In the words of the infamous Professor James Moriarty: Miss me?
You could tell the new season is almost here, by the number of Fantasy Football league codes floating around on the Internet and with terms such as ‘panic’, ‘transfer request’ and ‘EXCLUSIVE’ making regular appearances in all-caps in the tabloids. With the summer almost over, we decided to take a look at what’s gone down so far. Here’s a special edition of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Don’t tell me you didn’t miss it.
Pep Guardiola and Manchester City: After an eventful season wherein Pep’s experiment with defensive incompetence produced the square root of bugger all in terms of trophies, the shrewd tactician decided to return to the tried and trusted. A dash through the supermarket, with a shopping trolley and a billionaire’s chequebook, seems to have bought him enough defenders to last a lifetime. Still, it would be quite glorious to see Walker’s mishit clearance striking Mendy, sailing over the head of a prone Ederson and landing in City’s goal.
Mino Raiola: The agent provocateur has got his fat little fingers in every pie under the sky. Or rather, every pie that catches the fancy of Ed Woodward. After moving another client to Manchester United for an eye-watering fee, we can safely say it’s the chubster who’s making Woodward look competent in the transfer market. Want a high profile transfer concluded where money is not an object? Better mail Mino.
Everton: The season their neighbours bought Andy Carroll for £35 million, Everton brought in the Greek striker Apostolos Vellios (who?). Fast forward six and a half years and Everton have dropped almost £100 million on strengthening the spine of their team. Just goes to show that getting by on a shoestring and patiently waiting for the right investor to pump his billions into the club really does work.
West Ham: They’ve finally signed a striker whose name is not Simone Zaza. The Little Pea has big ballerina shoes to fill.
Southampton: They’ve successfully resisted being bullied and even tattled to the headmaster about it. They still might have to give up their lunch money, but at least they’ll get to decide which schoolyard bully gets it.
The Chelsea Salesmen: Forget selling ice to Eskimos, the fine folks in the Chelsea sales department could sell peace to the Middle East. So far they’ve sold players worth £100 million in this summer alone; that’s half a Neymar!
Antonio Conte and Chelsea: For how long will Antonio Conte tolerate members of his squad being sold and no replacements being bought? Not very, if previous form is any indication. Conte walked out on Juventus before the start of the new season in 2014 due to lack of support from the board. Incidentally, that was also the season he bought Alvaro Morata. Could history be about to repeat itself?
Liverpool: Oh, Liverpool, you sly little buggers. Just a few months after being banned from signing academy players due to a tapping up scandal, Liverpool decided to try the same modus operandi in the big leagues. Virgil Van Dijk was the target this time but Southampton caught them sneaking around their back garden and promptly alerted the authorities. Liverpool then issued a grovelling letter of apology and promised to stay ten feet away from Van Dijk at all times.
Tottenham: Mauricio Pochettino must have let out a deep sigh as clubs all around him paraded their new signings in all sorts of wacky and cringe-worthy videos on social media. Will he get a chance to show off The Poch Pose with a new signing anytime soon? Or will he have to wait until deadline day when Levy finally hands him a few quid, pats him on the head and tells him to get whatever he wants?
Barcelona: Reported transfer fee for the transfer of Neymar from Santos – €57 million.
Actual transfer cost – €86.2 million.
Number of Barcelona executives jailed – 1
Number of tax fraud accusations – 1
The look on Barcelona executives’ faces when PSG suits march in, slap a cheque of €222 million on the table and walk out with Neymar – PRICELESS.