That Was The Week That Was

The World Cup is over for another four years. And it was the indomitable French who deservedly became the champions after defeating the spirited Croatians 4-2 in the final.

World Cup reminiscence

I am sure we could all agree that Russia 2018 exceeded all our expectations. Leading up to the tournament, the tabloids led us all to believe it would be overshadowed by matters of it, such as fan violence, racism, and homophobia. Thankfully, there was none of that. And we ended up witnessing possibly the best World Cup in recent memory.

We were treated to :

  • Lots of goals
  • Plenty of notable upsets
  • Restored interest in our international teams
  • A somersault throw-in (Yes, a somersault)
  • Senegalese players performing perfect in-sync dance routines
  • VAR drama

Here’s to the 2022 Christmas World Cup in Qatar.

Premier League transfer business

With only three weeks left until Cardiff City embark on their quest to win the Premier League title, we’ll no doubt be seeing a lot more players on the move before the transfer window shuts on the earlier date of 8th August. Most Premier League clubs have only recently began their pre-season schedule, with plenty of World Cup stars yet to join their club teammates.

It hasn’t stopped extortionate sums of money being dished out from the English top flight. West Ham have been the busiest, with £93m being spent this summer. And that cash hasn’t just been spent of average Joe’s, as I’m sure you’re well aware. In contrast, Crystal Palace have not spent a penny.

In 2016, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp once bemoaned the direction that football was heading, when Manchester United had signed Paul Pogba for a then world record fee of £89m in 2016.

At a time when Liverpool could not compete with the spending power of the two Manchester clubs, he was quoted as saying “Other clubs can spend big money on top players. I want to do it differently. I would even do it differently if I could spend that money.”

“I want a special team spirit – I don’t feel it is necessary, I want it.

“The day that this is football, I’m not in a job anymore. Because the game is about playing together.

Since then, he has broken the world record fees for a centre back and a goalkeeper. The centre back is of course Virgil Van Dijk, for a hefty £75m. And the goalkeeper in question, is a £67m fee paid to Roma for Brazilian number one Allison. Don’t you just loathe modern football, Jurgen?

Rumour has it, that Fabinho is trying to persuade former Monaco teammate Kylian Mbappe to join him at Anfield. He couldn’t, could he? Liverpool have only just secured the signing of Xherdan Shaqiri. Bring back the days of signing the likes of Charlie Adam.

On the other side of Stanley Park, it has been very silent at Everton on the transfer front. Reported target Malcom, a Bordeaux winger heavily linked with Arsenal in January, looks to have turned down a move to Everton this week in favour of signing for Roma. If he decided on the Toffees, he probably would have been required to pack a bunch of paracetamol packets with Jordan Pickford screaming in his face 24/7.

In the last 24 hours, many news outlets have reported that Everton are close to agreeing a £50m fee with Watford for forward Richarlison. This is a man whose form severely dipped as soon as Marco Silva left. In that respect, it makes sense. On the other side of the spectrum, £50m for a foward who has not registered a single goal since November 2017?

What are they smoking at Everton?

It is a familiar toxic atmosphere at Newcastle. Owner Mike Ashley has made no secret of the tight transfer budget he has allocated to Rafael Benitez. He was right in an interview with Sky in recognising Newcastle are not in a position to compete with Man City.

This summer however, they have not been able to compete with the likes of Huddersfield, Brighton, Nottingham Forest and Stoke City. It’s almost as if he doesn’t care. Although, it could be worse Newcastle fans. You could have John Carver back as manager.

Instead you have the magic man. And it would be another magnificent achievement if he manages to prevent the Toon from being relegated.

It’s good to be back.

Have a great weekend, everyone.