All in the Game: Could Grealish and Rice link up at Man City?

Ireland’s midfield that never was worth £200m, Robinson on fire for the Baggies

Grealish, Rice sky blue reunion?

Soothsayers have Manchester City swooping in to reunite the greatest Irish midfield duo that never was and never will be. Transfer fees for the lost Irish men, Declan Rice and Jack Grealish, could total £200 million by the end of this month.

The Daily Telegraph reports that West Ham United slapped a £100 million price tag on Rice after the 22-year-old made his disappointment known about the club’s lack of summer spending.

If the Hammers know Rice’s career history they will see the writing on the wall, as Matt Law writes that “despite remaining committed to West Ham and determined to continue to give his best for the club, Rice wants to challenge for trophies and play Champions League football.”

Rice has three years to run on his current deal but has already proven that no amount of abuse from an echo chamber, be it East enders or Irish fans, will dissuade him from maximising his value.


West Ham, understandably, disagree and appear to have priced Rice out of the current transfer window, where Chelsea and Manchester United are only willing to part with £70 million for England’s holding midfield general.

Shirtless gambling

La Liga has begun with plenty of throwback jerseys. Considering 30 of the top 42 Spanish clubs have commercial partnerships with betting companies, the dealers of misery must be furious.

Granada, Real Sociedad, Alaves, RCD Mallorca, Cadiz and Levante were forced to remove jersey sponsors by the Spanish government’s admirable new law.

Italy and Turkey already made the call while the House of Lords are leaning on English football’s overreliance on the bookmakers. This has done little to reduce the amount of gambling advertisements that seep into the public consciousness or, as the late comedian Sean Lock noted, “I haven’t been encouraged to do something this much since potty training.”

By the numbers

3 - Goals in four Championship starts for West Brom's Callum Robinson.

Word of mouth

"Most of the players have not been vaccinated out of 'personal choice.' I don't know where they are getting their advice from, but I think it's the wrong advice. I just can't see the logic in not having them so I think there will be some disruption this season." - Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock on a growing anti-vax trend amongst players.

"If you think what you sing: you are an idiot. If you don't think about what you sang, it's just a waste of time, forget it and go for another song." - Jurgen Klopp's direct message to Liverpool fans directing homophobic chants at Chelsea players.

Kenny’s worthwhile Brighton trip

The image of Stephen Kenny chatting to Shane Duffy and Aaron Connolly pitch side at the Amex on Saturday evening will hardly have Portugal quaking in their boots. Nor will Azerbaijan or Serbia be overly concerned by Duffy’s bullet header helping Brighton beat Watford 2-0.

“Shane will always be someone that everyone here loves, and that will never change,” said Brighton boss Graham Potter. “But he’s had time to evaluate himself, his life and everything that goes with that. And since he’s been back with us, he’s been fantastic.”

Connolly benefited from injury to Neal Maupay to play the entire second half, which made the Republic of Ireland manager’s trip worthwhile, despite the Galway striker blazing his solitary chance well wide. Also expect to see Bournemouth’s Gavin Kilkenny when Kenny announces his World Cup qualifiers squad on Thursday.

Dementia epidemic worsens

Speaking of bullet headers, Liverpool legend Terry McDermott (69) is the latest household name to be diagnosed with dementia.

“The number of ex-players being diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s is frightening,” said McDermott of the full blown epidemic that has prompted brain injury experts like Dr Willie Stewart to openly condemn football authorities lack of action.

“We’re all with you Terry,” LFC tweeted in the wake similar words from Manchester United after Denis Law revealed last week that “my brain is deteriorating” and that “this causes me distress in situations that are beyond my control.”

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent