The Warm-Up: Frenkie goes to Hollywood
Jack Lang checks in with the latest transfer news and salutes Man City's gritty win over Burton...
THURSDAY’S BIG STORIES
De Jong ones
The first is the person who comes up with their transfer strategy. His office, we must assume, is strewn with empty beer cans and screwed up balls of note paper, like the Hollywood vision of a failing author. Only he’s actually living his best possible life.
“Yeah, get me [burps flamboyantly]… erm… PAULINHO. What do you mean he was already here and we sold him back to China? Urggggh. OK… [briefly falls asleep, to be woken by person on the line coughing pointedly]… get me… hahahaha… OK, this is good. Get me KEVIN-PRINCE BOATENG, and then FRENKIE DE JONG a couple of days later. Cool? I’m going for a nap.”
Yep, the best player you’ve never actually seen but pretend to know all about anyway is on his way to the Camp Nou in the summer. To play alongside former Portsmouth semi-legend Boateng. Weird flex but OK.
Significantly, it was also an occasion for the second Barça unsung hero to shine. We refer, of course, to the person who does their natty social media videos.
“Enjoy De Jong.” “We Color Football.” These aren’t just the world’s clunkiest hashtags, sounding like they’ve been ping-ponged back and forth through Google Translate for a month or two. They’re also set against a background that looks more than a little bit… MS Paint.
There’s only one possible explanation: they are surely part of a brilliant inside joke about the inherent crapness of announcement videos.
Think back to the Boateng one. And the Clement Lenglet horror show. They must be in the joke. Right? RIGHT?
Eden HazardGetty Images
“At the moment he’s not a leader,” said the Italian. “I think he has to do more, because the potential is higher than the performances. He has to respect first of all himself. You know very well that Eden is a wonderful player but he’s an individual player.”
Sarri stopped short of adding “…and a future Real Madrid player,” but it was probably implied.
Eden HazardGetty Images
City sneak through
IN OTHER NEWS
The award for Bare-Faced Job Pitch of the Week goes to… Paul Scholes!
The 44-year-old, you will recall, has spent the last four or five years being explosively critical of former club Man United for money – less Ginger Ninja, more Ginger Whinger. But now the good times are rolling again with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the helm, guess who’s up for a piece of the action?
“I want that feeling back again of working towards something through the week, working towards the end game on a Saturday through to the end of the season,” said Scholes, in a break from updating his LinkedIn page.
“Since Ole has come back you feel like you’ve got your club back. You don’t ever feel like you’ve lost it, I suppose, but it just feels like you’ve got someone there who knows Man United. You look at Ole and he’s a United man.
“You’d almost feel welcome there again…”
One just hopes that subtlety isn’t high on the list of things wanted by United’s recruiters.
Paul Scholes believes Manchester United's title challenge would be boosted by away wins against their rivalsPA Sport
Happy birthday to Luis Suarez, everybody’s favourite flesh-eating forward. Here are his 10 best goals for Ajax, although as can be expected with these videos, they are in entirely the wrong order.
No.2 is quite lucky and No.1 is fine, but No.6, No.5 and No.3 – oh, goodness, No.3 – are the real corkers in here.
Also, how absolutely, unforgivably, deliciously awful does this look?
And finally, because The Warm-Up is feeling exceptionally generous this morning, here’s a compilation of clips of Lionel Messi and Daniel Alves one-twoing opponents to distraction.
"We all got different paths in this game. There’s so many things you don’t see. You know what’s so crazy to me? I was sat in that Marriot back in 2012, eating my room service chips, and I was barely getting a run out for Leicester. And in that same dressing room you had Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane, and they were going through the same struggles. We were all just trying to get a game in the Championship. Six years later, we’re all walking out for the World Cup semifinal, representing England. How do you explain that?"
Lingard recently launched a clothing line (Martin Rickett/PA).PA Sport
Back to the League Cup we go, with what promises to be a more competitive game between Chelsea’s toothless miserablists and whichever Tottenham players Mauricio Pochettino can scrape off the floor of the treatment room. It is, not to put too fine a point on it, a classic Crisis-Off, and thus expectations are high for something genuinely hilarious.
The Warm-Up will have a pound on ‘Fernando Llorente own-goal hat-trick’, with 50p on ‘Emerson Palmieri headbutting Maurizio Sarri after being hauled off after 26 minutes’.