TUESDAY’S BIG STORIES
Luis Suarez to Atleti (maybe)
It was telling that the below Fabrizio Romano tweet was missing the obligatory 'here we go'.
Why telling? Because, apparently there was not, to paraphrase the man himself, ‘total agreement’ between all parties, and all parties seems to mean between Josep Maria Bartomeu and Josep Maria Bartomeu – that is according to reports gaining traction overnight from Cadena SER.
The Barcelona president had agreed to allow Suarez to leave the club on a free (presuming that would be to Juve) but, when he realised – via press reports suggest Cadena SER - that free meant to Atletico, he put the stoppers on the move. So to be as clear as possible, according to unconfirmed reports, it seems the Barca president stepped in to personally block a move he had presumably previously personally sanctioned being president and all, as he didn't like the club that Suarez had agreed to join.
These are, at this stage, reports and should be treated as such but, if true, it speaks of a club that is in complete disarray.
However, this is probably the correct decision for...
…Atletico Madrid, who were going to sign one immobile ageing forward in Suarez to play alongside another immobile ageing forward in Diego Costa, and that strikes as a bad idea given that modern football requires players to be mobile. It would have been captivating to watch two of the most unrelenting footballing deviants operate within the same team for 30+ games, but it looks like that could be off the table for now.
Mourinho, pal, listen to the science
Gareth Bale's love for Spurs could speed return from injury, claims Mourinho - thus read multiple headlines on multiple websites over the course of Monday.
Perhaps those devious journalists had misrepresented the words of a leading football coach for cheap clicks?
Nope, here they are:
I don't know when Gareth will be back. The only thing that I know is that the motivation is high, he is so happy to be with a club of his heart, he is so happy to play for us and when a player has this motivation, many, many times you can shorten the period of recovering and shorten the period of getting fit and ready to play and we want to help him. So when he is available to train with the team, we are more than happy to have him and to be back to a level that [is] maybe one of the best players in the world.
How exactly does this shortening the period of recovering or shortening things in general work? Seems fairly pseudo-sciencey from a distance that - 'injury prone player's motivation to play will help him not to be injured' seems hardly at the forefront of modern sports science. This seems all a little bit ‘get the magic sponge out’ when perhaps listening to the science might be the correct course of action.
Are Tottenham readying themselves for an American sale?
Now. The Warm-Up is no ITK. However, it seems glaringly obvious that Tottenham Hotspur Football Club are courting the American market. Here are the reasons why:
- They have replaced the non blockbuster Mauricio Pochettino with the blockbuster Jose Mourinho
- The Amazon documentary is 100 per cent aimed at the US market
- They have signed one of the best and most recognisable American sports stars in Alex Morgan
- They have signed another marquee player in Gareth Bale and plastered his face all over Times Square
The above suggests they are at the very least courting the American market. However, throw into the mix a new training ground and a new stadium capable of hosting NFL games and the Warm-Up is firing up the burner Twitter account to announce that 'a pal works in the accounts department at Spurs and has said that Tottenham are definitely for sale.'
This is, of course, pure conjecture but there has been a curious change of course from the club hierarchy recently. After years of long-term planning, things have gone a bit shorter-term which is a substantial change of tack. Perhaps this shorter-term approach was always part of the plan post-stadium build to finally get their hands on a trophy, but it does seem at odds with previous behaviour...
IN THE CHANNELS
Manchester City remain an excellent footballing outfit but – and it is a big but – still look rather unstable at the back. Fernandinho looks, once again, crucial to their chances of success this season. However, the Brazilian is 35 and his age began to show on Monday night.
Pep Guardiola’s men were excellent against a dangerous Wolves side in the first half but had a wobble during the second period. It was during this second period that the Brazilian began to struggle physically, and that should be a worry for City. City would win 3-1 but the performance was not as convincing as it could have been, particularly in the second half.
HEROES AND ZEROS
HERO - Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The Swede has now scored in 22 seasons, that's impressive by any measure.
ZERO - Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The Swede had to make his obligatory bad joke about being built differently after scoring in 22 seasons straight.
A double hat-tip to both Simon Johnson of the Athletic for the scoop that Chelsea are tempted to spend big again and Frank Lampard for having the, erm, what Troy Deeney might term cojones to claim that N'Golo Kante is not able to do the job as a defensive/holding midfielder. Johnson explains:
Lampard has made it clear that Kante is going nowhere, despite interest from Inter Milan. So what is the reasoning? An insider explains: 'I believe the thinking is for the balance of the squad. Last season, Chelsea didn’t have a defensive midfielder with the mindset to hold. Kante is not a holding midfielder, he wants to leave areas, he wants to go and win the ball back. I believe Lampard wants a holder to just sit there, to break things up, to be more of a physical presence'.
There is some League Cup action, with Luton definitely taking on Manchester United and Leyton Orient probably not taking on Tottenham Hotspur. Elsewhere there is the European Masters snooker, with live text updates on the website all day.