The television show "Vikings" presents the mind of Ragnar Lothbrok, the legendary Norse ruler form the Viking Age. He doesn't always act immediately and is perceived by those around him to operate in a strange way but Ragnar sees beyond what others see. He will take action, often without excessive haste, with the necessary deliberation that often characterises the most profitable actions. As a leader, he is tasked with making the toughest decisions for his people, his family, and his own ambitions. Managers and head coaches in football are often met with important decisions and often it relates to their position as a leader at the club.
In English football, the cult of the manager is as strong as the symbolic nature of the national captaincy. However, having an all-powerful manager is not the only way to successfully run a club and Liverpool's very own Brendan Rodgers recently spoke on how he saw a manager's role. It seems that Tony Pulis also subscribed to this and believed that his work in keeping Crystal Palace up should have been supported by trusting his opinion on which players should be coming in to improve the squad. Pulis has gone and Malky Mackay is strongly linked to replace the Welshman. The Scottish manager worked with Crystal Palace's sporting director at Cardiff City in a tumultuous time under Vincent Tan and could be reunited once again.
One manager has already gone but there could be an interesting opportunity for either team Moody-Mackay to prove that Tan was wrong not to trust their judgement. Failure at Crystal Palace would vindicate the Malaysian businessman's criticism of the pair. The departure by mutual consent race has begun in earnest.
Juggernaut heads to Germany.
Nicklas Bendtner has joined German club Wolfsburg on a three-year deal after being available on a free transfer after his contract expired at FA Cup and Community Shield winners Arsenal. In his time at Arsenal, the Danish international also played for Birmingham City, Sunderland, and Serie A champions Juventus on loan. Sporting director Klaus Allofs offered effusive praise for the much maligned and mocked striker: "Although his career has not always gone smoothly, he's still been able to gain plenty of experience."
Bendtner's attitude, antics, and arrogance has made him an easy target and it has been entirely self-inflicted. Yet there is something about him as a striker that could see him being regarded as an effective striker in the next couple of seasons and this is a chance for him to rebuild his reputation. He needs to do a lot better because his view of his talent and career hasn't quite matched the reality.
The Kid goes on loan again.
Gerard Deulofeu, the ridiculously talented Barcelona youngster has moved to Sevilla on loan for the season. The precocious forward shined in cameos for Everton last season and will spend a season in La Liga. Cristian Tello joined Porto last month on a two-year loan with an option to buy and Ibrahim Afellay was loaned to Olympiakos at the end of last week. Some thought that the kid may have seen minutes as a reserve but Barcelona's statement on the reasons for loaning out Deulofeu seem to have his interests at heart as the loan was designed to be "an operation designed to maximise his participation and optimise his progression as a player."
Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suárez, and Pedro will get the overwhelming majority of the minutes but with Suárez unavailable until late October, the depth looks quite thin in the forward positions. Alexis Sánchez is no longer an option after he was sold to Arsenal earlier in the window and Neymar is still some way of full fitness even if he has recently returned to training. Barcelona may have needed another body but regular football in Spain's top tier will serve Deulofeu well. Perhaps Alen Halilović will quickly rise from Barcelona B over the course of the season.
In other news...
Hull City have made a quick profit after selling Shane Long to Southampton for £12 million. Steve Bruce said Southampton's offer was "too good to turn down" and promised that the club "will invest that money into the squad to make it bigger and better, and we'll be looking to find a replacement" in the wake of Long's departure. Hull bought Long in January for a fee believed to be around the £7 million mark and his four goals in 15 appearances for Hull during his six month spell under Bruce. Florin Gardos also joined Southampton in a move to fill the gap left by Dejan Lovren.
Per Mertesacker has retired from the German national team and reflected on a magnificent conclusion to his international career by winning the World Cup. 104 caps represents a significant commitment to the cause of his country's prospects on the continental and international scene Bayern Munich's Philipp Lahm and Lazio's Miroslav Klose have also announced the end of their respective international careers. Manchester City continue to balance the squad by selling Javi García to Zenit Saint Petersburg for £13 million. It appears that the net spend should be around the £32 million figure represented by the purchase of Eliaquim Mangala.
Steven Defour has returned to Belgium to sign for the rivals of his former club, Standard Liège, Anderlecht for a club record €6 million. He suffered some serious injuries earlier in his career and it is surprising to see him move back to his homeland at just 26. A five-year contract could indicate that he wishes to play regularly in a key role for the club. Michel Vorm's transfer to Tottenham has become messy in its aftermath and part ownership of players has revealed its ugly side in the dispute over fees owed relating to Marcos Rojo. Manchester United want the player and have submitted an offer but apparently Sporting owe 75% of a rejected offer of £12 million. It's gloriously distracting and annoying for Manchester United so perhaps it will have more twists and turns to come. Lawyer up everybody!