The Magnificent 7

Yet another week has passed us by in the football world and nothing much happened really, did it? Oh, that! And yes OK, that. I suppose that was interesting too. Well, let us reflect on the seven that have earned the right to be thought of as Magnificent. As ever, they are in no particular order as I am far from being that organised…

#1 Mini Raiola

I think we’d all agree that there is no way on Earth that Ed Woodward is competent enough to have pulled the wool over the eyes of Chelsea. There had to be someone slightly more devious/clever than the Manchester United transfer target list bearer involved in the whole Lukaku hoodwink. And indeed there was. It transpires that the agent of many of the world’s top transfer targets, incidentally Romelu Lukaku’s as well, suggested that United pretend to be interested in Matic and keep the Chelsea board occupied on that ruse. Meanwhile, Ed Woodward and Mini were giggling away as they agreed a £75m fee for the Belgian. There’s an extra £15m add ons on the table as well, presumably payable once Lukaku develops a first touch.

#2 Wayne Rooney

Once a Blue, always a Blue eh Wayne? Providing we turn a blind eye to the fact you buggered off to Old Trafford for the best part of thirteen years, made a fair bit of cash, divided a nation and had a hairline that moved around a lot more than you in your last couple of seasons. Rooney says this return is a dream come true, especially as he can now wear his Everton pyjamas again which, allegedly, he never threw out. Some people say this is a terrible deal for Everton, others suggested they’ve actually upgraded their number nine.

#3 Romelu Lukaku

It’s almost as if there is a theme today, right? Romelu Lukaku announced his arrival by saying “who could say no when the biggest club in the world comes calling?” At first I could not believe he had been foolish enough to turn down Real Madrid for Manchester United, then I thought this might have been a theoretical question in the ilk of a certain Eric Cantona. Either way, it turns out that Ed Woodward didn’t just hoodwink Chelsea, he managed to get Lukaku to believe that United are still the biggest club in the world.

#4 Ruben Neves

“Ruben, you do not understand me. I own you. You go where I tell you to go, especially when I can make several million euro off the back of your cute little eyes” Jorge Mendes probably didn’t say to the Portuguese midfielder. Mendes is almost as influential a figure at Molineux now as he is at Valencia, and boy that’s going well isn’t it? Wolves are owned by a group of Chinese businessmen and Jorge Mendes is pretty much their footballing consultant, unofficially of course – I mean, there is no conflict of interest here at all is there? It’s perfectly normal that one of Europe’s hottest properties, a kid that is the youngest ever Champions League captain, monitored by Juventus, Arsenal, Liverpool, Atletico Madrid and PSG at one point or another has decided to swap life at FC Porto to move to the Black Country.

#5 Ivan Perisic

When I was a kid the first you really knew about a potential transfer was when it broke on the back pages of the newspaper or, more likely, we got told that the deal was done via Teletext or Ceefax. You certainly never had any of the players joining in the pantomime because, frankly, they didn’t really know what was going on until the gaffer called them into the office and said something like “Jonesy, how do you like the seaside? Excellent, pack your bags son. I’ve just sold you to Blackpool”. Nowadays you have teasers happening on social media, like Ivan Perisic tweeting a photo of an airport lounge. Of course, in 2017 this means he is nailed on to the be the next signing at Manchester United as all the ITK social media accounts, yeah I am looking at your “Moley” and “Indi-fucking-Kaila”, turn it into a confirmed rumour from an agent they pretend to know.

#6 Player reveals

Which brings me on to my second point. These player reveals. No. Stop now. They are really, really bad. I mean, I know football clubs now recruit what they believe to be the cream of graduate brilliance in terms of social media, and going viral (which meant something else entirely when I was at Uni) and all that but these player reveals are like a terrible game of keeping up with the neighbours. Aston Villa set the bar pretty low at the start of the week with the whole JT Whatsapp thing, but Arsenal, Everton and even Swansea City managed to plunge to new depths. Incredible. Seriously, bring back Ceefax and ClubCall.

#7 Arsene Wenger

Credit to the great man, he has pulled it off. He said a few years ago that Alexandre Lacazette was going to be a £50m player and there was no way that Arsene was going to prove himself wrong by paying £18m for him three seasons ago or £32m for him last season. No, Wenger wanted to wait until the price tag topped £50m so he could be seen as Nostradamus once again. Bravo Arsene, bravo.