• Temporary extensions to contracts could be the answer but that would put tremendous power in the hands of the players if the club wants them to stay.
• I have picked up news from Italy that Juventus will make a £135million approach for Harry Kane at the end of the season. Juve think their front line needs a stronger strike force.
Arsenal have fired a barrage of angry words towards Barcelona regarding what they see as a blatant attempt to upset their star forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Spanish newspapers and online sport websites have made claims that Arsenal’s leading scorer wants to join Barca so he can play with Lionel Messi.
Gunner’s boss Mikel Arteta has made it perfectly clear that he does not want to lose the talented Gabon striker but negotiations over his new contract have been difficult and Barca seem to be taking advantage of this.
Only Leicester’s Jamie Vardy has scored more Premiership goals this season.
What happens to players out of contract?
While the Football Association are deciding how to handle the rest of the season, now the coronavirus has meant a temporary halt to games across the world, there are serious implications for team selections if the season is prolonged by a couple of months.
Several players are out of contract at what would have been the end of the season in May. If there are matches to be played beyond the season, legally those players will not belong to the club and therefore not eligible to play.
Temporary extensions to contracts could be the answer but that would put tremendous power in the hands of the players if the club wants them to stay. Certainly, salary hikes will be in order.
Among the best known players out of contract are Chelsea’s Pedro, Willian, Olivier Giroud and Willy Caballero, Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser, Arsenal’s Dani Ceballos, Aston Villa’s Pepe Reina, Everton’s Leighton Baines and Djibril Cisse, Leicester’s Christian Foulkes, Wes Morgan and Nampalys Mende, Liverpool’s Adam Lallana, Manchester City’s David Silva and Claudio Bravo, Manchester United’s Odion Ighalo and Timothy Fonsu-Mensah, Newcastle’s Andy Carroll and Danny Rose, Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen, Watford’s Ben Foster and West Ham’s Pablo Zabaleta and Carlos Sanchez.
West Ham’s Karen Brady says cancel season
West Ham’s executive Karen Brady has called for this season to be made void and cancelled. It is an interesting call which is being widely commented on by many involved in the Premier League.
Hang on a minute, this means that if the league is, as she has suggested, cancelled, then no club would be relegated. I wonder if she has taken a look at the league table and seen that West Ham are 16th and only out of the bottom three on goal difference. I wonder if that influenced her suggestion?
Matic signs extension
United manager Ole Gunner Solskjaer has been impressed with the form of his central midfielder Nemanja Matic.
He spoke with his board of directors and influenced a one-year extension to the Serbian star’s contract. The 31-year-old Matic has impressed since the lay off of Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay, who are out injured for the immediate future.
He joined United from Chelsea in July 2017 for £35million and has made 109 appearances and scored four goals.
What will likely happen if season is cancelled
I contacted the Football League headquarters to find out what happens if the rest of the season is called off.
I was told that the likely scenario is that Liverpool would be awarded the championship (which I am sure no-one would disagree with) but no teams would be relegated from the Premiership and from the second tier Championship the top two, Leeds and West Bromwich Albion, would be promoted and the Premier League increased to 22 teams.
This is not definite and negotiations will have to take place but that is the current favoured solution to this unprecedented situation.
Juventus eyes on Harry Kane
I have picked up news from Italy that Juventus will make a £135million approach for Harry Kane at the end of the season. Juve think their front line needs a stronger strike force.
They want Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo to link up to provide exceptional firepower. To sweeten a deal, the Italian giants intend to offer Paulo Dybala as part of the offer. Spurs and Juve had talks about bringing him to London last summer. Kane is under contract until 2024 but he wants to win trophies and currently, at 26 years of age, has no silverware in his cabinet.
United fans wish list
In a recent ad hoc poll, Manchester United fans were asked who they would most like to most see in a new red shirt next season. 16,000 people voted and Borussia Dortmund’s winger Jadon Sancho came out top followed by Spur’s Harry Kane, Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish.
If only wishes could come true, but United do have a big cheque book. The fans might get their wish with Grealish. United are determined to chase the 24 year-old and are looking to pay £70million to sign him from Aston Villa. His current wages of £60k a week would probably triple if he goes to United in the summer.
Tammy loves his ‘big brother’…
Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham has praised his fellow striker Olivier Giroud despite manager Frank Lampard often omitting him from the current squad.
I have learned that Giroud, who failed to leave Stamford Bridge in January, was not initially impressing Lampard in training and the manager felt he has been distracted and not giving 100%.
However, Abraham said: “He is like a big brother to me. His attitude has been great. In training we are always doing finishing. He has been encouraging to many of the youngsters at the club, including me.”
And Foden inspired by Sterling
Pep Guardiola says Phil Foden is the best young player he has ever worked with and the youngster pointed to his Manchester City teammate Raheem Sterling as his inspiration.
Foden said that Raheem has shown him how to be patient, how to improve and what to aim for. He said: “Every time I see or play with Raheem, I think ‘Wow! he is incredible’ and is getting better and better."
"In training and on the pitch during games, he gives me advice and tips and is showing me the best way to run through defences. When he gets the ball he just glides past players and scores goals and he is always assisting. It was my boyhood dream to play for City and every time I put the shirt on, I just enjoy it to the max and Raheem is helping me every day.”
Brighton toughens up at the back
Depending on what happens with the rest of the season, it seems that Brighton have a tough survival job on their hands as they are sucked deep into the relegation zone.
Coronavirus might save them but they have improved recently although still no wins in 2020. Manager Graham Potter’s secret of late is improving his defence. In training, he has concentrated on developing strength at the back.
Potter has applauded his players for following their instructions perfectly and in their last game, those training ground routines showed as Wolves were pegged back to one shot during the game.
Solskjaer believes Rashford can emulate Ronaldo
Ole Gunner Solskjaer has challenged Marcus Rashford to emulate his hero Cristiano Ronaldo when he returns from injury. Solskjaer is convinced he can do it.
During his first three seasons at Manchester United Ronaldo scored six, nine and 12 goals, however, he then scored a dramatic 23 and 42 goals in the following two years. Rashford has scored 13 times this season already and he has matched his total for last season.
Solskjaer said: “It is very easy to compare the two on skills, body shape and attitude. Marcus has the chance to become the world’s top player.”
Everton’s Mina helping youngsters
Recently, I talked about Everton defender Yerry Mina and his attitude to enjoying what you have in life. This week, I am proud to tell you what he and his fellow teammates at Everton are doing to give something back to the community.
The club is involved in community events, the Pathways Programme, for people who are between the ages of 16-25 and no longer in education. They are people who need help finding a path in life, finding employment and professional qualifications to enable them to choose a career.
Mina’s Christian faith drives him to help others and back home in his local village in native Columbia, he has established the Yerry Mina Foundation.
“There are few resources in the village and we needed to establish something to allow the children to pick the right path. They have a lot of distractions whether it is with drugs or firearms so we want to empower them with education,” said Mina.
“We have sports classes, dance, music, IT and other classes. Be we also try to have meetings with the parents to make sure that what we do in the school is backed up at home and their normal lives. If the kids follow the right path we reward them.” It is stories like these that make me proud to be involved in football.