The Warm-Up: Rise up workers! Strike to… force through that Barca move
We've come a long way in the proud tradition of industrial action in order to secure more favourable working conditions. Nick Miller wonders about Neymar and Antoine Griezmann...
TUESDAY’S BIG STORIES
Strike! Strike! Strike for Barca!
The Warm-Up would just like to state, absolutely for the record, that we have no evidence to suggest that FC Barcelona – symbol of Catalan national pride, mes que un club, representation of something good and pure – is deliberately telling its transfer targets to stay away from training with their current clubs, in order to force through a move. Absolutely no evidence. We cannot confirm that at all. Nor would we want to.
However it is a bit of a coincidence, even the most fervent Barca backer would admit, that both Neymar and Antoine Griezmann are on the naughty step with PSG and Atletico Madrid respectively, after they failed to show up for their first day of pre-season training with their employers, with talk of moves to Catalunya very much in the air.
Atletico have apparently ‘opened disciplinary proceedings’ against Griezmann, which is relatively laughable when you think about what they could possibly to do punish a multi-millionaire who wants to leave and they need the money.
Meanwhile PSG have been slightly more accommodating to their own wayward boy, basically saying the foot-stamping has worked a treat and he can leave if he finds someone dumb en…sorry, rich enough to stump up the cash.
It’s all very undignified, and ultimately it leaves us hoping for a touch of schadenfreude: either Barca end up getting neither player and all this was for nothing, or they buy both, find no way of fitting them all in their side and it banjaxes their season completely.
Zaha arrives when his team need him
Showing the sort of decisiveness, ruthlessness and stomach for the big moment which suggests there’s no way he’ll fit in at Arsenal, Wilfried Zaha was the star for Ivory Coast on Monday as they boxed off a space in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals thanks to his late winner against Mali.
Zaha, subject of what we’re going to call ‘optimistic’ interest from the Gunners, had been broadly anonymous up until the moment at 76 minutes when the ball looped long into the box, and there was the Crystal Palace man to hook it into the net. They’ll play Algeria in the next stage.
It must be a slightly curious feeling to be out playing for your country while the clunking machinations of the transfer window are in full swing, Zaha seemingly trying to force his way out of Crystal Palace for a second time. It must also been a little galling for Palace fans: you can understand him wanting to go somewhere else to better himself…but Arsenal?
WSL openers to be held at Stamford Bridge and the Etihad
Dear reader, perhaps you can help us out: the Warm-Up is not sure how to feel about this one. On Monday it was announced that the opening fixtures of the Women’s Super League season that have been, shall we say, gently massaged to ensure that Chelsea face Tottenham and Manchester City play the newly promoted Manchester United, will be held at two of the biggest stadia in the country.
The Manchester derby will be staged at the Etihad, while in London they’ll face off at Stamford Bridge. In some ways this is an admirable attempt to capitalise on the success and attention during the World Cup, to try hooking in as many new and potential fans as possible with a big glitzy idea. Tickets will either be free or heavily subsidised for the games, to ensure maximum attendance.
The trouble is this feels a bit like giving a brilliant young band with one album under their belts a gig at Wembley Stadium. No matter how good the performance is, the chances are they’re still going to play to limited crowds, and that’s not going to impress anyone or make anything like a big splash.
Maybe we’re being pessimistic. Maybe the crowds will come. But in an understandable attempt to boost the popularity of the game, we fear this might be a case of trying to run before they can walk.
IN OTHER NEWS
Monday’s big game saw…hang on, this can’t be right: Syria take on North Korea? This is certainly one to file under ‘spicy’, and in the end Syria won out, beating the North Koreans 5-2 in India, in something called the Intercontinental Cup. Genuinely though, hats off to any away fans who made the trip: two very handy firms, we hear.
Heroes: West Ham’s website editors
It’s fair to say that Marko Arnautovic had managed to very much annoy pretty much everyone at West Ham by the time his move to China was eventually sorted this week. And for some proof of this, we direct you to the statement announcing his departure to Shanghai SIPG.
Two paragraphs, 45 words, no thanks for his efforts, no well wishes. This is how it’s done. You’re gone, we’re glad, you’re now dead to us. And don’t come back. Lovely stuff.
Zeroes: 19 other Premier League clubs
Leicester City will be absolutely delighted with themselves this summer, having secured a few very promising transfers indeed, but the most encouraging from their perspective is the arrival on a permanent deal of Youri Tielemans, Belgian midfielder extraordinaire who was so terrific for them on loan last season.
But it does beg the question: where was everyone else? Here we have an international midfielder with a proven (if short) record in the Premier League, available at a price (£40m) which in today’s transfer market is actually relatively reasonable. So why weren’t a few clubs higher up the food chain (all due respect, etc and so on) to Leicester more interested? Hmmmm?
"VAR first needed to be implemented into women’s leagues around the world so referees could get used to it before a major tournament. VAR had at least been tested in some men’s leagues before being used at Russia 2018. And that’s even before we talk about introducing a lot of new laws at the same event. Women were used as guinea pigs. VAR has been so frustrating throughout this tournament that the Premier League has now said it’s reconsidering how it will implement the system."
Twas 25 years ago today that Brazil beat the Netherlands at the 1994 World Cup, and Bebeto announced he had sired a young one with his baby rocking celebration. The kid in question, Mattheus, is currently playing in Portugal for Vitoria.
If you absolutely must, there are some Champions League preliminary rounds to have a look at, obscure minnows like Dudelange, Ararat Armenia and Celtic in action. But we really do recommend just giving it a rest for a day.
Tomorrow’s Warm-Up will be brought to you by Ben Snowball, very much not an obscure minnow.