Kieran Davies looks back on a week where an Austrian keeper won a competition and the transfer market ran blinded towards madness.
2015/16 season stats………goals 5, assists 11, tackles 53, chances created 61 (player A).
2015/16 season stats……..goals 8, assists 12, tackles 55, chances created 54 (player B).
One of these players has just cost his new/old club in the region of £100-120m, the other came free with a Micah Richards poster! The world has officially gone mad! Man Utd have broke the bank to bring Paul Pogba back to Gold Trafford in a record breaking deal. The man who had a very similar season to James Milner (interesting stat) will command a weekly wage of around the £300k per week mark. No doubt in the same region of Ibrahimovic’s weekly wage having been a free agent. Pogba is a good player with a lot of potential, did he stand out in recent Euro’s tournament? Not really. Did he stand out in that France team as a quality player, not really. As Paul Scholes rightly pointed out, if you’re paying £100m for a player (or £86m as Paul was asked at the time) you expect them to be scoring around 50 goals a season like Ronaldo or Messi, Pogba is nowhere near there yet! Mourinho is being backed heavily by the Gold Trafford board, no doubt immediate results are going to be demanded of the new manager. If he is expected to look to win every trophy they enter, this could be a long season as the route to Europa League glory involves a lot of games! Jose would struggle to complain that he does not have enough depth in the squad considering he has spent more than CIA black ops budget, as did the two managers before him.
Pre-season friendlies really don’t quench the thirst of any true football fan and even if your team beat your fiercest rivals, it still doesn’t feel as satisfactory as it should, lording it over your mates. This is empty! Wheres that buzz gone? Its pre-season, its like a lap dance in a club, it gets you all aroused and passionate, but then you realise your sat on your hands and this doesn’t mean anything. Get your coat and go! Even an all Premier League encounter cant do it, these games aren’t the same played in front of 100,000 Chinese fans or in 120 degree heat of the Florida coast. The games mean nothing, unless you’re an Arsenal fan, no-one is going to be sat in the trophy room cradling the Budweiser Champions Cup Trophy Vase Shield like a new born baby. All you can hope the time goes quicker than an afternoon away from the missus with the lads, and that first Premier League fixture is upon us. Match fitness is what these players should be gaining from these games, the manager trying different tactics, this is very production line phase of the manufacture process. That and having to placate sponsors who demand their pound of flesh for their time and money. Pimping aint easy! It could be worse, you could be a Celtic fan playing competitive Champions League qualifying fixtures, losing and drawing with Europe’s finest part time talent, then having to listen to a deluded Irishman tell you how they’re ‘a great bunch of lads’………’a special group’………….and other nonsensical ramblings resembling the thought process of an opiate addict.
Simon Mignolet must be sat in a darkened room stroking his Loris Karius voodoo doll as news broke the new Liverpool number one has broken his hand and will be out for 8-10 weeks. Other than Manninger who I think has been awarded a one year Liverpool contract as part of a ‘Make a Wish foundation’ gig and somewhere there’s a really ill kid in Alex Manninger’s basement. What was Klopp thinking? The ex-Arsenal keeper was even a good keeper back in the day, he’s appeared at more clubs than Peter Kay and no Liverpool fan can work out how this has happened. The ‘Make a Wish’ gig can be the only explanation. Meanwhile Mamadou Sakho is bouncing around the Liverpool training camp like someone off their head on UEFA banned wildy-uncontrolled, maybe only trafficked by Bolivians, substances. To the extent where Herr Klopp sends him home disgraced from the camp. Life never seems to be quiet for Jurgen. He certainly is a character and will add to the mix of top class managers the Premier League will boast next season.
Conte showed a little of how he plans on setting out his bus, I mean stall, as Chelsea manager. A defensive performance led to a slender 1-0 win over Liverpool but one thing plain to see was that the Italian is a very passionate man on the sidelines and should be good entertainment value this season. Already a match up with Klopp and Conte could lead to the touchline being more entertaining than what is transpiring on the pitch with this pair. Pep Guardiola’s early start to his Man City career as manager is going largely under the radar and un-noticed. This may be intentional by the pragmatic Spaniard as he looks to get his house in order for the start of the season. Not hugely active in the transfer window, there is no doubting the existing squad contained a mammoth amount of talent that maybe a different manager, a better manager, could get something out of. Considering all the talk of major investment at Everton, Ronald Koeman has been very quiet on the blue side of Merseyside. Even the little business they have done, have been very minor transfers that don’t even make the BBC football section. Theres not too long now until the start of the season, will we see a flurry of spending before the inevitable inflated prices of Transfer Deadline Day?