It isn’t the summer without a good transfer saga, and this time around we’ve had three.
Alright, Cesc Fabregas tried to muscle his way in there are at one point, but no-one ever believed his credentials. There have really only been three gossip column kings in the summer of 2013.
Yet for all the talk of Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez and Wayne Rooney, of Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester United, and of Real Madrid, Arsenal and Chelsea, not much has really happened.
You see, a Welshman, a Uruguayan and an Englishman have all walked into a thousand screaming headlines and haven’t really walked out yet. It’s no joke either. Such is the tedious nature of the sagas they are no laughing matter. They are dull.
At least for Bale and Suarez the reasons for leaving are tangible ones though.
The pair will have deep concerns that, given that their clubs have again missed out on Champions League football – or at least the right to face a tricky qualifier to reach it – their careers are in danger of stalling quickly.
They are both supreme talents and are just 24 and 26 respectively. Their moments in the sun at the highest level will come one day, but nonetheless their impatience for elevation is somewhat understandable, even if the method in which Suarez has gone after it has been misguided.
Yet what of Rooney?
Whilst his two partners in the search for escape want to move up the Premier League or up the European ladder, he wants to leave the champions for last season’s third-placed club.
True, a lot has changed at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge over the summer. A rather large, Scottish question mark has been placed in the Manchester United dugout, whilst a proven Portuguese winner has retaken his seat at Chelsea.
Yet this is surely more than just about David Moyes and Jose Mourinho. Rooney’s desire for an exit seems to run much deeper than that. It seems to centre with Robin van Persie’s arrival last year.
At a time when a second successive Manchester City title win could have set up ‘the noisy neighbours’ to shout even louder for years to come, Sir Alex Ferguson broke the bank for Arsenal’s talisman following yet another transfer saga.
Ferguson knew he was buying a proven goal-getter, a central figure to his plans and potentially the Premier League title. Rooney knew he had a problem.
He knew he’d no longer be the star man, and so an attitude issue started to seep in. It was no surprise that when Ferguson needed men he could rely on in the bigger games he didn’t turn to Rooney. The forward noticed.
Yet would things really be different for him at Chelsea? The home of Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku?
One of those could leave should Rooney sign of course, but wouldn’t it be easier for him to just knuckle down and succeed at Old Trafford? To seek to form a potent partnership with Van Persie and not just give up on one?
Maybe too much has already happened. Maybe Moyes is the problem after all. But the end to this particular saga doesn’t have to come with a move away.
Rooney should stay, fight for his place and rediscover old form.
He can still hit the heights he’s capable of at Old Trafford.
He just needs to rediscover the hunger which allowed him to reach them.
Ian Holloway rolling the dice with new signings
A look at just over half of Crystal Palace’s new signings this summer ahead of a first season back in the Premier League for eight years would indicate that manager Ian Holloway is going with what he knows.
The likeable boss has worked with Kevin Phillips, Elliot Grandin, Stephen Dobbie and Jerome Thomas before, but it is the other three new arrivals who could shape the campaign for the pre-season relegation favourites.
Jose Campana is a stylish young midfielder and a frequent captain of Spain’s youth sides, but will he adapt to England? Dwight Gayle scored goals in half a season at Peterborough but is he worth a club record fee? Can Marouane Chamakh shed the misfit tag he picked up at Arsenal?
It is the displays of these players who could determine Palace’s season, as Holloway looks to profit from his gambles.
Good luck to everyone over this new Fantasy Premier League season. Those were a long few months but we made it through together!
May the bonus points be with you.