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Transfer balls: Monchi agrees Arsenal move and joins Seville

On February 25 this year, the Daily Mirror reported: “Arsenal transfer news: Monchi ‘agrees deal’ to become Gunners sporting director.” Yesterday, Ramon Rodriguez Verdejo, better known as ‘Monchi’ and blessed with the looks of a detective in the Obscene Publications Squad, started work in his new job at Sevilla.

What happened? Well, the Mirror’s scoop was based on an article in Il Messaggero, which said Arsenal had agreed to pay the “£2million” needed to activate the buy-out clause in his Roma contract. The odd bit is that the Italian website reports two days after the Mirror’s story – and this through Google Translate:

Evening Standard publishes today, Rome would have already resigned itself to salute Monchi. The current Giallorossi ds seems destined to reach Arsenal, one of the most glorious English clubs. The London newspaper notes that Monchi could even leave the Capital in advance, if the ‘Gunners’ pay a termination clause of around 3 million.

To the Standard, then, to read on February 26:

Roma are increasingly resigned to the departure of sporting director Monchi, with Arsenal a leading contender to hire him in the summer…

Monchi has been at Roma since 2017 and his contract, which has two more years to run, is thought to contain a release clause of around £2.6million.

Nothing agreed at all. And the fee is an issue. But one day earlier talkSport said it was a done deal – just look at the URL:

And on March 8, the Sun told us:

Monchi arsenal

Today the BBC reports: “Monchi will return to La Liga club Sevilla as sporting director, ending reported links with Arsenal.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 17th, March 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Overmars and Matthijs in; vote Mustafi out

Arsenal fans get to feel the warmth of a rosy-fingered dawn as news hits the cycle of Ajax director of football Marc Overmars’ return to the Gunners. And that’s not all. Last night Ajax knocked Real Madrid out of the Champions League. The holders were thrashed. And Overmars says if he arrives at Arsenal he’d like to be accompanied on the short flight from Amsterdam by Ajax’s brilliant 19-year-old centre-back Matthijs de Ligt. He would sign De Ligt “immediately”.

Arsenal may need to sell some flesh to get their man. The Telegraph says Manchester City will have to break the world record transfer fee of £75m for a defender, which Liverpool paid for Virgil van Dijk, if they stand any chance of signing Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell. De Light is better.

Maybe Arsenal should take a democratic response to their malaise? Real Madrid fans are being given a vote on which players should be sold. Arsenal fans form an orderly queue. First up: Mustafi. Any takers? I’ll start the bidding and 10… Ten pounds… Anyone…. Bueller…

Posted: 6th, March 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Spurs v Arsenal balls: Gunners cheated; Spurs score both goals in North London Derby

How did the two clubs’ respective websites see the Spurs v Arsenal match? The game ended 1-1. Arsenal scored a terrific breakaway goal. Spurs scored a penalty which replays showed should not have been given.

Spurs on Aaron Ramsey’s goals for Arsenal:

But it was Arsenal who found the breakthrough on 16 minutes, although it was a goal all of our own making.

Arsenal on the goal:

Aaron Ramsey gave us the lead in his final north London derby with the coolest of finishes. The Wales midfielder – scorer of two FA Cup final winners on this ground – ran through from inside his own half and feinted to shoot before nipping around Lloris and slotting the ball into the net.

Spurs on the penalty:

To be fair, chances were at a premium but we were given the opportunity to level on 74 minutes when Mustafi pushed Kane in the area at a free-kick and referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot. Our England striker made no mistake, drilling into the corner to the delight of most inside Wembley.

Arsenal on the penalty:

We expected a Spurs onslaught after the break but it never materialised as we kept our shape and kept them at arm’s length. That just made the home side’s equaliser all the more galling. Kane was again in an offside position when a free-kick was floated into the box, but he was awarded a penalty after a nudge from Shkodran Mustafi..

Such are the facts.

Posted: 2nd, March 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal balls: Monchi transfer delayed by grammar and Manchester United SEO

The good news for Arsenal fans tuning in to talkSport is that Unai Emery is to be reunited with his former Seville mucker Monchi. The broadcaster tells us: “Monchi agrees to join Gunners ahead of reported summer move to Emirates.” That headline arrived in our inbox on 25th February 2019. Roma’s sporting director is on his way to the Emirates.

Maybe. Maybe not.

That same day the Mirror yelled: “Arsenal transfer news: Monchi ‘agrees deal’ to become Gunners sporting director.” Those inverted commas mean Monchi has agreed to nothing. But the important thing about them is that those all-important SEO bots and Google algorithms for which the Mirror writes don’t see the grammar. They only see the URL, which declares a fact: “https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/arsenal-transfer-news-monchi-agrees-14051185.”

Monchi the sun
‘Balls’

The Sun performed a similar trick. On February 26 it thundered: “TOP MON – Arsenal ‘secure £2.5m deal for transfer guru Monchi’ who helped sign Rakitic, Kluivert and N’Zonzi.” Thos inverted commas mean the headline is tosh. But the URL seen by Google is a fact: “https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/8511652/arsenal-monchi-director-football/.”

So is Monchi at Arsenal? No.

Because today the BBC says: “Roma are increasingly resigned to the departure of sporting director Monchi, with Arsenal a leading contender to hire the 50-year-old Spaniard in the summer.” From a done deal, we learn that Arsenal are merely in the running.

One thing all media agrees on: Monchi can spot a young talent. The other thing they agree on is that Monchi is good for clicks. Get this from the Mirror on Feb 13: “Arsenal face Man Utd battle for Roma sporting director Monchi.” They do? No.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 27th, February 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal Balls: Overmars, Monchi and Aaron Wan-Bissaka in

Journalism, eh. Get a load of this news on the BBC: “Arsenal will offer defender Rob Holding, 23, a new deal after he suffered a long-term injury in December.”

Can the two be linked: to be injured for large chunks of the season is to be a true Gooner? Well, it worked for Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlaine, so why not Holding, or Danny Welbeck, for that matter, who’s been injured for months at a time but will be ejected from the club when his contract expires in June? Should Arsenal work to keep Welbeck?

In other Arsenal news, the Mirror says the club wants Marc Overmars as their technical director. Ajax want him to stay. But the former Arsenal winger most likely join the Gunners at the season’s end, when Arsenal will also welcome Roma sporting director Monchi (aka Ramón Rodríguez Verdejo).

On the playing front, Arsenal fancy Crystal Palace right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 21. The Sun says he’ll cost them £40m. So best to luck with that.

Posted: 24th, February 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Chelsea Balls: Sarri’s sacking and club banned from signing new players for next two transfer windows

Bit of an odd backpage from the Mirror, leading, as it does, with Europa League action from Chelsea and Arsenal’s respective 3-0 victories over the might of Malmo and Bate Borisov. The Mirror leads with one player who scored (Ross Barkley) and one who did not (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang).

Mirror arsenal chelsea

Having thrice told its readers that Chelsea will sack Maurizio Sarri this season, the paper notes that the victory was encouraging. The Guardian says it’s earned Sarri “extra time”. It’s February, and he only started work at Chelsea in July. You’d think Sarri’s tenure at Chelsea would outlast a gap year.

Chelsea are “back on track” says the Express. But beating Malmo is not on the same path as a 6-0 defeat to Manchester City or even a 4-0 loss at Bournemouth. Malmo are a limited side. The players might have “saved Sarri’s skin”, as the Mail puts it, but with a Carabao Cup final with City looming, The Italian will need some armour should they suffer another heavy defeat.

Which they have. The club has been banned from buying players for the next two windows. FIFA says Chelsea are guilty of breaching rules in relation to youth players. Whoever replaces Sarri will have to make do with his players.

Posted: 22nd, February 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, News, Sports | Comment


Chelsea balls: Sarri sacked for £5m; Lampard tops wish list; Manchester City told keys

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri will be sacked if they lose Sunday’s Carabao Cup final to Manchester City, says the BBC. Sarri will be Chelsea boss for the length of an internship should his side lose to the same City side that thrashed them 6-0 days ago. Get packing, then. This news is echoed in the Mirror, which on February 11 led its sports coverage with: “MAURIZIO SARRI is facing the sack after Chelsea’s heaviest Premier League defeat.” The Mirror added on February 18: “CHELSEA will stick to their new ‘Sarri-ball’ style, even if if (sic) costs the manager his job this week.”

The Mirror’s plan seems to be keep saying Sarri will be sacked and when he is – and, of course he will be one day – say ‘Told yer!’ But the Mirror has form in getting it wrong:

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal
2017? Wrong.
mourinho sacked
Wrong.

As for Sarri’s eventual sacking, the Sun says it would cost Chelsea £5m – the cheapest pay-off for a manager since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003. 

Minds turn to who will replace Sarri? Sky Sports says Derby manager Frank Lampard and Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane head the list. Layers are working on their early-exit clauses as we speak.

Unless Chelsea win the Carabao Cup – in which case the Mirror will report that Sarri will be sacked ‘soon’…

Posted: 20th, February 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal Balls: Wenger, Emery and no hint of worry

unai Emery Arsenal

How can the Daily Express spin Arsene Wenger’s words into a portent of doom? Wenger was talking at the perpetually remote Laureus Sport for Good Awards. He said Aaron Ramsey would be a “loss” to Arenal, the club he managed for a geological era. And that was it. Ooze it through the SEO grinder and in the Express it becomes: “Arsene Wenger WORRIED for Arsenal.”

But it’s worse than that because the URL to this clickbait runs: “Arsene-Wenger-Arsenal-worry-Unai-Emery-management-future.” The implication is clear: to trick readers into believing Wenger thinks the throughly decent and likeable Unai Emery, the man who replaced him as Arsenal manager, could be on his way out. Total tosh.

Posted: 18th, February 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal: Overmars makes his case for the job and Sanchez return from Manchester United

Don’t panic Arsenal fans. News is that Manchester United’s hugely expensive Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez, 30, could return to Arsenal. So says former Arsenal player Marc Overmars. “I have great respect for Alexis, ” says Overmars, “because he did extremely well in Arsenal, I do not know if it was a good decision to leave.” His accountant, agent and bank manager think it was terrific. Half a million smackers a week says it was a good move to quit Arsenal stardom for the Old Trafford bench.

Overmars adds:

“English football changes you, it turns you around, it took me a step forward. Arsene Wenger arrived a year before me, Dennis Bergkamp made a big impression English, it was a fantastic time, I think we changed the history of the club a bit. This type of players were very important for Arsenal, because that’s where they take you to focus, after Alexis, Arsenal tried to sign another player like that, but he was not given, so he could go back to Arsenal.”

Why is this news? Why is Overmars talking about Arsenal? It’s because Arsenal want a new technical director. And it’s gotten down to a straight fight between Roma sporting director Monchi and Overmars, who fulfils the same role at a resurgent Ajax.

Posted: 15th, February 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Aaron Ramsey leaves Arsenal for £400k-a-week at Juventus

Juventus Ramsey

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey will earn £400,000 a week for four years at Juventus. The 28-year-old will become the highest paid British footballer ever.

Arsenal will get nothing.

But someone will earn 3.7m euros (£3.2m). Juventus says those are the “costs” of the deal.

Says Ramsey to Arsenal fans: “You welcomed me as a teenager and have been there through all the highs and lows I’ve encountered during my time at the club. It is with a heavy heart that I leave after 11 incredible years. Thank you.”

He said “heavy heart” not “heavy wallet”.

PS: Ozil on £350,000-a-week doesn’t look so pricey now.

Posted: 11th, February 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: David de Gea wants £500,000-a-week; or less

daily mail de gea
The Mail says De Gea is off to PSG

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, 28, is “insisting” (BBC) the club pay him £350,000-a-week if they want him to sign a new deal. The BBC says this would make him the club’s second highest earner “behind behind [sic] £400,000-a-week Alexis Sanchez, 30.”

Sanchez is criminally overpaid. De Gea wants something close to parity with the Chilean. Will one error of judgement by United lead to disharmony in the ranks?

Manchester United BBC
The BBC repeats the news, literally

The BBC links to a story in the Mirror. But the Mirror doesn’t really know what Sanchez earns. So far it’s provided the following figures for Sanchez’s United wage – the taxman may be interested:

£2m a month – Feb 9 2019

£400,000 a week – Sept 22 2018

£390,000 per week – May 11 2018

£25.5m a year – Jan 22 2018

£500,000 per week – Feb 8, 2018

£400,000-a-week – Jan 29 2018

In other transfer gossip, Manchester United fancy Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele and Norwich City defender Ben Godfrey, 21. Both should cost less than Sanchez or De Gea.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 10th, February 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal balls: Emery’s transfer budget

Arsenal transfer budget

Arsenal have a strange squad of players, a composite blend of the over-paid, over-hyped and under-performing. But worry not. New blood is on the way. The Sun says Arsenal are looking to recruit at least five new faces for next season. And they have a whopping £40m to get them. The transfer budget will go up should Arsenal qualify for the Champions League either by finishing in the top four or winning the Europa League. Can they do it? Can a club that paid over £30m for the lumpen Mustafi and let Aaron Ramsey leave for free do something right? If they do, then Emery will have £60m for spend on new faces – what Manchester City invest in a reserve full back.

The Sun, however, doesn’t tell readers who that figure was arrived at. why wold Arsenal go public with their budget? And why does the Mail tell its readers: “Emery’s Transfer budget is only £45m.” And in the Mail Arsenal needs “at least three players” to “join the elite”.

All utter tosh, of course. Arsenal are the elite:

Arsenal money

Arsenal do have the money. They also have an absentee owner uninterested in seeing his team win on the field.

Posted: 5th, February 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal Balls: 4 years since last away win over Big 6 team; greedy Stan Kroenke to blame; Emery needs 10 new players

Stan Kronke arsenal
Stan Kroenke – the man with one plan: milk the club and, er, that’s it

It is now four years and 21 matches since Arsenal last won away from home against a big-six rival — a 2-0 win against Manchester City in January 2015. Under Stan Kroenke’s ownership, Arsenal have dropped and dropped. Kroenke is the greedy, absentee owner the club never deserved. He puts no stock in the team winning on the pitch. There is no reflective glory. Arsenal fans would wager and win the bet that Kroenke doesn’t even know who Unai Emery is. It’s all just about dividends and cash. Kroenke doesn’t support Arsenal; Arsenal supports him and his avarice.

Arsenal’s way form against their so-called Premier League title rivals is dire. These are the points won in games away to the big six since that City victory:

Team
Man City Games 23, points 31
Liverpool 21, 24
Man Utd 21, 23
C Palace 24, 20
Southampton 24, 16
West Ham 24, 16
Chelsea 18, 16
Tottenham 19, 15
Leicester City 26, 14
West Brom 21, 12
Swansea City 20, 12
Burnley 19, 9
Everton 25, 8
Bournemouth 22, 8
Arsenal 21, 7
Newcastle 19, 5
Stoke City 19, 5
Watford 20, 4
Aston Villa 10, 3
Sunderland 15, 2
Huddersfield 10,2

Spotter: The Times

Posted: 4th, February 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Media Balls: Arenal robbed; Aguero cheats; Manchester City go full bizarro world

Aguero handball manchester city
An arse and his elbow

Handball it was, then. The third goal scored by Sergio Aguero as his Manchester City beat Arsenal 3-1 in the Premier League went in off his forearm. The ball was travelling away from the Arsenal goal when Aguero tapped it in with his arm. What say the players and clubs?

Sergio Aguero: “I thought it came off my chest but now I see on TV it was handball.” Hats off to Aguero for that utter twaddle.

The Sun: “The ball was diverted into the net by Aguero’s elbow”.

Arsenal FC: “Sterling beats his marker and crosses to Aguero, who looks to have scored with his arm… Despite our protests, the goal stands.”

Manchester City FC: “Sterling ran into the box and with no challenge, continued on before sliding another fine cross into the middle that Leno pushed onto the upper half of the sliding-in Aguero’s body and the ball trickled over the line.”

Ha. The upper half of his body – you know, where your arms and hands are. Or what Aguero calls “my chest”.

The City website adds: “It was a bizarre way to complete yet another Aguero hat-trick, but nobody was complaining!”

Well, aside from the Arsenal players and fans who had seen their team cheated, no-one was complaining at all.

Posted: 4th, February 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Newcastle sign Almiron from, er, Arsenal

Almiron NEwcastle
‘I am so happy to sign for Arsenal United’

Transfer Balls looks at dire football reporting. So news that Miguel Almiron has joined Newcastle United is interesting. On October 7 2018, the Daily Star told its readers:

Arsenal news: Miguel Almiron set for Emirates move after £11m Atlanta United deal agreed

Nothing was agreed. But the Star’s URL hammered home its scoop:

Almiron daily star arsenal
The robots spread the word: Almiron was a Gunner

The Daily Mirror had much the same news:

Almiron arsenal mirror
Arsenal fans waiting to meet the ‘sensation’ they were ‘introduced to will have to wait until their side plays Newcastle

Such are the facts.

Posted: 31st, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal Transfer Balls: Nkunku in; Perisic stalemate; Carrasco waits

Arsenal are still in the chase for PSG’s Christopher Nkunku. Having signed Denis Surez on a loan deal with an option to buy at the season’s end, the Gunners seem determined to buy a field a team of small, slight midfielders. Suarez, Knunku and Torreira add up in terms of weight and height to one Patrick Vieira.

In other news, moves to recruit the rather brilliant Ivan Perisic from Inter Milan have come to nought. The Italians want £35m for the Croatian now. Arsenal want to give them a set of Gunnersaurus shinpads and some gum until June when the bank will releases some funds. Inter won’t wait. Perisic has handed in a transfer request. Inter says he’s been “misled”. The deal looks dead unless someone blinks.

Yannick Carrasco could still arrive, however. Arsenal want him. Carrasco wants them. But the Belgian’s current club, Dalian Yifang, want more money than Arsenal are offering. See a theme developing?

Posted: 30th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal sign Denis Suarez

denis suarez arsenal

Arsenal have signed Denis Suarez from Barcelona. The Spaniard will play for Arsenal until the end of the season. Before he decamped for London, Suarez signed a one-year extension on his Barcelona contract, which was due to expire in summer 2020. This means he won’t be able to able to leave on a free in June – and if Arsenal want him they’ll have to pay a transfer fee. The deal gives Arsenal first option to buy Suarez. What do Arsenal get for their money? A technically proficient, small-ish midfielder. With a bit of luck, he’ll be the new Santi Cazorla. With less luck, he’ll be the new Denilson.



Posted: 30th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal Transfer Round-Up: Gueye, Nkunku, Peresic, Tielemans and Peresic all in; Elneny out

Arsenal like Everton’s Idrissa Gueye. So do Manchester City. The Senegal player can either join the current champions and play in the Champions League for loadsa money, or aim to be a bit better than Elneny – the Gunners are keen to offload the Egyptian – and snatch the chance to work with Gunnersaurus. No contest. See you in London, Idrissa. Paris Saint-Germain also want him. But that club is more desperate than an adolescent on a foreign exchange trip, and they employ a mascot in the shape of a lynx. It’s called Germain. Why? Well, according to the people that invented this ambulatory plushy:

Our BAM Mascot team fabricated a Lynx mascot costume for the PSG club. We believe that mascots should represent the characteristics of your team. So why did PSG select a Lynx? In mythology, a Lynx is known for it’s supernatural abilities and strength, and in modern times, a Lynx is seen as a powerful hunter with excellent eyesight, attributes that translate to sports abilities – good vision, winning instinct, competitiveness.

In more modern time Lynx is the name of a cheap perfume for men marketed as an aid to scoring. It’s very Paris. In other countries Lynx is known as Axe, which given the nature of managerial appointments at PSG is also very apposite.

If PSG get Gueye, Arsenal could get the French club’s midfielder Christopher Nkunku. Or they could go for Monaco’s 21-year-old Youri Tielemans. And there’s Yannick Carrasco, the Belgian who wants to leave Chinese club Dalian Yifang. Arsenal could opt for him if they fail in a bid for Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic. Lots of maybes, then. Although one thing is certain: Arsenal aren’t getting anew central defender. Maybe Gunnersaurus will finally get a go?

Posted: 30th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Denis Suarez in; Perisic agrees Manchester United but wants Arsenal

Arsenal fans have had a few weeks to find out who Denis Suarez is and what he does. And now the Barcelona substitute is on his way to the club. He’ll join Arsenal for the rest of the season for a fee of €2.5million (Standard). So good is Suarez that Barca wanted a permanent transfer but Arsenal insisted on a loan move. Really Betis and Sevilla, where Suarez was out on loan when Unai Emery was in charge, were happy to pay around £20m for the midfielder. But he only wanted to play in the Premier League. So that’s that.

The odd bit is that Suarez, who is out of contract in 2020, will join Arsenal after signing a new deal to remain for longer at Barcelona. The Spaniards will only let him leave if he stays.

One other on his way into the Gunners is Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic. The Indy says inviting in the talented Croatia is a huge mistake. But too late! Eurosport says a deal has been “agreed”. Perisic, says the broadcaster, will earn around €3m for the rest of the season at Arsenal and then after a hefty purchase price in June – a fee of around €30m is mooted – another €6m a season for the next three years. A dead cert then. Just as it was in 2017, when the Express announced: “Ivan Perisic agrees £6.2m-a-year deal with Manchester United.” And: “Man Utd agree £40m transfer fee with Inter Milan for Ivan Perisic.” He remained at Inter.



Posted: 29th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


It cost Arsenal £17m to get shot of Arsene Wenger

wenger

It took more than placards and hashtags to defenestrate Arsene Wenger from Arsenal. Sky says it took £17.1m. Not that he got the lot. The Times says the £17m was paid to Wenger and his staff on condition of them leaving pronto.

Wenger had a year left on his contract when he sacked after 22 years in charge – and a decade at the helm of a club resting on its laurels. Of Wenger’s key staff, Steve Bould remained as assistant manager. You may wonder what the stalwart defender of George Graham’s fabled Arenal back four, one of the key exponents of ‘If in doubt, kick it out’ defending, is coaching the current feeble backline. Maybe in his head Bouldy was beating two players, shimmying past the ‘keeper and scoring for fun, and seeks to live out his dream in the unlikely shape of the insufferable and wholly useless Shkodran Mustafi. Arsenal fans will settle for the practicality of defenders taking out a man and ball in no-nonsense challenges and flicking it on at near post corners routines.

What Bouldy earns is not revealed. But the club’s latest accounts show that revenue dropped from £422.8 million to £388.2 million. And that Ivan Gazidis – aka Ivan The Terrible – got a pay rise before she legged it to AC Milan.

Posted: 29th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Money, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: sex, Joe Willock and The Sun’s Ashley Cole rerun

When back in December the Sun told us about Arsenal players allegedly inhaling nitrous oxide – “hippy crack” – we were assured that the “images will horrify Arsenal fans and enrage no-nonsense Spanish team coach Unai Emery”. Fast forward to January and club’s teenage prospect Joe Willock is the subject of an alleged huff ‘n’ tell. And the Sun once more tells us: “His antics will horrify Arsenal fans and enrage the team’s no-nonsense Spanish coach Unai Emery.”

Arsenal hippy crack
The Sun – December 2018
The Sun – Janaury 2019

The fallout from the December story has been softer than an autumn leaf dropping from a woodland tree. So will the Willock ‘The Pillock’ story travel better? It has a chance because it features “French model Eglantine Flore Aguilar”. You may recall her from her time with former Arsenal player Ashley Cole? Yeah – like the quote, she too is a repeat. Says La Eggplant: “He certainly moved quickly. One minute he was messaging me on Instagram, the next he was buying me tickets to London. His conversation was very boring, possibly because he’s so young. The sex was also really weird. He wanted to try all different positions in the shortest possible time. I didn’t enjoy it.”

The unmarried lad’s a nippy utility player. And:

The Sun – with typo

The paper’s typo and repetition will surely horrify Sun fans and enrage the team’s no-nonsense editor.

Posted: 28th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal Transfer Balls: Perisic, Nkunku and Suarez in; Sokratis lives

Arsenal need a winger. No great news there. The team are narrower than a Guardian columnist’s politics. But who will the wide man be? The Sun says it’s Barcelona’s Brazilian forward Malcom, 21. He only joined the Spanish club from Bordeaux in July 2018, agreeing a five-year contract for a transfer fee of around €41million.

Scouted heavily by Liverpool and Spurs before he opted for Barca, Malcolm was described as a player with “no inflated ego, no excuses – just a burning desire to win at all cost”. He sounds a dream. But his time at Barcelona has been stop-start. And now Barcelona are very keen to offload him. Earlier this month, Chelsea rejected Barcelona’s bid of Malcom plus cash for Willian.

So it’s Malcom to Arsenal, then. Or maybe Arsenal will get Inter Milan’s Croatia attacker Ivan Perisic, 29? Arsenal want Perisic on loan with a £35m option to buy. He’s a cracking player. The BBC says he’s open to leaving the San Siro. Adding: “It is understood Inter would be prepared to do business for between £35m-£40m.” Maybe Arenal will entice Inter into a deal by lobbing them Mesut Ozil and subsiding some of the German’s gargantuan wages?

Also heading to the Gunners – maybe – are Barcelona’s Denis Suarez and Christopher Nkunku of Paris St-German.

As for a defender, well, Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin, Laurent Koscielny and Sokratis Papadopoulos are all injured. But now matter: Carl Jenkinson is available. The best form of defence at Arsenal is to attack.

Posted: 27th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Thierry Henry is available after Monaco let him go

Monaco have suspended their former player and the one-time Arsenal great Thierry Henry after just 20 games in charge. Reports from France are that he’ll be replaced by Leonardo Jardim – the coach Monaco fired three months ago.

Henry will doubtless end up back on the Sky Sports pundits sofa, sat alongside Gary Neville, another ex-player who flopped as a manager. Like Henry, Neville lasted just three months at Valencia. Neville has not worked as a coach since. Will there now be calls for Henry to manage Arsenal as there were when Arsene Wenger was finally being shuffled out the door? Nope. Henry was a better manager before he took the a managerial job.

Note: In 2016 Arsenal offered Henry the job of coaching their under-18 side. Arsene Wenger made it condition that Henry would have to give up working as a TV pundit. He could not be both critic and performer. “I would like to thank Andries Jonker for offering me the chance to coach the U18’s @arsenal, which I was honoured to accept,” Henry wrote on Twitter. “However I respect Arsène Wenger’s decision and I want to wish their manager Kwame Ampadu, the boys and everyone at the club all the best for the forthcoming season.” Would Arsenal now welcome him back?

Posted: 24th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal Transfer Balls: Suarez and Rodriguez in; Ramsey out; Ozil shoots

You’d suppose Denis Suarez was lightning fast given how long Arsenal have been chasing him without landing a finger on the Spaniard’s shirt. The chase continues because Barcelona want Arsenal to buy their man at the season’s end. Arsenal would prefer to take the Suarez on loan and wait and see.

The Gunners are also keen on James Rodriguez, the Real Madrid player who wants to cut short his two-year loan spell at Bayern Munich. Absurd, no, that a player can be on loan for two seasons. Why no just sell him? Rodriguez joined Bayern because the German missed out on Alexis Sanchez, who opted to learn the piano at Old Trafford.

Rodriguez costs Bayern €15m a year – €5m to Real and €10m to the player. At the end of two years, Bayern have an option to buy him for another €35m. They don’t want to. And Real don’t need him. The Colombia forward signed a six-year deal at the Bernabeu in 2014.

Should the Gunners get both players, they will allow Aaron Ramsey, 28, to join Juventus this month for a peppercorn transfer fee.

One player not longer heading to the Emirates is Manchester United. Old Trafford have blocked any loan deal. Also not playing for Arsenal is goalkeeper Emi Martinez, who is to join Reading on loan.

In other news, Arsenal went paintballing. The Mail says: “He cannot get a look in for recent games but German midfielder Mesut Ozil was brought back in from the cold.” Or as the Sun puts it: “PAINTBAWL – Mesut Ozil can’t even get in Unai Emery’s paintball team… let alone Arsenal starting XI.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 23rd, January 2019 | In: Arsenal | Comment


Arsenal: Mislintat out; Overmars to bring Ajax talent to The Emirates

Finally some transfer news from Arsenal: head of recruitment Sven Mislintat will leave the club. He’s not leaving in the transfer window, which would be fitting. He’s leaving in February. The German arrived at Arsenal in December, 2017, at the behest of then chief executive Ivan Gazidis, aka ‘Ivan the Terrible’. Arsenal says Mislintat has “done a truly outstanding job in helping us recruit players who are making a big impact now and will do so even more in the future”. If he’s that good, why is he leaving?

“It’s been an amazing experience to work at a great club like Arsenal in what has been a big time of change,” says Mislintat. “I am excited about what the future holds for the club and am looking forward to new challenges for myself.”

During Mislinat’s tenure, Arsenal signed Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. All three not only delighted the Arsenal store manger who charges £2 a letter for players’ names on replica kits but also Borussia Dortmund, the club where all three used to play and – yep – Mislintat was head scout. You might suppose his job was to get them and once he’d got them, he was spent. You might also suppose that in looking to replace Mislintat with Ajax’s Marc Overmars, the Gunners are more than a bit interested in some of the Dutch club’s talent.

Posted: 21st, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment