The Week At United: May The Honeymoon Last Forever

These are halcyon days at Manchester United and we continue to bathe in the glorious afterglow of the appointment, as manager, of Jose Mourinho, three interminable years too late. But still, he’s here now. Yay. With more than a month until United play any actual games and with the European Championships diverting attention we’re feeding on the tiniest of scraps in our attempts to immerse ourselves in the healing waters that is the Portuguese’s cheeky little smile. The pursing of the lips, the dimples, the self-satisfied grin, they all scream, “It’s going to be ok now people, Jose is here”. Never stop smiling Jose.

With so little actually happening we are left to faint and swoon over the smallest of breadcrumbs of information. Ooh look, Jose has posted a picture of some folders on Instagram. Joy! OMG, he’s just called Old Trafford his ‘home’. Joy. He’s got a United shirt draped over his the chair in his office. Joy. So much joy. There was even more joy when United completed the signing of the Ivory Coast and Villarreal centre back Eric Bayeeeeeeee, who very few people had ever heard of, because quite frankly if Jose thinks he’s good that’s good enough for us. Joy. Essentially, most of our world is filled with unbridled joy and that will no doubt remain until United play some actual matches or if Ed Woodward starts screwing up the transfers again.

It’s widely accepted that Zlatan, who most definitely gives himself blowjobs, will join in the near future. No one knows when, as he’s a big stinky tease, but it appears to be accepted now that it will be in July, after he’s received some sort of vague and unexplained ‘loyalty’ bonus from PSG, which appears to be payable to thank him for, erm, leaving. Zlatan. What a guy. Whether he’ll be any good or not, I have. no clue. Even men who consider themselves demigods get old and knackered in the end, but his final season in Paris seemed to suggest there’s life in the old dog yet. Let’s hope that life doesn’t ebb away next season, because a Zlatan who has just realised that he’s human will not be fun. He’ll be even less fun when his manager realises that he’s human too and consigns him to the subs bench, from whence he will smite us all down. Some of the papers appear to be tenuously suggesting that he is trying to lure former teammate and rather spiffing midfielder Marco Verrati to United, so if he could achieve that before the smiting bit that would be ace. Quite why PSG would sell and Verrati leave them is beyond me, but don’t spoil a good wet dream.

Not everything has been puppies, fairies and poppies this week, however. On Friday a Spanish paper published a story making some really rather disturbing accusations regarding a police investigation into an alleged rape purported to have been carried out by two Spanish footballers. David De Gea, it said, was implicated, supposedly as the man who arranged for the women to ‘service’ the men in return for cash. After the event, it was then claimed, he and the two other footballers maliciously pressured the complainant to keep her quiet. These accusations may turn out to be true, in which case all involved should be met by the full force of Spanish law, but none of it sounded very Dave, particularly the timid young Dave of 2012, when these events were alleged to have happened. The paper published a subsequent text conversation between De Gea and the victim, which all seemed rather benign and would have been utterly bizarre for a guy who knew the girl with which he’d been conversing had been raped by his friends.

Twitter rumours that De Gea had been sent home from the Euros circulated and were picked up by a number of the national newspapers, who presented them as their own info. Sadly for them it was total bo**ocks. I’d expect no better from The Sun, but The Indy? A couple of hours after the original story another Spanish paper then suggested that the police had already investigated and found no case to answer. Dave then spoke at a press conference saying that it was nonsense and that it was in the hands of his lawyers. Whatever the truth of the matter, the timing of the original story was uncanny, on the eve of a Euros at which De Gea is laughably competing for the Spanish goalkeepers jersey with the rapidly declining Iker Casillas. Far be it for me to insinuate foul play, but could the story have been timed to destabilise De Gea any better? People in the UK complain about our press without having any comprehension of the sheer volume of salacious b*llocks that gets printed in Spain, where the major papers have to fill pages and pages about the biggest clubs every day, often from a deeply partisan position. My money would be on this whole episode going no further, but I may, of course, be terribly wrong.

The uneasiness that most are still experiencing at Duncan Castles now being a Manchester United cheerleader is yet to dissipate and it still feels strange that his weekly propaganda piece in the Sunday Times is now pro-United. This week he filed a story regarding De Gea, stating that the clause allowing Real Madrid to buy him for £49m, inserted in the new contract he signed last September, expires on Wednesday. Florentino Perez, we are told, still wants the player, even if his manager, Zinedine Zidane, does not. United and Jose Mourinho now remain in a fight to retain the world class goalkeeper’s services. Except that I suspect they don’t, for if the move were likely it would surely have already happened. With Real chasing the hugely expensive Paul Pogba it is tough to see where that £49m would come from. Castles’ piece reads like a rather transparent attempt to create a ‘fight’ where there is none, allowing his beloved Jose to score an early victory by keeping his prized asset whom, we are told, he has been in constant contact with, whispering sweet nothings in his ear. Given the events of the last week, even if De Gea were harbouring a desire to move to Real, he could be forgiven for wanting to stay as far away from the Spanish press as possible.

And there endeth my 1000+ words on a week at United in which very little actually happened. Perhaps it’s better that way, for the honeymoon is the best period of any marriage and I’m still deeply in love with our Portuguese stud-muffin. The smiling, the Instagram posts, the just being Jose. Frankly, it’ll be a shame when the football itself begins. Still, by then we’ll have Zlatan and Verrati and Breel Embolo, the best teenager we’ve ever signed on Football Manager. Happy days are here again.

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