The Warm-Up: Barcelona should steal Neymar’s trousers… figuratively
Remember that episode of Friends where Julia Roberts makes Chandler wear her underpants? Yeah, Barcelona should do that with Neymar. In a manner of speaking...
TUESDAY’S BIG STORIES
Neymar tries to punch his way out of PSG
Obviously, it is a little difficult to have much sympathy for Neymar. Here is a man who had a tantrum in order to force through a move from Barcelona to PSG, and then a couple of years later when – and who could’ve seen this coming? – he didn’t win the Ballon d’Or, the Champions League or even the respect of fans and colleagues, is in the process of having a tantrum to force through a move from PSG to Barcelona.
Still, at least he deigned to show up for training this week, going hell for leather in the gym like the committed professional he is, doing the absolute bare minimum that can be expected of him. Well done Neyso, good work, have a cookie.
Look, we know this sort of thing happens all the time, and there hasn’t been any loyalty in football for quite a long time, but we would be greatly amused if this has all been one giant head-fake by Barcelona, that they actually have no interest in signing him and have made him do all this for nothing. A little like that episode of Friends where Julia Roberts tricked Chandler into wearing her underpants then stole his trousers in a restaurant. Yeah, just like that.
Everton get themselves a bargain with Delph
We understand how the transfer market works, that fees are mostly an expression of circumstances rather than necessarily a reflection of a player’s ability. A player a club desperately wants to keep will inevitably cost more than one they have no need for.
That said, it feels like Everton have got themselves an absolute bargain with Fabian Delph, for whom they have paid around £8.5million, possibly rising to £10million. In some respects the fee isn’t a surprise given that Manchester City a) don’t need the money, b) have just signed Rodri to play in one of Delph’s positions and the emergence of Oleksandr Zinchenko means he’s not really needed at left-back either. But overall, hats off to Everton, a club not exactly famous for paying reasonable prices in the last few years.
Delph, who will surely teach his new Everton team-mates about the basics of football, said:
"I’m hungry. I don’t like losing. I see myself as a winner. I’m at an age now where I am probably one of the most experienced players, so hopefully I can bring that and try to help my team-mates here to do better. Ultimately, the goal is to win something. I’ve not come here just to be here – I’ve come here with ambitions to win things."
Bruce resigns, no longer has a leg to stand on
The word on the street is that the lengthening Steve Bruce saga has taken a step nearer to a conclusion, after the theoretical Sheffield Wednesday manager resigned from the club on Monday, as he tries to force his way into the Newcastle manager’s seat. Now, we confess to being slightly baffled as to why anyone would go to this much trouble in order to work for Mike Ashley, but the human condition is mysterious and the heart wants what it wants.
Of course, as in the Neymar situation, there genuinely is no real loyalty in football and Wednesday would sack Bruce as soon as look at him if they decided they could do better. It’s a dog eat dog world out there, and sometimes you need to have a bit of a bark. Or something like that.
But it is going to be interesting if, say, Miguel Almiron has a belting start to the season at Newcastle, speculation starts to mount about a move, the club doesn’t want to sell but he tries to engineer a move with tactics, well, not dissimilar to his manager. We wonder what Brucie will say then.
IN OTHER NEWS
RIP Antoine Griezmann, he was buried where he fell.
Oh and um, there's this...
HEROES AND ZEROS
Hero: David Lind
Obviously there are some slightly unusual names knocking around these days, and we’d imagine that Game of Thrones has well and truly chucked a cat among the pigeons in that respect. But mostly they would be names foisted upon unsuspecting innocent child, not chose by a 39-year-old man. But here we are, in 2019, and in some respects you have to admire someone of that age who wants to change their name to Tottenham, in honour of Poch’s boys.
But David Lind, as he is currently known, has been cruelly denied by the Swedish authorities, after he tried to make the switch.
“There are a lot of people with strange names in Sweden. There is even someone called Potato. Maybe someone at Skatteverket (the department that decides these things) is an Arsenal fan?”
Zero: David Lind
On the other hand…come on now David. We’ve had our fun. Grow up lad.
After an opening 0-0 draw against Uruguay, England won their first game of the 1966 World Cup on this day 53 years ago, Bobby Charlton’s rocket and another from Roger Hunt sealing the 2-0 victory.
"When calm had been restored on the pitch, in the stands and even in the press box, Aliou Cissé struck straight to the heart of everything that matters to Senegal now. “This generation is better than my 2002 one,” he said. “My players told me they will be better than us and they did it.”"
If you’re into this sort of thing, there are some finely-poised Champions League preliminary ties on tonight: Valetta and Dudelange are 2-2 from the first leg, for example, while KF Shkendjia take a narrow 1-0 avantage into their return against Nomme JK Kalju. Or you could just leave it. Nobody will be on your case.