So how do you think Riyad Mahrez’s first day back at Leicester went? Awkward…?
The 2016 PFA player of the year rejoined training after handing in a transfer notice after interest from Manchester City during the January window. It is easy to see how both would have liked the other. Mahrez plays with amazing pace on the wing, and would have completed the speed of Sane – the two might have been the Mancunian equivalent of Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, and in Manchester City, Mahrez would have had a club that offered the kind of football he wanted, instead of languishing in mid-table after the surprise win of the Premier League title. Unfortunately it was not to be though. There are official rules about players speaking with other clubs but instead it would be easier if clubs made their approaches officially instead of through agents – who then leak their comments to the press. If Manchester City had gone direct to Leicester, they would have immediately known that the transfer would not have gone through, instead of leaving the Algerian disaffected. Is it fair that Leicester suffer for the stirring?
Mahrez joins a list of players to never have made it across to the other team, but at least it is better than Peter Odemwingie’s attempt to force a move – driving and plonking himself at the doorstep of the club in an attempt to force a move. Wonder what he thought on the drive back?
Leicester are a team that found it hard repeating as champions and Chelsea, last season’s champions are finding just exactly the same thing. It is one thing to be out of Europe, to have few matches to play, and then win the league on the back of a strong team with few matches to play. But when the next season rolls in, the extra games to play can really take its toll on the squad and then fatigue and negative attitudes set in – precisely the slump that Antonio Conte is experiencing now.
Will City, the Manchester boys in blue, suffer next season under the expectation of having to work to defend their title while being involved in a heavy European season. God forbid what would happen if they win four titles – having to defend four would decimate not just the squad, but the wallets of the owners!
The transfer window is closed and still Alexis Sanchez is making headlines for Manchester Red, this time joining a list of players who have received suspended sentences for tax fraud. Will Sue Barker be using it as one of the questions on A Question of Sport in years to come?
And what would one make of Jay Rodriguez? The West Brom and England player is facing a charge of racism for something that was said between him and Gaetan Bong. He is protesting his innocence, but when you pinch your nose and say something that makes someone else take offence, it doesn’t look good …
Arsene Wenger suggests that English players are good at diving. I suggested yesterday that perhaps they go to ju-jitsu classes. Perhaps next on the agenda should be ventriloquism lessons, so they can grit their teeth and utter what they want without being caught by the cameras. Or VAR!