So, August is done, the transfer window is closed, and we have the familiarly empty feeling of the September international break to welcome us into the new month.
It’s fair to say August 2017 was an interesting month. Huddersfield Town are in the Champions League spots, Philippe Coutinho is apparently worth €200 million, and transfer announcement videos are now more exciting than transfers themselves.
We thought we’d take a look back at the month just passed and, in the manner of a continental governing body that really wants to drag out a cup draw, divvy out some meaningless awards that will be forgotten about a week hence. Let’s get started.
Dodgiest cliché of the month: Daniel ‘two new signings’ Sturridge
This one actually took place right at the end of July, but they’re our awards and we’ll give them to whoever we please.
The ‘like a new signing’ line for a returning player has always made fans shudder just a little bit, but in the case of Daniel Sturridge at Liverpool, it’s probably fair enough.
With out-and-out strikers few and far between at the club, Sturridge is an important figure at the club – but for Adam Lallana to claim that the striker whose injury list on Transfermarkt runs to a second page is like two new signings through the door seems a little far-fetched.
Picking up a hamstring problem in a pre-season friendly with Bayern Munich wasn’t the ideal preparation for another long slog of a campaign, and with Roberto Firmino now ahead of him in the pecking order anyway, the signing of two perma-crocked backup forwards would appear an odd move from Jürgen Klopp in an otherwise successful transfer window.
Most club-appropriate signings of the month: Phil Bardsley and Jon Walters to Burnley
If you stop to think about it, it’s almost a little strange that this pair haven’t been playing for Burnley all their lives.
Sean Dyche’s hard-working, rough-and-tumble, Northern powerhouse of a side aren’t short of grit, which is one of the reasons for their impeccable record at Turf Moor.
When you saw the news of Bardsley and Walters’ moves, it probably didn’t make much of an impression but with the further addition of ‘handful’ striker Chris Wood from Leeds United, it’s unlikely you’ll be relishing seeing your side take the Clarets on this season.
Dyche may have been more appreciated if his name was Diché, but there’ll be no faffing about with those fancy-dan foreigners in his part of Lancashire this season. Best of luck to them.
‘What is even happening?’ social media exploits of the month: AS Roma
There will be people crying out for “Come to Beşiktaş” to take this most coveted of awards, but for sheer consistency of excellence, Roma take the social media crown for this summer’s transfer window.
Goats in trees, “Come to AS Roma”, explosion-ridden YouTube Europop compilations, Aleksandar Kolarov kidnappings; they genuinely had it all.
It’s difficult to put a lot of their work into words without seeing it, so have a look at their official compilation compilation here. Neymar might have taken the headlines, but whoever is in charge of Roma’s Twitter account should be in demand from the world’s biggest clubs in January. There’s always a danger of these things become a little bit ‘fellow kids’, but the Romans toed the line perfectly. Bravo.
‘How was this allowed to take place?’ of the month: Chelsea selling Nemanja Matić to Manchester United, Manchester United instantly becoming well-balanced title contenders
First off, if Matić had been sold abroad, you’d have to say Chelsea had done well to get £40 million for the Serbian given his age, stuttering form, and already-purchased replacement.
But to sanction his sale to Manchester United, of all clubs, seems ludicrous. Jose Mourinho winning the league again would make the Blues a little silly, and he now has the partner Paul Pogba has been crying out for in the centre of the park.
With Pogba freed up into a more offensive role behind his mate Romelu Lukaku, United can finally turn last season’s turgid draws into convincing wins. If he so wishes, Mourinho can even now field a defensive midfield pair of Matić and Marouane Fellaini, in bad news for literally every playmaker in the league.
Seriously, Chelsea. What have you done?
Joyless dystopian robotic moment of the month: Kaká being sent off by VAR for joking with his pal
Kaká is, by all accounts, a pretty nice guy. Glowing reports from teammates, journalists, and any football fan with the ability to discern between good and evil can corroborate this statement.
So, when a bit of a scuffle broke out at the end of Orlando City’s MLS defeat to New York Red Bulls and the Brazilian was seen lightly grabbing the face of former teammate Aurélien Collin, each with huge grins on their harmless little faces, it was was nice to enjoy a bit of fun between friends in an otherwise tense moment.
But this is 2017, and there’s no time for fun anymore – what makes sport truly great is rigid and unfeeling application of the rules (just ask Raheem Sterling).
So a video investigation of the ‘incident’ was launched, and Kaká was banished from the pitch. The robot refs are coming, and it won’t be pretty.
Warm fuzzy feeling of the month – Jordan Rhodes’ letter
As anyone who appreciates the work of Mick McCarthy knows, the Championship is the best league in the world – traditional, honest, and jam-packed with special moments.
What helps make the Championship what it is, is players like Jordan Rhodes. Hard-working pros who happen to be lovely chaps and don’t mind letting on that deep down, they’re big softies.
So it was no surprise to anybody to see that the Scottish international, now at Sheffield Wednesday, penned a short letter with some signed photos to a young fan he had met – and its contents will melt your heart.
It was lovely to hear from you. It brought a smile to my face to know that I’m your favourite player. Did you enjoy your holiday to Fuerteventura? I hope it was sunny and you got to eat lots of nice ice lollies.
We have all just come back from Portugal with the team which was nice to go away. I like my Dad being at work with me because I always have someone I can talk to and help me to get better.
My favourite food is a roast dinner on a Sunday. Do you like roast dinners? I think Ronaldo is a very good footballer, he scores lots of goals and I like to watch him when is on TV. Do you have any second favourite teams you like to support when Sheffield Wednesday aren’t playing?
I look forward to seeing you down at Hillsborough this season.
Family values, Yorkshire pudding-based tangents, and the genuine hope that the kid will write back – it’s got it all. We’re not crying, you’re crying.