Todays Tales

Let me tell you what is troubling me this morning folks. I cannot work out whether £45m for Gylfi Sigurdsson is a bargain or yet another example of transfer fees gone mad. Let us presume that Ronald Koeman does indeed have a master plan that he is working towards. Where does Gylfi actually fit in? Allow me to get all tactical for a moment, but if you pay £45m for a lad you must surely plan to play him in his best position, which for Sigurdsson is in that thing we used to call “the hole”. However, if Gylfi starts operating in that space, he’s going to find this big Scouse boy in his way saying “I’m still a Blue, I was always a Blue”. I don’t think this is going to work.

Anyway, once you have got your head around that conundrum, what about this? Manchester City not only bid £18m for Jonny Evans but West Bromwich Albion politely declined the offer. £18m? For Evans? Seriously? I can’t keep up. If he is actually that good, why the hell did he go from Manchester United to Sunderland and then to WBA? Or has Tony Pulis taught him how to be a proper defender, something that Sir Alex Ferguson failed to do presumably? Mind you, he is better than John Stones – not that that puts him in an exclusive group or anything.

Arsene Wenger is greasing the wheels for Alexis Sanchez’s eventual exit just like the old pro he is. “Arsenal are taking a huge financial risk by making him stay,” says the manager. As we know, Wenger is not a fan of huge financial risks so there is absolutely no chance that Sanchez will be allowed to leave for free when there is £60m on the table. Or maybe not, as the publicity seeking Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote refuses to go away and is convinced that Stan Kroenke will sell the club to him. If that happens, what’s £60m eh? Especially when the guy also said, “the first thing I would do is change the coach”. Guaranteed to pass the fit and proper persons test, this one. Arsenal could well off-set some of that “huge financial risk” in a more suitable way than selling to Africa’s richest man – selling Gabriel back to La Liga for £10m, getting Debuchy to go to Marseille and finding suitable rehoming for Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson and Jack Wilshere all of which could probably get Newcastle United quite excited.

Speaking of Rafa Benitez, he begged and Mike Ashley delivered – Joselu has headed up the road from Stoke City for £5m which is tantamount to a free transfer this season. That’s one to get the Magpie fans off their seats, no?

According to Southampton, who have just sold 80% of their club to China don’t forget, not selling Virgil van Dijk shows ambition. Really? How so? Keeping him when he doesn’t want to play for you does what for you exactly? I wish clubs what just stop all this false posturing and just sell someone that wants to leave and be done with it. There is no loyalty in football, and neither should there be. Do you think a club is that bothered about loyalty when it sacks the manager? Or do you think they really care whether it is Sky (who funded the Premier League don’t forget) or BT providing the crazy money next season? Of course they don’t, so stop pretending that there aren’t another 50 Virgil van Dijk’s out there waiting to be bought and sold and just accept where you are in the football food chain.

The Mirror are excelling this week, suggesting that Liverpool should bite the bullet and sell Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £100m and then spend the money on Tottenham Hotspur’s Dele Alli. Now, I know that Daniel Levy likes making a profit on a player but even he isn’t going to jump at £100m for the most talented English player out there in the current market. The Mirror claim to have an inside scoop, and I think that inside scoop might be raspberry ripple. Tottenham are also saying they “have no intention” of selling Danny Rose to Chelsea, which probably means “well, not at that price anyway”. They’d have to also convince Rose that the West End is further north than Tottenham High Street anyway. Tottenham still haven’t bought anyone, and the latest reason seems to be that the pound is not very strong. Classic Levy.

Diego Costa is saying that he doesn’t care how nicely Chelsea ask him to come back to London, it just isn’t happening. He would, funnily enough, party it up in Brazil instead of playing football rather than be in London not playing football. And, let us not forget, it was Antonio Conte who told him that he wasn’t needed this season, so you can’t really blame Diego for this one. Costa has made it clear, it’s back to Madrid for him or nothing. And, frankly, nothing is an option for him.

Brighton boss Chris Hughton has said that Leicester City are the model to follow when it comes to staying in the Premier League. So by your thinking Chris, you have this season to just about avoid relegation but act like a total tit all season and then get sacked in the summer for someone who will get hammered in the press before they even get started – I’m thinking Tim Sherwood – who will then go on and lift the title. Good plan Chris, good plan.

Finally today, Lady Brady of West Ham claims that “most” Premier League clubs would be in favour of the transfer window shutting early. I can’t understand why a director of the Hammers would think that as surely that would lead to their purchasing being even more panic-stricken than normal? How’s Joe Hart working out for you guys?