“If an offer comes, then we need to discuss it. If it should go into the hundreds of millions, then we also need to talk to the player. But I’m not worrying about it because at the moment we want to keep him as long as possible, best beyond 2020.”
If a team offers nutzoid money for Aubameyang, Dortmund will flog him. Maybe. By the time that statement reached some readers it had mutated into all manner of Transfer Balls:
The Express conjured up news about Arsenal and Liverpool:
Are Arsenal and Liverpool shocked to learn that if they offer hundreds of millions of pounds for a player they stand a decent chance of recruiting him?
The Telegraph’s readers hear that Aubameyang could join Arsenal for hundreds of millions below the headline:
Aubameyang back in the picture
No. He’s not. Well, not unless Arsenal decided to spend hundreds of millions on one player and he’s painted by Picasso and Van Gogh.
The Metro conjures: “Dortmund will consider selling Arsenal target Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang”
Yes. They will. Just as Barcelona will ‘consider’ selling Lionel Messi to Manchester United / Arsenal / Bournemouth / anyone for, say, £2billion. Make the number big enough and Manchester United’s owner would probably sell the club to Manchester City.
The apogee of this utter balls is in the Star, which tells Arsenal and Liverpool fans:
A boost. Being told the player will stray at Dortmund unless a team pays hundreds of millions is boost is a ‘boost’.
Liverpool and Man United’s owners must be punching the air.
So there it is – the first newspaper report telling Arsenal fans the Gunners can win The FA Cup and Premier League ‘Double’. Newspapers love to talk of teams winning multiple trophies. They believe it quickens the fans’ hearts. It does if those fans are age 6 and below, or the type who started to follow Chelsea or Manchester City after the money arrived.
The Mail also says Chelsea are looking to spend £60m on Atletico Madrid’s French striker Antoine Griezmann in the summer if Eden Hazard moves to either Real Madrid or Paris St Germain.
The Daily Star and Independent both lead with West Ham United and Liverpool’s 0-0 draw in the FA Cup. The Indy says a replay is just what Liverpool don’t need. Surely defeat would have been worse. But why let the facts stand in the way of a pun. So it is that Liverpool staying in the Cup is a “Hammer Blow”?
Liverpool are lucky to be in the Cup, says the Star. It says Steven Caulker handled in the area but the referee failed to give West Ham a penalty kick. You might call that a ‘Hammer blow’.
The Star also says Pep Guardiola is heading to Manchester City. We know this because “Mrs Pep” has been looking at St Bede’s College, where the club have 40 Academy players studying. According to the school’s website, it is a “leading Catholic Independent Co-Educational Grammar School, founded in 1876, inspiring excellence and instilling values in pupils from 3 to 18 years.” All City’s academy players are educated at St Bede’s.
The Express leads with Manchester United, who didn’t even play yesterday. The club’s owners, the Glazer family, have ordered cuts behind the scenes with up to 15% reductions in most departments.
The Mirror picks up the rumour that Manchester City are favourites to sign Everton’s £50m-rated defender John Stones.
Arsenal lost 0-1 at the Emirates to Chelsea, who even without Jose Mourinho cannot lose to the Gunners. The game went Chelsea’s way when Arsenal’s beanpole defender Per Mertesacker was beaten for pace by Diego Costa. The German slid in. He missed the ball. Did he catch Costa? It’s hard to tell. The TV cameras don’t always pick everything up. But Costa made the most of it, heading to the turf and tumbling like a round cheese down a Gloucestershire hill.
Arsenal fans say Costa dived. Well, they would do. But what do the experts in the Press say?
As usual, when things happen in a rush, there was the debate about whether Costa was taken out, clipped, dangled a trailing leg or merely fell over taking evasive action. It really doesn’t matter. Mertesacker’s tackle was wild and did not allow Costa to continue his run on goal. Of course, the same could be said of a challenge made by Nicolas Otamendi on Michail Antonio during Manchester City’s match with West Ham on Saturday, and that was only judged to be a yellow card.
Mertesacker stretched into the challenge that he had to make but Costa was too quick and, in the blink of an eye, the Chelsea striker was rolling into a series of exaggerated rolls and everybody inside the stadium knew what was coming next. The referee, Mark Clattenburg, flashed the red card. He had no other option.
The German dived in, stretching out a leg to try to reach the ball, but he made contact, however slight, with Costa. The Spain forward went tumbling, rolling theatrically, his right hand touching his right knee as he fell. Mark Clattenburg had no hesitation and rightly deemed Mertesacker to be the last defender. The referee reached for his top pocket and brandished the red card.
Arsene Wenger at Post-match Press conference:
“We have 35 journalists here, I am sure you have all seen it again and analysed it and know much more about that situation that I do. I can’t comment because I didn’t know if Costa was offside or not or if Per touched him or not. I don’t know. It was of course frustrating but it is a decision and we had to get on with our job, which we did.”
The Mirror quotes him:
“Look, I have not seen it again. In the first game he got Gabriel sent off and today he got Mertesacker sent off. It’s a tackle regular or not. Did he touch him or not?”
Replays suggested minimal contact with Costa, who was nonetheless unable to hide his agony from public view, face contorted as he completed a harrowing triple roll that suggested at the very least a pair of broken limbs, possibly even that rare thing, death by ankle tap.
Chelsea FC website:
Chelsea continued to go at the Gunners and with our next foray forward came a big moment as Diego Costa was played through in behind the defence and was scythed down by Mertesacker.
Mertesacker looked across, desperately hoping for offside, desperately hoping for Laurent Koscielny to be closer, but then tired to steal the ball away from Costa, catching him. Referee Mark Clattenburg showed the red card – the fourth Arsenal have endured in the last five Premier League matches against Chelsea.
Did he dive? No.
Much is being made of former Arenal captain Patrick Vieira ‘s selection of Jose Mourinho to manage his dream XI. Arenal manager Arsène Wenger, who brought the player to English football, is overlooked. Vieira played under Mourinho at Inter Milan for 18 months – he played for Wenger for nine years.
“[Mourinho’s] the manager who had more influence on me, ” says Vieira. “Why? Because he was the one who impressed me most on his work ethic. He knew everything about the opposition, the strength, weakness. His detail was unbelievable; everything was so clear about what he wanted from each player. I don’t know what happened at Chelsea but he always got the best out of his players… Arsène is more concentrated on his own team. He gives freedom to players to express themselves. It’s a different style.”
Vieira is now carving out a career in management at Manchester City, attempting to prove his coaching potential with New York City FC, a Man City franchise. Arsenal never did come calling for their former captain. Is he bitter?
These are his dream teams to play with and play against:
Former Times football editor Tony Evans tells the Evening Standard that Pep Guardiola wants to mange Arsenal.
Arsenal have the opportunity to acquire a coach with the potential to take the club into the next age of the game. Pep Guardiola is the sort of manager who can lift the Gunners to another level. He is young, suited to life in north London and keen to work in the Premier League…
Ever since he took that time off after Barca, he’s talked about clubs that attract him. It’s a very short shortlist and Arsenal are top of it.
The problem is, the position’s not open. It might just be a case of wrong place at wrong time, which is sad for you Gunners. He’d be a perfect fit. It does worry me there’s no plan for the succession at the Emirates
Pep is a great fit for Arsenal. But, then, so is Arsene Wenger.
In other Evening Standard news:
Pep to Arsenal looks like nothing more than wishful thinking.
The Metro has some terrific transfer balls. The paper decalres: “Wenger gives exciting update on Arsenal transfer plans for next two weeks.”
The story runs:
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has refused to rule out making more signings this month – but says he expects a quiet end to the window…
“At the moment I expect our last ten days to be quiet.”
Arsenal raked in more cash from match-day activities last season than every other club in Europe. The Gunners took a whopping £101.6m, beating Real Madrid (#99.9m), Barcelona (#980m) and Manchester United (#87.8m).
Given that three other clubs directly behind Arsenal in the list of top earners all boast larger grounds, it’s clear that Arsenal are getting rich on having supporters willing to pay top whack for tickets and snacks.
Arsenal fan Barry Jenkins got married wearing his full Arsenal kit, including shin pads and, mostly likely, box. He tells us: “My wife is from Woking, and she is awesome. She let me get married in my full Arsenal kit! Maybe I just got lucky.”
Adding: “It’s like I won the FA Cup and found the best woman in the world ever.”
She’s like the FA Cup? Is that as good as it gets for Arsenal fans?
Transfer balls: Liverpool and Arsenal compete to sign Iñaki Williams – La Liga’s fastest ever player
Liverpool are looking at Athletic Bilbao’s winger Iñaki Williams, 21. Any club can buy Williams if they can produce the €20m needed to activate his release clause. His current contract expires in June 2017.
Will Liverpool get him? The Guardian says Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid also fancy the player. Given that both Madrid clubs are facing a two-window transfer ban, either club could move fast.
The paper adds that Arsenal and Tottenham have also sent scouts to watch Williams. Keiran Gill of MailOnline says the Gunners like what they saw and are ready to spend £15 million on Williams, who has been clocked as the fastest player in La Liga, being recorded at 22.2 miles per hour in a league match last May. That’s 35.73 kph, putting Williams right up with Premier League flyers.
He’s quick. But is he any good?
Yes. He looks like the real deal. £15m for such a talent seems a little chap. Atletico want him to sign a new contract with a €100m release clause. Williams is on a reported £16,000-a-week at Atletico. At the very least he will use the interest in him to negotiate a hefty raise.
Arsenal have signed Nigerian “wonder kids” (see all papers) Kelechi Nwakali, 17, and Samuel Chukwueze, 16. They will pay the Diamond Football Academy £3m, says the Daily Mirror.
The paper adds that the Gunners will today complete the signing of Mohamed Elneny from Basle for £5m. They will then lose him for a year as he completes national service in the Egyptian armed forces. Unless he gets a note from Arsene Wenger that he’s busy or – gulp! – injured.
The Telegraph says Arsenal are set to bid £12m for Dinamo Zagreb’s Marcelo Brozovic.
The Metro says Arsenal are keen on Inter Milan pair Mauro Icardi and Marcelo Brozovic.
With Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck and others approaching full fitness, why would Arsenal want so many new faces?
After the speculation, the last word is with Elneny. He tells the Guardian:
“I remember that my father demanded that I went to bed with the ball. He said: ‘You have to connect with the ball.’ He started coaching me when I was three years old. His biggest wish was that I became a professional footballer… As a kid, I often played for 10 hours on the street. I think that’s when I learned to run and run without a break.”
He’s tough and full of running. He’s just what Arsenal need.
The Metro brings news that Pep Guardiola “is interested in succeeding Arsene Wenger”.
Newspaper have been on a mind that Pep is heading to Manchester City at the end of this season.
See the Metro stories: “Pep Guardiola has already agreed to take over at Manchester City next season”; and “Pep Guardiola agrees deal to become Manchester City manager next season”.
Can it now be that the Spaniard is to become the next Arsenal boss, replacing Wenger, who has expressed no desire to leave in the summer?
Reading on we learn that the story is attached to the explainer ” claims Guillem Balague”.
The story is utter balls:
“I agree that Pep would be perfect for Arsenal but, despite the interest of Pep in the London team, I feel he might be going somewhere else,’ Balague told SkySports. “As it stands, he has not signed anything and both City and Chelsea think they have a good chance to get him.”
In other words: he hasn’t the foggiest.
Lots more on what Guillem feels here.
The Times brings news that Arsenal are on the verge of sining Nigerian “wonderkids” Kelechi Nwakali and Samuel Chukwueze for a combined fee of £3m.
Nwakali rose to the fore thanks to his captaining of Nigeria in their successful pursuit of the U17 World Cup. His older bother plays for Manchester City – so look out for them getting involved.
Both players are with the ASJ Football Academy.
In other news:
Arsenal have the £13.4m to give Celta Vigo for 29-year-old Spain forward Nolito, says Mundo Deportivo.
Metro says Mohamed Elneny will join Arsenal in time for their game at Stoke City. The paper says Arteta could be on his way to West Ham United. It also notes that Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be a Gunner as soon as Arsenal hand over £60m. Which they won’t do.
The Mirror says Arsenal have “joined the hunt” for Chelsea youngster Ola Aina.
Right-back Aina’s current Blues deal expires in the summer. And having refused to sign a new deal so far the 19 year-old has been demoted from Chelsea’s first-team set-up to the under-21s, edging him closer to the exit.
Because with Debuchy, Bellerin and Jenkinson on the books, Arsenal really need a right-back.
Other than politics and Her Majesty, only the ending of footballers’ carers occupy the Press. Today the Mirror and other sources tell readers that Arsenal’s Spanish left-back Nacho Monreal is set to sign a new contract. This deal ties him to the Gunners for a further three years.
But before this, those same sources have been full of Monreal’s Arsenal demise.
Daily Star: “Arsenal rocked as Spanish international edges closer to shock exit”
Spanish newspaper Marca claim the 29-year-old, who joined the Gunners in 2013, has agreed a two-year contract with Athletic Bilbao.
Evening Standard: “Arsenal transfer news: Nacho Monreal’s £7m exit looms”
The Metro: “Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal follows Athletic Bilbao on Twitter amid transfer speculation”
The Independent: “Nacho Monreal to Athletic Bilbao”
GiveMeSport.com: “Arsenal agree to sell Nacho Monreal to Athletic Bilbao”
All complete and utter tosh.
Last week Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech took the Thames Turbo home to Surrey.
The best bit about this is that Cech didn’t tweet the picture himself.
Arsenal transfer news in today’s newspapers:
The Daily Mail says Arsenal don’t only want Watford’s Troy Deeney – they’re bidding for his Watford strike partner Odion Ighalo. Ighalo endears himself to Gunners fans by telling the Sun that he’s always loved Manchester United. “I don’t think I will be moving,” he says, “but I’m not sure I’d say no if United called.”
The Mirror ignores that and says Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger “has put Watford striker Odion Ighalo on his transfer hit-list”.
Wenger’s hit-list has long been a mystery to everyone. Is he really looking to replicate Watford at The Emirates?
Over in the Mirror, readers learn “Arsenal make Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang transfer offer”. The paper says the Gunners have offered £44.6million transfer offer to sign Aubameyang. They have?
Well, the Metro says “top Spanish journalist” Kike Marin says Arsenal have made a £44.6m offer for the Dortmund star.
How reliable is Marin?
Answer: not very.
The Mirror says Seville’s Grzegorz Krychowiak has heard of Arsenal.
“The Premier League? Some say it’s the best in the world, other people think that’s La Liga,” he tells FourFourTwo magazine. “I’ve heard about Arsenal, but I leave it to my agent. I trust him and he’s the one who deals with that kind of the stuff. I can’t think about things like that. I have to keep my mind free of any distraction and just focus on doing my job for Sevilla.”
The Daily Telegraph twists that into:
No. He did not “confirm interest”.
The Sun says Chelsea will attempt to sign Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain if Eden Hazard leaves.
Chelsea are desperate for English players. Would the Ox leave? Probably not.
Transfer balls: a look at terrible football reporting. The Daily Telegraph has news for Arsenal and Spurs fans:
In case you thought the bitter north London rivalry needed anything else to ramp it up, it has been reported that both Arsenal and Tottenham are after the same man – and the team in white are going to win.
They are? Who is this player? And who picks Spurs over the Gunners?
Arsenal have long shown an interest in Ezequeil Lavezzi, reportedly failing to agree a fee for the Paris Saint-Germain winger last summer.
The piece ends:
The former Napoli man is out of contract in the summer and Spurs will be able to seal the deal for a knock-down price.
Number of sources linked to: nil.
Number of people quoted: nil.
But we can quote a source who seems to know all about Lavezzi.
Chelsea ready to pursue deal for PSG’s Ezequiel Lavezzi – May 2014
Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Gunners suffer blow in bid to sign PSG’s Ezequiel Lavezzi -PSG winger Ezequiel Lavezzi is unlikely join either Arsenal in January, according to his agent. – Dec 31, 2015
You can read those stories in the Daily Telegraph.
In other Lavezzi news:
And Gazzetta dello Sport says that Tottenham are not fighting Arsenal for the player – it’s Barcelona and Internazionale they need to beat. Best of luck with that.
Transfer balls: For Arsenal the news is about who is missing. Mohamed Elneny has been missing from Basle training. The 23-year-old Egyptian midfielder has passed his Arsenal medial, which he took in Paris last month.
Rumours abound that a fee of £7.4 million has been agreed.
The other missing player is Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, of Borussia Dortmund. He missed training at the German club for “personal reasons”.
He’s been linked with a £42m move to Arsenal. Surely that’s too high for the Gunners in January.
He told the Press:
“I need a new challenge and I want to use that chance to be a manager in England. I want to experience the atmosphere in England and I look forward to the stadiums there. I am 44 and it is the right time. There are offers but I haven’t signed for anyone yet. When I have a new club I will let everyone know.”
So where for Guardiola? Well, when at Barcelona he worked with Ferran Soriano, now Manchester City’s chief executive, and Txiki Begiristain, City’s sporting director
But United and Chelsea both want him. Blues’ owner Roman Abramovich loves Pep.
But surely the best fit is for Pep to join Arsenal. Pep to replace Wenger… It makes sense.
“EXCLUSIVE,” says the Daily Star. “Arsenal eye shock move for Watford captain Troy Deeney.”
They are? And, yeah, it would be a shock. It would also be insane.
We’re not not told how this rumour came about. But we do learn that “Watford are extremely unlikely to sell their skipper”.
But Wenger is in the market for a hitman, knowing adding a ready-made striker to his squad could be key to the club winning their first title for 12 years.
The Express says Arsenal are readying a £20m bid for Deeney.
This is, of course, complete tosh. but it doesn’t stop the Telegraph adding Deeny to the journalism-by-numbers list “10 strikers Arsene Wenger could sign.”
Or could not.
Five Things We Learnt. It’s the made-for-internet football story that enables jobbing hacks to conjure clicks from what has already been reported many times over.
Let’s look at how the mainstream media responded to Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Newcastle United. These are things the pundits expert in football ‘learnt’ from the match:
Daily Telegraph: “Arsenal 1 Newcastle 0, five things we learnt”
3. Wenger has a bigger wardrobe than we realised.
Arsene Wenger wore a tracksuit.
Daily Mirror: “Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle: 5 things we learned as Laurent Koscielny saves sluggish Gunners”
2. Arsenal have injuries.
With so many players out injured – Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere, Francis Coquelin and so on – the biggest problem is that they have got nothing on the bench to change a game when needed.
Arsenal had those injuries before the match.
Newcastle Chronicle: “Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle: Five things we learned as struggling Magpies come up short again”
2. It is now 322 minutes with a league goal… and counting
The Sun: “Five things we learnt as Laurent Koscielny goal puts Arsenal two points clear at the top of the Premier League”
1 – ARSENE WENGER does not normally wear a tracksuit – and he should keep it that way. The Arsenal manager looked ridiculous in his ill-fitting garment and should keep his big coat on – even though he struggles with the zip.
Five Things We Learnt about Football Journalism: counting is easy.
Transfer balls: Arsenal are all set to offer £42m for Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, says the Sun.
Aubameyang has scored 24 goals in 23 appearances this season.
He has “told friends” he wants to leave Germany and play in the Premier League.
The paper says an Arsenal rep is in Germany talking with Dortmund.
A source then pops up to tell us:
“An intermediary has made contact with Dortmund about Pierre-Emerick making a move to Arsenal. Wenger knows the fee is very high — yet this is a striker who can make a massive difference for him and help win the title for the first time in 12 years. But there is a lot of interest in him.”
So says the source, who sounds a helluva lot like a PR rep.
The Sun then notes:
Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool have also been linked with making a move for the Gabon ace, 26.
Arsenal have the cash to meet Dortmund’s valuation this month and are in a strong bargaining position.
In July, the player singed a new contract at Dortmund. The Mail wrote:
Aubameyang, who wore a bow tie and sharp grey blazer as he put pen to paper, had been linked with a possible switch to the Premier League, but the new deal – which ties the 26-year-old to Dortmund until July 2020 – ends any such speculation surrounding his future.
Every transfer window a player occupies the media. This January its Isco.
The Mirror says Real Madrid midfielder Isco, 23, is hoping to engineer a £25m move to Manchester City.
Is h? We don’t know. The Mirror’s scoop contains not as single source.
Also today the Express says Isco is heading to Juventus.
On 15 Dec 2015, Metro said Arsenal have been placed “on red alert” for Isco, who had fallen out with Real’s management.
On December 3, Metro said Liverpool also want Isco.
On December 1, the trusty Metro said Arsenal are “ready to pay £35million asking price to seal transfer of Real Madrid star Isco”.
Isco’s price is fluctuating.
On October 15, Metro said “Arsenal are working on a £22million deal to sign Isco from Real Madrid.”
But hold the back page because Arsenal were ready to splash out – get this – £64m for Isco.
It’s almost as if they don’t have the foggiest…
The Sun says that Newcastle United manger Steve McClaren has “ordered Newcastle to rough up” Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil when the teams meet this afternoon. Are the Magpies really going to kick Arsenal’s best player out of the game? Is that the game plan?
No. Of course not.
McClaren merely said his side must show a “certain amount of aggression” to keep Arsenal within reach. Which seems an entirely reasonable position.
Arsenal “will look to sign new players in January”. So says the Mail, which picks up Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s words to the Press. “I’ll be busy, that’s for sure,’ Wenger said. “I am already busy and I said already one month ago, we are a bit short to deal with all the competitions we face, especially in midfield. We will be busy, yes.”
The Mirror says busy does not mean buying. The Mirror says Arsenal fans will be left “disappointed”. The paper says Arsenal will buy only one player this January: Mohamed Elneny. The Metro says he’s “confirmed he’s undergone a medical and agreed terms to join Arsenal from FC Basel”.
A done deal? No. Wenger adds: “Unfortunately we cannot announce anything at the moment about this player because nothing has been concluded.”
The Times says “Elneny will provide cover in the short term, but Wenger believes that there will be greater value for money in the summer when he will be looking to sign a heavyweight defensive midfielder. Southampton have told Arsenal that Victor Wanyama is not for sale until the summer, when he will have one year left on his deal.”
The Sun says Arsenal are in for Leicester City left back Ben Chilwell. He “could be an Arsenal player next week”.
Or maybe not.
Arsenal transfer news round-up.
Daily Star: Arsenal are chasing former Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez. The Mexican, 27, has hit 19 goals in 21 games for Bayer Leverkusen since leaving Old Trafford. (Top work getting rid of him, Louis Van Gaal!)
Don Balon: Arsenal are keen to offload unconvincing Joel Campbell, 23. They’re ready to roll him into a swap deal for Celta Vigo’s Nolito.
Daily Mirror: Arsenal are due to sign 23-year-old midfielder Mohamed Elneny from Basel. The Egyptian will do the work of the Gunners’ creaking Mathieu Flamini, Mikel Arteta, 33, and Tomas Rosicky, 35.
The Guardian says Arsenal also want Real Madrid’s 22-year-old substitute Jesé.