Nothing gets the Mill’s juices flowing quite like a club wasting time and energy to issue a fiercely worded statement insisting their player is going nowhere. It almost always follows the come-and-get-me plea and it is a bootless errand. On this occasion it is Wolfsburg tinkling into the wind. Hands off Julian Draxler they bark, but the die is already cast. It is all quiet on the Wenger front no longer you see. The Emirates portcullis has been lifted, Arsène has prised open the war chest, plucked £50m big ones from it and there’s nothing the Bundesliga side can do about it. Or is there? Everton, bless them, have also entered the race for the want-away Germany international and may force Wenger to turn his attentions elsewhere.
Not a problem for Arsène, who was recently heard saying that he understands the supporters’ frustrations at the lack of signings at Arsenal while reclining on a chaise longue, simultaneously yawning and puffing one of Jack’s Gauloises. The Arsenal gaffer is now all action in the transfer market, has a whopping £100m to spend and is ready to take Riyad Mahrez off Leicester’s hands, according to unconfirmed reports in Algeria. Add in Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon, who are holding out for more than £29m, and that’s a fine hotchpotch of attacking players Wenger will finally figure out how best to combine at the end of February.
The exact source of the lightning bolt that has jolted Wenger into action remains a topic of debate but Manchester City’s über-spending can’t have gone unnoticed. After splashing £27m on Gabriel Jesus – he of the Bible-loving headline writer’s wildest dreams – Pep Guardiola is set to shell out £15m on Marlos Moreno from Colombian side Atlético Nacional and still has Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegenfirmly in his sights.
On to all matters Belgian now and Roberto Martínez is the new manager of the Red Devils. Hmmm. Anyway, Christian Benteke can look forward to playing under Bobby M for country and perhaps one of Bobby’s former clubs as well with Everton sniffing around. Sunderland though are interested too. So much so that David Moyes is shooting daggers at his old stomping ground.
On the topic of stomping grounds, West Ham have a new one and nothing says “welcome to our fancy pants new Olympic Stadium” like the capture of … Davide Santon!!! The Inter full-back is expected to join on loan imminently. And nothing says: “Damn you for getting the Olympic Stadium and leaving us to pay for our own” like Tottenham’s pursuit of the 23-year-old Portuguese winger Rafa Silva.
Finally, Phil Brown has opened his loving arms and welcomed Nile Ranger to Southend, provided he “keeps his nose clean”. What were we saying about time and energy?<more>