SATURDAY’S HEADLINES

(DON’T) HIT THE ROAD JACK?

You’ve got to imagine that Gareth Southgate isn’t particularly happy about having to deal with another transfer saga in his squad.
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In case you missed it, Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish became the latest England player, following in the footsteps of Harry Kane and Jadon Sancho in being at the centre of a transfer tug of war.
Manchester City, they of Premier League champions fame but Champions League runners-up fame, have reportedly earmarked Grealish as one of their primary transfer targets, along with Kane.

Jack Grealish of England reacts during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group D match between Czech Republic and England at Wembley Stadium

Image credit: Getty Images

Unlike with Kane and Sancho there have been no indications from Grealish’s camp that he is interested in leaving Villa, where he captains the team he grew up supporting. Villa have already signed Emi Buendia and Ashley Young as they look to follow the route taken by Leicester City to the promised land.
And perhaps Grealish can look to one of Leicester’s talisman, Jamie Vardy, as an example to follow. Vardy had the chance to join Arsenal, admittedly not the same as City, but he decided to stay and has played in the Champions League and won the FA Cup.
It all depends on what Grealish wants really. He has a chance to become a true legend of Aston Villa, which is a historic club. But will he win a Premier League there? Barring something astonishing akin to Leicester, no. But could he take Villa back to Europe and maybe even the Champions League, and possibly win a cup? Absolutely. Only he can decide what’s important but if there was one player who you felt might go down the one-club route is this modern era, it would Grealish.

LIVERPOOL TAKE AN EARLY SHOT

Liverpool Football Club have reportedly enquired about the services of Kylian Mbappe this summer.
In other, unrelated news, The Warm-Up has dropped LeBron James a line to see if he fancies a game of pick-up next Thursday.

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on against the Phoenix Suns during Round 1, Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 3, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California

Image credit: Getty Images

We don’t want to seem harsh, but this is a team that nearly missed out on Thiago Alcantara last summer for the sake of a few million. After another season with no fans how on earth could Liverpool expect to have any hope of bringing him in.
Matt Hancock’s got a better shot on the new series of Love Island.
In all seriousness this story does come out of an interesting development. Spanish radio reports that Real Madrid will not be pursuing a move for Mbappe this summer as they don’t believe they can match the wages offered by the Parisian club.
However what happens if Mbappe decides to wait and eventually comes to the conclusion that he would be better placed leaving Ligue 1? We’ll tell you what happens. It will be the biggest free agency extravaganza since “The Decision”. LeBron James’ that is, not Antoine Griezmann’s pathetic imitation.
The Warm-Up would like to pose a serious question, two in fact. Firstly, would Mbappe be the best player to ever become a free agent within a footballing sense? Secondly, what kind of astronomic wages would he command?

FRANCE NAME OLYMPIC SQUAD, SORT OF

It’s under 100 days until the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which in case you had forgotten you can watch live on Eurosport, and that means we’re starting to see countries name their football squads.
As a reminder, players have to be under the age of 24 with three of the squad allowed to be over that. The reality of these squads is always a little bit sad compared to the way we would play it out on Football Manager, particularly with Euro 2020 finishing just weeks before. As much as we’d love to see Pedri or Jamal Musiala in Japan it’s not just likely.
Nevertheless, the French squad was released on Friday and it’s pretty damn impressive. Eduardo Camavinga is one of the best young players in the world and who doesn’t love Andre-Pierre Gignac and his new Tigres team-mate Florian Thauvin.
However it’s slightly more complicated than that. Various reports from different outlets in France say that as many five players will be blocked from joining up by their clubs which includes a number of key players like Benoit Badiashile, Malang Sarr, Amine Gouiri and Camavinga. A mess indeed…

IN OTHER NEWS

DON’T CRY 4 KIERAN

"My agent called me and said Arsenal wanted to talk about a new deal, what figures should we ask for? I said the only figure I care about is the length of years I can stay. I want 4 more years. For the other figures I couldn't care less."
Sometimes the Warm-Up can be a little bit cynical, particularly with so many sports people failing to cover themselves in glory recently. But we’re yet to hear anything about Kieran Tierney that doesn’t make us smile.
Our snarky side might point out that Tierney could still move away from Arsenal in an ungainly manner but that doesn’t seem likely given the way he left Celtic.
Tierney is a captain-in-waiting for Arsenal and if Mikel Arteta and the board are going to turn the ship around then he is one of the key core pieces that needs to be built around. A quiet, but important bit of good news for the Gunners.

IN THE CHANNELS

Take a bow FC Augsburg social media team.

HAT-TIP

“The DNCG usually publishes an annual report on the domestic game’s finances in February. We are still waiting.”
This is excellent by Matt Slater on the crisis facing French football clubs. It is behind a paywall (£) but definitely worth it, this could get very serious very quickly.

RETRO CORNER

It’s football and cycling day!
So enjoy the pure beauty of this.

COMING UP

Football is back! We’ve got Wales v Denmark to kick things off and then we move to Italy v Austria.
But that’s not all, cycling is back and what a day we have for you. We start with the 2021 edition of La Course before the Tour de France kicks off with the opening stage.
Sunday’s Warm-Up will be brought to you by “checks notes” this writer! I'll be cracking out the unicycle over the weekend so I can enter the next cycle-ball world championships.
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