Tuesday 30 August
With transfer deadline day looming we are expecting a slew of loan deals and being linked with all kinds of fanciful players.
We’ll deal with the reality for now: Patrick Bamford has joined the Clarets of Burnley for the rest of the season. Patrick had a glittering start at Middlesbrough a couple of years ago but deals at Palace and Norwich didn’t really pan out has he’d expected last term.
Loic Remy has switched to Crystal Palace; the underrated 29-year-old striker now has a chance to show us what we are missing.
You could say the same for Kenedy who joins Watford until the end of the campaign. Kenedy is one of our best and made 20 appearances last season scoring the fastest goal of the season against Norwich – 39 seconds into the match. If he gets a regular game under Walter Mazzarri he should come on in leaps and bounds.
Away from the loans we have been strongly linked with Fiorentina left-back Marcos Alonso. Marcos is a Spaniard who started at Real Madrid but graduated at Bolton Wanderers and briefly with Sunderland – so he has a few appearances in the Premier League already. A fee of about £24m has been rumoured and sounds about right. It is a shame that we are not going to trust Ola Aina or give Jay Dasilva a step up because we have two excellent left-backs who are both ready, but with a long season and no seasoned professional in the position you can understand the spend.
And slightly more incredibly David Luiz. We sold David to PSG for £50m and the mooted return would come in around £30m. We are not sure if that isn’t a step back for both parties. David was an excellent footballer and entertainer but had his weaknesses as a defender.
Wednesday 31 August
Transfer deadline day and a flood of loans:
Africa Cup of Nations winner and solid defender Kenneth Omeruo signed a one-year extension to his contract and left for another season in Turkey – if football there restarts after the recent political upheavals – last term he was with Kasimpasa and did well, this season he joins newly promoted Alanyaspor.
Cristian Cuevas has rejoined Sint-Truidense for whom he made 29 appearances last season. Also in Belgium Islam Feruz will play with Royal Excel Mouscron. Islam joins Matej Delac in the Walloon city near the French boarder.
Nathan Baxter, at only 17 possibly our youngest loanee, will have to mind his manners and keep his boots shiny as he joins the Met Police FC until January. Old Bill FC are currently in the Ryman Premier.
Dion Conroy heads for Aldershot Town – at least he’ll know his way to the Recreation Ground (The Electrical Services Stadium as it is known to all you die hard romantics) – as our development squad play home games there.
Kenneth Omeruo heads back to Turkey after a successful loan with Kasimpasa last season he will play with newly promoted Alanyaspor.
Juan Cuadrado has returned to Juventus after a loan there last season. The theory is that Juve make the deal permanent for £20m sometime soon.
Jake Clarke-Salter and Charlie Colkett have both joined Bristol Rovers until the end of the season. Defender Clarke-Salter made his first team bow last season at Aston Villa and Colkett is one of our most promising midfielders. The Gas are getting a good pair.
Marcos Alonso put pen to paper on a five-year contract and announced himself happy with he step up in his career. Alonso played with Gary Cahill at Bolton and can operate as a full-back, left-winger, wing-back or as part of a back three – we wouldn’t put it past Conte to try all those at once.
The David Luiz deal has been agreed. The clubs have agreed terms on about £30m but PSG are keen not to let on how much money they lost on a player they paid £50m for two summers ago. It is enough to say that, including his original transfer fee from Benfica we are near breaking even on the deal.
Late reports suggest that David was the instigator of the move as he felt he had unfinished business with Chelsea. Although as a Champions League, Uefa Cup and FA Cup winner with us there isn’t a lot left for him to win.
Whatever scepticism may have greeted the news that he was on the way, now he is back a smile keeps breaking over Chelsea fans’ faces.
Thursday 1 September
Chelsea 2:1 Notts County
This looked like we’d blown it after missing a penalty and falling behind things looked gloomy for the gals but two thumping Katie Chapman headers turned the tie and kept us in touch at the top of the table. Away at Man City on the Sunday 25 September looks like it will decide the league.
Chelsea women have drawn VfL Wolfsburg, again, in their Champions League. Die Wolfe battered us in the last 16 over two legs last season and are multiple winners of the competition. The usually talk of a stern test and chance for revenge masks disappointment at a missed chance to visit new places and progress.
Diego Costa and Caesar Azpilicueta came out on top of the Spain v Belgium clash; the hosts winning 2-0.
N’Golo Kante anchored the French side that battered Italy 1-3 away in a truly impressive performance.
New boy, Eduardo played the whole match as Portugal were untroubled by Gibraltar in a 5-0 stroll.
Meanwhile, Mason Mount scored two as England U18 beat Italy 2-1. Young Mason is having an eye-catching start to the season.
Saturday 3 September
John Obi Mikel and Nigeria finished their campaign for Africa Cup of Nations qualification with a 1-0 win over Tanzania. Nigeria had a poor campaign and will not be defending their crown.
Baba Rahman played and Christian Atsu watched from the bench as Avram grant’s Ghana side drew one each with Rwanda.
Sunday 4 September
Ugh, England. The unimaginably boring future for England fans was laid bare tonight as despite a very late winner from Adam Lallana, England we dour, unimaginative, boring and frankly awful.
We will go on saying “we told you so” until England get a manager who could win something – Ronald Koeman springs to mind – Mike Basset… er, sorry, Sam Allardyce is tactically one dimensional, agricultural, thin-skinned and a serial failure. The man’s only qualification for the job is that he kept Sunderland up last season – oh, the sunlit uplands of international glory that await.
Elsewhere, with international teams that stand a chance, Andreas Christensen started his first full-international and played well as Denmark beat Armenia 1-0.
Bertrand Traore and the Burkinabe Stallions managed to squeeze past Botswana after the visitors were reduced to nine-men and the match was extended to allow time for the advertising hoardings being blown across the pitch by storm force winds.
Brazil U20 visited Kidderminster this afternoon and, along with Fikayo Tomori’s England U20 put on an exhibition of imaginative and unrestrained football. It was a hugely entertaining match with both sides competing to see who could show off the most. Brazil won the match and the penalty shootout pre-arranged at the close of the game.