The post FA Cup Final week is always a funny week. There isn’t normally a great deal to write about, so join me as I go searching around right at the bottom of the Premier League barrel to see if there is anything worth commenting on. Sure, there was the Champions League Final but we don’t want to talk about that, do we?
OK, I’ll sum it up in a nutshell for you. Madrid didn’t read the romantic Buffon-influenced script, Ronaldo showed yet again that he is the biggest winner in the world and Ramos showed yet again that he is the biggest something else in the world. Oh, and Mandzukic scored probably the finest consolation goal ever seen.
“Arsene Wenger signs new two-year deal”, it says here. Now, by new do they mean it is a new deal compared to the one that has been sitting on the proverbial table since the beginning of December? If it is new in that sense, I would love to know who drove the better bargain, Arsene or the board. Arsene’s stock was about as high as it could be this last season, and that isn’t saying much you’ll agree, having won the FA Cup. The board, well who knows what they are thinking – if they are at all. As I’ve said before, it’s the fans I feel sorry for. All that money they wasted on getting planes to fly over the Emirates. And the boys on Arsenal Fan TV must still be shaking their heads at their inability to influence the people who run a Premier League football club with their TV station based in their kitchen or something. I know, shocking.
Manchester City have gone transfer crazy since we last spoke, releasing all the players that they should have probably got shot of at least a year ago and buying new ones that do seem rather good. Bernardo Silva is yet another number ten to join the City ranks, meaning Pep might be conjuring up another tactical revolution by playing nine of them in one match, along with Vincent Kompany (if fit) and the new lad in goal, Ederson.
Staying with City, I suggested on live TV before Christmas that Yaya Toure would never play for the club again and probably end up suffering the indignation of having to move to somewhere rubbish like West Ham. Well, and not for the first time, I was way off the mark as Yaya turned out to be a key man in the second half of the season and earned himself a one-year extension.
As we probably all know by now, Jurgen Klopp will no longer be the only charismatic German manager in the top flight as he will be joined next season by his old mate, David Wagner. I would like to warn you that Wagner and Klopp know each other. In fact, they are mates and I am pretty sure this might get mentioned once or twice when the new season gets underway. And prepare for the pre-match interviews, happy montages etc of their time together at Dortmund when the two face each other for the first time. Sky are licking their lips at the prospect already.
One man who might well play in a Liverpool shirt that day is Dominic Solanke who, having grown tired of not getting a chance to play Premier League football, has moved from Chelsea to Anfield where, I would imagine, he will get only marginally more Premier League football. Still, Bournemouth are probably waiting in the wings to take Solanke off Klopp’s hands in the January transfer window. Liverpool are also very keen on Mo Salah, having seen last season’s title bid derailed by losing an African to international duty are clearly planning on going double or quits next time round.
With Big Sam’s ego having convinced him that he was too good for Palace, Roberto Mancini has gone to extreme measures to remove himself from the speculation surrounding the Selhurst Park job. The Italian has taken a job in Russia, which he clearly preferred to a couple of years in Croydon. I’m sure the Croydon branch of my family won’t mind me agreeing with Roberto that Russia probably is the lesser of the two evils.
In the last week Thomas Tuchel, Luis Enrique and Roma’s Spalletti have all left their positions and have been consistently linked to the Premier League in the past. Palace can dream, but they are more likely to end up with someone like Gary Rowett than the former Barca manager.
Rafa is lining up life in the Premier League once again and I suspect he has decided that Newcastle’s plan for survival involves him getting the Liverpool boys back together again. Pepe Reina is on his way from Napoli, and it is believed that Djimi Traore, Vladimir Smicer and Djibril Cisse are all sitting by the phone just waiting for that call.
Finally, we shall end where we started at Arsenal. Now that Arsene has agreed that deal, we can look forward to the summer transfer window where the Gunners get linked to all the top names in Europe and end up empty handed. Kicking it all off is the Monaco star Kylian Mbappe who has caught the eye of almost everyone this season. With Bernardo Silva moving on and a lot of the other Monaco band likely to go the same way it is likely that Mbappe will be on the move. Not to Arsenal though, not a chance…