Someone was clearly reading yesterday’s column. Oh yes. Maurizio Sarri, straight off the pitch following Chelsea’s 1-0 win over some Australian team, demanded face-to-face talks with the players being linked with departing Stamford Bridge this summer.
In a somewhat threatening sounding broken English voice, Sarri said:
“I’d like to talk to a person face-by-face. I don’t like to talk to a person by telephone. It’s clear that for me it’s a pleasure to have Courtois, to have Willian, to have Hazard. But it doesn’t depend on me, not only on me. So we have to wait.”
Now imagine him saying that again as Marlon Brando with the music of the Godfather playing in the background.
Jose Mourinho felt the need to speak first about Paul Pogba and his potential form at Manchester United next season, just in case anybody started wondering how Jose was going to get the France version of Pogba to perform at Old Trafford. Is it Jose’s responsibility? Is it balls. Jose said:
“I don’t think it’s about us getting the best out of him. It’s about him giving the best he has to give. I think the World Cup is the perfect habitat for a player like him to give the best. Why? Because it’s closed for a month, where he can only think about football. Where he’s with his team on the training camp, completely isolated from the external world, where they focus just on football, where the dimensions of the game can only motivate. During a season, you can have a big match then a smaller match, then one even smaller, then you can lose your focus, you can lose your concentration, then comes a big match again.”
So there you go, Paul. It’s your fault. Not Jose’s. Alright?
Jose has another Frenchman on his mind but will be feeling no guilt about failing him. Anthony Martial, who probably could have squeezed on to the French bench in the World Cup had he been allowed to actually play some football for United last season, will be allowed to depart Jose’s fatherly clutches this summer. For £70m. Oh, and not to an English club. So we are looking for a European team capable of paying £70m for a player but isn’t likely to be Real Madrid, PSG, Barcelona, Juventus or Bayern – the only clubs really able to pay such a fee. What’s that? Both Bayern and PSG are interested? But surely that cannot be true? Jose thinks he is no good!
In slightly less shocking news, Mourinho is constantly looking for ways to upgrade his central defensive combinations of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Victor Lindelof so has quickly flicked through the World Cup dispatches and heard all about this Englishman with, allegedly, a slab of a head.
Ah, Harry Maguire. I bet you always rated him, didn’t you Jose. He has been on your radar for years I am sure. Maguire is now being linked to a £50m move to Old Trafford where there is, sadly, every chance that he will look like a world beater in matches against the likes of Watford but put him up against a proper opposition and he might just send his partner up the river.
Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil has quit the German national team following their disappointing World Cup campaign. Ozil came in for a lot of flack, something he is probably used to, for some insipid displays in Russia. Ozil called it a day yesterday, saying: “When we win I am German and when we lose I am an immigrant”. Speak to Andy Murray, Mesut. He knows all about it.
Staying with Arsenal, they’ve been flirting with the idea of signing Sevilla’s Steven N’Zonzi for so long now it is becoming dull. Come on chaps, this is the post-Arsene era and you seem to just get things done so do it.
It might just be that the ‘Coutinho money’ has run out and Liverpool need to start flogging a few players just in case they fancy buying yet another player for a world-record fee. Therefore, on the specials board today are Divock Origi (Valencia, £25m apparently), Danny Ings (name your own mid-table Premier League club with £20m laying around), Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius (buy one, definitely get the other one free – oh, hi Fulham), Lazar Markovic (probably La Liga for about £5m), Pedro Chirivella (who?!), Marko Grujic (100% a loan to a newly-promoted side) and Ben Woodburn (also a loan, possibly Bundesliga as that is all the rage or the Championship because, you know).
Even if you do flog all them Jurgen, I think people might expect you to win something this season.