Today's fluff is back in the game
Anyone who watched Arsenal's lads on tour videos during the summer will surely attest to the fact that this is a squad full of harmony: everyone sings "The wheels on the bus go round and round" on the coach, people accept Theo Walcott's tattoos without question, wacky Laurent Koscielny makes funny faces and no one cares that Olivier Giroud insists on stripping down to his grundies all the time or that Nicklas Bendtner is still around. It is truly heartwarming. But now Arsène Wenger wants to shatter the festering bonhomie and lob a hand grenade into the mix in the shape of Adil Rami, a defender who was last seen getting himself sent off after two seconds during Valencia's Europa League chastening against Swansea. He'll fit right in!
Rami, one of those defenders who's been highly rated for a while but an accident waiting to happen whenever you watch him play, is on the way out at Valencia after a tirade against his team-mates and his manager, Miroslav Djukic. "In the dressing room there is only confusion since we lost [Roberto] Soldado, [Alberto] Costa and [David] Albelda," Rami roared. "Now there are lots of pelotas [brown-nosers, sycophants] who do not tell the truth to your face, and later they think it is my fault, that I do not want to play, that I ruled myself out, that I am not fine with Djukic and everyone knows it. We will see in the end where we are in the table." The France centre-back is available in January for a cool £8m, but Arsenal may face competition from Manchester City.
With Valencia sadly sliding down La Liga after selling all of their best players, times are tough at the Mestalla. But not so tough that they cannot become the latest club to be linked with Juan Mata, now reduced to the role of shining José Mourinho's shoes, making his breakfast and driving him to training to prove that he has the requisite work ethic to play for Chelsea. Valencia, who sold Mata two years ago, want to rescue him from his Stamford Bridge hell and introduce him to their version instead, although they may be outbid by the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and other clubs with resources far beyond those of Valencia.
Chelsea are also close to beating Bayern Munich to Wolfsburg wonderkid Julian Brandt, who they will sign and then, having realised that they have no space for him, loan to another Premier League side, thus ensuring he can take points off their rivals but not them.
Manchester City are waiting for Godin – Diego Godín to be precise. They're eyeing the Atlético Madrid centre-back because of fears that Manchester United are close to wrapping up a deal for Borussia Dortmund's Neven Subotic. But City shouldn't get too far ahead of themselves, for it may yet transpire that United's whizz negotiator Ed Woodward will return from Germany with a Subbuteo set instead. How else to explain that having spent all summer trying to sign Cesc Fábregas and Thiago Alcântara from Barcelona, United are going to end up with Alex Song?
Meanwhile Liverpool are watching Lazio's 18-year-old striker Keita Baldé Diao, but could probably do with thinking about buying some defenders who can defend set-pieces first.