Back pages | Anorak - Part 6

Back pages Category

Sports news, sport betting, featuring football and Premier League teams, players from Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United. And David Beckham. Rugby World Cup. Backpage stories from the newspapers and BBC sport

Alexis Sanchez was in Paris to get his UK work permit

alexis sanchez agents Paris


You read the news that Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez has “agreed“a  four-year contract with Paris Saint Germain? You read that the Arsenal player had been in Paris to meet with PSG reps? And like me you thought it odd that no-one had a photo of Sanchez in Paris. Now Sanchez is in London, training with – yep – Arsenal. But the Daily Mail has news: “Judgment Day: Wantaway Sanchez flies back to London ahead of return to Arsenal… but what was he doing with his lawyer in Paris?”

He was, er, agreeing to play for PSG?

The Mail doesn’t answer. It just notes that “his brief stop-off in France has led to some fans questioning whether PSG is his next destination, while Man City supporters are still hopeful he will arrive at the Etihad.”

Hie next destination turned out to be Arsenal. Which leaves us to wonder what Sanchez was doing in Paris, if it wasn’t to sign a contract with PSG? The Daily Telegraph explains:

Ruben Inostroza Povea, who is Sanchez’s lawyer, uploaded a picture of the pair preparing to leave Santiago airport, Chile, on Sunday evening.

Odd. The paper said he was already in Paris. But at least his time there was a photo to prove that he wasn’t. But why was Sanchez heading to the French capital?

According to Povea’s Instagram picture, the trip included a stopover in Paris, where the forward is thought to have renewed his British work permit.

Just like he did in 2014, when he first joined Arsenal.

Such are the facts.


Posted: 1st, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester City balls: Ederson has Manchester United fans laughing in The Sun

When Manchester City spunked £34.9m on Ederson – a world-record fee for a goalkeeper – the Sun’s Martin Blackburn told readers that now Pep Guadiola’s team could play the passing game he oversaw as manager of an all-conquering Barcelona side. Ederson is known for his great range of passing and “enormous pinpoint delivery”. He is a “keeper who can launch it 75 yards on to a bottle top”.

Writes Blackburn:

Pep turned up at the Etihad and promptly dumped Joe Hart because he did not feel the England keeper was good enough outside the box.

Hart’s not all that good inside the box.

He persisted with Hart’s replacement, Chilean Claudio Bravo, despite a series of high-profile errors. No matter what happened, Guardiola refused to back down.

The 8th Rule of tabloid journalism dictates an on-off existence. Pep is either extraordinarily clever and prescient or a man more stubborn than an enormous turnip. So it is that when faced with the hapless Bravo, dumb Pep stuck with him through thin and thinner. Or did he? Because one newspaper told us otherwise:

BRAVO, CLAUDIO Claudio Bravo dropped by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola: Here is why he is officially the worst goalkeeper in the Premier League – January 30, 2017

Pep Guardiola has explained his decision to drop Claudio Bravo in the Manchester City goal and replace him with Willy Caballero – February 1, 2017

Manchester City prepared to axe flop goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and replace him with Benfica’s Ederson Moraes – February 2, 2017

That paper was – of course – the Sun.

And how great was Ederson just over a week ago?

Ederson has nightmare debut and is already being compared to flop Claudio Bravo – July 21, 2017

You can read about “dodgy” Ederson giving City fans “a sense of deja vu”, causing “United supporters to gloat on Twitter as the £35million signing ensured Pep Guardiola’s choice of goalkeeper will remain a contentious issue next season” in the consistent Sun.

Posted: 1st, August 2017 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports, Tabloids | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez is sick, grasping and pathetic – no wonder they all want him

Good news for those of you who hate football? The domestic season is yet to begin and already a player is doing a great impression of a grasping, unlovely git. Arsenal’s wantaway striker Alexis Sanchez, easily the side’s best player, has posted an photo of himself being ill. He’s not chucking up or in radiotherapy. He’s wearing a scarf indoors, cradling a dog and pulling the kind of face a spoilt brat uses when their over-indulging parent says ‘No more cake’. His agent says he has the flu.

Alexis Sanchez turns  9 29 in December.



I love the game but modern football is a hyped sport brimful of grasping berks.

The problem for Arsenal is that rampaging Sanchez scores goals. And when you overlook all the posting and pouting, that’s a rather useful quality.

Posted: 29th, July 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Bale joins Manchester United is a recurring fantasy

Transfer balls: questioned by Real Madrid’s official website, the club’s manager Zinedine Zidane was asked if Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo (the so-called ‘BBC’) were likely to remain.

“I hope the BBC stay for this season,” he replied. “I hope everyone remains. I want everyone who is here now to stay…but anything can happen right up until August 31.”

On the chance of Kylian Mbappe joining Real, Zidane added: “I’m the coach here and you’d have to ask someone else about that. We’re working on things and we’ll see what happens. We’ve got the players who are here now and we’ll just have to see what happens.”

All coy stuff, then. But stick it through the tabloid mincer and you get:


bale manchester united bale manchester united bale manchester united


That follows the Daily Express’s news of July 19 2017:

Real Madrid star Gareth Bale has secret agreement to join Man Utd next summer


And there was the Manchester Evening News story of May 8 2017:

Gareth Bale has agreed to join Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford next season, should the club be able to guarantee involvement in next season’s elite European competition by winning the Europa League .

The story of Bale to United is a familiar one. In November 2015, the Sun said Bale was heading to Old Trafford and Real were in “crisis”. Bale never came. Real went on to win the Champions League.


Such are the facts.

Posted: 28th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Sanchez agrees Manchester City and PSG as Arsenal wait

Transfer balls: a look at dire, questionable and clickbait-led football reporting.

Compare and contrast the following headlines in The Sun:

July 27, 2017: “HEART SET ON CITY – PSG drop interest in Alexis Sanchez as Arsenal star wants to join Manchester City this summer”

July 21, 2017 – “Alexis Sanchez in Paris hotel as Arsenal star reportedly arrives for talks with PSG”

On July 26, the Sun said: “Sanchez has been demanding a whopping wage packet of around £300,000-a-week.” In the earlier report, the Sun says Arsenal have offered Sanchez £275,000 a week – which is not all that far off his latest demands.

On July 6, the Sun said Sanchez was asking for a whole lot more:



So much for the facts in the Sun, which produced not a single photo of Sanchez in Paris. But if you want really terrible reporting, the Metro trawls on. According to the Metro, Sanchez has already agreed to join PSG…


lexis Sanchez agrees four-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain Read more:

Alexis Sanchez agrees four-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain


…and Manchester City:


man city sanchez


Such are the facts.

Posted: 27th, July 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal clickbait balls: Wenger gone and Ozil is buried in the Gunners’ (wooden) box

In recent days the Sun’s Neil Ashton has told Arsenal fans that Mesut Ozil is staying at the club (proof: the German Ashton said wasn’t worth “two bob” has renewed his box at the Emirates), Chelsea have been “beaten” Arsenal to £50m Virgil Van Van Dijk (proof: none) and Hector Bellerin will remain at Arsenal (proof: nothing to say that he won’t).

The question is: do these players all know Arsenal are dead? It’s not Arsenal fans burying the club – a group Ashton says “are only ever one defeat away from another meltdown” – it’s Ashton, who opined;

‘ARSENAL Football Club, Rest In Peace. This institution, one of the most famous clubs in the world, is dead and buried. Here at the Emirates, the heart finally stopped beating.’

“So it’s goodnight Arsenal. Goodbye Arsene,” said Ashton after Arsenal were thrashed by Bayern Munich.

Proof to the contrary: Arsenal live on. Arsene Wenger is manager.

It”s almost as if football writers just churn stuff out to fill a space.

Posted: 27th, July 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer Balls: Neymar to Manchester United, Ronaldo’s secret PSG message and clickbait

Transfer Balls: a look at clickbait-led football reporting. The Sun has news on Neymar’s rumoured desire to leave Barcelona to join PSG.

DON’T DO IT. Cristiano Ronaldo tells Neymar not to join Paris Saint-Germain – and wait for Manchester United if he really wants to quit Barcelona

Ronaldo played for Manchester United until he followed his heart and joined Real Madrid. So did he really tell Neymar via WhatsApp to avoid PSG, France’s second best team, and wait to join United, the Premier League’s sixth best side?

The report continues:

Spanish title Diariogol have reported the two superstars have been in close contact discussing Neymar’s proposed £195million move to PSG…

But Neymar should hold out for Manchester United because joining PSG would be a “step backwards”?

And though Ronaldo has told his friend to push for a move to United instead, the Premier League club may already have decided to move on from trying to sign him.

Over on Diariogol, there is not a single quote to support the story. But it’s enough for the Manchester Evening News to thunder: “Cristiano Ronaldo tells Neymar to join Manchester United.” The MEN cites “reports in Spain”. But there’s only one report, and it’s very light on facts.

Meanwhile, readers might recall how not too long ago the British press was reporting Ronaldo’s desire to join…PSG:




Such are the facts.

Posted: 24th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal Transfer Balls: Alexis Sanchez goes missing in Paris

Transfer Balls: How much money is Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez’s worth? Much guff has been written about the Chilean player whose Arsenal contract expires in a year’s time. The pick of the stories is the one that placed Sanchez in a Paris hotel room in readiness for his move to the city’s PSG. He’d been “spotted” in Paris by a raft of top media titles – but no-one of them had had the presence of mind to take a photo of the player. Moreover, not a single passer-by, hotel worker or fan has produced a photo of Sanchez in Paris.

With not a muon of evidence of Sanchez ever having been in Paris last week, the Metro nonetheless managed to connive the headline:

Alexis Sanchez agrees four-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain


lexis Sanchez agrees four-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain Read more:

Alexis Sanchez agrees four-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain


The Metro adds that PSG will secure Sanchez on a £36m transfer and pay him £275,000 a week – £5,000-a-week less than Arsenal have offered. Really? No. It’s total balls.

The Telegraph counters:

Wenger’s conviction that Sanchez will stay has been strengthened by influential French daily newspaper L’Equipe reporting that PSG have now switched their attention to Barcelona’s Neymar.

Plus Arsenal have already stated their resolve to keep Sanchez.

“My mind has been made up for a while now. I think I’ve made it clear a few times that this is my stance [he will stay at Arsenal],” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger yesterday. “Sanchez has got one year to go on his contract and we have no need to make money. He will be part of the team next year and after that I can understand it. We are in a strong financial situation so we want to keep our best players. Has he asked to leave? No.”

So much for the facts. What about the fee?

£90mDaily Star, July 11

£80m Daily Express, July 9

£70mLondon Evening Standard, July 23

£50mDaily Mirror, april 17

£45m The Metro, July 22

£40mDaily Express, June 8

More fake news every day in the trusty mainstream media.

Posted: 24th, July 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester City are not facing a transfer ban over Kylian Mbappe

Things escalate quickly in tabloid-land. The Times reports on the news that Monaco are loudly thinking about narking to those paragons of virtue and probity at FIFA over four European clubs they claim haven’t followed the proper procedure to secure their teenaged sensation Kylian Mbappe.

“Monaco are threatening to report Manchester City to FIFA over an alleged illegal approach for the highly rated France forward Kylian Mbappe,” says The Times. As Monaco’s PR department beats its chest and FIFA’s money-mad bods run their hands with glee at the prospect of trousering any punitive fines, the Mirror screams:

Manchester City are facing the threat of a transfer ban over their pursuit of French sensation Kylian Mbappe

They are? Yes, they are, says the Sun:

Manchester City are sweating on a transfer ban after Monaco accused them of trying to tap up Kylian Mbappe

Total balls, of course., A few weeks ago, Southampton complained to the Premier League about Liverpool’s approach for Virgil van Dijk. Liverpool escaped any punishment.

So where do we stand on tapping up players?

“I think that’s absolutely true – what’s new?” asked Peter Coates, the Stoke City chairman, in a question that was clearly rhetorical, as he continued: “And I’m not against people trying to do something about it. I’m just very cynical about it changing. I just think that’s how it is. And when it happens against us at senior level, I never complain because we know ‘everyone’s at it’ type of thing. You could almost say it’s part of the fabric [of football].”

Mike Rigg, former technical director of Manchester City, added: “I’m not sure there would be much traction because there are other things. It’s like me wanting to try to do a better job on regulating agents – and I don’t find that easy to get any traction. I wish we could regulate them better. And I don’t think we try hard enough.”

Manchester City are not facing a transfer ban. No agents shall go hungry. Monaco will not alienate four big clubs vying to spunk tons of cash on one of their young talents.

Posted: 22nd, July 2017 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Alexis Sanchez leaves Arsenal for PSG but no-one’s got a photo

Transfer balls: Compare and contrast the Sun’s Alexis Sanchez and Arsenal news from today:

The Sun: July 21 2017 –


alexis sanchez arsenal PSG


The Sun: July 21 2017 –

alexis sanchez arsenal PSG


The Sun, July 21, 2017 –

Alexis Sanchez in Paris hotel as Arsenal star reportedly arrives for talks with PSG

He’s staying at Arsenal. He’s reached an agreement with PSG. He’s yet to talk to PSG an Arsenal have received no bid. All in one day. Wow!

Over in the Express, and Sanchez is in France:

Alexis Sanchez to PSG: Arsenal star spotted in Paris hotel to finalise transfer

Pictures of Sanchez “spotted” in Paris: nil.

The paper’s source is something called Paris United.

We can find the twitter Page of Paris United – a fan page for PSG fans – but the link to the website is broken. And like the Express, the site has no pictures of Sanchez in Paris – where he’s been “spotted”, but not by anyone with a phone on their camera.

However, Paris United does tell its followers that Sanchez is staying at the Royal Monceau Hotel, aka ‘Raffles, Paris’.


alexis sanchez arsenal PSG


No photos of Sanchez at the hotel, but the Sun is swift to tell its readers:


alexis sanchez arsenal PSG


The Sun does not quote any source. And – like everyone – it provides no evidence of anything.

Better yet, over on, Sanchez is still in Chile:


Such are the facts.

Posted: 21st, July 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Spurs balls: a ‘top-four struggle’, Kane’s ‘very happy’ and corrupting Jenas

Spurs News, as supplied by the Independent Clickbait Factory. “Tottenham Hotspur could struggle to finish in the top four next season, says Jermaine Jenas”, runs the headline in the once proud newspaper.


spurs clickbait indepedent


BBC TV pundit Jemain Jenas “thinks that the move to Wembley Stadium, a lack of activity in the transfer market and the strengthening of their rivals could see Spurs struggle”.

But he doesn’t. At least he’s saying nothing of the sort to Kishan Vaghela, who reiterates the story’s thrust in the opining paragraphs:

Jermaine Jenas believes his former club Tottenham Hotspur could find themselves crowded out of the top four next season…

Jenas, who played for Tottenham between 2005-2013, is a huge fan of manager Mauricio Pochettino. But he has identified the temporary move to Wembley Stadium, Daniel Levy’s lack of activity in the summer transfer market and the strengthening of their rivals as significant factors as to why they might struggle next season.

Jenas does says selling Kyle walker to Manchester City “has massively strengthened a competitor for that Premier League title”, but he adds:

“From the club’s perspective they should trust the manager… If it was his decision to sell Kyle then I’m sure he has a plan in place.”

As for Spurs “struggling” and other sales, well, no:

“Tottenham have got a younger squad, players such as Dele (Alli), Harry Kane and Eric Dier are younger players with time on their hands and on good money. So I think the majority of the players there are content as long as the club is seen to be trying to win trophies. The moment Spurs start settling for getting into the top four is when they will start to encounter problems.

“I just don’t see Harry Kane leaving any time soon. I think he is very happy at Spurs and they are showing enough ambition, they’ve reached the Champions League for the last three years.

Far from struggling, Jenas sees problems should Spurs “settle” for a top-four finish – and Kane is “very happy”.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 21st, July 2017 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Clickbait Balls: Manchester United and Arsenal fans tricked by world’s worst journalism

sanchez manchester united


Transfer Balls: The Manchester Evening News has big news for Arsenal and Manchester United fans: “Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho talks Alexis Sanchez.”

Can it be that Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez is on Manchester United’s shopping list? Having reached the MEN’s scoop through Google News, the story begins:

Jose Mourinho has admitted it is a ‘shame’ Manchester United did not sign Alvaro Morata and appeared to dismiss any chance of a move for Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.

He only “appeared” to. So there’s a chance Mourinho wants Sanchez.

When Mourinho was asked by a Spanish journalist if United were attempting to sign Morata, he replied in Spanish: “It is a question for Florentino [Perez, the Real president]. I don’t know the first thing about Sanchez.”‘

Weird answer, no? Mourinho just tags Sanchez onto the end of a reply. Has he done that to wind up Arsenal and Manchester City, who were said to be keen on the Chilean? No. He’s not talking about Alexis Sanchez. He’s talking about Jose Angel Sanchez, Real Madrid’s director general.



But The Metro didn’t even bother to read that. It thunders:

Freudian slip? Jose Mourinho mentions Alexis Sanchez to send Manchester United fans into transfer meltdown



clickbait manchester united arsenal


Undeterred by fact, the Metro coughs up a cut-out-and-keep guff of dire journalism. This is it pretty much the clickbait balls in full:

Jose Mourinho has got Manchester United fans very excited by accidentally mentioning Alexis Sanchez’s name when asked an unrelated question at his post-match press conference.

The Portuguese oversaw a 5-2 victory against LA Galaxy in the early hours of Sunday morning, and afterwards he was asked, among other things, about Real Madrid frontman Alvaro Morata.

But curiously, Mourinho appeared to get the Spanish striker and Arsenal’s wantaway Chilean mixed up, with many fans now speculating that it was a Freudian slip hinting at genuine interest.

When Mourinho was asked by a Spanish journalist if United were attempting to sign Morata, he replied in Spanish: ‘It is a question for Florentino [Perez, the Real president]. I don’t know the first thing about Sanchez.’

The exchange got pulses racing, with United fans debating whether it was an accidental slip of the tongue or something more substantial…

Of course, it is possible that the Special One innocently misspoke, or he would even have been referring to a different player – midfielder Renato Sanches, perhaps.

But even his choice of language – saying ‘I don’t know’ rather than categorically ruling out a transfer… has got United fans hot under the collar.

One day on from that total balls, the Metro reads the clicks, senses that it’s on to something and produces the follow-up piece:

Why Jose Mourinho – not Pep Guardiola – is the perfect manager for Alexis Sanchez

Ewan Roberts didn’t bother to check the source of his opinion piece. He just thunders:

Jose Mourinho doesn’t do innocent slips of the tongue. Depending on how cynical you are, his name-dropping of Alexis Sanchez over the weekend ranks somewhere between a Freudian slip or the planting of a seed. Whether he intended to or not, the Portuguese has inserted Manchester United onto the list of potential suitors for the Chilean – and they may even top it, with Old Trafford arguably a better fit than their sky blue rivals down the road.



The article based on poor research and what looks like a cynical disregard for readers trawls on and on, pausing a while to produce a graphic of what Sanchez would look like in the United side:



It’s “random” stuff says one writer at the clickbait-driven Telegraph:



More great journalism when we spot it.


Posted: 20th, July 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal balls: Sanchez stays and Gooners should rejoice

Barring a gigantic transfer fee that makes his departure irresistible, Alexis Sánchez will be at Arsenal next season. The club has done the sums and worked out that selling their best player to a rival would be a failure. So they’ll keep him and wave goodbye to the Chilean when he leaves as a free agent next summer. They’ll keep the £140,000 a week extra they were going to pay him in a new contract – one he rejected. And, vitally, Arsenal will field a player who boosts their team’s chances of a swift return to Champions’ League football, which they missed out on for the first time in over 20 years with last season’s fifth-placed finish.

“The decision has been made and we will stick to that,” Arsene Wenger, the team’s manager, told media. “The decision is not to sell.”

So Sanchez stays. Keeping him also means Arsenal need not look around for his replacement, which given their status outside the Champions’ League makes signing top talent even more expensive. Just look at the huge premium Manchester United had to fork out to get Paul Pogba.

Arsenal fans should be happy. The deal shows that the club has a long-term plan for success.


Posted: 19th, July 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Bakayoko makes Chelsea panic and Manchester United fans click

Transfer Ballsa look at dire football reporting.

When Tiemoue Bakayoko was on his way from Monaco to Chelsea, the media was fanning the baseless news story that he was contemplating a last-minute switch to Manchester United,

Above a story about Bakayoko having his medial at Chelsea, the Manchester Evening News told its readers: “Monaco star Tiemoue Bakayoko’s Manchester tweet sends Chelsea fans into meltdown.” The headline had nothing to do with the story, which went on to explain that Bakayoko had been prodded and probed at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground before heading out for dinner with some of the club’s players.

What Chelsea fans were in meltdown over that? The MEN didn’t say.

But that total tosh was topped by the London Evening Standard which managed to corrupt the simple fact ‘Footballer Undergoes Chelsea Medical’ into “Tiemoue Bakayoko tweet sparks panic among Chelsea fans as he arrives in England for £40m transfer”.

Meltdowns. Panics. Might be an idea for jittery Chelsea fans to stay away from the news, which operated in the twilight zone between utter balls and economical truth.

daily express chelsea transfer balls


The Express had previously told its readers: “MANCHESTER UNITED have agreed a £35million deal to hijack Chelsea’s move for Tiemoue Bakayoko.”


daily express chelsea transfer balls


One day and on even the Express clickbait farm admitted the story was bilge: “MANCHESTER UNITED do not want to sign Chelsea target Tiemoue Bakayoko and have not submitted a bid for the Monaco midfielder.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 19th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Ryan Giggs: from Manchester United to anywhere that’ll have him

manchester united ryan giggs manager


Not too long ago, Ryan Giggs was being tipped to be the Manchester United manager. And then he wasn’t. Sunderland, Swansea and Middlesbrough all wanted Giggs to manage their club said the Press. But none of them offered him the job.


ryan giggs swansea

ryan giggs middlesbrough


ryan giggs sunderland


Giggs has ambition to manage. But his ambition has been dampened:

Ryan Gigs April 8, 2017: “I’d rather go into a decent League One or Championship team, who’ve got the right ideas and the right aspirations, than a Premier League team who haven’t.”

Ryan Giggs on July 18, 2017: “I would rather coach a League Two team in which philosophy and ambitions match mine rather than going in to the Premier League and firefighting and the owners don’t give you a chance.”

Ryan Giggs – coming to a Conference club near you, soon-ish.

PS: Do you suppose clubs being a tad shy on Giggs has anything to do with this PR disaster?


giggs injunction herald

ryan giggs sex

Posted: 18th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Arsenal and Riyad Mahrez in clickbait feeding frenzy

mahrez arsenal balls


Transfer Balls: It’s been a busy day for Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez. Is he on his way to Roma, Arsenal or somewhere else?

The clickbait factory that used to be the Independent newspaper tells readers that Roma are “leading the race for Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez”. To which the obvious question is: what race? Only Roma have made a firm bid for the Algerian.

The Mirror says “the player wants to see whether interest from Arsenal materialises” before boarding a plane to Italy. “The lure of Arsenal is holding up a potential move to Serie A,” says the Mirror.


No it isn’t, says The Metro. It’s done and dusted. The Metro tells us: “Arsenal transfer target Riyad Mahrez agrees personal terms with Roma.”

Unless Mahrez hasn’t and he’s still hoping Barcelona come and get him before he has to make-do at Arsenal (see above).

Such are the facts.

Posted: 16th, July 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: De Gea (and his agent) are ‘desperate’ to leave Manchester United for Real Madrid

Transfer balls – a look at rubbish football reporting: The BBC says Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, 26, wants to join Real Madrid this summer.

The source of this story is the Daily Express. It’s source is Spain’s Don Balon. The Express says Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is “desperate to land the Spain No 1”. As ever, it’s fun to look at the Spanish report through the prism of Google Translate:

The David de Gea option is still very much alive. The current United goalkeeper is not willing to let the Real Madrid train pass for the umpteenth time and press in the offices of the Santiago Bernabéu through his agent, Jorge Mendes.

With Keylor Navas stuck with his continuity in the white team, the keeper of the Red takes a step forward and maintains a direct line with the Real Madrid controls, as reported by Pipi Estrada in ‘El Chiringuito’: “Jorge Mendes has asked José Ángel Sánchez [Real Madrid CEO] for De Gea and Sánchez has asked him to be patient because the decision has not yet been made. This year there is a lot of happiness because it has won the double, which has not been won for a long time, but next year you have to win again and if you do not win there will be a problem. ”

De Gea is still the right eye of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who is waiting for a final PSG move to remove Keylor Navas from Madrid and be able to open the door of Real to Spanish.

This all seems to suggest that De Gea’s agent is agitating for his client’s move. And Perez doesn’t sound “desperate”.

Whatever the source, the report offers no quote from player, club nor agent. We do hear only from one Pipi Estrada, a journalist for Spanish sports TV show El Chiringuito. And that’s a dead end.

With facts in short supply, the Sun picks up the story and thunders:

GET ME OUTTA HERE David De Gea ‘desperate to quit Manchester United for Real Madrid and orders agent to get deal done’


GET ME OUTTA HERE David De Gea ‘desperate to quit Manchester United for Real Madrid and orders agent to get deal done’


The Sun reports:

Spanish transfer outlet Don Balon claim Madrid will try again this summer, with club president Florentino Perez desperate to land the Spanish international.

De Gea, meanwhile, is said to have told his agent Jorge Mendes to get the deal sorted.

Desperate stuff all round.

The Sun then assures readers:

Agent Jorge Mendes could seal the deal with Real Madrid.

The story gets murkier still when you look back to July 13 – yesterday ! – when the Sun told its readers:

DOUBLE BLOW – Real Madrid give up David De Gea chase while Eden Hazard tells Zinedine Zidane he will not join Champions League winners this summer


de gea the sun manchester united


The source for that Sun story is – yep – Don Balon:

…according to Don Balon, Real have decided to ditch plans of a bid for De Gea…

Don Balon tells its readers not to panic. Real are far from desperate for De Gea:

Real Madrid, however, has already perfectly located a new candidate to become the starting goalkeeper next season. And at a much more affordable price than De Gea: Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Such are the facts in the twilight world of football reporting.

Posted: 14th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer balls: Manchester City snubbed as Manchester United’s Alves joins PSG

Transfer Balls: a look a rubbish football reporting. News is that Dani Alves has “snubbed” Manchester City to join PSG. But was he ever going to Manchester City?

The Metro said he was, trumpeting on June 17: “Dani Alves close to Manchester City transfer after talks this week.”

The Guardian told us on June 20: “Dani Alves set to join Manchester City in £5m deal from Juventus.”

On June 21, the Express told us: “DAN ALVES is set to be re-united with Pep Guardiola by becoming Manchester City’s third signing of the summer.”

The Daily Mirror told readers also in June: “Alves still has a year to run on his current contract with the Old Lady, which he signed 12 months ago, and is expected to see it out.”

He didn’t. Juventus let him leave on a free. But the Mirror had more news: “The Brazilian right-back has been linked to both Manchester City and Chelsea in recent months.”

Like in February 2017, when the Manchester Evening News made such a link, telling its readers “Dani Alves wants Man City move”.

No. He doesn’t. He wants to play for PSG. “Believe me, I am coming to Paris to win,” said Alves as he kissed the French club’s badge. “In recent years, I have been able to gauge the incredible growth of this club, which has become a European football powerhouse. It’s very exciting to now be part of this great project.”

Such are the facts.

PS: in the twilight world of football reporting, Alves also agreed to play for Manchester United, said the Daily Star:


man united alves

Posted: 13th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Johanna Konta is as British as 3000 migrant children we must not let in

Yay! Johanna Konta is the British number one – the last Briton standing at Wimbledon. Can she win the tennis comp.? The Daily Mail hopes so:

Johanna Konta tennis daily mail

Johanna Konts was born to Hungarian parents in Sydney, Australia. She moved to the UK when she was 14. In 2012, this migrant / immigrant became a British citizen.

Come one, come all, then. But only if you’re white and play a sport the Daily Mail enjoys:


Johanna Konta tennis daily mail


3,000 future Golden Children can be wrong.

Posted: 13th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Talking Balls: ‘Heroic’ Wayne Rooney walks over ‘burnt bridges’ from Manchester United to Everton

Compare and contrast the news that Wayne Rooney has left Manchester United to play for Everton. Having given his best to United – and taken their money – local lad and Everton diehard Wayne is back where his heart lives. The Sun’s Martin Blackburn calls Rooney’s return to Everton “heroic” – a word you might save for men and women who rescue people from burning buildings rather than a man playing football. He continues:

Everton signing Wayne Rooney a no-brainer with Ronald Koeman bringing in a proven Premier League winner… It has been an exciting close season at Goodison — almost £100million spent already on five new faces before the weekend.

Yet you can be sure none of them – or anyone else who arrives, will have gladdened the hearts of the Gwladys Street quite like this one. – The Sun, Martin Blackburn, 9th July 2017

Hurrah for Wayne, the fans’ hero! Or as he said previously:

Wayne Rooney has a huge decision to make on his future – here are the clubs who could bail him out of his Manchester United misery.

They say you should never go back and maybe Rooney should always be remembered as the boy he was at Goodison rather than the veteran he would be if he made the short trip back along the M62.

Koeman already has Romelu Lukaku as his strike leader while Ross Barkley wants to be the play-making No 10. Would that mean no room for Roo?

Perhaps the bridges have been burned too. After all, he is now reviled on Merseyside because of his 12 years at United. – The Sun, Martin Blackburn 25th October 2016

Blackburn awards any Rooney to Everton deal 2 stars out of five.

Such are the facts.


Posted: 12th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United balls: Jose Mourinho mocks Arsenal, taunts Chelsea and breathes

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho can be a chippy, snide sort of man. But the man who likes to mask his own shortcomings by goading, belittling and mocking others should be impressed at how the tabloids see meaning in his most mundane observations  “Jose Mourinho aims latest dig at Arsene Wenger over Alexandre Lacazette signing,” says the the Daily Express.


man JOSE MOURINHO has mocked Arsene Wenger’s decision to sign striker Alexandre Lacazette with Mancheste mourinho express


JOSE MOURINHO has mocked Arsene Wenger’s decision to sign striker Alexandre Lacazette with Manchester United saying the striker has “no stamina, no physical impact and is not a big-game player”.

What a sad sack he is. But hold on a moment. Mourinho didn’t say anything of the sort. Indeed, he didn’t say anything at all. The Express continues:

But a United source said: “Lacazette was followed because he was top scorer in French football – but a lot of his goals were penalties [10 of his 28 goals last season came from the spot]. In the end he wasn’t considered because he has no stamina, no physical impact and isn’t a big-game player.”

Words by Mourinho: nil.
Words by anonymous “source”: meaningless.

And then the Daily Mail hears more sniping. This time Mourinho “taunts” Chelsea over Romelu Lukaku.


jose man united balls


What did he Jose say about his former club to

“Romelu is a natural fit for Manchester United. He is a big personality and a big player. It is only natural that he wants to develop his career at the biggest club. He will be a great addition to the group and I know they will make him very welcome. I am really looking forward to working with him again.”

Words about his former club Chelsea: nil.
Words about Lukaku’s selling club Everton: nil.
Words on how Lukaku is joining Manchester United because he and his agent will earn a shedload of cash: nil.

If it’s like this now, it’s only going to get worse when the actual football starts.

Posted: 11th, July 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer Ball: Alexis Sanchez staying at Arsenal unless Manchester City pay £80m

Transfer Balls: Alexis Sanchez news watch. Is the Arsenal striker leaving? Compare and contrast the Daily Star and other tabloid scoops:

Daily Star, July 4:

Alexis Sanchez will stay at Arsenal

Daily Star, July 9:

Arsenal waiting for Paris St-Germain and Bayern Munich to swoop for Alexis Sanchez –

ARSENAL star Alexis Sanchez will reportedly be allowed to join Paris St-Germain or Bayern Munich – but not Manchester City.

Daily Star, July 9:

Alexis Sanchez happy to swap Arsenal for Chelsea this summer.

Starsport exclusively revealed this weekend that the Gunners are not willing to sell the former Barcelona star to a title rival.

Daily Mirror, July 10:

Arsenal willing to sell Alexis Sanchez to Manchester City – but they want £80million for him

What news in the Mirror of Arsenal’s price?

Facts to support this tory: none.

Sanchez’s desire to play for Manchester City: “City are bolstered by the belief that the player is keen to link up again with Pep Guardiola.”

And on the strength of that belief, and citing the Mirror as its source, the Sun thunders:

“LEX IN THE CITY Arsenal willing to offload wantaway star Alexis Sanchez to Manchester City for £80million”

In other news: the Mirror says Sanchez wants £400,000 a week to stay at Arsenal. Presumably, the Citizens are going to pay that for a man who’ll be 29 in December, right?

Posted: 9th, July 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Manchester United sign exciting Lukaku; Everton catch Rooney on the way down

Romelu Lukaku is a Manchester United player. He’s joined the Red Devils from Everton for £75m. Chelsea matched Man United’s offer but the Belgian striker chose Jose Mourinho’s current side over Jose Mourinho’s old side – the Blues first signed him in 2011; under Mourinho’s management, they flogged him to Everton.

The BBC says Lukaku’s Chelsea snub was because “The Blues were not willing to match the fees Lukaku’s agent, Mino Raiola, would earn if the forward moved to Old Trafford.”

The other ponderable is that United are shipping Wayne Rooney back to Everton. United get Everton’s best player, a vibrant 24-year-old goal getter who’s improved every season and is blessed with eidetic vision; Everton get a sluggish, fading and jaded talent on a free transfer and huge wages.

The Premier League is not a lever playing field. And now Rooney’s playing for a team running up the slope. He’s not going to get better, is he.


Posted: 8th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer Balls: Wayne Rooney to leave Manchester United for Everton on a free transfer

The BBC says Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney, 31, is leaving the club. He’s on his way to Everton. If other moves go according to plan, he’ll team up at Goodison with Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud, 30, to form the Premier League’s slowest strike partnership.

The Sun says Rooney, 31, has been withdrawn from Manchester United’s pre-season tour of the USA. The paper also adds that so keen are Manchester United to get Rooney off their books, they’re letting him join Everton on a free transfer. The Toffees will pay Rooney’s £250,000 a week wages for the duration of his two-year deal.

Everton are splashing the cash in readiness for Romelu Lukaku’s £90m return to Chelsea. He’ll be big loss to the club.


Posted: 5th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Transfer Balls: Chelsea and Manchester United fans tricked by invisible Matic


The Invisible Man


Transfer Balls: Were you one of the Manchester United fans feeling “exited” when Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic’s was reportedly left out of the Blues’ new kit launch?

The Daily Mirror delivered the news: “Chelsea hint at Matic exit as Manchester United target is left out of kit launch.”  Adding: “Jose Mourinho is keen on the Serbian midfielder, who was nowhere to be seen at the unveiling.”

The Manchester Evening News asked readers: “Have Chelsea hinted Nemanja Matic is joining Manchester United?”


And after thousands and thousands of Chelsea and Manchester United fans had clicked the stories, we watched the kit launch video and – yep-  there was Matic in the Londoners’ new blue kit.

The shameless  Mirror duly reported: “Manchester United fans get excited over Nemanja Matic deal – but midfielder IS in Chelsea kit launch.”

Those silly Manchester United fans, eh, believing what they read in the Mirror and their local paper.


Posted: 5th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0