It’s Arsenal v Chelsea in the Community Shield and the Press are turning it into battle between the clubs’ respective managers, Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho.
Having heard Mourinho engage in the kind of maths politicians use to tell the masses that a deficit is actually a surplus, Wenger responds:
“We spend when we think we have to spend and do not listen to what people think or say. When we don’t have the money, we don’t spend the money we haven’t got.”
It’s Jose’s good fortune that Chelsea manager Roman Abramovich has yet to call in the £1bn-plus interest free loan he handed the Blues.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has been talking with the Times Matt Hughes in Montreal, Canada
“I’m accepting of mistakes, but not accepting of a lot of mistakes. Mistakes are a part of the game, but a lot of mistakes are not. I’m emotional and this game doesn’t allow us to make lots of mistakes because we are punished for that.”
“…when there is an accumulation of mistakes like we had last season, I’m sorry, I find it difficult to accept. If I make too many mistakes and I put players on the bench then I’m sacked. Referees should be given a rest if they make mistakes, if only to take pressure off them.”
On Manuel Pelligrini:
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Arsenal director Philip Charles Harris, Baron Harris of Peckham, tells the Daily Mail the Gunners are rich enough to buy almost any player in the world.
So why don’t they?
The story begins: “Arsene Wenger has more than £200m in the bank, says Arsenal director.”
“We would back him to break the club’s transfer record. If he wanted the man, he could have him,” says Harris (estimated wealth: £285m). “Apart from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, he could have any player.”
Karim Benzema? Eden Hazard? Gareth Bale?
Arsenal’s most expensive recruits have been:
Mesut Ozil – Real Madrid, £42.4m, September 2013
Alexis Sanchez – Barcelona, £35m, July 2014
Andrey Arshavin – Zenit St Petersburg, £15m, February 2009
Santi Cazorla – Malaga, £15m, August 2012
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Southampton, £15m, August 2011
Undoubtedly Arsenal are spending more on players than ever before. But surely it’s fantasy to believe they have the same financial muscles as Manchester United, Real Madrid, PSG, Manchester City, Chelsea or Bayern Munich.
“Money was tight when we moved to the Emirates but it’s a lot freer now,” continues Lord Harris. “We could go into the market and probably buy any player in the world, apart from half a dozen who are unbuyable. We get a list of the players that Wenger wants. On the list is a centre forward, but I’m not going to tell you who he is.
“You’ve got to get the other team to want to sell him, but I think he wants to come. It basically comes down to whether the other team can find a superstar to replace him, because they don’t have to sell.”
So. Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema it is, then. Unless PSG, Chelsea, Man City, Man United etc. outbid the Gunners.
Arsenal are chasing Spanish striker Fernando Llorente. The Sun reasons that with Karim Benzema vying with Lord Lucan and the Blue Peter tortoise to get to Arsenal fastest, Arsenal Wenger will target Juventus Llorente.
But wasn’t it just this week that Llorente was the subject of speculation linking him with a move to Manchester United. The Daily Mirror screamed: “Revealed! ‘Secret’ Manchester United transfer target is Fernando Llorente of Juventus.”
“It’s Arsenal who’ve been in contact — not United,” says a source in no way linked to Llorente’s agent. “They have made an inquiry but there is no bid yet. But it is clear they are interested and it is also clear that Juventus are ready to listen.”
Llorente, 30, is fourth choice striker at Juventus.
As for Benzema, well, does anyone really suppose Arsenal will capture a player who commands big wages at Real Madrid and is fancied by moneybags Paris Saint-Germain?
And then we hear from Benzema’s agent, Karim Djaziri, who says: “Karim is very happy at Real Madrid and he will be a Madrid player by the end of this transfer window, 1,000 per cent. He is not looking to move anywhere this summer.”
Unless a huge bid comes in and he leaves.
Transfer Balls: did Arsenal ever get their hands on Julian Draxler?
October 10, 2014, Daily Express: “ARSENAL will match Julian Draxler’s £37million Schalke release clause”
June 16, Daily Express: “Arsenal head Man United and Chelsea in race for wantaway German midfielder:
JULIAN DRAXLER wants to move to the Premier League, with Arsenal in pole position to sign the midfielder.
June 18, Daily Express: “Germany star Julian Draxler keen to SECURE move to Arsenal, Chelsea or Man United
JULIAN DRAXLER is reportedly desperate to move to the Premier League this summer.
July 16, Daily Express: “Arsenal boosted as Julian Draxler’s agent shoots down Juventus move”
July 22, Daily Express: “SCHALKE have given permission to Juventus to negotiate personal terms with Julian Draxler”
July 22, Daily Express: “Schalke: Arsenal target Julian Draxler allowed to agree personal terms after £14m bid”
Has he signed for Arsenal? No.
Did Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger say Manchester United are trying to buy glory? The Times reports:
Arsène Wenger has accused Manchester United of abandoning the club’s tradition of youth development in pursuit of short-term success…
Wenger contrasted United’s new approach to Arsenal’s philosophy, which he claims remains geared to producing players, albeit many of them recruited from all over the world as teenagers.
Wenger said that? It’s seems out of character. Frenchman is hardly the most gung-ho individual. Take what he says about the coming season and Arsenal chances of winning the Premier League title:
“All going well, I feel we have a chance. But I cannot guarantee we will win the title. We now have the stability that gives us strength but it’s very difficult to guess how strong the other teams will be.
“There have been times in the past when I knew we could not win it. When you just squeeze into the top four and see others strengthening while you are losing players, it is difficult to be convinced you can still win the league.”
Back, then, to the Times and is story on Wenger attacking Man United for “abandoning” it’s roots:
“With United’s success they have created huge financial resources and today there is no patience for them to continue to do what they did — and they have the financial resources to go with a different policy. As well, they do not have available the players like Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham inside the club, because youth talent is spread more through 20 clubs than it was 20 years ago.”
So. He didn’t say United were buying success. Wenger said the market has changed because United grew rich through glory brought about by sound planning and Alex Ferguson’s management skills. They can now spend huge amounts of money.
As for the homemade players coming through:
Of players who came through the Old Trafford academy, Evans made the most Premier League starts last season with 12, the same number as Paddy McNair, followed by Adnan Januzaj with seven and Tyler Blackett, right, with six.
Such are the facts.
Arsenal have tabled a £8.5m offer for Barcelona’s Sergi Samper. Well, so says the Sun:
Samper, 20, is currently behind Sergio Busquets, Javier Mascherano and Sergi Roberto in the Nou Camp pecking order.
But the Metro says Sergi Roberto is close to joining Everton move”. If true (and yep, this is the Metro) Samper is either third or fourth choice pick for his slot in Barcelona’s central midfield.
So. Farewell Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, the player whose name only his mother could spell. The aloof, cocksure, talented, error-prone goalkeeper has left Arsenal for Roma on a season-long loan. Petr Cech is the Arsenal number one.
Arsenal fans will be delighted.
Roma wanted to sign Szczesny permanently, but he wanted to maintain a tie to the Gunners.
Either the okay-ish David Ospina or very promising Damian Martinez will be Arsenal number 2.
Arsenal are looking at Monaco’s Joao Moutino. The Daily Telegraph says:
‘Joao Moutinho free to join Arsenal’
Free? No. The tabloid Tele’s story is rooted in The Metro, who add that Manchester United and Chelsea are keen on the Portuguese. The paper says Arsenal are readying a bid of £18m.
The Guardian says Monaco are “willing to let the Portuguese go for €20m”.
Fluctuating exchange rates make euros-to-pounds conversions a tricky sum. Given the current state of the Euro Zone, €20m could be anything from £20m to 10p.
The Express, which turns out to be the source of the Metro’s story that Moutino has “agreed” to join Arsenal, adds:
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is understood to be willing to let Mathieu Flamini leave the Emirates and could be in the market for a replacement.
Moutinho for Flamini?
Facts are thinner than Yvette Cooper’s mile. And we’ve been here before. Back in 2012 Sky Sports announced:
Sky Sports understands Tottenham Hotspur have agreed a club record £22million deal with Porto for Joao Moutinho.
Wrong. Moutinho never arrived at Spurs.
This new story goes that Monaco is on £110,000 a week and Monaco want him off the books.
Is anyone else outside the Premier League keen on the player?
Such are the facts.
Arsenal remain keen on Real Madrid’s France striker Karim Benzema, writes the Mail, adding that “Arsenal do not expect to sign Karim Benzema this summer”.
The Telegraph says Arsenal have bid £31m for Karim Benzema.
Former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech tis talking about his new life at Arsenal.
Is Cech’s transfer a sign of a shift in power? Arsenal have not beaten Chelsea in the Premier League since October 2011 (5-3 defeat at Stamford Bridge). Indeed, since Roman Abramovich hooked Chelsea to his wallet, Arsenal have beaten Chelsea just six times from 30 matches played. Most worryingly for Arsenal fans is that in 13 attempts, Arsene Wenger has yet to defeat José Mourinho.
“There are a lot of things in common between the two clubs. Nobody wants to lose games, and everybody wants to win so we’re all focusing on getting ready for the season. We want to have a successful season, which means we have to be prepared, as there are a lot of opponents in the pack in the Premier League and the Champions League, who will have the same targets.”
Pretty anodyne stuff, there. We want to win. We don’t like losing. But Cech begins to open up:
“What I’ve found is a group of players who work very hard and are focused on what they’re doing on the pitch to get ready. I’ve found the team spirit quite extraordinary, I have to say. Everybody pulls in the same direction, which is why I believe we will have a successful season. You need to have that connection between players to work towards the same targets to be successful. I’ve only been here a short while, but I can feel the team is together.”
Arsenal: Héctor Bellerín has singed a new deal. The Arsenal defender has agreed a four-year contract at the club. He’s now earning… 50,000 a week.
The Spaniard only got his chance in the Arsenal first XI because Mathieu Debuchy broke his ankle. He then proved to be a better right back than Calum Chambers.
So. Good news for Arsenal fans. But they will wonder how long it will be before Barcelona, the club where Bellerin began his career as a winger, come calling…
It’s been a busy few weeks Lyon footballer Alexandre Lacazette.
June 4, Daily Star: “Alexandre Lacazette WANTS Manchester United move”
June 4, Daily Express: “Arsenal and City target Alexandre Lacazette WANTS Man Utd move despite £22m Liverpool bid”
June 8, Daily Star: “Alexandre Lacazette has reached an agreement to sign for Paris St-Germain”
July 16, The Metro: “Arsenal ‘clear to seal Alexandre Lacazette transfer”
Which brings us to today’s news. Says Lacazette:
“I have already told the head coach and the president that I want to stay in Lyon. I am fully committed to our project for this season.”
So much for his wanting to leave…
Manchester United: Robin Van Persie celebrates Ferguson, loves Arsenal’s Wenger but questions Van Gaal’s honesty
Fresh from Manchester United and welcomed to Fenerbahce by 18,000 delighted fans at Istanbul’s Sukru Saracoglu stadium, Robin van Persie tells the Sunday Times:
“I had other options [in Italy and Spain] but that’s why I chose Turkey. Football has to be fun. That’s my aim, to go back to that childhood love of the game.”
RVP loves to talk about his inner child. When he left Arsenal for a lot more money at United – he became United’s highest earner on £240,000 a week – the Dutchman opined:
“I always listen to the little boy inside of me in these situations – when you have to make the harder decisions in life. What does he want? That boy was screaming for Man United.”
Transfer Balls: Manchester United offer £22m for Pedro who agreed Chelsea deal after joining Arsenal
Manchester United are to offer Barcelona £20m for their spare-part forward Pedro.
The Sun says Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool are also after the 27 year old, whose record reads 98 goals in 318 appearances for the Catalans.
But the Times says Man United are leading the chase and have prepared to trigger the player’s £22million buy-out clause in his new contract.
“It’s true I have received important offers,” says Pedro. “My situation is complicated because I want to play a lot of minutes, but that is becoming very difficult at Barcelona.”
Complicated’s right. With so many clubs apparently after Pedro, the utter balls flow freely.
On July 15, the Star’s Paul Brown said Chelsea would sign Pedro “next week”:
The Star reported that Chelsea have met Pedro’s £22m release clause, adding:
Liverpool and Inter Milan were also interested in Pedro, but they are set to miss out as Chelsea are his preferred option.
The Week agrees, stating:
The 27-year-old has agreed to join Chelsea where he’s been told he’ll have more opportunities to showcase his talents.
But just yesterday the Express noted:
The Blues were thought to be closing in on a move for Barcelona ace Pedro, but reports in Spain suggest Mourinho is not prepared to meet his £22m release clause.
Chelsea have and have not bid £22m for Pedro?
The Mail says Liverpool will make an offer.
And it was back in May the Metro announced that Pedro wanted to play for Arsenal and the Gunners would bid £26m for him.
Such are the facts.
Transfer Balls: Bayern Munich’s Arturo Vidal agrees to join Arsenal for less than he agreed to join Manchester United
Transfer Balls picks up the news that Juventus have sold Arturo Vidal to Bayern Munich for £28m.
The Guardian relays news emerging in the German Press:
Juventus’ Arturo Vidal set to seal £28m move to Bayern Munich
That’s the Guardian that told readers on May 25 2015:
Football transfer rumours: Arsenal to sign Juventus’ Arturo Vidal
The fee to bring Vidal to Arsenal was said to be £25m.
Indeed on June 28, the Mail reports that Vidal was now a Gunner although the fee was a reduced £21m. The Metro said Vidal would earn £96,000 a week at Arsenal.
Over in the Express, on July 4 2015, reader were told that Vidal had “agreed” to join Real Madrid.
All incredibly stuff to Independent readers who had been told in 20014 that Vidal had agreed a £182,000-a-week with Manchester United.
Such are the facts.
Transfer balls: a look at utter drivel passed off as scoops in the mainstream media. And the Daily Star has a corker.
The headline trills:
Napoli confirm Arsenal target Eduardo Vargas is considering transfer to the Emirates
Arsenal play at the Emirates stadium.
Arsenal are great. Media oufits love the Gunners because unlike other clubs every summer they do the utterly predictable and lust after Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema.
For the past three summers Arsenal have been linked with a £40m offer for the player.
The Sun 2015:
The Daily Mail 2014:
The BBC 2013:
Number of bids made by Arsenal for Benzema: nil.
Such are the facts.
Arsenal are making a £40m move for Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema.
The Sun says Arsenal will make a bid fro the French striker on Monday.
The paper then calls Benzema a “marquee signing”, which is odd because a marquee is a kind of tent. The phrase “marquee signing” is one that irritates like a Brendan Rodger’s press conference or the PA announcer who drown out singing with loud music.
The news is full of these marquee signings of course. Fans demand them. It’s a media obsession.
Arsenal fans will take news of Benzema’s arrival with a mixture of excitement and rolling eyes. But given the Premier League’s vast cash reserves, Arsenal’s prestige and location – London with its large ex-pat communities and status as a world city remains a big lure to the foreign player – Benzema could be on his way to the Emirates.
Arsenal: Arsene Wenger marvels at Manchester United and says Sterling only left Liverpool for the money
Transfer Balls: A look at today’s Arsenal reporting.
The Times says Arsene Wenger “will only bring in exceptional signing for Arsenal”.
This becomes a “strong hint that the FA Cup winners will not sign any more players during the remainder of the transfer window”.
Wenger is quoted:
“I don’t close the door if we find any player who can strengthen the squad, but we have already strengthened the squad. I believe part of the success of the squad is also the level of cohesion. We have a good level of cohesion. What is important for myself and the squad is to see how we can carry on and move forward again. We felt at the end of last season that we had moved forward, but it is still not enough. In this preseason we have to move forward again. We have to move forward together, which for me it is more important than dreaming about finding a miraculous player who wins you everything. I believe we have the quality, and it’s now about how much we can be stronger together.”
Transfer balls: Are Arsenal going to sign Julian Draxler? Yes, says the Metro, Arsenal are “finally” going to get the Schalke flyer.
The Metro’s source is TribalFootball, which reports its own source:
BILD says Schalke may be forced to sell Draxler to fund a move for Xherdan Shaqiri.
Inter Milan midfielder Shaqiri has been linked with Stoke in recent weeks but Schalke want to keep him in the Bundesliga with a £12million bid.
Transfer Balls: having read reports that Morgan Schneiderlin has joined Manchester United – pipping Arsenal to his signature – all papers bring news that he hasn’t. Morgan Schneiderlin still plays for Southampton.
What say the papers today?
The Sun: “[Manchester United] are ready with a new bid for Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin. The club had one of £20m turned down and are ready to up it to £25m.”
But the Express sys United don’t want the Fernchman:
Manchester United could end Schneiderlin pursuit after agreeing Schweinsteiger deal
They could. And, then again, they could not. Maybe.
The Mirror confirms that there is no news:
Southampton have confirmed that Manchester United are yet to make another bid for midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin.
Which just leaves the Daily Star to report:
Arsenal free to complete swoop for Man United target Morgan Schneiderlin
In other words, the Press have no idea.
Such are the facts.
Transfer Balls: Arsenal are after Karim Benzema.
Well, so says the Metro. The newspaper quotes Spanish journo, Paco Gonzalez, who claims that Arsene Wenger has phoned the £42million-rated Real Madrid star in an attempt to convince the French international to move to the Emirates.
Only a year ago, the Star said Liverpool had signed Benzema for £38m.
But this is kosher. The Telegraph says Paco Gonzalez is a man referred to as a “respected Spanish journalist” by at least four different news outlets.
But what says Karim about the British media’s speculation?
Transfer Balls: The Daily Star says Arsenal have made a £43m bid for Goncalo Higuain. He’s the player the Sun says Arsenal bought in July 2o13.
Big money. But what is the Star’s source?
According to the Metro, the Gunners tabled a stunning offer but it has been immediately turned down by the Italian outfit.
Over to the Metro:
Arsenal have reportedly made a £43.3million transfer offer for Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain. However, Napoli’s president Aurelio De Laurentiis rejected the speculative bid from the Gunners, according to Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport.
No link to the source. But the Sport does report that De Laurentiis says:
‘Higuain is not for sale.’
Arsenal – 60 million not enough for Higuain
The paper makes not a single mention of Arsenal haviong offered £43m for Higuain. The paper reports that Higuain is not for sale but, er, if he was then the fee would be much more than €60m. The Metro is wrong to say that Arsenal have bid £43m for the player.
The Star and Metro’s reports are utter balls.
Transfer Balls: The Evening Standard reports: “Arsenal want Manchester United’s Di Maria.”
Having read yesterday’s ridiculous multi-newspaper story on how Manchester United were swapping Di Maria for tens of millions of Bayern Munich cash plus two of FC Hollywood’s star turns, Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller, we read on with interest:
Manchester United, who moved quickly to sign Memphis Depay, could offload record signing Angel di Maria, with Arsenal reportedly interested in taking the Argentine from Old Trafford, while Louis van Gaal closes in on Matteo Darmian.
We are given a link to the Daily Mail:
The South American’s future is unclear at Old Trafford after a difficult first season at the club following his £59.7m switch from Real Madrid. United would be reluctant to sell to a direct rival, while his reported £280,000-per-week wages would be beyond them.
Arsenal’s top earners are Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez, both on £140,000 a week. On what planet are Arsenal going to invest double that a week on a player who has faailed to settle in the Premier League?
Nevertheless, if Di Maria is obtainable, the Gunners would be interested provided a deal would fit into their financial framework.
Utter balls, of course, but enough for the Daily Express and Daily Telegraph to repeat as fact:
Such are the facts.