Readers will be familiar with the concepts of ill-preparedness and of procrastination. Manchester United and Barcelona are embracing them respectively over the future of Paul Pogba.
The 25-year-old French international has been, reportedly, unhappy at United for the last year, and there are stories of disquiet and friction between Pogba and his boss Jose Mourinho. United denied that a meeting between the two of them was anything but scenes of sunlit uplands only otherwise seen in a Brexiteers fevered reverie.
We, however, are allowed to be sceptical, and with Pogba’s tweets about trying hard for his club and fans – notably not his manager, though – it seems like moves are afoot to engineer a move away either in the next week, or next season. Here is where the ill-preparedness comes in.
United’s chief Ed Woodward oversaw a dreadful transfer window where he was given a list of transfer targets by Mourinho at the end of the season, and then started lobbing in one excuse after another with a few days to go, blaming the suitability of the targets. Maybe he should have mentioned that sooner, and Pogba’s replacement could have been secured already.
And then, for the procrastination. For Barcelona to have had any chance of landing their target they probably should not have offered £50m and twin disappointments Andre Gomes and Yerry Mina without giving United a proper chance to negotiate and locate a replacement. Instead, they have now decided to wait until next season when they will come back with a more credible offer. The tension is electric.
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Guardiola fancies Neves transfer
Manchester City also had a limited transfer window, but they were helped by the fact they have one of the best squads in the world, and a coach who can improve the players he has at his disposal. Riyad Mahrez arrived, but they conspicuously clowned themselves on the Jorginho deal, seeing him go to Chelsea and his former Napoli boss, Maurizio Sarri.
Guardiola has identified his next target, though. Wolves’ Ruben Neves has been so impressive in his brief Premier League career that he has been identified as the next target for midfield.
At just 21, the midfielder is wanted to play the role of a deep-lying midfielder for Guardiola’s side following the exit of Yaya Toure. Whether Wolves would be willing to let him go, considering their own deep pockets and ambitions, is another matter.
Manchester City had scouts at Wolves' game with Everton last week and are considering a move for £60m-rated midfielder Ruben Neves (21) in January. [The Sun] pic.twitter.com/BJuZ2zfxQW
— City Watch (@City_Watch) August 18, 2018
Dortmund name their price for Weigl
Neves isn’t the only midfielder in the frame for a move to the Etihad. Borussia Dortmund’s Julian Weigl has long been linked with a move to the Premier League, where City are keen, but also to French champions Paris Saint-Germain, who are coached by former Dortmund man Thomas Tuchel.
Dortmund have set the asking price at £68m, and with the German international still only 22, there is no reason for them to compromise on a lower sum. They already have Axel Witsel and Thomas Delaney as replacements, giving them the chance to sell at their own pace.
USA! DAVID MOYES! USA! DAVID MOYES!
The United States of America are looking for a new inspirational man to lead their national team. They have been made aware that David Moyes is now willing to consider the possibility of coming across the pond to take the reigns.
The former Manchester United, Everton, Real Sociedad, Sunderland and West Ham man improved his stock last season after success at the London Stadium, and is now under consideration.