Plus: PSG get creative in getting Mbappe and Samir Nasri finally leaves Manchester City.
Not usually dull at Manchester City, is it? Even a 1-1 draw was absolutely stuffed full of stories, whether that’s the opening goal scored by Wayne Rooney, back in Manchester and not quite past-it, as it turns out, the equaliser by Raheem Sterling or the two sendings off, one for each team.
Neither manager was especially impressed with the work of referee Bobby Madeley, who dismissed Kyle Walker for two rather rapid yellow cards, then in the closing stages sent Morgan Scheiderlin on his way too. Pep Guardiola scurried onto the pitch at the end to engage in the rather new practice of a sarcastic handshake with the officials. “Next question, please,” he said after the game. “I am not going to talk about the referee. It was so clear. We make a meeting and say we cannot speak with [about] the referees.”
Ronald Koeman wasn’t keen on the ref’s performance, either. “I was in a better position for the second yellow of Walker and he played the ball. But away at City, sending off a player of City and you know what the referee will do then.” Whatever can you mean, Ronald? Still, all good fun.
The Warm-Up doesn’t always go in for transfer gossip: there is, after all, too much of it to discuss in depth. But one story really caught our eye today, specifically the word that PSG are in talks to sign Kylian Mbappe from Monaco.
“But how are they getting around those pesky FFP regulations when they’ve already dropped the GDP of a medium-sized country on Neymar?” you cry. Well, simple: what they’re asking Monaco is that they take Mbappe on loan for a season, with a view to buying him next summer. That way, they get the player but don’t have to pay for another year. Clever!
Forgot Samir Nasri was still a Manchester City player? You’re probably not alone there, but the Frenchman has now officially left City, signing a two-year contract with Turkish side Antalyaspor, a good while after he was any sort of relevant player in Manchester.
Still, he was a big part of two title-winning sides, a mercurial talent who could be brilliant or anonymous, very often the former but alas too often the latter. He joins Gael Clichy and Fernando in Turkey, and you suspect he probably still does have at least something to offer.
“A special thank you to the fans for this amazing support during those years without you I couldnt have achieve anything so blessed,” Nasri said on Twitter. “A big thank you to all my team mates through the years on and off the pitch we shared some amazing moment because of you my cabinet trophies has 2 Pl titles 2 League Cup and 1 Community Shield a big thank you as well to the medical staff and backroom staff for everything.”
In some respects it’s understandable that, as a player with chronic injury problems, Jack Wilshere wouldn’t be delighted after getting a ropey, aggressive challenge from behind. But in other respects…don’t get yourself sent off while playing in an under-23s game you’re supposed to be using to get yourself back in favour, yeah?
Football is great. You’ll probably agree. You’re probably in the wrong place if you don’t. But if you ever doubt that it’s a wonderful thing that can have the most colossal importance outside the simple business of watching games, have a read of how becoming a Sunderland fan helped Jessica Pan, a Chinese Jewish Texan, make sense of life in England.
On this very day in 1996, Alan Shearer played his first game at St James’s Park for Newcastle, after they broke the transfer record by paying what seems now a rather quaint £15million. Wimbledon were the opponents and, of course, Shearer scored, a glorious curling free-kick after which he celebrated like…well, like any of us would if we’d just scored for the club we’d supported since we were young.
The Champions League tie between Celtic and Astana truly is on a knife-edge: can Brendan Rodgers’s side hang onto their 5-0 lead from the first-leg? Nice and Napoli is a little closer, with the Italians leading 2-0, but if you don’t fancy the qualifiers for Europe’s more glamourous affair, then perhaps the more gritty EFL Cup is more to your liking? 19 games to choose from there, and the Premier League sides are in now so you can see just how many players you’ve never heard of they choose to put out.
Tomorrow’s Warm-Up will be brought to you by…erm…Nick Miller again. Sorry.