Midsummer Night’s Bream
The Sun’s Chief Grumpypants Steven Howard says that the Premier League clubs are ‘buying players just for the hell of it’. Which of course makes him awful grumpy. What doesn’t?
He says that ‘right now we are in the middle of some sort of midsummer madness’, which is bizarre as all 20 Premier League clubs have made a grand total of five permanent signings in the last six days. These are crazy, crazy, crazy nights indeed.
‘Incredibly, United have spent a quarter of a billion pounds – AFTER player sales – since Alex Ferguson retired,’ writes Howard.
It sounds ‘incredible’ because it’s absolute sodding nonsense, Steven.
Manchester United’s net spend since the summer of 2013 is actually just under £200m. In tabloid vernacular, that is a ‘fifth of a billion pounds’. Incredible.
Description Of The Day
Steven Howard being grumpy on Pedro: ‘A decent enough player though hardly in the Messi-Neymar-Suarez class.’
Which, presumably, is why he is costing Chelsea £21m rather than £75m.
Easiest Answer Of The Day
Question from Steven Howard: ‘Would he (Pedro) have been an improvement on Memphis Depay, Juan Mata, Ashley Young or Adnan Januzaj?’
Let’s Talk About Cesc
There’s some wonderful space-filling ‘oooh, not everybody succeeds at Chelsea’ typing from Darren Lewis in the Daily Mirror, who begins: ‘HE lifted 20 trophies with Barcelona – but his reputation will count for nothing at Stamford Bridge.
‘Pedro need only look at Juan Cuadrado, the man on his way out to accommodate him, to know that not everyone can stand the heat at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho.’
So to re-cap: A man who has won 20 trophies needs to look at a man who has won absolutely none to know that ‘reputations count for nothing’.
We suspect instead that he will look at fellow serial trophy winner Cesc Fabregas and think ‘do you know what, it might just work out okay’.
The Daily Mirror have attempted to bulk out Darren Lewis’ groundbreaking ‘not every player works out at Chelsea’ piece with a sidebar that points out that ‘EVERYONE MAKES MISTAKES, SOMETIMES…’
Included in a quite random list with Andy Carroll (but not Fernando Torres), Angel Di Maria and Asamoah Gyan is Alvaro Negredo, who was bought for £20m, scored 23 goals in a season that brought the Premier League and the League Cup, had a season out on loan and was then sold for £24m. An unimitigated disaster.
The Magic Numbers
The Daily Express have an ‘exclusive’ on their back page. Sister paper the Daily Star have the same exclusive – a ‘£100m double swoop’ (The Daily Star) for Paul Pogba and John Stones. Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters.
According to the Daily Star: ‘It would take the club’s summer spending to a massive £150m, with £21m Barcelona winger Pedro the latest recruit.’
But that £150m is not nearly ‘massive’ enough for the Express, who write: ‘Blues boss Jose Mourinho is ready to take his spending to nearly £200m before the transfer window closes.’
Yes, that’s right – they have rounded £151.5m up to £200m.
Question Of The Day
Can transfer requests be anything other than ‘slapped in’?
Mend Of The Road
‘I’ll mend defence’ is the headline on the back page of The Sun, as ‘NICOLAS OTAMENDI has vowed to sort out Manchester City’s defence’.
a) Of course, he says nothing of the sort.
b) Why does a defence that has conceded no goals in two Premier League games need ‘mending’ again?
Quit Playing Games
From the Daily Mail under the headline ‘I’M NOT A QUITTER’: ‘Jermain Defoe has hit back at claims he is agitating for a move away from bottom club Sunderland and says he will be happy as long as he is scoring goals. There have been reports that the 32-year-old went to see Black Cats manager Dick Advocaat this week to tell him that he wanted to quit the club.
‘Defoe, though, says that is not true and insists he would never make such a demand, although admits his future could yet be determined by other parties.
‘”If you speak to any manager I have played for – Harry Redknapp, AVB, Fabio Capello – not once have I stormed into their office. I am not one of those players,’ he said.'”
Hmmm. We will not speak to Redknapp, AVB or Capello (we don’t have their numbers) but we will take a look at what Defoe himself told ITV4 in 2013 about his exit from West Ham in 2004:
“The person who represented me at the time said, ‘You need to hand in a transfer request and get in early because all the lads are going to leave’. I remember going in and I was so nervous. It was [then-West Ham chief executive] Paul Aldridge and I gave him the letter and he said, ‘What’s this?’ And I said, ‘It’s a transfer request’. He looked at me as if to say, ‘Are you kidding?'”
We could ask you the same question now, Mr ‘Not One Of Those Players’ Defoe.
‘WHAT I’M HEARING…’ is the intriguing headline on Neil Ashton’s selection of titbits that form a side dish to his column in the Daily Mail. What Crystal Palace fan Ashton has heard this week is something vaguely interesting about Crystal Palace player Dwight Gayle telephoning Bristol City manager Steve Cotterill and something truly predictable about two Southampton players not being happy on the bench. Thanks for that.
Stand by for the real scoop that Ashton is ‘hearing’: ‘The chaotic scenes usually associated with an 11pm transfer deadline will be absent this time round because of a UEFA demand to register players for the Champions League and Europa League before midnight on Tuesday September 1. With clubs typically buried in admin on deadline day, the Premier League brought forward the deadline to 6pm on September 1, to give time to clubs in the Champions League and Europa League to register their squads for European competition.’
Mediawatch is equally as astonished by this news as it was in June, when the Press Association told us: ‘The fact that the UEFA deadline for Champions League squads to be submitted comes at 11 p.m. (6 ET) on Sept. 1, means the Premier League has opted for an earlier deadline. That will allow champions Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United – the four qualified teams – to formalise their lists in the intervening period.’
WHAT I WAS READING TWO MONTHS AGO…
Banter Of The Day
Courtesy of Dave Woods in the Daily Star: ‘Once again this year the north Londoners have got off to a slow start – not so much Hotspurs, more like Lukewarmspurs!’
If you even tittered, we can do without the clicks.
Headline Of The Day
‘GAME OF STONES’ – The Sun. Massive fan of this.
Worst Headline Of The Day
‘Sparky: ‘Shaq’ll rattle them all’ – The Daily Mirror.