The Warm-Up: United make a great signing but still manage to look silly
The Aaron Wan-Bissaka deal emphasises the actual state of things at Manchester United, while we all love Megan Rapinoe...
THURSDAY’S BIG STORIES
United lash £50million on a rookie right-back
We should start by saying we here at the Warm-Up are big fans of Aaron Wan-Bissaka. He has that sickening ability of making everything he does – running, tackling, intercepting a pass – look absolutely effortless. He’s a terrific player already, and his rise to a rightful status as one of the best full-backs in the country is absolutely deserved, and even more remarkable considering he was a winger until only a couple of years ago.
However, when his move to Manchester United is complete – which according to those who know, will probably be on Thursday at some stage – he will be the most expensive specialist right-back in the history of the game, all reports indicating that the price will be a neat £50million all in. We know it’s basically pointless to complain/be shocked about transfer fees these days but…wowsers.
United will be paying Crystal Palace a pretty extraordinary sum of money for a player with under 50 senior appearances to his name, and it emphasises even further the state of things at Old Trafford that it actually seems like a pretty good deal.
Again, Wan-Bissaka is excellent and could be exactly what United need. But…sheesh. It could also be a very spicy one.
Megan Rapinoe: hero, footballer, Trump-baiter
Admittedly, it doesn’t take much to get the luminous toddler who is currently President of the United States of America to get all riled up on Twitter, but we have to take off our hats to USA forward Megan Rapinoe, who achieved the enviable feat of annoying Donald Trump in pretty much every way possible.
When asked about the possibility of the USWNT visiting the White House when the World Cup is over, Rapinoe responded in what we’re going to call “no uncertain terms”, which you can view below, with advance warning about the ‘language’.
To which Trump responded – because of course he did, because he’s physically incapable of doing anything else – thus…
Actually that’s relatively mild by his standards, but we leave the final word to Rapinoe’s team-mate Ali Krieger:
"In regards to the “President’s” tweet today, I know women who you cannot control or grope anger you, but I stand by @mPinoe & will sit this one out as well. I don’t support this administration nor their fight against LGBTQ+ citizens, immigrants & our most vulnerable."
England stagger towards the World Cup quarter-final. Or the toilet
There’s been a sense throughout this World Cup that while England have played well in patches and done what they needed to reach the sharp end of the tournament, the first decent team they come up against will make short work of them.
That team could well be Norway, who they face in the quarter-finals on Thursday, and the sense of English doom is enhanced when you consider that three-quarters of their first-choice defence looks like it could be missing.
Captain Steph Houghton has an ankle injury that she will do well to shake before kick-off, while Lucy Bronze and Millie Bright have apparently been struck down by a virus and have spent much of the last day or so shouting to their friend Huey down the porcelain telephone.
Still, at least Phil Neville kept things on-brand, responding with his trademark empty bombast and admirable, if entirely misdirected, optimism ahead of the game. He said:
"People have an obsession with rotation but it’s for moments like this. It means it’s no problem now. If Steph and Millie are out we bring someone else in, no problem. It will be a seamless transition. Everyone knows the system, the way we play, I’ve utter belief in all my players. I said six months ago I didn’t want to get to the quarter-finals of the World Cup and throw someone in we haven’t tried or tested. There’s been a plan and it’s for moments like this."
Will Phil’s blind faith turn out to be justified? Let’s hope, to be a little jingoistic for a second, that it is. But somehow we doubt it…
IN OTHER NEWS
Wayne Rooney has still – in a limited sense, sometimes – still got it.
HEROES AND ZEROS
" Here's me waffling away about Tanguy Ndombele and Jack Clarke. pic.twitter.com/6fefNtuR59 — Alasdair Gold (@AlasdairGold) June 25, 2019"
Get a load of this: Tottenham are on the verge of signing a player. No…wait, two players. Sound the bells, slay the fatted calf, bring me the finest wine in all the land: this calls for a celebration. That’s right, they have finally located that stupid little card machine that you have to add a new payee to on your online bank account, and they’re about to shell out north of £60million on two players: the waifish and upsettingly young Jack Clarke, and the silky and versatile Tungay Ndombele. Fire up those Poch signing pictures: they’ve finally done it!
Zero: David Silva
How COULD YOU, David? You’re leaving us? After all this time? After all we’ve been through together? What are we supposed to do now? Watch Juan Mata? Pah! This is nothing short of a betrayal. Did the last ten years mean nothing do you?
As you can tell, the Warm-Up is not taking the news that David Silva will leave Manchester City at the end of next season well at all.
Still, we can’t stay mad at him for long: the man’s an absolute hero, as emphasised by the fact he confirmed his retirement plans while speaking at an event in his native Gran Canaria to promote an initiative against domestic violence. What a hero.
Admittedly we’re not digging too deep into the archives here, but it was on this day a year ago that South Korea well and truly pulled down the pants of Germany, sending them spinning out of the World Cup and into deep national introspection.
"So are you looking forward to visiting the White—” is as far as I got before Rapinoe slid in to tackle the answer with the kind of spiky assurance that has always defined her play. “No f**kin’ way will we be invited to the White House,” she says. “[Trump] tries to avoid inviting a team that might decline. Or, like he did when the Warriors turned him down, he’ll claim they hadn’t been invited in the first place.”"
After a pause for breath, the World Cup quarter-finals begin with the virus-ravaged England facing Norway. Expect Phil Neville to declare an international incident if any of the Norwegian players raise an eyebrow. Strap in.
With all the details of Philly’s latest meltdown, it will be Tom Adams in Friday’s Warm-Up.