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There’s not a lot you can do when the big boys come knocking | Soccer


It was as if England had spent half the summer screaming for Jack Grealish. Now the sound coming from the north side of Birmingham is more like a plaintive moan. He’s almost certainly gone to Manchester City for £ 100million, and Aston Villa is left to languish like a child stolen from his favorite toy. There’s not much you can do when the big boys come knocking, and the Villa captain on Wednesday might just be City’s star attraction at Charidee Shield on Saturday.

The city, of course, has long been brave little poor, so it’s heartwarming that they’ve finally allowed themselves something nice. “All clubs are in financial difficulty, we are no exception,” grimaced Pep Guardiola just four weeks ago. “It’s impossible, we can’t afford it,” he stammered again, when specifically asked to sign Harry Kane. We’ll come to the last one in their hunt for the Spurs’ crown jewel. For all of Pep’s protests, this seems to be the window where, if they hadn’t already taken off the gloves, City throws them and stompers them in the dust: they want some your favorite local heroes, and they don’t care how many hearts they break in the process.

It remains to be seen exactly how a player of Grealish’s maverick gifts will fit into City’s meticulously defined Nth degree structure. How exactly Villa will replace him is a fascinating question too. They caught Bayer Leverkusen forward Leon Bailey with an eye on what’s to come, and tied Emi Buendía earlier this summer while making an unfortunate play for Emile Smith Rowe. Those who read the tea leaves suggest they look for a few more for their attacking ranks: it’s tricky given that Grealish, while nominally coming in from the left, seemed to cover every blade of grass last season. . A note to Dean Smith: you can only field 11 players at a time.

Not everyone will like Grealish’s move. But he gave Villa almost 20 years of his life and, shock horror, there’s a big old world out there. Anyone would want to see what they can do for the best team, especially when other people seem to like it as well. Yes, that means Kane, and at least Grealish has done Villa the service of refusing to lower the tools. Kane is set to finally pass through Spurs’ training ground by the end of the week and talks with their hierarchy will begin: assuming impoverished City can fight for around £ 150million, the plan remains to find a way out .

Grealish, for his part, can point to a solid reason why Manchester could well be made by him. Last month, he turned out to be a huge Coronation Street fan, with suggestions ahead of time that the show would entertain him by giving him an appearance in the Rovers. It wouldn’t be the hardest ride, and maybe Kane could be persuaded to come too given that Corrie hasn’t had an adorable London antihero since Mike Baldwin. The days and weeks to come in top football, however, look likely to have enough soap opera for now.


“How can I even say thank you for all of this?” Can I pick it up and take it home? – Bukayo Saka returns to Arsenal training and visits a wall of thousands of messages of support sent to him by fans after his missed penalty at Euro Not 2020 led to an inevitably depressing torrent of online abuse.

Bukayo Saka back in Arsenal's gym.
Bukayo Saka back in Arsenal’s gym. Photograph: Stuart MacFarlane / Arsenal FC / Getty Images


It’s the latest Football Weekly pod, with a focus on European leagues.


The pod’s Premier League live preview is also coming soon. Buy your tickets here.


“Re: Yesterday’s Fiver Letters. So, in a priceless letter of the day, Lord Lucan wins. I was just wondering if he left his contact details for the prize?” – Tim Smith.

Send your letters to And you can still tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our priceless letter of the day is… Rollover.


Bogotá canceled the reopening of the stadiums after Colombia’s first crowded national match in 513 days – Santa Fé v Atlético Nacional – was marred by violence in the stands and on the pitch, with three supporters and four police officers hospitalized.

Problems and a swinging crutch inside the ground.
Problems and a swinging crutch inside the ground. Photograph: Daniel Garzon / AFP / Getty Images

Christian Eriksen has returned to Inter’s training ground for the first time since suffering cardiac arrest with Denmark.

Brighton has been indicted by the FA for “several breaches” of its regulations on Mr 15%.

Louis van Gaal takes the Dutch seat for the 1,739th time. “I consider this an honor! the 69-year-old shouted.

James Maddison batted his eyelashes at Arsenal after hearing the Gunners like his jib cut.

Chelsea’s pursuit of Seville’s Jules Koundé has stalled after being unable to persuade Kurt Zouma to clear his record and join West Ham.

Sampdoria president and Roma fan Massimo Ferrero has said he would gladly sell them Danish winger Mikkel Damsgaard. “[He] is the midfielder Roma need. If they call me, we’ll come to an agreement, ”Ferrero said. “I want him to join Roma and Damsgaard would be a great signing.”

And James Carragher, son of Jamie, signed his first pro contract in Wigan. “Well done son. Very proud of you, “her father tweeted. Cheaper than a phone call, to be fair.


Our latest pre-season previews spotlight Burnley, who Will Unwin worries about lacking depth, and Chelsea, with Jacob Steinberg speculating on whether they have enough lead to clinch the title.

A preview of Chelsea's training for you.
A preview of Chelsea’s training for you. Photograph: Darren Walsh / Chelsea FC / Getty Images

Ben Fisher’s Championship preview has some happy things to say for fans of the relegated clubs and Bournemouth and Middlesbrough, and darker predictions for your Readings, Blackeye Rovers and Wayne Rooney’s Derbys.

Manchester City and Chelsea should stop obsessing over their pursuit of Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku, and get a charge from Danny Ings, writes Josh Wright.

Catch up with the latest moves in our interactive transfer for women and men.

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