Taking of transfers, here’s some tittle tattle from this morning.
More Ole on United departures.
I can see maybe Matteo [Darmian leaving]. There has been some interest in Matteo over in Italy, wanting to go back home. Marcos [Rojo], he’s staying definitely. We’ve got a squad now that’s less in numbers, but still big enough and strong enough to have coverage in all positions.
And on Alexis Sánchez:
I think Alexis needed to go. Because at the moment we know he has been here now for 18 months and it’s not really worked out for him. For him as well to restart and get himself playing regularly, getting himself scoring goals, that loan will benefit everyone in the end. For us, we’re going to watch every weekend now to see Romelu (Lukaku) and Alexis playing together.
And on Big Zlat, eyeing a comeback.
“Well, if he was 28 and not 38 next month it’s a big difference! But Zlatan has had a great time here and of course he’s still doing well. He was just unfortunate that he got his injury when he got it here. Who knows? He knows my number. He never rented my house but he was looking at it and we can speak a native language. If he’s serious, I’ll always speak to Zlatan… don’t think that’ll happen, no. I think he’s had his time at the club. He’s had a fantastic career and I wouldn’t expect him to be serious either when he said that.
Can he play centre-forward?
Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is on his way to Italy to finalise a loan move to Roma, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær has revealed in his morning news conference. Phil Jones to Lazio?
Of course we sat down yesterday and discussed it. At the moment we’ve got six fit centre-backs. I couldn’t promise Chris regular football. He’s on the plane over now. I think he’ll enjoy the experience over there. It’s a big club, a good league. There’s not many English players who have had the chance to play in Italy and I’m sure he’ll come back stronger and better for it.
News from the Bundesliga, per Reuters.
Former Bayern Munich captain Oliver Kahn is set to return to the club as a board member next year and will take over as chief executive in 2022.
On the day current Bayern president Uli Hoeness announced his retirement from his decades-long involvement with the club, the German champions appointed another successful former Bayern player to succeed current CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Kahn, nicknamed ‘the Titan’ who won eight league titles between 1994 and 2008 with the Bavarians, signed a five-year contract after the board voted unanimously in favour of the move in Thursday’s meeting.
“It is a great honour to initially become a member of the board and then take over the chairman role at Bayern Munich,” the 50-year-old Kahn, a former Germany captain, said in a statement. “I am deeply linked with the club that has marked my life considerably.”
Trouble for Steve Bruce and Newcastle. Matt Ritchie could be out for up to two months with the ankle injury he suffered against Leicester after a ‘tackle’ by Hamza Choudhury.
Quoth Brucey: “It’s not great news. We think he’s going to be maybe two months, eight weeks. There is ankle ligament damage too, bone bruising, cuts. The kid, as I said to you the other night, was a mess. Thankfully it’s not six months, but it’s bad enough when it’s the best part of eight weeks. These tackles are the ones that damage you. Let’s hope the young lad learns from it because he’s a good player, the kid. But obviously, it doesn’t help us and Matt in particular, who’s going to miss at least a couple of months.”
Talking of the England’s women team, they drew 3-3 with Belgium last night.
Bronze’s award followed the Champions League draw, which Nick Ames ran the rule over.
Some quotes from Lucy Bronze, unable to attend as he was playing for England against Belgium but whose mum wanted to go in her stead to Monaco to meet Cristiano Ronaldo.
I’m ecstatic and super-humbled to have won the award up against two fantastic players who I know really well at Lyon. I want to say a huge thanks to the Lionesses, the England team. We had a great summer and I don’t think I would have won this award if it wasn’t for them. The same goes for the Lyon team. We had an amazing season, we won the treble. I think any one of those girls could have been up here receiving this award.
Congratulations, then, to Lucy Bronze, crowned Uefa’s player of the year on Thursday in that glitzy ceremony in Monaco, give or take Eric Cantona’s choice of evening wear. What a year she had, as a Champions League winner with Lyon and as England’s star at the World Cup this summer. Her performance – and stunning goal – against Norway in the quarter-finals must have gone some way to pushing her to that award, though if the European body weighted its award on what she achieved in their competitions then Bronze was one of the stars of the European club season, too. Playing in the World Cup where Ada Ada Hegerberg sat out the final in France must have played their part for Bronze.
The men’s Uefa player of the year was Virgil van Dijk, for the defensive mastery that guided Liverpool to winning the Champions League in June.
No rest for the wicked, no resting on laurels. Even ahead of the final set of Premier League matches ahead of the international break, there is the Europa League draw, which starts around midday London time. And that will feature Arsenal, Manchester United, Wolves, Celtic and Rangers.