Arsenal to play Hazard up front and sign Mudryk after Chelsea confuse and ‘surprise’ themselves

Editor F365
Eden Hazard celebrates scoring against Arsenal

Chelsea were going to provide ‘strong competition’ and even possibly ‘out-bid’ Arsenal for Mykhaylo Mudryk but suddenly they never fancied him anyway.


Graham cracker
It would obviously (not) be a disaster for English managers if Chelsea were to sack Graham Potter, but is that actually a likelihood at all? Thankfully, The Sun are on hand to clarify a few things with an exclusive from Daniel Cutts.

‘It is understood the Blues board are already considering Potter’s future – despite only hiring him in September.’

Champions League managers just can’t win one game in eight without consequence anymore, can they? Sickening.

‘However, the 47-year-old is expected to be given the rest of this month to see if he can turn things around.’

Well at least that’s something. Although the suggestion pretty much everywhere else is that he’s staying until the summer at least.

‘But a poor result against local rivals Fulham tomorrow could see the end of his short reign.’

Oh. So Potter will get the rest of January to prove himself. But also if Chelsea lose literally their next game he could be gone. That’s one way to exclusively cover all bases.


Taking the Myk
“The Mudryk one, from what I gather, is more at the moment exploratory,” said Matt Law, the Daily Telegraph‘s football news correspondent, on Chelsea podcast London Is Blue.

“They want to know what the deal is with Mudryk, they want to know how far down the line it is or isn’t with Arsenal. They want to know what the asking price is.

“I think the asking price is something like £88 million, I don’t think Chelsea have any intention of ever bidding £88m for him.

“I think there’s a little bit of surprise around the ownership that so much has been made of the interest in Mudryk. I think they just see it as being exploratory, a bit of due diligence – is this guy available, how much is he, what’s the situation? They’re looking at him.”

It didn’t sound so “exploratory” five days ago when Law teamed up with Sam Dean to write in the Telegraph that Arsenal ‘face strong competition from Chelsea’ over Mudryk.

It didn’t seem like mere “due diligence” when it was said that injury issues ‘could accelerate Chelsea’s move for Mudryk’ this month.

It is pretty weird that “the ownership” is so stunned that “so much has been made of the interest in Mudryk” when it was reported that ‘there is a feeling within Stamford Bridge that they will be able to out-bid Arsenal’ less than a week ago.

Someone is playing silly beggars. And it presumably has nothing to do with Mudryk blatantly wanting to join Arsenal and not Chelsea.


Hazard warning
‘How Arsenal could line up with Eden Hazard and Mykhailo Mudryk as Mikel Arteta plots double January transfer swoop’ is standard harmless nonsense from The Sun website but a) Hazard was only ever mentioned as an alternative to Mudryk, b) Arsenal are absolutely not signing Eden Hazard, and c) even if they did, it definitely wouldn’t be to play as a starting false nine.


Spanish inquisition
Mediawatch does not doubt Sami Mokbel’s story in the Daily Mail about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ‘attracting interest from Spain’. But saying that La Liga clubs are eyeing the striker ‘primarily with a view to the summer market’ does not specifically rule out a January transfer which would make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Aubameyang, per FIFA rules, cannot play for another European club this season other than Chelsea and Barcelona, who are not about to re-sign him.

So unless a La Liga side is going to bring Aubameyang in this month, register him, pay a fee and cover his wages despite being unable to play him until next season, it ought to be clarified that such a move categorically isn’t going to happen in January.


Like 10,000 spoons
This is certainly an interesting paragraph from The Sun‘s Charlie Wyett in his match report of Newcastle’s Carabao Cup quarter-final win over Leicester:

‘It would be also ironic – and a testament to Howe’s ability as a manager – if Newcastle won a trophy before they were able to truly flex their financial muscles thanks to their Saudi Arabian owners.’

Sure, Newcastle haven’t signed Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi. Yet. But does the biggest January spend of any Premier League club ever, an investment of more than £200m into the playing squad over two transfer windows, one club-record signing and three individual purchases of more than £30m, really not represent a club being able to ‘truly flex their financial muscles’?

Just wait until those poor Magpies loosen the purse strings, folks.


Fan service
Mind you, this Wyett line is the most curious of all:

‘As for Leicester, they now go to Nottingham Forest on Saturday, the club their fans dislike the least.’

Always give it a quick read before sending, fella.


Main man
‘How Kobbie Mainoo forced Erik ten Hag to make him a Man Utd first-team starter at 17’ – Daily Mirror website.

Did he hold him at gunpoint? Were some incriminating photos involved? Had he threatened to send a text from Ten Hag’s phone apologising to Cristiano Ronaldo and begging for him to return?

Nope. It turns out Kobbie Mainoo was just really good in training.


Treble and strife
In the latest of a maddening new genre, the Daily Mirror website step up with an absolute doozy:

‘Unrecognisable Manchester United treble winner wins non-league manager award’

This ‘unrecognisable’ man looks an awful lot like Jonathan Greening in the face; this is not a 1970s sitcom so a different hairstyle and a beard does not completely disguise someone. It didn’t make him ‘unrecognisable’ in October and certainly doesn’t now.

Then again, Greening was obviously ‘known for his luscious locks and a clean-shaven face’ at Old Trafford. They called him clean-shaven Greeno. It was a whole thing.

But also, no. Not having Jonathan Greening as a ‘Manchester United treble winner’. In the 1998/99 season he didn’t make a single Champions League appearance, he played three times in the Premier League – as a substitute on each occasion – and his only FA Cup minutes were in the last 16. Of his seven games that campaign, three were in the League Cup – the only competition Manchester United didn’t win.