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Transfer balls: Pochettinho from Spurs to Real Madrid is pie in the sky

Funny, no, how in demand Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is said to be? The BBC says the manager whose CV highlight reads ‘Premier League runners-up’ “would rather work on a farm than manage Arsenal or Barcelona”. It’s worth noting that neither club has made any approach to recruit the Argentine whose Spurs side are currently the fifth best side in the Premier League.

Over in the Express, the news is echoed: “Mauricio Pochettino hints at Real Madrid move before INSULTING Arsenal and Barcelona – TOTTENHAM boss Mauricio Pochettino has refused to rule out a move to Real Madrid.”

Very good of him not to discount moving to the world’s biggest and most successful football club. No word on whether or not Real want the 45-year-old. But they might. “You never know what will happen in football,” said Pochettinho when asked about coaching Real.

And what of that “insult”?

I am so clear,” Pochettino said. “I am never going to be manager of Barcelona or Arsenal because I am so identified with Tottenham and Espanyol. I grew up in Newell’s Old Boys and will never manage Rosario Central. That is my decision because I prefer to work on my farm in Argentina than in some places.”

Not “a farm”, as in ‘I’d rather muck out pigs than manage Arsenal or Barcelona.’ He says he’s rather retire to his farm than take a job with a big city rival.  He adds:

“But my commitment is massive in this club. I am working like I am going to be here forever. But in the end, it is like the players, you never know what is going to happen in football. It is a lot of rumours about this, about that. Tomorrow [Tottenham chairman] Daniel Levy could have a bad night and say, ‘Oh I am going to sack Mauricio’. And then I look stupid saying I am not going to work in one place or another or another. You never know in football. That is the problem. It is a very unstable situation.”

So much for the insult. Put his words through the churnaliser and the Express might just as well thunder: “Pochettino admits he could manage Chelsea or Arsenal.”

 

And then it’s back to Real Madrid. The Express says “current boss Zineidne Zidane [sic] is currently under heavy pressure at the Bernabeu…the Frenchman has admitted he will be sacked if Real lose to Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 of the Champions League.”

Will Zidane (check spelling) get caught in all those currents? Did he says he will be sacked? In another story on bullshit.com, the Express states: “Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane reveals when he will be SACKED.” He did? No. H didn’t. Asked by a journalist whether his job tenure could be decided by the match with PSG, Zidane said: “Of course.” Not will be sacked. Might be sacked. Which surely is just another way of saying the same as Pochettinho: football management is not a stable job.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 26th, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Aubameyang’s Arsenal debut is stating the obvious

Transfer balls: are Arsenal going to sign Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Germans have turned down two bids this transfer window. But a third bid might just do it because the BBC says Arsenal are “already planning the 28-year-old Gabon striker’s debut”.

Says who? The Beeb links to a story on the Daily Express (aka bullshit.com), which announces: “Aubameyang to Arsenal: Arsene Wenger very confident of deal, debut already being planned.” The Express links to Bild as the source of its story. t the foot of a story on how the German’s want Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud and how the Frenchman would fit in at Borussia, the writer notes: “Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger (68) is scheduled to plan with Aubameyang for the next match at Swansea City (January 30).”

How Bild knows that is not mentioned. And, then, all it claims to know – that at the end of the transfer window, Aubemayang could play for Arsenal. that’s not insider knowledge; that’s stating the obvious. But hook it to the journalisomobile and you get the Mirror delcaing: “Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ‘set to make Arsenal debut next Tuesday’ as Gunners close in on £60m deal.” And then the killer first line: “Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could make his Arsenal debut as soon as next Tuesday.” Or to put it another, he might not.

But to the Mirror, guesswork amounts to something being “revealed”:

 

arsenal balls daily mirror

 

And this:

 

More revelations than Elijah

 

Such are the facts…

Posted: 25th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (2)


Manchester United: Sanchez is no mercenary and Arsenal gain hope

The news media is on no doubt which of Arsenal and Manchester United got the better deal when Alexis Sanchez moved to Old Trafford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan headed to London in a swap plus cash deal. Every back page leads with Sanchez:

 

alexis sanchez arsenal manchester united

 

There’s a lot of guff about how Sanchez did and didn’t move for the money – my view: so what if he did; it’s a job and his duty to get the best pay he can to perform it. Not every athlete can be like Tim Duncan, the San Antonio Spurs star who twice helped his club by accepting contracts for less than his market value. Most players listen to their agents. And if journalists and pundits want to look around football for mercenaries, they should lower their gaze toward the men in shiny tracksuits.

The other notable thing is that Sanchez is being marketed heavily from the off, with United posting a video of the Chilean playing a few bars of ‘Glory Glory’, a song I’d always associated with Tottenham Hotspur.

 

 

Over at Arsenal, Arsene Wenger appraised his new player in unusual terms: “He’s a very complete player. He creates chances, he defends well, he can absorb distances and he’s very committed as well.”

The upshot is that both sides lose a player who were under performing and gain one who offers hope.

Posted: 23rd, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Broadsheets, manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Clickbait balls: Is this a hint Manchester United’s Sanchez is new face of Greggs?

 

Trinity Mirror is looking to take control of the Express. The company, which publishes the Daily Mirror, will then surely set about creating the largest clickbait farm in British football news. Both newspapers sites are stuffed full of utter tosh designed with one purpose: to trick fans looking for news on their club into clicking links and seeing the ads.

In today’s Express, readers are presented with the headline: “Is this the clue Arsenal will sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang?” A clue? Well, Arsenal’s deal makers are in Germany and Borrussia Dortmund, Aubemeyang’s club, say the Gunners have tabled an offer for their star player. But those are not the clue to which the Express refers. The clue is that “Ladbrokes believe striker Aubemayang is set to arrive too with the odds on him joining now 1/8.” Yep. What a bookie “believes” is a clue to a multi-million pound deal.

 

.”Manchester United was one of the teams that he dreamt about” says  Barbara Astorga 

After what looks like a sponsored story dressed up as clickbait, which itself is balls dressed up as news, the Mirror shows the Express how they do it.

When the Manchester Evening News reported on a drive-thru Greggs coming to the area – “The first AND ONLY drive-thru Greggs is in Greater Manchester and it’s open now” – other Trinity Mirror ignored the sore’s uniqueness and noted:

The Leicester Mercury: “A Greggs drive-thru has opened in Manchester – so we asked whether one is coming to Leicester.”

“When we heard the news that Manchester were getting their very own drive-thru, we wanted to know if we were getting one in Leicester – soon. so we got in touch with Gregg’s to find out – but it’s not good news. Greggs got back in touch to say there are no further Drive Thru shops planned to open in the immediate future.”

The Liverpool Echo the story was headlined: “Is Liverpool getting a Greggs drive-thru?”

“But unfortunately for all our Scouse Greggs fans, there are no current plans to open a drive thru in Liverpool.”

The Grimsby Telegraph: “Drive-thru Greggs may find its way to Grimsby as new concept is trialled for nationwide rollout.”

“The concept is being tried out at Irlam Gateway Service Station, in Salford, before a potential nationwide roll-out, though bosses say there are no immediate plans to open any more.”

Lincolnshire Live: “Could drive-thru Greggs be coming to Lincoln? Bakery’s new concept set for nationwide roll-out”

“The concept is being tried out in Manchester before a potential nationwide roll-out, but bosses say there are no immediate plans to open any more.”

The Bristol Post: “Is Bristol getting a Greggs drive-thru?”

“Although the company hasn’t said yet whether it plans to open a drive-thru branch in Bristol, its chief executive Roger Whiteside said it wanted the chain to have drive-thru shops in all sorts of convenient locations – so we wouldn’t rule out one appearing here just yet.”

Somerset Live: “Will Somerset get a Greggs drive-thru if the first one is a hit?”

“The concept, follows the launch of Greggs delivery service in Manchester, is being tried out here before a potential nationwide roll-out, but bosses say there are no immediate plans to open any more.”

If the Express and Mirror merge, look out for such scoops as: “Is Manchester United’s Alexis Sanchez the new face of Greggs?”; “Is this a hint Manchester United’s Sanchez is new face of Greggs?”; “Is this the real reason Sanchez left Arsenal for Manchester United?”

Spotter: Press Gazette

 

Posted: 22nd, January 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United: Mata is the antidote to Sanchez and Pogba’s greed

How much does Manchester United’s Paul Pogba earn? This is not to shame ‘Old Pogba’, as the BBC dubs him, to cast him as a footballing mercenary, a barb former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has aimed at Alexis Sanchez as the Chilean prepares to leave Arsenal for a £450,000-week deal at Manchester United.

The vast majority of us work for the money. Footballers should be no different. Although some of us want footballers to be role models for the slack-jawed masses, which is why the Guardian has made Juan Mata its footballer of the year. The Manchester United midfielder heads the Common Goal project, in which players and managers donate 1% of their salary to charity. Good for him and the recipients of his generosity, but relegating an athlete’s ability with the ball to somewhere below their morals is unhelpful to anyone who sees football as a fun leisure pursuit. Does journalism award prizes to commentators and editors on the strength of how many charities they give to? Do newspapers publish staff earnings in league tables and link wage packets to their owner’s net worth? The maximum fee for professional footballers was scrapped in the 1960s. The current obsession with footballer’s earnings and spending power looks a lot like snobbish disdain.

 

Young man from working-class background buys house!

 

And in the rush to sneer at footballers, facts are manipulated to suit the narrative. When Pogba signed for United on 2016, the Daily Mail stated his wage at £290,000-per week. Today the Mirror reports that Pogba earns £200,000-a-week. That’s quite some difference. And the Express says Pogba wants his wage”doubled” to match the “£500,000-a-week” Sanchez is set to earn.

Pogba’s basic salary is £165,000 a week, says the BBC. But his 41-page contract contains substantial incentives to earn more.

Will United give Pogba such a massive raise because his agent senses an opportunity? You wouldn’t bet against it. If the club are desperate enough to pay Sanchez a massive wage and in so doing risk destabilising the team – the reason Pep Guardiola gave for Manchester City pulling out of any deal for Sanchez – they’ll pay through the nose to keep their main marketing asset happy. Good for them. The rest of us should all agree on one thing: everyone should be on huge wages.

Posted: 22nd, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Money, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester City race to sign ‘the new Paul Pogba’

Manchester United midfielder and marketing maestro Paul Pogba is 24. In media terms that’s old. The BBC for one is tired of old Pogba and has found “the new Paul Pogba”, aka Boubakary Soumare, 18.

The Daily Mail agrees, reporting that Manchester City, Everton and Leicester are looking at the  “new Paul Pogba”. The Lille teenager is on the market for a mere £20m-rated. That’s a snip for a player who’s made a whopping three starts for the struggling French club.

 

Boubakary Soumare

 

The Old Paul Pogba cost Man United around £90m when he joined when from Juventus. So news that the new version is available for much less should appeal to many clubs and brands.

What we don’t learn in the Mail’s story is who first called Soumare “the new Paul Pogba”. The Sun also fails to name a source for the claim in its story “Manchester City step up chase for Lille’s ‘new Paul Pogba’ Boubakary Soumare”.

There’s no word from Soumare. But rumours suggest he fashions himself as “the new Norman Hunter”.

Posted: 22nd, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United pay through the nose for Arsenal’s bargain Sanchez

When Emmanuel Petit isn’t spending time with his hair, the former France and Arsenal player is creating to-deadline ‘news’ for Paddy Power, the bookmakers. On the firm’s website ‘writes’ that Arsenal “could have sold him [Alexis Sanchez]  last summer and received at least double the amount they’ll get now.” Er, no. The £60m Manchester City offered the Chilean last summer also included a signing on payment and a cut for the player’s agent, a man widely reported to be getting £10m from the £35m Manchester United have offered Arsenal. Arsenal were not getting £60m.

But, say it was £40m to Arsenal (the £60m less £10m to the agent and £10m to the player), the £20m Arsenal will get for Sanchez is boosted by Henrikh Mkhitaryan going the other way. He cost United £30m in 2016. Arsenal will get a player worth around that price – it’s what he would have cost them – plus £20m. That’s not too shabby. Factor in not paying Sanchez the £300,000 a week Arsenal offered him in a new contract – he’s on £130,000 a week; about the same sum Mkhitaryan earns at United – and that Sanchez is free agent in the summer, and Arsenal’s bankers aren’t jumping from top-floor windows just yet.

Petit goes on:

As for Mkhitaryan, since he signed for United he hasn’t been involved enough. I’m not sure he has a winning mentality, and sometimes he reminds me of Ozil: you really have to push him to show his character and put him under pressure to display his best qualities. There’s no doubt he has great skill, but I’m not sure he’s the kind of player that Arsenal need – they should be focused on other positions.

Put that through the tabloid mincer and it comes:

 

 

When the Armenian signed for United, he was greeted by his new manager Jose Mourinho thus:

“We have brought in the player who was voted the best player in the French league [Zlatan Ibrahimovic] and with Micki we have brought the player who was voted the best player of the Bundesliga. He was voted not by the fans, not by the journalists but voted by the fellow players and that is what means more, I believe, because when your fellow players are the ones that choose you then it means a lot.

“Micki is a fantastic player and what I like more is something that is undeniable, which is the number of goals that he scores by not being a striker. His number of goals per season is really high for somebody that is not a striker. The number of assists is also very clear because it shows clearly his creativity, his vision and his concept of collective play, and that is something that I believe is really important for a club like us.

“We try to be dominant and will, for sure, face teams with a very defensive profile which is his capacity of acceleration of the game. He has a change of speed with the ball and without the ball, and that is very, very important for a club like ours.”

“Mikhi Mouse”? Petit’s words are being manipulated, of course. But there’s no need because what else he says is entirely stupid and needs no sensationalising:

Arsenal are struggling to bring in top-quality players, and also to keep the ones they have. It has been like this for a long time. They must be more competitive on the market, both when buying and selling. Times have changed since I left Arsenal, but I’m pretty sure Arsène is still heavily involved when it comes from to the transfer market.

Can you keep a player earning £130,000 a week from being attracted to earning £500,000 a week at a different club?

…but with the money Arsenal have, they should be aiming higher. Because they are not competitive on the pitch at the moment, they need to be more competitive with wages: if you can’t guarantee trophies or at least compete to win them, then you must offer players more in order to come to the club. That’s just the way it works.

It helps if you have as much money as your rivals. Gary Jacob explains the “way it works”:

United earn and can spend much more money on wages, while City have a mega wealthy owner….Arsenal have championed a sustainable model built on being able to generate more income from tickets and corporate activities, but trail United in commercial income.

The model means Arsenal’s top earners are not way ahead of their lowest earners.

The bulk of Arsenal’s players earn between around £60,000 a week and £70,000 a week. Arsenal handed Alex Iwobi a contract worth around £35,000 a week when he put in some positive performances as they were keen to tie him down. At other clubs, inferior players earn relatively less by comparison….

In short: Arsenal take more of a punt than the two Manchester clubs or Chelsea on younger, less experienced players.  As Arsene Wenger has said:

“We have to revisit the way we structure our club, and our scouting policy. You look at world-class players now, you look at [Cristiano] Ronaldo, Neymar, Sanchez, their level of financial demands and the level of their costs, you have to go younger and certainly these players are not affordable.

“[Finding future stars] is more difficult nowadays because the competition is everywhere, it is very big. What is important today is that we are the club that can maybe give them a chance, more than many other clubs.”

Arsenal cannot compete with mega-rich owners who see the clubs as a branding exercise. But they can find stars of tomorrow. Indeed, when Sanchez joined the Gunners from Barcelona, didn’t they recruit a bargain, arguably paying under the odds for a top talent?

Posted: 19th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal transfers: Daily Mail writer doesn’t read the Daily Mail

Do journalist read their own newspapers? Writing in the Daily Mail about Arsenal transfers, Adam Shergold writes today:

 

arsenal transfers

It is a measure of how far Arsenal’s stock has fallen that they are spending the January transfer window trying to hold on to key assets rather than looking to strengthen their squad.

Rally? Because the Mail also reports in the past 24 hours that Arsenal are looking to sell Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott. And the club is looking at new faces:

 

 

Story 1:

Borussia Dortmud striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has already got one quality to be an Arsenal legend – he hates Tottenham.

Story 2:

The United boss omitted the Armenian from the squad to face Stoke on Monday night, with a potential swap deal with Arsenal for Alexis Sanchez being touted.

Story 3:

After Wenger’s initial apprehension towards a move, Arsenal are now working to complete the deal for the Gabon striker who would replace Manchester United-bound Alexis Sanchez.

Story 4:

Arsenal are reportedly keen to take Manchester United striker Anthony Martial in part-exchange for Alexis Sanchez. United have moved ahead of Manchester City in the race to sign the Chilean.

Story 5:

Premier League heavyweights Arsenal and Chelsea have identified Watford attacker Richarlison as a potential signing during the summer transfer window.

Story 6:

Alexis Sanchez set to leave Arsenal ‘in the next 48 hours’ with £35million transfer to Manchester United close as Arsene Wenger demands Henrikh Mkhitaryan is involved in any deal

Story 7:

Bordeaux’s Brazil forward Malcolm has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium

Shergold was watching Arsenal play and beat Manchester United in an Under 23 clash last night. His reports tells us:

The other notable moment of the night saw January signing Konstantinos Mavropanos make his first appearance in an Arsenal shirt.

Either Shergold is right or all those stories on the Mail’s website are balls?

Posted: 16th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Daily Express uses fake Sanchez story to seduce Manchester United fans to Bullshit.com

As Alexis Sanchez prepares to sign a new deal with Manchester City or Manchester United – something that looked unlikely before Arsenal made the Barcelona reject look a bargain – the Daily Express gets the scoop, as ever it must. No fewer than two hadlin es scream that Sanchez to United is a done deal.

 

Alexis Sanchez to Man Utd: Romelu Lukaku 'confirms' transfer on Snapchat

 

Alexis Sanchez to Man Utd: Romelu Lukaku confirms transfer on Snapchat

Alexis Sanchez to Man Utd: Fans rage at each other as Lukaku confirms deal

The clue to this being total balls is in thoes inverted commas about ‘confirms”. You might spot them, but the Google bots that serve content to the world do no. In terms of getting traffic, inverted commas are the fake news’ friend.

The story, such as it is, is classic clickbait.

…on Lukaku’s personal Snapchat, the Belgian posted an image with three emojis. The Chile flag had an arrow next to it with a devil emoji in a black background.

The image was swiftly deleted but not before fans spotted Lukaku’s apparent confirmation and fans on social media believe it’s a clear sign that Sanchez has chosen United over Manchester City.

And so after two headlines and eight paragraphs, the fact emerges:

…eagle eyed fans spotted that the image was fake. Lukaku’s Snapchat account is Romelu.Lukaku10 but the image has Lukaku’s username as rLukaku9.

Ha. Yeah. The Express should put Romelu Lukaku’s name in inverted commas, too, because the story has nothing to do with him.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 15th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Sanchez left out of Arsenal squad at Bournemouth as Manchester United wait

The Daily Sanchez: a look at the future of footballer Alexis Sanchez, currently stinking up the place at Arsenal. Let’s kick off with the Star’s scoop that Liverpool have joined Manchester City and Manchester United in the chase for Sanchez.

 

liverpool sanchez daily star

 

“Flirty Sanchez,” declares the Star, the headline a pun on ‘Dirty Sanchez’, which according to the “Top Definition” on Urban Dictionary means: “its when a man and a woman engage in anal sex, then the man takes his penis and rubs it on the girls upper lip leaving a moustache.” Is that the bitter taste Arsenal fans taste in the air when Sanchez plays?

The Mirror has the same story. But given that Sanchez wants around £300,000 a week plus a huge signing on bonus, do Liverpool want to upset other players at the club? The paper tells us:

Armed with the cash from the £142million sale of Philippe Coutinho , Liverpool have no worries about meeting the £35m the Gunners want for Chilean Sanchez.

Good for Arsenal. But those wages?

Coutinho was paid around £200,000 by FSG so stepping up to £300,000 would be a big hike — but Liverpool know that’s the going rate for world-class talents.

They do? Because the Mirror also says Coutinho earns £200,000 a week at Barcelona. Isn’t the £142m players world class?

Over in the Mail comes news that desperate Manchester United are “prepared to sacrifice summer moves for Atletico Madrid’s 26-year-old France striker Antoine Griezmann and Real Madrid and Wales forward Gareth Bale, 28, in order to sign Sanchez on wages of £350,000 a week.” But Griezmann and Bale need not panic. United have given Sanchez an ultimatum, says the Express: sign up Friday or the deal’s off.

But a deal looks very much on. Sanchez has been “dropped” (Mirror) from Arsenal squad for today’s match at Bournemouth. Good. The paper adds: “The 29-year-old is now closing in on a stunning transfer to Manchester United after being dropped from Arsenal’s squad.”

In other news, Goal says Sanchez’s family are in London to help him pack. When you see his agent rubbing his hands together and ordering a spare jet, you’ll know the deal’s done.

Posted: 14th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester City won’t pay Arsenal star’s wages up front

It’s not just the Mirror online that seduces online readers with news that exists in headline form only. Today’s back page lead is that Manchester City are going to hijack Manchester City’s bid to recruit Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez. And the fee? Well, it’s an eye-popping £124m!

 

sanchez mirror

 

And after the headline the facts: Arsenal want £35m for their player. But before you can work it out how £35m becomes £124m, the Bleacher Report has echoed the Mirror’s “exclusive”. “Manchester United ‘Close to Agreeing’ Alexis Sanchez Deal Worth £124m,” yells the website.

 

How close? The BR doesn’t know. It’s story is based on the Mirror’s story. And over there we read:

Blues are baulking at paying £124million this month for striker who is set to be a summer free agent — and Jose Mourinho is lining up a stunning player-plus-cash deal involving Henrikh Mkhitaryan

On what planet are Arsenal getting £124m for Sanchez? They’re not. The Mirror has added up the “striker’s demand for a three-and-a-half-year contract worth £400,000-a-week” and his “£15million signing-on fee”.

Do all clubs pay the entire wage packet up front?

The other part of the news is that Manchester City “believed a £20m fee and contract worth £300,000-a-week would be enough to land Pep Guardiola’s No 1 target”.

Well, £20m is tad low. And just three days ago the Sun told us: “Arsenal news: Alexis Sanchez ‘agrees deal to join Manchester City’… it’s now just a matter of when.”

And a bit of if. Arsenal have said they will only sell Sanchez if they have a replacement lined up, which is why they didn’t flog him to Man City in the summer.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 12th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Clickbait Balls: Liverpool to replace Coutinho with a goalkeeper says Daily Express

More clickbait in the nadir of journalism (surely apogee of clickbait? – ed) that is the Daily Express website. The headline offers: “Philippe Coutinho replacement: Most likely Liverpool transfers in January.”

Who is “most likely” to replace Coutinho, now at Barcelona? Well, the fifth player on the list of people to replace the Brazilian playmaker is… Kevin Trapp. Given that the story is based on the science of guesswork, you’d suppose the Express’s writer would at least look at Wikipedia for some info. Had they done sso the hack would have discovered the following:”

Kevin Trapp (born 8 July 1990) is a German professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Paris Saint-Germain and the Germany national team.

WOW! I know some ‘keepers are good with their feet, but who knew one could operate as Liverpool’s playmaker? Daring stuff at Anfield…

 

Posted: 10th, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Clickbait balls: Arsenal and Man City fans tricked by Daily Express Sanchez fakery

The Daily Express online is clickbait mire. Arsenal and Manchester City fans checking up on news of Alexis Sanchez’s move from London to the champions elect are seduced by the headline: “Transfer news LIVE updates: Sanchez deal agreed; Man Utd, Liverpool, Barcelona, Chelsea.”

The Express appears to have a scoop when you search for Sanchez news on Google News. No other news source has the story that a Sanchez deal has been “agreed”. Indeed, Sky Sports says City haven’t even bid for the Chilean.

 

Here’s the that Express headline again on the paper’s website:

 

Stuart Ballard has the scoop! But to save you clicking, we’ll not pick out the words relevant to Sanchez’s transfer to City.

Here’s the first mention of Sanchez is Ballard’s story:

Sanchez ‘no bids’
10.00: Arsene Wenger has claimed Arsenal have received no offers for Alexis Sanchez and he fully expects him to stay until the end of the season .

When asked if the Gunners had received any offers, he replied: “No and I expect nothing.

“I am focused on tomorrow’s game. When solicitations happen you respond to it. At the moment it’s very quiet. I have nothing to add.”

Come on, Wenger, keep up with things. Read the Express. The deal has been “agreed”. But what’s this? Reading on we find no word on the agreed deal.

We

05:30: Manchester City could complete a deal to sign Alexis Sanchez this week after opening talks over a £30million deal.

 

Could? What happened to “agreed”?

Express Sport understands the Chile international has been told City will be making a bid for him in the coming days.

What about what readers understand by the phrase “Transfer News: Sanchez Dal Agreed”?

But Ballard has nm’t finished. Let’s not be hasty. What else?

05:00: Arsene Wenger has reignited Arsenal’s interest in Thomas Lemar in the fear they could miss out on him with Alexis Sanchez seemingly on his way out of the club, according to reports…

And with Sanchez constantly linked with a move to Manchester City, Arsenal are prepared to enter the race once again to sign Lemar.

 

Total balls, then. It might even be fake news.

 

Posted: 9th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (3)


Liverpool balls: Mahrez guff, Coutinho paid to leave and Nike called the shots

So keen was Philippe Coutinho to quit Liverpool than he paid part of his own £142 million transfer to Barcelona. The Times says it’s “understood” the Brazilian invested £9 million “out of his own pocket and is committed to paying another £2.5 million in the future”.

Of course, it’s not hard to understand anything in the world of big business than now owns top-flight football: it’s all about the money. As Liverpool were reiterating their desire to keep hold of their best player, Nike, which sponsors Barcelona, Coutinho and Brazil, last month published a photo of a Barcelona shirt with the player’s name across the back. “Where the magic happens,” said Nike. “Philippe Coutinho is ready to light up Camp Nou. Get your 2017/18 FC Barcelona kit with the Magician’s name on it. Act fast – free personalisation only available until January 6.”

 

Liverpool looked strong when they blocked Coutinho’s mover to Barcelona six months ago. At the season’s start, after Liverpool had rejected three Barcelona bids for their playmaker, Jurgen Klopp told media: “I wasn’t manager when Suarez was sold, I wasn’t manager when Sterling was sold, and we’re not selling Coutinho.”

Faced with predators from Nike and Barcelona, Liverpool caved in, waving a not-all-that-fond farewell to the player who now joins another former Anfield star, Luis Suarez, in attack.

Minds now turn to what Liverpool will do with all that money. Well, £75m has been invested in Virgil van Dijk. And the rest? We, the Times says, “There is no appetite, as it stands, to pursue AS Monaco’s Thomas Lemar or Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez”.

Or as the Mirror puts it: “Liverpool to test Monaco’s resolve over Thomas Lemar transfer with January bid.”

 

 

Which on Sky Sports becomes:

 

 

As for Mahrez, well, the BBC reported on January 7: “Liverpool are set to sign Riyad Mahrez, with the 26-year-old Leicester City and Algeria forward expected to have a medical on Sunday.”

The story echoed a report on BeIn Sports, which guffed:

 

Total balls, then. Who Liverpool sign next is unclear, but one thing is certain: they’ll pay well over the odds.

 

Posted: 8th, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Media bias: sorry Swansea lose to a ‘pinpoint’ offside Spurs goal

When Spurs visited Swansea in the Premier League, the game’s opening goal in a 2-0 win for the Londoners should have been ruled out for offside. New Swansea coach Carlos Carvalhal says assistant referee Marc Perry apologised to his error.

But how does the Spurs website report on the controversy?

The former Swansea City target man marked his maiden Premier League start in our colours following his summer move from south Wales with an early breakthrough from Christian Eriksen’s free-kick.

It was also the Spaniard’s first domestic goal for us and came amid a spell of intense first-half pressure in the driving rain, but it took until the 89th minute for us to find a second through Dele Alli.

Adding:

Christian Eriksen delivered the set piece and Llorente shook off his marker to glance in a header at the near post.

No word at all on the offside there. No word that the ‘marker’ had stepped up to play Llorente offside. But on the Swansea City website it’s a different story. The match report begins thus:

Liberty old boy Fernando Llorente set Spurs on the path to victory with an early header which should have been disallowed for offside.

And in the fourth paragraph, there it is again:

Tottenham took the lead on 12 minutes as Llorente headed home Christian Eriksen’s free-kick, but the Swans felt hard done by as replays showed the Spaniard was a yard offside.

What about local media?

The London Evening Standard describes the goal thus: “Tottenham old boy Tom Carroll felled Son Heung-min near the touchline and Eriksen’s trademark delivery quality picked out the head of Llorente in the penalty box.”

He picked out an offisde player.

And in the South Wales Echo: “…it was more the errors from referee Bobby Madley than anything else that contributed to this two-goal defeat in a middle of a torrential downpour… Tottenham’s key first goal was clearly offside. And long before Dele Alli sealed the game in the 89 minute, Spurs should have been reduced to ten men as Davinson Sanchez avoided an obvious second yellow card.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 3rd, January 2018 | In: Back pages, News, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Liverpool balls: Coutinho is determined to join Barcelona

Philippe Coutinho wants to leave Liverpool for Barcelona as soon as possible. The Times says Coutinho “believes that he has played his last game for Liverpool”. Not that belief is as legally binding as a contract.

Liverpool have rejected a bid of £119m for the 25-year-old. But Liverpool are now, reportedly, willing to sell should the Spanish side come up with an improved offer for the Brazilian – something in the region of £130m.

Coutinho has been playing well for Liverpool, scoring 12 goals in 20 appearances. But the problem for Coutinho is that his contract keeps him at Liverpool until 2022. He earns a not-too-shabby £150,000-a-week on the deal he signed last year, but his earning would rocket at Barcelona, and that’s without any signing-on bonus, which would be huge.

So is Coutinho, who was absent for Liverpool’s scrappy win New Year’s Day win at Burnley, off? Last week, Nike, the player’s sponsor and suppliers of Barcelona’s kit, stated a deal had been done. That was incorrect, say Liverpool.

Over in Spain, the front page of Mundo Deportivo declares: “Coutinho 145 millones.” Of course, what the newspapers say is ofter utter tosh. In October, the Liverpool Echo opined: “Philippe Coutinho deal to Barcelona may have already been done.” Or it may not have been.

One thing is certain: Liverpool are primed for Barcelona’s next move.

Posted: 3rd, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: Neville blames everyone but Mourinho for Manchester City’s rise

On Twitter, Gary Neville, Sky Sports’ one-man schedule filler, has been talking about how Manchester United’s dullsville team are not of football mercenary Jose Mourinho’s making. When not winning friends with his warm smile and gallant sportsmanship – Mourinho recently aimed his trademark bitchiness at United great Paul Scholes, opining, “It’s not Paul’s [Pogba’s] fault that he made much more money than Paul Scholes” – Mourinho is making do with an under-powered squad, says Gary Neville:

 

 

On United. We should be closer to City irrespective of their incredible run but City did have a better squad than United when Jose came in. The recruitment under LVG / DM all over the place. The club should be signing players that suit the values not being taken from one extreme to another by managers with differing principles. It’s a very costly exercise and means the waste is huge. The players signed by Jose are much better and more aligned to the club’s values. He should be supported in the TM with more players that meet the club ethic.

Compare and contrast those comments with what Neville told Sky Sports on August 14 2017:

You can’t just drop your expectation because they haven’t won it for a couple of years. They have to win the league. Mourinho has to win the league here. The money that’s been spent, his own personal expectations and what he’s always delivered has been titles, so I would say United have to approach this season to win the league.

I don’t think it’s good enough to say ‘they’re going to get back into fourth’. That isn’t an ambition when you’ve spent the money that’s been spent and amassed the players that Mourinho has now amassed.”

There is no excuse for Manchester United not to challenge for the league. That’s not putting pressure on the players or Jose Mourinho, but they have to challenge with the money that has been spent and the players that have been brought in.

The club’s values? Does anyone believe United under Mourinho are a swashbuckling, attacking side of verve and character – or ever will be?

Posted: 2nd, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comments (3)


Media bias: Arsenal are robbed by West Bromwich Albion’s deserved penalty

Biased footballer reporting is very much in evidence in match reports on West Bromwich Albion’s 1–1 draw with Arsenal. Having taken the lad with an 83rd minute own goal, the Gunners were denied a win when Albion scored an 89th minute penalty. Referee Mike Dean decided that it was hand ball when, as the Arsenal website puts it “former Gunner Kieran Gibbs flicked the ball into Calum Chambers’ hand in the area”. The reporting is clear: any handball was not intentional.

Former referee Graham Poll uses his Daily Mail column to state: “It wasn’t a penalty. It should never have been a penalty.”

The Times says “Calum Chambers was penalised for handball when the ball was kicked at him from a yard away”.

But in the Express and Star, the local West Bromwich Albion newspaper, the report looks like this:

Having been the better team for large parts of the game, Alan Pardew’s team found themselves staring defeat in the face after Alexis Sanchez squeezed a free-kick through a brittle Baggies wall seven minutes from time.

There will be an inquest into that goal, which has officially gone down as a James McClean own goal, but in the 89th minute, referee Mike Dean pointed at the spot after Callum Chambers handled in the box.

No inquest about that.

And: “Albion hadn’t been awarded a spot-kick for more than 50 games, so they were certainly due one.”

So that’s alright, then.

Posted: 1st, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comments (2)


Arsenal balls: the Sun spins Wenger’s words to annoy Liverpool fans

Forget circumspection. When opining about Alex Oxlade-Champberlain, the player Arsenal sold to Liverpool for the best part of £40m, Arsene Wenger was scathing. The Sun and Mirror heard Wenger accuse the former Arsenal player of laziness and made it their lead sport story.

The Sun thunders: “OX LAZE – Arsene Wenger accuses Liverpool star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of sitting in a rocking chair and refusing to fight for Arsenal spot.” Wenger gave Oxlade-Chamberlaie a “verbal battering”.

 

mirror ox arsenal

 

The Mirror says Wenger aimed a “dig” at Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The Sun quotes Wenger. It’s much the same in the Mirror:

“What do you want to be, a big player and not have to fight? You can’t be a big player, sit in your rocking chair and say I do not want to fight. It doesn’t work like that. Every player has to fight. In a big club you have big competition with some good players. That is absolutely normal…

“I offered him a contract to stay but in the end he decided to go and we just had to try and get the best possible price.Sometimes it happens when one player who we don’t want to go, goes.

“We respect his decision and I have no problem with that. What’s important is that the players make a good career, preferably in your club. If it doesn’t happen, you still want them to have a good career. I personally think he will be an important player for England and will continue to develop.”

 

 

What neither paper finds room to note is what Wenger also said. This in the Guardian:

“What do you want? To be a big player and not have to fight? What do you want on top of that – sitting in your rocking chair and saying: ‘I’m a big player? I don’t need to fight?’ No. It doesn’t work like that. Every player can do that and Chamberlain does it. I am convinced it’s part of being a top player.”

If that’s a verbal battering, the mind boggles as to what praise looks like?

Posted: 30th, December 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Liverpool, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Mourinho’s plucky Manchester United earn point at 10-man Leicester

Heady times for Manchester United, the country’s sixth best side (source: PL table 2016-17), currently riding high in second place. Yesterday’s 2-1- draw with 2016 Premier League champions Leicester earned the Red Devils a valuable point. They should be delighted. But Jose Mourinho, the team’s manager, was shocked and dismayed. Why? Surely, like him, United’s fans are pleased with the progress being made, how he’s building a team based on youth and attractive football?

When Ryan Giggs mused, “Is Jose a typical Manchester United manager? Probably not, but United were in a situation of ‘How quickly can we get back to the top?’, we smelled sour grapes, the callow voice inexperienced in Old Trafford’s ways that cost the former player a long run as the United manager.

But Jose says he’s being short-changed. When Harry Maguire scored the equaliser for 10-man Leicester, in the fourth and final minute of stoppage time, Mourinho realised that his project were still in second place. Well,done to the plucky also-rans, you might suppose. But Mourinho laid into his players, calling them “childish in their box and childish in our box”.

Come, come, Jose. Leicester are a top side blessed with a cohort of Premier League winners. And under manager Claude Puel they reek of invention and desire. Trailing 2-1 and a man down, the Frenchman altered the line-up to a back three, brought on the never-say-day Shinji Okazaki and commanded his team forward.

“Half an hour after our second it is a game to finish four, five, six-one. We didn’t win because we missed incredible chances, joke chances,” observed Mourinho. Good job it’s nothing to do with the manager taking off United’s double-goalscorer Juan Mata with 10 minutes to play, and replacing the lively Jess Lingard with Ander Herrera in the 76 minute against a side reduced to 10 men in the 57 minute and a goal down.

Anyhow, stick with it, Jose. Free-flowing football and a commitment to entertainment and opportunity for the local youth are their own rewards.

Posted: 24th, December 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Sanchez agreed a new contract last December

Time for Arsenal to burn their bridges with Alexis Sanchez and kick out the sulky forward.

News is that the Chile international wanted to stay at Arsenal, allegedly shaking hands on a new deal last December.

Everything was agreed. But before Arsenal’s dithering board got any contract signed, the club were demolished 10-2 over two Champions’ League matches by a no-more-than-decent Bayern Munich side in March. Sanchez realised Arsenal were rubbish.

His future lay at Manchester City. They bid £60m, which Arsenal, in thrall to a palsied management structure of limited ambitions for anything other than routine dividends, rejected. Now they’ve got a misfiring player on huge wages. The only way to get something out of the situation is to push Sanchez out this January before he can leave for free at the season’s end.

Cue, then, the paper talk that he reneged on an agreement to remain at the club. Boo! Get him out!

Posted: 23rd, December 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Broadsheets, Sports | Comment


Arsenal transfer balls: Sanchez to PSG for £25m and Manchester City for free

Transfer Balls: a look at poor football reporting. Today the papers are looking once more at Alexis Sanchez, the Arsenal player yet to rediscover the form that made him such a force.

News is that Sanchez is to join PSG. He’s closing in on a move to Paris St-Germain after his agent flew to the French capital for talks, says The Metro. He was there in August, of course. The Metro told us Sanchez was in Paris to finalise the deal he’d agreed in July. But it turned out to be total balls. Sanchez had been in the city to renew his work permit.

 

sanchez psg

 

The Express says PSG will offer Arsenal £25m. That’s not too shabby for the 29-year-old player. But the Daily Mirror says Sanchez will hang on and join Manchester City for free at the end of the season, when his contract expires. City will pay him £400,000 a week. The Mail says Manchester City are “almost certain to sign Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez in the summer”. The Guardian says it’s “likely” Sanchez will join City in January.

Right now it looks as though Arsenal stuffed up in rejecting City’s £60m for Sanchez last summer. The player’s been disappointing for the Gunners. Although he never did go on strike, as the Express said he would.

Sanchez is an Arsenal player. And in late November, Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, was adamant, telling a press conference: “In my head, they stay until the end of the season. Unless something unbelievable happens I don’t see that changing.”

Not that anything is all that believable when it comes to reporting on Sanchez.

Posted: 22nd, December 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Biased balls: Stoke fouled and West Ham’s phantom penalty

Biased Balls: a look at biased football reporting. Today’s Premier League match between Stoke City and West Ham United earned the Londoners’ three points thanks to a 3-0 win.

the first goal came from the penalty spot. This is how the clubs’ websites report it.

West Ham:

…West Ham and Lanzini broke. The Argentine charged into the left-hand-side of the box and drew the foul from Eric Pieters. Referee Graham Scott pointed to the spot and the skipper stepped up to confidently slot past Butland to the goalkeeper’s left.

Stoke:

Erik Pieters was adjudged to have tripped Manuel Lanzini inside the penalty area, when television replays clearly showed the Dutchman had in fact made no contact with his opponent.

As one side sees controversy and the other a clear foul, we all should think Marko Arnautovic, who scored on his return to the bet365 Stadium for the first time since his transfer to West Ham. Not for him the bowed head and doleful walk to the half-way line. the Austrian celebrated his goal by sliding on his knees, pointing to the Heavens and hailing the West Ham fans with an ‘Irons’ crossed-armed salute.

 

 

Stoke:

 

Posted: 16th, December 2017 | In: Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


Indian bookmakers offer to fix The Ashes and offer odds on Pope wearing funny hat

After two matches played, England’s cricketers are two down in The Ashes best of five series. You might think the results so far were down to a combination of poor England performances and a superior Australian team. But you’d be wrong. Maybe. The Sun leads with news that bookmakers have been plotting to fix the games.

The paper says it’s been handed a “bombshell dossier to the International Cricket Council which details attempts to fix” the Third Test.

 

fix ashes the sun

 

Would it be possible to fix a Test without anyone realising? You could argue that an England victory would be so shocking that no-one would notice peculiar betting patterns. We’d be too busy head-butting one another, dousing themselves in beer and arranging time off work to watch the victory bus on its way to Downing Street. And if Australia win, well, plus ca change.

The Sun shines a light on two men. Sobers Joban and Priyank Saxena allegedly asked for up to £140,000 to “spot fix” markets, such as the exact amount of runs scored in an over. It’s alleged that when a cheating player gives a secret signal – a fielder moves to a certain position; bowling a first-ball wide; wearing a long-sleeve top; tugging his ear; tugging the umpire’s ear; etc. – a network of bookmakers gamble “millions” on the sure thing. We also hear of India’s ‘Mr Big’ and Australian cricket’s ‘The Silent Man’.

Who they? Dunno. So the Sun tells us a bit more about the people it did meet, who can allegedly reveal all for a not inconsiderable consideration. Around a photo of Joban dressed in cricket gear we read about his “lavish lifestyle”, house in the “swanky, diplomatic area of Delhi” and his engagement “to a Russian martial arts specialist”. Saxena “was described by his partner Sobers as a tobacco and spice tycoon with business interests in South Africa”.

They urged our investigators, who posed as financiers for underworld London bookies, to pour millions into a new Zimbabwean league where matches would be fixed.

Corruption. In Zimbabwe?! Say it ain’t true, Joe!

Joban allegedly told the paper:

“I will give you work in Ashes Test. Session runs. Maybe day one, two, three. We have two session work, one session costs 60 lakh rupees (£69,000), two sessions 120 lakh rupees (138,000).

“If you are interested Priyank will talk to the Silent Man. If you want to go with him alright, but you will not sit in meeting. I don’t know what he give, script or session.

“Right now if I tell you he want one crore (£116,000), he might want five crores (£580,000).”

Fast forward a few hours and the ICC is on the case. “We have now received all materials relating to The Sun investigation,” says Alex Marshall, the ICC general manager anti-corruption. “There is no indication that any players in this Test have been in contact with the alleged fixers.”

England captain Joe Root tells BBC Test Match Special: “It’s very sad that this has been written about. We’ve got to focus on this Test match and do everything we can to win it.”Australia captain Steve Smith adds: “As far as I know, there’s nothing that’s been going on or anything like that. There’s no place for that in our game.”

In other news: anyone who wants to know the result, can contact us on the usual address. For £850,000, we will tell them who is going to win The Ashes. But given that you’re our loyal readers, we’ll let you in on the secret: keep your eyes on Joe Root’s wicket. When the umpire raises his finger, it’s on!

 

Posted: 14th, December 2017 | In: Back pages, Money, News, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United’s Lukaku accused of throwing bottle that injured Manchester City coach

Instead of putting his finger to his lips in the manner of a kindergarten teacher quieting a group of toddlers, José Mourinho simply requested that Manchester City’s players celebrating victory over the his Manchester United “keep their music down”.

Mourinho and Ederson, City’s Brazilian goalkeeper who apparently heard the polite request, began to argue. Reports suggest Mourinho accused Ederson of play-acting to waste time and then in English told him, “You fucking show respect. Who are you?” He’s Ederson. It says so on his top. Anyhow, overlooking the older man’s difficulty with names and aversion to loud music, the debate “sparked” trouble.

In the ensuing melee, Mikel Arteta, one of Pep Guardiola’s assistants, was left with blood streaming down his face from a split eyebrow and another member of Guardiola’s backroom staff needed medical treatment. As is the way with Mourinho, the Guardian says the “escaped lightly despite being in the middle of it”.

But who allegedly threw the bottle that hit Arteta? The Mirror announces: “Man United star ‘Romelu Lukaku launched bottle at Mikel Arteta’.”  Well, that’s “according to Spanish outlet Cadena SER on the show ‘El Larguero'”.

Over there, it’s alleged – and this through Google Translate:

Triggers between United and City players after the Manchester derby
Luis Martin told El Larguero that Romelu Lukaku gave a bottle to a member of the coaching staff of the City

We’re not told who Luis Martin is, nor how he knows anything about the incident. Which makes you wonder why he’s seen as a reliable source, and one good enough for the Daily Mirror? The Sun notes:

 

 

But we don’t know who threw the bottle.

Anyhow, after that Mourinho went for a chat with referee Michael Oliver, who booked Ander Herrera for diving in the City box. The Portuguese manager than told press: “It’s a clear penalty and I feel sorry for Mr Oliver because he had a good performance. He’s a human being and tried his best.”

What a lovely, understanding bloke Mourinho is.

Posted: 11th, December 2017 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment