Also, given the pressure Mikel Arteta is under, it’s surprising he wants someone knocking about with an obvious grievance (though I daresay Maitland-Niles is a better full-back than Cedric Soares and Calum Chambers).
The Mirror report than after his move to Everton was blocked, Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been told he’ll not be training with the Arsenal first team. I don’t get the point of that, I really don’t – they won’t sell him but they won’t play him either – and ultimately, it tells us that we need a new system because no one should have to work somewhere they don’t want to. I wrote about that once, should anyone care, but I’d do away with agents and have all players repped by the PFA, along with mandatory release clauses in every contract.
Tanguy Ndombele will be staying at Spurs
I’m pleased to hear that. When he’s at it, there are few players I’d rather watch, able to do stuff that’s mystifying even when you see it again in slowmo. I hope he and his manager can get the best out of him.
“‘I wonder if Liverpool have quite enough to win the big pots with a team that peaked three seasons ago, but don’t underestimate the power of their confidence and drive,’” says Tom Seltzer quoting back to myself. “Seems strange to me that a team that went on to win the Champions League and Premier League in record-breaking fashion could have peaked before this even happened, but you’re the football writer so I’ll defer to your undoubtedly superior knowledge of such things.”
It’s just, like, my opinion, man – though I don’t think it’s an especially controversial one. I think Liverpool played their best stuff the year they won the Champions League and came second to Man City, which was three seasons ago. What they did to win the title was extremely impressive, but in terms of performance they toughed it out through a load of one-goal wins, rather than devastated opponents with their power and pace.
This is an interesting move. Lookman looked a talent when he broke through and things haven’t quite worked out for him, but perhaps Brendan Rodgers can revive his career. He’ll have to improve if he’s to force his way into the Leicester team though, because there’s plenty in front of him.
Email! “You may recall me highlighting the accomplishments of Rachel Atherton (downhill mountain bike) on the cricket OBO, and I’m going back to that well to draw a comparison between Ronaldo and another mountain bike rider,” emails Neil Mackie.
“On the topic of Ronaldo and his age, I’m mindful that Greg Minnaar who will be 40 in November just won his fourth downhill mountain bike world championship at the weekend. This comes EIGHTEEN years after his first victory and cements his place as the GOAT of men’s downhill. In a similar vein, Nino Schurter at age 36 just won his ninth cross-country (XC) world championship despite many wondering if he was washed up based on performances this past season.All this is a long way to say that with Ronaldo that as much as I’d like him to make Man Utd worse, as I’m from Liverpool, he could have it in him to prove a point and be close to his clinical efficient peak.”
He won’t be as good as at his peak – he’s not devastating running with the ball anymore, nor able to dominate a game from the right-wing – but United have struggled for headers and tap-ins lately, which seems unlikely to continue.
So Spurs now have Emerson, Tanganga, Doherty and Aurier who can all play right-back. I’d wondered if this deal would kick off a chain, sending Aurier to Lille, Celik to Atlético, Trippier to Man United and Dalot to Dortmund, but the final two elements now look extremely unlikely.
West Ham have been busy…
Ah, more Henderson: “Every year is the same, every year is the biggest challenge, the biggest season ahead. I feel as hungry as ever.
“I feel as hungry as I did when I first walked in 10 years ago, to prove to people that I deserve to be at this football club and give absolutely everything every single day for the badge, for the fans and for each other in this building.
“If we do that, I feel as though we’ve got a good chance of being successful.”
I wonder if Liverpool have quite enough to win the big pots with a team that peaked three seasons ago, but don’t underestimate the power of their confidence and drive.
Odsonne Edouard looks set to move from Celtic to Palace. That’d be a decent signing, and perhaps explains Edouard’s anaemic showing in the Old Firm game on Sunday. He missed his team’s best chance in that one, but that can happen to anyone – what was surprising was how irrelevant he was to proceedings.
Spurs are still trying to get hold of Adama Traoré, but have been quoted £50m by Wolves. I’m not certain they need him, or at least that his position should be their priority, given they’ve got Gil, Bergwijn, Son, Moura and Lo Celso who can all play wide, but there are few players I enjoy watching more so maybe Nuno just wants to be entertained. That said, I’d much rather watch Traoré under Lage than under him.
Jordan Henderson speaks!
“It’s amazing to finally get it done and just concentrate on looking forward and what the future may hold.
“I’m in a different place of course, as a player and as a person, from when I first walked in. I’ve learned and grown a lot over my time here, and I’ve got to thank a lot of people for that.
“I’ve loved every minute of it, even when I look back at the tough times, I was still enjoying being a part of this football club. The longer I can do that, the better for me really. I want to be here as long as possible, I’ve always said that.
“To continue this journey is incredible for me and my family, and I hope the fans and the club feel the same way.”
You can only admire Henderson, who’s made the absolute most of himself as a player and as a man. You’ve also got to say that he’s a total triumph for Jürgen Klopp, who is incredible at convincing very good players that they’re world-beaters.
But let’s return to Ronaldo footballistically speaking. As a centre-forward playing between the width of the posts, he’s got plenty to offer United, especially given the creative talents of Pogba, Fernandes, Sancho and Shaw, all of whom can provide excellent service. I’m not sure where his arrival leaves Edinson Cavani because Ronaldo’s not getting left out of big games and Cavani can’t play wide. On which point, if Ronaldo is undroppable and over the last few months – not just the last three games – Greenwood has made himself so too, then only one of Rashford and Sancho can get in the side, and that’s before we even wonder if Pogba is now a left-winger. Anyhow send in your thoughts and we’ll take it from there.
Here’s today’s The Rumour Mill.
For anyone interested, these are my detailed thoughts on Ronaldo to United, and also on the non-footballing issues that mean many fans – of the team and of football – are conflicted.
I do struggle a little with the Ronaldo’s coming home narrative, given he left United for his peak years – though I maintain that he was never funner than 2006-07, his last as a full-time right-winger – and is coming back in his dotage. But goodness me, I’m looking forward to seeing him play.
On Ronaldo, it’s not hard to have reservations: can he press, will Solskjær be strong enough to leave him out or take him off, what about Greenwood playing centre-forward – but it’s impossible to miss the upside: proven big-game record, guaranteed goals, inspirational to teammates. He’ll be surrounded by legs and pace, though if his midfield can’t get the ball forward better than in the last couple of games, he’ll have to work hard.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær speaks!
“You run out of words to describe Cristiano. He is not only a marvellous player, but also a great human being. To have the desire and the ability to play at the top level for such a long period requires a very special person. I have no doubt that he will continue to impress us all and his experience will be so vital for the younger players in the squad. Ronaldo’s return demonstrates the unique appeal of this club and I am absolutely delighted he is coming home to where it all started.”
“Manchester United is a club that has always had a special place in my heart, and I have been overwhelmed by all the messages I have received since the announcement on Friday. I cannot wait to play at Old Trafford in front of a full stadium and see all the fans again. I’m looking forward to joining up with the team after the international games, and I hope we have a very successful season ahead.”
Cristiano Ronaldo signs for Man United!
A real turn-up for the books, that one. The contract is two years with the option of one more.
Jordan Henderson signs a new Liverpool contract until 2025!
It’s nice to see Liverpool getting into the spirit of things by announcing that today. I’m surprised they let Wijnaldum go, but that happening meant they needed to ensure their captain stays.
Morning all and welcome to another deadline day full of done deals, double-swoops, and purple … ok, ok, too soon. I don’t suppose we’ll get quite the vibes of the 2013 classic which featured both the ecstatic desperation of Mesut Özil’s move from Real Madrid to Arsenal and the desperate desperation of Marouane Fellaini’s move from Everton to Man United, but there should still be plenty to keep us in indignity, and we can’t ask for more than that.