Everyone loves a great twist that you never saw coming. Like in the Sixth Sense, when (SPOILER ALERTS) Bruce Willis was dead, or the Wizard of Oz, where it was all a dream, or the News, where the orange monster became President of the United States.
And here’s a new crazy ending: it’s the one where Philippe Coutinho ended up staying at Liverpool.
This latest production is brought to you by the Daily Mirror, which reports that Barcelona have “finally admitted defeat” in their summer-long pursuit of the Brazilian playmaker, despite the fact he has clearly stated his desire to move to the Nou Camp.
The alleged reason the Catalan giants have “finally accepted” the Reds won’t sell them Coutinho is because the English club failed to accept an £118m bid for the player by Barca’s allotted “deadline” of 7pm on Sunday.
That’s despite the fact no one else was taking this so-called deadline seriously, given that it came a full 11 days before the actual transfer deadline and therefore seemed a bit meaningless.
In fact, it’s almost as if the Mirror have written a completely sarcastic transfer article, in which they treat the pretend deadline with a total reverence and respect that it surely does not warrant.
If this is the case, they’ve done a great job, because there is absolutely no hint that they are being sarcastic.
Instead, the paper concludes by summarising that “having seen off Barca, Liverpool must now focus on repairing their relationship with Coutinho”.
As happy an ending as this is for Liverpool fans, one can’t help thinking there might be another twist. Especially as the Star reports – via a Spanish journalist called Adria Albets – that Barca have “not thrown in the towel” on Coutinho and are “still chasing” him.
Meanwhile, as we approach deadline day (the real one), other teams not happy with their transfer business are starting to get desperate and take punts on some season-long loans.
Paris Saint-Germain, for instance, are apparently about to tie up such a deal for Kylian Mbappe. Yes, you did read that right. Kylian Mbappe. On loan. Sky Sports reports that football’s hottest teenager will leave Monaco on a temporary deal – to be made permanent next summer – with Lucas Moura moving in the opposite direction.
If you think that sounds fishy, you’d be justified, particularly with regards to Financial Fair Play rules. But if PSG are playing the system one hopes they would have the book thrown at them, or at least some fake money like Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Atletico Madrid have told Diego Costa to “make peace” with Chelsea before he can earn a £25m move back to his former club, says the Sun. Which sounds as overly optimistic as telling cats to make peace with the vacuum cleaner.
An even more fantastical claim appears in the Mirror, which says the Blues are set to make a profit on £33m flop Michy Batshuayi by selling him to Lille for £36m – which is actually the same amount they bought him for (in euros) except they get an extra £3m due to the change in the exchange rate. Thanks, Brexit.
Elsewhere, Manchester United are showing “significant interest” in Fulham’s left-sided teenage sensation Ryan Sessegnon (Sky Sports), Manchester City are “on the verge of giving up” trying to sign Jonny Evans and will make a £20m move for Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson instead (Independent) and the ominous news for Tottenham fans is that Dele Alli is planning to change his agent (Mail). Given that he currently gets paid half what Wilfried Bony does, you can hardly blame him.