After the midweek high of Champions League football last week it is a little bit different this time around, folks. This week we have the pleasure of the EFL Cup. Woo! Ah, the Carabao Cup, a competition that nobody really cares about until they hit the semi-final stage, realise that it’s a nice security blanket to guarantee some kind of European football next season and gives them a nice day out at Wembley.
But, before we start even looking at desperate narratives like Frank Lampard facing Jose Mourinho, let’s round up the tittle-tattle that’s on the table this fine day.
The world and his wife are interested in signing Frenkie de Jong from Ajax because he is Dutch, young and from Ajax. But, Ajax know what he is worth and are more than happy to stick an extra £20m on top of that to find out how much Liverpool, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona really want to buy him. My guess is ‘not that much really’ meaning he will end up at Tottenham in January or June.
Chelsea and Liverpool would still be keen on Lyon’s Nabil Fekir if he would return their calls but since his goal against Manchester City he’s had Real Madrid whispering in his ear and his head is being very much turned towards the Spanish capital city. Poor Liverpool, how rejected must they feel right now? Still, at least they have a Premier League and Champions League double to cheer them up.
And anyway, they don’t want Nabil Fekir anyway. Oh no. They want Dortmund’s Mario Goetze, apparently. Why, we are not so sure. Is it Goetze or Reus who was once really, really good and now is not so much? I don’t know.
Rafa Benitez is busy preparing himself for ‘make-or-break’ January transfer window planning talks with Mike Ashley where Rafa is going to present his boss with what he would like to do. From there they will thrash out what is going to happen and Rafa will leave safe I the knowledge he’ll be allowed a couple of loan deals and will have to sell to get even that to happen. Rafa could well be out before Christmas Day.
Pablo Zabaleta knows a thing or two about playing with good footballers so when he is telling West Ham United to sort out Declan Rice’s new deal they should probably damn well listen. Rice has already turned down a treble-your-wages deal of £15k a week and is holding out for £30k a week. I wonder if he has the same agent as Raheem Sterling? Either way, losing Rice would send out even more wrong signals to that ever-so-loyal West Ham crowd.
Petr Cech has outed Arsene Wenger for something we already knew. The legendary Frenchman was more interested in how the side looked when playing than actually winning things. It is a little ironic that Cech is pointing this out, the suggestion being that Unai Emery is more focused on winning than playing style, considering that it is Cech who has often looked like the class clown when the ball is at his feet. Sure, put Petr back in a situation when the Arsenal defence has disappeared down the well and he has some shots to save and he is still pretty good. But ask him to knock it to feet? Yeah, exactly. Mind you, Arsenal do appear to be learning how to win ugly in the Premier League under Emery and they have needed that skill for many a year.
We shall finish this morning with a little bit of Paul Pogba. Following Jose’s post-match Wolves comments around Nuno Santo’s men ‘playing like it was a World Cup Final’ – clearly in reference to Pogba putting a shift in for France and not United – Pogba has bit back with a cry for United to be allowed to ‘attack, attack, attack’. It’s really very sad when a celebrity couple have to play out a messy divorce in public.