WEDNESDAY'S BIG STORIES
Spurs are on their way to Wembley...
Hugo Lloris didn’t get much sleep last night, his mind racing with possibilities. Should he rush the trophy lift? Sink low, bounce a few times, then roar up? Offer Harry Kane and Jose Mourinho a handle each of the weirdly-shaped cup and share the moment? Lloris may have captained France to World Cup glory, but he’s about to get his hands on something much rarer on April 25 – a trophy draped in Tottenham's colours.
If Spurs win it, of course. But say what you like about Jose Mourinho, the man sure knows where to find available silverware. Tottenham have seemed allergic to football’s various pots, both domestically and abroad, since Petr Cech punched the ball into Jonathan Woodgate’s face to settle the 2008 League Cup final. It’s about time for a new glorious chapter.
Mourinho wanted two things this season: a cup and a c***. They have likely arrived in tandem. Mourinho has been desperate to point out that “good guys never win” – which shatters our belief that N’Golo Kante might be the friendliest man on the planet – and will have been welling up when Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg tried to hobble back onto the pitch against Brentford despite nearly having his leg amputated.
It wasn’t vintage Spurs, but providing the brief is to avoid defeat then Mourinho remains the ultimate obstacle.
'I'm not happy but job done' - Mourinho after Spurs beat Brentford to reach League Cup final
The curious case of Kieran Trippier
Should we care if a bookie is ripped off? An industry that survives by convincing people to take punts with odds that are stacked against them. An industry that boasted the UK’s highest-paid CEO in 2019 – congrats, Denise Coates of bet365 fame. An industry that hides behind ‘Be Gamble Aware’ posters, then allows you to deposit your wage packet into their system within seconds.
Enter the case of Kieran Trippier, whose damning WhatsApp exchanges with friends were revealed on Tuesday, highlighting that he had told them to “lump on if you want” on his move from Tottenham to Atletico Madrid. Guilty as sin.
Except, two things: a) was Trippier expected to secretly pack up his possessions and depart for Spain without telling anyone, and b) what is the offence exactly? This isn’t Wall Street. We would wager you – yes you, dear reader – have put a couple of quid on something after receiving a tip-off (Andre Greipel, you’re still not forgiven for bottling Milan-San Remo 2014).
We’re not talking about a player who scored a deliberate own goal to make cash, nor one who tried to give away an early corner for an in-play jackpot. Sure, we won’t dispute it’s a bit naughty, but in what world does telling your friends you’re definitely joining another football team merit a 10-week ban, currently on hold?
While betting markets concerning future destinations of players exist, this will always happen. So rather than upholding Trippier’s ban, why not just outlaw these types of bets and stop feeling sorry for cash-hoovering corporations?
PSG are coming for your best player
What do Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski, Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah, Sergio Ramos and Harry Kane have in common? They’re all "welcome" at PSG.
That’s the only thing anyone could glean (read: fabricate) from an otherwise tepid first showing from Mauricio Pochettino as PSG manager, who refused to be dragged into speculation surrounding individual names before dropping one nugget.
"Any big player in the world is always welcome at Paris Saint-Germain," announced Pochettino, to the glee of headline writers across the world. Messi and Dele Alli, who has probably lost his big-name status, remain the two names most heavily linked with a move to the French capital. We doubt either will happen.
Ramos makes shock Messi transfer claim as PSG circle - Euro Papers
IN OTHER NEWS
Fingers in your ears? Good, let’s keep pretending this won’t all collapse any moment now and press on.
IN THE CHANNELS
Brentford striker Ivan Toney may have had a quiet night against Tottenham, but he's a thrill-seeker at heart. Just look at his wild start to life.
It’s a sombre time for football after Manchester City great Colin Bell died on Tuesday, aged 74. Here he is bagging a hat-trick, including a sumptuous third, against rivals United in 1972.
It’s perhaps fitting then that the Manchester clubs should meet tonight, with United hosting City in the second League Cup semi-final from 19:45.
Andi Thomas once got a tip-off that Jose Luis Chilavert was moving to Manchester United. He's here tomorrow, still working away to pay off that debt.