After the most dramatic transfer window in football history, it seems that football gamblers far and wide are already looking forward to the next one. Throughout September, one of the biggest “will he or won’t he” stories concerned Liverpool’s most sought after midfielder, Brazilian Philippe Coutinho. Less than six weeks on, the rumour mill has started up all over again.
Back in August, we were being assured left, right and centre that Coutinho would be joining Barcelona any day, and in mid-August, bookmakers had him odds-on to sign. In the intervening weeks, he has settled back into life at Anfield, scoring three goals in his six Premiership appearances for the club.
Yet according to the Spanish press, Barcelona already have their cheque book at the ready and are sharpening their quills, with the expectation that an offer of £97 million will be put on the table.
Other transfer gossip
Arsenal midfield pair Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil have also caused no small amount of conjecture over recent weeks. Again, Sanchez seemed almost certain to be bound for Manchester City back in August, but ultimately £60 million was not enough to convince Wenger. Bookies are offering 7/2 on the deal going to completion in January.
Meanwhile, Mesut Ozil seems certain to leave The Gunners at the end of the season, while some feel his departure will come even sooner. Odds of 8/1 on him rejoining his former manager Jose Mourinho at Man U could be seen as generous.
Russian roulette or a sporting wager?
Out in the middle, as the world cup qualifiers reach their conclusion, the focus among bookies and punters is firmly on Russia 2018. Over the coming months, World Cup betting is likely to reach fever pitch, and it is worth taking a look at some of the bets that are already available.
As far as the outrights are concerned, holders Germany are seen as the team to beat, and are favourites to retain the trophy at around 5/1.
Coutinho and co will be looking to spoil the party, and more to the point to exact revenge after being bundled out in their own backyard with that 7-1 defeat to the eventual winners in 2014. The bookmakers are certainly not ruling out the possibility, and are offering odds of 7/1.
Further down, England are a fair bet to qualify for the knockout stages, and from that point on anything is possible. With that in mind, the odds of 25/1 that one site is offering seem like the deal of the decade, and must be worth five pounds of anyone’s money.
The tempting nature of the England odds become even clearer when you consider that some bookmakers are offering similar odds on Russia claiming a shock victory on home soil. Bear in mind that the team has only even qualified once before, narrowly winning Group F of the qualifiers following a tense 1-1 draw against Azerbaijan in 2014, whereupon they failed to win a single game in the tournament.