Liverpool fans will be rejoicing today, with Philippe Coutinho rumours abound. After all that drama, a year-long saga, the whole “will he, won’t he?”, the continuous driving up of the price, it might not have even been a little bit worth it. The story goes a little bit like this. Neymar, that rather expensive Brazilian who plays for Paris Saint-Germain, is not a fan of Kylian Mbappe. And if Neymar isn’t a fan, then Kylian needs to be looking for a new club. Said new club could well be Barcelona, who are always looking to overspend on attacking players. Now, here comes the twist. There is a player in the world that Neymar does like, and he goes by the name of P. Coutino. Yes, you are one step ahead of me. Coutinho goes one way, Mbappe the other, no money changes hands and everyone, including FFP are happy bunnies. Except Liverpool fans, they are rarely happy.
I will say it now, I would like Swansea City to stay in the Premier League. They have a manager who is worth listening to (and seems to be half competent, which is rare in the modern days of Swansea) and they offer their fans free tea and coffee on very cold nights. I like this, it is good to see. They also beat Sheffield Wednesday in their replay, meaning the Swans are in the FA Cup Quarter Final for the first time in over 50 years.
The people that really run English football, the Premier League, are very close to agreeing to a two-week Winter Break in February, starting in the 2019/20 season. Other than removing yet another excuse for England being dismal in international tournaments, it’s an OK idea, providing you think about the smaller clubs too. What’s that? “Screw the little clubs?” Charming. Non-Premier League clubs have raised the valid point that if scrapping FA Cup replays are part of the deal then that could hit them in the pocket as one of those knock-on effects. But then, if the Premier League actually cared about anything non-Premier League there is plenty they could actually do, right?
If any of you are still living in the fantasy land where the World Cup is more important than the Champions League, then it’s time to wake up. VAR will be used in Russia, despite the fact it has more teething problems than an unsettled toddler. The Champions League isn’t prepared to have their brand completely ridiculed for looking stupid and would rather wait until this new fad goes away or at the very least becomes something a little more user-friendly. I tend to agree with them, for once.
Antonio Conte has got his wish to be named “first choice for the Italian Job” – which puts him in the win-win position he was hoping for. He now has a wonderful bargaining chip for Roman Abramovich to back him and if he doesn’t, then he has a job he loves to go to seamlessly. If only Conte could get Chelsea playing so well.