Today’s Tales: Nunez 1 Haaland -5

Haaland Nunez

That off-season break didn’t last very long, did it?

In the time that it’s taken for England’s Lionesses to become immortal champions of Europe, the English football season is back underway.

Did we learn anything of use from Saturday’s traditional curtain raiser? Of course, we didn’t. It’s still a glorified preseason friendly no matter how excited Liverpool fans will be after their win and no matter how much people are ready to write Erling Haaland off after a slightly ropey debut.

Haaland was bought in the belief that he was a footballing robot who could never miss. That assumption was proven wrong at the King Power after he missed several chances you’d expect him to pouch – especially that last-minute opportunity. But, Peppy G isn’t worried – and if we are all very, very honest with ourselves he knows a bit more about it all than we do.

Liverpool’s new big-money striker hit the ground running, just like every other Liverpool signing in recent memory. Darwin Nunez scored one of King Klopp’s three, helping Sadio Mane be consigned to Anfield history. 

The real stuff starts next week though – this was merely an appetizer.

Newcastle United seem to be stuck in a perpetual game of Brewster’s Millions as they have lots of money which they are struggling to spend. The latest big-name target that they’ve failed to snaffle is Leicester’s James Maddison – the Foxes turned down a £40m bid for a player that they’d struggle to replace for the same amount of cash. When you look at it like that, you can see why they said no.

Eddie Howe’s attention has turned to Chelsea’s “I need to play football” striker Timo Werner – they’d happily take him on loan but you suspect Tommy T will be less keen on the idea.

The Magpies are also fighting it out with Everton for Burnley’s Maxwel Cornet who is bound to end up and a Premier League club in the next couple of weeks. Maybe he can ask new signing Dwight McNeill what Frank’s really like before he makes up his mind.

Some other deals have actually happened, before we return to a few other rumours.

Forest have gone again – they’ve now signed an entire new team plus a sub. Stuttgart midfielder Orel Mangala becomes the 12th man in at the City Ground.

Nuno Tavares must have really disappointed Mikel Arteta in his debut season at the Arsenal as he’s been shipped out on loan to Marseille. The Gooners will hope that Kieran Tierney can get through a season without picking up yet another injury.

Crystal Palace fans really cannot be used to signing players from Bayern Munich – Chris Richards comes in for £8.5m. He’s an American central defender and he’s quite good.

Lamps has got a very excited loan signing from Sporting – Ruben Vinagre is a left-back who is super-keen to learn from legends like Frank and Ashley Cole. It’s pretty obvious which one he should turn to on all matters left-back.

West Ham gave up on Armando Broja – now interesting Real Madrid, somehow – and settled in 7ft 10 Italian Gianluca Scamacca. Cue many a Peter Crouch reference as the season gets going.

Fulham did a couple of bits too – a right back and a winger and I really should have written down who they were. Fulham fans, feel free to berate me.

Back to things that might happen – Brighton have stopped answering Man City’s calls on Marc Cucurella unless they WhatsApp an offer of £50m first. 

City have also made it clear that they won’t be selling Bernardo Silva to Barcelona – I know, I know. 

Man United are still hoping that a solution can be found to sign Frankie de Jong. I’ll give you a clue as to what it will end up being – they’ll pay the £17m that the midfielder is still owed in deferred wages by the world’s biggest financial joke of a club.

Ten Hag is also very keen on the next Erling Haaland – a Salzburg striker called Benjamin Sesko. He’s pretty good but also pretty young.

Tuchel was very clear last week that he wants to see some movement on the old transfer front otherwise Chelsea might even struggle for a top four spot. As a result, Kepa could be shipped out on loan to Napoli (not exactly the news Chelsea fans would have been sitting on the edge of their seats for) and Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso could still share a cab to Barca.

Presuming Thomas meant incomings as the change he wanted to see, he’ll be delighted to be linked to 18-year-old US keeper Gabriel Slolina and 19-year-old Cesare Casadei – he plays for Inter. Chelsea should be avoiding signing players from Inter.

He might be more excited by the news that Bayern World Cup winner Benjamin Pavard would be open to a move to London.

Lampard would like to make Everton a bit like Chelsea – and to do that he’s hoping to sign Michy Batshuayi, Ross Barkley and Billy Gilmour. He may as well try and get Mason too whilst he is there having bids rejected. Or maybe he’s trying to make Everton like the side they had a few seasons ago by snapping up Idrissa Gueye from PSG – just don’t mention rainbows to him.

He might still consider himself the King, but nobody seems that keen to give him a new throne. Ronaldo is back at Carrington telling anyone who will listen that he wants to leave United – the small problem being nobody wants to sign him.