Of course when the best teams come calling players are going to be tempted but in the last few weeks there have been a couple of examples both involving possible moves to Manchester City where players have blatantly disrespected their clubs. All seems fine and calm until City come calling and first it was for West Ham's Lucas Paqueta a player only signed by the Hammers last summer, a player who was involved in a high lavish promo video upon his signing which saw him on the roof of West Ham's stadium, CGI or not it got the juices flowing. West Ham fans were beyond themselves with excitement but it almost short lived for just a season. City came charging in at the beginning of August and just days before the new Premier League campaign was to kick off and offered £60m, then it was ten more and Cole Palmer on loan for a season, it got upped to £80m but the Hammers wanted £100m. The fact that the club had named a figure meant that the player was going to be sold, Paqueta wanted the chance too, forget roofs, fans, loyalty he was off to Manchester. So in Paqueta's case it was ironic that he was the one to derail the move, or at least delay it for a season. Just when the switch seemed inevitable it came to light that the FA had charged Paqueta with alleged betting on matches and getting himself booked on purpose. City pulled out and ran and West Ham are left with a player who hasn't yet been banned- he scored a penalty against Chelsea last weekend but could well be. Just look at the case of Ivan Toney who received an 8 month ban. In the worst case scenario Paqueta could be banned for a lengthy time soon and get his Manchester transfer next year meaning that he has only a handful of games to play for the Hammers.
This week City were at it again as they went for Matheus Nunes the Wolves player. Nunes has been more effective in delivery than Paqueta and actually gone on strike if his club did not accept City's bid. Nunes is effectively telling Wolves you are poor and lack ambition to put it bluntly. This is the same Nunes who last summer was more than happy to join Wolves and sign a contract that would tie him to the club until 2027. While players frequently leave before their contracts are up, leaving four years prior seems a bit too much. Of course one can side with Nunes wanting to join the best club in Europe and 3 times in a row league champions Manchester City. It's easy to understand. But his actions are not. Nunes has gone on strike in a job that is one of the best paid and highly privileged in the world, he has gone on strike after coming into a city filled with youngsters who would give their soul to play for the club. If Nunes is that good why can't he at least commit this season which has already started to Wolves, surely City or another quality side would come calling again. For now City only want Nunes because Kevin De Bruyne is injured until December. What happens when the Belgian returns or some other players are signed? Will Nunes actually get much playing time after that? For now City have offered £47m but Wolves want at least £60m and one feels it is only a matter of time before Wolves sell up and the striking, moody Nunes moves on. One has to feel for the fans of Wolves, you can ponder about it a bit, for example what's the point of trying to compete when your best players are sold on anyway? In a sense if your best players had to be sold would it not make more sense if it was abroad? But to be sold to a team in the same league just furthers the punishment and makes the gap even wider.
Are there any more shocks to be had in the Premier League anymore? It's an interesting thought as we come out of a weekend that featured Arsenal drawing 2-2 at home to Fulham. On the face of it the result felt like a shock, we know how good this Arsenal side is and we know they will be challenging for a league title and trophies and that dropping points at home to Fulham wasn't foreseen. Normally Fulham at home for the Gunners is 3 points and moves on to the next game. Here though they were losing 1-0 as time was dragging on but they equalised and even went 2-1 up, it seemed like game over and yet Marco Silva's side had a joker up their sleeve. But has it come to a point now in such a competitive league where any results can be seen as a shock? Yes and no. Perhaps had Fulham beaten Arsenal away from home it is simply a good result. But had Fulham beaten Arsenal, say by the scoreline of 3-0 it could be considered a shock especially away from home. What we are seeing is a much more competitive and difficult league now. Manchester City were moments from 'only' drawing against newly promoted Sheffield United and Manchester City continued their unconvincing start by just getting past Nottingham Forest at home eventually winning 3-2. Apart from the odd exception which will be normal and see some teams destroyed, there is a real feeling that even if you are the champions facing the club in bottom place if you are not at 110% and focused you won't be collecting the three points, the league has become a tier that holds no fools….
There was a belief that Tottenham could struggle with Harry Kane sold to Bayern Munich and some even suggested that the club could finish in the bottom half of the table. You can see some logic in that; Kane scored 30 goals in the league last season and has been a regular scorer of 20 plus goals a season. Richarlison who they have now cannot score that many and Heung Min Son who possesses the talents of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on his day, simply doesn't have enough of those days. And yet here we are Tottenham are in 4th place and have 7 points from 9 and are playing good football which has included them beating Manchester United. It is of course early days and observers could well be right to write Tottenham off, but for now life has been good and, dare we say it, rosy since Kane left.
Tottenham to finish in the top four and qualify for next season's Champions League: 4.00
Tottenham to finish in the top half of the league: 1.05
Tottenham to finish in the bottom half of league: 7.00