All this back and forth between Roberto Martinez and Jose Mourinho – can’t do the accent – makes us recall that famous incident where Groucho Marx asked a lady at a dinner party whether she would sleep with him for a million dollars.
‘Yes,’ she replied.
He then asked, ‘Would you sleep with me for a hundred dollars?’
Horrified, she declared, ‘I’d probably just give you one off the wrist for that, Groucho, lad. To be honest though, you’re putting everyone off their lamb talking about stuff like this, you unfunny cunt. Were you dragged up, or what?’
Her fella found out and went round to the MGM Studios to fill the Marx Brothers in. They couldn’t find them though so instead they painted HARPO IS A NONSE right down the side of Mann’s Chinese Theatre.
So anyway, Chelsea want to buy John Stones, because he’s boss, and they’ve offered £20 million which has been summarily rejected, as the first bid always will be. The rest of the guff in the papers about who said what and who wrote a letter to who is irrelevant in the big scheme of things. For all that no one is keen on the way Mourinho does his business, everyone knows that despite the public protestations, behind the scenes the Ched Evans approach rules in the transfer market.
No rarely means no.
Some papers this morning are saying that Stones himself ‘would be interested in the move’ if the clubs can agree a fee. And let’s not kid ourselves, he would have to be some sort of half-wit if he wasn’t. What’s not to like about loads more money, winning trophies and being able to coast through 90% of games, especially in the league? He’ll spend most of his time nonchalantly side-stepping shattered ‘lone front-runners’ at Stamford Bridge to rapturous applause from the stands and commentary box.
He wants to go there, don’t worry about that.
It just depends on whether Chelsea are willing to meet whatever figure Everton have decided is too good to turn down. Rumours today have the next offer anywhere between £26 million and £34 million. A lot of dough, admittedly, but given just how good Stones is going to be – and he is, there is just no doubt about that – even at those figures they risk looking like mugs in a few years time. To put it into context, Rio Ferdinand, cost £29 million, and how long ago was that? With Stones only one year into a five-year deal – one he was only too happy to sign – they need to be looking at something close to what Manchester City paid for Raheem Sterling. And if no one wants to pay that, fine, he can honour his deal, play for Everton and we can all meet up and do this dance again next summer.
After saying all that, in the short term, losing Stones probably wouldn’t be the end of the world for Everton. It would be a crying shame to not get to watch one of the country’s brightest talents develop into a true Toffee legend – but we’re used to that – however, for all his ability on the ball he still has a lot to learn in terms of defending. It’s not inconceivable then that a less cultured but more experienced ‘stopper’ playing alongside the ever-improving Phil Jagielka could actually result in the Blues’ ‘defensive unit’ – which was fucking hopeless for large stretches of last season – actually looking more solid.
Stranger things have happened, and despite the disappointment of losing your best players, the sky has yet to actually fall in when they’ve left in the past.
Jesus, remember when Everton were accused of ‘selling the family silver’ when they sold Jack Rodwell to Manchester City? In fairness, perhaps that’s not a bad analogy. After all, the silver looks fancy enough but it’s mostly fucking useless apart from a couple of occasions per year.
The most famous one that left was obviously Wayne Rooney, but the superstar striker with a head shaped like a molar is set to return briefly for Duncan Ferguson’s testimonial against Villarreal in a couple of weeks. This will undoubtedly cause mass consternation, which is hilarious, because for all the grievances levelled at him, the people in charge at Everton clearly couldn’t care less and seem genuinely pleased to welcome Rooney back to support a player about who he has said he initially looked up to as a hero and then came to value as a friend. Let’s all be honest, this reality where the players go mental at others leaving (for loads more money) and ‘Tony Hibbert chinned Joleon Lescott’ only exists in the heads of supporters.
Rooney’s motives in this instance – agreeing to play in a meaningless bit of a fun game watched mostly by annoying children hopped up on Fruit Shoots and Haribo – are nothing but honourable. If it really, really bothers you then, to be honest, he’s winning, isn’t he?
After all, it’s just showbiz, kids.
Oh, we got battered 3-1 by Arsenal. Ross Barkley scored a blamer of a consolation but the rest was absolute garbage. You probably knew that by now though.