Send him to Italy. Please. I need to see what it looks like. The morbid curiousity is too much for me to articulate, too much for me to fathom.
I get a similar feeling when I muse about all the little green men jogging on treadmills inside Area 51, or when I consider the megatherium, a giant ground-dwelling sloth endemic to South America that became extinct around the end of the Pleistocene epoch. How can I ever rest in peace without witnessing them for myself? Of course, I never will, but equally I must, and therefore I can’t. The very least somebody can do, then – the smallest consolation I can be placated with – is to sell Jonjo Shelvey to a Serie A club.
This languid, scheming presence of a midfielder, gliding around his patch as he does like Voldemort’s gangland cousin, would thrive in a Florence, or a Sassuolo, or a Udine. Of that I am convinced. Think of what he could conjure in the vast expanses of an Italian engine room. Think of the personal renaissance he could enact among the verdant rolling vineyards, his head shimmering beneath gentle sunbeams like a chiseled slab of the finest white marble. He is, after all, a kind of Anti-Pirlo; all of the passing range with none of the Versace. And now you’d be lying if you said that you didn’t want to see it too. Even just a little.
But first, Shelvey would need to leave Nottingham Forest. And in fairness, he just might. Him and a few others this summer. When the two-time champions of Europe were promoted last year, much was made of their monsoon of transfer business; by the time the supermarket checkout scanner had stopped bleeping, their receipt read like the Domesday Book. Then they treated themselves to a few more recruits in the January sales too.
This preseason, you would expect that Forest will be nowhere near as busy as they were last time around. If they are, we might have to begin entertaining the notion that they are not actually a football club, but rather a front for a human trafficking ring. But still, there are slithering tendrils of speculation emerging from the undergrowth at the City Ground, suggestions that yet more arrivals are wanted before August bleeds into autumn.
And that, in turn, could necessitate departures. There are only so many coach hire companies and coathangers in the city of Nottingham, after all. Shelvey, you suspect, could be one of them. If he does go, the boffins at Transfermarkt, with their abacuses and chewed biros, postulate that he could fetch around £6 million. Seems optimistic, but hey ho.
Now let’s see, who else? Well, Jordan Smith, Jack Colback, Cafu, Jesse Lingard, Lyle Taylor, and Andre Ayew are all expected to leave once their contracts expire – and Dean Henderson, Keylor Navas, and Renan Lodi should all return to their parent clubs for the time being, at least – but seeing as they wouldn’t bolster Forest’s coffers any, allow us to skirt swiftly past them.