WEDNESDAY’S BIG STORIES

Chelsea for Chuk

A bolt from the blue from the Blues yesterday saw Chelsea confirm they’ve reached an agreement with Aston Villa to sign 18-year-old Carney Chukwuemeka, with the Telegraph reporting he will become the highest-paid teenager in English football.
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That may feel like a just reward for a player who was integral to England’s U19 Euros triumph last month, but what exactly awaits in the short term is not entirely clear. There was a sense at Villa that Chukwuemeka was shuffling his way down the drive and ready to knock on the door of regular starts, but arguably that prospect is further away at Chelsea given the players on show at Stamford Bridge.
Of course, if teams like Barcelona, AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund are also interested, it is in Chelsea’s best interests to act quick, but it seems more likely that a loan spell at Vitesse – or elsewhere – awaits Chukwuemeka. No bad thing, but if he was on the cusp of potentially tripling his Premier League appearance numbers (14 so far) with Villa then the experience he gets elsewhere may well be inferior.
Only time will tell, but evidently that was a concern for Villa boss Steven Gerrard, who is pretty well placed as a one-time teenage sensation himself, debuting for Liverpool at 18 back in 1998.
"We believe this is the right place for him. If anyone else thinks it's not, then I would like to sit in front of them and discuss it,” Gerrard had said last month, before adding perhaps the most striking note: “We just need to let the kid play football.”
Let’s see, shall we.

FA website crashes

So here goes, UEFA’s team of the Euros…
… and while we hate to be that person, where is Millie Bright?
Anyway, we won’t dwell on that too long, but rather focus on the positives that led to a website crashing yesterday. More specifically the FA’s website, after it was announced the Lionesses will take on the USA at Wembley on October 7 – providing England’s 2023 World Cup qualification is secured by then, which it should be…
Not only does it capitalise on the Euros success, but as Sarina Wiegman describes it, in facing the world champions "it would be the perfect game for our squad to meet another strong team” and a perfect precursor for next year’s World Cup.
The tickets started from £10 for adults, £5 for kids, and led to queues in the tens of thousands, which the FA’s website simply couldn’t handle.
Add to that, Chelsea Women have sold out their season tickets for a second straight year, while Brighton have announced demand is already 249 per cent up on last season. Superb.

Hendo’s fury

Something tells us Dean Henderson has no intention of returning to play for Manchester United after his season-long loan spell at Nottingham Forest.
The goalkeeper told Talksport he was "fuming" after playing second fiddle to David de Gea at United, having only returned on the assumption he would be No. 1.
"The conversation I had coming out of the Euros squad was: 'You're coming back here to be the number one,’” he said.
"I got Covid-19, came back, so I should have still been the number one but then nobody followed through with what they had told me.
"To sit there for 12 months, it is criminal really, at my age. I was fuming. I told the hierarchy that I need to be playing football and to let me go, and I was almost gone before the manager [Erik ten Hag] came through the door. I have not spoken to him since.
"I worked hard on and off the pitch to keep improving day in, day out, and now I am looking forward to the season with Nottingham Forest."

IN OTHER NEWS

In order to change the narrative on Football Twitter, perhaps the study that came to light yesterday could prove to be a positive step, with Ofcom – after commissioning researchers at the Alan Turing Institute – showing more than 60,000 abusive posts were aimed at Premier League footballers in the first half of last season.
That, of course, is far from positive, but shining the light on this issue could hopefully make people think twice before they head to social media and publish their hate. A lot of coulds and maybes, but you never know.

IN THE CHANNELS

Luis’ home! That’s some reception, as you would expect, after Suarez returned to boyhood club Nacional…

RETRO CORNER

Twenty-three years ago Arsenal spent a risky £11m on some French striker who had only scored four league goals in the season prior at Monaco and then Juventus.
It worked out quite well for the Gunners…

COMING UP

Pretty quiet with the Premier League around the corner. Some Champions League and Europa League qualifying, but that’s about it!
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