This morning’s headlines show the media in full cry against Jose Mourinho. While other managers celebrate youth, he decries it as United’s shambolic pre-season continues. Without a win and not scoring more than once in any game; the lack of depth in their squad is staggering.
I can’t bring myself to feel sorry for them or him. It’s the curse of Mourinho’s third season. A chorus of “We want you to stay, we want you to staaaay…” seems an appropriate serenade.
He and Pep got it in the next from the sponsors of the wretched International Champions Cup. Their complaint about the absence of the star players underlines how they shouldn’t be involved in football. They don’t know the product.
The word ‘traditional’ was heavily used during the commentary of the stream on which I watched the games. There’s no tradition in the friendlies; indeed it was a faux tradition, the sort football loves to invent nowadays. When the European Super League happens, you’ll be told our matches against Bayern Munich are traditional. So long as that doesn’t extend to any more 5 – 1 gubbings, I don’t mind.
But it’s not traditional, is it? Clubs make no bones about playing these matches. It’s all about money; they take their fees and the organisers do what they want with ticket prices. I understand tickets for this week’s match against Chelsea are comparable in pricing for the Premier League match three weeks later. That’s madness, especially with the XI mentality both sides will show.
Arsenal’s opening match against Atletico in Singapore was half-empty. Just over 23,000 hardy souls paid to watch the match; 50,000 for the PSG game yet you can’t help but wonder whether we might have won over more fans playing the Singapore national team? Or certainly more value for money.
Away from the pitch, there’s work to be done. Reports in Turkey claim the club and Besiktas “shook hands” on a deal of David Ospina, so now it’s all down to him. Chuba Akpom is wanted by PAOK, with no-one quite sure what’s happened to Sint-Truiden’s interest. It was a ‘done deal’ but not anymore it seems. The Italian media claim £8m is the price for Lucas Perez, the question is whether Lazio will pay it.
Which leaves Carl Jenkinson and Joel Campbell as the only others in ‘no man’s land’.
Jenkinson has been unfortunate with injuries. Last season, he dislocated his shoulder. At West Ham, his ACL injury put the kibosh on a move. He shot himself in the foot with Crystal Palace. Self-inflicted wounds cause more damage. What now for him?
Now 26, he has only played 154 games. There are 20-year-olds who have played more than that. I’m sure he regrets the Palace deal falling through. Not agreeing on personal terms is a tricky one. The immediate presumption is the money wasn’t enough but in this case, it seems a 40% pay cut in the event of relegation was too much to bear.
He has two years left on his current deal. Two years. How badly was that contract negotiated? He’s spent three seasons on loan and still has two left?
Campbell is out of contract next summer. The Fandango over his signing becomes more ridiculous with every passing season. Assuming he leaves in 2019, his spell at the club will be eight years, of which 7 will have been on loan.
Jesus wept. Star players running down deals. Goalkeepers whose contracts both end in the same summer; there is a lot of work to be done to resolve the situation.
More importantly, don’t make the same mistakes again.