Tales from the Top Flight

So, the new English football season is back. How was your close season? Did you manage to sneak a quick shower in or at the very least make a cuppa? English teams can just be grateful they didn’t get as far as any European finals as the domestic game got back underway at Wembley on Saturday.

Whisper it very quietly, but is Mikel Arteta on to something at Arsenal? The Gunners put a team out that included both David Luiz AND Mohamed Elneny and still ended up lifting the shield that the modern-day gaffer is keen to remind us is the equivalent to a Super Cup.

Liverpool took to the field with an almost full-strength side, bar the missing Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold but played as if those ‘teal accents’ were weighing them down heavily.

The Arsenal looked composed and their goal was, and it pains me to start a new season with praise no matter how faint, was impressive – Yo-Pierre doing what he does at the home of football, sticking it past Alisson with ease.

Ahead of the game, Rhian Brewster was being talked of as the next Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen combined, given his pre-season tour form. Having clipped the bar with his penalty, there was talk of him being shipped out to Newcastle, Leeds or West Brom on loan as penance.

Arteta was so happy with his team’s performance he felt it was the right time to try and persuade club legend Dennis Bergkamp to come back and join the staff. With Freddie Ljungberg leaving, someone has to fill the Steve Bould/Pat Rice role.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week – which is entirely possible given the state of the world – you’ll have picked up on the fact that Lionel Messi fancies seeing if life does exist outside of Barcelona. However, he’s not completely open to trying entirely new experiences given that he’s likely to be reunited with Peppy G if Barcelona do finally accept that their love affair is over and let Messi keep the dogs.

That said, he ain’t going for free as the La Liga office confirmed that his release clause is active – meaning Man City have to get on the blower to that creative accountant once again to make the numbers work.

Ronald McDonald has been casting his eye over the City squad just in case the conversation turns to a bucketload of cash plus some players to sweeten the deal. Koeman knows he is losing a god so wouldn’t be averse to bringing in Jesus to replace him. He’d also be keen on Bernardo Silva and given that Barca have already enquired several times about taking Eric Garcia home, he’d do very nicely too please.

The current Barcelona coach is also hoping that Sadio Mane remembers the conversation they had years ago when Ronnie promised the striker that he’d play for Barcelona one day. Koeman is keen to make that promise come true and persuade Sadio to be the first to leave the band. Before you know it, the Liverpool front three will be just like the Sugarbabes – three new faces and nowhere near as good as the originals.

Manchester United, whilst WhatsApping Borussia Dortmund every few hours to see if they’ve changed their mind on Jadon Sancho, are in pole position to sign Ajax’s Donny van de Beek who must have been starting to wonder what he’d done wrong. He’s available for €40m and, once again, could be filed under ‘good transfer business by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’ if the deal happens.

Frank Lampard’s Chelsea are spending money like Roman Abramovich needs to get some of it off his books and that is doing one thing and one thing only for Lamps’ Chelsea future. Each signing is moving Lampard one step closer to the exit as expectations increase faster than the Blues’ wage bill.

Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell and Malang Sarr have all put pen to very expensive paper and Chelsea would still love Kai Havertz to join the list. Frank still wants a new shot-stopper, even if the club cannot find anyone daft enough to give them their money back for Kepa and his heart is currently set on Rennes number one Edouard Mendy.

Tottenham fans will also be getting excited by their club’s equally sexy signings – if by sexy you mean the complete opposite. It’s massively unlikely the Spurs contingent are getting too drunk on the news that Matt Doherty will replace Serge Aurier for £14m to tuck in nicely with Hojbjerg and Joe Hart.

Carlo Ancelotti used the press exceptionally well last week, making it sound like he’d be off if Everton didn’t up their transfer window game. Seven days later and they are being linked to James Rodriguez and Allan of Napoli – clearly, part of the compromise was that the Toffees only sign players with traditional English first names.

As a nice little bonus, Carlo is also likely to get shot of alleged problem-child Moise Kean, with Juventus and Pirlo the latest to believe they can do something with the striker.

Pirlo also hopes to take Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin to Turin as he clearly intends to build a very quirky XI.

Staying with players only recruiting players with a certain style of name, Aston Villa want Tammy Abraham and Emi Martinez.

N’Golo Kante is more than happy to join the ex-EPL contingent at Inter just as soon as they release Antonio Conte.

Sadly the news didn’t break on Sunday morning, but QPR’s Eze is off to the Palace and it will only cost them £20m.

Newcastle don’t want to feel too left out since they sights have gone from the world A-Listers to Jeff Hendrix and are currently being linked to Celtic’s Edouard, Arsenal’s Rob Holding and Moussa Marega, who has waited until September to make his first appearance on the rumour merry-go-round.
Finally, Troy Deeney is up for a move to the Midlands with WBA offering him the incredible opportunity to get relegated for the second season in a row.