Mourinho, at Man United, possibly with Zlatan joining him. The evil knows no bounds and I think I speak for every non-United fan when I say: please let this be the most epic and catastrophic failure in the history of football. It would be hilarious.
As for Arsenal, it appears the club are drip-feeding the new numbers to people via social media and after Alexis was confirmed as taking Rosicky’s old number seven, Aaron Ramsey was confirmed as number eight for the new season. In all reality it really doesn’t matter, but I do wonder how sentimental players get with their shirt numbers. After Xhaka confirmed in January that he’s always had 34 and it’s tattooed on his back, I wonder if the club are in deep negotiations with the players on who gets what. That wouldn’t surprise me. Players essentially devolve all responsibility in their lives to their agents and management teams, so there must be something that they can feel they have control on, which is why I’d imagine they haven’t announced the number for Xhaka yet.
It’s like at my work. My Chief Exec likes to fiddle with things, feel like his input is having a big impact, so he fiddles with look and feel on the branded stuff my team creates. They’re usually things that aren’t going to make a jot of difference, but he likes to feel like he’s having his say, so he does it!
I wonder if the club is frantically negotiating with Francis:
Club official: Franny, listen, do you mind giving up your shirt number?
Coquelin: yes. I’ve become quite attached to 34.
Club official: really?
Club official: oh. Right. It’s just that…well…Granit wants it. He’s shiny and new and he has a first name that is a very hard and heavy piece of rock, so (is cut off)
Coquelin: I don’t care if his name is thirty McThreeFour, that’s my number and I’m sticking to it.
Club official: ok, ok, calm down. I just wanted to ask the question. It’s just that Arsène says that he’s only picking players who have either cost more than £20million to the club, or who’s shirt is a prime number, so I thought you’d want to give yourself a chance by moving to Alexis’ old number 17.
Coquelin: what’s a ‘prime number’?
So, there you have it, the insight into how footballers minds work.
Elsewhere in the Arsenal universe, Granit has been speaking about the conversations from former Arsenal players Nordtveit, Senderos and Djourou. All have been very complimentary about the club and all helped to convince him that he should make the move. His former teammate Nordtveit has moved to West Ham this summer, so that’ll be a familiar face in a new city, but the fact that his international teammates have also told him good things about the club will help. One of the key things about players integrating in to a new team is familiarity and feeling comfortable. If he can embed himself into London life, with his family around him, with his good grasp of English, that integration period is sure to be quick. So we can all be excited about his impact from day one.
I don’t really think there’s anything else going on at the club right now and I refuse to get drawn in to speculation just yet, so I’ll catch you tomorrow, and hope you have a splendid Friday.