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Sports news, commentary and scores with wit and added value. We compare and contrast the best and worst sports reporting in the mainstream press, blogs, TV and online. We love the English Premier League (Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, Manchester United and Manchester City) and all things football but we cover cricket, rugby, the Olympics, tennis, golf, F1 and highlights of the sporting year.

Spurs striker Kane in heartbreaker horror

harry kane daily mail

 

The Daily Mail is not alone is praising Harry Kane, the Spurs and England footballer. His bare chest fills the Sun’s back page. “Everybody loves Harry,” says the Mirror on its. But only in the Mail is there a focus on Kane’s looks. Over pages 10 and 11, David Jones and Sarah Rainey gells readers that Kane is -“Shock horror!” – a footballer “England can be proud of”.  His list of accomplishments are headlined:

  • no tattoos
  • polite
  • patriotic
  • engaged to his child his sweetheart

And handsome. “What a heartbreaker cooed one devoted fan on twitter.”

 

harry kane daily mail

 

They did? Sort of. A search on twitter delivers this:

 

 

 

No-one called Kane a heartbreaker on twitter.

Posted: 20th, June 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal balls: Jack Wilshere leaves the Gunners

Jack Wilshere is leaving Arsenal.

 

Says Wilshere on Instagram:

 

jack wilshere arsenal

 

Will Arsenal fans miss him? Not much. Not if a player arrives who can do more than run from the centre circle to the edge of the opposition box before being fouled.

Wilshere’s terrific technique enabled him to shows the ball to opponents and pull it away. But then he slowed and the opponent too often nicked the ball and clattered him. Injury robbed Wilshere of many games; and under Wenger he never improved.  He was good enough to make the England World Cup squad. It’d have been a punt to take him to Russia, of course. Wilshere’s fitness makes picking him a risk. But what other English player can make the team tick to a rhythm?

One thing is for sure: the Press didn’t have a clue the talented Englishman was leaving the club where he’s been since age 9:

 

wilshere arteta

The Sun says

 

See yer, Jack. Best of luck.

Posted: 19th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Lehmann leaves and forgets Ljungberg

Arsenal’s new broom Unai Emery has retained Steve Bould as assistant head coach (a job he will share with Juan Carlos Carcedo), but booted out Jens Lehmann as goalkeeping coach, The German, a former Gooner (2003-2008), lasted just one year in the role. He took the news well. “Dear Arsenal fans…

 

lehmann-arsenal-coach

 

Poor Jens is victim of ageism?

In other news: 2004 veteran Freddie Ljungberg (1998 -2007) is the news head coach of the Arsenal Under-23 side.

Also departing: First team coaches Neil Banfield, Tony Colbert, Gerry Peyton and Boro Primorac; Head of Medical Services, Colin Lewin; Physiotherapists Andy Rolls and Ben Ashworth; Osteopath Dr Philippe Boixel and Travel Manager Paul Johnson. When Wenger left, lots of other people’s jobs were affected. That’s a tough call.

Posted: 19th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal sign Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno

Arsenal have agreed to spend 22m euros (£19.3m) on Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno. The 26-year-old German’s arrival will hasten the departure of Petr Cech and / or David Ospina.

Arsenal are also hoping to parade 22-year-old Sampdoria midfielder Lucas Torreira before his next match for Uruguay at the World Cup. The midfielder has been offered a 5-year-contract.

Exciting times at the Emirates.

Posted: 19th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Clickbait balls: Hazard keeps agreeing to leave Chelsea for Real Madrid

On a break from advertising biscuits, Chelsea and Belgium footballer Eden Hazard is doing his best to alienate the club’s fans. Well, he is if the BBC and Sun’s back-page headline is to be believed. “Belgium forward Eden Hazard, 27, has warned his club side Chelsea that ‘Real Madrid could interest me’,” says the BBC. The Sun leads: “EDEN WARNING – Eden Hazard has warned the club he will quit unless they sort things out in the summer.” Warning your employer to work hard to please you is an iffy move. But is that what Hazard really said in an interview with L’Equipe before he flew to Moscow for the World Cup?

What can we believe? Reporting on Hazard is so much more clickbait than fact.

 

hazard chelsea the sun real madrid

 

On January 11, the Sun reported: “EDEN HAZARD has NOT agreed to join Real Madrid in the summer, despite reports.”

Reports like… this one in the Sun from July 2o17. The word ‘agrees’ is in inverted commas but fro SEO purposes hazard to Real Madrid is a statement of fact.

 

hazard chelsea the sun real madrid

 

Not that the Sun is alone in milking the ‘Hazard has gone nowhere for years’ story. In January the Independent said Hazard was staying at Chelsea. Fact.

 

hazard chelsea the sun real madrid

 

The Express told its readers: “…the Belgium international has now quashed rumours that he will leave the Blues by confirming he intends to sign a new deal…However, he has claimed he will not do so until his fellow countryman Thibaut Courtois has also extended his stay at Stamford Bridge.”

Really? No. He said nothing of the sort.

So much for the trusty Express, then, which performed the same trick as the Sun in gearing news for the robots. Like the Sun, the Express said Hazard ‘agrees’ to join Real Madrid. But because Google’s bots don’t read those conniving inverted commas, Hazard to Real is a statement of fact:

 

express hazard transfer

 

So will Hazard remain at Chelsea or leave for Real Madrid? This is what he said when pressed on his future as quoted in the Sun:

“I will stay at Chelsea if the team is better than it was last season. I don’t want to stay if we are less good,” says Hazard, who might reflect on is role in the team and how you can know next season is better before its been played? “It would be too easy for me to say that I want to leave because I have done it all. I have won everything bar the Champions League in London. I am where I am in my career thanks to Chelsea. Above all I would love to know what will happen at the club next season. I will wait and see whether the manager stays or goes. As everybody knows, Real Madrid could interest me. But if tomorrow they don’t want me, I won’t talk about them any more. If they want to buy me they know what they have to do.”

And this is what he said in May, as quoted by the Guardian:

The 27-year-old knows his next contract could well be the last in his prime. “That’s why I’m taking my time,” he said. “It’s something big, so I need to think about a lot of things. But one thing is for sure: I’m happy here.”

Asked to elaborate on the factors that would influence his decision, he added: “I’m waiting for new players next season. I want good players, because I want to win the Premier League next season.

“Like I’ve said many times before, I think the FA Cup final is not my last game for Chelsea. It’s the last game of the season, that’s it. After the World Cup then we will be ready for the next season. But, for me in my mind, I’m here. I have one week to play now. Saturday is a massive game, I just want to win, for me and them also.”

He’s not warning Chelsea over anything, is he? Hazard’s Chelsea contract runs til 2020. He’s not going anywhere unless Real Madrid or any other club pay a huge transfer fee.

NOTE: Maybe he just wants more money? Chelsea are to offer him £300,000 a week says the Sun:

 

hazard chelsea

 

Although according to the Sun they made the offer last year:

 

hazard chelsea wages

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 19th, June 2018 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Key Posts, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal will miss Jack Wilshere if the go-to Gooner leaves for Crystal Palace or West Ham

More Jack Wilshere news now. The Arsenal midfielder is wanted by Crystal Palace. Wilshere might take the offer. He wants to remain in London, and confronted with the choice of playing for vibrant Palace or desperate West Ham the choice should be simple.

Palace wanted to take Wilshere on a season-long loan in 2016. He opted for Bournemouth. Should he move to Palace, Wilshere will once more hook up with former England manager Roy Hodgson, who picked him to play in the Euro 2016 championships. Hodgson reasoned that a not fully fit Wilshere was still better than anyone else. England were dire. Wilshere’s performances were in keeping with the trend.

But he might stay at Arsenal. He’s been offered £110,000-a-week – plus a £65,000 win bonus at Arsenal. He won’t start many matches, but the money’s not too shabby for player so often out through injury; and surely playing for Unai Emery offers a restart of sorts. Wilshere’s career has been stalled by injury and a sense that he has long considered himself to be the finished article. He can move to West Ham and keep chugging along; head to Palace and be the fulcrum in Hodgson’s exciting team, but not learn much; or adapt to new regime and new team-mates Arsenal.

One thing: behind the scenes at Arsenal, Wilshere is the go-to Gooner. Henry Winter has a word:

It never gets publicised but frequently after home matches Wilshere goes straight from the dressing room to a private meeting with young Arsenal fans suffering from sickness, some with cancer, others wheelchair-bound.

Wilshere talks away, giving them shirts or other match-day mementos, and patiently satisfies all the selfie and autograph requests. Away from the ground, he is an assiduous backer of the life-changing Arsenal In The Community, assisting initiatives with Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Centrepoint homeless charity, among others.

After the Carabao Cup final humiliation to City, Wilshere was one of the few players who made the effort to go over to salute those lingering stoics in the Arsenal end. Wilshere leaned over the advertising boards and threw his shirt to a kid. Few of his team-mates ventured near, fearing a deserved slating.

When Arsenal won the FA Cup against Aston Villa in 2015, Wilshere celebrated on the pitch and then went back inside to continue the party in the changing room. An Arsenal official was alerted to a poorly young fan still waiting in the deserted stadium with his father, hoping the players would return. The club knew which player wouldn’t think twice about heading back out to see the fan. Wilshere grabbed his playing shirt, ran back out and gave it to the boy.

Wenger’s gone. He was the only Arsenal manager Wilshere, 26, has played under, having joined the club age 9. Time’s changed. Will Jack, tipped as a future Arsenal coach, stay, learn and fight?

 

Posted: 18th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal fans rejoice: Jack Wilshere is leaving

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

bale transfer

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you say “total balls” in Spanish?

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


Arsenal fall foul of GDPR

One Arsenal fan received a season ticket renewal form featuring the details of a stranger. “Richard’s” letter about his gold season ticket listed another fan’s full name, date of birth, address, home and mobile phone numbers, email address and membership number. Whoops! The error is in breach of the new GDPR rules on customer data. Of course, it’s pretty much what Facebook knows about its users. But no-one cares much about that. And one form sent out by Arsenal is “worrying”.

An Arsenal spokesman (name withheld) tells the Telegraph: “We are well aware of our responsibilities under the GDPR regulations and apologise to the fans who were impacted. We launched an investigation as soon as this was brought to our attention and have established that this was a manual error by a supplier. There is no suggestion this was a system issue.”

Reports are that around 4 fans received the completed forms.

Note: At least it makes a change from Arsenal’s usual behaviour at season ticket renewal time: when fans start to hear rumours that Wenger will leave and a superstar – last season it was some tosh about £90m for Thomas Lemar – is on his way. At least this time there’s genuine hope…

Posted: 16th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


England in gun outrage; Prince George in gun outrage; Raheem Sterling in doodle outrage

Raheem Sterling’s gun tattoo caused the Sun to shunt all other news from its front page and channel the fury. It was that bad. A few days on after the the Sun had given lots of space for people to slam the Manchester City and England forward, we saw photos of Prince George and his bang-bang stick. Like Sterling, the gun young Windsor’s gun also featured at a sporting event, notable a polo rubber.

 

raheem sterling tattoo gun

 

raheem sterling m16 tattoo

Raheem and his part in the Vietnam War

 

raheem george gun

Draw!

 

Said the Sun:

Playful Prince George takes aim with a toy gun as he and sister Charlotte – gripped by watchful mum Kate – enjoy a day in the sun watching dad William play polo today.

The Duke of Cambridge was taking part in the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at Beaufort Polo Club in Gloucestershire, where he was cheered on by the Duchess of Cambridge and the family.

Sterling (picture of a gun; black; working-class; self-made) got a very different press from George (toy gun; white; uber alles; never worked a day in his life). Whereas Sterling was linked to murder and the Vietnam war – no kidding! – George is just fun, fun and more fun. Photos of the ole model promoting gun crime and mayhem captioned:

The Duchess of Cambridge beams as son George plays with his plastic pistol

Prince George shows off his sharpshooting skills as he takes aim with a toy gun

And there is more gun larks. The England football team, of which Sterling is one, pretended their fingers were guns when they posed for photos at their World Cup training camp. The Mail has a photo of Eric Dier and Del Alli is “Charlie’s Angels pose.

 

england world cup guns

england world cup guns

england world cup guns

 

Is that red on their shirt blood? And will Putin take this as a declaration of war? Over to the Sun to discuss…

 

Posted: 15th, June 2018 | In: Manchester City, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


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

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

 

Liverpool Gotze klopp

The Daily Express got it wrong

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Liverpool Gotze

The Express got it wrong…again

 

gotze klopp

Gotze ‘snubs’ Liverpool in 2016 – the Sun

 

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

 

mario gotze liverpool

 

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

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

 

arsenal gotze

 

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

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

 

gotze arsenal liverpool

 

Such are the facts…

 

 

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


Transfer balls: Jack Wilshere hints at Arsenal stay

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

Daniel Zeqiri writes:

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

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

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

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

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

Such are the facts.

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


Arsenal transfers: Torreira agrees Leno sought and Papastathopoulos signs

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

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

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

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

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

 

transfer arenal alex young

What’s a mere £10m?

 

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

 

transfer arsenal

‘I read it in the Express’

 

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

 

transfers arsenal sky

Do we have any advance on £70m?

 

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

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


Arsenal play Chelsea in Dublin in readiness for European super league

Arsenal will play Chelsea on 4 August in a pre-season rubber in Dublin as part of the – get this – International Champions Cup (ICC). Neither club is the Premier League champion. Other Premier League clubs in the competition are: Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool. The so-called ‘Big Six’ are all in the ICC to play one another in the same month as the PL season proper begins. When you know the other teams in this marketing campaign are Real Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter, Roma, PSG, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Benfica it becomes clear that the whole thing is a precursor to some European Super League.

It’s billed thus:

It boasts the two largest crowds in U.S. soccer history, the only Clásico ever played on American soil and a list of former champions as regal as any tournament in the world: Real Madrid, Manchester United, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan, Barcelona. A roster of top scorers that includes Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Luis Suarez, Neymar, and Franck Ribéry. This year, it includes 18 of the world’s most iconic and influential clubs, 90 out of 100 of the world’s top-ranked players and all eight of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinalists.

How long before the European Cup final is played in the USA or China?

It’s the International Champions Cup, the summer’s biggest club competition, and its mix of megastar glamour and debutante mystery is as compelling a proposition as the game has to offer.

Want more of this tosh?

The ICC, now in its sixth edition, is a crucial component of the soccer calendar for both the game’s luminaries and its next generation of stars. It’s been a launching pad for numerous emerging standouts over the years. Christian Pulisic—aged just 17—scored an injury-time equalizer for Borussia Dortmund against Manchester City in 2016.

He did?

American Julian Green registered a hat trick against Inter Milan that same summer, just weeks after his twentieth birthday. Sergi Roberto, then a Barcelona reserve, scored the decider in Barça’s 2015 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy in front of 93,000 at the Rose Bowl. Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and Ousmane Dembele each took their ICC opportunity to announce themselves as global footballing forces, and Marcos Asensio—perhaps most famously—did the same by finishing off a stunning end-to-end move to score for Real in Miami’s spectacular 2017 Clásico.

It is utter balls. These are brand-building matches played after the the World Cup before the teams’ domestic seasons begin. The only point of it must be the get us used to an elite league of European sides.

Posted: 13th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Journalist mocks French-only rule at Antoine Griezmann press conference

Atletico Madrid’s France striker and anti-dandruff activist Antoine Griezmann was the star of a press conference in which the rule was that all question should be in French. This was not some attempt to keep French relevant, rather to stymie journalists from asking Griezmann is he is leaving Atletico and heading to Barcelona. French-speaking journalist aren’t interested in which club he plays for, apparently. But Spanish reporter Pedro Morata is. He typed his question about Griezmann’s future into translation software on his mobile:

 

Posted: 13th, June 2018 | In: Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal agree deal with Sampdoria’s Lucas Torreira

Arsenal have agreed to splurge £26.4m on Sampdoria’s Lucas Torreira. The Gunners are working to secure the hard-working 22-year-old Uruguayan on a five-year deal.

Torreira is in Russia for the World Cup with Uruguay. His agent is in Milan talking to Arsenal’s deal makers about wages, image rights and deals on a new right-hand drive car.

Arsenal paid over the odds. They could have bought Torreira by triggering the €25m (£21.4m) release clause in his contract but offered an extra £5m to see off competition from Napoli. The Gunners will pay the fee in tranches over three years. This allows the club to stretch a relatively slim summer transfer budget. Arsenal have also recruited Stephan Lichtsteiner on a free transfer from Juventus.

Fun Fact: Torreira signed a contract with Pescara in early 2014. The Guardian notes: “While there coaches thought he might have a minor foot injury and sent him to a specialist, who discovered seven warts on one of his feet.” The verruca treatment deal is his for the taking.

Posted: 13th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: MEN dupes Manchester United fans with fake news

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

 

manchester evening news fake manchester united

 

 

Kelly writes on the page for Manchester United transfer news:

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

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

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

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

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

What did dad say? Said Patrick:

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

Mentions of Manchester United: zero.

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

Justin Kluivert talks up Manchester United move – 13 Feb 2018

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

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

Local paper treats its readers like mugs. Nice.

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


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

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

 

Lucas Torreira

Done deal!

 

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

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

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

 

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


Transfer balls: Fekir rejects Liverpool

No News – Breaking! France forward Nabil Fekir is not joining Liverpool. Fekir will remain at Lyon. Fekir was supposed to join Liverpool for 60m euros. He even wore the Liverpool shirt in readiness. But he not signed a contract to join the Reds. Nothing has happened. It’s no news news.

The Press said he signed yesterday:

 

fekir liverpool

 

 

“Although Liverpool has been the priority of a possible transfer of Nabil… Olympique Lyonnais is delighted to be able to count on the presence of their captain in 2018-2019,” say Lyon.

As said, Lyon fans must be chuffed to know their captain wanted to leave. Liverpool fans will wonder why the club wasted so much time chasing a player who dreams of playing for Barcelona.

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Isn’t modern football balls.

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


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

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

 

higuain arsenal sign

 

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

The Mail reports:

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

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

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

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

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

Which means, presumably, that Higuain stays at Arsenal?

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


Transfer balls: Nabil Fakir wants Liverpool; dreams of Barcelona

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

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

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

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

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

All hail the new Coutinho, then.

 

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


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

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

 

Yacine Adli arsenal

 

The media seem confused. The Sun says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Gonzalo Higuain arsenal

 

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

 

higuain arsenal sign

 

 

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

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


Liverpool balls: Karius ‘dumped’ and remade in Chelsea

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

 

karius girlfriend liverpool

 

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

 

karius girlfriend liverpool

Nope

 

Karius lover

Nope

 

And so to the dumping. The full story is:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Such are the facts.

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


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

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

 

manchester united clickbait

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

sack mourinho
 

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

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