Paul Doyle on 1 February 2018
Claude Puel is widely expected to talk to Riyad Mahrez at training today and tell the disappointed Algeria international that he can go to Manchester City, after all – in 10 days’ time, when Leicester visit the league leaders! He’s always up for a laugh, is Claude.
It’s up to Puel to raise spirits around Leicester now, and we’re not talking about holding a seance, a ceremony for which Puel’s demeanour is of course not absolutely ideal. Now is the time for the manager to bring gaiety to Leicester, where many residents reported being awoken on Wednesday night by a long and mournful wail that seemed to begin at the very moment the transfer window shut and morphed in the hours that followed into bitter sobbing and some very innovative swearing.
Apparently those sounds did abate a little when reports Pep Guardiola hinted in an interview after his team’s win over West Brom that Manchester City may try again in the summer for Mahrez. By which he may or may not mean that they may wait until late August to make an offer that is way below what they can afford and way below what Leicester deem acceptable. Here’s hoping Mahrez demonstrates the folly of that way by going on a thrill spree at the Etihad next week. But the smart money is probably on more sobbing.
Talking of tears, not to mention gnashing, mewling and generally making an undignified show of one’s self, Arsenal fans will be on form when they hear that their club reportedly made a stupidly late inquiry for Jonny Evans before the deadline. It’s not clear what caused Arsène Wenger to realise, after all these years, that he needs a decent centre-back but apparently the penny dropped just as the window was closing. Realistically, that left no time for any deal to get done even if the price had been right, because West Brom would not have been able to find a replacement. Still, the Mill likes to think that someone in Arsenal’s media department has a video of Wenger expressing his joy at the arrival of Evans and will accidentally release it in the coming days.
Southampton will attempt to sign Quincy Promes again in the summer, unless they are in the Championship. Meanwhile in Spain, Barcelona are readying a summertime bid for David Alaba, currently of Bayern Munich.
Despite the lack of strong personality shown by Manchester United at Wembley against Spurs, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be allowed to swagger on over to Los Angeles Galaxy when the MLS season starts in March.
Finally, there are suggestions that West Ham may ban English people from holding any kind of senior position on the grounds that they cause mayhem.