Transfer Balls spots this utter drivel in the Daily Telegraph. Arsenal’sSerge Gnabry has been called up to Germany’s Olympic football team. Lest you suppose news that a bit-part Arsenal player missing a few games with an Olympic hangover was not big news, the Telegraph says you’d be wrong. It is huge.
Gnabry featured on loan for West Brom last season [3 matches played], but has impressed Arsene Wenger this pre-season, and has been tipped for a more important role at the Emirates this season.
More important than no games for Arsenal last season?
His departure for the Games leaves Arsenal a man short in their midfield, and could even force Wenger’s hand in the transfer market.
Who could replace Gnabry, the player who made nine starts for Arsenal? Richard Amofa Harry Yorke have an idea.
Who would be a suitable replacement? Either Alexandre Lacazette and Riyad Mahrez could probably do the job. Many would feel Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is also capable, but the forward today distanced himself from a move to the Gunners.
Got that? The Premier League’s best player last season, the exciting young French striker or the thrilling Dortmund striker could do the job of Gnabry.
Indeed. What about Ronaldo? Surely he deserves the chance.
Transfer balls: Arsenal fans reeling from yesterdays BBC news that the club are not spending big money can today read the BBC news of a “£75m double deal to bring Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez, 25, and Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette, 25, to the Emirates Stadium.
Winger Mahrez, voted Player of the Year by footballers’ union the PFA last season, and Lyon striker Lacazette are top of Wenger’s wanted list…Mahrez – who has three years left on his contract with the new champions – would cost around £35m.
Over in the Metro, the news is that “Adidas start selling no.7 Riyad Mahrez Chelsea shirts”. Has the Algerian signed for The Blues?
How could he have? The Telegraph reported on July 23 that Mahrez had “agreed to join Arsenal”. The fee: £41m. Have Adidas, the Press or both made an error? The Metro’s source is a twitter account called @Chelseaolic, currently followed by 202 people. The picture is below. Yes, it could be a rough and ready bit of photoshop-style fun. And that’s good enough for The Metro to report it as fact:
The Metro says “The option to buy Mahrez no.7 shirts has since been removed”. Er, no. there is no proof it was ever on offer.
So, the Arsenal move is till on, then?
No. The last word is with Claudio Ranieri, the Leicester manager, who states: “Maybe now (£47m) and maybe tomorrow another newspaper says £100m. Keep going! Mahrez is okay with us. He understands that’s someone loves to put some speculation but it is only speculation.”
Arsenal are having a tough time. Yeah, really. The BBC says Arsenal are “braced” for complaints from fans after “warning them not to expect expensive summer signings.”
That would be the Arsenal who this summer signed Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach for £35m (source: BBC)? It would be. That sounds like an expensive signing. It isn’t. As Alan Smith writes in the Guardian, £30m is the “norm” for a decent player.
The Times has more on why the BBC says Arsenal are expecting their fans to complain. Ivan Gazidis, the Arsenal chief executive, says not-big-spending Leicester are the model.
Gazidis said that Arsenal should be inspired by Leicester even after he recruited Ben Wrigglesworth, who was head of technical scouting at the champions. “Leicester identified players from the French second division, so maybe there’s talent that we’ve been overlooking,” Gazidis told ESPN.
“They did their talent identification [well], they had great unity within the group, as well as quality. It wasn’t built on money. It was built on the great fitness work they did. It was built on all of these other elements. I think that’s going to be a continuing trend within the Premier League.”
Or as the Mail says, also today:
Arsene Wenger insists he is ready to spend BIG
Says Wenger: “It’s not over. Today we are in July, and the transfer market finishes on the 31st of August. We know as well that a lot happens many times in the last week.”
The media really have no idea who Arsenal will buy.
Transfer Balls: Is Mauro Icardi heading to Arsenal? Maybe. The Sun has news that the “Inter Milan star’s sexy wife and AGENT ” is in London to broker her husband’s £43m move to the Gunners. She is “JET WAGGED” Wanda Nara.
Less anyone think it a bit sexist of the Sun to be astounded that a woman can be a man’s agent, the paper features a picture of her backside. This picture:
The bigger shock than seeing an agent losing their shirt is news that on July 18 the Sun told us: “MAGIC WANDA – Arsenal set to miss out on Mauro Icardi as agent reveals Juventus interest.”
The Sun then added: “His wife Wanda Nara, who bizarrely is also his agent.”
Why is it bizarre that a husband and wife are in business together? If you are going to be shafted by anyone, might as well make it your beloved.
And it’s big money. The Guardian says Incardi “would command a cool £5m in wages this season, should he sign for the Gunners.”
In other Arsenal transfer news, the Indy says Arsenal tare in for Arda Turan for £20m. The paper says Barcelona are willing to sell the Turkish midfielder. They are? No. “Arda Turan pledges Barcelona allegiance,” says the Sun.
The Guardian says it’s “bad news” for Arsenal fans. Arsène Wenger wants to buy Gonzalo Higuaín for £50m. Drat! With bad news like that, fans of Wigan Athletic, QPR and more must be feeling they got off lightly. The “bad news” is that in the insane world of football transfers, the GDP of a mid-sized Pacific island is not enough to hire an ageing striker.
Higuain is not far off 29-years-old. He has been likened to a “block of concrete” by Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis. Not because he’s durable, no-nonsense and tough. The comparison was made in light of Higuain’s girth and mobility.
Napoli, Higuain’s current club, value the Argentine at £80m. Although Sky Sports “sources” say “Higuain won’t leave Napoli for under £78.5m”.
But hold on! The Telegraph reports has news from the inside. A “presenter on official Napoli radio station [Radio Kiss Kiss] says Gonzalo Higuain ‘will almost certainly join Arsenal for €50m plus Olivier Giroud'”. Almost certainly. Or definitely uncertainly.
Of course, this is Anorak’s Transfer Balls, and any mention of Higuain would not be complete without harking back to the fact that he already plays for Arsenal. We read it in the Sun. In fact, the story of Higuain joining Arsenal is still live on the Sun’s website.
And so begins the break-up of the Leicester City team that one with Premier League. The Telegraph says Chelsea have agreed to sign Leicester midfielder N’Golo Kante, 25, at the weekend for £29m. Kante, we read, will soon tell Foxes manager Claudio Ranieri he wants to leave Leicester.
Of course nothing has been decided. Kante has signed no contract.
Jamie Vardy, Kante’s Leicester team-mate rejected a £20m move to Arsenal and committed to Leicester earlier this summer. Or did he?
The Express told readers on June 7, “Jamie Vardy verbally agrees three-year Arsenal deal”.
Today the Express says, “Arsenal have already missed out on Jamie Vardy, who has verbally agreed a new contract with Leicester.”
Verbal agreements appear to be no agreements at all. Can we deduce from the news that Vardy to Arsenal remains on?
Arsenal are under “threat”. In an “exclusive”, the Mail’s Charles Sale thunders beneath the headline “THIERRY THREAT” that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has delivered an “extraordinary ultimatum”. He has “ruled” that Henry must leave his punditry role at Sky Sports if he wants to be an Arsenal coach.
Wenger “feels his fellow Frenchman cannot work within the club during the week and then criticise their players at the weekend”. Well, quite. That seems obvious. Henry has been highly critical of Olivier Giroud, the Arsenal and France striker.
But then Sale says Wenger is “hypocritical” because he worked as a pundit for beIN Sport during Euro 2016. That job ends when the season begins. Henry’s job just gets going.
Who will be the next England team manager? Will it be Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger?
Metro says “Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger gives massive England job hint”. Really? This is Wenger who saw England’s desire to recruit foreign managers and mused: “In a country of 50 million people, you would think you could find one of your own.”
The Times says: “Wenger keen on England if FA waits a year.”
Is Wenger worth waiting for? Is he The One, the figure so vital to the FA they will wait? In 1996 Wenger arrived at Arsenal from Nagoya Grampus Eight. He was a sensation. Why can’t England be as bold and go for someone young and innovative?
For years the FA has been eyeing Wenger – the manager who became “the first to pick a 16-man Premier League squad that did not feature a single Englishman”.
Does Wenger really want the job? When asked about managing England, the Arsenal manager told BeIn Sports:
“Could I manage England, why not? I would never rule that out, but I am happy and focused in club football… I have one more year to go with Arsenal and I have been with them for a long time. I have always respected all my contacts [throughout my career] and will continue to do that. What will I do after that? Honestly, I don’t know.”
Arsenal have already lined up a two-year extension to that deal. They want him to agree to it by October. Wenger knows his value to the Gunners.
Rub your eyes Arsenal fans. The Telegraph says Arsenal are planning to gazump Chelsea and bid – get this – £65m for Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata.
The Sun tells us Arsenal will offer Morata £144,000-a-week, making him their third highest paid player behind Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.
The Daily Mirror says Morata to Arsenal is very much on because the player wants Champions’ League football, something Chelsea can’t offer.
But would Arsenal really bid such a huge sum for a talented but far from sensational player? The Tele says Chelsea are “more than willing to pay that price”. The Blues want to stick Morata up front with new boy Michy Batshuayi. But Morata “would rather move to the Emirates than Stamford Bridge”.
The Standard says Arsenal are offering too much. “Chelsea bid £51m for Alvaro Morata,” says the London free paper.
The Indy says Morata to Arsenal is on. But in case it isn’t, the paper of record names NINE other strikers who could join Arsenal. The list is a sensation, featuring, as it does, Brazilian superstar Neymar. Neymar to Arsenal! That would be the same Neymar of whom the Indy wrote on July 1 this year:
Neymar’s contract with Barcelona has been extended until 2021… The announcement ended speculation that Neymar was unhappy in Spain and was looking to move to another club.
It did – unless the Indy has to find 10 names for a dire story on Arsenal strikers.
Of course, there is balls and there is utter balls. We’ll leave you with the news from 2014 that Morata already plays for Arsenal:
Transfer Balls spots the Daily Telegraph’sstory that former Arsenal captain is set for a “shock” return to the London club. The paper of record repeats the scoop in the story’s first line: “Robin van Persie could make a shock return to Arsenal”. The Dutchman, who left Arsenal for Manchester United just as soon as he could walk on his oft-injured legs, is leaving Fenerbahce. The paper adds:
The Mirror are reporting that his preferred move would be to the Premier League.
No link to the Mirror in the Tele. But we go looking. And, indeed, the trusty Mirror says:
Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Robin van Persie to return to Gunners in shock bargain swoop… Robin van Persie could return to Arsenal after Fenerbahce admitted the striker is on the move, report the Independent.
Over to the trusty Indy, then, wherein we read:
West Ham and Crystal Palace have both been linked with the striker after missing out on Marseille’s Michy Batshuayi, according to the Sun.
What about Arsenal?
…Arsenal fans have already made calls for Arsene Wenger to bring back one of their most prolific strikers.
Which fans are making the calls, presumably not the ones who regale Van Persie’s ears with boos and a nasty song about rape? Do any of these fans have influence over RVP or the Arsenal transfer policy?
We’e looked. We found this on Pain In The Arsenal blog: “Arsenal: Robin Van Persie Could Be Perfect Stop Gap”. And as many as three tweets, one of which is from an egg:
@Arsenal We want #Van persie piz bring him back. Premiere league gona be awesome dis season. Make fans happy .. My Arsenal
Transfer Balls favourite Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain, 28, will not be renewing his contract with Napoli, reports Spain’s Radio Continental. We know, of course, that Higuain plays for Arsenal. The Sun reported Higuain signed for the Gunners in 2013.
He never did, of course. The Sun was wrong.
So is Higuain leaving Napoli for the Premier League?
“There was talk of a project worthy of the Champions League, a convincing plan to fight for the Scudetto,” says Higuain’s agent and brother.”
The agent then dangles a large carrot:
“I don’t need to talk with the Parisian club about my brother, if PSG want him they should call [Napoli chairman] De Laurentiis.”
The Expresssays this puts Liverpool and Chelsea “on alert”.
But what of Manchester United? On March 16, the Metro declared: “Gonzalo Higuain agrees Manchester United.” One day later the Express added: “JOSE MOURINHO has personally agreed a deal to bring Gonzalo Higuain to Manchester United if he becomes manager.”
On May 30, the Metro changed its mind: “Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain is keen to sign for Liverpool.” The Sun agreed. On June 7, it reported: “Liverpool set to seal mega-money deal for Napoli’s goal-scoring hero Gonzalo Higuain.”
Who will replace Roy Hodgson as the next manager of England and with it the right to hand a top athlete a stuffed lion mascot and order him to take good care of it? Will England take a risk? Will England finally get a real lion, or three of them, as the job surely demands?
The Daily Star says the FA want Arsenal manger Arsene Wenger to lead them forward. Wenger has all the right attributes: he’s foreign, old, grey and from an era more au fait with buttons than trendy zips. The man who turned Arsenal into an attractive force in European football will surely jump at the chance to earn half the money and have his work picked apart by three ex-payers sat around a televised novelty table.
The Mirror says the man for the job is Gareth Southgate. As coach of the England Under 21s, Southgate could slip into the role virtually unnoticed. Southgate is the man who determined the FA’s “England DNA” philosophy. For you non-scientists, DNA stands for Do Not Attack.
Jamie Carragher says the right man is US coach Jurgen Klinsmann. He tells Daily Mailreaders Klinsmann “has been to a World Cup semi-final with Germany, a Copa America semi-final with the United States and knows our game.” Although what England’s game is should not take long to explain to anyone.
The Standards helpfully reduces the FA list by claiming England players “fear” Roberto Martinez will be offered the job. Why they fear the former Everton manger, we’re not told. They just do.
The smart move would be to go back to the future and hire the Glenn Hoddle / Steve McClaren dream team. Hoddle used his nous to point out that Slovakia’s Marek Hamsik is “two-footed — left and right”. With his insight and McLaren’s passion, England cannot fail. Looks like we’ve found those other two lions.
Arsenal transfer balls with Sky Sports. The website has a question: “Is Romelu Lukaku the answer for Arsenal?” Dunno. Who is asking the question? Readers are told:
Sky Sports has teamed up with Football Whispers to bring you the hottest transfer talk of the moment, as Arsene Wenger looks to improve his squad ahead of the upcoming Premier League season.
Football Whispers have developed a unique algorithm to take all of the transfer rumours from across the globe and calculate the likelihood of them happening.
What utter balls.
The Belgian has been linked with a return to former club Chelsea but Football Whispers thinks a move to Arsenal is more likely.
Why? Well, the mysterious algorithm, man. It knows. It knows more than the Evening Standardwhich says, “Milan rival Chelsea for Lukaku.” Perhaps it just read the story that “Arsenal have agreed personal terms with Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, according to Italian journalist Emanuele Giulianelli.” The Express hears the same source and cries: “Everton Transfers: Arsenal ‘agree’ Lukaku terms as Milan prepare bid.”
Did Benzema ever “reach Wenger”? No. The Real Madrid player told Journal du Dimanche:
“I laugh about it with my brother and my friends. We wait for the media to come out with these rumours. In my opinion, I think that Real and Barca are the pinnacle in football. Why would I leave? I’m a starter for the best club in the world. I am happy; it’s that simple,”
On 24 August 2015, Benzema adds: “For all those clowns who want to make believe things at my fans. Here this is my home ! #HalaMadridYNadaMas“
But pump the Emanuele Giulianelli ‘news’ into the Football Whispers algorithm and you have more chance of it being true.
There is balls and now there is computer-generated balls.
Having missed out on Jamie Vardy, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has turned to Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette. The Sun says the £45m-rated 25-year-old has scored 72 goals in 172 appearances for Lyon.
Will Arsenal get him?
The paper says West Ham, who launched two failed bids for the player, “believe” the forward is “already destined to join French champs PSG”. You can believe is density up until the very next line because the Sun adds that Champions League runners-up Atletico Madrid are also interested.
The British Press love Lacazette. In 2015, the Express said he was “set for £21million Liverpool move”. In January 2016, the Mail said Lacazette “snubbed” Newcastle’s £22 bid. The Mail said Chelsea wanted the player. In June 20-15, the Star thundered: “Arsenal and Man Utd target Alexandre Lacazette AGREES shock five-year deal to join PSG.” In April 2016, the Mirror said Tottenham were “leading the chase” for Lacazette.
So why did Jamie Vardy reject a move to Arsenal? Was it because when, as reported, his agent called Arsenal to tell them about the “escape clause” it was just a ruse to get a rival team to bid for his client and so kickstart negotiations on a new deal with Leicester City? Vardy was on £70,000 a week when the agent called Arsenal. After Arsenal bid the £20m (Sun) / £21m (Telegraph) / £22m (Guardian) to trigger Vardy’s release, and offered him a reported £120,000 a week, the player scored a new deal with the Foxes worth £100,000 a week basic and maybe bonuses for ‘loyalty’, goals and appearances.
Other reasons why Vardy snubbed Arsenal are all over the media.
Jamie Vardy has rejected a move to Arsenal. The Mail said Vardy has verbally agreed to be a Gunner. But he never did sign a deal. The England striker has signed a new deal with Leicester City. Leicester have made a statement:
Leicester City have today (Thursday) agreed with the representatives of Jamie Vardy to extend the England international’s contract with the Premier League champions for a further four years. Both parties hope that this announcement will end recent speculation regarding Jamie’s future and confirm his long term commitment to Leicester City Football Club.
So much for his making his mind up after the Euros -0 but not the Eu Referendum. It was a good day to bury Arsenal.
Transfer news: Manchester United are after Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey. In an “esclusive” The Sun says United think the Welshman is worth £35m. The Mirror reads the Sun, thinks the story sound, and declares, “Manchester United plot £50m Aaron Ramsey swoop”.
United wanted Ramsey in 2008 when Alex Ferguson was at the helm. Arsenal won his signature because they wanted him more. As Ramsey said in 2010:
“I felt more wanted here [at Arsenal]. By that I mean they did more things to try to get me. They had a plan set out for me and knew exactly what they wanted to develop me. The sort of thing they said was ‘You can improve on this’ and ‘This is what you are good at, so we will do this’.
“I think that the boss here has brought through a lot more youngsters and given them opportunities on a more regular basis. And that is what he believes in, picking out talented young players and turning them into great players so hopefully I can be in that category.”
As Ferguson dallied, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger arranged for Ramsay and his family to be flown to meet him in Switzerland. Wenger was working as a French television pundit at the European Championships. Ferguson talked with Ramsey on the phone. Wenger met him in person. Ramsey added:
“As for the plane trip I was just really looking forward to meeting the boss and hearing what he had to say. It was a great experience. That was a factor in making up my mind.”
Would Ramsey, a hit at Arsenal, leave to join Mourinho’s Manchester United? The Sun floats the idea, saying the “if he [Mourinho] fails to lure Borussia Dortmund star Henrikh Mkhitaryan” he’ll move for Ramsey. “The Special One is ready to wind up bitter rival Arsene Wenger by targeting the £50million-rated Arsenal star.”
Would Ramsey leave Arsenal to become Mourinho’s second choice, to antagonise the man who has helped his career? It seems highly unlikely.
Following news that Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy will reject any move to Arsenal comes news that The Foxes are readying a £30m bid for Watford Troy Deeney. Leicester have already seen a £25m bid for Deeny rejected.
At £30m Watford captain Deeney – 13 goals last season, including six penalties (Guardian); 15 goals (Mail) – would become the third most expensive English player ever, behind Andy Carroll and Raheem Sterling.
The Mail says Watford will not sell Deeny at any price – which is, er, why they are looking to buy Granada forward Isaac Success.
The Mirror says Watford will sell – maybe: “If Leicester want to sign Troy Deeney from Watford, a bid of about £100million should do it.”
Mike Walters writes:
Whatever the champions may think Troy Deeney is worth, they will never, ever match the value Watford fans put on their captain – because it cannot be expressed in £ sterling or any other monetary currency.
The Telegraph says £30m is a “staggering” sum for Deeney, who “has expressed a desire to speak to Leicester”.
Why would Leicester want Deeny so badly? Well “Sky sources”say Vardy could still go to Arsenal.
Jamie Vardy is yet to make up his mind about a summer move to Arsenal, and could still go to the Emirates, Sky sources understand.
Arsenal will offer Arsene Wenger, 66, the chance to manage the club for two more years when his current deal ends next summer. So says theSunday Mirror. It’s not surprising news. Wenger is Arsenal’s easiest option. No deal has been agreed.
In other Arsenal news, the Observer says Wenger is keen on Lille’s Morocco forward Sofiane Boufal, 22. He’s valued at £19.6m. Chelsea and Barcelona are also interested.
The Sunday People says Wenger wants Manchester United’s Dutch defender Daley Blind, 26. Why? We are not told? And the Star fails to tell its readers why Wenger would want to sign Man United’s Morgan Schneiderlin. Is the plan to buy United players Jose Mourinho might not rate?
It all adds up to a lot of nothing. But the real transfer balls is in the Mirror. The paper says Edinson Cavani has dealt Arsenal a “blow”. Cavani, a player the Gunners weren’t interested in signing, has agreed to a new deal with PSG. Of course the Mirror has a been a source of Cavani news for some time:
29 June 2013: “Chelsea agree personal terms with Edinson Cavani”
9 Decemeber 2014 “Arsenal news and transfers: Edinson Cavani to ask Paris Saint-Germain for Gunners move”
15 May 2015: “Edinson Cavani agrees Juventus deal as Uruguay forward spurns Premier League interest”
Transfer balls: Are Arsenal buying Mario Gotze? The Sun says the Gunners are in for the German international. The paper tells its readers:
Arsenal are lining up a sensational £27million move for Bayern Munich outcast Mario Gotze according to reports in Germany.
The Sun says Arsenal did prefer Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but he’s rejected them and told Dortmund “he has his heart set on Manchester United”. The Sun cites its source for that as the BBC. The story appears to have some legs.
Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke tells Bild the Armenian would not be extending his contract which ends next summer:
Dortmund chief executive Hanz-Joachim Watzke said: “We have been negotiating with Henrikh Mkhitaryan for four months for him to extend his contract with us. Now we know that it is not extended, it was never our commitment that Mkhitaryan may leave us prematurely. We have intensely discussed the question of an early transfer in all club bodies and came to the conclusion that Mkhitaryan will stay in Dortmund next season.”
No deal has been done. And, in any case, it was earlier this month the Sun told readers that Man United weren’t interested in the Dortmund man: “Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is looking to wrap up a quick deal for Borussia Dortmund’s £25million-rated Armenia midfielder. Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham are also keen on Mkhitaryan, 27.”
As Mkhitaryan’s agent calls Old Trafford, Arsenal turn to Gotze. The Sun continues:
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is desperate to be reunited with former Dortmund man Gotze at Anfield, but it appears the Gunners have now stolen a march on them.
The Sun’s story contains not a single link to any of the reports it mentions. And there are other “reports” that Gotze’s current club, Bayern Munich, are keen to get shot of him and will not include him on their roster for next season’s Champions’ League squad.
Helpfully on the Bayern Munich website, there’s a statement on Gotze:
FC Bayern München has demanded that various media sources cease and desist from reporting false claims. It has been reported that FC Bayern has “threatened” Mario Götze by stating he would not be nominated to play in the Champions League if he remains at the club. FC Bayern München AG chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge commented: “This is complete fiction. It remains the case that we will resolutely defend ourselves against all false or even malicious reporting using all legal means available to us.”
Transfer balls: Liverpool are keen on Arsenal forward Theo Walcott. The Sun says Liverpool will pay £25m for the 27-year-old.
The Sun says Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp intends to offer Walcott more first team game time than he can expect to get at the Emirates. If Arsenal do buy Jamie Vardy – and, c’mon, that deal is a sure thing – Walcott, who covets the striker’s role, will move one step down the rung. And then there is Alex Iwobi, the powerful forward who broke through into the Arsenal first team last season.
Walcott is not a vital cog in the Arsenal machine. He can leave.
The Gunners were shrewd enough to secure Walcott on a four-year deal last summer. That deal keeps the player at the Emirates until 2019. It also means any move away will come with hefty fee.
And they should sell. There has always been something of the nice middle-class boy about Walcott. Does he want it? How badly? Walcott has been “one for the future” for so long you wonder when, if ever, he’ll rise to the fore. He is infuriating, rarely imposing himself on a fullback you feel he can beat with ease.
At Liverpool he’ll gets a fresh start. And that’s Walcott all over – a player who petitions for a new go in a better position but never quite convinces in any.
“It is flattering to hear [about links to other clubs], as I said nothing is agreed, nothing is done. We will see. For the moment I have not made a decision. We will see. It is possible that I stay, it is possible that I leave. We will see.”
In other words, Mahrez ‘has refused to rule out leavingLeicester’. He makes no direct mention of Arsenal. But nonetheless the Mirror hears Mahrez and yells:
Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Riyad Mahrez ‘flattered’ by interest from Gunners
And the Standard says:
Riyad Mahrez to Arsenal: Leicester City star flattered to be linked with the Gunners
What no tabloid find room for is what else Mahrez said at the Nike promotional event:
“The season went very well. As you know, we have won the league which was very important. It is incredible. It was by far my best season in my career… I am not putting pressure on myself (for next season). It will be a season about confirming (my ability). Without pressure, I will have to work hard… Leicester is a family club. I would like to stay. I am very happy.”
“VARDY SNUBS GUNNERS,” declares the Daily Star. Can it be that Jamie Vardy has gone back on his verbal agreement to join Arsenal? Jeremy Cross says he will: “Jamie Vardy will snub a £20m move to Arsenal.”
How Cross knows this is unsaid. Readers are just expected to take it as fact. But Vardy has said nothing in public. He has not signed for Arsenal, which means he remains a Leicester City player.
The Sun says “Vardy is a stop Gun”. Charlie Wyett says Vardy will decide on his future after Euro 2016. We’re told that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was “stunned when Vardy did not immediately jump at the move”. Well, if Wenget gets his news in the Sun he must be surprised with Vardy’s circumspection. The Sun told everyone Vardy had his Arsenal medical last weekend and would agree to join Arsenal before the England team flew to France. They flew. Vardy said nothing.
In the Mirror, Vardy has “delayed” his decision to stay or leave Leicester. Vardy wants to “focus on England”. John Cross says Arenal must decide whether to wait for Vardy or go for another striker. Why wold they? The Mirror said Vardy’s agent approached Arsenal. But the Express agrees, writing that Arsenal will look at “alternative targets”. The paper says the Gunners are in a “sweat”. Why would they be? They made an offer. If the offer is not enough they will either offer an improved offer of look elsewhere.
Vardy will either earn more cash at Leiecester with an improved deal, or more cash at Arsenal with a big signing-on fee.
There are problems – and then there are Premier League problems.
Are Arsenal “close” to signing Leicester City star Rihad Mahrez? Yesterday, the Sun had an “exclusive“. It said Arsenal were in for the Premier League’s top player last season. Sadly, the scoop contained not a single fact. In fact, it got the one fact in the story wrong: Vardy has not had an Arsenal medical:
England striker Vardy reportedly having medical today and Premier League-winning Leicester team-mate could join him
Daniel Cutts added:
The Gunners have been shocked that Mahrez’s release clause is so low…
If the Gunners have seen the clause, you might wonder who showed it to them and why?
A few hours later, the Mirror told its readers that Arsenal and Mahrez is a non-starter: “Arsenal are NOT interested in Riyad Mahrez.” John Cross stated, “he will not be moving to the Emirates.”
But the Indy had heard different. “Arsenal transfer news: Gunners in talks to secure Riyad Mahrez transfer in Leicester City double-swoop,” stated Jack de Menezes. “Arsenal have activated Jamie Vardy’s release clause but are also being linked with his Leicester team-mate Mahrez.”
In talks or linked? Jack merely says he read it in, the, Sun.
As did the Metro’s man in the know, Sean Kearns, who said: “Arsenal clear to sign Riyad Mahrez as Leicester City winger decides to leave the Foxes.” Are Arsenal “clear to sign” the top player because no other club are after him?
It was way back in April that the Mail told us: “Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger rules out move for Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez.”
But today’s Express states: “Arsenal submit £25m Riyad Mahrez bid.” This it know because one Tancredi Palmeri tweeted: ” @tancredipalmeri Arsenal, before bidding for Mahrez, had several meeting with the player’s entourage and the player is open for moving.”
He also tweeted this:
There has been no confirmation of Ibrahimovich to Manchester United.