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Manu’s Summer Grab Bag: Go with the flow

The early summer remains quiet for Juventus and their new look front office. How long will that last?

Juventus Medical Tests Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

(As per Summer Grab Bag tradition, the first segment of every article are just random thoughts with absolutely no relation to Juventus. Feel free to skip it, read it, whatever, man. It’s summer, let loose a bit.)

What’s the most unrealistic thing you still believe that you could become? Like, in your deepest most embarrassing self reflection moments, what’s the one dream you kinda refuse to let die even though all evidence suggests that that particular path in life is gone?

I’ll go first.

I think I could still go pro playing sports.

Let me start by saying that I’m well aware that the majority of mainstream sports are well out of reach. I’m a 5-foot-9, 30-year-old man who was never particularly athletic even at my best and did not play any organized sports beyond a couple of years of college baseball.

That college baseball part sounds mildly impressive, but don’t get it twisted — my college baseball team literally did not exist at the time I enrolled. We played in Sunday league games against middle-aged union workers of the local car factory who were sober about 75% of the time and high school teams who did not complete the requirements to play in their sanctioned divisions. We did not have uniforms for the entirety of the first year we competed. And when we managed to get some by my senior year, we had to buy them ourselves because the college made it painfully clear that they’d allow us to represent them but that their generosity stopped there.

Our coach openly polished 6 packs in the dugout and was mostly in it because he liked baseball and having someone to tell stories of when he — allegedly — played Double-A ball in the minor leagues in some middle America town but never made it past that due to politics because he was a hardcore communist at the time. This was all completely unverifiable other than the communist part which to his credit was pretty evident.

We lost a lot, too, so there’s that. A path to Major League Baseball this was not.

There is literally no field/pitch/rink/court I could stand in and be even in the upper half of quality. Not embarrassing myself and staying healthy is the bar for success whenever I get invited to play anything with friends.

Still, could I maybe go pro? Like a .05% chance?

There’s a lot of sports I haven’t tried, man. I’ve never golfed, for example. I kicked ass at mini golf when I was a teenager and the one time I went to Top Golf with people from work I was heads and shoulders better than everyone else in my party. Could I make it to the PGA tour? Maybe! I should probably buy clubs first but I’ll get around to it.

This Friday, I’m playing Padel Tennis, a game that was — weirdly enough — invented in Mexico a few years ago and is now gaining a lot of international momentum. It’s played on a small court with short rackets with holes in some sort of glass enclosure. Here, check it out.

I ask for forgiveness of everyone in the above video, but ... it doesn’t look that hard? I mean the thing with the doors on the sides sure looks like something that would be tricky, but it doesn’t feel impossible to do, no?

As long as there’s sports that I haven’t tried yet and to the untrained eye don’t look that complicated the flame of the pro dream lives on. All I know for sure is that if golf and Padel tennis don’t work out for me, curling and darts are next on the list.

Let’s cook.

Breaking: People Doing Their Job

Look, I get that everyone is trying to report whatever they hear and the entire ecosystem of the summer transfer rumor mill is predicated on a constant flow of information that might or might not be relevant. But these types of “reports” just blow me away in their nothingness.

A team with a ton of resources to spend and no strikers is currently looking at a really good striker as an option? The club that owns the player doesn’t really want to sell him unless they are blown away? What exactly here is news?

Paris Saint-Germain should 100% look at Dusan Vlahovic as an option. They would be incompetent at their jobs if they didn’t at least inquire about the guy. And Juventus should hold on to him unless there’s a massive offer on the table.

Vlahovic is coming off arguably the worst season of his young career, but he still has a ton of talent and potential, PSG is looking to maybe get a guy who is not fully settled for a bargain and Juventus would be foolish to take last season as the ceiling for the guy. It would be the definition of selling low.

I wouldn’t pay all that much attention to it unless we start seeing reports of personal terms agreed or an actual offer on the table. Until that happens remember that 90% of reports are little more than interaction bait and nothing else. Yes, even for big time, generally reliable sources like Fab Romano.

Saudi Money

On a personal and emotional level, it would suck to see Paul Pogba leave the club just one year after returning and especially after the unmitigated disaster that his comeback season for Juventus was. He’s a personal favorite of mine and I’d love to see him get back to the player he once was.

Pragmatically speaking, however, this could kinda solve a lot of issues for Juventus.

Getting out of the wages of Pogba could financially free up some money for the new regime and give the board a do over on a contract that seems to be headed towards albatross status. I pray and hope I’m wrong but it sure feels like Pogba won’t ever be a consistently healthy guy again and with the surprise resigning of Adrien Rabiot, the come up of Nicolo Fagioli and — perhaps — the change of positions of a guy like Manuel Locatelli there’s a definite logjam in the box to box role for the club.

I know Pogba has already sort of denied the rumors of him signing with a Saudi club, but €150 million is a lot of money and I’m sure there’s a counter offer with some extra oomph attached to it if Pogba were to play ball.

It’s a bummer, but a bummer worth monitoring at least.

Random Song of the Week

Succession is such a great show in and of itself that it could be scored to the lousiest music ever and still be pretty good. But the actual score by composer Nicholas Britell is so good that is adds another dimension to the proceedings and the Season 4 soundtrack especially is just banger after banger.

Hey, as long as we are talking about embarrassing stuff already. I travel a lot for work and a lot of those flights are within Mexico. We land in a lot of small airports that will just let you disembark right on the tarmac because they have so few flights, so if you blink and squint a little and put on this song in your earbuds as you step down from the plane you can trick yourself for a second that you were flying in a private jet on your way to close a multibillion dollar deal.

It’s all about perception, folks.

See you next week.