Yes. They really did it. They went with the takeaway. According to an EXCLUSIVE story in this morning's The Sun Frank Lampard "will be offered a Chinese takeaway of £250,000 a week" at the end of the season with both Shanghai Shenhua and Beijing Guoan of the Chinese Allegedly Super League poised to expend vast, unrecoverable amounts of liquid manufacturing income in order to secure his services. Yes, that China! A nation that will, within, five years, overtake the US as the world's most powerful economy. Which is already the world's largest exporter of goods, has a population of 1.3bn people, more than 100 cities of one million people, a standing army of 1.2m and after 3,000 years of civilization is all set to dominate the current century economically and culturally. And which, more importantly, also invented the battered pork ball and the prawn cracker, something that must never, ever be forgotten, even as the tide of irreversible historical ascent turns our attention to more trivial matters.
"[Lampard] has always told pals he is more interested in a challenge than money," the Sun adds, which, on balance, and faced with the chance to earn £1m a month for taking a few free kicks and occasionally turning up at the opening of a vast rural wing nut production facility, makes him seem less rather than more like a normal guy like you and me. The LA Galaxy are also keen.
Also in The Sun Harry Redknapp is "on Rangers alert", which involves dropping into a crouch position and walking backwards around the kitchen very slowly, eyes narrowed, occasionally wheeling around ready to get Shaun Wright-Phillips in a headlock. According to The Sun "former Spurs boss Redknapp could take over [at QPR] straight away without any compensation to pay". Also, "Redknapp, 65, has a proven track record of beating the drop". It certainly sounds tempting, particularly as "influential figures at the club know they have to act swiftly" (NB actual quotes from influential figures not included). Elsewhere, Liverpool are favourites to sign the Torino defender Angelo Ogbonna who is 24 and would cost £16m and Reading are still keen on Burnley striker Charlie Austin.
In the Mirror Birmingham are considering very politely asking the ex-Manchester United scamp Ravel Morrison if he wouldn't mind stopping kicking a ball against their front windows and, you know, going away, they really don't want to have to ask again and no, no, really it's fine, you take your time, ha ha, yes they're just going inside for a bit to cry and peer through the curtains. Morrison has yet to start a match for Lee Clark or, as far as The Mill can remember, pretty much anyone. He does, though, probably have a really flash car.
The Mirror also reports that Roberto Mancini is still fiddling with his hair and casting a series of smouldering sideways glances in the direction of Atlético Madrid goal machine Radamel Falcao. The Colombian, who is valued at £45m in City Money, has recently been quoted as saying "I used to watch the Premier League on TV as a kid. Players like Roy Keane, Eric Cantona, Zola, and Asprilla at Newcastle". Yes yes and the English ones too. Players like Nicky Butt, Rob Lee and Dennis Wise.
According to the Daily Mail Arsenal are "lining up a swoop" for Crystal palace It-boy Wilfried Zaha, who could be a replacement for Theo Walcott in the galloping utility striker-disappointment role. Walcott is still unsure whether to sign a new £75,000-a-week deal. The Mill pictures him looking at his new £75,000-a-week deal, sniffing it, circling it, scuttling away from it, then back, then away again, picking it up and veering off in an unexpected direction, then dithering around it for a bit, before eventually falling over somewhere near the corner flag while Arsène Wenger does his "seated-crucifixion" touchline frustration pose. Zaha would cost £12m.
On Goal.com Manchester City are still keen on signing Stevan Jovetic from Fiorentina. Jovetic, who is 22-years-old and a Montenegrin international. He's available for €30m and scored four goals in his first six league games this season and already looks like a decent fit for the three-rows-back-behind-David-Platt-looking-glazed-in-a-beanie-hat role. Juventus have also expressed an interest. And still on Goal.com Rafael Marquez, now of the New York Red Bulls, says touchline dreamboat Pep Guardiola, currently working in a Kibbutz laundry in southern Israel, would be "perfect for Arsenal". Which, even though it's meant as a complement, somehow still doesn't sound like one.