THE GREAT STORIES OF WEDNESDAY
What a window
Without wanting to read a ‘Done Deals’ page, it was a window with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku, Jack Grealish, Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho, Antoine Griezmann, Saul, Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Achraf Hakimi , Georginio Wijnaldum, Memphis Depay, Sergio Agüero, Saul Niguez, David Alaba, Dayot Upamecano, Manuel Locatelli, Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud, Martin Odegaard, Moise Kean and Daniel James are on the road this summer.
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This also means that Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, Harry Kane, Robert Lewandowksi, Erling Haaland, Jules Kounde, Bernardo Silva and many others whose names filled the gossip columns for months have stayed.
Depending on your point of view, it has been remarkable or desperate months as purses tightened in some clubs and opened in others. The Covid pandemic has marginalized some teams, but the Premier League machine keeps rolling.
Manchester City went big with Jack Grealish, Manchester United added several key positions and bought Ronaldo on a whim, while Chelsea took Lukaku on in what many believe may be the final piece of their title-winning puzzle – before Saul Niguez did added boost their midfield options as the clock neared midnight last night. Even Liverpool had a decent window of opportunity. For real. Ibrahima Konate is a solid addition, but they have made solid deals to retain star players in a summer that started with Wijnaldum going free.
The madness of this window has been accelerated by the number of free agents and players entering the final 12 months of their contract and so Liverpool have tried not to be part of it in future windows by setting their current harvest process they have theirs with stars Maintained occupied frontline despite strikers moving left, right and center across the continent.
All of this means that the pressure to succeed is greater than ever on all large teams. Liverpool fans may find the burden lighter, but all four are expected to fight not only for the title (not to mention leaders Tottenham) but also for the Champions League.
Of course, a PSG team with Mbappe at the top alongside Messi and Neymar is the favorite, but together with Bayern Munich, the four Premier League contenders are not far behind when it comes to bookmakers.
There will have to be something and more than one team will end the season in disappointment, so September 1st will be a “Who won the transfer window?” is considered, the answer will only be known in May, when the cutlery is distributed – or not.
No more excuses for Arteta at Arsenal
The club that has spent the most this summer is in Super Premier League Land, which rounded off their stake by signing right-back, sometimes center-back Takehiro Tomiyasu for £ 16m.
The league’s basement club also bought Ben White (£ 50m), Martin Odegaard (£ 30m), Aaron Ramsdale (£ 24m), Albert Sambi Lokonga (£ 15m) and Nuno Tavares (£ 8m) in terms of their summer spending to nearly £ 150m – a bold game for a club currently trying to dismiss the relegation jokes as a joke.
If anything, Mikel Arteta is under more pressure. A club record for a window, and after enjoying the full support of the board, he now has to deliver on the pitch with results.
A look ahead shows a home game with Norwich on September 11th. That might be ideal, but at the end of the month they’re hosting Spurs in an NLD that’s not only huge but could easily get the Amazon documentary into its eighth episode just under eight weeks into the new season.
The big Barca reset
The club owes £ 1.15 billion but few expected the Barcelona summer window to end like this. The club also said goodbye to Antoine Griezmann on a day when Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba made salary cuts just to register Sergio Agüero as a Barca player and to follow in the footsteps of Gerard Pique, who cut his salary in early August and greeted Luuk de Jong.
Arguably the shock of the day, Griezmann is leaving Griezmann two years after signing for £ 108m, which was roughly two years after spending more than £ 100m on Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele.
Is it any wonder they owe such a debt?
Barca now face a fight to prove they can still dine at the top table in Europe. They were probably on the verge of losing 8-2 to Bayern Munich, but now they have a whole season ahead of them, one without Messi, to show the world that they are still Champions League caliber while they boast best options upfront among their former Middlesbrough and Newcastle strikers – when MSN was a few years ago.
After all, they have Memphis Depay, an upgrade to Griezmann – who is bound to go down as a total failure – but it hardly helps that Real Madrid are a few seasons ahead in rebuilding.
And while Real have welcomed Eduardo Camavinga and will almost certainly sign Mbappe next summer, Barca must wonder when they will ever attract the best again while PSG and the Premier League can offer higher salaries for the foreseeable future.
This could therefore be (another) crucial season for Barca. The quality is undisputed, but we’ll have to wait and see if it’s enough to fight for the league and also reach the Champions League.
Even so, Pique at least found time to troll Real fans by reminding them that Mbappe will be wearing the number 7 for at least one more season.
IN CHANNELS I.
Ronaldo’s emotional homecoming message and PS allusion to Sir Alex Ferguson garnered just 10 million likes in the first three hours after it was released on Tuesday.
You can read it below, but the “Sir Alex, this is for you …” was especially touching in case you somehow missed it.
IN THE CHANNELS II
Newcastle signed Santiago Munoz and played with the “Goal” link. We hope that Full Ham will be promoted this season! (And the toon stays up).
Oh dear, oh my god, it’s been exactly 20 years to the day since England beat Germany 5-1 and even met Emile Heskey (plus the little thing of a Michael Owen hat-trick and Steven Gerrard’s striker).
Live international football! The transfer madness is now finished and dusted off, and so the madness, which is the first of three international breaks before Christmas, is above us. Tonight’s tips, Portugal vs. Republic of Ireland and France vs. Bosnia – we’re going to blog them both!
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