The Warm-Up: Bayern Munich’s evil masterplan REVEALED
Jack Lang sheds light on Bond villainy in Bavaria, assesses Harry Kane's career plan and enjoys some metaphor football...
THURSDAY’S BIG STORIES
You have to hand it to Bayern Munich. As masterplans go, ‘Buy up the entirety of France’s World Cup-winning squad’ is a pretty compelling proposition.
There’s a real megalomaniac, Bond-villain simplicity to it. You can almost envision Uli Hoeness in his office, deep inside the nearest volcano, cackling with the feverish glee of the collector.
Who next? Aha! Opportunity knocks. One phone call to Atletico Madrid and an €80million cheque later, job done. Lucas Hernandez: tick.
“I’m very happy that in Lucas Hernandez we’ve been able to sign one of the best defensive players in the world,” said sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic, maniacally, a dog-eared Russia 2018 sticker book visible under his arm.
“Lucas can be used in central defence and on the left. He will also continue our tradition of outstanding French players and strengthen our team.”
OUTSTANDING FRENCH PLAYERS.
WE NOW HAVE 17% OF THE WHOLE SQUAD.
RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.
Odoi the boy
Also on Bayern Munich’s radar, if the Daily Mirror are to be believed: Callum Hudson-Odoi. And not just Bayern’s, either, with Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Manchester United all now credited with interest in the England youngster.
Now if only there was a top Premier League club – one he already played for, say – who were desperately in need of a brilliant young winger because they can’t sign anyone and are almost certainly going to lose their best player to Real Madrid in the summer...
Commissioner Gordon checks out
Adios to Gordon Taylor, finally leaving the gold-plated corridors of the Professional Footballers’ Association after some (checks notes) 295 years in charge. Many have questioned Taylor’s willingness to use funds to artificially prolong his own life, not to mention his recent efforts to build a drone army in his own image, but they are just haters.
The Warm-Up salutes you, Gordon. May you get the £89999million golden goodbye you so richly deserve. And the spaceship shaped like your own head that you’ve been working on for all these years. Take that with you as well.
IN OTHER NEWS
For some restless souls, mastering one sport isn’t enough. Ian Botham, Jim Thorpe… erm… Curtis Woodhouse? The list of crossover successes is almost endless.
Well we might need to make space on the board for Harry Kane, who is targeting a career as an NFL kicker once he’s done with actual football.
Probably not, Harry, old boy. If those were the criteria, then David James would have come within a hair’s breadth of being considered the equal of Muhammad Ali, Roger Federer, Don Bradman and the rest. Which… nah, sorry.
Still, full marks for ambition, and we can now confirm that Kane isn’t afraid of sliding into David Brent territory as he aims for global domination. To wit: “It goes back to that drive to be the best. Even if I download a game on my phone, can I be the best in the world?”
Good question, Harry. Good question indeed.
A very happy Warm-Up birthday to Steve Bull, who turns 54 today. Here are the Tipton Tornado’s best 20 goals for Wolves and England, complete with some endearingly low-wattage remembrances (“It was one of the best left-foot shots I ever done,” etc etc):
Meanwhile, in extended Brexit metaphor news:
HEROES AND, ERM, MORE HEROES
Heroes: Chelsea Women
2-0 up after the first leg, Chelsea must have felt they had already planted one boot firmly in the Champions League semi-finals. But PSG Feminines fought back impressively, drawing level on 55 minutes and pushing for a winner in front of their own fans.
But Chelsea held on until injury time. At which point enter Maren Mjelde…
Another hero: Rob Green
Green, as you may well have forgotten, is third-choice goalkeeper at Chelsea. And if you just thought, ‘Wow, that must be the cushiest gig this side of writing snarky morning football news round-ups’… well it turns out you’re pretty much right.
“It’s is not something I ever envisaged doing when I set out – thinking ‘oh yeah, I’d love to be a third-choice keeper’ – but your situation changes as your career goes on,” the 39-year-old said.
“I go to all of the meetings, do all of the pre-match, do the warm-up and help in every way I can, whether it is collecting balls, saving shots or crossing balls in.
“Then, when the players are ready to come out on to the pitch, you are getting changed and more often than not at away games I find a cup of tea and go and sit in the stand.”
For the avoidance of all doubt, The Warm-Up welcomes any and all offers of jobs that involve being paid tens of thousands of pounds to have a cuppa and watch football. Seriously, get in touch.
"No doubt we will hear a great deal more about Taylor’s salary in the next few days, another great example of football’s ability to miss the point. Yes, Taylor is overpaid but on the relative scale of snaggletoothed operators skimming their cut from football’s great spurting money fountain he counts as a minuscule player and is at least engaged in good work in the game’s interest. Far more interesting is the nature of his organisation, its masquerade as a union when in fact it is more a kind of outsourced HR organisation. This is the most interesting thing about the PFA: the fact it is funded overwhelmingly by TV money from its members’ paymasters."
Oh, and a Twitter account dedicated to weird goings-on at Real Sociedad? We didn’t know we needed that in our lives, but… yeah, OK, sign us up.
It’s an absolute wasteland as far as football goes, folks, so maybe switch to cycling for the day. The Tour of Catalunya is live on Eurosport this afternoon.