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Transfer Balls: Pogba wants to leave Manchester United to go ‘home’

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, 25, says he wants to leave Manchester United. He’s missing life at Juventus. Corriere dello Sport has the scoop. But the Daily Mirror does its own translation. “Pogba says yes to Juve,” says the paper. But he hasn’t because Juventus haven’t asked him any questions. This is just about Pogba wishing for a return ‘home’ – you know, just as he waned to go ‘home’ to Manchester United, the club he left to join Juventus.

The Mirror says Pogba became a “marquee signing” when he joined United for £89.3 million. A marquee is a big tent. The Mirror merely means he was expensive. And he’s proven to be over-priced. What fee would Juventus pay for the player keen to move away from them and now keen to return? The Mirror says Juve could “steal a march” on Barcelona, who for some obscure season apparently also want Pogba. Why do they? He’s a good player but £100m good? 

In the interest of fairness to the Mirror, here’s the Corrier dello Sport story pushed through the prism of Google Translate:

«Pogba says yes to Juve». Boom. The summary of the English Sunday press gives an indiscretion that could change the course of the market and the history of this season in the coming weeks. And he follows other gossip related to the future of the French midfielder who would want him more and more convinced to return to Juventus. Paul’s official statements, of course, tell of his great happiness of being back at Manchester United and wearing the Red Devils shirt. But the drafts that come from Old Trafford reiterate a general coldness in relations with José Mourinho and a strong temptation of the world champion midfielder to be a part of that “family” (a term that Paul has used several times to define Juventus) . “Who knows …” has in fact thrown there to a specific question about his new life Juventus, a few weeks ago when he returned to the Stadium as an opponent for the Champions League match. A return enriched by a warm welcome from the Juventus fans, for him who has been able to exalt himself over the years in Serie A as he has not yet managed to do in Premier.  

That’s right. The Mirror’s top story is founded in the dello Sport’s reporting on the British tabloid press. It’s a human caterpillar of utter tosh. 

Posted: 20th, November 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Real Madrid in for Harry Kane at Spurs and Liverpool want Demirbay

Transfer Balls: undaunted by their apparent failure to recruit Aaron Ramsey from Arenal – he’s on his way to Bayern Munich, reportedly – AC Milan have begun talks with another player with ‘Arsenal captain’ on his CV, this time former Gooner and Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas. The 31-year-old has had enough of warming the bench at Chelsea and Italy beckons. 

Manchester United are ready to offer Roma’s 22-year-old Italy midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini twice his weekly wage. We’ve no idea what that amount to but estimates put it shy of Alexis Sanchez’s £500,000-a-week but north of what Marcus Rashford pockets by way of a monthly goal bonus. We are told, however, that Pellegrini will cost United £26m in transfer fees.

You can expect to hear lots about Harry Kane or Eden Hazard heading to Real Madrid because the Spaniards are desperate for a goalscorer, having worked out that Cristiano’s Ronaldo’s 50 goals a season were hard to replace. Gareth Bale, 29, and France’s Karim Benzema, 30, are not quite up the task. so Kane it is. A huge money offer will surely tempt Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman. 

Finally, Hoffenheim central midfielder Kerem Demirbay is wanted by Liverpool. Another centre back for the Reds? Why not? 

Posted: 19th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester City have not signed Frenkie de Jong but Spurs or Manchester United might

“Spurs set to beat Barcelona to Dutch wonderkid Frenkie de Jong,” screamed EuroSport on November 16. Two days later, the BBC tells us Frenkie de Jong is on his way to Manchester City.

 

Frenkie de Jon

Frenkie de Jon signs for Manchester City – BBC

 

The Mirror says Manchester City “have beaten Barcelona” to the signing of the Ajax and Netherlands midfielder. Manchester City “have blown the competition out of the water”. The Express agrees: “Barcelona and Tottenham STUNNED as Manchester City win £61m Frenkie De Jong race.” The Sun also agrees: “Man City win race to sign Ajax ace Frenkie de Jong and will pay £61m for long-term Fernandinho replacement.” We’re told Barcelona and Manchester United were both ready to bid fo the player.  They just never got round to it. 

 

Frenkie de Jon signs for Manchester City -

Frenkie de Jon signs for Manchester City – The Sun

 

And then you realise it’s all utter tosh. The Sun admits as much: “De Jong is believed to be keen to work with Guardiola and would favour a move to join the Spaniard rather than across town at Old Trafford.” So nothing is agreed. It’s rumour. There will be “a potential summer bidding war for the midfielder”. 

Why the BBC, which runs fact-checking news segments, features this utter balls as fact is lamentable. It doesn’t need to compete commercially with the tabloids in a time of falling newspapers circulation, so why does it bother?

 

Posted: 18th, November 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Clickbait Watch: how to BAFFLE an Arsenal fan

baffled footballWriting clickbait for football fans is hard graft. All those budding hacks who dream of talking truth to power are reduced to spinning for clicks at sister newspapers the Daily Express, Daily Star and Daily Mirror.

Language is mangled. Simple facts are “revealed”. “Five things” are learned from watching paint dry. Rumours are mutated into ‘fact’. But every so often, clickbait talent emerges to connive a new meme for the SEO gurus running websites to applaud. Right now everyone at Arsenal – fans, players, Gunnersaurus – is “baffled”.

“Arsenal fans left baffled by Graeme Souness’ comments about Mesut Ozil” – Daily Mirror, October 23

“Lucas Torreira baffles Arsenal fans with what he did in training”  – Daily Mirror, October 10

“Arsenal fans left BAFFLED at staggering claim: ‘Are you mad? He can’t be serious'” – Daily Express, November 14

But it’s not just Arsenal being “baffled”:

“Jurgen Klopp baffled by remarkable Liverpool statistic” – Daily Mirror, Oct 19

“Graeme Souness leaves Manchester United fans baffled” – Daily Mirror, Oct 22

“Mohamed Salah leaves Liverpool fans baffled with social media post” – Daily Mirror, Oct 24

“Matteo Darmian leaves Manchester United fans baffled” – Daily Mirror, October 25

“Cesar Azpilicueta baffled by inconsistent Chelsea’s struggles” – Daily Mirror, Oct 26

“Celebrity Gogglebox: Fans baffled by Dele Alli’s composer comment” – Irish Mirror, Oct 26

“Man Utd news: David De Gea baffled by what Jose Mourinho said” – Daily Express, October 31

“Chelsea news: Sky Sports pundit baffled by one Maurizio Sarri” – Daily Star, Nov 4

“Manchester United fans left baffled by Paul Pogba’s ‘heartbreak’ haircut” – Manchester Evening News* Nov 4

* The MEN is sister title to the Star, Express and Mirror. It’s true? Unless you’re a football fan, in which case it’s baffling!

Posted: 16th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Key Posts, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer Balls: Spurs and Arsenal in for Bailly as Manchester United get a new defence

Transfer Balls: José Mourinho will change Manchester United’s defence early next year. From “When we win it’s all down to me; when we lose it was everyone else”, the new defence will feature new defenders. United plan to bring Toby Alderweireld and Diego Godin to Old Trafford in January, and get rid of Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo. Spurs and Arsenal both like Bailly; Everton fancy Rojo; and Smalling could return to Fulham. Godin, 32, could cost £53m. 

In London, Arsenal will be waving a none-too-teary adieu to Aaron Ramsey, the midfield who resisted signing a new contract for so long that even Arsene Wenger left. He’s off to play for Bayern Munich. Either than or Ramey will be a sub at Chelsea or Liverpool. Arsenal and Chelsea are both looking at spry Atlético Mineiro right-back Emerson. And reports from Italy says AC Milan want to sign Liverpool’s Brazil midfielder Fabinho, 25, (who he?) in January. 

Over at West Ham, Marko Arnautovic, 29, wants a weekly living wage of £200,000 to continue working at the London Stadium. If he does;t get it then he could be off, possibly to Manchester United. 

Posted: 16th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer Balls: Manchester United want Milan’s Milan and Liverpool dog deep for Dembélé

Transfer Balls: So desperate is Alexis Sanchez to leave Manchester United that he’s going to demand a reduction in his £500,000-a-week wage to make him more affordable to, well, anyone who’ll let him play either football, the piano or both at once. Either that or he’ll just sulk and wait until Jose Mourinho is sacked and the next manager realise what a top talent he is.

Racing Sanchez out the door are Marcus Rojo and Eric Bailly. They will replaced by – deep breath – Nathan Aké, Jérôme Boateng and / or Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar.

Higher up the Premier League table, rumours abound that Liverpool will bid over £85m for Ousmane Dembélé, who cost Barcelona £105m when he moved from Borussia Dortmund in 2017. The German side have a knack of developing players and selling them on for top money. Barcelona made them an offer they could not refuse for the Frenchman who has failed to shine in Spain. But will they take a £20m hit on him? Or is £85m for a flop good money? That question to Paul Pogba.

Arsenal have woken to the fact their centre backs are slower than a Granit Xhaka tackle. The Gunners are looking at Atalanta’s Gianluca Mancini.

And Tottenham are readying a £35m bid for Cagliari’s 21-year-old Italian midfielder Nicolo Barella. But Man United and Liverpool also want him. So watch the price rocket.

 

Posted: 14th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Manchester United balls: Mourinho sacked (again), Pochettino waits, Spurs nowhere

Manchester United will sack Jose Mourinho if the club fails to achieve Champions League qualification this season. So says the BBC. And so says the Sun. The paper offers no fact to support its back-page story. Not that the Express needs more to echo the news as an exclusive. “Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho to be SACKED unless he does one thing,” says the clickbait farm. That one thing he must do is to be successful. Who knew?

Not the Daily Mirror. Its readers out think Mourinho has been sacked, his role replaced by a stunt double:

 

mourinho sacked

Daily Mirror knows

 

 

Back in the Sun, we’re told United still fancy recruiting Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino. Well, they should do. He’s been great at Spurs. But he’ll win nothing but plaudits there, so surely the Argentine wold fancy managing United with all that extra money to spend on top players? Real Madrid want Poch, too. But the Sun says his contract at Spurs is “almost impossible” to break. Which is utter balls, of course. Everyone has their price. If United can spunk £31m on Victor Lindelof, surely they can get their manager for around that fee?

The pressure at United would be different to what Poch feels at Spurs. In today’s Mirror, there are three pages on Manchester United losing and one mention of Spurs – columnist Stan Collymore says Pochettino is very good. Spurs are not mentioned once in the Sun – but there are four pages on Man United.

In other united news, the Times reports that Mourinho’s faith in Nemanja Matic is upsetting some of this team-mates. And in the Mirror former United “guv’nor” Paul Ince says United are “scared” of Manchester City. Surely, City just have better players. It’s not fear. Its ability. It’s better recruitment. Nonetheless, seven Mirror hacks respond to the poser, “What on earth can United do to narrow the gap?” Darren Lewis advises “attack from the outset”. Away to Manchester City, United should attack form the outset? Tom Hopkinson says – I kid you not – “It’s simple: new manger, new team.” Andy Dunn says United must stop being “archaic”. And David McDonnell suggests a “radical overhaul”.

The biggest question is: where were the fans who can remember when United didn’t win the title for 26 years? When did titles become entitlement?

Posted: 13th, November 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Martial offers 45m reasons to stay at Manchester United

Transfer Balls: how much is Anthony Martial worth to Manchester United? Whoah, there. That’s a rhetorical question. The answer is £45m. That’s a lot of money for a player who was on his way out when his current contract expires at the season’s end. United do have an option to extend that by one year. But Martial holds the cards. So United will sign him up on a new deal and then flog him when Jose Mourinho starts calling him names. The Sun says the new deal will last for five-year deal and earn the Frenchman £190,000-a-week. The paper doesn’t say if that figure includes extra cash for doing his job – scoring goals; being on the winning team; getting selected – or the absurd ‘loyalty bonus’. But it’s decent money, albeit not in the Alexis Sanchez bracket of more than double that figure. You get real value at United.

Manchester United also fancy Sampdoria’s 22-year-old Danish defender Joachim Andersen. No idea what his fee would be, but Inter Milan’s 23-year-old defender Milan Skriniar, a player wanted by United, is reportedly worth £100m, according to the club’s manager Luciano Spalletti.

Away from Old Trafford, Chelsea and Bayern Munich are chasing Lyon’s Nabil Fekir. The Star says the man who looked to be on his way to Liverpool last summer could arrive in London. Joining him in the Smoke is Lille winger Nicolas Pepe, 23, who has “welcomed speculation linking him with Arsenal”, says the BBC. How that plays out with his team-mates is moot.

 

Posted: 8th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United flop becomes the new Neymar PSG

As newspapers tank, red-top tabloids try to translate splashy sensation from paper to the web. The Sun thunders:
“Manchester United flop Alexis Sanchez wanted by PSG in shock transfer, amid continuing Old Trafford struggles.” Sanchez wants out of his absurd £600,000-a-week contract? And PSG in their wisdom think Sanchez is worth the effort?! The story is full of zero facts:

PSG would be willing to take Sanchez off their hands as long as they can land him on the cheap or even on a possible free transfer. It is understood the idea of getting him off their books has been talked about by the United hierarchy.

A “source” from somewhere inside or at least stood pretty close by Manchester United say it all “could” happen. The source is unnamed. But they are chatty:

“It’s no secret he has struggled and not lived up to the expectations. He isn’t getting any younger and it might never work for him. There was interest before the club signed him but he preferred staying in England at the time. That may have changed now. One of their [PSG’s] top stars could go and it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that a deal could be struck between the two clubs.”

Nonsense, then. But this is the desperate web and from that “exclusive”, we get the Daily Mirror thundering: “Alexis Sanchez transfer: Why PSG think they can sign Manchester United star on FREE.” Why? Dunno. But the guess is that he costs a lot of money in wages and is not all that good. And on it goes:

 

transfer balls sanchez manchester united

Sanchez- from ageing flop to the new Neymar!

 

 

Daily Express: “PSG want to sign Alexis Sanchez from Manchester United on one condition.”

Daily Star: “Man Utd news: PSG eye Alexis Sanchez on free transfer.”

talkSport: “Manchester United transfer news: Paris Saint-Germain plot shock move.”

Manchester Evening News: “Manchester United winger Alexis Sanchez ‘eyed’ for Paris Saint Transfer.”

All utter tosh.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 31st, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Spurs fear, Dembele to Liverpool, Newcastle wait and Sanchez plots Manchester United escape

Tottenham players “fear” Mauricio Pochettino is to leave the club for Real Madrid or Manchester United. Which Spurs players are in dread of the Argentine leaving, and maybe taking them along for the ride and the huge hike on wages that would come with it, is unsaid by the BBC. Over in the Telegraph that “fear” is reduced to a mere “feeling”. The Sun tell us that Real Madrid will double Pochettino’s wages to £17m a year. How it knows that is moot. It just does. It feels it.

But why would Pochettinho want a job with a shorter shelf life than a Halloween pumpkin? AS tells us that former Real Madrid star Michael Laudrup has rejected down the chance to become the club’s new manager. Fair enough. After all, Marca told us former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte would be appointed as soon as Real sacked Julen Lopetegui as manager. He wasn’t. Meanwhile, the Mail says Belgium manager and former Everton and Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is the white-hot favourite to become the next Real Madrid chief. Or as the Guardian puts it: “Mauricio Pochettino has emerged as Real Madrid’s No 1 choice.”

To recap: they don’t know.

In other news, Alexis Sanchez is off to play at PSG, says the BBC. Manchester Untied will replace their striker by digging huge hole in the ground and pouring £600,000-a-week into it.

And then some bigger news in Spain’s Sport. Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembélé is to be shunted out of the club this January. He turned up late for a game, we read, and Barcelona “have decided to act strongly on the issue”. Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea all want the Frenchman. Will it happen? Dunno. Back in August the Express told its readers: “Arsenal transfer news: Gunners make £90MILLION bid for Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele.” They didn’t.

And finally, get this from the BBC: “Newcastle are understood to be ready to offer Rafa Benitez the contract extension he wants – providing he is prepared to wait for certain requests.” Such as his discount voucher for Sports Direct and a chance to win the Championship.

 

Posted: 31st, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Manchester United: De Gea talks contracts amid Juventus rumours

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, that “flower amongst the rubble”,is all about  “winning games, rather than contracts”. Well, so he says. But de Gea has been widely linked with a tender to Juventus when his contact runs out next summer – and if they can afford to lash out £90m plus on an ageing Cristiano Ronaldo, the Italians can spend big wages on arguable the world’s best goalkeeper.

De Gea, 27, would replace curent Juventus ‘keeper and childhood Arsenal fan Wojciech Szczęsny. The former Arsenal player, who when wearing the Gunners red and white often looked a tad vacant, a man who could distracted by a passing plane, bird or ball, has done well in Italy. As he told the Indy this year:

“…I started playing at a very young age with Arsenal and as you play you gain experience and that’s how you grow. But, honestly, I couldn’t say from a technical standpoint that I improved in any way from when I became first-choice at Arsenal until the day I left for Roma.

“However, in the two-and-a-half years since I came to Italy, I’ve improved massively which is thanks to the coaches and the way they work. It’s not about improving when you play, it’s every day in training you have to work on every aspect of your game and that’s something I’ve really enjoyed.”

Arsene Wenger never made the Poland goalkeeper a better player. But through no fault of his own and no lack of effort, he’s not de Gea’s equal. Juventus, looking to replace the great Gianluigi Buffon, who at age 40 finally left the club for PSG in the summer, would do well to get the Spaniard. United manager Jose Mourinho says he is “not confident” De Gea will remain at Old Trafford.

“You have to be focused on what’s important,” De Gea told Sky Sports. “What matters is the team and all of us being focused on what we need to focus on, which is winning games, rather than contracts or any topics that can be a distraction. What matters is focusing on football.” So why mention them? “You don’t have time to think about things that aren’t as important as football and the points that are at stake in the games that we have to win and do well in.” And after and before the match, is that when you owner about life with Italy’s perennial champions?

Is it time for a change? “I’ve been at the club for eight seasons now. I’m very happy here,” says De Gea. “I always feel that warmth from the fans and everyone who works at the club.”

But Untied are not the force they were under Alex Ferguson, under whose knowing eye De Gea was recruited. The clock;s ticking. Juventus are happy to wait or get their man for cheap this summer…

Posted: 27th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United to lose de Gea and Real want Pochettino from Spurs

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino is on his way to Real Madrid after all, then. The Sun says Pochettino will replace Julen Lopetegui, should Real sack him, which they will in 10…9…  The Mail says Real headhunter Florentino Perez wanted to sack the one-time Spain coach last week. You might have watched Perez during Real’s Champions League match against Viktoria Plzen “storming away from his balcony”. It was only other club officials who prevented an on-the-spot sacking, says the paper.

If Lopetgui goes, so do all the players thundered the overrated Isco to media. To which Real fans say in one voice “adios”.

Real finished 17 points behind Barcelona in La Liga last season. Ronaldo left, taking his 50 goals a season with him to Juventus. Real look leaderless on the pitch. So Pochettino it is. The Sun says Real prefer him to Antonio Conte. Well, who wouldn’t. The big shock is that Manchester United haven’t already offered Spurs £40m for Poch. Why don’t clubs trade managers as they do players?

But Real also admire current Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese would do well to take the hint and leave Old Trafford. If David de Gea leaves on a free transfer to Juventus when his contract expires next summer, as the Times says he might, United will look even more hapless. Ubiquitous Spanish journalist Guillem Balague told BBC Radio 5 live listeners that the Real kingmakers love Jose. Why? Haven’t they been watching…

Posted: 26th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Martial wants to stay at Manchester United

Do Manchester United buy players to fit the team or advance the global brand? Rumours abound that Manchester United want to sell Paul Pogba but any exit would blow a big hole in the club’s marketing scheme. The trick for United is less who wants Pogba, but which mega-star replaces him and why they’d want to? The Mail says the marketeers who run United are stuck on who could match Pogba’s commercial value. Think less of the overrated player and more of how much merchandise he shifts.

The media is full of stories about how Pogba would leap at the chance to join Barcelona – he’d leap higher than he did when he lost Antonio Rüdiger at a corner for Chelsea’s opening goal last weekend. The bigger question is: why would Barcelona want the hype-powered France footballer whose shown few signs of being worth a fraction of his £90m fee that took him from Juventus to United? The still bigger question is: why would Barcelona spend £200m for the privilege?

Another Frenchman less than chuffed with life at Manchester United is French forward Anthony Martial, 22. Last week he was all set to see out his contract and leave on a free. Today the BBC says he’s ready to to stay at the club. First Jose Mourinho heaps prise on Luke Shaw, a man he once branded a brainless plodder, seeing to it that the asset nearing the end of his contract was awarded a new contract; now Jose starts praising and picking Martial just as he looked all set to leave for nought. Who picks the side at United: Mourinho or the moneymen who run the club?

The Sun says LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks set to rejoin Manchester United on loan during the MLS off-season. He’s one for the future.

Across town, Manchester City fancy Juventus’ Brazilian full-back Alex Sandro, 27, and Japan midfielder Ritsu Doan. Down south, a resurgent Arsenal are monitoring Ajax’s Argentina left-back Nicolas Tagliafico, 26. Chelsea are closing in on 18-year-old Italian midfielder Sandro Tonali. And Crystal Palace like Inter striker Gabriel Barbosa, whose on loan at Santos having failed to command a place with the Italians. Barbosa tells Marca his “intention is to go to a place where I can be as happy as I am here [at Santos]”. Palace it is, then.

And Wolves – they’re after Inter Milan’s 25-year-old Portuguese midfielder Joao Mario and a striker. Maria is also liked by Leicester and Southampton.

Posted: 25th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: De Gea flowers amongst the rubble of Mourinho’s collapsing house

Manchester United were comprehensively outplayed in their home Champions league tie with Juventus. Stodgy, defensive and possessed by nary a muon of the swashbuckling style that made the club great. After the dull match and the performative nature of Jose Mourinho’s snipes, snarks and adherence to the belief that the boredom is not of his making, Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport reviewed United’s pampered posers:

Romelu Lukaku scored a 4/10 – the lowest of anybody on the pitch

(He is) a symbol of the torments of the United season: when the striker does not score, it becomes hard for everyone.

At this moment the Belgian is almost a deadweight, lost and confused in opposing defences, but Mourinho has no alternative.

Anthony Martial (5.5/10)

Another step backwards.

Marcus Rashford (4.5)

Never really dangerous. Half a disaster.

Luke Shaw (5)

Targeted as the weak link. Dazed. Stunned.

Chris Smalling (5)

His performance was as mediocre as his haircut.

David De Gea (lauded as United’s best player by a distance)

Like a flower amongst the rubble.

A delicate flower or a weed?

MARCA was tops, though, awarding Lukaku, Rashford, Smalling and Nemanja Matic a combined score of zero.

On the look out for bias, let’s see what the Manchester Evening News said about United:

David de Gea – United’s best player by a country mile:

Kept United in it with a few saves as United struggled to contain Cristiano Ronaldo, Juan Cuadrado and Paulo Dybala. 7

Victor Lindelof – who was every bit as good as De Gea. Yeah, really:

One of his more impressive displays for United, despite Juventus’ firepower. Read the game well and timed his challenges impressively. 7

Nemanja ‘nil points’ Matic:

Was disciplined and tried to get things going but the fleet-footed Blaise Matuidi and Miralem Pjanic outfoxed him. 5

And Romelu Lukaku, the big bloke up front who was good at Everton:

When United supporters screamed ‘move’ Lukaku rarely did. Bossed by Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci and too static. 2

Such are the facts.

Posted: 24th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United chase Koulibaly, Arsenal take Malcolm on loan from Arsenal and Chelsea underpay Hazard

Cancel the trip to Jose Mourinho’s hotel room in Manchester and the one-way ticket to Real Madrid, Eden Hazard will stay at Chelsea. The BBC says Chelsea will offer their best player £350,000-a-week to stay at the club. This, says the Express, will make Hazard “the highest-paid player in the Premier League”. Which is odd because the Express says Alexis Sanchez is the league’s number one earner on £500,000-a-week.

 

daily express sanchez

Daily Express facts by Dany Wilson October 2 2018

 

As the Express delivers the facts and then fact that counter those facts in a SEO blizzard of utter balls, the Express also says struggling Real Madrid want to hire Raheem Sterling to bolster a forward line missing Cristiano Ronaldo’s 50-odd goals a season. There are no facts to support the claim. The Mirror says Sterling wants more money to stay at Manchester City, who will of course find it down the back of the sofa.

Finally, the Star says Arsenal fancy taking Barcelona’s Brazilian winger Malcom, 21, on loan in January. That’s be the same Malcolm the press told us had agreed to join Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester United before he went to Spain.

More facts from the twilight zone of football reporting every day…

Posted: 21st, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Talking balls: Manchester United sale to Saudi Arabia is on-ish

The sale of Manchester United is on! Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a man riding high on the news cycle for exercising an attitude to journalists that even Sir Alex Ferguson would consider a bit much, is “hoping” to meet Manchester United owners the Glazer family and buy the club for £4bn (Mirror) or £3bn (Sun). The Mirror confirms the story punched out by the trusty Daily Star last week. That scoop was based on“web football forums and Twitter”. So it’s a dead cert to be true.

 

Crown_Prince_Mohammad_bin_Salman_Al_Saud manchester united

‘Only Man United – no Women United’

 

Now the no less trusty Mirror takes up the news cudgel. If it’s facts you want, the paper says Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is worth £850bn. Sorry, fact. That’s the only one, and even it’s a guess. The Mirror says the Prince is “hoping” to meet United owners Joel and Avram Glazer in the ­Middle East in the next couple of weeks. Progress, eh. A few years ago, Saudi Arabia banned Jews from entering the country. Now they let them in. If they they let then out again in one piece, we’ll see.

Indeed, as the Mirror notes: “United’s co-owners know that they will have to tread carefully as the Crown Prince is embroiled in a tense diplomatic row over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.” The Saudis say Mr Khashoggi – a critic of the Saudi government – was killed in a fight at the Saudi consulate in Turkey. It’s unlikely the row was about United’s decision to offer Luke Shaw a new contract, but nothing is being ruled out.

But will the Saudis really buy United? On the back of this rumour, which the Mirror can’t substantiate with a single quote or fact, shares in the club traded on the New York Stock Exchange rose by over 5% to $27.65. Such is the power of the red-tops that when they spread a baseless rumour, City traders go ballistic.

Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, local journalists deliver the scores from last weekend’s matches: Chelsea 0, Manchester United 27.

Posted: 21st, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United feared losing Luke Shaw on a free

Now Luke Shaw is a committed Manchester United player for the next five seasons, what the experts said and now make of it is news. Shaw signed a deal that gives him £160,000 a week until 2023.

It all looked unlikely when his manager Jose Mourinho was belittling him in public. The Times says Mourinho “pulverised Shaw’s confidence with a series of put-downs”. Even when Shaw played well, he was little more than a video game avatar or brainless robot. “He [Shaw] had a good performance, but it was his body with my brain,” Mourinho said. “He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him.”

But as Shaw’s current deal ran down – it was due to finish at this season’s end –  Mourinho softened. He sent Shaw a text in the summer saying: “I know what you can do. You can be the best but you’ve just got to work on a couple of things.” Was Mourinho just protecting a company asset?

Last week, the Mail “understood the England defender has no intention of signing a new one if Mourinho is still in charge”. Shaw added: “If you look at my situation in the last year and a bit, you’d have thought this could have been impossible. ”

And having mocked the player in public, Mourinho now tells us:

“Luke fully deserves this contract. He understood his development process, he has worked really hard at every level and he always believes in himself which is a great attribute to have.

“Luke is still young and is improving all the time and he must feel very proud of himself. I am delighted that we are keeping such a talented young English player with a bright future ahead of him.”

To say nothing of resale value for a player who was once the most expensive teenager in world football – a title taken by Anthony Martial when he joined Manchester United. Martial’s contract expires at the season’s end. He wants to leave the club on a free. He should expect a supportive text message from Mourinho very soon…

Posted: 20th, October 2018 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Hazard to Manchester United because he loves Chelsea

Is Eden Hazard leaving Chelsea for Manchester United? Surely not. But the Manchester Evening News implies that United is on the brilliant Belgian’s radar. The Twitter feed for the Manchester Evening News dedicated to Manchester United news – “Manchester United Football Club news from the Manchester Evening News” – tweets a photo of Hazard and a link to a story on the paper’s site. In anyone still can’t understand the story that Hazard is looking at his “future plans” which seem to included a move to Manchester United, the paper includes the tag ‘#mufc”.

 

eden hazard manchester united

hazard mufc

 

Taking the bait, we click the link and are told:

 

hazard cheslea

 

Words form Hazard on playing for Manchester United: nil. In fact, the MEN merely ping readers a post by Sky Sports, in which Hazard says he loves Chelsea and could end his playing days there:

 

hazard chelsea

 

So what is the story on Hazard that will be of interest to Manchester United fans? Oh:

Eden Hazard reveals his future plans
The Chelsea superstar previously revealed he would love to work with Jose Mourinho again, but that’s not going to happen unless the United boss ends up back at Stamford Bridge for a THIRD spell it seems:

Total tosh from the trusty MEN.

Posted: 19th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Saudi Arabia to buy Manchester United – good press guaranteed

Interesting news that Manchester United is to be bought by Saudi Arabia boss crown prince Mohammad bin Salman. Not only will the purchase turn Manchester into a proxy Middle East war zone, what with Saudi Arabia’s enemies owning Manchester City, but it should pave the way for an end to that irritating habit footballers have to talking into their hands. Disappoint the prince and – et voila! – no hands!

 

Crown_Prince_Mohammad_bin_Salman_Al_Saud manchester united

‘Only Man United – no Women United’

 

Journalists should also take care, perhaps take to travelling to press conferences in twos and politely declining the offer of tea and electrodes at the embassy. Look out for lots of favourable match reports, with heavy focus on the prince’s dashing looks and support for his brave decision to permit women to speak in public, albeit after first raising a hand and submitting their words for official review a week in advance.

No deal to buy the club is agreed, of course. Manchester United have rejected suggestions the Glazer family are ready to put the club up for sale even if Saudi Arabia offer, say, $4bn… $5bn…$5 and a bit billion and a province in Yemen?

 

Posted: 16th, October 2018 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United, Spurs and Chelsea in a ‘bidding war’ for Ake

Manchester United, Spurs and Chelsea are all in for Netherlands international Nathan Ake, 23. Well, so says the BBC. And United and Spurs “will have to wait” to see if Chelsea want to re-sign the player they sold to Bournemouth. So that’s three top clubs who all want Ake in a story that has taken on a life of its own.

Over in the Telegraph we learn that as part of Ake’s £20 million transfer to Bournemouth, Chelsea negotiated “a gentleman’s agreement that would allow them to re-sign him for a fee of around £40m”. What utter tosh. Football club’s do not employ lawyers on multi-million pound deals to work with a handshake. And then this:

There has not yet been any sign that Chelsea are ready to try to take Ake back to Stamford Bridge and any move to re-sign him would have to be agreed by the player. But a summer bid from either Spurs or United would force Bournemouth to offer Chelsea the opportunity to make a move and leave the other two clubs sweating.

This transfer news is tosh. But that doesn’t top the Express from milking the balls to produce the gem: “Man Utd news: Nathan Ake transfer battle takes fresh twist, Chelsea hold the key.”

When asked if he’d read the story of his transfer to Spurs, Ake told Football Oranje: “I’ve also seen it pass by, but of course it’s rumours. At the moment I play everything at Bournemouth and that goes well, so I focus on that. If I’ve already signed in London? No, certainly not. This does not say much about my status yet, they are rumours that come on the internet and as long as I do not hear anything myself, I will not go into that.” The story on the Dutch website was titled: “Ake to Tottenham: its only rumours.”

Mentions of Manchester United: nil. The story is about interest from Spurs. But the Daily Star hears the same words and manages to report:”NATHAN AKE has addressed the rumours surrounding his future amid reported interest from Manchester United.” In The Metro it’s: “Nathan Ake speaks out on Manchester United transfer speculation.” “Nathan Ake breaks silence on Manchester United speculation as Bournemouth defender addresses future,” chimes the Mirror.

All newspapers connive to omit the part where Ake says he’s not signed “in London“. Worse still, the Metro thunders: “Man Utd transfer news: Nathan Ake responds to Jose Mourinho interest.” Words from Mourinho: zero. But as the Mail says in a story about a “bidding war” for Ake, “Jose Mourinho, who worked with Ake at Chelsea, wants to revamp his defence with Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof failing to impress the Portuguese tactician.”

Ake did play for Chelsea nine times. But he was loaned out to Reading, Watford and Bournemouth. Aké made his Premier League debut on 26 December 2012 – when Rafa Benitez was Chelsea manager. Under Mourinho, Ake only made one league appearance, as a substitute in a 3–0 loss at West Bromwich Albion on 18 May.

Such are the facts.

 

 

Posted: 16th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester City’s Foden to Dortmund, Hazard’s Chelsea dream and Manchester United want Ake

Borussia Dortmund are keen to hire Manchester City’s cake-loving reserve Phil Foden to keep Jadon Sancho company. All the noises from those with vested interests in young Foden earning loads money at City say he’s very happy at the club. But he hardly plays for the first team, and if a big name in his position became available, City would surely swoop and push Foden further down the hierarchy. RB Leipzig and PSG also want Foden, but Dortmund with their reputation for developing young talent must be the pick.

Bournemouth’s Nathan Aké is talking about a rumoured move to Manchester United. “I’ve seen it pass by but of course it’s rumours,” says the former Chelsea loanee. “At the moment I play at Bournemouth and that is going well, so I focus on that. This does not say much about my status yet. They are rumours on the internet and as long as I do not hear anything myself, I will not go into that.” No comment is still a comment, Nathan. But he’s not heard anything himself about the things he’s chatting about to Dutch journalists so let’s just leave him alone.

Still at Chelsea is Eden Hazard, who having stated it his childhood “dream” to play for Real Madrid, no says he won’t head to Spain in January. He also says he won’t ever force a move to Madrid. Instead, he’ll just keep on talking about his ambitions in Spain, batting his eyelashes and seemingly talking abut Madrid every single day.

Heading back to Chelsea is midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, 24. Reports are that AC Milan have “threatened” to cancel his loan deal because of “defects in his game”.

Arsenal are looking at cheaper options than Hazard, like Rennes’s Ismaila Sarr and Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz. They’re said to be promising, young, athletic, skilful and cheap. You know the story. Some things at Arsenal never change.

At the other end of the pay scale, Manchester United are all ready to offer Spain goalkeeper David de Gea a new deal that would make the 27-year-old the club’s highest earner – m re than the £600,000-a-week they pay Alexis Sanchez to kiss the badge.

As for Spurs, well, Madrid captain Ramos says Harry Kane would be great in La Liga, and Mousa Dembélé will quit the cub at the season’s end to live out his own fantasy at Beijing Sinobo Guoan in the Chinese (Not So) Super League.

Posted: 15th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Manchester United balls: Pogba saves sacked Mourinho

Can the Daily Mirror reassess the quality of its “Manchester United” insiders” who were “convinced” Jose Mourinho was going to be sacked last weekend? The paper leads with United’s 3-2 win over an average Newcastle side lacking in top talent, hailing it as a “stay of execution”.  The comeback from 0-2 down “papered over the cracks”.

 

mourinho manchester united

 

David McDonnell saw United play for 70 minutes “without spark or purpose”. They were “abject”. But “from somewhere deep within themselves”, the players stirred for a “staggering Fergie-like 20-minute comeback”. It was a “miracle”. No word on Mourinho’s role in the resurgence. Not a peep about what the manager might have done at half-time to reform his side trialing by two goals. And nothing said on the Mirror’s story, as told by one David McDonell, that Mourinho is today looking for a new job.

 

mourinho sacked

Daily Mirror knows

 

As the Mirror memory holes the words “Mourinho Jose Mourinho set to be sacked this WEEKEND whatever Manchester United’s result vs Newcastle”, the Sun has its own exclusive. The Sun is the paper that has cheered longest and loudest for Mourinho. The team might be dull, but to the Sun it’s all part of the “RED-OLUTION”.

 

Jose Mourinho the sun Manchester United

The Sun loves Jose

 

And so to the day’s scoop: “HOW POGBA SAVED JOSE”. The want-away midfielder saved Mourinho, how? “He told boss best way to spark fightback.” Pogba Tip 1: Tell Juan Mata to score direct from a free kick. Mata scores! The trust is less poetic. We hear that Mourinho listened to his players at half time. Pogba suggested a “deeper role for himself and brining on Fellaini”. Genius. Bring on the hairy elbow and lob it up into the mixer.

 

mourinho manchester united

 

Mourinho tells everyone that he and the team chatted for 10 minutes about this and that at half time.  To seasoned Mourinho watchers this might look like the manager trying to exculpate himself from the mess. But to the Sun’s it’s honest Jose binding the team and securing victory. It “showed how they could all work together”. It also showed that Newcastle United – six defeats from eight played; two draws – can’t hang on to a two goal lead.

But as Jose and Pog hug in the Sun, the Mail says Pogba wants to leave regardless of Mourinho’s future. Looks like the miracle will only last if plucky minnows United can play huge-spending Newcastle at home every week…

Posted: 8th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United balls: Mourinho ‘sacked today’ as board back their man

Manchester United will sack Jose Mourinho today. As the Mirror told readers yesterday: “Jose Mourinho set to be sacked this WEEKEND whatever Manchester United’s result vs Newcastle.” So much for the thrilling comeback from 0-2 down against Newcastle. Indeed, the Mirror’s match report calls the match thrilling. It cocks an ear as “Old Trafford erupted and Mourinho’s name rang out once again”. But today he gets the sack.

 

mourinho sacked

Daily Mirror knows

 

The Mirror even had a live blog. As Alexis Sanchez scored the winner, it piped:

GOOOALLLL!!!! Young whipped the ball into Martial, who had drawn the attention of the defenders, but it makes it past them and Sanchez heads it in at the back post! Has that goal saved Jose Mourinho’s job?! Manchester United 3-2 Newcastle.

Has it saved his job? No. Because the Mirror said he’s getting sacked today.

Elsewhere in today’s  in-the-know Mirror, we read that Manchester United bosses have “urged Zinedine Zidane not to consider any other managerial vacancies” because they are deciding on the future of manager Jose Mourinho. We also learn that Manchester United “could have to pay £29m to Mourinho if they sack the Portuguese”. But if United fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League, the bill is £10m.

Meanwhile, the Times tells us the Manchester United board texted Mourinho their support before yesterday’s match. Which, as the Mirror know, means he’s getting sacked…

 

Posted: 7th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United Balls: Mourinho sacked today, tomorrow or the next day

After the the ‘ifs’ and ‘coulds’, news is that  Manchester United will sack Jose Mourinho will be sacked after today’s match with Newcastle. the BBC has the scoop, although it’s one founded in the Mirror’s story: “Jose Mourinho set to be sacked this WEEKEND whatever Manchester United’s result vs Newcastle.” Win 19-0 in a match that will reverberate through time and Mourinho will be sacked. Play out a thrilling encounter, as Mourinho unleashes Sanchez, Pogba and Martial with the command ‘express yourselves’ and still be sacked. How can the Mirror be certain? After all, this is the paper that told us Arsenal Wenger had ‘set the date’ to leave Arsenal on June 30 2017. He was sacked a year later.

 

mourinho sacked

 

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

2017?

 

 

David McDonnell writes: “Jose Mourinho has lost the confidence of the Manchester United board and is set to be sacked this weekend.” And replaced by? Dunno. We also don’t know the identities of the “senior United sources” who gave the Mirror its story.  We’re told Mourinho has “alienated players, fans and staff at Old Trafford”. And Mourinho “appeared resigned to his fate” in the pre-match press conference.

We’re then told that Man United chief executive Ed Woodward “is believed to have lost his patience in Mourinho”. Since when ie believing something a fact? We do know that those “senior” United insiders don’t include the most senior, nor the Glazers, who own the club. It’s all very woolly. And as for the all-important bottom line, Bloomberg notes:

Even though the club’s shares have slumped 17 percent since reaching a record high on the last day of August, they’re up 27 percent since the Portuguese manager took over in May 2016.

Mourinho the manager is damaged goods; but Mourinho the brand is doing ok.

And then we get more hunches: “Ex-Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is the favourite to succeed Mourinho, who is set to receive compensation of around £20million. Michael Carrick could be put in temporary charge.” United fans want Carrick as manager? And sd a £20m goodbye a reason for Mourinho to look “sullen”? Yes, he’s rich but you could always use a few million more, right.

 

Mourinho newspapers Manchester United

The Mirror says Jose will be at United for a decade

 

the sun mourinho jose Manchester United Neil Curtis

The Sun loves Jose – and all the access loving him might gt to other of Jorge Menze’z starry clients

 

 

 

Meanwhile, talkSport hears “United sources” say Mourinho won’t be sacked. The Indy agrees. Woodward is “keen to give the manager more time”. The Guardian says: “Manchester United have no plans to remove Mourinho.” And that’s how journalism works – one source makes a bold claim based on nameless sources; and the rest either repeat it or get their scoop by screaming”Nothing Will Happen!”

But it might happen one day. Mourinho will be sacked! You read it everywhere first…

Posted: 6th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United balls: Mourinho sacked when noodle deal goes cold

That the Press have no idea what Manchester United’s moneymen will do about Jose Mourinho is no clearer than in the BBC’s news that the club “could” sack the draining Portuguese “if his side lose to Newcastle United on Saturday”. Could and if are not news. But the Sun goes further. It says senior boardroom figures have lost faith in Mourinho. No names are revealed. No boardroom suit has given the rumours of top-level discord a face.

Are they upset by Mourinho’s dire man-management of Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial, Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones, Marcus Rashford and Eric Bailly? Before he criticised those current members of the United squad in public, Mourinho sniped at Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Bastian Schweinsteiger, although of the later he did say, “He’s in the category of players that I feel sorry for something I did to him.”

Or are the suits voicing dissent over the dull style of play and poor results? Most likely they’re fretting about sponsors. Under the Glazers, United are a brand for hire. Mourinho, like Pogba, was recruited for his market appeal. Mourinho’s the man with a range of perfumes, whose name was licensed for Jose Mourinho briefcases and umbrellas. Jaguar and Hublot have paid big money for Mourinho to advertise their stuff. As one Times writer notes, the Glazers’ yes man, Ed Woodward, “can nail a noodle deal but not provide any heavyweight footballing guidance or astute succession planning.”

If Mourinho is deemed to have lost his cache in the luxury goods arena, he’s toast. If it’s all abut football, why did United ever hire the man whose teams are set out to pinch a goal and hang on? Sack the suits, right, for neglecting Manchester United’s footballing history.

 

spurs

 

But who if not Mourinho?

The BBC says Mauricio Pochettino is “Manchester United owner Ed Woodward’s preferred candidate”. The reporting is shockingly bad.

And over in the Manchester Evening News, we learn that when Zinedine Zidane was at Real Madrid, he was an admirer of David De Gea, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial. So much did he admire them that moneybags Real never recruited any of the trio. But they all play for United and Zidane’s between jobs, so the story must be that the great Frenchman wants to take over at United – noodle deal permitting.

 

Posted: 5th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports | Comment