The Friday: Issue 4

So last week’s deadline day deals ended with Kylian Mbappe loaned to Paris St Germain from Monaco in a deal that is set to be worth over €145m when it becomes permanent in 2018, but this has caused a stir to those financial fair play adhering Spaniards in particular at Liga HQ who want PSG (rightly) looked into regarding their excessive summer activity.

Whilst Mbappe’s agent was busy negotiating himself and his player a lucrative financial package with PSG’s Qatari owners, the boy himself was looking every bit a €100m plus player for France against Holland as L’equipe destroyed the Netherlands 4-0 in a European Qualifier that all but ended the Dutch hopes of automatic qualification.

Three days later, Mbappe alongside his world renowned mega rich household name superstars for the French National Team, a side that included 8 of those that appeared in the Euro 2016 final and one that boasted the likes of Pogba, Griezmann, Kante, Lemar…. Drew at home 0-0 to Luxembourg.

Proof that you can pay all the money in the world for the best brand of players but get them on a pitch and their values count for nothing. Maybe this result should put a few extra noughts on the back of the Luxembourg players as they are clearly not as bad as their own wages might suggest they are?

Is it time for a leveller in football? I’m all for ending stupid wages and ridiculous transfer fees. Of course pay the top players healthily but give them a value that merits their ability and on his last performance I don’t think Mbappe deserves to be paid as much as he’s going to be at PSG.

Another player (probably) worth £150m after his Welsh debut is Ben Woodburn of Liverpool. The 17 year old has played nine times for his club side but was controversially thrown in to the Welsh team as a substitute to score the winner against Austria on Saturday before creating the important first goal for Robson-Kanu that helped see off Moldova on Tuesday for two massive Group D wins.

The controversy is because Woodburn, born in Chester also qualified to play for England, but the fact Wales have already given him a cap in a qualification match means that now those options are closed. He is Welsh, end of.

This is interesting as I see many other ‘opportunist’ nations doing the same thing going forward in similar circumstances. Getting in there early and securing their stars whether they are ready for full international football or not. Another FIFA ruling that looks like it could be exploited as more and more players can have multiple citizenship.

Moving away from controversy I wanted to congratulate Roberto Martinez who has Managed Belgium to become the first team in Europe (other than hosts Russia) to qualify for the World Cup next year. Belgium were joined this weekend by Iran and Saudi Arabia who join Japan and Korea from the Asia Confederation, Brazil from South America and Mexico from CONCACAF.

England shouldn’t be too far off after six points from six last weekend, again taking unprecedented stick for the way they played despite eventually winning comfortably in both games.

Northern Ireland also proved their steel with back to back wins ensuring they should at least have a playoff game to look forward to with a real chance of progression to reach their first World Cup finals since 1986.

This weekend ‘real’ football returns with the Premier League race and major European leagues back in action. Top games include Manchester City v Liverpool tomorrow the Barcelona v Espanyol derby on Saturday night and Lazio v AC Milan on Sunday.

Luckily for me I’m off to watch Notts County v Morecambe. Real football indeed.

Star of the week: Ben Woodburn (debuted for Wales with a goal against Austria and set up an important opener against Moldova to help Chris Coleman’s men to a much needed maximum point week).

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