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Premier League news. Stories from the newspapers and BBC sport – sports news from tabloids Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Star, the Guardian, Daily Mirror, the times, daily telegraph

Transfer balls: Alderweireld rockets down

The BBC says Tottenham’s Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld, 30, will leave on a free transfer at the season’s end. The Sun backs up this news. That’s the same Sun which told readers that the player’s transfer value had “rocketed” when no club took the offer to recruit him for £25m, per the terms of his release clause, now expired. It didn’t. Spurs will not try to get all they can for the player.

Posted: 14th, August 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal : £60m plus Emile Smith Rowe for Upamecano; Mustafi on his way

Arsenal Upamecano deal

Having damned Arsenal as “skint”, the Sun now bills them as “DESPERATE” in reaction to the Gunners’ £65m bid of Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano. You may recall when Arsenal had a “derisory” £40m to spend this summer. That was before they lashed out around £100m on Saliba, Pepe and Martinelli. And now there’s very big money move for France’s Upamecano. And they might well get him.

Arsenal
From ‘Skint’ to ‘Desparate’ in £150m

The German side want £90m for their man. But they’re willing to take £60m plus Arsenal tyro Emile Smith Rowe, either on a permanent deal or long loan. The 19-year-old is valued at £20m. He spent part of last season at the Bundesliga side, although injury hampered his performance.

Arsenal should have the money if they can get shot of the irksome Shkodran Mustafi before the European transfer window shuts. Monaco are keen and willing to meet the Gunners’ £27m asking price. The French club can recruit Mustafi up to the September 2 deadline. Arsenal hope that having got shot of Laurent Koscielny to a retirement village in France and with Carl Jenkinson eyeing a move to Notts Forest, that dire defence will finally get the revamp in needs.

Failing that – and the smart money is on Arsenal getting their man – the Gunners will move for Juventus benchwarmer Daniele Rugani. The Italians have rejected Arsenal’s offer the loan deal, preferring to sell the not-all-that-quick Rugani. Arsenal remain keen on Celtic’s Kieran Tierney.

Posted: 7th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Talking balls: Manchester United mix up and Arsenal’s Pepe not African

Daily Star fail

Tip-top reporting from the Daily Star, which manages to illustrate a story on Romelu Lukaku with a pen pic of his Manchester United teammate Paul Pogba. It also hails Arsenal’s new player the “France winger” Nicolas Pepe. He plays for the Ivory Coast, which isn’t in France. S

Oh, and Pogba hasn’t been left out of the United squad in Norway. He’s on the bench:

Such are the facts.

Posted: 30th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Spurs will get nothing for Alderweireld; Manchester United wait

Transfer Balls: No club bid the £25m that would have triggered Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld’s transfer from Spurs. The Sun reasons that because the deadline for that “bargain of the summer” (Telegraph) expires at midnight tonight, the Belgian’s value “has increased dramatically”. Alderweireld is now in the final year of his contract with Spurs. In June 2020 he can leave for free and pocket all that extra cash in a signing-on bonus and wages. The player has already rejected a long-term deal to remain at Spurs. He’s 30. The next move will be his last chance to maximise his earnings.

The Sun thinks he’s now worth, well, what: £50m? £70m? More? Alderweireld earns around £80,000 per week at Spurs. He can earn much more than that a top club. And with no transfer fee, he’ll surely get it. 442 reasons “the club will be delighted” that their “Rolls Royce” of a player hasn’t left for a low sum of £25m – low given that Aston Villa paid over £20m for Bournemouth lummox Tyrone Mings.

Manchester United wanted him last year but cooled their interest. Roma wanted him this summer but thought the £25m fee too high. So Spurs are stuck with an ageing player in the final year of his contract. Where’s the win?

Posted: 26th, July 2019 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Chelsea may not outbid Everton for Arsenal fan Zaha

ZAha to Chelsea
One newspaper’s rumour is the other newspapers’ fact

Chelsea are “plotting” to invest £60m in Wilfred Zaha. Arsenal and Everton have been quoted £80m for the Crystal Palace player. But the Sun says so long as Zaha is prepared to wait a year, once their transfer ban is spent they will offer £60m for him next summer. As “plots” go that ones replete with all the cunning of Jeremy Corbyn’s prized marrow.

The Telegraph adds: “Exclusive: Everton want Wilfried Zaha and are willing to pay £60m plus Cenk Tosun but fear missing out to Chelsea.” Not a word on missing out to Arsenal, the club Zaha wants to play for now. The story is utter bunkum. Get this: “With Arsenal currently struggling to come up with the funds to match Palace’s £80m valuation, Chelsea may see an opportunity to offer a deal that could suit all parties.” Or they may not.

Posted: 26th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Zaha to Everton, Everton to Arsenal, Dyabla to Spurs

Everton fans must be thrilled. With £80m to spend on new talent, the Toffees are after Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha – the player who supports the Arsenal, loves the Arsenal and wants to play for the Arsenal. Compared to the £80m Manchester United want to spunk on Harry Maguire, Zaha for the same fee looks like good value.

One other issue for Everton is that their midfield tyro Idrissa Gueye is off to Paris Saint-Germain for around £30m.

As Arsenal faff about and hope Palace get desperate as the August 8 transfer deadline approaches and sell Zaha to them for some buttons, promises and a Carl Jenkinson – or buy Brazil’s Everton for £30m – Spurs make plans. Like Manchester United and Bayern Munich, they’re after Paulo Dybala, the Juventus striker. And like Maguire and Zaha, he too is in the draw marked ‘£80m’.

Meanwhile, back on planet earth away from hot football flesh, it’s boiling.

Posted: 25th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: £60m is more than £65m as Spurs beat Manchester United to Giovani Lo Celso

Transfer Balls hears the rumours that Spurs want to sign Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso. The tabloids are confused as to his value and what Spurs are willing to pay:

“Tottenham are refusing to pay £60million for Real Betis’ Giovani Lo Celso” – The Sun

“Spurs are set to smash their transfer record for a second time this summer as they finally step up their interest in £70million-rated midfielder Giovani Lo Celso” – Daily Mirror

The Mirror says Spurs are “desperate to land Lo Celso after shattering Tottenham’s transfer record to sign Tanguy Ndombele for £65million”. But the Sun says they’re not all that desperate for the player who flopped at PSG and won’t pay over £60m.

Giovani Lo Celso transfer

The tabloids don’t have the foggiest. The Mirror (prop. Reach plc) says Spurs will get their man – it’s a sure thing. But Football.London (prop Reach plc) says Lo Celso could be off to Manchester United.

Such are the fatcs.

Posted: 19th, July 2019 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Zaha to Everton clickbait or slowly to Arsenal

The Liverpool Echo says there is an increased chance of Wilf Zaha joining Everton. There is also an increased chance of Zaha joining Wrexham or your local pub side. The Echo’s story is based on news that the player has told Crystal Palace he wants to leave the club. And if your side has anything from £80m (BBC) to £120m (Sun) lying about the place, they can buy him. So the Liverpool Echo seduces Everton fans with a headline based on a muon of truth.

Sky Sports says Arsenal, who’ve already seen a £40m bid for Zaha fail, are “expected to raise their offer in the coming days”. To what sum is unknown, but rumours are that they’re holding a car boot sale next Sunday and Carl Jenkinson, Calum Chambers, Mo Elneny and that bloke who used to walk about the North bank shouting ”Eanuts” are being pushed into the hatchback.

Posted: 19th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: The Arsenal ‘ace’ to replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka might be a joker

CArl Jenkinson Crystal Palace
‘ACE’

Transfer Balls likes to spot clickbait – and the Daily Star’s news that an Arsenal “ace” is to replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka at Crystal Palace is a cracker. Wan-Bissaka is now at Manchester United, which means Palace are in search of a replacement right-back. Step forward the “Arsenal ace”. No, not Hector Bellerin. It’s Carl Jenkinson – the same Carl Jenskinson who was hooked off at half-time when Arsenal last played Palace, having made “the sort of errors you would not expect to see in the third or fourth tier”.

Maybe the “ace” can be worth the £40 million Arenal need to take Wilfried Zaha from Palace to Arsenal? Maybe. The Sun says, “Eagles boss Roy Hodgson has always been a fan of the defender and even gave him his England debut against Sweden in 2012.” It might happen…

Posted: 18th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Matthijs De Ligt joins Juventus but ‘agreed’ terms with PSG and Manchester United

Dutch defender Matthijs De Ligt has joined Juventus from Ajax for £67.5m. That must come as something of a shock to Manchester United and PSG fans because on July 6, the Sun bellowed: “Man Utd and PSG ‘agree transfer fees with Ajax for Matthijs De Ligt.” That news followed the Express’s July 5 scoop: “Barcelona transfer news LIVE: Matthijs de Ligt AGREEMENT in place.” Also on July 5, the Daily Star told its readers: “Man Utd and Ajax come to agreement over Matthijs de Ligt transfer.” The Daily Mirror agreed.

The Google News bots picked up the balls:

Matthijs De Ligt
Matthijs De Ligt
Matthijs De Ligt
Matthijs De Ligt

More clickbait every day…

Posted: 18th, July 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer Balls: Arsenal sign William Saliba, Everton medical, Cabellos close and Zaha is for sale

The Sun says the deal is done: William Saliba has joined Arsenal. But he won’t kiss the badge until 2020. The Gunners have paid £27m for the 18-year-old and allowed him to spend the season at Saint-Etienne. This suits Arsenal because the fee is being paid in instalments.

“Hi @arsenal loving the away new kit,” quips one Gooner on Twitter. “I’d like a Medium Men’s. I’ll pay £5 now. £5 on delivery and £40 based on bonuses and appearances.”

In other Gunners, news, the BBC says they are “very close” to securing Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos 22, on loan. The Spanish central midfielder was voted player of the tournament at the Under-21 European Championships.

It’s also widely reported that Arsenal have signed Gremio winger Everton for £36m. Apparently he’s having his medical in Brazil. Which leaves the club’s interest in Wilf Zaha where? “I don’t think Arsenal have actually made a bid that has come anywhere near our valuation,” Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson told Sky Sports. “I’m sure the player realises that if someone’s going to take him away from us, he’ll expect clubs to pay the market value. Until someone does that, there’s not much to discuss regarding Wilf.”

In other words, Zaha is for sale. If Arsenal can get him on the the drip, he could yet arrive at The Emirates.

Posted: 18th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Bale ‘agrees’ Manchester United terms and ‘agrees’ Spurs return; plays for Real Madrid

The latest transfer balls has Spurs buying Gareth Bale from Real Madrid for £55m and somehow managing to finance his £600,000-a-week wages. The 30-year-old player’s agent declined to go on talkSPORT to discuss his client but said of the Spurs rumours: “I don’t comment on rubbish.” Having thus offered a loud comment, Manchester United fans can wonder what happened to their target?

Bale spotted in Manchester; Lord Lucan sighted in Norwich

And as for Bale returning to Spurs, well, Daily Express readers know that he rejoined the club last summer:

Such are the facts.

Posted: 16th, July 2019 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Malcom to Arsenal (again), Pepe to Everton and Newcastle to Championship

A year or so ago, Arsenal, Manchester United, Spurs and Fulham were competing hard to invest £45m in Malcom, a raw Brazilian winger playing for Bordeaux. Roma were “on the verge of signing” him (BBC). And then he joined Barcelona for £36.5m. One year on and the talent is not wanted by the Spaniards and worth £31m, the sum Everton have bid.

Barcelona want to resign Neymar. They need to offload Malcom because regulations in Spain mean that each team is only allowed to register three non-EU players. Barcelona have Arturo Vidal, Arthur and Malcom. Neymar makes four.

Apparently Arsenal now want Malcom to wait and see if Louis Zaha hands in a transfer request at Crystal Palace. Or if Palace accept Arsenal’s new offer of £40m plus Calum Chambers, Mohamed Elneny and Carl Jenkinson. How flattered Malcolm must be to know that his future rests on Jenkinson’s slim shoulders.

Everton fans can just to see if an Arsenal reject will join them for a big transfer fee – and if he’s joined by former Chelsea irritant Diego Costa, now stinking the place up at Atletico Madrid. Or Everton will spend £58.5m on Lille’s Nicolas Pepe, the 24-year-old Ivory Coast forward – unless Liverpool, who also want him, get there first.

As Everton fans wonder if their revolution is based more on cash than substance and Gooners try to work out where all the money has gone, all clubs can look down on Newcastle United. The Magpies have asked Sam Allardyce to mange them. And he’s turned them down. Your club might be struggling but at least it’s not Newcastle.

Posted: 11th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Manchester United transfer balls: Paul Pogba yo-yos between homes

Whoever takes the penalties for Juventus had best watch out: the Turin club is preparing a £120m bid for Manchester United’s 26-year-old France midfielder Paul Pogba. United should bit their hand off at the shoulder.

Juventus know what to expect from their former player – which makes you wonder how they think he’s worth such a vast sum of money. Having retuned “home” to United – his word for rejoining the club he left for Juventus in 2012 – Pogba told us in 2016, when his then world-record £89m transfer to United was completed, that “the time is right to go back to Old Trafford… This is the right club for me to achieve everything I hope to.”

The collaboration with Kanye West on a range of leather shorts and a starring role in Game of Thrones were surely near the top of the list of Pogba’s hopes. The football was okay in parts (those penalties taken in the style of a dressage pony) and less ok in others.

The tosh that heralded Pogba’s return to Old Trafford was not confined to Pogba Inc. BBC pundit Danny Murphy told us that “with their summer signings and with Jose Mourinho in charge, United will soon have their old fear factor back.While Pogba has arrived, I do not see Juan Mata being at Old Trafford for too much longer.”

Mata has just extended his United contract by a further three years. Pogba has been telling his United teammates he’s ready to leave. Presumably it’s the ‘right time’ to embark on another marketing project.

The Times says United want Pogba to be the pivot for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s new team. Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola says he is “in the process” of arranging a transfer for Pogba. “Everyone within the club from the manager to the owner knows Paul’s wishes. Everyone knows the willingness of Paul to move on. We are in the process of that. Everyone knows what the feelings of Paul are,” said Raiola.

And for the right fee, you can feel the love.

Posted: 8th, July 2019 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: the £76m transfer kitty

How skint is skint? The Sun tells readers Arsenal are “skint” because they have “just” £40m to spend on new players this summer. The Bleacher Report and others agree: Arsenal are “skint”.

A few days on and the BBC tells its readers: “The Gunners have up to £70m available as they prepare to make a second bid for Zaha.”

Arsenal transfers
Arsenal skint

A click over the the Sky Sports scoop reveals: “Arsenal have up to £70m available to make an improved bid for Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha, Kaveh Solhekol told The Transfer Show.”

Kaveh…who? He’s a reporter on Sky Sports. And he “believes” Arsenal can afford to spend £70m on Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha. Add the £6m the Gunners recently forked out for Gabriel Martinelli and the Gunners transfer kitty swells to £76m.

As we try to fathom the numbers – and work out on what planet or gated community £40m quid to spend means you’re “skint” – The Bleacher Report tells us that Arsenal have “nothing”:

Arsenal have “no money” None. Not a bean. Or maybe they have £76m. It all depends which sofa you’re looking under for change.

Posted: 4th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal Transfer Balls: Monreal lies and corrections

Arsenal transfer news

On the Sun’s transfer news page for Arsenal, readers see the headline: “Monreal CONTRACT TERMINATED.”

Nacho Monteal has been sacked? What did he do. The hard-working Spaniard has never been a problem at Arsenal. To be sacked he must have done something incredible. Monreal contract runs until the end of the 2019/20 season. Arsenal would surely prefer to sell him. So you click on the headline and get told:

Arsenal transfer news

The Sun says there is “nothing in reports that Nacho Monreal has left Arsenal”. Reports like – yep – the Sun’s reports “Monreal Contract TERMINATED”. Which for those of hard of understanding appears in capital letters at the top of a story saying it’s nonsense.

Not that the Sun is alone in this tosh. Football.London and The Daily Record have the same owners.

As the Sun says: “confusion reigns.” And bullshit.com thrives.

Posted: 3rd, July 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Raheem Sterling’s ‘stolen’ ghost hat-trick: Manchester City beat Watford

raheem sterling fa cup final

The BBC’s report on the FA Cup final hype between Manchester City and Watford at Wembley makes for odd reading. The BBC’s voracious website tells us that City’s England striker Raheem Sterling scored a hat trick and didn’t score a hat-trick. Phil McNulty was there:

He writes:

Raheem Sterling scored the first FA Cup final hat-trick since 1953 as Manchester City rounded off an outstanding season by crushing Watford at Wembley to clinch a historic domestic treble.

Two goals is not a hat-trick. Three is.

McNulty continues:

City’s second goal in the 38th minute was scored by Gabriel Jesus. The Football Association says Sterling is NOT the first scorer of an FA Cup final hat-trick since 1953. He did, however, make sure Gabriel Jesus’s strike hit the net.

And before Sterling is hammered in the Press:

Raheem never did claim the second goal. He was just joyously ramming it home. He responded to media chat about his hat-trick: ‘You’re bantering me. That’s sh*t from me then… poor from me! I didn’t mean to do it. I’m sorry.” He did not “steal” a goal.

Posted: 18th, May 2019 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports | Comment


What racism? Raheem Sterling becomes the tabloids’ role model

Raheem Sterling the sun

In a tribute to Jadon Sancho, the England and Borussia Dortmund winger, the Sun’s Martin Blackburn says Raheem Sterling might be “something of a role model” to the tyro. Writing in the Times, Henry Winter calls Sterling “a role model in a divided land crying out for them”. Watford’s Troy Deeney has no truck with footballers being pitched as role models to strangers, arguing that he’s a role model only to his kids. But this isn’t about Sterling’s talents, which are considerable, but how the press portrays him. And the Sun has changed tact.

Winter has called out the media’s bias towards Sterling, an intelligent, driven young black athlete on the receiving end of some monocular reporting. And the Sun has been accused of treating Sterling unfairly.

raheem sterling drugs
Story about drugs: Nothing to do with Raheem Sterling
Young man from working-class background buys house!
raheem sterling tattoo gun
Sterling gets a tribute to his late father – it’s an anti-gun tattoo
raheem sterling the sun
And the Sun’s Star letter is… GET STERLING!
raheem sterling m16 tattoo
Raheem and his part in the Vietnam War

Today the BBC reports the words of Spurs and England full-back Danny Rose, who says players were “over the moon” to see Raheem Sterling criticise the media’s portrayal of black players and says the winger was “spot on”. Sterling opined that newspapers helped “fuel racism” by the way they portray young black footballers.

“Raheem was only saying what we all say in the dressing room,” said Rose, 28.”It’s sad really but he’s 100% spot on with what he said… The stick he used to get from the media was bang out of order. When he put the [Instagram] post up about the media we were all over the moon with that because we all agree. Fair play to Raheem… One of the few positive things about social media now is you have a voice and you can influence people. Now it’s not just boys in the dressing room talking about the media targeting Raheem, the general public have now seen it. We hope it changes but it doesn’t affect Raheem in any way, which we are all grateful for.”

I’ve no interest in a footballer being a role model. I just want them to be brilliant and give their all when playing for my team and rubbish in a rival club’s shirt. Does what Wayne Rooney or Raheem Sterling do in their downtime fill a gap in your parenting skills? Simon Barnes summed it up well in The Times: “Football itself is neither disgusting nor admirable. It’s just a game, it doesn’t have any pretensions to be a moral force, for good or evil. That’s not its job.” Stop holding footballers up as an example to the slack-jawed masses, and stop making examples of them.

Next week: why aren’t MPs role models?

Posted: 20th, March 2019 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Monchi agrees Arsenal move and joins Seville

On February 25 this year, the Daily Mirror reported: “Arsenal transfer news: Monchi ‘agrees deal’ to become Gunners sporting director.” Yesterday, Ramon Rodriguez Verdejo, better known as ‘Monchi’ and blessed with the looks of a detective in the Obscene Publications Squad, started work in his new job at Sevilla.

What happened? Well, the Mirror’s scoop was based on an article in Il Messaggero, which said Arsenal had agreed to pay the “£2million” needed to activate the buy-out clause in his Roma contract. The odd bit is that the Italian website reports two days after the Mirror’s story – and this through Google Translate:

Evening Standard publishes today, Rome would have already resigned itself to salute Monchi. The current Giallorossi ds seems destined to reach Arsenal, one of the most glorious English clubs. The London newspaper notes that Monchi could even leave the Capital in advance, if the ‘Gunners’ pay a termination clause of around 3 million.

To the Standard, then, to read on February 26:

Roma are increasingly resigned to the departure of sporting director Monchi, with Arsenal a leading contender to hire him in the summer…

Monchi has been at Roma since 2017 and his contract, which has two more years to run, is thought to contain a release clause of around £2.6million.

Nothing agreed at all. And the fee is an issue. But one day earlier talkSport said it was a done deal – just look at the URL:

And on March 8, the Sun told us:

Monchi arsenal

Today the BBC reports: “Monchi will return to La Liga club Sevilla as sporting director, ending reported links with Arsenal.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 17th, March 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Zidane to Real Madrid, but Spurs boss on shortlist

The big football news on the BBC’s website is that Zinedine Zidane “is set to return as Real Madrid manager just 10 months after leaving the Spanish giants”. Wowzer! That fact amplified by the Beeb is “according to European football expert Guillem Balague”. That would be the same Balague who has also told us: 

“Real have shortlisted the Spurs boss to take over at the Bernabeu, according to Guillem Balague” – – Sky

Alvaro Morata was signing for Arsenal. He joined Chelsea and now plays in Madrid.

Santi Cazorla was on his way to join Atletico Madrid. He joined Villarreal.

Juan Mata was joining Liverpool. Mata remains at Manchester United.

Cristiano Ronaldo was returning to Manchester United. He left Real Madrid for Juventus.

He also told us: “Real have shortlisted the Spurs boss to take over at the Bernabeu.”

I read it on the BBC

Undaunted by circumspection, the BBC continues: “The Frenchman will replace Santiago Solari, who was in charge for less than five months.”

He will? Maybe…

PS: Why is the BBC treating guesswork as fact? Guillem Balague hosts BBC Radio 5 Live’s Football Daily podcast Euro edition.

Posted: 11th, March 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Chelsea balls: Sarri not sacked (day 236)

sarri sack mirror

If you get your news from the Daily Mirror, the shocking realisation is that Maurizio Sarri is still the Chelsea manager. He was not sacked when Chelsea lost the Carabao Cup final to Manchester City. (The Mirror has form with predictions – see here.)

Sarri Mirror chelsea

But clickbait is as clickbait does, and the Mirror today reports that Sarri has dropped the “biggest hint yet he WILL be Chelsea manager next season”. What tosh. He signed a a three-year deal to mange Chelsea in July 2018. But that’s more of a fact than a hint. If you want clicks, you need to conjure ‘hints’ and ‘five things we noticed’ and all manner of other drivel from football. So a few weeks after telling readers Sarri was getting sacked, the paper reports: “Two weeks after the Chelsea axe seemed set to fall on their new boss Sarri, he is now plotting their future.”

He never did stop plotting their future. It’s his job.

Posted: 7th, March 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Spurs and Liverpool fans: Klopp, Pochettino and Mourinho ‘almost 100%’ certain to get Real Madrid job

Mourinho madrid

The BBC says former Chelsea and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is “almost 100% certain” to rejoin Real Madrid this summer. In 2013, Mourinho left Real to return to Chelsea. The Daily Telegraph agrees that the Portugueses is heading to Spain. But neither broadcaster nor newspaper can cite a source for their story. The roots of the story are unnamed “sources”.

Mourinho is currently taking time out from coaching to work on his insults having been sacked by United and replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjær. He’s looking for work. And his agent could use a few quid. Maybe the ‘sources’ are pretty close to the subject?

Mourinho Klopp Madrid
Klopp liverpool madrid

And then talkSport pops up to say “Jurgen Klopp is reportedly Real Madrid’s No.1 target”. Reported by whom? talkSport links to the Independent. It declares: “Next Real Madrid manager: Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp made No 1 target in wake of Champions League exit.” The website cites not a single source for its news, only that:

Jose Mourinho has not been completely ruled out, and still has a good relationship with president Florentino Perez and director general Jose Angel Sanchez, but there is a view at the top level of the club that the Portuguese is “finished”.

The Sun

Whatever the facts, Klopp or Mourinho to Real is good news for Spurs fans because back in June, Mauricio Pochettino suggested that “when Real Madrid call you, you have to listen”. He later responded to interest from Spain: “It is like you are with your wife and you are holding hands, walking down the street,” he told the Guardian. But because you are so handsome, another woman is looking at you. But your wife is so proud and, rather than worrying, she is so happy to be with you and falls more in love with you.”

The Argentine earns £8.2m a year at Spurs. He’d earn a lot more at Madrid and maybe even win something. “Jorge Griffa [his former coach] told me once that I have to let football take me wherever,” Poch opined “to not get bogged down in trying to change my own destiny.”

Clear as mud, then. And the media hasn’t a clue. So they’re guessing. Which can men only one thing: Unai Emery to Madrid.

Posted: 7th, March 2019 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Overmars and Matthijs in; vote Mustafi out

Arsenal fans get to feel the warmth of a rosy-fingered dawn as news hits the cycle of Ajax director of football Marc Overmars’ return to the Gunners. And that’s not all. Last night Ajax knocked Real Madrid out of the Champions League. The holders were thrashed. And Overmars says if he arrives at Arsenal he’d like to be accompanied on the short flight from Amsterdam by Ajax’s brilliant 19-year-old centre-back Matthijs de Ligt. He would sign De Ligt “immediately”.

Arsenal may need to sell some flesh to get their man. The Telegraph says Manchester City will have to break the world record transfer fee of £75m for a defender, which Liverpool paid for Virgil van Dijk, if they stand any chance of signing Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell. De Light is better.

Maybe Arsenal should take a democratic response to their malaise? Real Madrid fans are being given a vote on which players should be sold. Arsenal fans form an orderly queue. First up: Mustafi. Any takers? I’ll start the bidding and 10… Ten pounds… Anyone…. Bueller…

Posted: 6th, March 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Maxi Gomes to Liverpool; agent Luis Suarez on the phone; Timo Werner waits

Liverpool are willing to spend £35m on Celta Vigo and Uruguay striker Maxi Gomez. The BBC says Liverpool will spend all that money after the club’s former player Luis Suarez recommended his compatriot. And what better pat-time job for ‘Honest Luis’ Suarez than being a respectful football agent? You can imagine how his first foray into recruitment went down:

A phone rings at Fenway Sports Group.

Luis Suarez: “It’s me…” Receptionist: “Fernando!” LS: “No. It’s me Luis.. Luis Suarez.” R: “Who?” LS: “The guy who nearly won you the title…” R: “Oh, the biter. The guy who hand-balled at the World Cup, admitted to diving and called…? LS: “Yes. Tell Mr Henry to buy my friend Maxi Gomez.” R: “OK. Will do!”

The Sun says Chelsea also want Gomez – a player who back in January was said to be on his way to West Ham. The Guardian reported that the Hammers were prepared to trigger the striker’s £43.5m release clause.

If not Gomez, then Liverpool will move for RB Leipzig and Germany striker Timo Werner, 22. Luis Suarez’s views on him are not revealed. But the Liverpool board will be doubtless hoping for his call.

Posted: 4th, March 2019 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Monchi transfer delayed by grammar and Manchester United SEO

The good news for Arsenal fans tuning in to talkSport is that Unai Emery is to be reunited with his former Seville mucker Monchi. The broadcaster tells us: “Monchi agrees to join Gunners ahead of reported summer move to Emirates.” That headline arrived in our inbox on 25th February 2019. Roma’s sporting director is on his way to the Emirates.

Maybe. Maybe not.

That same day the Mirror yelled: “Arsenal transfer news: Monchi ‘agrees deal’ to become Gunners sporting director.” Those inverted commas mean Monchi has agreed to nothing. But the important thing about them is that those all-important SEO bots and Google algorithms for which the Mirror writes don’t see the grammar. They only see the URL, which declares a fact: “https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/arsenal-transfer-news-monchi-agrees-14051185.”

Monchi the sun
‘Balls’

The Sun performed a similar trick. On February 26 it thundered: “TOP MON – Arsenal ‘secure £2.5m deal for transfer guru Monchi’ who helped sign Rakitic, Kluivert and N’Zonzi.” Thos inverted commas mean the headline is tosh. But the URL seen by Google is a fact: “https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/8511652/arsenal-monchi-director-football/.”

So is Monchi at Arsenal? No.

Because today the BBC says: “Roma are increasingly resigned to the departure of sporting director Monchi, with Arsenal a leading contender to hire the 50-year-old Spaniard in the summer.” From a done deal, we learn that Arsenal are merely in the running.

One thing all media agrees on: Monchi can spot a young talent. The other thing they agree on is that Monchi is good for clicks. Get this from the Mirror on Feb 13: “Arsenal face Man Utd battle for Roma sporting director Monchi.” They do? No.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 27th, February 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment