It?s time to catch our breaths folks as ?the kids? have gone out to play. Looking back at all the action, my unbridled fascination about football seems more and more utterly justified. Excitement, excitement, JAMBOREE!! Some teams have made very impressive starts to their respective leagues. In Spain it?s going ?2? be as you were, but it?s definitely intriguing in the EPL and the Serie A already. West Brom have made a terrific start but it will really take somebody with the iconic Denny Crane sized balls to attribute title winning credentials to them. I watched AS Roma with the good old Totti in imperious form tear Inter Milan to shreds last weekend and I was left with little doubt in my head they are genuine title contenders.

Enjoying the break? Let?s get talking about some signings then. Judging from the goings and comings it?s as if all the managers have had their heads screwed on properly. Almost all the moves have been expectedly really good ones. Even my very good friend made a good signing in capturing Saint Carzola. Javi Martinez?s move to Bayern and Lavessi?s to big spenders PSG was equally good ones worth noting. But as in all transfer windows, we could not be deprived the delight of a bystander as we watched one idiot with a very useless advisor happily make their way off to the career dumpster. Hellooo Mr. Scott Sinclair!! Well, with all the risk of sounding politically incorrect fully in mind, I couldn?t give a rat?s behind about that twat. It?s the new kids on the block that?s of interest to me as I wish all the ?Lazaruses? the best of luck in the season ahead.

Even before the start of the European season, certain individuals had started generating a lot of debate. As with all transfer periods, the pursuit of one player dominates. It?s been a long time since a player was able to hold the whole of Europe spell-bound, not on the field but off it. This summer, the general consensus was that the hottest commodity on the market was Eden Hazard. A highly talented player more so, he was duly dubbed, THE NEXT BIG THING!

Now forget the weight a label like that imposes on a player, its spotting the next big thing, that?s the task! The question of whether this kid from La Louviere is even worthy of such a tag is but of course subject to debate. Some say he is not even of the same class as his predecessors to warrant all the hype ? albeit he may have masterfully engineered it. The British do know what they are talking about when they put a certain player in a particular class, ?SURELY?. Besides, they are the stratification experts. This is a country where words are categorized as ?U? (upper-class) vs. ?non-U? (aspirational middle class), looking glass vs. mirror or napkin vs. serviette. Indeed Britain?s best sitcoms have all relied on a keen awareness of the class system. Anyone who has seen ?Dad?s Army?, ?Allo Allo?, and ?My Family? will immediately appreciate the constant desire to appeal to a higher class. To be considered of noble status. But guess what, the class system exists everywhere. Though in Ghana, it?s a straight down the middle divide. You are mainly NDC or NPP, ?Phobia? or ?Faabu? or you buy your favourite waakye from East Legon or Malata. We are just as obsessed with classifying everything as the Americans are with determining the next guy?s race. Indeed we have just stopped short of putting up signs such as ?Auntie Adiza special UCK(Upper-class koko). Yes, it is coming folks, that day is coming.

How I wondered off talking about hausa koko and all that clearly demonstrates my thinking pattern. Unstable!! So I was saying. After Chelsea had sensationally captured Hazard?s signature, comparisons between him and United?s Kagawa were in full gear. Each set of supporters claiming they had made the best purchase. That come May, when it?s all said and done, it would be that the better prospect was in their ranks. Well, I doubt anybody here has any qualms about the class of these two players. Agreed? Ya! Wait, no??? Seriously dude, you need help.

But it?s really a grey area as I hinted earlier. How does one really spot the next big thing? You wonder also, will the biggest thing right now survive (especially in a league as difficult as the EPL)? Will it evolve? When the going gets tough (and oh yes it will!), will it adapt to suit the demands? And if it?s not able to adapt, to become relevant, will it just wither away and be replaced by another. These are all pertinent questions taken out of the football context but apply it and my assertions hold true. Related to these questions are the 5 stages of the HYPE CYCLE ? Technology Trigger (emergence of the talent); Peak of Inflated Expectations (heightened observer expectations about the talent); Trough of Disillusionment (failure to meet such expectations); Slope of Enlightenment (new kid arrives on the scene); and Plateau of Productivity (talent becomes mediocre or at best, averagely consistent).

Now, this falls to you like an overripe melon doesn?t it? All those who have had the misfortune of bearing the ?next big thing? tag have to endure this cycle. It?s whether they live up to the billing that makes the difference. Some ?baby elephants? have crumbled under the weight of expectations, and have been loved by the public nonetheless. Eden hazard however, will receive no such sympathy if he fails to deliver, that much is certain. The lad has simply fallen foul of the Personal Potential Trap. Everybody knows you promise 80 and deliver 120. Because you see, the real conflict is avoided when one is able to maintain congruence in his actual achievement and others? expectations of him. Now that?s an advice incredulously worth far less the 6million pounds paid to a certain agent of Hazard.

Talking about signings and class and all that, one player stands head and shoulders above the rest. Ali Dia, forever number 1 on the list of ?Top 10 rubbish footballers?. As Southampton and Graeme Souness will soon find out in 1996, he was simply a waste of space, all 53 minutes of it and especially so for somebody purported to be George Weah?s cousin. You should really Google this guy. You will love the back-story. I guarantee it!! My prevailing thought at the end of this piece is ?who advises these guys anyways??? Will be SMH all week long, and the next, and the next?

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