is a tremendous addition and I spoke to the Gaffer and Tony before he got here. He is a player who doesn't get the credit he deserves for his work in midfield. When we won the Second Division two years ago with Wigan Tony played a key part in that but unfortunately then had a bit of a falling out with Paul Jewell and has been pushed out. He is too good a player to be sitting out games and is definitely good enough to be playing in the first team here.

n If you have any comments or questions for Jason De Vos then e-mail them to: derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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