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 Express says 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.”
Such are the facts in the tabloids.
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.
Transfer balls: The Sun says Liverpool’s striker Christian Benteke has “warned” Jurgen Klopp: “Pick me regularly or I’m off.” Benteke has issued a “Kop Threat”.
Klopp must be fretting. Will Benteke, who scored ten goals in 42 games, leave the club unless he gets more chances to score? The Belgian striker started eight league games after German Klopp was appointed Liverpool manager in October 2015,
Will Klopp take kindly to being threatened?
What Benteke said was far from threatening:
“I still have a contract at Liverpool and I’d like to stay there, if I remain in the coach’s plans. If that’s not the case, it will become difficult to stay… When Klopp arrived I saw that I wasn’t in his plans. That was frustrating because I knew that during my first season at Aston Villa he wanted me. But we had several discussions together – I respect and I understand his decisions. I’ll think about if after the Euros.”
Not exactly a warning, then. More resignation that if Klopp doesn’t rate him, he’ll be on his way.
And the Sun has been trailing Benteke’s departure for months.
Jurgen Klopp’s Kop clear-out: Liverpool boss ready to ring the changes at Anfield this summer. German boss wants to overhaul the squad at the end of the season. The main casualty will be Christian Benteke after the £32.5million summer capture from Aston Villa – The Sun, Feb, 2016
Liverpool transfer news: Reds flop Christian Benteke set to be offered lifeline by Italian giants Juventus – The Sun, March 2016
Dean Sturridge reckons Christian Benteke will not be a Liverpool player next season. Uncle of Reds striker, Daniel, claims Belgian is not part of Jurgen Klopp’s plans – The Sun, May 2016
He’s been warned.
They hated and criminalised football fans when 96 innocent Liverpool fans died at Hillsborough in 1989. They hate and criminalise football fans now, idiots included.
A 50-year-old man has been charged with a public order offence after he was seen at a pub wearing a T-shirt mocking the Hillsborough disaster. Paul Grange, from Worcester, was charged by West Mercia police with displaying threatening and abusive writing likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
Any police officers been charged with, you know, treating innocent people like criminals, putting their loved ones through years of hell, branding the survivors as killers, sending for the dogs as the dying cried out for help, causing distress, harassment and alarm?
Maybe if one of these ultra-sensitive coppers pulls on a rude T-shirt, his comrades will lock him away for the good of society…
Transfer balls: every summer a familiar platoon of players feature in tabloid stories telling of their imminent moves to the Premier League. One of that number is Gonzalo Higuain, who, as you will recall, signed for Arsenal on July 6 2013. Well, so said the Sun.
For anyone who missed that scoop, the good news is that the story of Higuain to Arsenal still features as fact on the Sun’s website.
ARSENAL last night smashed their transfer record when they agreed a £23million fee for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain… Higuain, 25, has been given permission by Madrid to fly to London following weeks of negotiations. And boss Arsene Wenger has made it clear he wants the powerful goalscorer on board when Arsenal head for their tour of the Far East next Thursday.
The deal, which has been confirmed by the player’s father Jorge, comes as a huge relief for Wenger… The Gunners’ previous biggest signing was the £16.5million they paid to sign Santi Cazorla from Malaga last summer and propels the club back into the big time. Now Wenger wants to build on Higuain’s imminent arrival by pressing ahead with negotiations for Wayne Rooney and Julio Cesar… Wenger believes that the capture of Higuain will convince other world-class stars to join.
And so to todays news in the Mirror that Higuain, who plays for Napoli, has made a “plea” to join Liverpool.
“The former Real Madrid striker, who has attracted interested [sic] from Arsenal previously, is keen to come to the Premier League would would like to play under Kop boss Jurgen Klopp.”
So. It’s Higuain to Liverpool. Or not. These other news facts from the Sun:
May 4: “Chelsea target Gonzalo Higuain wants £42million move to the Bridge… but only if Diego Costa leaves”
May 22, 2016: Higuain not move to Chelsea, Manchester Untied nor any other Premier League club.
Manchester United and Chelsea dealt massive blow as Gonzalo Higuain will NOT be making a Premier League switch in the summer
More on Higuain to come…
DID Liverpool’s Nathaniel Clyne “admit” that England’s defence, in which he plays, is a “weakness”? The Mirror says he did, thundering: “Clyne admits ‘defence is a weakness”.
John Cross begins his story by telling readers more about the Liverpool player: “Clyne has admitted England’s defence is a major ‘weakness’.”
This is what Clyne actually said: “We analyse the games and we see where we can do better. We can definitely do better defensively . It shows us our weaknesses.”
He didn’t say the England defence “is a weakness”. He said the players can be better and are working hard to reduce errors.
More of what Clyne said appears on Sky Sports:
“There are players fighting for positions all over the pitch when they get an opportunity to show what they can do and that is healthy. I think it is good as it keeps everyone on their toes and keeps everyone fighting for positions – everyone wants to be hungry and has a determination to get themselves into the squad… England have a strong team and hopefully they can do well at the tournament.”
Clyne and Spurs’ Kyle Walker are battling to be England’s first-choice right-back.
In March, Liverpool were “confident of signing Mario Gotze”. So said the Guardian. Gotze has played for Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, before he left the second best team in Germany for more money and silverware at the best team in Germany, Bayern Munich. The Guardian added that Gotze was “understood to be keen on a reunion with Jurgen Klopp”.
Gotze “is keen on a move away from the Allianz Arena despite the impending arrival of Carlo Ancelotti as Pep Guardiola’s replacement… The combination of a fresh start away from Bayern plus renewing acquaintances with Klopp is believed to appeal to the Germany international.”
The Express agreed:
The Metro also agreed: “Liverpool are clear to sign Mario Gotze as he is not in Bayern Munich’s plans for next season.”
And the Star added:
On May 21, the Sun stated that Liverpool were “close to landing £20million World Cup winner Mario Gotze”. The deal would be done in “the next few days”.
And so it is that today the Mirror declares: “Gotze snubs Kop – Gotze has pledged his future to Bayern Munich.”
Words from Gotze, Bayern and Liverpool in all reports mentioned above: nil.
As the Premier League season ends big media turns to transfer rumours. One issue is deciding how much each club has to spend on new players. With every club in line for a £99m bonus next season, you’d suppose every PL club can spend large on recruitment.
Sunderland: “Sam Allardyce will demand a summer war chest of up to £50million” – Sun
Spurs: “Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino to be handed £60m war chest to strengthen squad” – Mail
Arsenal: Arsene Wenger £75m transfer fund this summer to bolster fragile defence and midfield” – Daily Telegraph
Everton: “£100m war chest to fund spending bonanza” – Daily Mirror
Liverpool: “Liverpool boss handed £100m summer transfer warchest… and targets have been identified” – Daily Star
Chelsea: “Chelsea to use chunk of £130m warchest to beat Arsenal to Alexis Sanchez replacement”
Manchester City: “Manchester City to hand Pep Guardiola a huge transfer chest for the summer” – Manchester Evening News
Manchester United: “Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal to get £150m war chest even without top-four spot” – Daily Express
Manchester United: “United Uncovered: Jose Mourinho’s £300m warchest” – Daily Express
Such are the facts…
Liverpool left it late to beat Borussia Dortmund at Anfield last night.
Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel sums it up: “I can’t explain it, it was not logical. It was very emotional. At the end at 3-3 everyone here believed it was meant to be, it was destiny.”
Papers are calling it a “miracle”, a sign of God’s love. Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, is more circumspect: “We fought back like devils and it is deserved. A little bit lucky.”
Dortmund had surged into an early lead. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored inside the first nine minutes. Liverpool needed three goals to progress to the Europa League semi-finals. Divock Origi got one for the Read. And then Marco Reus restored the German’s advantage. Cue Liverpool goals from Philippe Coutinho, Mamadou Sakho headed and at the death Dejan Lovren.
Nothing better than watching your team fight to come back from the brink to win. Wonderful stuff:
Liverpool FC’s Spanish full-back Alberto Moreno has a tattoo of a chimpanzee holding a gun. He showcased the ink on his Instagram:
How we interpret this tattoo is unclear. What’s the ape listening to, if anything at all – footballers often wear cans to dodge calls from fans and journalist asking for interviews. Isn Cheetah contemplating suicide, murder or a novel and dangerous way of picking his nose? Much to discuss.
It’s a new angle on skin art, moving on from fat lettering, Latin scripts and numbers, and Doodled arms.
One more reason to like Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool’s charismatic manager. Asked if will celebrate a Liverpool goal when the Reds take on his former club, Borussia Dortmund, in tonight’s Europa League quarter-final match, the German said, “of course I will celebrate”.
Good. Go nuts. Footballers who look apologetic when they score against a former club are pathetic and joyless. Goals are what the game is about. Anyone failing to celebrate them should be sent off.
Are Liverpool making ready to sell Jordan Henderson? The Mail says Henderson’s sale is on the cards. The paper says Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp would want £20million for the former Sunderland player, with Spurs his most likely destination.
Given the two clubs’ respective Premier League positions, wouldn’t a move from Liverpool to Spurs be an upgrade for Henderson?
The Mail writes:
Significantly, Klopp refused to rule out Henderson’s departure should the player knock on his door following reported interest from Tottenham. ‘Everything is OK in this moment but nobody in the world, maybe only (Lionel) Messi, is unsellable,’ said Klopp. ‘There is always a situation. I come from a club where always the best players are picked by other teams and at the end, you have to accept a few things and always need to have a Plan B or C.’
Overlook the Mail’s twist and Klopp’s words could be interpreted as, “Henderson’s one of our best players. If he wants to go, how can we stop him?”
Does Henderson want to leave? We’re not told. But Klopp does add:
‘I am pretty sure it is only a rumour (Tottenham) but if not and if a player – let’s not say Hendo but any player – comes to me and says he doesn’t feel comfortable and wants to leave, style of play, more money, then you always have to start thinking. That’s all I can say on this.’
The Mail says this adds up to “Henderson facing an uncertain future this summer”, making it sound as if Klopp is calling the shots and Henderson is on tenterhooks. But the Sun notes:
Champions League football could lure Reds skipper to White Hart Lane
Liverpool are a mid-table side. Spurs are on the ascent. If Henderson’s future is uncertain it is only because he wants better.
Manchester United will not be punished for its fans revolting chants about the Hillsborough and Heysel disasters when the club faced Liverpool in the Europa League. A Uefa spokesperson says United have no case to answer because the chanting was not mentioned in the match officials’ reports.
Are some football chants just too offensive? But what’s the point of an insult if it doesn’t cause offence?
The problem begins when you rule on what is and what is not permitted to be said. Better if it is left to United fans to tell the idiots in their number shouting “murderers” at Liverpool fans to shut up.
This United chant heard on the night is much better anyhow**:
Going on up to the spirit in the sky
It’s where I’m gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
I’m gonna go on the p*** with Georgie Best
** We in no way condone alcoholism and the terrible toll it takes on the…blah… blah….blah
Liverpool defeat Manchester Untied 2-0 in the Europa League and the tabloids get to work. Liverpool’s first goal was scored from the penalty spot. The Sun leads with this “controversial penalty”, the “second for Liverpool in four days”.
The paper reminds readers that on Saturday Christian Benteke had gone to ground easily at Crystal Palace, his tumblr helping to secure the penalty he then scored to win the game. No other paper harks back to that match.
The Mirror, which unlike the Sun is read on Merseyside, says United’s Memphis Depay “brushed” over Nathaniel Clyde just inside the box.
In the Mail, Depay “placed a restraining hand on his [Clyde’s] shoulder and tangled legs. Either would have been sufficient to justify the penalty award…”
The Express says “Depay sent Clyde crashing to the turf”.
Manchester United manager Louis Vn Gaal agrees with the Sun: “It was a cheap penalty…the referee cannot see that because…he held him outside the box and then he is falling down.”
The Times, the Sun’s stablemate, says “any offence bean outside the area”.
As for the local press to the bother clubs:
Liverpool Echo: “Sturridge stepped up to convert a penalty in the 20th minute after Nathaniel Clyne had dashed into the box to collect a Roberto Firmino pass and been tripped by Memphis Depay. It was close but looked just inside.”
Paul Scholes in the Manchester Evening News: ““Anywhere else on the park this isn’t given as a free-kick.”
Such are the facts.
Crystal Palace lose to 10-man Liverpool and there are accusations of diving. Palace manager Alan Pardew – previously seen head-butting an opposition player on the side of the pitch and verbally abusing the likes of Manuel Pellegrini and Arsene Wenger – is unhappy.
Palace looked to be on course for a valuable point against a Liverpool side down to 10 men, after James Milner saw red just after the hour-mark. However, with just seconds remaining, a rash lunge from Damien Delaney in the box left Christian Benteke sprawling and ref Andre Marriner pointing to the spot.
Benteke converted the resulting penalty to secure a precious win for the visitors and condemn Palace to another defeat.
Hard cheese. And sour grapes. The Sun leads with news that Benteke dived to win the spot kick.
“Was it penalty to Liverpool?” the paper asks. Yes, it was. Should it have been given? Time for a heated debate.
The Sun is first to respond. Paul Jiggins says “fraudulent” Benteke “conned” the officials.
We then hear from the player and the Palace manager.
Pardew: “I feel like we’ve been robbed. He certainly makes a big meal of it.”
Benteke: “I think he touched me, otherwise I wouldn’t go down. The referee knows better than us and he took the right decision.”
End of. But no. Former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher adds his opinion.
Carragher: “Liverpool players don’t dive. It was a stupid decision to dive in and [Delaney] just clipped with his right knee Christian Benteke’s left ankle and it’s a penalty. I don’t think it’s a debate.”
But it is. In the local Press, the Croydon Guardian reports Pardew’s response is given in full.
Pardew: “If you’re the referee and you see that incident, you see the centre half pulling out of the challenge, you don’t give the penalty. The linesman assumes that little touch is a penalty – he [Benteke] makes the most of it – and he gives it and it’s tough to take. If you think that touch affects the fall that he has, then you seriously need to be consulted. I’m a football person and that touch doesn’t warrant the dive that he makes, and it’s the dive that makes the linesman’s mind up. I think it’s an issue that’s worrying in the game. I saw Jamie Carragher say if someone’s going to touch you, you’re going to make the most of it. Jamie Carragher saying that. He’s an ex-pro. Come on. You try to be fair, you try to say the right things to your players and send out the right message to the players to be honest and that touch doesn’t warrant that dive.”
The local Palace paper calls the penalty “controversial”. What says the Liverpool Echo?
Echo: “Substitute Christian Benteke was brought down by Damien Delaney’s foolish lunge and the £32.5million striker stepped up to coolly slot home the spot-kick.”
Those of you still rolling your eyes at the part about Liverpool players not diving should enjoy this:
Transfer Balls: The Daily Star has conjured a headline to seduce fans of the five biggest Premier League clubs to a non-news story:
Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City and Man Utd in epic transfer fight for German whizz
Alex Harris writes:
Mundo Deportivo claim Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United are all in the hunt for the Schalke attacking midfielder.
The SEObot that might well be operating Harris won’t bother to follow the link. But we will. Over there we hear from one Oriol Domenech, who says Real Madrid and Barcelona are in for Leroy Sane.
Number of quotes to support his story: nil. Number of facts of any sort in either story: nil.
In other news, the Mail asks today: “Is Leroy Sane really worth £42m?”
But the clickbait-bonkers International Business Times say he isn’t, declaring in a headline: “Barcelona spy on Schalke 04 starlet Leroy Sane in Bundesliga match ahead of £28.8m summer move.”
A summer move – but to where – and for how much?
At around 4:35 Liverpool fans began their 77th minute protest, a walk-out triggered by the £77 the club plans to charge for the best view at Anfield. (To Arsenal fans, of course, £77 is the price of a half-time Balti Burger and an hour’s parking.)
Two goals up against a lowly Sunderland, thousands of Liverpool fans made their way to the exists, able to feel right about making a stand and pleased to have seen the crux of a home win. Seemingly, the only losers were the fans who routinely leave early to beat the traffic – for them a 46th minute exit was the preferred route.
Then Sunderland scored twice. At the final whistle, the match was 2-2. The Liverpool fans who stayed got to see all the goals, and the Sunderland fans got to serenade all seats, both expensive and less expensive, with a rendition of “Walk Out, walk out with your head in your hands and you’ll always walk alone…”
PS: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp missed this game after suffering a suspected bout of appendicitis.
“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.
Last night Liverpool FC reached the League Cup final after a penalty shoot-out with Stoke. Let’s see which newspapers went to print before the match finished.
Stoke are in the mix. Stoke shaking it up. So reports the Daily Express and Daily Mail. In other news: Stoke lost.
Liverpool have beaten Stoke city to reach the League Cup final. The papers will go mad for Jurgen Klopp.
But Liverpool fans spared a thought for young Liverpool fan Owen McVeigh, an 11 year old who passed away last month after a battle with leukaemia.
Transfer balls: Chelsea have agreed to pay Corinthians £8m for 26-year-old striker Alexandre Pato, says the Daily Express. Is that a good price for a lightweight but talented player who has largely failed to live up the promise shown in his early carer at AC Milan? Judging by the Pato chatter over the last few months, £8m is a snip.
April 3, 2014: The Daily Mirror declares “Chelsea’s £40m Pato, deal – Abramovich green-lights Chelsea’s £40m Pato deal.”
October 14, 2015, Metro says Alexandre Pato could be on his way to Arsenal or Spurs. A source is quoted: “…if a club comes in with an offer of €25m (18.5m), we will let him go.”
November 2015: Pato is worth £15m, says TalkSport – and he’d agreed to join Liverpool. He’s the new Luis Suarez – maybe:
On January 10, the Independent said Pato was heading to Liverpool, albeit for £11m.
And finally the Western Daily Press reaches a new low price: “Brazil star Alexandre Pato agrees £7 million deal with Chelsea.”
Corinthians are desperate to sell Pato. Give it a week and £8m will look overpriced.
Liverpool have made a move for a big-named signing. It’s Alex Teixeira. He plays for Shakhtar Donetsk. He scores lots of goals. He’s from Brazil.
The Guardian says Liverpool have made a £24.5million bid.
The Liverpool Echo says Liverpool can forget it because Shakhtar ‘value the player at around £38.5million.
What that means, of course, is that when an English club comes knocking the player’s foreign owners looks at the massive TV deal – every Premier League team next season is guaranteed about £95m just for taking part – and bumps up the price. That explains why the Daily Mail says Shakhtar are “willing to sell for £29m”; the Daily Mirror says Shakhtar want around £36m; and The Times says Shakhtar “value Teixeira at closer to £40m”.
They don’t know because the fee is because Shakhtar keep pulling the lever on the one-armed bandit.
Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers tells us:
“Well…it was a group decision, really. It was certainly not something I would have the sole or final say on. It’s difficult really. When there is a list of players and the player that you want isn’t on that list, you have to take someone. You can’t have no players. If you haven’t got a left-back, if the left back that you want, for whatever reason, you can’t bring in, if there is a list of three or four, you are having to take the best on that group. It’s the model.”
Is that the same Brendan Rodgers who when Liverpool manager told Liverpool Echo on May 28 2014:
“Obviously, I am involved heavily in the identification of the player,” Rodgers told the ECHO.
“The principle idea when I first came in was that like any manager you will have the first call on a player and the last call.
“That’s the call on whether he’s good enough to continue to look at and try to organise a deal and the last call to say yes or no.
“There is a big part that goes on in between. In modern football you need to trust other people to do the work. That’s something we do here and that’s why we have had the success we’ve had.
“The finer details of that are left to Ian who does a terrific job and our other guys in that field who will go through the contracts. I am aware of where the situation is at right the way through the process.
“We will never bring in a player here who the manager doesn’t want in. That’s a great credit to the owners and the other people at the club.
“We work very closely together – it’s worth stressing that. It’s key that we are very much one club.
“We are really preparing for next season. I’ve had some very good meetings with our recruitment team. We are very much together as one.”
Such are the facts.
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.
The tabloids are attempting to light the bunsen burner beneath Liverpool’s home match with Manchester United. It’s not an easy thing to do. Liverpool, an ordinary mid-table side, versus also-rans Manchester United. Game on!
The papers looks at the charisma-free players on either side, fail to spot any signs of tension, fight, star-quality or feuds, and decide to focus attention on the teams’ respective managers.
The Sun says Liverpool boss Jurgen Kloop, fresh from wildly celebrating a last-gasp home draw with Arsenal – Liverpool fans still unsure how far their club have fallen should study his frenzied reaction and weep – “Said No to United.”
JURGEN KLOPP snubbed a chance to fill Alex Ferguson’s boots at Manchester United.
The Liverpool boss was approached by Fergie himself three years ago. But Klopp admitted: “We spoke and it was a big honour but there was a time I couldn’t leave Dortmund. It was April and in the middle of the planning for next season… We spoke but I first had to finish the job with Dortmund then think about other things. Maybe that is not smart but that is my way.”
No snub, then. Klopp was tied to his beloved Dortmund. He would not leave them in the lurch.
The Express says Klopp “turned down Fergie”. Klopp was not first choice for United. Ferguson sounded out many managers about them taking over at Old Trafford.
The Mirror and Star both lead with Louis Van Gaal, a man who for week has been on the “brink” of getting the sack at Old Trafford – well, so the papers have told us. He’s still there. Asked if he thinks United will go as long without winning the title as Liverpool, who last won the league in 1990, Van Gaal says:
“I am part of the transition so I cannot imagine that shall happen with Manchester United. But when it’s happening to Liverpool it can happen to Manchester United but I cannot imagine that because we are in transition and we are going in the right way.
“Maybe it shall take a longer time but I cannot imagine that it shall be the same period for Manchester United – the club is too big, too well organised and we have an infrastructure and we are improving that every year.”
So much for his having a pop at Liverpool. He says it could happen to any team.