Jacob Steinberg on 14 February 2018
Having spent the past few months making himself even more popular than Raymond Domenech with the French public, Neymar has decided that he needs a fresh challenge. His gap year in Paris has been a lovely, life-affirming experience.
He has been able to give meaning to the lives of Ligue 1’s adorable little footballers by allowing them to see his array of skills up close and he has made friendships that will last a lifetime. Edinson Cavani will certainly be devastated to see the Brazilian leave. But the fun has to stop. It’s time to get serious. Real Madrid want Neymar. Cheerio!
It looks like it will be a busy summer in the Spanish capital. Madrid will finance their Barça-bothering move for Neymar by ditching Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and Keylor Nevas and - you might want to be sitting down before you read the next bit - they are also talking about signing Harry Kane again. And they’re going to nab Mauricio Pochettino. And they plan to wrench the new White Hart Lane out of the ground and airlift it to Spain as soon it is ready. Toby Alderweireld, meanwhile, is off to Manchester United for £25m, and Mousa Dembélé is going to sign a mega-bucks contract with Beijing Sinobo Guoan. It was nice while it lasted, Tottenham!
Arsenal are pretending that they have plans in place should Arsène Wenger decide to leave this summer. What that really means is they’re preparing to give him a new 20-year contract. He’s earned it.
Crystal Palace are close to completing the free transfer of Diego Cavalieri, a 35-year-old goalkeeper who played for Roy Hodgson at Liverpool. Has anyone seen Christian Poulsen?
Ajax’s Justin Kluivert, son of Patrick, says that he could see himself playing in the Premier League one day. Maybe not for Newcastle, though. Milan want to hand Manchester United £30m for Ander Herrera, who did not quite *get it* enough, while Roma will put an £85m release clause in Alisson’s contract in an attempt to end Liverpool’s interest in the goalkeeper.
Zenit St Petersburg are pondering whether to rescue Samir Nasri after the midfielder was released by Antalyaspor, presumably for not having enough opinions about things.