Dear reader, we are in that tricky Premier League off-season period. Last season is now officially last season. Next season is still very much next season. And it won’t be this season until Man City and Liverpool get it on for that all-important first title of the season at Wembley. Except, of course, that the Community Shield is NOT a proper title.
Women’s football is occupying a lot of the back page press as various news outlets grab the last couple of spaces on that bandwagon. Down in Brazil, there’s the small matter of the Copa America where players like Alexis Sanchez show their homeland that they used to be quite good at football.
Unsurprisingly, an English coach who took Northampton Town to the bottom of League Two playing his own version of BoothBall has led England U21 to elimination in the European Championships, that tournament England are supposed to be winning by now so that we can all remain misty-eyed at the future of the English game.
And all that moaning from Premier League managers like ‘Arry back in the day has seen the African Cup of Nations moved to a European summer slot so that their sides don’t get depleted in January and February.
Yet, even with all that, Manchester United seem to dominate the remaining column inches.
Why? They’ve only gone and signed a second player – and he’s young and British. It’s almost as if there is a plan in place at Old Trafford – even if it is being led by football’s answer to Baldrick.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka has decided that he can go one step further than Wilfried Zaha in life and be a success when moving from Crystal Palace to Man United. The right-back has cost Ole Gunnar Solskjaer around £50m which means City fans can start to remind people of all those tweets about paying striker fees for full-backs.
He’s decent is AWB, there is no denying it. And, he’s decent defensively which might actually be a good thing for United – who have had to suffer Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young wearing Gary Neville’s shirt for what feels like a decade.
Doubters say the kid isn’t very good going forward, but how do we know? He was playing for Roy Hodgson, not a man known for encouraging his right back to desert his defensive duties.
The other good news about all this for United fans is that Mr Ed can now move on to the next name on his list. After all, he can only work on one deal at a time don’t forget.
Who will it be? And will the impending departure of Romelu Lukaku to Inter slow things down?
Frankly, you could put all the names United have been linked to already this summer and pull one out of a hat. You’re probably not too far off what is actually happening in the recruitment meetings. But who knows, it might work.
Maurizio Sarri has done what many of us hoped he would do and stick two fingers up to convention at Chelsea. History tells us you are supposed to get sacked at Stamford Bridge but Sarri managed to hang around, win his first ever trophy and get himself an even better job in just 12 months. He’s installed at Juventus now and is expected to tell Jorginho to get on the next flight at some point in the next week.
Derby County manager Frank Lampard is still the clear favourite to get the poisoned chalice at the Bridge. Wouldn’t it be ironic if he didn’t put all his eggs in the Chelsea youth academy basket? Despite not being allowed to sign any new players, Chelsea are expected to waste £45m on their Croatian loanee Mateo Kovacic just so they can give their administrator some paperwork to do.
Another loanee who has been confirmed as a permanent player is Everton’s Andre Gomes who must find himself a little disappointed to only be offered more football at Goodison Park after an impressive first season in England. Surely someone like Tottenham could do with a player like him?
That would, of course, involve Spurs splashing some cash – they are heavily linked to young Leeds whipper-snapper-of-a-winger Jack Clarke and, more impressively, Tanguy N’Dombele currently plying his trade somewhere in France which, as we know, is a good hunting ground for energetic midfielders.
Newcastle fans came bouncing into this summer’s transfer window full of hope – and we know what hope does to you. There was talk of a takeover – a takeover that now appears to be a figment of people’s imagination. And then, things got worse – Mike Ashley has grown tired of Rafa Benitez banging on about needing money to buy players, money to sign players and some money to bring new players in and decided not to renew the Spaniard’s contract meaning he’s out the St James’ Park door round-about now. It’s not Mike’s fault though, oh no. It’s those fake new owners who should take the blame.
But don’t worry, Newcastle supporters. You’re being linked to Joey Barton. What could possibly go wrong?