5 players and clubs who should break up this summer
From Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's social embarrassment to Neymar's commitment issues, it would be best for all parties if these relationships were broken up over the summer.
Real Madrid and Gareth Bale
Those nights of passion were quite something.
But that they occurred so sporadically – four times in five years between 2014 and 2018 – are telling of some deep-rooted issues.
Neighbours and long-distance observers are envious of this relationship, but, in reality, things haven’t been right at home for a little while – and not just because Bale seems to spend more and more time on the golf course these days.
The Welshman has never seemed entirely comfortable in Madrid. Match-winning contributions in the 2014 and 2018 Champions League finals and 2014 Copa Del Rey final kept the magic alive and, eventually, he will be fondly remembered for them.
But he has never committed to the Galactico way of life like David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo before him, preferring instead to slip away to Wales for a kickabout with his international team-mates whenever possible.
Persistent injuries and a loss of form and motivation means that Real should willingly show him the door this summer.
Manchester United and Paul Pogba
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must be furious at Pogba for the constant social embarrassment that he causes.
He is gallantly attempting to keep up appearances in public, but the excuses that he makes for Pogba’s disappearances are sounding increasingly far-fetched. Friends Gary, Roy and Paul are all concerned that he is being taken for a mug.
The Frenchman is too easily misled by his mates, who get their kicks from wooing every admirer other than the one he belongs to. They seem to forget that, in order to prove himself as an attractive proposition, he needs to spend some time being an attractive proposition.
Of course, when Pogba does show up he reminds everybody why Solskjaer is so desperate to protect him. Manchester United are lifted by his presence.
But, in order for Solskjaer to regain some authority and take the club back to the big time, he needs to move on.
PSG and Neymar
For PSG, the joys of this relationship have not lived up to the thrill of the chase.
The glitz and glamour that surrounded Neymar had always appealed to them. After several months of wooing, and some considerable outlay, they finally convinced him to make things official.
There was, after all, plenty of time for him to find himself a proper life partner once he had had his way with the most generous of sugar daddies.
Clearly, that is no basis for a positive relationship.
It soon became clear that the Brazilian wasn’t in it for the long-haul. He has willingly banked his staggering salary, but regularly makes up excuses to miss important dates and hasn’t tried hard enough to get on with the extended family.
Barcelona, for whom PSG know he harbours far deeper genuine affection, have never fallen out of love with Neymar, and it would be best for both parties to pursue more committed partners this summer.
Tottenham and Jan Vertonghen
You’ve lived your best lives together, paid off your mortgage and raised the kids into polite young adults.
But now they’ve left home and things are going stale, so Tottenham and Jan Vertonghen are running out of reasons to stay together.
Vertonghen is a legendary figure at White Hart Lane. His 311 appearances span a period in which they may not have a won a trophy, but they have dramatically improved their status as a club, and he has been a constant throughout that process.
But if Spurs are to be rejuvenated, then it is time to ditch normality and chase something new.
It seems that Vertonghen can sense their unease. He has become frustrated by Jose Mourinho’s preference for younger models like Davinson Sanchez and Japhet Tanganga in recent months, and must be wary of this relationship turning into a loveless one.
So far, Spurs and Vertonghen only have happy memories of each other. Which is why this needs to end now.
Juventus and Maurizio Sarri
Not traditionally a club that cares much for beauty over the end result, Juventus’ existential crisis in the summer of 2019 was most uncharacteristic.
Trading in a reliable, solid relationship with Massimiliano Allegri for a fling with Maurizio Sarri that promised a few sparks but has only produced problems was a decision that smacks of being seduced by temptation rather than logical thinking.
Sarri – not helped by a bloated squad that was devoted to a previous way of playing, and a star player that he struggles to accommodate in his system – has found that Juventus are unable to adapts to his wants and needs.
Conversely, Juventus have found Sarri to be far more needy than they anticipated.
Hired on the basis that he would at least be able to sustain their eight-year tradition of romping to the Serie A title, Sarri is in danger of letting them down.
Fortunately, the pair are not so deeply involved that they can’t call the whole thing off and forget it ever happened.
If they’re lucky, Juventus might even find that Allegri will take them back.
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