Money in football is always a news story to get people angry and agitated. The BBC says Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis will face “intense questioning from shareholders” over his salary .
The BBC says he earns £2.65m a year. Better perhaps to break his salary down into weekly components, much as the media does for players. It’s about £51,000 a week.
The Daily Mailpicks up the story. “Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis faces flak over £1m jackpot,” says the headline. Charles Sale tells of Ivan’s “extraordinary” salary. Is it that extraordinary?
In 2014, the HuffPost told us Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre earns a basic £1,311,975 salary and a £500,000 “supplement” for each full year he completes after his 60th birthday. The Mail’s chief executive earns over £2m a year.
So what is extraordinary about a top executive at a large company earning such a sum?
The Mail told readers in March 2016, Aston Villa’s chief executive Tom Fox earned £1.25m.
Maybe Ivan’s being underpaid.
In 2016, the Guardian reported: “UK’s top bosses received 10% pay rise in 2015 as average salary hit £5.5m.” (Guardian chief David Pemsel gets a £600k salary.)
Sale then takes a flight of fancy:
The Emirates Stadium summit…is normally used by Arsenal fans to interrogate manager Arsene Wenger about his transfer plans. But with the Gunners joint top of the table, Gazidis will be in the firing line instead.
Fans will more worried about the chief exec’s pay than they will playing matters?
Transfer balls: Will Arsenal keep Mesut Ozil beyond his contract, which expires in 2018? The media has been chattering about this for months.
Today Sky Sports says Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger “believes challenging for titles” will “convince” Ozil to sign an Arsenal contract extension.
Or as Wenger puts it, “I don’t think he needs convincing.” Ah. “He wants to stay here. If you have a good bank, call me! It’s not just money. Arsenal can win titles of course. But that’s what we have to show. We are in a league where Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, everybody fights and you cannot guarantee that.”
The BBC says says Arsenal “will have to spend big” to keep the German.
Ten man Arsenal beat Swansea City 3-2 after open game marred by Granit Xhaka’s harsh sending off
Layth Yousif writes:
Yes it was a cynical trip. But a straight red when there were plenty of men covering and no apparent danger. If new rules were designed to clarify situations such as these, the fear is that changes – however well-intentioned – have only served to muddy the waters. Again.
Arsenal 3 Swansea City 2: Bob Bradley’s team proud in defeat against 10-man Gunners
Xhaka’s afternoon then went from bad to worse, the Swiss hardman seeing red for a cynical challenge on Modou Barrow. Arsenal protests were waved away by referee Jon Moss.
And Walcott’s hat-trick, the one the Sun says he was “cruelly denied”?
Walcott misses a sitter just before the full-time whistle. Swansea gave 10-man Arsenal a massive fright here
As for the red card, the rules were altered, as the BBC writes:
Players who commit a foul to deny a goalscoring opportunity will no longer automatically be sent off, football’s rule-making body has confirmed. The previous ‘triple-punishment’ rule required a red card – and therefore a suspension – as well as the award of a penalty under those circumstances.
However, players committing accidental fouls that deny a goalscoring chance will now be cautioned instead. But deliberate fouls will still incur a red card.
Those include holding, pulling or pushing, not playing the ball, serious foul play, violent conduct or deliberate handball in order to deny a goalscoring opportunity.
More BBC Transfer Balls as the State broadcaster tells readers to its website – and why doesn’t the BBC just publish a newspaper? – “Manchester United target Isco has hinted he may leave Real Madrid at the end of the season.”
With not a single fact to support its headline news, we follow a link to the Manchester Evening Post, which declares: “Manchester United get Isco boost as he explains Real Madrid situation.” What said the player who started one league match for Real last season? “If I’ve still only made a few appearances by the end of the season, I’ll look elsewhere,” says Isco. “At 24 years of age I have to right to better myself.”
Over on TalkSport that becomes: “Tottenham transfer news: Top target Isco admits he could leave Real Madrid if his situation doesn’t change.”
The Metro is less precise, saying all top-flight clubs are in for the players: “Isco puts Premier League clubs on red alert by revealing he could leave Real Madrid.”
Bournemouth, Hull and Swansea have heard Isco’s words and sounded the klaxon.
Is Isco really leaving Real? The Press hasn’t got the foggiest.
The Mail told us on October 6: “Real Madrid midfielder Isco ‘is primary transfer target for Juventus’.”
That followed the Express’s news of 19 Sep 2016: “JUVENTUS are not interested in signing Tottenham target Isco from Real Madrid.”
In June, El Confidentialreported that Isco had agreed to join Manchester City 25 million euros.
In March, the Metro had other news: “Isco is a priority for Guardiola, with City now seemingly ready to beat the Gunners to his signature.”
They didn’t. Isco stayed at Real Madrid.
Time, then, to hear from the player himself. On October 5, Sky Sports told us: “Isco determined to fight for Real Madrid place under Zinedine Zidane.”
Asked by Marca if he considered an exit, Isco said: “Not really, I have two years left on my Real contract, the club said nothing and I never looked for anything to leave… In the end, if I’m not the star man with (Carlo) Ancelotti, (Rafa) Benitez or Zidane, I will not be foolish and look for problems where there are none. In the end, I’m responsible and that’s where I must improve. There are ups and downs and I won’t give up, I fight to the end and want to prove that I’m fit for Madrid.”
Who are “The 50 best players in the Premier League”? You could decide this with transfer fees, goals scored, goals conceded, where a player polled in the PFA awards and the Football writers’ awards, FIFA 17 ranking and any number of statistics betting shops and fantasy leagues use to gage players.
The Mirror has opted for with guessing. Lowlights are:
48: “He’s still trying to find his feet at the Emirates, but there have already been signs – notably his goal at Hull – that the quality he has could lead him to be a top-15 player on lists such as this in future.”
Fingers crossed Granit makes 15. Will he be happy with a Top 20 spot?
We also learn that Anthony Martial (46 – Manchester United) is better than Wayne Rooney (50 – Manchester United).
Others are capable:
Steve Davis (47 – Southampton): “Capable in a variety of roles.”
Martial (as above): “He’s capable of beating a man to tee up a teammate or score himself.”
Ross Barkley (45 – Everton): “He’s capable of running a game from midfield.”
And on it goes. Over the next few days the Mirror will continue its countdown.
PS: For those of you who can’t wait to see who is top of the heap, in September 2016 the Mirror said the best player in the Premier League is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He’s a capable lad.
Transfer balls: a look at football reporting. The BBC says Chelsea are looking to cash in on Eden Hazard, the player once billed as the “new Lionel Messi”. The BBC says Chelsea will tie a big bag of cash to the 25-year-old Belgium and offer to swap the lot for Juventus and Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci, 29.
The SunsaysJuventus don’t want Hazard. They want Cesc Fabregas and an even bigger bag of cash – £50m – for Bonucci.
In other Chelsea news, the Star says the blues are keen on Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Manchester City also want him. Aubameyang doesn’t want to play for either of them, preferring a move to Real Madrid.
City have loads of cash. Will they outbid Real? News is that last summer they offered £170m for Barcelona’s Neymar. The Citizens thought they’d get their man. Mundo Deportivo says Manchester United, Real Madrid and Paris St-Germain matched that bid. And all failed. Odd, indeed, that no other news sources got wind of these bids.
Maybe City will have better luck with Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin, 21. Marca says Barcelona head the queue for the Arsenal flyer, who is happy at the Emirates.
As for the Gunners, well, Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis says Arsenal made a good offer for striker Gonzalo Higuain over the summer. “We received a request from Arsenal,” he told the Evening Standard. “Personally I also received a request from Atletico Madrid but they didn’t put enough money on the table. We were not ready to sell him – for me Higuain was not for sale.”
He was for sale. Higuain went to Juventus for £75.3m.
Of course, Sun readers know that Higuain joined the Gunners years ago:
Is Arsenal manger Arsene Wenger all set to be the next England coach? No. Yesterday he told media it is “very important” that the FA appoint an Englishman for the job.
The Mirror leads with Wenger’s words:
Just one day ago the Sun reported that the FA wanted Wenger. They were “boosted” by news that Ivan Gazidis, the Arsenal chief executive, had said the Gunners are not just about the Frenchman.
When the internationals are on and the Premier League pauses, the football media looks for anything to fill the void. The Mirror and Sun have conjured a news story from dust.
The Mirror works at the apogee of such reporting. On 28 Sep 2016, it told readers: “Arsenal are bracing themselves for an England approach in pursuit of Arsene Wenger – but are ready to fend them off by handing him a new contract.” That as followed by a welter of balls, not least of all the October 6 story: “Ivan Gazidis drops huge hint that Wenger may not be Arsenal boss next season.”
Tomorrow look out for the papers debating whether or not Wenger, who has lived and worked in the UK for 20 years, qualifies as English.
Is the Premier League a video catalogue for Manchester City’s shoppers? Manchester City invested £175m on new players in the summer – and they have another £150 to buy some more.
As ever, the first port of call on the City owners’ shopping trip is Arsenal. City manager Pep Guardiola is batting his eyes at Arsenal’s flying right back Héctor Bellerín. Look out for lots of reports on Hector and Pep’s shared Barcelona roots.
Can Arsenal hang onto their rising star?
Can Arsenal afford to reject a bid of £50m for a player they signed for free?
Arsenal’s most pressing concern is keeping Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez. The players are said to each want a huge pay rise. Reports suggest Sanchez and Ozil each take home around £140,000 a week. At Manchester City, players or lesser ability take home more than that. So Arsenal need to cough up to prevent their top names leaving the club. The sum of £250,000 a week has been mentioned.
One player nearer the exit than those three is Per Mertesacker. The injured German’s current deal ends at the end of this season. “I am a person who likes to create options for himself,” says Mertesacker. “Of course, I ask myself what would make sense if things were to end at Arsenal? Where can I be of any help? What do I want? Could I maybe return to Germany?”
Could he reach that glass on the top shelf and paint the cornices?
The BBC says Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has “hinted” manager Arsene Wenger’s contract “may not be renewed at the end of the season”.
Turn that around and it means he said nothing has been decided and Wenger’s contract may be renewed at the end of the season.
The Daily Mirrorsays it is the “biggest hint yet” that Wenger is heading out of the Emirates.
So what did he say? This: “He’s been clear and we’ve always been clear, that’s a mutual decision as to how long he’ll continue. Both need to be on the same page on that. In a football sense, he has transformed the club.”
That needs some spin to make it a hint about Wenger leaving. It sounds a lot like an executive making a diplomatic response to a journalist’s question.
The Sun picks up another comment:
Said Gazidis in reply to another question: ““Arsenal is not Arsene Wenger. They’re not one in the same thing.”
That’s a “SHOCK” to the Sun.
But not to Mirror readers, who all know when Wenger will leave:
Transfer balls: The Week says Porto’s Andre Silva, 20, “could displace Sanchez'” at Arsenal.
The Week’s story is based entirely on a report in Portugal’s Ojogo . It makes no mention of Alexis Sanchez, the Chilean dynamo who gives impetus and urgency to Arsenal’s forward play. The report does say Arsenal and Leicester City have taken a look at Silva.
Put it through the clickbait machine and the Daily Mirror states: “Gunners want Porto striker Andre Silva.”
Well, they’ll have to dig deep. In August, Silva signed a new FC Porto contract with a 60 million euros release clause.
As for the Leicester City link, TheWeek says:
Silva, 20, was thought to be on the brink of a switch to Premier League champions Leicester on last month’s transfer deadline day, but the move fell through late in the day…
Er, no. Leicester cIty were after Adrien Silva, the Sporting Lisbon midfielder whose move to Leicester City broke down on deadline day.
Helpfully, the mainstream media provides a care home for retired referees.
Graham ‘The Thing from Tring’ Poll (Daily Mail):
Referee Craig Pawson couldn’t see the last-minute incident involving Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Laurent Koscielny and even if he had, it is a 50-50 call. I watched the replays three times and I still don’t know whether it was deliberate handball on Koscielny’s part. The defender’s arms are only up because he was trying to play the ball with his feet
Mark Halsey delivers his ‘Verdict’ in The Sun:
THE referee has to disallow that goal. Craig Pawson has a good view and the assistant referee is looking straight at it.
He has to disallow the goal. Or not.
Handball is the only part of the law where intent comes into play. But while you can argue that Laurent Koscielny’s handball is not deliberate, it resulted in a goal and it could have gone wide if the ball had not hit his arm.
Arsenal beat Burnley at Turf Moor 1-0 with pretty much the last kick of the game. Laurent Koscielny mugged the ball over the line. But did it hit his hand on the way in? He knew nothing about it, that much appears certain.
Koscielny signed for Arsenal from Lorient six years ago for £8.45million. If John Stones is worth £50m, what price the Frenchman?
As for the goal, well, opinion is divided.
The Mirror says “Burnley’s fans will be furious handball wasn’t given when the ball was kicked into Koscielny’s arms which were by his face.”
The Sun: “Approaching the 92nd minute, a late corner was swung in and Oxlade-Chamberlain made contact.”
However, the ball appeared to hit Laurent Koscielny on the hand as it deflected into the net.
The Indy: “A late winner! ‘The Ox’ blasts it into Koscielny and it goes in. The visitors nick a win!”
The Arsenal website:
Burnley Express: “Not only was Arsenal’s late winner a huge kick in the teeth for the home side but it arrived in the most controversial of circumstances as goalscorer Laurent Koscielny handled the ball over the line from an offside position.”
Trevor Sinclair tells BBC listeners: “I am absolutely gutted for the Burnley players. It is a handball.”
The BBC says:
Mesut Ozil delivers the corner from the right. The ball is headed to the far post by Theo Walcott – yes, Theo Walcott – and there is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain whose awkward effort on goal appears to come off the elbow of Laurent Koscielny and fly into the net. Defender Koscielny also ends up in the net seemingly unaware he’s scored what is likely to be the winner.
TheMail adds: “The Frenchman appeared to handle the ball from an offside position as he deflected the ball in from close range after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain shot from close range.”
The Guardian adds: “The goal was controversial, beyond the allotted allocation of injury-time, Koscielny handballed the ball into the net, and he was surely offside when Oxlade Chamberlain kicked the ball into his team-mate.”
London Evening Standard: “Oxlade-Chamberlain wins it at the death for Arsenal! A short corner and a Sanchez cross. Walcott flicks it on. Koscielny and Oxlade-Chamberlain both look offside. Both kick it. It goes in. Somehow!”
He wan’t offside. It was ball to hand. Two minutes were added on for injury time – the goal game in the 94th minute.
Is Arsenal manger Arsene Wenger to become the next England saviour? The Mirror says Wenger has “admitted” that he wants the job.
John Cross’ report begins: “Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits interest in England job after Sam Allardyce departure.”
The trouble is that more we read the more that headline admittance reduces in potency. Cross adds: “The Gunners boss had admitted it could interest him to take over the Three Lions once his work at the Emirates is done.”
Can you admit something that could not happen?
Of course we know when Wenger’s Arsenal work will be done because John Cross told us the man will leave the Gunners at this end of this season:
Wenger will quit on June 30 2017, said John Cross in the Mirror.
Or as John Cross tells us today in the third Wenger admittance of a short story: “Wenger admitted his priority is to stay at Arsenal and get a new contract as his current £8m-a-year deal expires this summer.”
How do you follow Sam Allardyce? With a broom, perhaps. The Football Association has a better idea: wait for caretaker boss Gareth Southgate to fail and then appoint Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. The BBC says that’s the plan. TheLondon Evening Standard agrees. It’s Wenger for England.
Wenger’s current Arsenal contract expires at the end of this season. Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke and the club’s chief executive Ivan Gazidis want him to sign a new deal.
The FA has chased Wenger for some time. The Telegraph says Wenger was the FA’s first choice to succeed Roy Hodgson after the European Championship. But they failed to get him.
The Daily Star says Wenger will say ‘yes’ if the FA ask him again: “EXCLUSIVE: Arsene Wenger open to becoming England boss.” The exclusive is anything but. While “Starsport understands the Arsenal boss is interested in taking charge in the build-up to the 2018 World Cup in Russia”, Wenger tells Sky Sports: “My priority is always Arsenal and I have to assess how well I do until the end of the season.”
Mentions of England by Wenger: nil.
Put that through the headline generator and the Mail delivers: “Arsene Wenger keeps door open for England job.”
The apogee of no-news is in the Independent, which declares, “Arsenal could be poised to extend Arsene Wenger’s contract with the club after the Frenchman was linked to the new England job.”
The media has no idea what Wenger will do next. Well, all apart from the Mirror:
Arsenal’s Theo Walcott has grown up. “I’ve worked hard from the back end of last season and I’ve just continued to do that throughout the whole summer and that’s all I’m doing,” says the player who at just 16 was drafted into England’s World Cup squad. Injury and form mean he’s not appeared at the World Cup since. Does that make him a failure, a man frustrated by what might have been?
Walcott could be forgiven for feeling melancholy, that life, however glorious it appears to many, has been a tad disappointing. But Walcott wants to be better. He’s driven. Failure can be inspirational. Learning from failure is a quality that sets the best apart. You might not make it – there are no guarantees – but negative thinking encourages change and innovation. You learn to move on.
“Me and the manager sat down and I’ve just looked at myself,” he tells the Times. “There’s no point dwelling on the past, that’s what I’m like. I know what I can do and I don’t mind what people say because I do know that as long as I work hard, I know what I’m going to be. It’s just come down to that.
“The manager has shown tremendous faith in me and I just want to repay that. You can see that in my desire and the way that I’m playing at the moment. I want it more than anyone else, but that’s just me and the way that I work now. It’s a shame that it only hit me a few years ago because there’s been a slight change in my attitude ahead of big games.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is effusive in praise of his attacker.
“Why did I always stick with him?” he tells the Arsenal website. “Because I think he is ambitious but he is intelligent and with intelligent people there is always a chance. He has what the big players have. They have a fair assessment of their performances and their weaknesses… I think he was clear, and in all our lives that clarity is the most important factor. He had clarity in his head. Once you have that you have a chance.”
Failure is healthy is you embrace it.
Paulo Coelho, the author of The Alchemist, puts it well:
I’m never paralyzed by my fear of failure… I say “Ok, I’m doing my best… ” And, from the moment that I can say that I’m doing my best … I sit down, I breathe, and I say “I put all of my love into it, I did it with all my heart.” … And whether they like [the book] or not is irrelevant, because I like it. I’m committed to the thing that I did. And so far nobody has criticized or refused it. When you put love and enthusiasm into your work, even if people don’t see it, they know it’s there, that you did this with all of your body and soul, so that is what I encourage you to do.
Filling in the dull bits between transfer windows when the Daily Express’ clickbait bots can link Arsenal to every striker over 10 years of age, the ‘World’s Greatest Newspaper’ has created a Premier League predictor. Using the technical marvel of guessology and powerful maths, the Express makes some bold statements.
Bournemouth, Sunderland and Stoke are all relegated – Stoke scoring 6 times all season.
In the world of the Express, The Cherries are worse than Hull City – who are better than Southampton – and West Ham. Everton, who Bournemouth just beat 1-10, finish runners up. Chelsea finish above Manchester United.
Spurs finish third, conceding – get this – 3 goals.
Manchester City win the title.
Oh, yeah – Arsenal finish fourth, naturally. Even robots can be right some of the time.
Africa’s richest man is Nigerian Aliko Dangote, says the Sun. He wants to use some of his £8.3billion fortune to buy Arsenal football club within four years.
Dangote, described by Newsweek as “a lifelong Arsenal fan”, tells Bloomberg: “Maybe three to four years. The issue is that we have more challenging headwinds. I need to get those out the way first and start having tailwinds. Then I’ll focus on this.”
As Arsenal fans lick a collective finger and hold it in the air, Dangote adds: “It’s not about buying Arsenal and just continuing with business as usual. It’s about buying Arsenal and turning it around. I’ve run a very successful business and I think I can also run a very successful team. Right now, with what we’re facing, over $20 billion of projects, I cannot do both.”
Turning it around? According to Forbes, Arsenal are doing ok:
Here are the top 10 with profits (using June, 2015 exchange rates):
1. Manchester United: $190 million
2. Real Madrid: $162 million
3. Manchester City: $131 million
4. Arsenal: $122 million
5. Liverpool: $115 million
Looking around for more news on Dangote, the top story right now is: “Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote is not dead.”
Is he resting? No. He’s tweeting: “I am hale, hearty and alive. Please disregard malicious report saying otherwise. Thank you.”
Media Balls: a look at bad and monocular football reporting. Today we look at Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Chelsea in the Premier League.
Mesut Ozil scored Arsenal’s third goal. Was it lucky?
The Guardian says it was a fluke: “Ozil watched it carefully onto his left foot, mishit his sidefoot volley completely – and saw it bounce over Courtois and in off the far post.”
The official Arsenal website has an alternative version of events. That shot was deliberate: “The World Cup winner ran on to the ball and met it on the volley, smashing it into the ground, beyond Courtois and in off the far post.”
The BBC agrees, saying, “Mesut Ozil then left N’Golo Kante trailing to expose Chelsea on the counter-attack and steer home Arsenal’s third“.
Was it smashed in? No, says the Times: “Ozil obliged, his goal creeping in off Courtois’ left-hand upright.”
Were Chelsea any good?
The Sun says: “Chelsea improved in the second half but rarely threatened a comeback – and couldn’t even muster a shot on target.”
Maybe the Sun’s man in the know went home early. The BBC says, “Chelsea’s first shot on target came in the 82nd minute.”
That’s right. Chelsea had two shots on target.
Ouch! Where does it hurt, Francis?
The Indy: “Coquelin put in another 100 per cent effort to block N’Golo Kante’s effort shortly after the half hour mark, and an ankle injury sustained in the clash forced him off two minutes later.”
The Standard looks at Coquelin’s injury: “Arsene Wenger admits he is ‘worried’ by Arsenal midfielder’s kneeinjury.”
The Star says Coquelin and Kante “had a nasty collision of knees“.
Manchester United’s unlikeable manager Jose Mourinho says he would “break” Arsene Wenger’s face. So claims the Daily Mail, which says the Portuguese was so angered with the Arsenal manager he vowed to “break his face”.
The Daily Mailhas an extract from JOSE MOURINHO: UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL by Robert Beasley. The story goes:
When you publicly denounce someone as a ‘specialist in failure’ and a ‘voyeur’, it is abundantly clear you don’t like them much.
What must Jose Mourinho’s views on Arsene Wenger be like away from the cameras and microphones? Unsurprisingly, they’re even more damning and the gloves have been well and truly off whenever the matter of Monsieur Wenger has been raised. A couple of times Jose even talked about wanting to physically fight the Frenchman. That’s how bitter and basic their rivalry has become over the years.
Jose Mourinho in a physical fight? Would the opponent be allowed to see him coming?
The book continues, focusing on the managers’ tiff when the sides met on October 5, 2014.
I asked Jose what had happened and he revealed: ‘He was asking for a red card and pressing the ref in my technical area. I told him to go back to his area. He pushed me.
‘I told him, “Here you do that, you know I can’t react, but I will meet you one day in the street”.’
Just you watch it, Arsene, next time he’ll get you. If Jose ever sees you wandering about his Belgravia manor, it’ll be the worst for you.
You can call Jose sexist but he’s not ageist. He will break a pensioner’s face.
Arsène Wenger has been manger of Arsenal for 20 years. The 66-year-old manager joined the club on this day 1996.
The Sunday Mirror took the rise out of this new foreign manager, rolling it eyes and wishing the club the best of luck “persuading us that the lanky M’sieur Wenger, despite sounding like Rory Bremner auditioning for ‘Allo ‘Allo, is ‘ow you say fantastique!”. That the British media had not heard of Wenger was a sign of their parochialism. “Arsene who?” quipped the Standard, a new take on “Dr Who?”, the question asked by the Press when Aston Villa hired Dr Josef Venglos in 1990.
George Weah had explained who Wenger was one year earlier at the Fifa World Footballer of the Year award, stating: “Arsène Wenger made me not just the player I am today, but also the man I am.”
WEnger was far from unfazed. “I felt quite a lot of scepticism,” he said. “That’s normal, especially on an island. This phenomenon is more emphasised on an island because people have historically lived more isolated. They are more cautious about foreign influences.”
In Wenger’s first full season, Arsenal on The Double.
And then? Well, his Arsenal side has never finished outside the top 4. But after a decade of success, recent years have hardly been filled with glory:
And now? Well, Arsenal fans will miss him when he’s gone.
Following on from yesterday’s news that Manchester City are looking to sign Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez, the Sun says The Citizens are ready to shake the massive wad of cash at Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin.
And that is not all.
Bellerin joined the Gunners from Barcelona in 2011. And Barcelona fixer Jordi Mastre wants him back. He tells SPORT:
“We’ve already seen him as a Cule! He’s a great player, there’s no doubt about that. Wenger convinced him to move [in 2011] and promised him something which we couldn’t. We could not promise him that within two years he would be playing in Dani Alves’ place.”
Er, Alves (now with Juventus) played in defence for Barcelona. When at the club, Bellerin was a winger. “When I was at Barcelona I always used to play on the right wing,” he said.
Bellerin told the Standard: “When I first came to Arsenal, I didn’t know how to defend. If there was a person who I had to identify as helping me a lot, that would have to be Steve Bould. I was a winger but from the under-18s up, I remember him just showing me the basics. Even then, I remember him sometimes holding his head like, ‘What is Hector doing?’ He’s been one of the key people in my career. He’s one of the reasons I’m here now.”
Barcelona could not promise Bellerin he would be the new Dani Alves because they thought he wasn’t good enough to play in their attack.
Transfer balls: ‘Is Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez heading to Manchester City,’ asks the Guardian. No. He plays for Arsenal.
But the paper says the “word on the street” is that Sanchez is reluctant to sign a new deal with Arenal because he wants to join Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. There are no named sources. But the paper adds that Pep will go for Sanchez should he fail to sign Messi or Neymar. ESPN says Sanchez wants to win the European Cup, so the former Barcelona player fancies playing for Manchester City, who have never won it.
The Express says Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger “is desperate to keep Sanchez at the Emirates Stadium”. The Chilean wants around £200,000 a week to stay at the club. That would break Arsenal’s wage structure. Mesut Ozil, who earns around £140,000 a week, is Arsenal’s top earner. But he also wants a substantial pay rise.
So it Sanchez batting his eyelids at the Etihad? No. The Express told readers: in August “Gunners forward Alexis Sanchez has told the club he wants to leave to secure a move to Serie A champions Juventus.”
As for the German, the Sun says “Ozil has the look of a player going through the motions, already resigned to the fact that he will have to find a new club if he wants to get his hands on the European Cup.”
Problem with that is that current European Champions Real Madrid sold him. Which super-rich club will he go to? Manchester City? PSG? Manchester United – who aren’t even in Europe’s top club competition.
In other Arsenal transfer news, the Sun says Jose Mourinho will offload defender Phil Jones in January. The BBC notes that Liverpool and Arsenal both interested in the 24-year-old.
Max Miller has news for Arsenal fans looking to see how Jack Wilshere is getting on during his loan spell at AFC Bournemouth. Well, Bournemouth were thrashed 4-0 by a vibrant Manchester City. Miller tells his Metro readers:
The Arsenal loanee gave the ball away on several occasions, and was caught out numerous times by the speed and creativity of his opponents
Wilshere did not play well. But, then, Bournemouth were overrun in midfield. But that part telling us Wilshere “gave the ball away on several occasions” is odd. Eddie How, the Bournemouth manager, said:
“It was difficult for Jack in the first half, because he’s at his best when he has the ball, and we didn’t have too much of it.”
But he lost it on “several occasions”, right? Wrong. He lost the ball twice. We found another report that tells us:
Wilshere was the only player to complete 100% of his passes…