They used to have a slogan: It’s good to talk. Try reading that without Bob Hoskins voice materialising in your head. Especially now that I have mentioned it.
Unless of course, you have no clue what I am wittering on about and that Dear Reader, would come as no surprise.
Yesterday’s farcical proceedings with the UK’s largest telecoms company continues to plague me; it’s the internet, Jim, but not as we know it. We now know why it’s good to talk; it makes them more money.
Which gets us close to 100 hundred words this morning and me a little less sarcastic.
There isn’t much going on with Arsenal at the moment. The footballing world is occupied with Manchester United’s pursuit of Paul Pogba, which according to ESPN may be followed up with a bid for Leonardo Bonucci. At what point does it become cheaper for United to buy Juventus as opposed to cherry-picking their squad?
Many find the prospect of United paying £105m for a player who left with less than £1m in compensation four years ago. Which misses the point on so many levels. Firstly, United are getting on with their summer business in strengthening their squad and secondly, they have a robust business model which allows them to miss out on Champions League football for a couple of seasons and still spend more in one summer than we have this decade.
OK, that last one is an exaggeration but you get the point.
Personally, I am not bothered by Pogba’s fee. Football’s long gone mad and doesn’t show any sign of an outbreak of common sense. The new reality is that our record fee of £42.5m for Mesut Özil isn’t far off becoming a little more than a bit dear. It would come as no surprise if we learned the average fee this summer, even without Pogba, was somewhere north of £20m.
I only have an interest in what United are doing because they are building a decent squad. It’s a specious argument to say “but look how much it costs, look how bad they must have been”, simply because that avoids acknowledging how good they might be next season. An awful lot of the hope being pinned on us doing well relies on others taking time to gel.
That may not happen and Arsenal have to put themselves into a position where they can challenge for the title. If they don’t challenge, that’s a different issue.
It could of course be the case that we get off to a barnstorming start and establish an almost unassailable lead by Christmas. Most likely we won’t.
But what I find most noticeable about this summer is the lack of optimism about next season. Even from those who look on the bright side of life, the levels of belief genuinely seem lower to me than before. A sense of déjà vu with a summer where activity behind the scenes does nothing to assuage the sense that we’ve completed our summer business.
It works both ways; there’s not much hint of people leaving which for late July is highly unusual. Yes, we told City to do one when they asked about Hector Bellerin but there has been precious little interest in anyone else, not even our well-stocked midfield. Not even Theo Walcott, for goodness sake and he was always good for a rumour or two about his future.
Which either means we’ve got our message through successfully about not selling our best players or this is the calm before the storm. I’m leaning toward the former, before you ask.
And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. No news is good news, runs the old adage which is true of sales but not good for purchases. The prospect of new signings arriving before pre-season training began has vanished into thin air, now the earliest we look likely to see any activity is the end of the month, just a fortnight or so before the season begins.
That’s the thing with transfer rumours though; it’s famine or feast. And have you noticed how there’s a rotation in operation. Far be it for me to hint at any collusion by journalists but it’s curious how everyone had stories about Arsenal yesterday but nothing today. This is a Mancunian news day with City and United featuring prominently. Tomorrow it’s probably Chelsea’s turn.
Which brings today’s missive to a close. All that and no mention of Sam Allardyce being appointed England manager. A man who once said, “I am not suited to Bolton or Blackburn. I would be more suited to Inter Milan or Real Madrid.”
If wonder what is wrong with English football, his appointment tells you all you need to know. We are royally screwed.