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The Chippy: The Premier League has an ambitious TV plan

A packed PL schedule will mean extra squad rotation. Are Liverpool really out on Werner? Pogba’s influence continues.

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Liverpool pull out of Timo Werner transfer talks


I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade but this story shouldn’t be believed too much. I spoke with some Liverpool contacts to get more context on the story and here’s the gist of it.

Werner remains Jurgen Klopp’s #1 transfer target — basically Liverpool’s Jadon Sancho. Werner wants to go to Liverpool. But Liverpool are still really stung by the Virgil Van Dijk ‘tapping up’ case and even though every single deal is done through tapping up these days, they’re being extra cautious and constantly trying to quash all the public rumors about the deal.

Right now the £50 million price tag is a big number that they don’t want floating around, because the optics of it in this COVID-19 landscape are obviously bad. No one wants to be the first to shell out massive money, especially if you’re banking on the market coming down. £50 million is obviously a bargain for a player who is worth about three times as much though, and a lot of sources close to Liverpool remain optimistic that the deal will get done.

However, will the deal get done before Werner’s release clause expires (and the clock is ticking pretty fast on that)? That’s a different question.

If they don’t, then yeah, get Leipzig on the phone with Ed Woodward immediately and I don’t want to hear anyone utter the words “but we have Anthony Martial.”

Premier League announce ambitious TV plan to finish the season

The Premier League has announced a TV bonanza to finish the season, with every weekend match being televised and teams playing twice a week.

The schedule proposes that the remaining 92 games are to be completed over three weekends and four midweeks, which tells us the Premier League is not only trying to finish this season as soon as possible, but they want to start next season as close to ‘normal’ as possible as well.

At first glance, this seems like a massive amount of fixture congestion. At least until you realize that thanks to the Europa League, United’s progress in the League Cup, and FA Cup replays, — with the exception of international breaks — Manchester United have basically been playing weekend-midweek-weekend every week from September through February. This will be nothing new for them.

The small, but significant, difference is that instead of cup ties where Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be open to more squad rotation, these will all be Premier League matches — which is why the manager will need to be strategic.

For the first time all season United have a fully fit squad. That gives them some solid depth in midfield and across the back line until Eric Bailly’s next injury, but they’re still a little thin up front (especially if they pick up any injury).

Luckily, teams are now allowed five subs in a match, and Solskjaer will need to use them. As much as we want to see Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes on the pitch together we should never see them both completing 90 minutes if United have the lead.

The key will be starting fast and getting out to leads, because United have plenty of depth to come off the bench and see out a lead, but really lack many players who can change the game if they’re chasing it.

This squad rotation will be crucial as we’re already seeing muscle injuries pop up in the Bundesliga after just three games. This plan makes it pretty obvious there’s not going to be much of a break between “seasons,” meaning a two-month injury could quickly bleed into next season as well.

Odion Ighalo continues living his best life

A few days ago Ighalo was offered a massive raise by Shanghai Shenhua. Now it’s possible he might get his loan at United extended. Incredible. He gets a massive raise and gets to play for his dream club just a little more.

Even though January may only be until the middle of ‘next’ season this move would be great for United. It gives them immediate help without the long term risk (I’m still not sold on Ighalo if United were playing in the Champions League). By January Mason Greenwood will probably be (physically) more ready to push Martial for that center forward role than he is now or would be in August.

Ighalo has said he’s open to making his stay in Manchester permanent but it’d be quite ridiculous to walk away from the money Shanghai are offering him.

Pogba’s influence in the dressing room is at it again

On Tuesday Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba were photographed training together for the first time. Then Tuesday night, this happened.

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The man trains with Pogba one time and as soon as he gets home he’s posting to social media with his new style. Maybe Pogba is a bad influence in the dressing room...

Don’t worry, David de Gea is still first choice goalkeeper

Breaking News: It appears that during lockdown Sergio Romero, Lee Grant, and Nathan Bishop all failed to leapfrog David de Gea in the pecking order.

Man, the things that people will play off as “news.”

Troy Deeney continues to be a voice of reason

It’s still going to be the year spoiled by the pandemic. It’s not going to be the year Liverpool won the league being the best team.

Well said Troy. At least there’s that.