Football fans are being put through the traditional January transfer window wringer and it’s not pretty.

 

SO Al€xi$ $anch€z is either a money-grabbing mercenary or an inspired signing that puts Manchester United back in the game.

Your point of view depends on whether you are an ABU or GGMU.

‘Anyone But United’ followers see a man who has put money before his preferred destination in a side who play attractive attacking football more suited to his style.

They will also argue he went back on a gentleman’s agreement with Pep Guardiola following the collapse of his summer move from Arsenal to Manchester City.

The original offer of £290,000-a-week and the chance to play the beautiful game with David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne was on the table but with just six months left on the 29-year-old’s contact City only wanted to pay £20million.

In stepped Jose Mourinho who offered £500,000 a week wages and £35m in the form of Henrikh Mkhitaryan – the brilliant flare player who lit up the Bundesliga but flopped at old Trafford. How’s YOUR defending Alexis??

‘Glory Glory Man United’ fans will gleefully say he is joining the country’s most successful club and they have got one over on their ‘noisy neighbours’. Some will have convinced themselves they were always his No 1 choice.

The man himself upon his unveiling said he was joining the biggest club in the world (United 20 titles, 3 Euro triumphs compared to Real Madrid’s 33-12 but hey who’s counting).

Whatever your take, you cannot escape the fact the Chilean has passed up a first Premier League medal (barring a collapse of Toon 1997-like proportions)

But I’m sure being the first half-a-million-pound A WEEK player on these shores will soften the blow and he and United will argue there is every chance he’ll have that gong dangling around his neck in May 2019

Time will tell – but no wealth can ever make a greedy man at peace with himself

SO to other big deals . . .Arsenal have tried to soften the blow of losing their best player by demanding Martial, sorry Smalling, sorry Mkhitaryan as part of the Sanchez deal

Another diminutive player is just what they need. Not! All Arsenal have to do now is sign Snow White to go with their all their dwarves!

But the Gunners might just have an ace up their sleeve with the imminent arrival of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The Gabon star was Batman to Mkhitaryan’s Robin when the pair were tearing it up in Klopp’s Dortmund side.

United’s traditional rivals have also been splashing the cash. Liverpool’s £75m record signing Virgil van Dijk arrived from Southampton (where else?) and promptly scored a late winning goal at The Kop end in an FA Cup derby against Everton on his debut

The following day Koppites woke up to the news that star man Phil Coutinho was off to Barcelona – not in the summer but NOW

But United, Chelsea and Tottenham fans better not laugh too loud about the Reds losing one of their best players.

If they think Real Madrid are going to take this lying down then they are seriously deluded. If I were them I’d be worried about the futures of David De Gea, Eden Hazard, Harry Kane and Dele Alli

Coutinho will be a big loss as he’s quality – you don’t command a fee of £142m if you’re bobbins but he’s no Messi, Ronaldo Neymar or Mbappe. It’s good business – a whopping £133.5m profit and Liverpool got what will be the third highest transfer fee of all time for a player that would not get into a world XI

This will be the biggest test of Jurgen Klopp’s Anfield career but the signs are the German is now in his element. He is building a reputation as a world-class coach who massively improves players, sells them for huge profit and reinvests it wisely to improve the squad overall. He did it at Mainz, then at Dortmund with Mkhitaryan among others and now looks to be doing it at Liverpool

If the Coutinho money is spent – or already has been spent – on VVD, the already-secured Naby Keita and another quality attacker in the Thomas Lemar mould then the Anfield side as a unit is stronger

The pulsating 4-3 victory that ended City’s ‘Invincibles’ dream shows that. So Reds don’t’ be sad because sad backwards is ‘das’ and das not good

THE year is 2018 and the FA have finally moved into the 21st century – VAR is here!  

The video assistant referee was used for the first time in a competitive match for the Brighton v Crystal Palace third-round FA Cup tie and it certainly passed its first robot test with flying colours

VAR cleared up the game’s only slightly contentious issue when Albion’s Glenn Murray was thought by some to have handled before he scored the late winner. But replays showed he moved his arm behind his body and the ball went in off his knees

There will always be a few who refuse to accept what is now put in front of their eyes – after all artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity. 

AND finally Cristiano Ronaldo did the most Cristiano Ronaldo thing ever this week

After getting booted while scoring a diving header for Real Madrid the Vain One demanded the medic’s phone so he could take a selfie and see the damage to his face

All this while he was still on the pitch! I bet it took all his self-control not to give his reflection a cheeky wink/kiss combo

Always remember Ron, you’re unique, just like everyone else!

Tweet @BabsDouglasBP

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