The Warm-Up: Frenkie De Jong's £67m decision deals big blow to City
Friday morning's news will put Pep Guardiola in a bad mood...
FRIDAY'S BIG HEADLINES
1 City transfer plans suffer big blow
Manchester City have only dropped four points all season, conceding just seven goals and scoring 45 in their 15 Premier League matches so far. It is fair to say they are in 'all-conquering' mode again. And yet there is a vulnerability at the heart of Pep Guardiola's project - and we aren't talking about a possible Champions League ban as a result of their flagrant disregard for Financial Fair Play regulations revealed by Football Leaks.
No, we mean Fernandinho, who whilst still in fine shape this season will be 34 by the time 2019-20 rolls around. It is why Guardiola was so determined to sign Jorginho over the summer, only to see him link up with Maurizio Sarri again at Chelsea. No bother, the next on City's reported list of deep-lying midfield targets was thought to be boy-wonder Frenkie De Jong, the 21-year-old sensation who if you believe the hype around him has almost been reinventing football at Ajax this season.
It will come as a blow for Guardiola, then, that reports in De Jong's native Holland overnight have revealed that Paris Saint-Germain, another noted respecter of FFP rules, are now poised to sign him for €75m (£67m) this summer.
" I love this style. Get the ball back quickly, then play possession with so many combinations. When you watch that, you get the feeling you want to go out on the pitch and play football with your friends and just enjoy yourself. City and Barcelona are great examples."
Instead, though, it seems PSG have got their hands on football's transcendent new talent. And just at the right time too: their long suffering supporters needed a morale boost after their 14-game Ligue 1 winning streak came to an end last weekend.
2 Hassenhuttl's unfortunate analogy
Ralph Hasenhuttl, the new appointed first team manager of SouthamptonGetty Images
Maybe it's just The Warm-Up, but on day one of a new job we wouldn't be casting around for comparisons with one of the greatest disasters in history which resulted in the death of more than 1,500 people. But new Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is a braver man than us and cited the Titanic as he was unveiled as Mark Hughes' replacement on Thursday.
" I was thinking about the Titanic leaving here and I hope I don’t hit the first iceberg waiting for me. I was looking forward and there was a very good atmosphere talking with (chairman) Ralph Krueger and (director of football operations) Ross Wilson and the decision was not really difficult for me. I had a few successful years in Germany and when I left Leipzig in the summer I was thinking about my next step and I wanted to stand in front of a new team in a new language and get developed personally and in my view of football. That’s the reason I made this decision to come here, to come to Southampton."
It's not as if Southampton is short of other historical touch points. Like, er, well, Walter Taylor's 18th century mechanisation of the block-making process which was a significant step in the Industrial Revolution? (That sentence definitely wasn't copied and pasted from Wikipedia).
Okay, so maybe the Titanic is the most famous thing about Southampton, apart from Ali Dia at least. Still, Hasenhuttl has given headline writers an easy target if his reign gets off to a tricky start.
3. Henry v Vieira postponed
With Emmanuel Macron's approval rating slumping to 18% and the French president predicting "great violence" this weekend with the expected resumption of the gilet jaunes protests which have swept the country, France is in a state of turmoil.
Even more seriously, with police resources set to be stretched over the next few days the Ligue 1 match between Nice and Monaco scheduled for Friday night has been called off. Which means no Thierry Henry v Patrick Vieira managerial showdown. The news was confirmed about two hours after Monaco tweeted this:
Matches involving Paris Saint-Germain, Lyon and Marseille have also been culled from the French sporting calendar this weekend.
IN OTHER NEWS
Stefan Kießling and his wife NorinaInstagram
Some love, please, for ex-Germany international Stefan Kiessling, who has revealed in an interview with Sport Bild that he often subcontracted his pre-season workouts to his wife because he couldn't be bothered.
" I never did one hundred percent of the exercises in the preparation periods, not once. You get a heart rate monitor on which all runs are saved. As my wife is very athletic, she did some racing with the wristband according to my specs. She did it so well that nobody noticed."
HEROES AND ZEROES
Hero: Arsene Wenger
ormer Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger receives the Lifetime Achievement Award during the Leaders Sport AwardsGetty Images
" Since I don't compete anymore, I get a trophy every week. How stupid was I not to understand earlier?"
Arsene Wenger, upon picking up the lifetime achievement award from the League Managers' Association last night. Wenger was also honoured at the Leaders Sports Awards in October and three months ago was named The Knight Grand Commander of the Humane Order of African Redemption in Liberia, thanks to his old friend George Weah. Just give him all the awards: Sports Personality of the Year, Masterchef: The Professionals, King of the Jungle.
Zero: Martin Solveig
Well, that's not really news to anyone, but the French DJ has now got a kicking from UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin after his ludicrous decision to ask Ballon d'Or winner Ada Hegerberg if she would twerk on stage. "Martin Solveig is an idiot, he can't behave and will never again lead an event like this," said the UEFA chief. Yeah, that about sums it up.
There's a real treat for you tonight: it's the Derby d'Italia between Juventus and Inter Milan. A bit closer to home, there's also the West Brom v Aston Villa derby in The Championship. Oh, and the UK Championship has reached the quarter-final stage with Ronnie O'Sullivan in action on Eurosport 1 from 1pm.
The gilet jaunes can't stop Marcus Foley so he will be back on Warm-Up duty on Monday