It’s not easy being Ed Woodward. Armed with the money of Manchester United, the name of Manchester United, and the reputation of the manager of Manchester United, the pressure to actually sign people for Manchester United is more than your average human could bear. But Woodward is no average human, what with his designer beard, prominent cheeks and smouldering stare, and as such, his ability to link United with all manner of players for whom he is unable to complete deals is without compare.
When it comes to “weighing up bids”, “preparing bids” and “agreeing terms with the player”, United cannot be matched. Currently, they are thinking about considering whether to contemplate perhaps pondering a potential postulation as regards actually offering a suitable sum of money for Ángel di María. This is because Real Madrid are keen to sell and, given financial fair play restrictions, Paris Saint-Germain can’t afford to buy – clearly, what they need to do is get themselves banned from all transfer activity, like Barcelona. Anyway, Louis van Gaal has specifically referenced Di María as the kind of player United lack, so expect them to be priced out of a one-horse race in the next week or so.
And that is not all – United are also looking at Daley Blind, the world’s first footballer-newspaper. Van Gaal has noted publicly that Dutch players are cheap and good, so, most likely, Blind will join from Spurs for £174m, in two years’ time. In the meantime, a variety of types have been informed that they’ll be leaving Old Trafford – Marouane Fellaini, Nani, Javier Hernández, Rafael, Will Keane and Wilfried Zaha. The same was expected to be so of Antonio Valencia, a target for Wigan Warriors, but no one’s been able to find him since 2012.
Though Arsenal have joined United in the battle to not sign Mats Hummels, on the real, they’re looking elsewhere. Last season, Daniel Agger found himself kept out of the Liverpool side by Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho, a monumental embarrassment that he handled with good grace. But the arrival of Dejan Lovren has pushed him over the metaphorical edge – somehow, he managed to avoid injury in the process – and he’s long since dreamed of deputising for Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
Arsenal may also be selling some players. Galatasaray officials have, apparently, arrived in London to discuss the acquisition of Joel Campbell. Arsène Wenger would rather he stayed, but may take the opportunity to palm off Lukas Podolski; should the deal go through, Jack Wilshere is favourite to replace him as non-playing selfie-taker.
After spending roughly a billion pounds purchasing the romance of footballing glory, Manchester City are finally set to provide Vincent Kompany with a proper partner. Prior to the Charity Shield, Manuel Pellegrini accidentally named Eliaquim “Mrs” Mangala when listing City’s summer signings, and it is “understood” that he will be unveiled this week, from beneath a baby blue velvet cloth. The price is £32m, obviously.
Freshly asset-stripped and raring to go, Southampton – vendors of the Premier League’s dearest cheapest season ticket – have plans to buy more players significantly less good than those they’ve sold. Next on their list is Florin Gardos, Steaua Bucharest’s centre-back, and after him, Marcos Rojo of Sporting Lisbon. They’re also keen to take Arsenal’s Serge Gnabry on loan – but so too are Crystal Palace and Newcastle. Before making a decision, the player will consult with his father, Gnasher, brother, Gnipper, and sisters, Gnatasha, Gnaomi, Gnanette , Gnorah and Gnancy.
Elsewhere, Everton, suffering withdrawal symptoms after actually signing their own players, will soothe themselves by borrowing Christian Atsu from Chelsea’s youth development arm. But there’s also a plan to buy again – Anderlecht’s young Belgian striker, David Henen.
And finally, a surprise – it seems that Glenn Hoddle is about to join QPR, as first-team coach under Harry Redknapp. The Mill can only imagine in awe the standard of past-life sin that earned such a fate.