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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.

Transfer News: Everton fans drive John Stones out, Chelsea want Linpeng, Arsenal meet Higuain asking price

higuain arsenal

 

It was obvious, really. The way to keep John Stones from leaving Everton is for the club’s fans to make him “flee” his Widnes home and hide out in a hotel. Well, so says the Sun and who in Liverpool can doubt the veracity of that paper’s reporting on the Merseyside teams?

No news on how fans of Wolfsburg have taken the news that Kevin de Bruyne will head to Manchester City for a weekly retainer of £200,000, says the Telegraph , or £300,000 a week if you believe the Daily Mirror.

Liverpool’s Serbian winger Lazar Markovic, 21, a £20m signing from Benfica just last summer, has left Anfield to join Fenerbahce on a season-long loan in the tax-free Turkish leagues, says the Daily Mail

Another on his way to Turkey – maybe – is Chelsea and Nigeria midfielder John Mikel Obi, 28. Besiktas are keen on the uninspiring midfielder, says the Daily Mirror. 

The Guardian says Norwich have offered £1.5m for Stoke City’s never-say-die Jonathan Walters. Stoke says that offer is laughably low.

The Times relays news from Chinese media that Chelsea are after Zhang Linpeng, who plays for (it says here) Guangzhou Evergrande.

Also in the Times news that West Ham United still want Tottenham’s Emmanuel Adebayor. The 31-year-old former Arsenal and Manchester City striker turned down the chance to reunite with Tim Sherwood at Aston Villa because he wanted to stay in London. Adebayor is in the last year is a contract worth £100,000-a-week. West Ham think he’s worth it.

According to the Daily Express, Arsenal will offer £59m for Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain. The Italian will reject that vast sum and only sell in January for reasons that are as clear as mud.

 

 

 

Posted: 28th, August 2015 | In: Arsenal, Manchester City, Spurs | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer Balls: Tottenham play poker with Berahino, West Brom player holding twitter cards

saido

 

Tottenham’s move for West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino will come to nothing. Albion chariman Jeremy Peace is unimpressed with Spurs’ recent bid of £22 million (made in “stage payments and add-ons”). He wants £25m in a single hit.

Says Peace:

“As I have made clear from the moment Tottenham lodged their first bid for Saido on August 18, selling our top goalscorer was never on our agenda this summer. Not only have the offers been too low as a valuation of the player, but they have been based on stage payments and add-ons over a long period, which do nothing to reflect Saido’s ability and potential.

“I have the greatest respect for Daniel Levy but he must surely appreciate we would have needed to replace Saido had he left and no consideration of that position has been reflected by Tottenham’s strategy.”

Will he keep his word? It looks like it. Peace has told Berahino that’s he’s staying.

But Harry Redknapp (who he?), says it’s all bluff – and he should know.

“It’s only a game of poker at the moment between (Tottenham chairman) Daniel Levy and Jeremy Peace,” Redknapp said. “Jeremy Peace holds all the aces in that situation because Tottenham are desperate for a striker – he’s the one they’ve identified, so I think the deal will happen before the deadline. Everything’s probably all done with the player behind the scenes. He probably has a good idea about where he’s going to live, even.”

As for the player, well, he’s “cut his ties with West Brom – on social media”, says Sky Sports. Saido has unfollowed West Brom on twitter – which might be most pathetic thing we’ve hear all year.

 

Posted: 28th, August 2015 | In: Sports, Spurs | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal Transfer Balls: Cavani a ‘cert’, Benzema dead and alive, Wenger’s deadline day dash

Arsenal are chasing Paris St Germain striker Edinson Cavani, says the Metro. The Uruguayan is “Arsenal’s number one transfer target”. This is because the move for Karim Benzema is “dead“.

We know this because Tim Vickery told Talksport that it’sbelieved that Arsenal are interested in the player:

‘The angle the Uruguayan press are going with is that now with Benzema now not going to happen, Arsenal have set their sights on Cavani.”

So trusted is Vickery that the Daily Star hears his paper review and thunders:

“Arsenal are 100% chasing Manchester United target Edinson Cavani”

The Independent says no less a man that Arsene Wenger has “fuelled” the Cavani rumours”:

“I am always confident that a last-minute situation or solution is available, because the transfer market is especially moving in the last four or five days,” said Wenger.

“But at the moment I cannot promise you that. We work very hard, you know I have a team around me who work day and night to find good solutions but at the moment we are not close to signing anyone.”

Mention of Cavani: nil.

Amid so much guesswork and having stated that Benzema is winning a race with Simon Cowell’s forehead to see which can move the least, the Metro then says:

“Arsenal have held talks with Karim Benzema’s agent over a move to the club… Arsenal [are] still seemingly hopeful of signing the striker before the window shuts on Tuesday.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 28th, August 2015 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Everton: Chelsea target John Stones ‘chased out of home by irate fans’

The Sun says Everton star John Stones “has been forced to flee home — after being terrorised by furious Everton fans.”

Really?

The Toffees turned down Chelsea’s latest £37million offer for the defender and insisted they will not sell the England star.

But Stones asked to leave the club.

Yet Stones, 21, was targeted by Everton supporters at his home in Widnes, Cheshire, and is now living in a hotel to avoid the problems.

 

Really?

That sounds like balls.

More to follow…

 

 

Posted: 27th, August 2015 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer Balls: Kevin De Bruyne joins Manchester City for £56million and £300,000 a week

Kevin De Bruyne will become a Manchester City player tomorrow, says the Times.

The paper says City have agreed to invest £56 million in Wolfsburg’s Belgium midfielder. Patrick De Koster, De Bruyne’s agent, says that to the best of his knowledge his client has not agreed a five-year contract, worth nearly £230,000 a week.

The Guardian tells him that the deal has been struck at £54m.  Did he get the memo?

The Daily Mirror has seen it. But it says the Times is wrong – De Bruyne will earn – get this – £300,000 a week to kiss the Man City badge. Hell, for that money the former Chelsea man will even move to Manchester.

 

 

Posted: 27th, August 2015 | In: Chelsea, Manchester City, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer Balls: why Everton rejected Chelsea’s bid for John Stones

stones chelsea

 

John Stones wants to leave Everton. Chelsea have been tapping on the player’s door all summer, keen to spend all that filthy lucre on the great English hope. Everton are not a big brand. They cannot offer Stones Champions’ League football and massive wages. Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea can.

But Everton can offer Stones a home where he can make mistakes and learn his trade. They can offer him loyal fans who do not turn up only to see their side win, and a young talented manager who wants to keep him.

Stones should stay at Goodison Park, writes Tony Barrett.

The theory throughout an increasingly tortuous transfer saga has been that there would be an offer that would make Everton buckle, but by adopting such a strong position through their manager, the club have given themselves the best possibly chance of keeping Stones.

Should they do so, they will send a message to clubs in a similar position that they do not have to yield to the league’s biggest fish; that even when a player has formally expressed his desire to go, they can ensure that he sticks to the contract he signed and prevent a scenario in which a club as powerful as Chelsea make themselves even stronger at your expense.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 27th, August 2015 | In: Chelsea, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Watch: Usain Bolt get taken out with a Segway on his victory lap

 

Usain Bolt had claimed his second gold of the World Championships in Beijing by winning the 200 metres, when a cameraman on wheels took him out.

The World Athletics Championships needed a stand-out moment and, perhaps, this was it?

* High time all journalists, TV crew, mascots and assorted stewards were tested for performance enhancing and impairing drugs.

Posted: 27th, August 2015 | In: Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer Balls: Chelsea undercut Barcelona’s winning Pogba bid

Transfer Balls salutes the work of the Daily Mail which today reports that Chelsea have tabled a £54million bid for Paul Pogba. Juventus saw the bid and rejected it.

The paper than adds that Chelsea won’t get Pogba anyhow.

Barcelona held formal talks in June with Juventus over Pogba and believe they have an option for signing the 22-year-old next summer with the valuation set at around £73million.

So how can Chelsea have hoped to by the former Manchester United player for less then the £73m Barcelona had set aside?

And earlier the Mail said that Barcelona had seen a bid or £57m rejected – still more than chela’s bid.

 

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And what of the part about Manchester City giving up on Pogba? That’s odd because the Mail told us the Citizens had £70m earmarked for the Frenchman.

 

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Such are the facts in the Daily Mail.

 

Posted: 27th, August 2015 | In: Chelsea, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United: Alex Ferguson makes the most useless signing of his life

Today is 26th August, 2015 – the date that will echo throughout history as the day Sir Alex Ferguson joined the LinkedIn.

For those blissfully unaware, LinkedIn is a social networking site aimed at professionals. It is also responsible for generating almost 70% of the internet’s entire quota of unsolicited emails, but that’s really by-the-by. It is utterly useless.

Anyway, Sir Alex has created an account, billing himself as a “Director, Ambassador, Visiting Fellow and Author”. Yeah, we fibbed about the ‘dreamweaver’ bit. Apologies where due.

It should be visible here if you happen to be a LinkedIn member.

 

alex ferguson linked in

 

 

The 73-year-old former Manchester United manager has joined LinkedIn to coincide with the release of his latest book, ‘Leading’, in which he details the various managerial techniques he used to transform United into the global success they are today – screaming indecipherably in people’s faces, lacerating people’s eyebrows with flying Adidas Predators, that kind of thing.

Sadly, users will only be able to contact Sir Alex if they know him personally, thus depriving fans of rivals teams the opportunity to engage in direct slanging.

Damn shame. There could have been some decent mileage in that.

Posted: 27th, August 2015 | In: manchester united, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United: Van Gaal looks to Sam Allardyce for inspiration

Manchester United under Louis Van Gaal will not be pretty to watch. The manager tells media:

“I divide football in four main moments, and we have two moments where the opponent has the ball and then we are at our best, I think. We proved that last year already and now we are continuing with a lot of clean sheets, so that is very important, but we have to improve when we have the ball.”

George Graham, where are you now?

But that’s doing the former Arsenal manager a disservice. Van Gaal’s method is more in the Sam Allardyce mould: keep it tight at the back and hit it long to the big man up front. And Marouane Fellaini is big. Is the Belgian happy to be United’s number 9?

“It’s not important where I play, it’s important to win the game,” Fellaini said. “It’s different playing in midfield to play as a striker or No 10, but I enjoy all the positions I can play. I am looking forward to doing well and scoring some goals.”

And he’ll score – so long as Romero’s ‘passing’ is up to it.

 

 

Posted: 26th, August 2015 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Trasnfer Balls: Chelsea finally get John Stones to leave Everton

John Stones has finally asked to leave Everton. The Barnsley lad has popped in a transfer request and kickstarted his lucrative move to Chelsea.

 

 

The ubiquitous and mysterious ‘Sky Sources’ says the Everton centre-half has handed in a transfer requests at Goodison Park in order to push through his move to the Blues.

Chelsea have already made three bids for the 21-year-old, the last of which hit the £30million mark, which shows just how desperate Jose Mourinho is to get his hands on the England starlet.

Roberto Martinez has consistently denied that Stones, seen as a natural replacement for John Terry in Chelsea’s backline, is going anywhere but this latest apparent twist may well pave the way for the big-money move.

 

Surely this one is now going to happen.

Posted: 25th, August 2015 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer Balls: Neymar wants to play for Manchester United just like Pique does for Real Madrid

More scoops a -plenty in the trusty Daily Star, where journalism “clown” (source: Karim Benzema) Jack Wilson says Neymar wants to play for Manchester United.

 

Untitled

 

Neymar wants to leave the mighty Barcelona for life under Louis Van Gaal in Manchester? Is he mad?

 

JAck Wilson daily star

 

Jack Wilson has all the facts. And aside from the parts about Neymar wanting to play for Man United and Gerard Pique playing for Real Madrid (he plays for Barcelona at the Nou Camp; and unlike Madrid’s Sergio Ramos, the Spaniard never did use United’s interest to negotiate a pay rise) it’s all spot on.

 

Posted: 25th, August 2015 | In: manchester united, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer Balls: Arsenal defy the Daily Star and refuse to unveil Benzema before Liverpool match

Did you see Arsenal unveil their new striker Karim Benzema before last night’s Liverpool match? Or were you reading the Daily Star when it happened, your eyes searching the pages for more scoops?

 

Untitled

 

For those of you who missed the great unveiling, here’s Karim:

 

benzema arsenal laughs

 

Meanwhile…over at the Daily Star’s Big Top, Jack Wilson is tripping over his size 34s…

Posted: 25th, August 2015 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer Balls: Chelsea reduce their offer for Paul Pogba

Transfer Balls: Chelsea are all set to make a £72m, bid for France and Juventus player Paul Pogba, says the Daily Express.

 

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Readers may well wonder if Pogba is worth such a vast sumn After all, the Express has told us he’s worth far les. In a series of exclusives and plain balls, the Express has reported that Chelsea have offered as much as £86m and as low as £40m for the player they will today hope to sign for £71m.

 

August 22: £60m

 

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August 21: £86m

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August 20: £80m

The raid is £40m for John Stones plus £80m for Pogba.

 

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August 6: £71m

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July: £40m

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 07.42.40

 

 

Such are the facts.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted: 25th, August 2015 | In: News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer Balls: Manchester United move for Kevin De Bruyne

With Belgian footballer Kevin De Bruyne seemingly all set to join Manchester City, Christian Ortlepp, Chief Reporter at German channel, Sport1, says Manchester United have moved for the Wolfsburg winger.

Ortlepp cites a fee of £55m.

The Express says the offer is £58m.

The Telegraph says Bayern Munich also want the 24-year-old former Chelsea player. Mark Ogden writes:

And De Bruyne’s reluctance to agitate for a move has opened the door for Bayern, who have maintained a long-term interest in the player. Paris Saint-Germain have also notified Wolfsburg of their interest in De Bruyne, but Bayern have made it clear to their German rivals that they will not make a formal move for the goalscoring midfielder until the end of this season.

That scoop has been addressed by Bayern Munich Club press officer Markus Horwick:

“We will definitely not be as active. That the Executive Board decided a long time ago.”

Wolfsburg are owned by Volkswagen, so they’re not exactly in dire need of cash. 

Sky quotes Wolfsburg sports director Klaus Allofs:

“I want to stress that we are making every effort to convince him to stay. But we are equally serious about dealing with these issues should we have serious offers in front of us. Then we will discuss it and take a decision.”

This one will go to the wire.

Posted: 25th, August 2015 | In: Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Watch: Arsenal’s Petr Cech saves Arsenal – Liverpool saved by bad refereeing

On Petr Cech’s home Arsenal debut he gifted West Ham a 0-2 victory. Tonight against Liverpool he kept the Gunners in the game, keeping out a bending shot from Liverpool’s lively Philippe Coutinho with his fingertips.

And then against Benteke – who should really have scored:

At the other end, Arsenal scored a perfectly good goal wrongly adjudged offside:

Lucky Liverpool – again.

Posted: 24th, August 2015 | In: Arsenal, Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer Balls: Karim Benzema says Arsenal rumours are a joke

What news of Karim Beenzema’s transfer to Arsenal? The Metro says Arsenal are “set to lodge a £50m bid for his services”. Real Madrid’s French striker is “ready to accept a transfer to the Emirates”. The Daily Star hears a “Madrid insider” says Arsenal will take the player in “the next 48  hours”.

According to no less an authority than the Daily Star, Karim Benzema will arrive at Arsenal today. The Daily Telegraph told us he joined Arsenal two weeks ago.

The player has taken time out from his packing to tell fans that, er, it’s not happening, tweeting:

For all those clowns who want to make believe things at my fans. Here this is my home !

 

benzema arsenal laughs

 

Or as the Star, Metro and Daily Telegraph would surely put it: “Benzema looks for second home in Arsenal!”

 

Posted: 24th, August 2015 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer Balls: Manchester United’s bid for Neymar amazes his agent

Transfer Balls – a look at news of Neymar’s supposed transfer to Manchester United.

The Daily Star says United have bid for the Brazil and Barcelona star. Writes Leeroy Jenkins:

Bid made! Manchester United submit offer for Barcelona star Neymar

The paper has no facts and no source for its story.

Today, the Guardian has also taken up the story of Neymar’s mooted transfer from Barcelona to Manchester United. It says he might come to Old Trafford…maybe.

This story started life in the Sun, which told readers of “secret talks” to buy the 23-year-old Brazil and Barcelona forward.

The Sun’s Shaun Curtis said “a top Barcelona source” had told him that United have made a “discreet approach” to the La Liga champions.

United’s Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has been to Barcelona three times in the last two months. We all thought he was after signing Pedro.

Curtis reasons that if Neymar joined United “he would become the undisputed main man and a challenger for the title of World Player of the Year”.

Neymar’s current Barcelona deal expires in the summer of 2018 – and he does want a new deal but he’ll get one anyway. In June, the Mail told us: “Josep Maria Bartomeu will offer Neymar a new deal if he wins the election.”

Bartomeu won.

The Mail added that Barcelona’s new chief was “ready to throw even more money at him to keep the 23-year-old happy at the Nou Camp”.

Might this story of a move to Old Tafford be a ploy – Neymar reminds Barcelona of his worth and engineers a pay rise? The old Sergio Ramos flip-flopperoo?

Whatever the thinking, that seems to comprise the background of the Guardian’s news that Neymar  is “open to joining from Barcelona… although there is a recognition the transfer is unlikely to occur before the current window closes.”

The paper cites “sources close to the forward”, who say Neymar is “attracted by the size and history of United and the chance to play in the Premier League”.

He might also be excited about playing at Barcelona, or in Italy, or for Bayern Munich. The feeling at Pies Towers is that this one is not going to happen. We’re loathe to use the word ‘spurious’ but hey, if the shoes fits.

Indeed, GloboEsporte hears from Neymar’s agent Wágner Ribeiro who “afirmou não ter sido procurado e que tudo não passa de factoide por conta da proximidade do fim da janela de transferências na Europa, no próximo dia 31.”

Portuguese to English translation: It’s total balls.

Posted: 24th, August 2015 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Jermain Defoe wants a secretary to turn him into a ‘global brand’

defoe brand

 

Sunderland FC striker Jermain Defoe is looking for a new executive personal assistant to keep his life in order. The role is “demanding“. You will take his calls, stock the fridge, build him apps and turn Jermain Defoe into a global brand with a clothing line and fragrance.

The job appears on SECS In The City:

 

jermain defoe brand

 

Spotter: Pies

 

Posted: 24th, August 2015 | In: Money, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer Balls: Benzema arrival at Arsenal delayed

benzema arsenal transfer

 

The Metro continues to report on rumours of Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema joining Arsenal. In the free paper’s race to make news from air, George Bellshaw writes about “Arseneal”:

Karim Benzema is reportedly ready to complete a transfer to Arsenal from Real Madrid… a deal worth £48million is believed to be on the cards that would see Benzema join Arsenal in the coming weeks.

Given that the transfer window shuts on September 1, weeks is too long.

Metro reader will also be shocekd by the news, having read in the trusty organ:

August 22: “Arsenal preparing to reveal Karim Benzema transfer at home to Liverpool”

Arsenal play Liveprool tinight.

Posted: 24th, August 2015 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal bid for Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender (just like every year)

Lars Bender Arsenal transfer

 

Arsenal wil make a bid of £18m for Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender, says the Mirror. The paper’s scoop contains not a single fact, other than nerws that an Arsenal scout watched the German (and everyone other player on the pitch) in Bayer’s Champion’s League qualifier against Lazio.

Arsenal fans should realise that Bender to Arsenal is a annual favourite on the rumour mill.

 

November 2012, The Sun

MANCHESTER UNITED and Arsenal face a struggle to sign German star Lars Bender.

 

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September 2013, Daily Star

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May 2014, Daily Mirror

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July 2014, Daily Mail

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November 2014, Daily Express

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So Bender to Arsenal it is…

 

 

 

Posted: 24th, August 2015 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Arsenal: Wenger on Sterling, Benteke and beating Liverpool

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been talking ahead of his side’s match with Liverpool. The Sun heard the same words as us but headlines its version of events: “Wenger in Kop strop.” Utter balls, of course.

 

On Sterling’s Departure

“They refused to sell us Luis Suárez, so I cannot feel too much sympathy for them. Liverpool are in a position that they can make their own decisions.”

On Sterling

“I personally rate Raheem Sterling. I personally don’t think that Sterling was making a lot of drama. It’s just during the transfer window. During the season the boy was quiet, never made any stupid statement or noise. With Suárez, [Daniel] Sturridge, Sterling, they scored over a hundred goals. To do that you need special quality, and Sterling was part of that.”

On Form

“You need to be strong at home, that is for sure. “If you want to win the championship you need to win your home games. It can happen that you lose the odd game, but overall you need home strength. Against teams who came only to defend, we didn’t find the goal. But it happens to all the other teams as well. Normally you would think over 19 games you can sometimes be unlucky once or twice. Most of the time if you really dominate the games you will win. Liverpool will be a different game than West Ham. Against West Ham, we conceded from a set piece and after it was difficult.”

On Benteke

“Yes we will work on it [stopping him]. We managed to deal with him in the [FA Cup]  final. Then again, every game is a new challenge and we have to show that we can do it. He has the stature, he is good in the air, protects the ball well.”

On New Players

“It’s an impossible job [keeping everyone happy] but that’s why I tell you I always get asked two questions — why don’t you buy more players, and how do you keep them all happy now? You have to get the numbers right. If you have a certain number of players who think they will never have a chance to play, it kills something. Not enough players creates too much of a comfort zone.”

Arsenal host Liverpool tonight.

Posted: 24th, August 2015 | In: Arsenal, Liverpool, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Dead Arsenal fan’s final comment on a Gunner who moved on

geof cohen hleb

 

Geof Cohen never rated Alexander Hleb. It says just that on Mr Cohen’s ’tile’ outside the Emirates.

Geof’s son, Howard explained:

“My father thought he was rubbish. He followed Arsenal since the 1950s. Wanted something in his memory that captured his banter.”

It’s what Hleb would have wanted.

 

Posted: 23rd, August 2015 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


John Stones: Everton’s ‘new Rio Fedinand’ will be a Chelsea great

John Stones is football’s player in demand. The Everton and England defender is being stalked by Chelsea. The Londoners say Stones is worth £30m. Everton rejected an offer for that sum. They want more. He’s that good.

The Times‘ Jonathan Northcroft has bene speaking with David Moyes, the then Everton manger who signed Stones from Barnsley.

The scouts picked Stones. They told Moyes: “That young defender at Barnsley you’ve had us tracking — go and get him. He has a real chance.”

What did Moyes see?

“He looked this young, thin boy, but he had a natural comfort on the ball, a comfort that didn’t look coached or taught but was just something he’d got. You could see he’d need to get stronger and work on his speed, but his ability to take the ball was special. It’s something you don’t see a lot in British defenders and that’s what made him stand out. He’s the most comfortable English central defender on the ball I’ve seen since Rio Ferdinand. He reads the game and he’s calm in possession, a natural footballer. He has an ability to not look under any pressure.”

Moyes says Stones was bought for £1.25m.

Says Moyes:

“I have to give credit to my recruitment department at Everton. They were always looking exhaustively in the lower leagues. We always looked for British players, English talent, because that formed such a huge part of the identity of the club and the teams I built.

“We had John watched from the start of that season and the reports always came back positively and, because the deal was at the lower end of the financial scale, I was trusting my scouts anyway. But when I saw John for myself I didn’t take much convincing.”

 

 

Moyes reminds us that Stones is just 21.

“As a young boy, John took some risks, but his decision making got better and better and we played him at right-back for experience. He will need time and, at his age, he’ll make mistakes. There’ll be days he does things that he will learn from, so people need to be patient. But England could have a top, top centre-back if he’s allowed to develop.

“The way football is getting played now, the centre-backs have more touches than midfielders do. It’s often their job to start the moves and John’s attributes are perfect for that. And he’s got a good personality. He’s calm in himself and gets good support from his family. The first day he came in and said to our fitness guys ‘Whatever I have to do to get into the first team, I’ll do it’. He immediately impressed you as a likeable boy with a great aptitude for learning. Self-development is a vital quality in a young player.”

Stones is ambitious. He can’t stay at Everton. Chelsea look favourites to sign him. But surely we can expect others, chiefly Manchester United, to compete for his signature.

Posted: 23rd, August 2015 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Transfer Balls: Neymar uses Manchester United to get a better deal at Barcelona

neymar manchester united

 

The Daily Express says Brazil’s superstar footballer Neymar has agreed a new contract to remain at Barcelona. He hasn’t. His sucrrent deal expires in the summer of 2018 – but he does want a better deal. And he’ll get one. In June, the Mail told us:

Josep Maria Bartomeu will offer Neymar a new deal if he wins the election

Bartomeu won.

The Barcelona president who has ended up in court over the club’s signing of Neymar is ready to throw even more money at him to keep the 23-year-old happy at the Nou Camp.

This follows the Sun’s wafer-thin news that Manchester United had made a “discreet” enquity about signing the player.

Seemingly unduanted by fact, the Sun leads its report on Man United 0-0 draw with Newcastle by declaring:

Neymar agent jets in Manchester United 0 Newcastle 0

Shaun Curtis, the writer who broke the news of the discreet approach that wasn’t all that discrete, now says:

NEYMAR’S international agent Pini Zahavi was at Old Trafford — on the day SunSport revealed Manchester United want the Barcelona superstar.

Do we know why Pini was there?

The Israeli super-agent told us: “I have nothing to say about this but it is normal such a giant club as Manchester United would wish to win the services of Neymar, the best player in the world. It would be astonishing if United pulled off such a coup, but they are making a play for him.”

Has Neymar sorted out his new pay deal as part of his enw contract with Barcelona. Ealier this summer, Sergio Ramos used Manchester United to engineer a better wage packet at Real Madrid. Might it be that Neymar is trying the same ploy?

Curtis then tells readers what Neymar would cost:

 

While his buyout clause is said to be £130million, SunSport has learned it could be up to £165m with add-ons.

Any word from United

Van Gaal remained tight-lipped after the Newcastle shut-out. He said: “You can mention every player but I cannot answer those questions.“I would like to make the squad stronger but not for any price and only for the right player.”

In other words: agent watches football match. Read all about it.

Posted: 23rd, August 2015 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0