It’s hard to avoid the two major footballing bits of news that broke yesterday evening, even though they aren’t Arsenal related. Let’s start with the Messi stuff. Barcelona are clearly reaping what they sow with the news that they cannot re-sign Messi, even on reduced wages, because their own mismanagement has resulted in them needing to pay back debts, etc. They have overspent for years, ignored any kind of attempt at financial management and I’m sorry if I feel very little for a team that has spunked ridiculous cash on wages and fees for players that just haven’t delivered. My hope is that they finally get bought in to line with ‘most’ of the footballing world. You cannot just spend and spend and spend and expect that eventually it will not catch up with you.

That is, of course, unless you are a financially doped ‘cheat code’ club who has a sugar daddy who knows that the rules don’t apply any more. Step forward PSG who are apparently already in talks with Messi and his representatives and I think we all know that the Argentine will end up there for the start of the season. It’s inevitable. They will pay his exorbitant wages and whilst I’m sure he would have preferred to stay at Barcelona, the reality is that he now can’t, so he’s probably thinking about at least going somewhere that he can earn so much money that at least he’ll have that to fall back on for the next few years. The French League will be nice and easy for him, it won’t require the same level of physicality as the English Premier League, which means he could probably play in it for at least another three to four years for PSG. I expect this deal to get done pretty quickly now.

As quickly as the Grealish to City situation. City have just broken the British transfer record and paid £100million for Grealish. He’s a superb player, a talisman for Villa, so you can see why they set such a massive release clause for him. But that is such a farcical amount of money it beggars belief. He is a great footballer, but he isn’t worth £100million. I’m not sure anyone is to be honest. But this is the world we now live in. These oil-rich clubs have bastardised the entire systems and in the space of about five years have delivered an uncompetitive landscape in which 99% of football clubs cannot compete. The Super League idea was rightly trashed because it removed the element of competition and jeopardy from the game we love, but what these oil-whoring clubs have done is to do that by stealth. And if you believe what you read City might not be done yet, with their eyes on Harry Kane for another £100million+.

Football has been about money for too long. But this doesn’t even feel like football any more. The money is obscene and player value is over-inflated as a result of what these other cash-rich clubs have done to the system, because what we’re going to see now is every other club comparing themselves to that City/Grealish transfer. That is the base point now and so when Arsenal call Leicester this morning to talk about Maddison, why wouldn’t Leicester say “yeah, well, Grealish and Maddison are similar players of similar values and so we’d like £85million for him now, thanks”. That’s what I’d be doing. We’ve already seen us pay about £10million more for White than we should have, so Maddison to Arsenal is probably a similar situation. He’s probably a £50 – £60million footballer, but Leicester are shrewd and I bet they’ll be looking at closer to £80million now.

Even Brendan Rodgers wasn’t exactly sounding 100% convinced that Maddison would remain at Leicester City beyond this window. He said in a post match interview (on Wednesday night I think) that Maddison is training well, looks good, is calm and fine, but when pushed further about whether he definitely wouldn’t be sold, all Rodgers said was “I think I’ve answered that question”. Well, no Brendan, when probed on it you didn’t, so why not just say “he’s our player, he will stay at Leicester, end of story”. If that was the case that is what he would say. So it appears there might be a little more than just smoke for this particular fire. Of course I remain highly sceptical about the deal because of the fact we just can’t offload people. By the sounds of it we’ve tried on Leicester and they haven’t budged, so I think we won’t hear much about it until the last days of the window, which by then it will be a case of who blinks first. Leicester wanting to get in at least some money so they can go and buy a centre half to replace the injured Fofan, or Arsenal because they are desperate for that creative player to play with or instead of ESR.

I expect it’ll go quite for a couple of week’s on that transfer now. Which means we’ll start hearing about other positions, although the way that nothing has moved in the market this summer, I think we’ll be watching a very familiar team line up against Brentford in a week’s time. That’s a little bit depressing, but given that everyone seems to be doing the same, at least it won’t feel like we’re the only ones having a shocker of a summer. It’s happening everywhere and that, weirdly, levels the playing field.

Unless of course you are a financially doped club. In which case you have more advantage than any other team. Kind of a closed shop, if you will. A bit like that proposed Super League idea. Funny that.

Catch you all tomorrow. Maybe Friday will spring a surprise. I won’t hold my breath though!