While reviewing his season at Manchester City this week, Pep Guardiola was shocked to see that even crisis club Arsenal have more Premier League goals than his free-flowing team. How can this be possible, he thought: I play wingers at full-back! Full-backs at centre-back! Sweepers in goal! After calming down, Pragmatic Pep decided he will simply take the Gunners’ top scorer, Alexis Sánchez, in a cut-price deal, finally reuniting him with his eighth-favourite Barcelona forward. With absolutely no other issues to urgently address, Guardiola will leave a call on Joe Hart’s future until the summer and in the meantime rotate Willy Caballero and Claudio Bravo in the sweeper-with-gloves role.
Pragmatic Pep once assured the world that Barcelona have ‘many Jack Wilsheres’ coming through their ranks, but unfortunately this youth policy has proved fruitless. Now Barça are ditching the kids in favour of the Galácticos route, and are in talks with Liverpool suits over a move for Philippe Coutinho; they also have their sights set on PSG’s Marco Verratti and Arsenal’s Hector Bellerín.
Liverpool are close to plucking up the courage to ask out Southampton’s sought-after defender Virgil van Dijk, but Manchester City and Chelsea will be watching on from the edge of the dancefloor should it all go hideously wrong. Chelsea are more interesting in the Sporting Gijón defender Jorge Meré, who can be prised away for £25m. The Blues will have spend £85m in order to bring Torino’s free-scoring Andrea Belotti to Stamford Bridge should Diego Costa leave – though Costa has hinted that his love of playing with Eden Hazard could be a greater pull than the glamour of the Chinese Super League.
Will Mesut Özil stay or go? On the one hand, his ploy of doing one from the Emirates has hit a snag with little demand for a chilled out entertainer at No10. However, according to celebrity Arsenal fan Alan Davies, Özil was involved in dressing room handbags at the Allianz Arena recently following their humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich which culminated in Steve Bould throwing a plastic bottle at the midfielder. Özil himself has not shed much light on his own future, saying: “We will talk in the summer and clear things then. At the moment it would be wrong to think about that.”
And finally, Ian Wright has said Arsenal’s season is “embarrassing” and he would love to help the club out – but Arsène won’t take him on board.