Hello there, happy Sunday. It feels a bit weird when there’s some Premier League news doing the rounds. I’m completely in World Cup mode, as I’m sure most people are, and when there’s something happening I’m wondering how I’m going to fit it into the blog. I really should be just getting straight into the World Cup games, but there’s a couple of things to talk about. Do I do the World Cup and then the Premier League news? Or does the Premier League news come first and then the World Cup? I’m confused.
I don’t know why I feel like this, but there you go. You would think I would just get straight into it, instead of messing around and waffling, but no. There’s waffling and rambling to be done, so I’ll waffle and ramble. It’s my blog and I’ll do what I want. Nobody can stop me. Maybe, just maybe, because this is a Premier League blog, the Premier League news should come first. That would make more sense, wouldn’t it? Yes, yes it would.
There was a report in the Guardian last night that said Maurizio Sarri is set to be named as Chelsea’s new manager before the players return for pre-season. I realise he’s probably going to be Chelsea’s ‘Head Coach’ as a lot of them are now, but for simplicity I’ll go for manager. The report says the deal should be done early next week, and Antonio Conte will be sacked.
This is a deal that’s been talked about for quite a while now, of course. Compensation owed to Napoli after Sarri left seems to be the reason the deal was delayed for so long, but that seems to have been cleared up now. Conte has long expected to be sacked, with people thinking it would come even days after Chelsea won the FA Cup final, but they obviously didn’t want to sack him in case the Sarri deal didn’t work out. Reports said that Conte had drafted up a pre-season training schedule just in case he was still there, but it appears that he can scrap his plans now.
It’ll be interesting to see how Sarri does. I think it’ll also be interesting to see how much he’s backed in the transfer market, as Chelsea seem to have calmed down in recent years. I’m not sure if Roman Abramovich isn’t willing to pump the funds in like he used to or not, but there is definitely a different attitude at Chelsea now. I don’t think Conte was backed in the way previous managers at Chelsea have been, and I think if he was backed, he would have done much better.
He was also a bit unlucky, I think. Chelsea sold Diego Costa, who is, of course, a massive bastard, but we all know that he’s a brilliant player. The replaced him with Alvaro Morata, who didn’t really work out for one reason or another. I’m not saying he won’t work out, as we know it can be difficult to adapt to the Premier League and it can take a while for some players, but he didn’t produce as expected last season. They also bought Ross Barkley and Danny Drinkwater, who are good players, but I don’t think they’re players Chelsea would have even thought about buying two or three years ago.
Anyway, I might go more in-depth with that if and when Conte does leave. It’ll be interesting to see what Sarri brings to the table now. He needs to have an instant impact of course, because that’s how Chelsea roll.
Elsewhere, Bournemouth announced this morning that they have signed midfielder David Brooks from Sheffield United. It’s a bit odd to announce a deal like that on a Sunday morning, but there you go. It has been reported that he moves for around £10m, and he has signed a four-year deal. I don’t know much about him, but he is highly rated and could be a good acquisition for the Cherries. He was born in England, and played for their U20 team, but switched to Wales and is now a Welsh international,
Brooks told Bournemouth’s official website: “The chance to come and play for a club in the Premier League is a great opportunity for myself. I’m delighted to be on board.
“When you look at Eddie Howe as a manager you want to be involved in something like that. He’s got big ambitions and with younger players he develops them well and he gives them a chance. That’s something I’m looking for and he was one of the main attractions for me to come to Bournemouth.”
Eddie Howe said: “David is a player we have been looking at for a long time. He is technically very good, has huge potential and will fit our philosophy in terms of how we want to play.
“We’ve seen enough to suggest he is a player who could be outstanding at this level in the future if he develops in the right way and is willing to learn and improve. I believe he has a very exciting future and I’m delighted that future will be here at Bournemouth.”
We’ll see how the young lad gets on in the Premier League.
Now, it’s onto the World Cup. The two best players in the world – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo; in case you were wondering – went home yesterday as Argentina and Portugal lost to France and Uruguay respectively. France vs Argentina was a 4-3 thriller, which France won narrowly in the end. Of course, it was 4-2 until Sergio Aguero scored an extremely late goal, so that makes it look a bit closer than it actually was. It was a really good game of football though. I think France deserved the win, but they really were pushed by Argentina. It was a closer game than I expected, to be honest.
Kylian Mbappe really announced himself on the world stage as he had a tremendous game. He had already announced himself before, but to do what he did in such a big game shows just how good he is. He scored twice and won a penalty in the game. It’s a tremendous feat for a player who is still just 19 years of age. He really looks like the real deal, and he could be the next big star after Messi and Ronaldo. He has all the potential in the world, so let’s hope he reaches that. I have no doubts that he will.
Paul Pogba also had a brilliant game. He gets a lot of stick for his performances – some of it is justified, of course – but he has to be praised when he plays well too. I was really impressed with him as he dominated the midfield for most of the game. It’ll be interesting to see how he gets on for the rest of the tournament, and we’ll see if he can really flourish next season with Nemanja Matic and Fred beside him in midfield for Man Utd.
Uruguay beat Portugal 2-1 in the later game of the day. It wasn’t a bad game, but it wasn’t anywhere near as good as the earlier one. You’re not going to get games like that all the time, of course. Edinson Cavani scored two really good goals to give Uruguay the win before he went off injured. Pepe, who is another massive bastard, scored for Portugal, which made me a bit sad because I don’t really like when he’s happy. Lucas Torreira, who is seemingly very close to signing for Arsenal, had a brilliant game as well.
Today we have Spain vs Russia at 4pm and Croatia vs Denmark at 7pm. I would be surprised if Spain and Croatia didn’t get the wins, but I have been surprised on more than one occasion in this World Cup so far.
I really am enjoying the World Cup, as I think every football fan is. It has had a bit of everything so far, and let’s hope we continue seeing the high-quality games that we’re now used to.
I think we’ll leave it there for now. Today’s blog is now quite long, 1,457 words to be precise, which I wasn’t really expecting. But that’s what happens when some Premier League news happens while the World Cup is on. It’s nice writing on the weekend because I can take my time and talk about what I want, whereas I have to be much quicker during the week as I have to go to work.
Anyway, enjoy the football today if you’re watching it. And if you’re not watching it, enjoy whatever else you’re doing. Any news throughout the day will be on Twitter, and I’ll be back tomorrow as always. Have a good one.