TUESDAY’S BIG STORIES

Signings! More signings! And Ronaldo

The replenishing continues across the Premier League. Manchester City lost Fernandinho and so they’ve gone and acquired Kalvin Phillips, while Arsenal have coped with the departures of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (yes, yes, in January) and Alexandre Lacazette by bringing in Gabriel Jesus – with both unveiled yesterday.
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Upgrades? Well, the jury might be out on Phillips, undoubtedly a quality player who has big boots to fill but is at least in good company with Rodri next to him and Kevin De Bruyne in front, but to Arsenal you quite simply have to say, well done.
Jesus arrives off the back of a decent end to the previous campaign, and he is Premier League ready – ideal for the Gunners after they fell short in their top-four pursuit last year.
He is also unequivocal on where he wants to play, and bar a major Eddie Nketiah breakthrough there is little doubt where Jesus will be deployed.
“I’m the No 9! I’m a striker, you know,” Jesus said. “I thank God every day I can be alive, and that I can play in three or four different positions, but I think my position is No 9…I have come to score goals.”

Arsenal Unveil New Signing Gabriel Jesus at Emirates Stadium on July 04, 2022 in London, England

Image credit: Getty Images

Score he shall. How many, who knows, but it goes down as one of the best signings of the window for a club outside the Champions League.
Speaking of the Champions League, that’s exactly where Cristiano Ronaldo wants to get back to, and the saga rumbled on yesterday with reports Chelsea’s owner and head coach are on opposite sides of the would-he-be-worth-it spectrum, while the player also missed Manchester United’s first day of pre-season due to family reasons.
That was just two days after the news broke of his desire to leave, so strap yourselves in, the man wants a move, and by Jesus it just looks like he’s going to get it.

Pre-season!

The Premier League starts – oh, my… – a month today, and so that will explain why your social media feeds are starting to fill up with pre-season pictures (which club account will be the first to ask fans ‘Who do you want to see…?') and videos.
Playing football for a living is of course a dream gig, one millions aspire to but only a small percentage reach, but if like me you feel like last season only ended yesterday, then you really get a sense of how short the turnaround is in what is now a month-long slog to get match sharp, fit and ready.
As we have seen, clubs can ill-afford to make slow starts – Arsenal could be in the Champions League had it not been for that awful opening three games last year – and it perhaps explains why the majority of clubs have moved early in the transfer window.
Get your players in, get your preparations started, and knuckle down - that should be the way.

Standing at Wembley!

And Brentford, Cardiff City, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, QPR and Wolves from next season.
The trials of safe-standing areas proved to be a success, and so the UK government – initially hesitant to re-introduce the prospect – have given the green light to make it permanent.
“We’re very pleased that we will be expanding safe standing,” sports minister Nigel Huddleston said.
“It’s a big day for football, it’s a big day for fans, because this is not the old terraces, this is a very different world and safety is at the heart of it. It’s one space per person, with a seat should people wish to sit down, but with those barriers behind and in front of them.
“The vast majority of football fans behave very well and this is about fan choice; being able to experience the game in the way that you want to.”
We can expect more clubs to get on board, and while it will no doubt be carefully monitored going forward, it is a positive step, one that does away with the tannoy giving fans a ticking off, and as a domestic-games only rule, there’ll be some standers at the Carabao Cup final at Wembley in February.

IN OTHER NEWS

It’s a busy time in the world of transfers, and here’s Nizaar Kinsella – one of the most in-the-know Chelsea reporters in town – not only casually dropping a huge story involving Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo, but avoiding the personal news klaxon when announcing his summer transfer from Goal to Evening Standard.
Hence why that tweet almost had as many replies as his original story. He does what he wants, he does what he waaants…

IN THE CHANNELS

Well ain’t this lovely…

RETRO CORNER

Literally, any excuse. Happy 56th birthday Gianfranco Zola – here are your best goals for Chelsea, and boy are we glad they put that one against Norwich first…

COMING UP

No joke, there is Champions League and Europa Conference League qualifying today, but more importantly it’s Euro 2022 Eve, with hosts England taking on Austria tomorrow!
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