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Roker Ramble: Deal or No Deal?

The China Syndrome continues, the Arsenal defence discovers some bottle, Jose’s back in the frame and Tony Adams just keeps popping back up... it’s this week’s Roker Ramble, ladies and gents.

Real Madrid v Atletico de Madrid - 2019 International Champions Cup
Tearing his hair out.
Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

So, when Gareth was heading off to China, my initial thoughts were – ‘what a waste’.

One of the worlds best players, still with a lot to contribute and so many titles and trophies to his name - he belongs on the worlds biggest stage, not playing anonymously in some (with all due respect to the Chinese Super League) footballing backwater.

But then I thought - well it’s not a backwater for the Chinese and the millions who’ll watch him over there, who could be inspired in so many ways to build the sport in their own country by watching him play.

But then I thought - I don’t give a sh*t about that, he really is chucking his career away.

However, it then transpired he was due to get £1 million per week and it all started to make more sense. I mean I wouldn’t want to live in China, but I’d do it for £1 million per week. Hell, I’d live in Newcastle for £1 million per week.

But then the deal fell through. Apparently the Real Madrid chairman decided he wanted a transfer fee. Really? Was there ever any doubt that you were going to let your £85 million player walk out of the door for nothing? In which case why let the negotiations continue for a couple of weeks before putting the brakes on just as the Chinese transfer window closes?

I suspect skulduggery of the highest order and Gareth faced with a ‘no-deal’ situation should definitely think about getting Michael Gove in as his new agent.

Tory MPs Jockey For Leadership
The new Mr 10%
Photo by Luke Dray/Getty Images

He’s also faced with an uncomfortable future, at least in the short term, but fear not, help is at hand from another Welsh Spaniard - John Toshack:

He should learn the language – get the fans on his side.

Bale is Welsh (‘Bayuls from Wayuls’ as they say) and he never learnt the language when he moved to Tottenham - fat chance of anything happening now.

So he did what is becoming increasingly common by refusing to play in the Real friendly against Spurs, stating that he was ‘too distressed’. That’ll get the fans back on his side, then.

Arsenal Pre-Season Tour of the United States
You looking at me?
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Also too distressed to play in a pre-season friendly were Messrs Ozil and Kolasinac of Arsenal after the attempted car-jacking in North London. I must admit I wasn’t too aware of Sead Kolasinac before this, but fair play to the guy.

Nicknamed ‘The Tank’, I certainly wouldn’t question his spirit in the Arsenal defence this season and he’s reinforced the reputation of Bosnians and Serbs as people you really don’t want to mess with. Although watching the CCTV of the event it’s clear that’s he’s yet to master the windmill technique.

Another one not going anywhere though, including China, is Jose. He turned down a multi-million pound contract to manage in the Chinese League and has given a big ‘come and get me’ interview this week to get his name back in the spotlight.

I miss the football, I have the fire.

He should try Gaviscon.

69th FIFA Congress
Jose’s new role as a BGT judge started well....
Photo by Hannah Peters - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

There’s a reason why he’s still out of work.

He went to Inter and upset everyone with his blatant panderings to move to Real Madrid. Once at Real he distanced himself from the media, the players, the fans and the owners. He then came back to Chelsea and did exactly the same but included the medical staff. He then went to Manchester United, p*ssed everyone off, played rubbish football and looked like he’d being chewing a lemon for 18 months.

He’s trouble and he’s no longer guaranteed to win things, which is a toxic mix.

Clubs could take on Alan Pardew at a fraction of the price and get the same result, which is a heady thought. And I’m not sure how Jose comes back from this one because he’s basically burned his bridges – which big club is going to take the risk of having more Gareth Bale situations (albeit cheaper) around the place?

Maybe he should’ve gone to China after all.

Edinburgh International Book Festival
I wouldn’t let a man with a suit like that run a race....
Photo by Simone Padovani/Awakening/Getty Images

Another one with a China link is Tony Adams, who took over the management of Granada in the Spanish League on behalf of the Chinese conglomerate that owned the club, and already employed him as…a ‘representative’ or a ‘consultant’ or a ‘face’ basically.

And the club, that was already doing badly, continued on it’s trajectory with undeviating accuracy, the intervention of Mr Adams making no discernible difference whatsoever.

Which sums up his career since he finished playing. He occupies the chair - but he’s been ‘less than successful’, shall we say.

So, I’m at a loss to understand his latest position - President of the Rugby Football League.

Seriously - where did that come from? I would love to have the guy who writes his CV’s take a crack at mine. He stresses that he’s not in the role to advise people already in the sport:

I’m the president and this is all about cementing and promoting relationships.

So he’s employed to mingle and impress and raise the profile of the game, in which case it’s still a strange choice as it’s not as if he’s going to have a drink with them, and it’s not a sport he has any history with. Can he even tell the difference between a ferret and a Compare the Market.com advert?

And the footie’s back! We’ve had the Women’s World Cup which was fun, and the African Cup of Nations, which was going on in the background somewhere - I didn’t manage to see any of it, all the pre-season nonsense and the transfer gossip got in the way.

But it’s back, and it’s the one time of year when just about everybody is optimistic and looking forward to the new season. Unless you’re a Bolton or Bury fan of course, and there, but for the grace of God...