Todays Tales

You see folks, this is why international breaks are rubbish. What good has actually happened this weekend, eh? None, whatsoever – unless you are maybe a West Bromwich Albion fan and you’ve managed to get through the weekend unbeaten for once. West Ham fans have probably had their best weekend for a while as well, I suppose. Everton fans have been able to give their necks a bit of a rest from looking skywards for 90 minutes and Arsene Wenger has been able to spend a few days plotting Arsenal’s attack for Premier League glory next season.

The only problem with that last weekend activity is that it is looking increasingly likely (again) that Arsene will not be in charge next season. Oh no. And, it might actually be happening this time. Brendan Rodgers can be “flattered” all he wants about links to the Emirates Stadium, but it’s not him that the Arsenal are talking to behind closed doors. Thomas Tuchel, the former Borussia Dortmund manager, has apparently turned down Bayern Munich’s offer for next season because he is keen on a move to England. And with at least three familiar Dortmund faces now at Arsenal it makes sense as to why he has been locked in a room with some representatives of the Gunners thrashing out some kind of deal.

But wait! Chelsea are going to need someone sitting in their dugout next season as well, especially given that Paris Saint-Germain are going to dangle £10m a year under Antonio Conte’s nose. To be fair, I don’t think they’d even have to dangle that much under his hooter for Antonio to leg it out of Stamford Bridge. Could Chelsea then turn to Tuchel to reinvigorate their squad?

Ryan Giggs has taken being manager of Wales to the level of meddling in Gareth Bale’s affairs, telling the Real Madrid man to stay put and snub Jose Mourinho. Whilst this is clearly to do with Giggsy being exited from Old Trafford by Mourinho and nothing to do with the welfare of Bale, Giggs actually does have a point. Is there a manager out there who is more likely to ruin the last few years of Bale’s career? Probably not, no.

That is certainly how Alexis Sanchez seems to be feeling right now. Poor Alexis. He spent all that time trying to leave Arsenal and now he ends up in an even worse kind of hell. He eats on his own in the canteen, can’t find any kind of form on the pitch and probably doesn’t know how to spend all of the £400,000 a week he is picking up for such bother. If only Pep had really wanted you, eh Alexis?

AS Monaco’s Thomas Lemar has sent yet another “come-and-get-me-please” plea to both Arsenal and Liverpool and he really does not mind which one responds. Liverpool are still looking for some kind of Philippe Coutinho replacement so could well show some interest in the French international again but are more likely to try and remove Manuel Lanzini from West Ham United because, frankly, he is better than that. Mo Salah could well be in for a little pay-rise aimed at keeping him at Liverpool for as long as possible with a £200k-a-week contract being typed up as we speak. Of course, all that will really do is pay Mo Salah £200k-a-week instead of what he is currently on until he tells Jurgen he has heard Madrid is a nice place to live.

If you believe everything you read, which you are reading this I really hope you do not, Wayne Rooney could be off to the States as soon as David Beckham is allowed to start signing players for his Miami MLS side. And it won’t just be Wazza. Becks wants to get hold of Cristiano Ronaldo as well. Why stop there, David? Get Sir Alex out of retirement, see what Carlos Tevez is doing and beg both Rio and Nemanja to get the band back together one last time and you could have the entire United side that last won the Champions League. Carlo Ancelotti is the coach Beckham really wants, apparently.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has already legged it Stateside, having decided life at United is much too painful this season. Who can blame him? The weather in Manchester currently versus life in Los Angeles. Ibra announced himself in his usual style, taking out a full page advert in the local press and saying, “Dear Los Angeles. You’re welcome. Zlatan”. Let’s see if the lion can still play a bit of football, shall we?

I suppose we should mention some international football. As much as I would like to pretend it doesn’t exist, there is this whole World Cup thing coming up in the summer and at some point, I know I am going to be interested in how early England can get knocked out this time.

Following the FA moaning about the “stag weekend” culture of England fans abroad, who had the bright idea of arranging a Friday night friendly in Amsterdam? As predictably as you could imagine, England fans were their usual selves, finding it hilarious to throw bicycles into the canals of Amsterdam and pour beer over locals. Can we not tell those idiots the World Cup is in Australia or something? Though I have a feeling the Russian locals might deal with it all a bit differently.

Anyway, the actual football wasn’t too bad at all – even if it was against a Netherlands side so much in crisis they’ve given the job to Ronald Koeman. They are at the beginning of a long cycle of change, whereas Gareth Southgate thinks he can see his team “shedding the fear” of playing in an England shirt. He even managed to convince us that Kyle Walker can do a job in a back three, something only a Terry Venables would have tried many years ago. Look, I am not saying England are going to do well but if Southgate keeps remaining true to himself, handling himself in the composed manner he has done every step of the way we might go as far as not completely humiliating ourselves in Russia. Maybe. Possibly. And the penny seems to have finally dropped that we don’t have to pick Joe Hart. That can only be a good thing.