We’re still some way away from a restart in the Premier League and other European competitions, but it’s getting closer by the day.
Countries around the world are at different stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in Europe, Italy, Germany, Spain and England may have reached or be near a plateau and, when it’s safe to do so, players in the big leagues will return to training.
Clubs say they’ll need three weeks as a “pre-season” to get their stars match fit so we await government instructions.
Looking ahead, the UK press has reported that Premier League clubs have been told the 2020/21 season must start by the beginning of September, and that will apply some considerable fixture pressure on this current campaign, with no fixed start date yet in sight.
Early June is the target to reboot the 2019/20 season, but it’s a fast-moving situation so let’s wait and see.
Is David Silva Valencia–bound?
When play recommences, we’ll hopefully have a few more opportunities to enjoy the mercurial talent of David Silva before he leaves Manchester City.
Last weekend, here at SBOTOP, we selected our three best Premier League transfers of all-time and while his Manchester City team-mate Sergio Aguero was on the list, Silva was very close to making the cut.
Since his departure from Valencia to join the Sky Blue revolution in 2010, the creative midfielder has played more than 300 games while scoring over 50 goals, as City have picked up four Premier League titles and two FA Cups.
Silva’s calm persona, beautiful style of play and ability to pick the killer pass have been some of the very best features of Manchester City over the last decade.
But with his contract set to expire at the end of June, the Spaniard could be heading back to his old stomping ground at Valencia in La Liga.
If he does return to the Mestalla, he’ll be a fans’ favourite immediately and could help to elevate Los Che to the heights of being a European power once again.
Meanwhile, the Sky Blues’ biggest rivals, Liverpool, could be set to make a spectacular move for France scoring sensation Kylian Mbappe.
Real Madrid are reportedly eyeing up Reds striker Sadio Mane, and if they meet the club’s £150m valuation, then Mbappe might just be heading to Merseyside.
Los Blancos head coach Zinedine Zidane has made no secret of his admiration for Liverpool’s Senegalese star, so this is a situation we’ll keep a close eye on.
Premier League pay cuts are not for everyone
It’s been a difficult time for Premier League footballers during the coronavirus outbreak; they have had to do their best to stay fit while taking a fair amount of criticism from fans and the media.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock angered players by asking them to take a pay-cut, while several clubs were slated for their decision to furlough non-playing staff while continuing to pay their players’ full whack.
Many players have now taken a pay-cut, but not all. German winger Mesut Ozil has declined to take a 12.5 per cent reduction in pay as one of three Arsenal players to hold out.
The Gunners’ top earner, on £350,000 a week, doesn’t want to be rushed into a decision while he sees how the coronavirus impacts on the finance of clubs and the economy as a whole.
The vast majority of his team-mates have already worked it out, but Ozil has urged them to respect his stance. I’m not entirely sure that it’s his fellow players he needs to worry about.
When the Premier League season does reconvene, and all the stars are back to doing what they love rather than preserving their reputations, there is likely to be a busy fixture schedule for all concerned. FIFA has moved to provide flexibility around player contracts and the summer transfer window.
Of course, players, coaches and all the fans are thinking about a return date, and the first week in June looks like the best hope at the moment. In the meantime, we’ll keep the Premier League 2020 news rolling as it happens.
VISIT OUR BLOG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT FOOTBALL NEWS STORIES & FEATURES