The Warm-Up: What if this Haaland kid is just average?
It’s possible Erling Braut Haaland is NOT the chosen one, Ajax are heading for a January sale and there’s a debut for new Liverpool signing Jeremy Corbyn.
WEDNESDAY’S BIG STORIES
Are we 100% sure Haaland is a future great?
Remember the SARS pandemic in 2003? Rumours spread that it was going to have a devastating impact on the globe, that it would wipe out everything in its path. All news outlets were fixated on this unstoppable force. The question wasn’t if… but when.
Only the fear was spreading faster than the disease. Ultimately, the worldwide clamour was largely unfounded, with the outbreak contained just months later.
Is the same thing happening with Erling Braut Haaland – that the hype is spreading faster than the talent? Sure, he’s banging in the goals in the Austrian first division (and, until last night, the Champions League) and his dad is the Alf-Inge Haaland (come on, that’s semi-impressive) but there’s still so much unknown about him.
We’re not going to sit here and write off a 19-year-old after one disappointing display against the European champions, but the match should serve as caution that in our age of overhyping, there’s a chance we have another Martin Odegaard on our hands.
Not that it’s a terrible thing. Odegaard is finally tearing up (for Real Sociedad), five years on from being the most talked about teenager since Zac Efron, but Manchester United, whose scouts were in attendance in Salzburg, might want to consider other options before splashing the best part of 100 million euros on an unproven teenager.
Still, at least we know Haaland has a great temperament. Just look at this hissy fit:
RIP our beloved Ajax
Coming to a Boxing Day sale near you:
- Want Europe’s finest assist-o-meter in your squad? Then sign Hakim Ziyech – yours for just £50 million!
- Need a B-grade Frenkie De Jong to tick over your midfield? Look no further than Donny van de Beek – yours for just £45 million!
- Require a full-back with no regard for defending? Nicolas Tagliafico is your guy – yours for just £30 million!
- Seeking a La Masia graduate that can also play in goal? Step forward Andre Onana – yours for just £25 million!
Ajax’s golden generation are set to be ripped apart after they bowed out of the Champions League with a 1-0 defeat to Valencia. We’ll remember them for their heroics against Real Madrid and Juventus, plus their inability to stop attacking in that cruel semi-final with Tottenham.
Sadly though, their parting image is one of theatrics. You’re a bad man, Dusan Tadic:
*Please don’t sue us, Ajax, for undervaluing your players…
"STOP. THINKING. ABOUT. THE. TIME. YOU. LOST. 7-2."
You’ve got to admire Jose Mourinho for thinking his Spurs side only have one demon.
He may have his players from replaying their disastrous [score redacted] defeat to Bayern in October, but they have plenty more material of despair: the Champions League final defeat, the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino, Leicester City lifting their Premier League…
HEROES, FUTURE HEROES AND ZEROES
Heroes: Ajax fans
We’re all for safety at the Warm-Up, but this is too spectacular to throw the rulebook at:
Future hero: Maarten Vandevoordt
Firstly, Vandevoordt, congratulations on becoming the youngest goalkeeper to start a Champions League match aged SEVENTEEN.
Secondly, don’t beat yourself up for being the architect of Genk’s 4-0 defeat against Napoli – when the Warm-Up was your age, someone was writing "you ruined school football" in our yearbook. Really.
Zero: Sergio Ramos
"They could make a Ballon d'Or only for Cristiano and Messi, depending on the results, and another for the rest. In the end it would be better for football."
One of the more ridiculous opinions from Mr Ramos, especially as Messi shouldn’t have even won it this year...
IN THE CHANNELS
New Liverpool signing Jeremy Corbyn was anonymous in the 2-0 win over Red Bull Salzburg, despite the fans doing their best to support him:
Manchester City take out their frustration on poor Dinamo Zagreb, while Tottenham avenge their [score redacted] defeat to Bayern with a beautifully constructed goalless draw at the Allianz Arena.
Don't worry, we're 100% sure Andi Thomas is a future great. Just give him a chance in tomorrow's Warm-Up, yeah?