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Arsenal balls: Ramsey could stay

Being a pundit is easy. You speak. And then move on to the next bit of mindless chatter. Which brings us to former Arsenal striker Ian Wright who is waxing lyrical about Aaron Ramsey, the midfielder who delayed signing a new deal for so long ever Arsene Wenger left the club. Arsenal offered Ramsey an eye-wateringly expensive long-term deal and then withdrew it. Ramsey is now free to leave at the season’s end. Says Wright:

“I think it might be the perfect time for us (Arsenal) and for him to move on. I think the boss should be given now the time, especially the money, to try and find maybe one or two replacements for someone like Aaron Ramsey, rather than giving Aaron Ramsey the kind of money he was asking for…  It isn’t something I’m too disappointed about, I’m pleased for him and I’m pleased for the new ruthless Arsenal in respects of the way they are saying ‘if that’s the way it is going to be then that’s the way it is going to be’.

This the same Ian Wright who opined in September:

“Ivan Gazidis has got a lot to answer for for this to happen because Ramsey should be a focal point in the team… I’m desperate for him to stay.”

In other news, Arsenal have found a replacement for the very replaceable one-goal-a-season Aaron Ramsey. It’s Villarreal midfielder Pablo Fornals. The Sun says the the 22-year-old has a €20m release clause. If not him then the Mirror says it could be one of five – yeah, just five – players Arsenal could sign to replace Ramsey. The Express says they could replace him by picking another player already at Arsenal. Oh, and in the Standard, Arsene Wenger says Ramsey might yet stay at Arsenal. 

Such are the facts.

 

 

Posted: 20th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Real Madrid in for Harry Kane at Spurs and Liverpool want Demirbay

Transfer Balls: undaunted by their apparent failure to recruit Aaron Ramsey from Arenal – he’s on his way to Bayern Munich, reportedly – AC Milan have begun talks with another player with ‘Arsenal captain’ on his CV, this time former Gooner and Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas. The 31-year-old has had enough of warming the bench at Chelsea and Italy beckons. 

Manchester United are ready to offer Roma’s 22-year-old Italy midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini twice his weekly wage. We’ve no idea what that amount to but estimates put it shy of Alexis Sanchez’s £500,000-a-week but north of what Marcus Rashford pockets by way of a monthly goal bonus. We are told, however, that Pellegrini will cost United £26m in transfer fees.

You can expect to hear lots about Harry Kane or Eden Hazard heading to Real Madrid because the Spaniards are desperate for a goalscorer, having worked out that Cristiano’s Ronaldo’s 50 goals a season were hard to replace. Gareth Bale, 29, and France’s Karim Benzema, 30, are not quite up the task. so Kane it is. A huge money offer will surely tempt Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman. 

Finally, Hoffenheim central midfielder Kerem Demirbay is wanted by Liverpool. Another centre back for the Reds? Why not? 

Posted: 19th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal bid for Demeble and Liverpool will trigger his £369.6m release clause

Ousmane_Dembélé_

 

A coup for the Premier League, then, should Ousmane Dembélé move from Barcelona to Arsenal or Liverpool. The 21-year-old Frenchman remains a prized and coveted talent. He could be great. He might even prove to be worth the huge fee Barcelona paid Borussia Dortmund for his services. But there are problems. Marca reports the player is being sued for leaving a rented house in a mess. AS, another Spanish news outlet, talks of Dembélé’s having a “gaming disorder”. A Barcelona teammate says he is “always late for training”. You wonder if anyone is looking out for Dembélé or just his money. His career is one shaped by one thing: greed, says Barney Ronay. He writes:

It is 15 months now since Dembélé was plucked out and beamed down at the Camp Nou for a fee close to £100m. Since when he has played 90 minutes just four times and scored 10 goals. Information from Football Leaks tells us Dembélé has been paid £15m in basic wages in this time, with £9m siphoned off to “intermediates”, transformed in not much more than a year from promising Rennes teenager to one-man sporting mega-industry.

So is he heading to Arsenal or Liverpool? The Gunners have made an offer to take him on loan with a right to buy. Liverpool are very interested. Barca say Dembele’s contract has a release clause of 400m euros (£369.6m). Seems fair. Chuck in a Playstation and it’s a deal. 

 

Posted: 17th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Broadsheets, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Clickbait Watch: how to BAFFLE an Arsenal fan

baffled footballWriting clickbait for football fans is hard graft. All those budding hacks who dream of talking truth to power are reduced to spinning for clicks at sister newspapers the Daily Express, Daily Star and Daily Mirror.

Language is mangled. Simple facts are “revealed”. “Five things” are learned from watching paint dry. Rumours are mutated into ‘fact’. But every so often, clickbait talent emerges to connive a new meme for the SEO gurus running websites to applaud. Right now everyone at Arsenal – fans, players, Gunnersaurus – is “baffled”.

“Arsenal fans left baffled by Graeme Souness’ comments about Mesut Ozil” – Daily Mirror, October 23

“Lucas Torreira baffles Arsenal fans with what he did in training”  – Daily Mirror, October 10

“Arsenal fans left BAFFLED at staggering claim: ‘Are you mad? He can’t be serious'” – Daily Express, November 14

But it’s not just Arsenal being “baffled”:

“Jurgen Klopp baffled by remarkable Liverpool statistic” – Daily Mirror, Oct 19

“Graeme Souness leaves Manchester United fans baffled” – Daily Mirror, Oct 22

“Mohamed Salah leaves Liverpool fans baffled with social media post” – Daily Mirror, Oct 24

“Matteo Darmian leaves Manchester United fans baffled” – Daily Mirror, October 25

“Cesar Azpilicueta baffled by inconsistent Chelsea’s struggles” – Daily Mirror, Oct 26

“Celebrity Gogglebox: Fans baffled by Dele Alli’s composer comment” – Irish Mirror, Oct 26

“Man Utd news: David De Gea baffled by what Jose Mourinho said” – Daily Express, October 31

“Chelsea news: Sky Sports pundit baffled by one Maurizio Sarri” – Daily Star, Nov 4

“Manchester United fans left baffled by Paul Pogba’s ‘heartbreak’ haircut” – Manchester Evening News* Nov 4

* The MEN is sister title to the Star, Express and Mirror. It’s true? Unless you’re a football fan, in which case it’s baffling!

Posted: 16th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Key Posts, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer Balls: Spurs and Arsenal in for Bailly as Manchester United get a new defence

Transfer Balls: José Mourinho will change Manchester United’s defence early next year. From “When we win it’s all down to me; when we lose it was everyone else”, the new defence will feature new defenders. United plan to bring Toby Alderweireld and Diego Godin to Old Trafford in January, and get rid of Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo. Spurs and Arsenal both like Bailly; Everton fancy Rojo; and Smalling could return to Fulham. Godin, 32, could cost £53m. 

In London, Arsenal will be waving a none-too-teary adieu to Aaron Ramsey, the midfield who resisted signing a new contract for so long that even Arsene Wenger left. He’s off to play for Bayern Munich. Either than or Ramey will be a sub at Chelsea or Liverpool. Arsenal and Chelsea are both looking at spry Atlético Mineiro right-back Emerson. And reports from Italy says AC Milan want to sign Liverpool’s Brazil midfielder Fabinho, 25, (who he?) in January. 

Over at West Ham, Marko Arnautovic, 29, wants a weekly living wage of £200,000 to continue working at the London Stadium. If he does;t get it then he could be off, possibly to Manchester United. 

Posted: 16th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer Balls: Manchester United want Milan’s Milan and Liverpool dog deep for Dembélé

Transfer Balls: So desperate is Alexis Sanchez to leave Manchester United that he’s going to demand a reduction in his £500,000-a-week wage to make him more affordable to, well, anyone who’ll let him play either football, the piano or both at once. Either that or he’ll just sulk and wait until Jose Mourinho is sacked and the next manager realise what a top talent he is.

Racing Sanchez out the door are Marcus Rojo and Eric Bailly. They will replaced by – deep breath – Nathan Aké, Jérôme Boateng and / or Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar.

Higher up the Premier League table, rumours abound that Liverpool will bid over £85m for Ousmane Dembélé, who cost Barcelona £105m when he moved from Borussia Dortmund in 2017. The German side have a knack of developing players and selling them on for top money. Barcelona made them an offer they could not refuse for the Frenchman who has failed to shine in Spain. But will they take a £20m hit on him? Or is £85m for a flop good money? That question to Paul Pogba.

Arsenal have woken to the fact their centre backs are slower than a Granit Xhaka tackle. The Gunners are looking at Atalanta’s Gianluca Mancini.

And Tottenham are readying a £35m bid for Cagliari’s 21-year-old Italian midfielder Nicolo Barella. But Man United and Liverpool also want him. So watch the price rocket.

 

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


Transfer balls: Gareth Bale to Arsenal and ex Gooner becomes a Prophet

clickbait arsenal gareth bale transfer

 

Clickbait Balls: a look at newspapers tricking readers . Today, as ever, it’s the Daily Express, which thunders: “Arsenal news: Gareth Bale transfer EXCLUSIVE, Unai Emery revelation, Wolves team news.”

It’s the first bit that bites, right? Can it be that Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale – formerly of Spurs – is on his way to Arsenal? Surely not? Or maybe… So you click. Your click triggers – get this – 32 adverts and sponsored links. But the news will be worth it.  James Walters has the “exclusive”. Just get a load of that URL: “Arsenal-news Gareth Bale transfer exclusive”:

 

clickbait arsenal gareth bale transfer

 

Reading on:

Gareth Bale EXCLUSIVE

Yes! Yes…

Arsenal must go in for the best players on the planet – the likes of Gareth Bale – if they are to challenge for the Premier League, John Hartson says…

Hartson exclusively told Express Sport: “No disrespect to Arsenal, if say for arguments sake, a Gareth Bale becomes available [they won’t go in]. I know he’s ex-Spurs and it may not happen.

“But if a top player like that became available and he’s £95m with £40m wages over the next four years, will they go in for him? They might not.”

May. Might not. What a scoop!

Treating your readers like mugs is anti-journalism. But let’s give the Express a chance. How about part two of the sensational headline, the part about an “Unai Emery revelation”:

Arsenal are a more solid under Unai Emery compared to when Arsene Wenger was in charge, Matthew Upson claims.

And..? And nothing. That’s it. When ex-Gooner Upson speaks to the BBC it’s a “revelation”. The man’s a prophet. finally, how about that “Wolves team news”? It’s that Danny Welbeck, the bloke with the broken ankle, won’t be playing. More on him here.

 

Posted: 12th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal Balls: Daily Express feasts on Danny Welbeck’s pain

danny welbeck

 

The ghouls have been out fo Arsenal striker Danny Welbck. Last night, Arsenal manger Unai Emery told media that Welbeck had surgery on his badly injured ankle on Friday – the day after he was injured playing in the Europa League match against Sporting Lisbon. “He won’t be back with us for a long time,” the Arsenal manager said. Will he play again this season? “The doctor can answer that better than me,” replied Emery.

No need to ask the doctors. The Express knows it all. Since Welbeck got hurt, the “World’s Greatest Newspaper” has published 10 Danny Welbeck articles. It began by labelling the incident a “horror injury“, as many tabloids did. Today the paper downgraded things to a “nasty” injury. The facts keep on coming in the Express eVulture news service:

November 9:

Danny Welbeck prediction made by injury expert after horror Arsenal scenes. DANNY WELBECK is facing around four months on the sidelines after badly hurting his ankle, says injury expert Ben Dinnery.

November 9 – article 2:

Arsenal news: Welbeck ‘may never play again’

November 10: 

 

arsenal danny welbeck bt daily express

Journalism: it’s not all speaking truth to power.

 

Danny Welbeck in Arsenal injury horror… pics BT Sport didn’t want YOU to see – WARNING.
WARNING – these are the pictures BT Sport didn’t want you to see of Arsenal star Danny Welbeck’s horror injury.

Achtung! Achtung! Gather round to see something horrible. Bring a knife and fork to feast on Danny Welbeck’s remains. (The photos are pretty much the same as those carried by every newspaper, although one is cropped to show Welbeck’s ankle twisting.)

November 10: fact 2

Danny Welbeck injury: Arsenal fear forward will miss the rest of the season

November 10: fact 3:

“Welbeck is in hospital and will undergo surgery after breaking his right ankle, which will rule him out for the remainder of the season.”

November 10: fact 4:

“Welbeck’s latest injury setback is expected to keep him on the sidelines for at least four months.”

November 10: fact 5

Danny Welbeck: New Arsenal contract demand made after horror ankle injury

No, not by Danny Welbeck. This is the opinion of Perry Groves, the former Arsenal player. It’s not a demand. It’s just Perry filling in space on one of his media stints.

November 10: fact 6:

“Unai Emery readying £45 move for Danny Welbeck replacement”

It’s Lille’s Nicholas Pepe. Sorry, Danny, you’re finished. Get well soon, mate. Chin up!

November 12:

Arsenal news: Unai Emery admits Danny Welbeck uncertainty with fresh injury update

Not quote RIP Danny Welbeck, then.

Posted: 12th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal balls: Danny Welbeck – more injury facts

When Danny Welbeck hurt his ankle playing for Arsenal, the Press were quick to brand it a “horror injury“. Welbeck was in pain. That much was clear. But it wasn’t look-away horrific. And we don’t yet know how bad the injury is. It wasn’t like when Welbeck’s Arsenal team-mate Aaron Ramsey had his tibia and fibula broken at Stoke City, or when Eduardo had his leg badly broken when playing for Arsenal at Birmingham City. Eduardo’s injury was so nasty that Sky Sports decided against showing replays of it. Educardo’s bone ended up poking though his sock.

And Can we talk about David Busst? On April 8, 1996, Busst was playing for Coventry City at Old Trafford to take on English football giants Manchester United. After two minutes of the match played, Busst had suffered compound fractures to the tibia and fibula of his right leg. He never played professional football again.

The Express sticks with the hyperbole and tells its readers today: “Welbeck is in hospital and will undergo surgery after breaking his right ankle, which will rule him out for the remainder of the season.” It will? Arsenal haven’t said anything other than the injury looks “serious”. Oddly, another Express story tells readers: “Welbeck’s latest injury setback is expected to keep him on the sidelines for at least four months.”

Hold that scalpel! The Star says: “According to the Daily Mail… doctors will give him an MRI scan to see if he requires an operation.”

Welbeck Express

 

welbeck express

 

 

As the papers guess, and anyone sane wishes Welbeck a speedier recovery than the ghouls do, the Sun says Arsenal are already looking for his replacement. So how do you replace a man valued at £10m and in the final year of his contract – a player whose not been offered a new deal and was likely to be sold in January to Crystal Palace?

They say Emery could now make a £45m bid for Lille’s Pepe in January.

DAN BUSTER Arsenal transfer news: Danny Welbeck injury forces Unai Emery to step-up £45million pursuit of Lille winger Nicolas Pepe.

Gunners need a rethink of their January sales plans as rookie Eddie Nketiah is now the main back-up for front two Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette

Got that? The Gunners will splash out £45m on a new face because Danny Welbeck got injured. No full diagnosis has been made. The “England striker could also have suffered ligament damage” says the Sun. He could have. Or maybe he didn’t? As for Pepe, well, the Sun provides not a single fact to support the news that Arsenal want the Lille man.

 

Arsenal transfer pepe

The Sun

 

Despite the lack of facts, the Express and Star pile in:

 

Pepe Arsenal

The Express

 

 

In other news, Pepe’s price has rocketed:

 

 

 

Arsenal “could” face competition for his signature form Barcelona and Sevilla, says the Sun. The Express says Bayern Munich want him. The Times says: “Manchester City bid for Lille’s Nicolas Pepe .” And the Manchester Evening News says, predictably, Manchester United are chasing Pepe. Meanwhile, the player is still at Little. And Welbeck hasn’t been  despatched to the glue factory. Yet.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 10th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Danny Welbeck’s ‘horror’ injury revealed

Arsenal v Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League, and Danny Welbeck suffers a “horror ankle injury” that “leaves Arsenal team-mates shocked”. So says the Daily Mail. It looks pretty nasty. But the paper has no idea what the damage is. “Danny Welbeck out for the season?” asks the BBC. Dunno. Is he?

The Sun agrees that it is a “horror injury”. Welbeck contested a header and landed “awkwardly”. There was no blood. He was not unconscious, says the Beeb.

 

 

The Sun then tells us it looks like a “broken or dislocated right ankle”. Which is it? He will “almost certainly be taken to hospital for treatment”. I might not be medial man but a broken ankle usually necessitates a trip to the hospital. The paper then adds: “The ex-Manchester United ace is also expected to now pull out of Gareth Southgate’s England squad for next weeks two matches.” Maybe. But if Wayne Rooney can get a recall, maybe a one-legged Welbeck still stands a chance of being selected to play. “It could well be his last appearance for the Gunners,” says the Sun.

Over in the Indy, their experts can confirm – or guess – that Danny Welbeck is “to have an x-ray”. When does an injured footballer not have a scan? But it must be bad, right? “The injury will almost certainly see him withdrawn from Gareth Southgate’s England squad for matches against the United States and Croatia,” says the website.

It might be bad. It might be a “horror” injury. Or it could be pulled ligaments. Or a bad sprain. Or a fracture – which, according to the NHS, involves placing the injured ankle in a protective boot for around 6 weeks. Welbeck might be ok to play in two weeks time for England, say the papers. Or maybe he’ll never play for Arsenal again, say the same papers.

They shoot horses.

Such are the facts.

UPDATE: Sky Sports: “Danny Welbeck “broke something in his ankle” during Arsenal’s Europa League draw with Sporting Lisbon on Thursday, according to head coach Unai Emery.

“We think it’s a serious injury. Every injury is different. He broke something in his ankle and it’s a different injury than another. Now he’s at the hospital and the news is at the moment we are going to wait, but we think this is a serious injury.”

Get well soon, Danny.

Posted: 8th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Martial offers 45m reasons to stay at Manchester United

Transfer Balls: how much is Anthony Martial worth to Manchester United? Whoah, there. That’s a rhetorical question. The answer is £45m. That’s a lot of money for a player who was on his way out when his current contract expires at the season’s end. United do have an option to extend that by one year. But Martial holds the cards. So United will sign him up on a new deal and then flog him when Jose Mourinho starts calling him names. The Sun says the new deal will last for five-year deal and earn the Frenchman £190,000-a-week. The paper doesn’t say if that figure includes extra cash for doing his job – scoring goals; being on the winning team; getting selected – or the absurd ‘loyalty bonus’. But it’s decent money, albeit not in the Alexis Sanchez bracket of more than double that figure. You get real value at United.

Manchester United also fancy Sampdoria’s 22-year-old Danish defender Joachim Andersen. No idea what his fee would be, but Inter Milan’s 23-year-old defender Milan Skriniar, a player wanted by United, is reportedly worth £100m, according to the club’s manager Luciano Spalletti.

Away from Old Trafford, Chelsea and Bayern Munich are chasing Lyon’s Nabil Fekir. The Star says the man who looked to be on his way to Liverpool last summer could arrive in London. Joining him in the Smoke is Lille winger Nicolas Pepe, 23, who has “welcomed speculation linking him with Arsenal”, says the BBC. How that plays out with his team-mates is moot.

 

Posted: 8th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says AC Milan job is ‘fake news’

It’s “fake news,” says former Arsenal manger Arsene over reports linking him to the AC Milan manager’s job.

 

 

So, there’s no chance of him becoming AC Milan next manager – the report in France Football is wrong:

 

AC Milan wenger

 

Fake News!

 

wenger arsenal transfer budget

wenger staying arsenal

daily express arsenal fake news wenger

wenger

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

2017?

 

Such are the facts…

Posted: 7th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsene Wenger heads to AC Milan to work for Arsenal fans and Ivan the Terrible

Unable too secure the job for life at Arsenal some thought was rightfully his, Arsene Wenger is to manage AC Milan. That’s the once mighty Italian club now owned by an American hedge fund which last month appointed former Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis to run things. Gazidis is the towering force who took Arsenal from 1st to 6th. He was part of the problem that let Arsenal drift into mediocrity as the club’s fans split between ‘Wenger In’ and ‘Wenger Out’ factions. The BBC relays the news. But France Football have the scoop. As ever, putting the story though Google Translate comes up trumps:

But the man with the three titles of Premier League and seven Cups of England has been negotiating for a few weeks with AC Milan. These negotiations are close to succeeding for a quick start. The situation of the Lombard club is not dramatic but far from the expectations of its new shareholder, the US investment fund Elliot Management Corporation, which took over the debts of Chinese Li Yonghong. Arsene Wenger would replace Gennaro Gattuso (40) at the head of the Rossoneri. He would also have a larger role in his duties with the sports director, the Brazilian Leonardo. This arrival of one of the greatest French coaches would also be orchestrated by Paul and Gordon Singer. Billionaires, the father and son run the fund now owns AC Milan and also has interests in Lille. The two businessmen, who spend time in London with a lot of business in England, are fans … of Arsenal. According to some sources, the arrival of Wenger in the club to the seven Leagues Champions would be even already “deal”.

Italy here he comes, then.

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


Arsenal balls: all hail Lucas Torreira the greatest love

Barney Ronay was at the Emirates to match Arsenal draw 1-1 with Liverpool. The pre-match chatter was of the Reds being years ahead of Arsenal. Nothing of it. Under Unai Emery’s management Arsenal are on the up. Wengeresque torpor is being dusted away. And at the heart of it all, Lucas Torreira is a force to be reckoned with:

Just past the half-hour the Emirates erupted into a rare barrelling wave of noise as Torreira dumped Sadio Mané on the turf with a perfectly timed roundhouse slide-tackle. It was oddly rousing, like a roomful of convalescents granted a rare glimpse of the sun through the French windows. In front of the press box two home fans stood up and spontaneously hugged. Vigour, energy, persistence, grit. What a change to see all of these things.

‘Lucas Torreira, the Mighty Insect, embodies Arsenal’s new grit’ – Guardian.

Posted: 5th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal: Nicklas Bendtner jailed for being the prat he always was

As we salute former Arsenal player Santi Cazorla for his reliance, another ex-Arsenal player catches the eye: Nicklas Bendtner has been sentenced to 50 days in jail in Denmark for assaulting a taxi driver.

Now playing for Rosenborg, Bendtner admitted hitting the taxi driver but said it was because “he felt threatened”.

The BBC:

Bendtner said the driver threw a bottle or a can towards him and his girlfriend when they left without paying.

“We think that it’s not good for the club and not good for Nicklas, but he remains a player in the club. We are keeping him,” said Tove Moe Dyrhaug, the chief executive of Bendtner’s Norwegian club Rosenborg.

The Sun puts it well:

Bendtner started his pro career at Arsenal, scoring his first goal for the club when still a teenager. But despite much promise, Bendtner failed to ever live up to the hype (which was often generated by himself).

Such are the facts.

Posted: 2nd, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal: brilliant Santi Cazorla scores a pearler

As Arsenal fans look forward to a bright future under Unai Emrey, they can think about the man who got away: the brilliant Santi Cazorla. Last night, smiling Santi scored for Villarreal in a Copa del Rey mach against Almeria. It was his first goal for years. Cazorla was the victim of ten surgeries in 18 months (including a dose of gangrene) after an achilles injury that cost him so much. He didn’t play for 636 days. His Arsenal contract ran out and he was let go.

In September, Santi told the Guardian: “Mikel Sánchez, the surgeon, puts me in his talks, a case study. He and the physios say they’ve never seen such an extreme case.”

And then he rejoined Villarreal:

“I have to pinch myself when I think: ‘I’m playing Saturday.’ I appreciate it all, every moment. I understand players thinking it’s a pain to be stuck in a hotel the night before but I’ve been in hotels alone, hospitals too. I’ve fought for this.”

Villarreal used an actual magician (and a glass tube full of dry ice) to unveil Cazorla when he re-signed for the club.

Posted: 2nd, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Aaron Ramsey to Manchester United as Liverpool rule out move and Arsenal progress

Aaron Ramsey says he’s no idea why Arsenal withdrew their contract offer. For months and months the club’s offer of £170,000-a-week for four years reportedly sat on the table. Ramsey never signed. Why not? We can only suppose he wanted more money, as much as £250,000-a-week to deliver one Premier League goal a season, as he did last season, and spend a large chunk of time sat in the treatment room. As Ramsey dithered and his Mr 15% thought they held all the cards, Arsenal moved on. First Arsene Wenger was sacked, then Ivan Gazidis, the ineffectual chief executive, went to work for AC Milan, a once great club now operated by a US hedge fund. The new Arsenal hierarchy looked at Ramsey, considered his value and thought him not worth the money.

Gazidis’ successor Raul Sanllehi can only be an improvement. “I don’t think I am inventing the wheel,” he told the Sunday Telegraph of the club’s new decision not to let key players enter the final year of a contract. “Anybody could agree on that.”

There’s a lot of chatter about where Ramsey might go next. The Star says Chelsea don’t want him because Ross Barkley, 24, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 22, are playing well. Sky says Liverpool have ruled out making a move for Ramsey. The Welshman could join Manchester United in January with Juan Mata moving the other way, says the Sun. Why United would want a slowing midfielder is moot.

The Telegraph says Arsenal “have embarrassed themselves again” by letting a £50m player leave for free. To which the question must be: which club was ever going to pay £50m for Ramsey, plus around £200,000-a-week in wages? And why is it embarrassing to get rid of players who rate themselves too highly and bring on hungry, fresh talent, as Arsenal have, notably in the shape of Emile Smith Rowe, Matteo Guendouzi and a vastly improved Alex Iwobi?

Arsenal called Ramsey’s bluff. Everton beckons him. He’ll leave behind an Arsenal side possessed of a new sense of direction.

 

Posted: 2nd, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Spurs fear, Dembele to Liverpool, Newcastle wait and Sanchez plots Manchester United escape

Tottenham players “fear” Mauricio Pochettino is to leave the club for Real Madrid or Manchester United. Which Spurs players are in dread of the Argentine leaving, and maybe taking them along for the ride and the huge hike on wages that would come with it, is unsaid by the BBC. Over in the Telegraph that “fear” is reduced to a mere “feeling”. The Sun tell us that Real Madrid will double Pochettino’s wages to £17m a year. How it knows that is moot. It just does. It feels it.

But why would Pochettinho want a job with a shorter shelf life than a Halloween pumpkin? AS tells us that former Real Madrid star Michael Laudrup has rejected down the chance to become the club’s new manager. Fair enough. After all, Marca told us former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte would be appointed as soon as Real sacked Julen Lopetegui as manager. He wasn’t. Meanwhile, the Mail says Belgium manager and former Everton and Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is the white-hot favourite to become the next Real Madrid chief. Or as the Guardian puts it: “Mauricio Pochettino has emerged as Real Madrid’s No 1 choice.”

To recap: they don’t know.

In other news, Alexis Sanchez is off to play at PSG, says the BBC. Manchester Untied will replace their striker by digging huge hole in the ground and pouring £600,000-a-week into it.

And then some bigger news in Spain’s Sport. Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembélé is to be shunted out of the club this January. He turned up late for a game, we read, and Barcelona “have decided to act strongly on the issue”. Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea all want the Frenchman. Will it happen? Dunno. Back in August the Express told its readers: “Arsenal transfer news: Gunners make £90MILLION bid for Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele.” They didn’t.

And finally, get this from the BBC: “Newcastle are understood to be ready to offer Rafa Benitez the contract extension he wants – providing he is prepared to wait for certain requests.” Such as his discount voucher for Sports Direct and a chance to win the Championship.

 

Posted: 31st, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal vow never to let player contracts run down to final year

Arsenal’s ‘head of football’ – what a great title that is; as if Arsenal’s purpose his anything but football – Raul Sanllehi promises everyone that the club will no longer allow the contracts of key players to enter the final year. Right now Aaron Ramsey is nearing the end of their current deals, so too Danny Welbeck.

In recent seasons, Arsenal have allowed the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to enter the final six months of their contracts. This foolish negotiating tactic overseen by the not-in-the-least-bit-lamanted chief executive Ivan Gazidis, now at AC Milan, resulted in Ozil getting a whopping £350,000-a-week on a new deal and Sanchez heading to Manchester United last January. Jack Wilshere’s contract expired. He ended up getting a free transfer to West Ham.

“In general, I do believe that a player’s contract should never go to the last year, as a policy,” Sanllehi told the Sunday Telegraph. “But I don’t think I am inventing the wheel. Anybody could agree on that.” It appears that Gazidis did not agree. “Normally, the contracts of the players are for five years. You need to have a clear idea of what you want to do with that player when he is in the third year, at the latest.”

“We don’t take decisions overnight, on a quick reflection. We really go through not only a long period of thinking but also a lot of people are involved. People in which we have a high trust. In general I would like to make that point clear. There are no decisions that are left to the last minute. When we reach a decision, it is for a reason.”

To further illustrate how slack things got at Arsenal under Gazidis and Arsene Wenger, Per Mertesacker and Huss Fahmy, have been promoted to the club’s “executive team” as the club look to increase the “football representation” at decision-making levels. It’s the school of the bleeding’ obvious. Ignore the actual football, focus too much on marking and branding, and watch the club turn into, well the current Manchester United mess.

But it’s not all about the footy. Mertesacker, Fahey,  Sanllehi and Sven Mislintat are the only “footballing representatives” on the 15-man executive team, which “encompasses everything that we do as an organisation”. Eleven people do what exactly? As Sonny put it so succinctly on the night of the big dance-off in the hit movie Grease, ‘Let’s hear it for the toilet paper.”

Posted: 28th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Martial wants to stay at Manchester United

Do Manchester United buy players to fit the team or advance the global brand? Rumours abound that Manchester United want to sell Paul Pogba but any exit would blow a big hole in the club’s marketing scheme. The trick for United is less who wants Pogba, but which mega-star replaces him and why they’d want to? The Mail says the marketeers who run United are stuck on who could match Pogba’s commercial value. Think less of the overrated player and more of how much merchandise he shifts.

The media is full of stories about how Pogba would leap at the chance to join Barcelona – he’d leap higher than he did when he lost Antonio Rüdiger at a corner for Chelsea’s opening goal last weekend. The bigger question is: why would Barcelona want the hype-powered France footballer whose shown few signs of being worth a fraction of his £90m fee that took him from Juventus to United? The still bigger question is: why would Barcelona spend £200m for the privilege?

Another Frenchman less than chuffed with life at Manchester United is French forward Anthony Martial, 22. Last week he was all set to see out his contract and leave on a free. Today the BBC says he’s ready to to stay at the club. First Jose Mourinho heaps prise on Luke Shaw, a man he once branded a brainless plodder, seeing to it that the asset nearing the end of his contract was awarded a new contract; now Jose starts praising and picking Martial just as he looked all set to leave for nought. Who picks the side at United: Mourinho or the moneymen who run the club?

The Sun says LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks set to rejoin Manchester United on loan during the MLS off-season. He’s one for the future.

Across town, Manchester City fancy Juventus’ Brazilian full-back Alex Sandro, 27, and Japan midfielder Ritsu Doan. Down south, a resurgent Arsenal are monitoring Ajax’s Argentina left-back Nicolas Tagliafico, 26. Chelsea are closing in on 18-year-old Italian midfielder Sandro Tonali. And Crystal Palace like Inter striker Gabriel Barbosa, whose on loan at Santos having failed to command a place with the Italians. Barbosa tells Marca his “intention is to go to a place where I can be as happy as I am here [at Santos]”. Palace it is, then.

And Wolves – they’re after Inter Milan’s 25-year-old Portuguese midfielder Joao Mario and a striker. Maria is also liked by Leicester and Southampton.

Posted: 25th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Reasons to love Emery: Arsenal got rid of Wilshere

Reasons for Arsenal fans to love Unai Emery mass by the day. After last night’s Wenger-esque victory over Leicester City, a performance illuminated by three synchronised team goals of rare beauty, what one writer compared to “watching a tribute band play better than the act they are paying homage to”, comes news that were it not for Emery Jack Wilshere would still be at the club.

Well, so says Wilshere, who tells the Islington Gazette:

“If Arsene had stayed I would have stayed, because of the influence he had in my career and the trust he had in me. He gave me the armband and respected me a lot. So, I had pretty much agreed to stay. And then he left and that changed things. Arsene had said to me previously ‘stay and fight your way back into the team’. Because I knew Arsene and knew he had trust in me, I knew I could do that and fight my way into the team.”

Wilshere was a hugely promising talent who rarely delivered. Arenal fans will wish him well at West Ham, but would he really get into the current side, who play such a high-tempo game? No. And if he did, when the ball reached Wilshere, the move would slow.

Emery is now working his magic on Aaron Ramsey, who having seen his demands for £250,000 a week in wages and a four-year deal rebuffed is seeking pastures new when his contract expires in the summer. As Ramsey’s agent whines on twitter about there being “no other option” for their low-scoringinjury prone midfielder of a client to leave because he can’t get £1m a month wages (plus loyalty bonuses?), Emery’s stock rises.

 

Posted: 23rd, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United chase Koulibaly, Arsenal take Malcolm on loan from Arsenal and Chelsea underpay Hazard

Cancel the trip to Jose Mourinho’s hotel room in Manchester and the one-way ticket to Real Madrid, Eden Hazard will stay at Chelsea. The BBC says Chelsea will offer their best player £350,000-a-week to stay at the club. This, says the Express, will make Hazard “the highest-paid player in the Premier League”. Which is odd because the Express says Alexis Sanchez is the league’s number one earner on £500,000-a-week.

 

daily express sanchez

Daily Express facts by Dany Wilson October 2 2018

 

As the Express delivers the facts and then fact that counter those facts in a SEO blizzard of utter balls, the Express also says struggling Real Madrid want to hire Raheem Sterling to bolster a forward line missing Cristiano Ronaldo’s 50-odd goals a season. There are no facts to support the claim. The Mirror says Sterling wants more money to stay at Manchester City, who will of course find it down the back of the sofa.

Finally, the Star says Arsenal fancy taking Barcelona’s Brazilian winger Malcom, 21, on loan in January. That’s be the same Malcolm the press told us had agreed to join Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester United before he went to Spain.

More facts from the twilight zone of football reporting every day…

Posted: 21st, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal fans lament the loss of their shares to a heartless Kroenke

When Arsenal fans watching their side thrash Fulham 5-1 began to sing “We’ve got our Arsenal back”, billionaire Stan Kroenke must have smirked. It’s not the fans who have Arsenal, it’s him. And he’s got the lot.

Not too long ago, the list of Arsenal owners with clout read like a Damon Runyon play: Peter Hill-Wood, Sir Chips Keswick, Lord Harris of Peckham, Danny Fiszman and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith. But they cashed in. The old school stability that had defined Arsenal for decades vanished when David Dein, the hymned vice-chairman, sold his shares to Alisher Usmanov, an Usbek billionaire, in 2011 for £75m – each share valued at £11,750. Fiszman wasn’t keen on Usmanov, so sold his stake to Kroenke for £159.5m. The Bracewell-Smiths got £116m for theirs. The so-called Establishment Club was no longer a rich man’s chattel; it was a brand to exploit.

It’s Stan’s Arsenal now. He’ll let you know his plans for Arsenal when he thinks you need to know.

To take full ownership of the club, Kroenke was required to buy all the shares, including those owned by fans. He ordered those fans to relinquish their little bit of the club they loved and felt part of. Not everyone has signed the forms and taken the £29,000 per share. But they will.

Rory Smith spoke to a few of them:

“Owning a share made me feel as though Arsenal was actually my club: It was a closer, more emotional bond,” says Martha Silcott.” That sense of custodianship is very important to me; it is right that fans, the lifeblood of a team, own a part of that team… I don’t like the idea of it being owned by someone whose only interest in it is money, buying up the shares of people who bought them for reasons that had nothing to do with money.”

“I have been a member of the family called the Arsenal for 75 years,” says Jeffrey Freeman. “..It upsets me that one man can decide the destiny of the Arsenal, can accrue all the benefits of ownership himself, especially given that he does not regularly attend games. Does he have the interests of the Arsenal at heart?..  By taking them, Kroenke has bought the body of the club. The heart, though, will always evade him. The heart will always belong to the fans.”

Arsenal fans will get their Arsenal back one day – but for now it’s the property of Mr Walmart.

Posted: 19th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Aaron Ramsey transfer balls: Everton ready to trump Liverpool and Man United for Arsenal player

Does the BBC need to clickbait Arsenal fans with news of Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey? The BBC says Ramsey is “set to leave Arsenal for Everton on a free transfer in the summer”. Wasn’t he heading to Manchester United, Spurs, Liverpool, Manchester City or Chelsea? Earlier this week, the BBC told its reader that Ramsey was “open to joining one of Arsenal’s top six rivals if he leaves Emirates Stadium on a free transfer in the summer”. Everton are not a top six side. And that was “if” not “when”.

The BBC also told us that Real Madrid want Ramsey; and Liverpool and Man United were looking to get Ramsey in a “cut-price” deal this January.

Now we’re told, Everton are “ready to offer the 27-year-old a £15m signing-on fee”. Says who? Says the Sun, which actually says nothing of the sort. The BBC cites the tabloid as the source of its news, but when you head to the Sun, it tells us Ramsey “can command a stunning £15million signing-on fee.” He can. But will he? Everton could also pay the injury-prone player £150,000 a week to be “the main man in Silva’s midfield”.

 

ITV News also broadcast a rumour based on nothing but guesswork

 

Ramsey wants £250,000-a-week to stay at Arsenal on a four-year contract, working out at £52m. The Gunners rejected that option to nearly double Ramsey’s current salary. And now Everton will offer him £15m plus £31m in wages – that’s £46m over four-years. Although the Sun doesn’t say how long any contract offer will be for – just as it doesn’t says Everton are going to offer the player a £15m signing-on fee.

What next for Ramsey? The BBC hasn’t got the foggiest idea. He might yet stay at the Gunners. Look out for that theory on the BBC…

 

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


Transfer balls: Manchester City’s Foden to Dortmund, Hazard’s Chelsea dream and Manchester United want Ake

Borussia Dortmund are keen to hire Manchester City’s cake-loving reserve Phil Foden to keep Jadon Sancho company. All the noises from those with vested interests in young Foden earning loads money at City say he’s very happy at the club. But he hardly plays for the first team, and if a big name in his position became available, City would surely swoop and push Foden further down the hierarchy. RB Leipzig and PSG also want Foden, but Dortmund with their reputation for developing young talent must be the pick.

Bournemouth’s Nathan Aké is talking about a rumoured move to Manchester United. “I’ve seen it pass by but of course it’s rumours,” says the former Chelsea loanee. “At the moment I play at Bournemouth and that is going well, so I focus on that. This does not say much about my status yet. They are rumours on the internet and as long as I do not hear anything myself, I will not go into that.” No comment is still a comment, Nathan. But he’s not heard anything himself about the things he’s chatting about to Dutch journalists so let’s just leave him alone.

Still at Chelsea is Eden Hazard, who having stated it his childhood “dream” to play for Real Madrid, no says he won’t head to Spain in January. He also says he won’t ever force a move to Madrid. Instead, he’ll just keep on talking about his ambitions in Spain, batting his eyelashes and seemingly talking abut Madrid every single day.

Heading back to Chelsea is midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, 24. Reports are that AC Milan have “threatened” to cancel his loan deal because of “defects in his game”.

Arsenal are looking at cheaper options than Hazard, like Rennes’s Ismaila Sarr and Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz. They’re said to be promising, young, athletic, skilful and cheap. You know the story. Some things at Arsenal never change.

At the other end of the pay scale, Manchester United are all ready to offer Spain goalkeeper David de Gea a new deal that would make the 27-year-old the club’s highest earner – m re than the £600,000-a-week they pay Alexis Sanchez to kiss the badge.

As for Spurs, well, Madrid captain Ramos says Harry Kane would be great in La Liga, and Mousa Dembélé will quit the cub at the season’s end to live out his own fantasy at Beijing Sinobo Guoan in the Chinese (Not So) Super League.

Posted: 15th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment