A Quick Briefing on the Premier League's Past Few Months
Between surprise transfers, failures to comply with lockdown measures and Sir Marcus Rashford, leader of the opposition, forcing the UK government into a monumental u-turn and to ensure free school meals for disadvantaged children throughout the summer, the Premier League circus has been in full swing despite over 3 months of a football hiatus.
Despite no clear guidance on the transfer market yet, Chelsea seem to have taken advantage of a weakened market, somehow hijacking Liverpool's seemingly imminent transfer for RB Leipzig's striker Timo Werner. Looking to strengthen an already remarkable firepower, Liverpool were clear front-runners for Werner's signature with multiple outlets reporting video calls with the energetic Jurgen Klopp. However, with the financial pressures caused by the pandemic, Chelsea could very well have (once again) capitalised on a Liverpool slip-up, securing Werner's signature. Chelsea's quick transfer business, like with the purchase of Hakim Ziyech from our favourite hipster football brand Ajax in February, will undoubtedly encourage fans that a competitive Chelsea will be coming back sooner than many expected.
Watford, however, were guilty of an awkward transfer mishap with French-Senegalese midfielder Pape Gueye. Watford announced Gueye on a pre-contract agreement as his contract with France's Ligue 2 club Le Havre is running out. Famous for their remarkable homegrown products, boasting alums such as Riyad Mahrez, Lassana Diarra and Paul Pogba, Gueye decided it was time to make a step up in his career. With apparent irregularities springing out of nowhere, Gueye, and his agent, announced that he now has no intention of ever joining Watford, yet they say they will still formally register him on July 1st. With FIFA now allowing a player to register for 3 different clubs in the same calendar year, maybe they will try to make a quick profit from him.
Aside from the transfer world, we have seen footballers really struggle to follow lockdown measures. Last week, the FA handed Dele Alli a one-match ban for an inappropriate joke he made that was leaked on social media back in February. Whilst I understand why the ban was handed, I do not understand how bans have not been given for players breaking lockdown rules in stupidly frivolous ways: Kyle Walker hosted a sex party, Jack Grealish was caught drunk-driving home from a party and Callum Hudson-Odoi's allegations of rape went largely unaddressed. Again, footballers are not perfect, far from it, but the FA not taking any actions as to these public infringements confuses me when they ban Alli over a social media post. I don't want to be that guy but I believe there is a conversation to be had on the FA's disciplinary irregularities.
One role model using his platform for good, however, Manchester United's starboy Marcus Rashford has suddenly become the country's favourite player overnight (Ed: some of us loved him since 2016). Coming from a difficult background, Rashford has silently acted as an extremely generous benefactor for many organisations and charities, but is his latest ventures on Twitter that have caught the attention of the whole country. Using his hugely influential position as the poster boy of the world's biggest football club, Rashford pressured Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself to create a £120 million school meals voucher scheme for the UK's most vulnerable families. Johnson initially had no intention of appeasing the calls for such a fund, but Rashford's pressure, with millions of fans behind him, forced Johnson into a complete U-turn. Rivalries aside, seeing Marcus Rashford use his platform to create important social change is hugely inspiring, even if Health Secretary Matt Hancock couldn't even remember the man's name to congratulate him.
These 3 months have been hard for football fans everywhere, but we also recognise that there are much more important things in life. Watching football clubs become leaders and safe spaces in their communities, such as becoming testing sites, giving out free meals to NHS staff and providing shelter to the homeless, has shown the solidarity necessary to reduce the pain caused by the pandemic. Now that Premier League football is coming back, I am thrilled to watch game after game. Liverpool fans, it was never in doubt wasn't it? As much as it pains me, enjoy the celebrations.
Let us know what you think, and direct all abuse at my future flaming hot takes to my twitter: @AlexSMPM
Alex Kutscher is a 21 year old English Literature student at King's College London. He plays basketball and watches Chelsea on the weekend. He loves sports, television and live music.
Thanks for reading! Slow Motion Panic Masters is a music, arts and culture blog created and edited by Ben Wheadon, a literature student and musician based in South Wales.