There were a few bits of news from yesterday so let’s have a look at those now. Instead of going with one long blog post about one particular topic, I’m going to break a couple of things down. I do this sometimes of course. I do like going into a lot of detail about one thing, but when there’s a few things going on, I like to break them down into smaller sections.
Liverpool are on the verge of signing Alisson Becker from Roma. That deal moved very quickly yesterday, and it is now done. It hasn’t been confirmed by either club, but you can take it as being wrapped up because the reports are so strong. Liverpool agreed a fee of around €75m (£66.9m) for him yesterday, and he flew to England for a medical. We could see that one announced today or tomorrow. I won’t go too in-depth here because I wrote a lot about it yesterday morning. It’s great business by Liverpool though, and I think their fans can be very excited for next season. I can’t wait to see how they get on!
Staying with the Reds, it was announced yesterday that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will miss most of next season through injury. The midfielder sustained multiple ligament damage when he was playing against Roma in the Champions League at Anfield at the end of April. He missed the Champions League final and the World Cup because of the injury. It has been revealed that he knew the extent of the injury just days after it happened to him, but he requested that it wasn’t made public because he didn’t want to disrupt his team-mates for the Champions League final.
Jurgen Klopp says that it will be a bonus if we see him before next May. He says the majority of the season will be about him focusing on recovery on rehab. It’s going to take a full 12 months for him to recover, and even after that, it’ll take him a while to regain match-fitness.
You can’t help but feel sorry for him. He really does seem like a decent lad, who looks like he’s good fun around the dressing room and has a bit of personality about him. Hopefully he bounces back stronger from this. He will be 25 next month, so it’s not like he doesn’t have enough time to come back and get playing again. He’s still young and can still improve as a player. Let’s hope everything goes well for him.
Maurizio Sarri held his first Chelsea press conference yesterday. It has also been announced that Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola will come in as his assistant. Sarri spoke about a few things, and identified midfield as an area that he would like to improve. He said he will not call Eden Hazard or Thibaut Courtois over their futures, because he would like to look them in the eye and speak to them face-to-face. He also said that he isn’t interested in the transfer market because it bores him.
Improving Chelsea’s midfield is something that I find interesting. He has quite a few players in there at the moment, with N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Cesc Fabregas, Danny Drinkwater, Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek all able to play in the middle of the park. Barkley and Loftus-Cheek are more attack-minded, but they could still play there. I just looked at their squad list, and they don’t have Loftus-Cheek listed. That could be a sign that he’s on the way out, but I’m not sure. Maybe they just forgot him!
Barkley and Drinkwater are players I had my doubts about from the moment they signed. They’re decent players, but I’m not quite sure they’re good enough for Chelsea. They do have a home-grown quota to reach, of course, so maybe that’s why they were signed. I’m not sure Sarri will see either of them as being starters though. Bakayoko is another one that I – along with many others – have doubts about. He was extremely poor last season, and that’s surely something Sarri will know. Maybe he needed to adapt to English football and will be better next season, but I’m not sure.
The Hazard/Courtois situation is one that’s a real worry for Chelsea. What do they do if they don’t manage to hang onto them? I have seen rumours saying that Courtois will be replaced by Kasper Schmeichel or Petr Cech. They’re two decent ‘keepers, but would undoubtedly be a downgrade on Courtois. I have no idea how they could even go about attempting to replace Hazard, who is one of the best in Europe. We’ll see what happens.
Sarri saying that he isn’t interested in the transfer market will be music to the Chelsea board’s ears. Antonio Conte had no problem publicly criticising them for the lack of transfer activity, and that caused problems between him and the board and he was sacked in the end. That’s unlikely to happen with Sarri. I do think Chelsea will need to sign a couple of players regardless, though.
I’m looking forward to seeing how Chelsea play next season. People are saying that Sarri’s brand of football is one of the most exciting in Europe. Playing great football isn’t something you would usually associate with Chelsea, so that will be a welcome change for their fans. They could be up there if they somehow manage to keep Hazard and Courtois and add a couple to the squad. We’ll see how they get on.
Onto Man Utd now. The season hasn’t even started yet and Jose Mourinho has been moaning. He’s giving out about his pre-season being disrupted because he’s missing so many players from Man Utd’s tour of the US. He is without Alexis Sanchez, Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Marouane Fellaini, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Marcos Rojo, Victor Lindelof, Ashley Young, David de Gea, Nemanja Matic, Fred and Phil Jones. They’re all on holiday after the World Cup, but Sanchez couldn’t go because of Visa issues. It’s not like they’ve had all of May and June, and half of July, to get that sorted!
Mourinho says that’s particularly disruptive, because he wants to play a front three of Sanchez, Anthony Martial and Juan Mata on the opening day of the season. Is that a hint that Martial will be staying? There were stories a while ago that he wanted to leave the club. The stories came from his agent, but that’s all gone quiet now. I still wouldn’t rule it out, but I don’t know if he’ll stay or go.
Mourinho added that the broadcasters “were not nice” to them because they have them playing on the Friday night against Leicester. Is there really that much of a difference between Friday and Saturday though? It’s not like they’ve just come from playing in the Champions League on the Wednesday. I don’t know why he does this, to be honest. The season hasn’t even started but he’s giving out. Relax Jose, please.
He added that he doesn’t know if there will be any more new signings brought in. Diogo Dalot, the 19-year-old right-back that they signed from Porto, will be out until September, according to reports.
It’s almost like Mourinho is trying to make excuses already. That may not be true, but I don’t see why else he’s giving out so much and being so negative. The other top clubs will be without a lot of players for the start of the season. This is the way it always is after a summer tournament, and managers usually just get on with it. If it comes to November and United aren’t doing great and Mourinho blames pre-season, I won’t be too impressed!
Right, that’s that for this morning. I hope you enjoyed my Thursday morning ramblings. It’s quite fortunate that I’ve had stuff to talk about, as I thought it would be a real struggle once the World Cup started. Transfers and all the rest are keeping me busy though, which is a good thing. I’ll be back here tomorrow morning, and you can keep up with all of today’s news on Twitter. Have a good one.