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Arsenal fans rejoice: Jack Wilshere is leaving

Jack Wilshere is leaving Arsenal on a free transfer. TeamTalk says Arsenal manager Unai Emery has told the player he’s  not a guaranteed starter. The website says this means Wilshere’s Arsenal career is coming to a “heartbreaking close”. Grab your little violins, readers, as Wilshere rejects a derisory £100,000-a-week contract to remain at the club of his youth and his dreams. We read that “given his love and affection for Arsenal” Wilshere has sat on his sun lounger and thought long and hard about accepting the deal.

The Mirror also has the “exclusive” news that Emery has told Wilshere –  injury prone; largely ineffectual in the penalty box; predictable; talented but lacking in pace; can’t beat a man which is why he gets fouled so much; and years since his debut as 16-year-old still talked about as having potential – that he won’t be a regular starter. This means, says the paper, Wilshere is off to West Ham, Wolves, Everton, Sampdoria, AC Milan or Juventus.

The Sun says the Hammers are favourite to sign Wilshere with a pay package worth £130,000 a week. Wilshere hasn’t improved at Arsenal for years. He won’t improve at West Ham.

Arsenal fans won’t miss him. Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Kieron Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were first XI players full of promise who too rarely delivered.  Wilshere is the last of that clutch of England journeymen. Arsenal can do better. They need to if they are to compete for the league title.

Posted: 17th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Gareth Bale to Manchester United and Real Madrid chatter

Stop the back page bilge about Gareth Bale leaving Real Madrid for Manchester United. The BBC says Bale’s career at Real Madrid has been given “a lifeline”. Why? Because Real’s new manager Julen Lopetegui “can speak English”. Zinedine Zidane, his predecessor who led Real to three successive Champions’ League triumphs, could not, as the Beeb.

The BBC links to the Express, which bills Lopetugui’s ability to speak English as an “Exclusive”. Presumably up til now the Spanish manager has been pretending not to speak English or else using Stephen Hawking’s old voice system. But now the Express‘ Bruce Archer can “reveal the truth”:

bale transfer

 

As readers wonder if Jose Mourinho can speak England as well as Lopetugui can, and if the pair should compete in a Spelling Bee to see which one is best for Bale, the Express reports:

It has already emerged that Bale is now happy to stay and expects to be given a life line but Express Sport can reveal the reason why.

Bale feels more comfortable in his position because Lopetegui can speak English, whereas Zidane couldn’t.

Bale tried to learn Spanish when he first moved to the Bernabeu but has made little progress despite being there since 2013 and winning four European Cups.

Or to repackage the story: Bale can’t speak Spanish, something that’s hardly prevented him from being terrific. His first goal in the Champions’ League final looked good in any idiom.

And so having told us in an “exclusive” that Bale can now talk to his manager in English, deep into the story the Express adds: “Manchester United are ready to make their move if it is indicated Bale is available, but they are also tracking Willian and would be keen on Neymar if a deal was possible.”

How do you say “total balls” in Spanish?

Posted: 17th, June 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal and Liverpool both favourites to sign Mario Gotze

With two Borussia Dortmund players already on the books, and another scheduled to be announced on July 1, Arsenal are looking at recruiting Mario Gotze. The  Germans want £18m for the 26-year-old Dortmund – the kind of money Arsenal can afford. The Mirror says Everton and West Ham are “among the clubs keeping tabs” on the man once hailed as Germany’s answer to Lionel Messi.  The same paper then adds in a separate story that Gotze wants to play for Jurgen Klopp again. We’ve been here before:

 

Liverpool Gotze klopp

The Daily Express got it wrong

 

 

This latest story of Gotze to Liverpool is rooted in the players words on the DAZN documentary Being Mario Gotze. Gotze left Dortmund for Bayern Munich in 2013. He made the reverse trip in 2016, picking Dortmund over Liverpool.

Says Gotze: “I decided to leave Bayern and Jurgen Klopp was interested in getting me to Liverpool. And I was also interested in working with him again.. He is a world-class coach and that’s why it’s always an option. I decided to join Borussia Dortmund, but it was not a decision against Liverpool or Jurgen Klopp.”

Churn that through the journalism mincer and the Metro can declare: “Mario Gotze drops Liverpool transfer hint and reunion with Jurgen Klopp.” “Mario Gotze still keen on reunion with ‘world-class’ Jurgen Klopp,” says Goal.com. “Liverpool transfer news: Mario Gotze talks up reunion with former manager Jurgen Klopp,” yodels The Independent’s clickbait factory.

In March 2016, the Guardian told its readers: “Liverpool confident of signing Mario Götze because of Klopp connection.”

Liverpool are confident of completing the marquee signing of Mario Götze this summer with the World Cup winner understood to be keen on a reunion with Jürgen Klopp.

 

Liverpool Gotze

The Express got it wrong…again

 

gotze klopp

Gotze ‘snubs’ Liverpool in 2016 – the Sun

 

This dire reporting on a player being touted round the Premier League by his agent is summed up on Google, where a search for ‘Gotze Liverpool’ guffs out these three top stories:

 

mario gotze liverpool

 

Liverpool are favourites to sign Gotze, says the Express – because, er, Gotze, who turned Liverpool down in 2016, says Klopp is a good coach. Liverpool should not want Gotze says the Liverpool Echo. Liverpool and Arsenal both want Gotze says the Star.

Type ‘Arsenal Gotze’ into the world’s largest search engine and you get:

 

arsenal gotze

 

The Metro’s news that Gotze wants to play in the Premier League is a “boost” to Arsenal but, oddly, not a boost to Everton and West Ham. The Guardian just wonders if the Gunners will sign him. They don’t know.

In other news, ESPN says Arsenal not Liverpool are favourites to sign Gotze:

 

gotze arsenal liverpool

 

Such are the facts…

 

 

Posted: 15th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Jack Wilshere hints at Arsenal stay

Jack Wilshere has lots of time on his hands. Not picked for England’s World Cup squad, the Arsenal midfielder is posting things on the web. The Telegraph reads one of his missives and creates a story around it. “Jack Wilshere hints at Arsenal exit with cryptic social media message,” says the paper of record. Wilshere is cryptic? The player who asked Arsenal fans what they thought of Spurs and replied “Shit!” has now taken to talking in codes. What did he say?

Daniel Zeqiri writes:

Jack Wilshere has hinted he could leave Arsenal for pastures new this summer with a suggestive late-night message on social media.

Wilshere is out of contract at the end of June. Arsenal have offered him around £100,000-a-week to carry on playing for the club he loves. He’s thinking about it. Feel the love, eh. On Wednesday, Wilshere told Instagram: “There comes a time when you have to choose between turning the page and closing the book.”

Some books are too boring to bother with. Aside from the books, what did Jack says about lacing Arsenal? Nothing. That was it. That is the long and short of his “cryptic message”.

Look out for another story in the Telegraph based on Wilshere’s message:

Jack Wilshere has hinted he could stay at Arsenal with a suggestive late-night message on social media.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 14th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal transfers: Torreira agrees Leno sought and Papastathopoulos signs

How much money do Arsenal have to spend in the transfer window? The BBC says Arsenal “are close to spending their £50million summer transfer budget”. The Gunners are in for Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno and Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The trusty Beeb is relaying the Standard’s news:

Arsenal are close to spending their £50million summer transfer budget on Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno and Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

The Gunners are closing in on the £26m signing of Sampdoria midfielder Torreira and they have approached Bayer Leverkusen over a £20m deal for German goalkeeper Leno.

Arsenal are expected to sign Borussia Dortmund defender Papastathopoulos for £16m… Unai Emery will be under pressure to sell players if he wants to bring more new arrivals in.

So says the paper’s James Olley. He should have a word with his colleague Alex Young, who tells Standard readers Arsenal have £60m to spend:

 

transfer arenal alex young

What’s a mere £10m?

 

And when one clickbait factory reports the £50m budget being spent on three players, another does just the same. The Express has the same story as the Standard:

 

transfer arsenal

‘I read it in the Express’

 

Is the Arsenal transfer budget £50m, £60m or…£70m? Michael Hunks told Sky Sports readers Arsenal have £70m to spend this summer:

 

transfers arsenal sky

Do we have any advance on £70m?

 

Unable to agree on the budget, the Standard might be expected to get other facts right. Wrong. The £26m Arsenal have earmarked for Sampdoria midfielder Torreira is to be paid in instalments. Perhaps half will be paid up front. So that’s £16m for Papastathopoulos plus, say, £13m for Torreria and £20m for Leno. That equals £49m – leaving Arsenal with, £21m left over. As for selling players as the Standard says they “must”, well, Arsenal fans will not mourn the sales of Calum Chambers, Shkodran Mustafi, Joel Campbell, Lucas Perez, Carl Jenkinson and David Ospina.

Posted: 14th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: MEN dupes Manchester United fans with fake news

“Justin Kluivert completes Roma move,” declares the Manchester Evening News in its “live” blog of “Manchester United transfer news”. Ciaran Kelly is scathing of the fools who thought Kluivert was heading to Old Trafford.

 

manchester evening news fake manchester united

 

 

Kelly writes on the page for Manchester United transfer news:

Amazing how that friendly word at the end of the Europa League final between him and Mourinho, who knew him as a kid from his time at Barca, sparked hundreds of articles and rumours.

Kluivert never was heading to Man United, you saps. All he did was have a chat with an old pal – which you can read about at the following links to Manchester Evening News stories:

Justin Kluivert gives major update amid Manchester United transfer links – 18 May 2018

Manchester United target Justin Kluivert and more transfer rumours – Manchester United are planning a summer move for Ajax forward Justin Kluivert, according to reports. – 11 May 2018

Justin Kluivert’s dad advises him over Manchester United transfer – Justin Kluivert has been advised to snub a move to Manchester United by his dad Patrick.

What did dad say? Said Patrick:

“I’m very proud of him. He’s doing very good at Ajax,” Patrick Kluivert told Omnisport, speaking courtesy of Hublot. “He’s now a first XI player. If he’s playing like this in the long-term, he could be one important player in the future. Of course, I prefer that he goes to Barcelona but in football everything can happen. He’s an adult, he can make his own decisions but he’s already said it’s a dream for him to play for Barcelona. But you never know in football.” – 23 March 2018

Mentions of Manchester United: zero.

Manchester United ‘target’ Justin Kluivert subject of Jorge Mendes talks claims Ajax insider – Man Utd have been tipped to sign Ajax wonderkid Justin Kluivert and an Ajax insider has revealed Jorge Mendes has asked about him – 20 Feb 2018

Justin Kluivert talks up Manchester United move – 13 Feb 2018

Justin Kluivert speaks out on Manchester United transfer rumours – United manager Jose Mourinho was filmed commiserating Kluivert after the Europa League final last season and a satirical Dutch programme released a mock transcript of the exchange, suggesting the Portuguese wanted to sign the young forward – 5 Feb 2018

The Manchester Evening News writes lots of story linking Justin Kluivert to Manchester United and then tells readers on the day the player signs for Roma it knew they were all utter balls.

Local paper treats its readers like mugs. Nice.

Posted: 12th, June 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Torreira is Arsenal’s new one-man midfield

In what TeamTalk calls a “boost” for Unai Emery, a “€25m Serie A star” Lucas Torreira has  “agrees” to transfer to Arsenal.

 

Lucas Torreira

Done deal!

 

Teamtalk says Lucas Torreira’s arrival jeopardises Granit Xhaka’s Arsenal future. Why Arsenal would replace a man who likes playing higher up the pitch with a defensive midfielder is moot. Another site says Torreira will replace Elneny. The Mirror says: “Why Lucas Torreira can be Arsenal’s very own N’Golo Kante.” Presumably because like the Chelsea harasser, The Uruguayan is short.

In other news away from Torreira being as good as three players and goo enough to constitute the entire Arsenal midfield: no deal has been done.

And in other Arsenal transfer news, Portuguese newspaper A Bola says Arsenal “insist” on signing Sporting winger Gelson Martins. Gelson, we read, if willing to buy out his own contract in order to secure his transfer to Arsenal, who have offered €30m for the winger.

 

Posted: 11th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Fakir kisses the Liverpool badge but still plays for Lyons

Liverpool have not signed Nabil Fakir for £53million. News is that the Reds stalled after the Lyon took his medical with the club. Fekir performed media duties in a Liverpool strip, says the Mirror. And then nothing happened.

The Telegraph says “Liverpool are offering no indication as to the nature of the problem”. But there is a problem? Speculation focuses on Fekir’s right knee, which he injured playing for France three years ago. But it’s guesswork. The Mirror cites reports in France, which “claimed an issue related to Lyon and their accounting practices”. They Express says Lyon “are reluctant to sell Fekir before the World Cup because they are listed as a publicly listed company”. So..? “It means they are also supposedly planning to use funds from his sale in their financial report for next season.”

Lyon says: “The information on the transfer of Nabil Fekir is false. Olympique Lyonnais categorically denies the false information disseminated by many media about the transfer of Nabil Fekir to Liverpool. In this period of transfers where the slightest rumour is often presented as a reality, Olympique Lyonnais recalls that only the information disseminated by the club on its website is authentic.”

FFF president, Noel Le Graet, has a theory. “It’s under negotiation, I think it will be done,” he says. “I spent a quarter of an hour with him this morning (Saturday), and his main focus is France. He (Fekir) was rather optimistic because the meeting he had will prove to be positive. It’s always like that when you talk about a transfer. Everyone tries to raise their price, to lower their price, and when a little issue flares up, it’s part of the game.’

Lyon’s fans must be delighted to hear that their captain has been wearing another club’s shirt. And since when has £53m bene not enough for a talented but not out-of-this-world player?

Isn’t modern football balls.

Posted: 9th, June 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Higuain and Lewandowski to Chelsea; Arsenal still waiting

Whenever Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain pop up in transfer chatter, we laugh a little. It’s been five years since the Sun told its readers that Arsenal had “smashed their transfer record” and signed Higuain from Real Madrid for £23m. On 27 July, Napoli signed Higuain.

 

higuain arsenal sign

 

Today’s Higuain transfer news comes to us via the BBC, which hears the player say the Premier League “fascinates me a lot” and links him with move to Chelsea.

The Mail reports:

Gonzalo Higuain has fuelled the speculation that he could be leaving Juventus by saying he ‘would love to play in the Premier League’.

The Argentina striker has been on Chelsea’s radar this summer and has already reportedly been offered to the west London club.

This news stems from what said Higuain told ESPN in Argentina. It tells us: “In the next few days the Argentine striker could receive a formal offer from a European top-level club.” The Sun has him saying: “I am relaxed. I have a contract with Juventus and no one has told me anything about my future. Right now, I am happy in Turin and I think my daughter will grow up here, but one day I would like to play in the Premier League, where the games are all spectacular.”

What he said was: “I am calm, I have a contract with Juventus and nobody has told me anything about the future, I am happy in Turin but someday I would like to play in the Premier League.”

Italy’s Corriere dello Sport says Juventus will let Higuain leave if they can sign Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski. But that won’t happen because one Spanish website says the Pole has agreed to join Real Madrid. But the Sun says Lewandowksi’s decision to leave Bayern “is a massive boost” to Chelsea.

Which means, presumably, that Higuain stays at Arsenal?

Posted: 8th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Nabil Fakir wants Liverpool; dreams of Barcelona

Joyous transfer balls balls on the BBC.  The national broadcaster picks up the tale of Nabil Fakir’s move from Lyon to Liverpool. Get a load of this: “Lyon will allow forward Nabil Fekir, 24, to join Liverpool this summer – but only at the right price.” No s***, Sherlock.  Of course, if you read some sources, the deal is done. This from Sky on 7 May 2018: “Lyon have agreed to sell Nabil Fekir to Liverpool when the transfer window opens in a deal reported to worth be in the region of €70m. And there was the time Fakir was joining Arsenal. On 13 Nov 2017, the Daily Express told its readers: “ARSENAL are close to completing the £60million capture of Lyon playmaker Nabil Fekir.”

Over in today’s Daily Mirror, we are told: “Fekir has been identified as the marquee signing of the transfer window, and a natural replacement for Philippe Coutinho.” A marquee is a large tent.

And then the facts: “…it is understood a breakthrough of sorts has been made, with the player indicating he will only go to Liverpool – and the president conceding he will do a deal with the Reds if he feels the price is right.”

Like us, we got as far as “understood”, the word that means sod all in the world of clickbait football reporting. “Understands” is shorthand for “maybe or “maybe not”.

But he wants to play for Liverpool. that much is understood and indicated. Or as he said: “My favourite club is Barcelona. But I need to work a lot, I am aware of that.” If he plays well enough at Liverpool, he may yet achieve his dream of playing in Barcelona.

All hail the new Coutinho, then.

 

Posted: 7th, June 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Yacine Adli joins Arsenal at 18; Higuain still missing

Have Arsenal signed Yacine Adli for just £223,000? The Metro and Sun says they have.

 

Yacine Adli arsenal

 

The media seem confused. The Sun says:

RMC Sport claim he has penned a three-year deal, with the option of two more, with the Gunners to become their second signing of the summer.

Neither Arsenal nor PSG have confirmed the move, but the report states it will be announced when the teen turns 18 next month.

Over on RMC Sport, we learn (via Google Translate):

Yacine Adli in Arsenal, it’s done!
It’s official, the PSG has lost Yacine Adli. While three weeks ago, the young 17-year-old midfielder was close to signing his first pro contract with the champion of France, it is for Arsenal that he signed a three-year contract with two other optional. Adli, who was in touch with the Londoners even before the arrival of Unai Emery, was seduced by the Gunners project.

But there’s been no announcement? Why can’t Arsenal announce the transfer until Adli turn 18? Seems odd. What are the rules on minors?

FIFA bans the international transfers of players under the age of 18 unless their parents have emigrated for reasons not connected to football or both the player and club are based within 50 kilometers of a national border.

The only other exception is for transfers within either the EU or European Economic Area (EEA), where the minimum age is 16.

In those cases, clubs must still ensure that the player continues his education and studies for an alternative career, as well as making sure he has a high living standard.

Caution should be exercised when dealing with transfer reports. RMC also has few words today about Gonzalo Higuain, the Juventus striker:


Gonzalo Higuain arsenal

 

Yep. That’s the same Higuian who, according to the Sun, plays for Arsenal:

 

higuain arsenal sign

 

 

Such are the facts. No deal is done until the player is photographed kissing the badge.

Posted: 6th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Liverpool balls: Karius ‘dumped’ and remade in Chelsea

Yet another “exclusive” in the Daily Star, which brings news of Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius. He’s been “dumped after girlfriend gets death threats over Champions League howlers“. Before we get to Ianthe Rose Cochrane-Stack, for it is she, a bit of background.

 

karius girlfriend liverpool

 

Karius played a pivotal role in Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League final. The current theory is that he was suffering from concussion. In the Times, Matthew Sayed, who earlier said Karius erred because he’d been focusing too hard and missed a big Frenchman standing a foot from his shoulder, now says Real’s Sergio Ramos “had driven his elbow into the jaw of Loris Karius”, something backed up by “video evidence”. It isn’t. All we see is two players colliding. We don’t know if that collision led to any concussion – indeed, we don’t know for certain if concussion caused Karius to keep goal with less composure than a man shouting on the night bus or Joe Hart. The medics at the US hospital who checked Karius did so five days after the match at Liverpool’s behest. Michel D’Hooge, chief executive of Headway, the brain injury association, says he can “imagine” concussion was at the root of Karius’s hapless performance. But he can’t be certain. No-one can.

 

karius girlfriend liverpool

Nope

 

Karius lover

Nope

 

And so to the dumping. The full story is:

Ianthe Rose Cochrane-Stack revealed trolls had threatened to stab her after his bungles cost his team two goals in last month’s 3-1 defeat by Real Madrid.

The Made In Chelsea beauty was photographed with Karius just weeks ago.

But she has now moved to distance herself from the shamed stopper by posting on social media that she has been single for a year.

Can a woman dump a man she’s never dated? The Star says she can. L0ok out for more exclusives: ‘I dumped George Cooney, says mum-of-seven Maude’; ‘Prince Harry’s girlfriend upset by wedding’; ‘I’ve been secretly dating David Beckham since he was 16  – Piers revels all.’

As for Karius’ love life, The Independent tells us:

The sight of his mother staring into middle distance, looking away from the game while it was still going on as she held his sobbing girlfriend prompted Klopp’s wife Ulla to move a few rows and try to offer some reassurance. At the end of the game, while Karius lay on the floor the three women – all of them connected by the desperation of it all – stood there, wrapped in each other’s arms.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 6th, June 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Clickbait transfer news: Manchester United ‘told to SACK’ Mourinho

“Man Utd transfer news: Bigwigs told to abandon plans and sack Jose Mourinho – EXCLUSIVE.” So thunders the Daily Star.  “MANCHESTER UNITED need to focus on changing their manager – not the players.” Says who? Says Lee Sharp, who apparently has the ear of the Manchester United kingmakers and tells them what to do.

 

manchester united clickbait

 

Sharp “exclusively” told the paper. “I think they might need a new manager. It’s a tough one because they’ve got some unbelievable players. Mourinho wouldn’t have been my first choice if I’m honest.”

At the foot of this clickbait nonsense, the paper tells its readers: “Lee Sharpe was speaking at the McDonald’s & Lancashire FA Community Football Day in Astley.”

 

How Google sells the story to readers: “Old Trafford board told to SACK Jose Mourinho.”

 

Sharp was at the event on May 26. The Star’s “exclusive” was on June 5.  Were the words of the McDonald’s “ambassador” all that “exclusive”? These words were from the same “exclusive” event. They were written by the Press Association, which sells content to newspapers and websites:

For me, it was a pretty disappointing season and not entertaining enough,” said the former England winger. “There are clubs with certain identities and United have never been a 1-0 team that sits back and rests on its laurels.

“You’ve got the blue side of Manchester under Pep, you’ve got Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool playing some of the best football in the league and United are playing slow, pragmatic, boring and even dated football.

“Maybe it’s time Mourinho reassesses things tactically. He’s been one of the most successful managers in the game over 10-12 years, trophies everywhere he’s gone, so I can understand him saying, ‘I’m doing it my way’.

The 9 players Jose Mourinho has signed from Portuguese clubs since leaving Porto – and how they got on
“But times have changed and if it doesn’t start well next season, he could find himself under pressure from the fans.”

You can read those words on websites run by The Daily Mirror (May 30), EuroSport, Goal, The Independent and Metro. As for sacking Mouirnhio,well, the Star seems little obsessed:

 

sack mourinho
 

Look out for Jose Mourinho extending his stay at Manchester United.

Posted: 6th, June 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Spurs kill Pochettino’s dream to manage Real Madrid

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has been talking about Real Madrid. He told us he’d have to listen if the Spanish club offered him the manager’s job. He gave Real a heads up about Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, saying the tough negotiator “bites”. Now the Mail says “Pochettino was, for all intents and purposes, offered the vacant manager’s job.” And: “He turned his back on his dream, knowing it would lead to questions over loyalty.”

That’s Pochettino who cut short his Southampton contract to manage Spurs.

The Mail then hammers home its point that Pottechino rejected Real not because he didn’t want the job, rather because he is principled:

Mauricio Pochettino rejected the chance to become Real Madrid’s next manager because he didn’t want to labelled a mercenary.

And:

Pochettino was offered the vacant position after Zinedine Zidane’s (right) departure.

Says who?

But sources claim the Argentine turned his back on a dream switch to Real, knowing such a move would lead to serious questions over his loyalty.

What sources? The Mail mentioned none.

Knowing chairman Daniel Levy would rebuff any approach from Spain, Pochettino knew he would have to force the issue if he wanted the Real job. It’s now apparent that Pochettino was unwilling to risk his reputation, fearing his integrity would suffer an irreparable blow.

It all reads like a PR missive. Only yesterday Guillem Balague was talking. The Spurs manager had been on a trip to Spain to plug his new book, Brave New World: Inside Pochettino’s Spurs – by Guillem Balague. Balague said Levy had scuppered any hope Pochettino had of managing Real. Now we get “sources” telling us that Levy and the manager’s conscience ended Pochettino’s “dream”.

Words from Real Madrid: nil. Facts to support the sources claims: nil.

PS: Real Madrid usually get their man. 

27 Jun 2012: Tottenham’s Gareth Bale signs new four-year contract.

23 May 2013: “Gareth Bale to sign new Tottenham contract worth £150,000 a week” (Guardian)

1 September 2013:  Gareth Bale agreed a £300,000 per week to join Real Madrid.

It’s not over yet. Everyone has their price at Spurs.

Posted: 5th, June 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Samuel Umtiti and the Manchester United transfer delivered in code

News that France international centre-half Samuel Umtiti has agreed a new five-year contract with Barcelona should disappoint tabloid-reading Manchester United fans. Umtiti, who joined Lyon for €25m in 2016, will remain at the club until 2023.

umtiti balls man united

 

But on March 4 2008, the Daily Star told readers: “Lionel Messi furious at Barcelona as Samuel Umtiti agrees deal with Man Utd.” The source for the Star’s total balls was Spanish website Diario Gol. Of it, the Star says in a story published on March 4 and headlined “Man Utd News: Messi ‘chooses’ Umtiti replacement”: “Diario Gol often make sensational transfer claims.” Many of them are repeated verbatim in the Star.

 

The Star:- repeating utter tosh

 

One month after Umtiti had “agreed” to join Man United in the Star, the Metro announced: “Samuel Umtiti sends clear message to Manchester United during Barcelona’s victory over Roma.” This “message” was delivered not by email, rather by a gaol for Barcelona. The story has nothing to do what Manchester United. These are its lowlights:

Samuel Umtiti sent an emphatic message to Manchester United during Barcelona’s comprehensive 4-1 victory over Roma in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final…

Umtiti, who has been heavily linked with a £53million move to United in recent weeks, appeared to double Barca’s lead in the 55th minute. However, replays showed it was another own goal from Roma..

Kostas Manolas got the final contact on the ball but this didn’t stop Umtiti wheeling away to claim the goal by grabbing and pointing at Barcelona’s crest on his chest. Sorry, United…

“Sorry United?” Sorry, Metro readers, more like.

 

umtiti balls man united

 

Over in the Sun, Umtiti was off:

Manchester United close in on Samuel Umtiti signing as Barcelona refuse to meet French international’s demands – March 26

SO LONG SAM – Barcelona already looking at replacement for Samuel Umtiti, with Manchester United closing in on French defender – March 29

umtiti balls man united

 

Meanwhile…in the real world:

 

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 4th, June 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Real want Spurs boss Pochettino; fans want Liverpool’s Klopp; Balague eats himself

The BBC says Real Madrid are no longer interested in Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino. Sky Sports adds a little more: “Real Madrid end interest in Mauricio Pochettino, says Guillem Balague.” Ah, him. Balague is the expert who told us Alvaro Morata had signed for Arsenal, Santi Cazorla would join Atletico Madrid, Juan Mata was joining Liverpool and Cristiano Ronaldo was returning to Manchester United. None of those things happened. In January, Sky reported: “Real have shortlisted the Spurs boss to take over at the Bernabeu, according to Guillem Balague.”

One enjoyable oddity to Sky’s latest reports is that Balague cites himself as the source of his own story. Balague’s source is Balague:

 

balague spurs real

 

Says Balague to Balague in a case of football reporting eating itself:

Real Madrid have abandoned their pursuit of Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, says Guillem Balague.

The European champions made Pochettino their number one target following Zinedine Zidane’s decision to quit on Thursday.

However, the lack of a release clause in the Argentine’s contract, coupled with the prospect of dealing with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy – who proved a tough negotiator for Real in the transfers of Luka Modric and Gareth Bale – resulted in them ending their interest.

Or as the Sunday Times puts it:

 

spurs real madrid

Spurs boss ‘keen’ to mange Real Madrid – Sunday Times

 

The Spurs manger was recently talking about Real Madrid on a trip to Spain where he’s plugging his new book, Brave New World: Inside Pochettino’s Spurs – by Guillem Balague! Pochettino told Radio Marca in Spain that Daniel Levy “bites“. And now Balague says Levy has scuppered any hope Poch had of managing Real. Coincidence?

In other news, the Express says Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has emerged as Real Madrid’s new number 1 target. No. He hasn’t. The story tells readers: “Pochettino has given himself a five-day deadline for any approach by Real Madrid to be made… The Argentine is believed to be the favoured option of Real president Florentino Perez.”

Klopp is only mentioned because a poll of Real Madrid fans has Klopp as the one most of them would like to be the club’s next manager. The Express fails to say where this poll was conducted. We found out that it was conducted by Marca, the Spanish newspaper two days ago.

The German received 29 percent of the votes in a MARCA poll… This placed him ahead of the second favourite Mauricio Pochettino, who had 23 percent, while Castilla coach Guti was just behind on 20 percent. Joachim Low claimed 14 percent, while Michel had nine percent. The only other option on the poll was for none of the above, which took a share of five percent.

It was a poll of 6 choices. how many Barcelona fans voted for Klopp is not stated.

Posted: 3rd, June 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal have £88m for Dembele; Liverpool have tea with his mum

Arsenal are using Borussia Dortmund as a feeder club, chasing the German side’s former star Ousmane Dembele. The Gunners want the forward to play with his former teammates Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Ex-Dortmund chief scout Sven Mislintat is now head of recruitment at the Emirates. The Gunners have offered Dortmund £16m for their 29-year-old centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

Demeble joined Barcelona last summer for £97m. News in the Sun is that he ‘could’ be on his way to Arsenal for £88m. Arsenal fans will know huge money buys get mentioned around the same time season ticket renewal notices go out. Last season Arsenal wanted to splurge £90m for Monaco’s Thomas Lemar. The Liverpool Echo now says of him: “The demise of Thomas Lemar – from nine-figure bids to being on the fringes of the French national team squad.”

“I’m very happy to be here, said Dembele when he joined Barcelona on a five-year contract. “It has always been my dream to be at Barcelona and now I’m here I’m very happy. It is the best club in the world with the best players in the world.”

What’s he going to say when he joins Arsenal? And where were Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal scouts when Dembele joined Dortmund from French side Rennes on a five-year deal in May 2016 for £13m?

Liverpool also want him. Sky says former Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp “will attempt to meet Dembele’s mother to help convince the player his future lies at Anfield”. Dembele’s mother Fatimata “is who will decide Ousmane’s future,”, says the player’s agent.

To say nothing of Barcelona, who hold the player’s contract for four more seasons…

Posted: 3rd, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Media still gunning for Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling

Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling is a “great example” to us all, says England manger Gareth Southgate. His tattoo of a gun is no-one’s business but his own. The Sun and other media have been monstering Sterling for some time, focusing on how he spends his money and using his image to illustrate a story on crime. This week the paper linked his tattoo to the Vietnam War and children being stabbed to death.

 

daniloa taylor raheem sterling

Damiloa Taylor was stabbed to death when he was 10 – and Raheem Steling was 5.

 

raheem sterling m16 tattoo

Raheem and his part in the Vietnam War

 

raheem sterling the sun

And the Sun’s Star letter is… GET STERLING!

 

Sterling said the tattoo was about his father, who was shot dead.

Says Southgate: “”He knows what it [the tattoo] means to him and he’s comfortable he has done nothing wrong. He has always been a resilient boy from when I worked with him in the under-21s, to even younger than that He is tough and I have no doubts that he can more than cope and thrive in the environment we are going into…

“He knows he has our support. He understands how some people perceived the tattoo. In my view a tattoo is like any work of art – it’s a very individual meaning…

“The personal story of a lot of our players is quite remarkable. People highlight the issues and faults of all of the squad but for so many of them it’s incredible that they have got to the point they have. They are a great example to young kids of what you can achieve with your life if you are dedicated and focused. Of course they have talent, but there is so much more that is needed to become a professional and a top one. Raheem embodies that. Nothing is given to you in life and you have to fight all the way.”

 

raheem sterling drugs

The Sun tweets: Nothing to do with Raheem Sterling

 

And how does Sky Sports, which corrupted Sterling’s explanation, report on the player: “Sterling apologies to England team-mates.” About the tattoo?

 

Sterling

 

No. It;’ nothing to do with any tattoo. So why was he late?

“He was given off until the Tuesday night and he arrived on the Wednesday morning, so he was late,” Southgate said. “There was a mix-up on flights and a connection. In fairness to him he wanted to apologise to the group, explained his commitment to the team, and it’s done. That was accepted and everybody has moved on.”

Sterling had been given permission to return a day later than the bulk of the England squad to attend to a personal commitment in Jamaica.

However, a mix-up with his return flights – which included a stop off in Miami – saw him arrive 12 hours later than agreed.

In the Sun tomorrow: Why can’t Raheem Sterling get a private jet like everyone else?

Previously:

 

raheem sterling plane

 

More to follow…

Posted: 2nd, June 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United and Chelsea fight for Robert Lewandowski who dreams of Real Madrid

Chelsea are keen on Robert Lewandowski, who wants to leave Bayern Munich (Mirror). Manchester United are favourites to sign the Poland striker, says the Daily Star. Lewandowski’s a gem of a player. And for some time now he’s bene linked with other clubs. So can we believe the stories that he’s heading to the Premier League?

Robert Lewandowski has agreed to join Real Madrid this summer – The Metro, March 19 2018

Chelsea and Man Utd dealt transfer blow: Robert Lewandowski and Real Madrid agree terms – Daily Star, March 19, 2018

Real Madrid news: Robert Lewandowski ‘agrees deal’ after Harry Kane pursuit fails – Daily Express, March 17 2018

Lewandowski agrees Madrid move – Goal, March 16 2018

Real Madrid transfer news: Robert Lewandowski ‘dreams’ of signing for club – Daily Express, December 9 2017

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has his heart set on moving to Real Madrid next summer – The Metro, September 17 2017

Robert Lewandowski to snub Manchester United, Chelsea and Man City by leaving Bayern for Real Madrid – The Independent, January 27 2016

WHERE TO, LEW? Robert Lewandowski latest: Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City, Manchester United or Chelsea? At which Premier League club could he end up? – The Sun, June 16 2016

Clickbait all the way.

 

Posted: 31st, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Raheem Sterling: Sky Sports joins The Sun in monstering the Manchester City striker (again)

Raheem Sterling’s tattoo continues to make news in the Sun (prop. R. Murdoch) and on Sky Sports (prop R. Murdoch). Manchester City striker Sterling has told everyone why he’s got a tattoo of a gun on his leg:

 

Raheem STerling apology guns

NEVER

 

Ot as Sky Sports put it: “…I would never touch a gun again.”

 

raheem sterling apology guns again sky

‘AGAIN’?

 

PS: Sky regrets the error.

 

To recap: it’s a drawing of a gun. Raheem Sterling is very much anti-guns. Here are pictures of England footballers with real guns:

 

 

Previous hatchet jobs on Sterling: here, here and here. No need for guns for a character assassination.

Posted: 30th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United have cool £120m for Bale who won’t laugh at Spurs

Two spots of Transfer Balls on the BBC’s clickbait football pages. First up the news that Manchester United “will offer” Real Madrid 140m euros (£121.8m) for the brilliant Gareth Bale. Oh, and the Spanish shopping trip does not end there because United are also in for Barcelona’s Spanish 29-year-old left-back Jordi Alba.

United are desperate. You realise just how needy the Red Devils are when the BBC also notes that Manchester City “believe” they can recruit Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez, 27, for a “knockdown fee of £60m – though it will still break their transfer record.” United spent more than that on Lukaku.

 

manchester united bale

 

Over £120m for Bale is a lot of money but just one day ago the Mirror was telling us the Welshman would cost United £335m. The advice must be to give it a week and get him for around £20m. Bale’s price is falling fast.

Spanish publication AS, however, backs up the BBC’s guesswork with the story that Bale is wanted by United, Bayern Munich and – get this – Spurs. This is what the Spurs link looks like when its puts through the wonder of Google Translate:

On Tuesday, the British newspaper Independent claims that Pochettino’s Tottenham has joined the bid for the Cardiff end. According to the English publication, Tottenham plans an operation to bring back the player who sold to Madrid for 101 million euros in the summer of 2013. This operation would include a salary cut for Bale…

This contractual data would be very similar to what is currently charged by Tottenham’s flagship player, Harry Kane, so Bale would not be the highest paid player in the London team. Of course, Tottenham is confident that despite these salary cuts, the desire of the Welshman to play all the minutes he does not have in Madrid and to return to the team in which he exploded as a player would be enough to convince the Welshman.

 

bale spurs

Bale ‘could’ in the Indy

 

Bale must be chomping at the bit to rejoin Spurs for less money and less chance to winning anything. So why not take an even larger salary cut and return to Southampton?

Worth checking out the Independent’s story, then. The Indy is now a cickbait factory. It says Bale “could” could Spurs. Just as he could join Millwall or could eat nine shredded wheat. The Indy says Spurs “may” bid for Bale. Spurs have a chance because “United are now cool on the player”. “Sources” says Bale thinks Spurs is an option. Or as Sky puts it:

 

spurs bale

Sky ‘understands’

 

Gareth Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett is set to meet with Real Madrid officials to decide the Wales star’s future – but he will not be returning to Tottenham, Sky Sports news understands.

 

And how “cool” are United on Bale? About as cool as a wasabi enema if the tabloids are to be believed:

 

united bale

 

Utter balls, then.

And we’ve been here before. The story of Bale to Man United returns each summer:

bale united

bale manchester united

 

bale manchester united

bale

 

n transfer talks for Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Raphael Varane

 

Bale never has joined a desperate Manchester United, preferring to remain at the mighty Real and win the Champions League year after year after year…

Posted: 30th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


‘Role Model’ Raheem Sterling should stick to junk food, gay bashing and gambling

Some news that the FA has a Code of Conduct for England players and that Manchester City and England striker Raheem Sterling might have fallen foul of it on account of his M16 tattoo. The Sun cites the Code in its front-page news story on Sterling’s tattoo. The paper links Sterling’s tat to the Vietnam War.

 

raheem sterling m16 tattoo

 

raheem sterling m16 tattoo

 

raheem sterling m16 tattoo

 

 

You can read the full Code of Conduct which Sterling has not flouted here.

And you can read the list of FA ‘parters’ here, highlights of which are: Mars, Lucozade Sport, Emirates, Budweiser, Carlsberg, Walkers and Coca Cola. All the kind of stuff to get the kids fit, lean and healthy. And there’s Emirates, the airline that sponsors the FA Cup. It’s owned by the government-run Investment Corporation of Dubai. In Dubai, the NYTimes says “homosexuality is subject to the death penalty”. Grab your rainbow laces and run like hell.

In 2017, the Football Association ended all of its sponsorships with betting companies, including mutually terminating a long-term Ladbrokes deal. The BBC’s Dan Roan commented:

…it does at least finally address mounting concerns the governing body was being hypocritical and its role as a regulator of gambling was hopelessly compromised by a clear conflict of interest. However, there will still be concerns the football and gambling industries are too closely linked. It will be interesting to see if the clubs follow the FA’s lead.

The Premier League itself may not have an official gambling partner (like the FA), but last season 11 Premier League teams were sporting betting company logos on their shirts, and Sky Bet are title sponsors of the Football League.

Gambling. What harm does that do, eh? Former England player Kieron Dyer told the Mail in 2018:

We were gambling such large sums that we knew we couldn’t possibly do it in public. So we gambled in each other’s rooms, behind locked doors.

We were like clandestine drinkers, hiding ourselves to get wasted. Except the drug was gambling and there was a sizeable band of us that were addicted.

If you’re going to pretend that England players are “role models” to anyone but their nearest and dearest, why focus on a tattoo of a gun and not their employer’s profiteering from gambling, booze, gay bashing and junk food?

PS: Previously the Sun has gunned for Sterling:

 

Young man from working-class background buys house!

 

Sterling-Social-Media-drugs

Spot the obscenity – the story had nothing to do with Sterling

 

raheem sterling PFA daily mail

The Sun: Man has car; eats breakfast; minds own business

 

sterling

Get Sterling

 

To recap: Raheem Sterling is a professional athlete and England footballer.

 

Posted: 29th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Manchester City, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Joe Hart to Manchester United unless Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea get there first

Spare things are not as good as the first choice stuff: second homes, the assistant manager, that old spare mobile with the crack in the screen that might be useful should the lovely new iPhone break. So should the superb David Dea Ge get injured, Manchester United will call up their spare goalkeeper: Joe Hart. The 31-year-old former England goalkeeper still sat on Manchester City’s books, the anti-dandruff campaigner who plays with all the calm authority of a drunk on the night bus and is as mobile as said bus, has “emerged as a contender to join Manchester United as back-up to David de Gea” says the BBC. Jose Mourinho is “resigned to losing current reserve keeper Sergio Romero”.

The Sun agree that Hart to Man United is being considered. But fans of the club can quell the rising panic in the knowledge that neither the BBC nor the Sun come up with single fact to support their claim. After season-long loan spells at Torino and then West Ham United, Hart and his agent are scouting round for a club to take him on. A year go, the Mail told its readers that Arsenal were going to pay £15m for Hart. The Mail reported:

Arsenal are interested in Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart as they consider replacements for Petr Cech. It could lead to a tug-of-war with Liverpool, who have long been linked with the England international. The Gunners are going to look for a new goalkeeper after this season, with 34-year-old Cech to become their No 2 if he stays.

Cech stayed as Arsenal number 1. Liverpool went with Loris Karius. And Hart went to West Ham, who paid half his £130,000-a-week wages. There he spent much of the season on the bench.

Hart’s contract at City lasts until June 2019. The Star tells us: “Joe Hart not waiting forever for Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea to set up summer move.” That story is rooted in an anonymous source, who told the Sun:  “Joe will do what is right for him and his young family. He long accepted his Man City career is over and values playing above everything else. There is still some chatter Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea could be interested but he’s been around long enough not to be waiting by the phone.”

If the media is to be believed, the player who was Number 2 at West Ham and Number 3 at Manchester City is wanted by Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. Five of the top 6 Premier League clubs, then, are all after Hart. And the only top six club not interested is Spurs – which, oddly enough, pay their top performers much less than Hart earns.

It’s going to be busy few weeks for Hart’s agent…

Posted: 27th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: Paul Pogba’s hair goes it alone

When Denmark’s football coach Åge Hareide talked about facing France in the World Cup and mentioned one of their players, Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, the Press mangled his words. Hareide was speaking with Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. The paper headlined the story: “Åge Hareide designates the Danish World Cup quarterfinals as a target.” The full story is behind a paywall. But the Mirror has read it, apparently, and tells its readers:

“Man United star Paul Pogba slammed by national team boss – ‘Damn it, he cares so much about his appearance’ – Denmark boss Age Hareide has stuck the boot into the French international midfielder

The story tells us:

Paul Pogba has been mocked by Denmark’s coach before they meet in the World Cup next month. And Age Hareide claimed Didier Deschamps’ team are not “anything special” with no outstanding players… Hareide, who will face the French in Moscow on June 26, claimed the Manchester United midfielder is not a leader – and is obsessed with flashy haircuts. “He played against Manchester City with his hair dyed blue and white, maybe he’ll have it red and white to play us,” said the 64-year-old.. “Damn it, he cares so much about his appearance…”

That what he said? Not quite.

What he said was – and this through Google Traanslate:

“One day he [Pogba] is good, another bad. He played against Manchester City with his hair dyed in blue and white, maybe he’s red and white when he meets us.
Does he just think of his hairstyles?”

In other news from the Premier League football season just gone:

“Paul Pogba reveals latest haircut” – August 23 2017

“Garth Crooks took aim at Paul Pogba’s haircut” – September 11 2017

“Paul Pogba has unveiled another crazy hairstyle as he eyes a return to action” – Sep 26, 2017

“BBC pundit Garth Crooks has a weird obsession with footballers haircuts” – Nov 20, 2017

“‘Hair is burning!'” Paul Pogba shows off new outrageous hairdo” – December 15 2017

“Paul Pogba shows off striking new haircut” – February 26 2018

“Manchester United supporters slam Paul Pogba after he takes to Instagram to post picture of his new hairstyle” –  March 19 2018

“Paul Pogba’s latest haircut provokes priceless reaction from Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud” – March 28 2018

‘”It’s ridiculous” – Gary Neville slams Paul Pogba for dying his hair”‘ – April 7 2018

You can read all those stories in the Daily Mirror. Damn it – they care so much about his appearance!

Posted: 25th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Costa’s £39m reasons to join Manchester United

Douglas costa bayern manchester united

 

Did you know Manchester United are “willing” to splurge £79m on Douglas Costa, the Bayern Munich forward? The BBC says they are. That’s a lot of money for a player Bayern farmed out on loan to Juventus last season. When Costa joined the Italians on a season-long loan last July, terms of the deal were written across the newswires. Juventus would pay Bayern €6m (£5.3m). There was an additional €1m (£885,000) in performance-related add-ons. Crucially, there was an option to buy Costa outright for a further €40m (£35.4m).

So Costa would cost Juventus around £40m were they to sign up. But Manchester United are “willing” to pay £79m for the same player. Really?

Over in the Sun Manchester United are “ready” to pay £79million for Costa. In the insane world of football transfers – and the twilight world of football reporting – Juventus would buy Costa for £40m and the next day be able to sell him to Manchester United for double that. Agree to give Costa two signing-on fees, and the Brazilian and his agent are happy.

 

douglas costa bayern munich juventus manchester united

The Sun

 

douglas costa bayern munich juventus manchester united

The Daily Star

 

The tin lid is places on this absurd story when the Sun tells its readers :”Presently, the chances of Costa ending up at Old Trafford stand at 40 per cent.”  Says who? Dunno. The Sun doesn’t bother to show us the maths. But it works at 1% for every million a desperate United will are ready and willing to pay over the odds to get their man.

Of course, it’s all true. And United had best move quickly. That fee for Costa rising fast. Just two days ago, United were ready and willing to pay £40m to get Costa, said the Mirror:

 

douglas costa bayern munich juventus manchester united

 

Of course, if you believe everything in the papers and on the BBC, Douglas Costa joined Chelsea in 2015:

 

douglas costa bayern munich juventus manchester united

Daily Star: Costa to Chelsea. It was Costa’s “dream move”. “I’ve realised a dream,:” said Costa when he signed for Bayern Munich for £21m.

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 25th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment