ASTON VILLA have signed 7 (SEVEN) players so far in this window it says here on RAWK. Seven. So have Swansea. Look at that list of Villa lads. Each of them could be the lead character in some fiction. There’s Antonio Luna, finding hidden libraries in Seville or Jed Steer, obviously a corrupted DI in some of David Peace’s darkest work, banging on about slags and grasses.

I like the sound of Niklaus Helenus, a Scandinavian detective who happens to be a fantastic lover and there is a lot to recommend about Roddy Doyle’s latest lead character Liam Prynn.

This is all in my head because I’m at the backend of a holiday spent mostly reading fiction on a beach in Corfu. I’m so committed to TAW that I’m taking a break to do this.

Or I’m bored. I’ve done my relaxing now, powered through the fiction, heard enough of the Huddersfield bore at the bar and am looking forward to getting back into the thick of things. Into the hard edged pre-season action.

So what else does that list tell us? It tells us that Swansea and Villa have been busiest, The Hammers, Hull and Sunderland are in 3rd with five in and then Liverpool are the joint next busiest.

It tells us Paulo Ferreira has retired – hope he copes with the change in routine – that Arsenal have let a load of players go and that Nicolas Anelka has turned up in West Brom. When did that happen? While I was reading Ismail Kadare’s Broken April? Incidentally Ismail has gone to Cardiff for 3.6m. And Zoltan Gera is on a free!? Move now, Brendan. Fortune favours the brave.

Of those who finished above Liverpool no one has moved yet bar City who have two in. Spurs are strongly linked to a few but they obviously aren’t signed and sealed.

In short there is a long way to go. Liverpool are likely to finish the window with at least six in, one of whom looks like being Mkhitaryan. Which is exciting according to Tor-Kristian Karlsson whose jib i’ve long been an admirer of. While there is many a slip it’s to the club’s credit they’ve pursued the Armenian as determinedly as they have. What’s doubly interesting though is what’s argued by Karlsson in the article about Andreas Cornelius (Nicklas Helenius’ adversary) in that Cardiff act as a springboard by showcasing the player in a bigger league.

Liverpool are a massive club, one of the biggest in the world. If you can do it here you can do it anywhere and this remains to our credit when approaching a Mkhitaryan. The slight concern is that we could be for Mkhitaryan what Cardiff are for Cornelius – the testing ground. One of the books I’ve read this week is DeLillo’s Libra in which a protagonist thinks “All plots lead to death.” All transfers lead to resale – having that in the back of the mind makes everything bittersweet – it’s in Liverpool’s interests Madrid are one day interested in Mkhitaryan should he sign. It’s in Liverpool’s primary interest though all players’ ambitions have a strong chance of being sated at Anfield.

Since writing this it appears he may be on the verge of agreement with Dortmund. But possibly not. In short, nobody knows anything, least of all me. Hypothetical question – Liverpool offer more money by 30% than Dortmund and you don’t support anyone. Where would you go?

Speaking of which, according to ESPN the Mirror are reporting that Suarez has till July 22nd to resolve his future. I hope this is true as it will give me 20 minutes of material for the Australian show that night. Bigger picture and all that. If he stays he can have a comp. No plus one though.

We’ve cooled on Atsu due to Sterling and Ibe The Echo tell us. Still reckon if there is a hint of Tello Brendan will be all over it. Basing this on absolutely nothing.

Elsewhere these people are saying we are after Alderweireld. Who knows if they are correct but I’d guess we will be after another first choice centre back when everyone gets their act into gear and Skrtel goes.

Richard Dunne’s on a free.

LeBron James has done his most useful thing yet since FSG took a cheese-grater to LFC and sprinkled him a parmesan piece. He has backed pyro:

He needs to see the images from Fulham away before he starts s-ing his f-ing h. Not entirely commensurate with the values of the club he (tiny) part owns but then which of us is these days? I’ve heard John Henry hates clapping the keeper. I hate the needy booing when he doesn’t clap back.

That’s your lot. Off to the Coconut Bar. Hanky on my head, tennis on before a tribute act and karaoke. Might do Joe Jackson. Give it everything.

Enjoy the fiction. Love to all and back soon.

ANNE WATT

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