WHILST scanning the arts supplements for the latest atrocities to be strewn across the nation’s canvasses I noticed the rear pages describing football transfers. I summarise them thusly:
Falcao Monaco to Manchester United, loan:
I remember summering in Monaco in ’68 as the guest of the Prince, a gaudy little man with ear hair and a frankly unforgivable collection of inferior Picasso daubs. On my first evening there I lost the keys to my Gstaad residence in a casino game of Hunt The Tamarind, a sport peculiar to that particular establishment that is conducted in their laundry room. Sad though my memories are of those days I eventually left under a cloud for suggesting the prince looked like he was breeding caterpillars in there nothing would have induced me to flee to Manchester. Not even £16m.
Welbeck Manchester United to Arsenal, £16m
Now this seems an eminently more sensible move, fleeing the ubiquitous flat caps and indistinguishable brown foods of the frozen North for our nation’s fair capital. One is reminded of Orpheus and Eurydice escaping from the underworld on the condition they never look back. As one would know if one avoided the comprehensive system, Orpheus could not resist looking back and lost Eurydice for ever. Given that if Mr Welbeck looks back, all he will see is Macclesfield, I don’t believe he will succumb to a similar temptation.
Niko Kranjcar Dynamo Kiev to QPR, loan
I’m sorry, are you ill? Have you fallen asleep upon your typewriter? That is utter gibberish.
James McArthur, Wigan to Crystal Palace, £5.5m
When one dines at the palace, the difficulty is always salt. The Queen cannot get enough of it. Underseasoned, do you think, Brian? she will ask, peering into her consommé. One does not contradict royalty, of course. Quite, ma’am, one replies. And so the saline battle begins, until by the time the cheese board arrives you’re crunching great handfuls of the stuff. Whenever I’m asked by somebody about to attend a royal function what to expect, my answer is always two simple words – kidney failure.
Hatem Ben Arfa Newcastle to Hull, loan
The lad has talent but consistency has always eluded him, so being relied on to provide that spark of creativity for a pretty pedestrian side like Hull week in, week out might be the making of him.