So there we have it. It is official. England have reverted to lumping it to the big man and hoping for the best. Sam Allardyce has been appointed manager of the England national side, finally. Steve Bruce clearly thought it was in the bag, as he resigned as manager of Hull hours before the FA named their man. It was either that or he fancied an emotional reunion with Sunderland. Either way Brucey is the odd one out in this game of musical chairs, as David Moyes bundled his way on to the Stadium of Light stool by the time the music stopped.
Would the last person to leave the King Power Stadium be a star and turn off the lights, please? What has N’Golo Kante started? First the diminutive Frenchman did one to London, then the next confirmed departure was, wait for it, no, not him, not him either, but him! Yes, the man credited for all the clever little bargains Leicester have purchased in the last few years. Steve Walsh legged it off to Everton where they feel that copying a mix of Southampton’s and Leicester’s blueprint will lead to Premier League glory. Especially when they plan to throw a bit of good old-fashioned cash at the project too. Ranieri was always said to be “resigned” to losing his chief scout/assistant manager, where many other football fans were caught exclaiming “oh, it’s not THAT Steve Walsh!” Mahrez could well be off this week, though the Algerian was foolish enough not to include a minimum release fee clause thingy in his most recent contract, meaning Leicester do not have to sell. That said, they probably will at the right price as Mahrez seems to want out. Apparently he has dreams that are not that dissimilar to Monsieur Kante. It would be a shame, as Celtic proved over the weekend that there are some teams out there that have not cottoned on to stopping Riyad cutting in on his left foot, meaning that there could still be goals in him yet.
Mark Hughes seems to love a renegade maverick. Cast your mind back to some of his other success stories with players that don’t always seem to put toe to line. Robinho, that went well. All those boys he brought in at QPR, quality signings. Are Shaqiri and Afellay as over rated as many think they might be? I mean, that Stokealona stuff lasted how long, four games? According to the Potters gaffer, he has “lodged” bids for West Brom’s Saido Berahino. TFTTF has no idea where he has lodged these bids, but with Berahino’s track record of upsetting the WBA board I can guess where they have been moved to. Saido to Stoke? I find it unlikely, though Spurs seem to have gone awfully quiet on him.
Arsene Wenger has had a good look at last season, analysed his current squad and decided that what he really needs to win the Premier League back is a teenage Japanese striker and an England U21 defender from Bolton. He’s only pretending to be interested in Mahrez and he was never really going to sign Higuain! Arsene is in for Rob Holding, and the cash on the table is around £2m. That’ll scare the bejesus out of Jose, that will.
Speaking of Jose and therefore Manchester United, Zlatan is moving through his gearbox of instant quotes. Following Eric Cantona’s long personal message to the Swede, welcoming him to Old Trafford but reminding him that the throne of the King is still not vacated even though Cantona has not kicked a ball this millennium, Zlatan made it clear that he has no interest in playing Prince. I was quite tired when I first read this report and genuinely thought for a moment that Zlatan and Eric were duelling on who should play Prince in the bound to be released soon biopic of the recently deceased singers life.
United are still waving £100m big ones under the nose of Juventus, hoping to tempt them to give them Pogba in return.
Jurgen Klopp has been attempting to persuade some of his players to leave the club saying “when there is no chance of playing, it makes no sense to stay.” Lucas Leiva, Christian Benteke and Mario Ballotelli were all seen smiling and pointing to their payslips, suggesting that they can think of a few reasons to stay put.
Credit to the FA, they are fantastic at multi-tasking. Not content with just hanging around, trying to find someone English that might be up to the job of revolutionising the game they also found the time to come up with the crazy idea that players who demonstrate really bad behaviour on the pitch should get punished for it! Genius. The governing body wants the referees to dish out more red cards to cut out the bad behaviour. Naturally this has been lauded in the social media sphere as it is something that most decent people could do without, the image of Wayne Rooney swearing loudly in the face of the Clatt. However, and entirely more realistically, there will be a few examples in the first round of matches and then normal service will be resumed, mainly to do with the fact that the vast majority of people would rather the officials got the basics right, like giving penalties or offsides correctly rather than faff about with a bit of naughty language. Mind you, my money is firmly on a treble of John Terry, Wayne Rooney and Claudio Ranieri all to be dismissed on the opening day. What do you mean I am stupid, that will never happen? Oh yes, my mistake. There is no way Jose is going to pick Wayne.
PS: If you enjoyed the column, why not go and buy last season’s book? “Tales from the Top Flight: A review of the 2015/16 English Premier League” is available from Amazon in paperback, Kindle and all other eReaders