We can only hope this newfangled “winter break” will do wonders for the various Premier League teams in both domestic and European competitions, because all it’s actually done for us so far is inundate us with stories about the vacationing lifestyles of the rich and the famous (and fit and young), produce cringey social media wrap-ups and sh*tposts by the official website, and of course generate plenty of transfer rumors.
The January transfer window may have shut less than two weeks ago, but there’s never not a good time for more transfer rumors — though usually we don’t have to deal with these until early spring, when the FIFA Calendar drops in an international break. So thanks for that, winter break.
A few of the more recent idle bits of speculation involve the quick return of familiar names, with the Mirror reminding everyone that Dries Mertens will be out of contract in the summer, L’Equipe (via Inside Futbol) doing the same with Edinson Cavani, and Philippe Coutinho once again starting to make the rounds as Barcelona try to undo their hilarious mistake from a couple years ago of blowing half the Neymar cash on the Liverpool spare part.
But even though Chelsea actually (well, reportedly) bid for Mertens in January, were apparently very much interested in Cavani, and Coutinho will forever be linked with us since we’re one of the few teams who can afford him and may be dumb enough to do so, we could and should do much better in the summer.
Mertens and Cavani may have made some sense as a Giroud-replacement for six months, maybe even eighteen, but neither would make much sense as a big summer signing (even if they would not need a transfer fee) — unless they’re willing to come in on a year-long contract to be senior backups and mentors, which is highly unlikely. Spending big and committing multiple years to them was out of the question in January, and should be doubly so in June.
And the less said about Coutinho, the better.
So, as the rumor mill continues to grind out the same ol’ stories and story-lines, let’s hope that in reality, we’re sticking to what we all know is the right approach: spend big surgically, promote from within broadly. We’re doing well on the latter part these days. Now we just need to get the former part right.