And with the next season just around the corner, things are ramping up very nicely. José thinks he’s ready:
I am ready for this…
I am ready for the next 15, I would say.
Whoa there Bullseye – José in charge of United for the next fifteen years? A little too much of the Californian Rosé, José, given that you’ve barely lasted til season two at most of your previous outings before the whole toys, pram, dummy ensemble. Is that why they call it the ‘Theatre of Dreams’?
However, he has a strategy:
What I try to do in the club is show that my work goes further than the football results, that it goes to areas that people don’t think of as a manager’s job.
He said whilst hoovering the new carpet in the away dressing room and noticing that the bay numbers in the visitors car park needed some attention.
Not so keen on Manchester is Dani Alves, who turned down a nailed-on deal to kill his career stone dead playing alongside John Stones, all for an extra 100k a week and a chance for the wife to shop on the Champs-Elysées instead of the Arndale Centre.
But that hasn’t stopped Pep, though, who’s been strangely quiet over the summer – probably plugged into a geothermal power-source recharging his batteries so that his aura is significantly brighter this time around. Whist he’s been throbbing quietly in the cellar, his money men have blown £200 million on players who look good in Spain and the South of France but may well make Arsenal look like trained ninjas when they experience the long cold descent into winter in Manchester.
But, if you’re shopping at the top end of the market, £200 million will get you a couple of Northern Irish politicians, a clandestine meeting with a member of the Trump family (provided you’ve a Russian accent) or a Neymar. Now I’m not sure if ‘Neymar’ is his first name, last name, nickname or only name, but for £200 million, PSG are going to take him off Barcelona’s hands.
So they’re talking to his Dad. What is it about billionaire footballers putting all of their business affairs in the hands of their fathers? If the Dad’s were any good at it, they’d be millionaires already wouldn’t they? Perhaps they are – what do I know, I don’t even know the bloke’s proper name.
And Neymar’s not enough. They want Alexis Sanchez as well, and they’re pretty certain that they’ll get him, despite the picture of Arsene Wenger screwing up his face and stamping his feet whilst hurling abuse down the phone and offering them Olivier Giroud and £40million to go away and leave them alone. Because next season is going to be his season and no-one’s going to spoil it – or they’ll pay.
Meanwhile, the other ‘most expensive player in the world’ - and possibly the last man left in the Monaco squad after their summer clean-out - Kylian Mbappé, is on his way to Real Madrid for a mere £160 million. Or at least they’re talking to his Dad, which as we know, is as good as.
But this is where is gets confusing and frustrating because in all of these transfers, one side will claim that ‘talks are advanced’ or ‘we’re confident that so and so will be our player soon’, and then the other side deny all knowledge of any talks taking place – what’s all that about? Personally, I don’t think the fact that two sets of clubs are discussing a player transfer is sensitive or privileged information – what does it matter? Who cares? Unless your club might be about to sign Neymar, and then you'd probably be wetting yourselves.
Possibly even quieter than Pep this summer has been Jürgen Klopp, partly due to time spent at his Transylvanian summer retreat training as a vampire, and partly due to his marginally less that suicidal transfer policy. First off was target centre-half Dick Van Dyke, who they ‘tapped up illegally’ ( I think they approached him in the bathroom), got their fingers rapped and it all ended up in tears with Dick ostracised at his home club like a blood donor at a Jehovah’s Witness meeting.
Next up was midfielder Naby Keïta of RB Leipzig, who they’ve been pursuing all summer, only for the German club to rebuff each approach with a resounding ‘he’s not for sale’. ‘Seriously, he’s not for sale’. ‘Really, appreciate the interest…..but he’s not for sale’. ‘Sit on this four-eyes, he’s not moving’.
Liverpool have started liking his Facebook page twenty times a day and hanging bedsheets from the bridges near where he lives saying things like ‘Jürgen and Naby – together forever’, but they haven’t of course learnt the first rule of international transfers – they’re not speaking to his Dad.
And, you can’t keep a good man down, Former England boss Sam Allardyce says he is open to the prospect of a return to international management.
If I have to consider anything, it would have to be an international position.
An obvious choice given the success of his last international position. However I really don't think he has to consider anything... although perhaps ticket-collector at Disneyland Paris might be attractive. Is he serious? If he is, he’s got more front than Blackpool.
Finally, the Djibouti Football Federation has dissolved the national football team in a bid to 'stop poor results' and it seems just about the most sensible bit of news to come out of the football world for a while. The national team were rubbish, so they took the decision to pack it in due to 'the never-ending series of bad results'.
I know how they feel.