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Wenger ordered to sell to Barcelona?

ESPN staff
September 15, 2012
Brendan Rodgers (earpiece not pictured) © Getty Images

After UEFA withheld prize money to 23 teams this week as part of the first stage of implementing Financial Fair Play, we propose a few "alternative" ways it might punish leading clubs in future...

Manchester City
City pay a grave price for their failure to get their finances in order as they are forced to select Richard Wright whenever he's fit. Joe Hart, his career in tatters, watches on in amazement as the undroppable Mr Wright, once destined for a life on the bench, flaps around his area and smugly brushes off rollockings from Vincent Kompany.

Boss Brendan Rodgers, wearing an earpiece in the dugout, is forced to repeat instructions fed to him by Tony Pulis, sitting hunched in the stands with baseball cap looming over microphone. Watch Rodgers wince as, teeth clenched, he orders his full-backs to "hit Luis on the diagonal".

But Rodgers gets revenge as the roles are reversed soon after. Glenn Whelan stands dumbfounded over the ball, unable to bring himself to play a short, square pass to Geoff Cameron, as instructed by Pulis. After six seconds standing with his hands on his head, a picture of pure horror, Whelan sinks to the floor, rocking back and forth.

Tottenham Hotspur
In a bid to give something back to the wider community, celebrated problem-solver and not-so-celebrated Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas begins work as a marriage counsellor. His lack of imagination proves a stumbling block as, for the umpteenth time, he orders husbands to move themselves into the garage, "away from the main group". Alex, Luka Modric and Nicolas Anelka, all of whom suffered the same fate when training under Villas-Boas, sympathise.

An unlikely offender, Arsene Wenger is nonetheless told to sell all of his best players to Barcelona… Oh.

John Obi Mikel: all-action © PA Photos

UEFA shows leniency to the Blues, helping them to get rid of their unwanted assets. In that spirit, a pedometer is attached to the famously static John Obi Mikel - and every time he dips below 20 strides per minute, the rest of the team receives an electric shock. Mikel, in fear of his life, soon turns into the all-action, Gerrard-Vieira-Keane hybrid everyone (well, no-one) thought he was capable of becoming, Claude Makelele's tutoring be damned.

The Spanish wizards are forced to pander to those who ask "how would they fare at Stoke on a wet Tuesday night?" by, yes, playing Stoke on a wet Tuesday night. Those who have posed the question blush in shame as Rory Delap and friends chase shadows for 90 gruelling minutes.

Having avoided losing Demba Ba on the cheap, Newcastle aren't as lucky second time around as they are made to use their squad's buy-out clauses as shirt numbers. James Perch and Ryan Taylor are forced to share the 0.2m jersey, provoking untold headaches at the club shop - but, astoundingly, no bids.

West Ham
West Ham, still aiming to move into the Olympic Stadium, are ordered to put on athletics evenings at Upton Park to generate more ticket sales. Crowds flock to see Joey O'Brien and Winston Reid battle for last place at the end of another gripping 800 metres final.

Manchester United
With the aim of increasing merchandise sales, Sir Alex Ferguson is told to bow to Usain Bolt's wishes by offering him a full-time contract. Steam comes pouring out of his ears before every match as kick-off is delayed for Bolt to go through his pre-match showboating. Ferguson, amazingly, refuses to join in.

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