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Transfer Balls: Gareth Bale to Manchester United and Real Madrid chatter

Stop the back page bilge about Gareth Bale leaving Real Madrid for Manchester United. The BBC says Bale’s career at Real Madrid has been given “a lifeline”. Why? Because Real’s new manager Julen Lopetegui “can speak English”. Zinedine Zidane, his predecessor who led Real to three successive Champions’ League triumphs, could not, as the Beeb.

The BBC links to the Express, which bills Lopetugui’s ability to speak English as an “Exclusive”. Presumably up til now the Spanish manager has been pretending not to speak English or else using Stephen Hawking’s old voice system. But now the Express‘ Bruce Archer can “reveal the truth”:

bale transfer

 

As readers wonder if Jose Mourinho can speak England as well as Lopetugui can, and if the pair should compete in a Spelling Bee to see which one is best for Bale, the Express reports:

It has already emerged that Bale is now happy to stay and expects to be given a life line but Express Sport can reveal the reason why.

Bale feels more comfortable in his position because Lopetegui can speak English, whereas Zidane couldn’t.

Bale tried to learn Spanish when he first moved to the Bernabeu but has made little progress despite being there since 2013 and winning four European Cups.

Or to repackage the story: Bale can’t speak Spanish, something that’s hardly prevented him from being terrific. His first goal in the Champions’ League final looked good in any idiom.

And so having told us in an “exclusive” that Bale can now talk to his manager in English, deep into the story the Express adds: “Manchester United are ready to make their move if it is indicated Bale is available, but they are also tracking Willian and would be keen on Neymar if a deal was possible.”

How do you say “total balls” in Spanish?

Posted: 17th, June 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Arsenal play Chelsea in Dublin in readiness for European super league

Arsenal will play Chelsea on 4 August in a pre-season rubber in Dublin as part of the – get this – International Champions Cup (ICC). Neither club is the Premier League champion. Other Premier League clubs in the competition are: Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool. The so-called ‘Big Six’ are all in the ICC to play one another in the same month as the PL season proper begins. When you know the other teams in this marketing campaign are Real Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter, Roma, PSG, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Benfica it becomes clear that the whole thing is a precursor to some European Super League.

It’s billed thus:

It boasts the two largest crowds in U.S. soccer history, the only Clásico ever played on American soil and a list of former champions as regal as any tournament in the world: Real Madrid, Manchester United, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan, Barcelona. A roster of top scorers that includes Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Luis Suarez, Neymar, and Franck Ribéry. This year, it includes 18 of the world’s most iconic and influential clubs, 90 out of 100 of the world’s top-ranked players and all eight of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinalists.

How long before the European Cup final is played in the USA or China?

It’s the International Champions Cup, the summer’s biggest club competition, and its mix of megastar glamour and debutante mystery is as compelling a proposition as the game has to offer.

Want more of this tosh?

The ICC, now in its sixth edition, is a crucial component of the soccer calendar for both the game’s luminaries and its next generation of stars. It’s been a launching pad for numerous emerging standouts over the years. Christian Pulisic—aged just 17—scored an injury-time equalizer for Borussia Dortmund against Manchester City in 2016.

He did?

American Julian Green registered a hat trick against Inter Milan that same summer, just weeks after his twentieth birthday. Sergi Roberto, then a Barcelona reserve, scored the decider in Barça’s 2015 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy in front of 93,000 at the Rose Bowl. Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and Ousmane Dembele each took their ICC opportunity to announce themselves as global footballing forces, and Marcos Asensio—perhaps most famously—did the same by finishing off a stunning end-to-end move to score for Real in Miami’s spectacular 2017 Clásico.

It is utter balls. These are brand-building matches played after the the World Cup before the teams’ domestic seasons begin. The only point of it must be the get us used to an elite league of European sides.

Posted: 13th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: MEN dupes Manchester United fans with fake news

“Justin Kluivert completes Roma move,” declares the Manchester Evening News in its “live” blog of “Manchester United transfer news”. Ciaran Kelly is scathing of the fools who thought Kluivert was heading to Old Trafford.

 

manchester evening news fake manchester united

 

 

Kelly writes on the page for Manchester United transfer news:

Amazing how that friendly word at the end of the Europa League final between him and Mourinho, who knew him as a kid from his time at Barca, sparked hundreds of articles and rumours.

Kluivert never was heading to Man United, you saps. All he did was have a chat with an old pal – which you can read about at the following links to Manchester Evening News stories:

Justin Kluivert gives major update amid Manchester United transfer links – 18 May 2018

Manchester United target Justin Kluivert and more transfer rumours – Manchester United are planning a summer move for Ajax forward Justin Kluivert, according to reports. – 11 May 2018

Justin Kluivert’s dad advises him over Manchester United transfer – Justin Kluivert has been advised to snub a move to Manchester United by his dad Patrick.

What did dad say? Said Patrick:

“I’m very proud of him. He’s doing very good at Ajax,” Patrick Kluivert told Omnisport, speaking courtesy of Hublot. “He’s now a first XI player. If he’s playing like this in the long-term, he could be one important player in the future. Of course, I prefer that he goes to Barcelona but in football everything can happen. He’s an adult, he can make his own decisions but he’s already said it’s a dream for him to play for Barcelona. But you never know in football.” – 23 March 2018

Mentions of Manchester United: zero.

Manchester United ‘target’ Justin Kluivert subject of Jorge Mendes talks claims Ajax insider – Man Utd have been tipped to sign Ajax wonderkid Justin Kluivert and an Ajax insider has revealed Jorge Mendes has asked about him – 20 Feb 2018

Justin Kluivert talks up Manchester United move – 13 Feb 2018

Justin Kluivert speaks out on Manchester United transfer rumours – United manager Jose Mourinho was filmed commiserating Kluivert after the Europa League final last season and a satirical Dutch programme released a mock transcript of the exchange, suggesting the Portuguese wanted to sign the young forward – 5 Feb 2018

The Manchester Evening News writes lots of story linking Justin Kluivert to Manchester United and then tells readers on the day the player signs for Roma it knew they were all utter balls.

Local paper treats its readers like mugs. Nice.

Posted: 12th, June 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Clickbait transfer news: Manchester United ‘told to SACK’ Mourinho

“Man Utd transfer news: Bigwigs told to abandon plans and sack Jose Mourinho – EXCLUSIVE.” So thunders the Daily Star.  “MANCHESTER UNITED need to focus on changing their manager – not the players.” Says who? Says Lee Sharp, who apparently has the ear of the Manchester United kingmakers and tells them what to do.

 

manchester united clickbait

 

Sharp “exclusively” told the paper. “I think they might need a new manager. It’s a tough one because they’ve got some unbelievable players. Mourinho wouldn’t have been my first choice if I’m honest.”

At the foot of this clickbait nonsense, the paper tells its readers: “Lee Sharpe was speaking at the McDonald’s & Lancashire FA Community Football Day in Astley.”

 

How Google sells the story to readers: “Old Trafford board told to SACK Jose Mourinho.”

 

Sharp was at the event on May 26. The Star’s “exclusive” was on June 5.  Were the words of the McDonald’s “ambassador” all that “exclusive”? These words were from the same “exclusive” event. They were written by the Press Association, which sells content to newspapers and websites:

For me, it was a pretty disappointing season and not entertaining enough,” said the former England winger. “There are clubs with certain identities and United have never been a 1-0 team that sits back and rests on its laurels.

“You’ve got the blue side of Manchester under Pep, you’ve got Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool playing some of the best football in the league and United are playing slow, pragmatic, boring and even dated football.

“Maybe it’s time Mourinho reassesses things tactically. He’s been one of the most successful managers in the game over 10-12 years, trophies everywhere he’s gone, so I can understand him saying, ‘I’m doing it my way’.

The 9 players Jose Mourinho has signed from Portuguese clubs since leaving Porto – and how they got on
“But times have changed and if it doesn’t start well next season, he could find himself under pressure from the fans.”

You can read those words on websites run by The Daily Mirror (May 30), EuroSport, Goal, The Independent and Metro. As for sacking Mouirnhio,well, the Star seems little obsessed:

 

sack mourinho
 

Look out for Jose Mourinho extending his stay at Manchester United.

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


Arsenal: Papastathopoulos and Fellaini reject Manchester United; Lichtsteiner joins; Gunners go tall

Who will be Unai Emery’s first signing at Arsenal? If media chatter is any guide, it’ll be someone tall. The large Sokratis Papastathopoulos looks to be on his way. The centre-back should complete a £16m transfer from Borussia Dortmund very soon.

And the still larger Marouane Fellaini is also tipped to be become a Gunner, having rejected the chance to remain at Manchester United.

Papastathopoulos has also turned down an offer to play for José Mourinho’s team. The defender’s father, Charalambos Papastathopoulos, told Greek radio station 24/7: “There was interest from United but he had to wait until July for them. United have a very good relationship with Dortmund, the teams talked but Sokratis chose to go to Arsenal.”

 

Transfer-News-Arsenal-Stephan-Lichtsteiner

 

But wait a mo… Arsenal has just signed Stephan Lichtsteiner from Juventus. It’s been over a week since Wikipedia announced  Lichtsteiner was a Gunner. And now he is one.

Lichtsteiner is 6ft tall. Papastathopoulos is a hair under 6ft 2. Fellaini is closer to 6ft 5 than he is to 6ft 4. Arsenal are going big.

Posted: 5th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Samuel Umtiti and the Manchester United transfer delivered in code

News that France international centre-half Samuel Umtiti has agreed a new five-year contract with Barcelona should disappoint tabloid-reading Manchester United fans. Umtiti, who joined Lyon for €25m in 2016, will remain at the club until 2023.

umtiti balls man united

 

But on March 4 2008, the Daily Star told readers: “Lionel Messi furious at Barcelona as Samuel Umtiti agrees deal with Man Utd.” The source for the Star’s total balls was Spanish website Diario Gol. Of it, the Star says in a story published on March 4 and headlined “Man Utd News: Messi ‘chooses’ Umtiti replacement”: “Diario Gol often make sensational transfer claims.” Many of them are repeated verbatim in the Star.

 

The Star:- repeating utter tosh

 

One month after Umtiti had “agreed” to join Man United in the Star, the Metro announced: “Samuel Umtiti sends clear message to Manchester United during Barcelona’s victory over Roma.” This “message” was delivered not by email, rather by a gaol for Barcelona. The story has nothing to do what Manchester United. These are its lowlights:

Samuel Umtiti sent an emphatic message to Manchester United during Barcelona’s comprehensive 4-1 victory over Roma in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final…

Umtiti, who has been heavily linked with a £53million move to United in recent weeks, appeared to double Barca’s lead in the 55th minute. However, replays showed it was another own goal from Roma..

Kostas Manolas got the final contact on the ball but this didn’t stop Umtiti wheeling away to claim the goal by grabbing and pointing at Barcelona’s crest on his chest. Sorry, United…

“Sorry United?” Sorry, Metro readers, more like.

 

umtiti balls man united

 

Over in the Sun, Umtiti was off:

Manchester United close in on Samuel Umtiti signing as Barcelona refuse to meet French international’s demands – March 26

SO LONG SAM – Barcelona already looking at replacement for Samuel Umtiti, with Manchester United closing in on French defender – March 29

umtiti balls man united

 

Meanwhile…in the real world:

 

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 4th, June 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United and Chelsea fight for Robert Lewandowski who dreams of Real Madrid

Chelsea are keen on Robert Lewandowski, who wants to leave Bayern Munich (Mirror). Manchester United are favourites to sign the Poland striker, says the Daily Star. Lewandowski’s a gem of a player. And for some time now he’s bene linked with other clubs. So can we believe the stories that he’s heading to the Premier League?

Robert Lewandowski has agreed to join Real Madrid this summer – The Metro, March 19 2018

Chelsea and Man Utd dealt transfer blow: Robert Lewandowski and Real Madrid agree terms – Daily Star, March 19, 2018

Real Madrid news: Robert Lewandowski ‘agrees deal’ after Harry Kane pursuit fails – Daily Express, March 17 2018

Lewandowski agrees Madrid move – Goal, March 16 2018

Real Madrid transfer news: Robert Lewandowski ‘dreams’ of signing for club – Daily Express, December 9 2017

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has his heart set on moving to Real Madrid next summer – The Metro, September 17 2017

Robert Lewandowski to snub Manchester United, Chelsea and Man City by leaving Bayern for Real Madrid – The Independent, January 27 2016

WHERE TO, LEW? Robert Lewandowski latest: Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City, Manchester United or Chelsea? At which Premier League club could he end up? – The Sun, June 16 2016

Clickbait all the way.

 

Posted: 31st, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Alisson to Liverpool for £52m, to Manchester united for £88m and Karius to Italy

Loris Karius has been offered the chance to join Italian third-division side Rimini FC. The Italian club will provide a safe space for the Liverpool keeper. At Rimini the 24-year-old German will “rediscover calm and his self-belief”. Karius will “rediscover serenity, self-esteem and strength to follow his dream”. His departure will leave space for Alisson to arrive at Anfield. Maybe.

In other news, Roma will “demand” Liverpool pay 90m euros (£79m) for goalkeeper Alisson, says the BBC. And Roma will only listen to offers for the 25-year-old Brazilian after the World Cup. Well, so says the Guardian.

As ever, the media is guessing. In May, the Sun said Alisson would “snub” Liverpool and sign a new deal with Roma:

 

liverpool alisson

‘Snub’

 

On March 29, the Daily Star told us: “LIVERPOOL and Arsenal have been told to stump up £52m if they want to sign Roma keeper Alisson.”

And just this May the Sun told us how much Alisson would cost Man United and that Liverpool were no longer interested in the player: £88m.

 

aisson man united

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 30th, May 2018 | In: Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United have cool £120m for Bale who won’t laugh at Spurs

Two spots of Transfer Balls on the BBC’s clickbait football pages. First up the news that Manchester United “will offer” Real Madrid 140m euros (£121.8m) for the brilliant Gareth Bale. Oh, and the Spanish shopping trip does not end there because United are also in for Barcelona’s Spanish 29-year-old left-back Jordi Alba.

United are desperate. You realise just how needy the Red Devils are when the BBC also notes that Manchester City “believe” they can recruit Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez, 27, for a “knockdown fee of £60m – though it will still break their transfer record.” United spent more than that on Lukaku.

 

manchester united bale

 

Over £120m for Bale is a lot of money but just one day ago the Mirror was telling us the Welshman would cost United £335m. The advice must be to give it a week and get him for around £20m. Bale’s price is falling fast.

Spanish publication AS, however, backs up the BBC’s guesswork with the story that Bale is wanted by United, Bayern Munich and – get this – Spurs. This is what the Spurs link looks like when its puts through the wonder of Google Translate:

On Tuesday, the British newspaper Independent claims that Pochettino’s Tottenham has joined the bid for the Cardiff end. According to the English publication, Tottenham plans an operation to bring back the player who sold to Madrid for 101 million euros in the summer of 2013. This operation would include a salary cut for Bale…

This contractual data would be very similar to what is currently charged by Tottenham’s flagship player, Harry Kane, so Bale would not be the highest paid player in the London team. Of course, Tottenham is confident that despite these salary cuts, the desire of the Welshman to play all the minutes he does not have in Madrid and to return to the team in which he exploded as a player would be enough to convince the Welshman.

 

bale spurs

Bale ‘could’ in the Indy

 

Bale must be chomping at the bit to rejoin Spurs for less money and less chance to winning anything. So why not take an even larger salary cut and return to Southampton?

Worth checking out the Independent’s story, then. The Indy is now a cickbait factory. It says Bale “could” could Spurs. Just as he could join Millwall or could eat nine shredded wheat. The Indy says Spurs “may” bid for Bale. Spurs have a chance because “United are now cool on the player”. “Sources” says Bale thinks Spurs is an option. Or as Sky puts it:

 

spurs bale

Sky ‘understands’

 

Gareth Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett is set to meet with Real Madrid officials to decide the Wales star’s future – but he will not be returning to Tottenham, Sky Sports news understands.

 

And how “cool” are United on Bale? About as cool as a wasabi enema if the tabloids are to be believed:

 

united bale

 

Utter balls, then.

And we’ve been here before. The story of Bale to Man United returns each summer:

bale united

bale manchester united

 

bale manchester united

bale

 

n transfer talks for Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Raphael Varane

 

Bale never has joined a desperate Manchester United, preferring to remain at the mighty Real and win the Champions League year after year after year…

Posted: 30th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer Balls: Joe Hart to Manchester United unless Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea get there first

Spare things are not as good as the first choice stuff: second homes, the assistant manager, that old spare mobile with the crack in the screen that might be useful should the lovely new iPhone break. So should the superb David Dea Ge get injured, Manchester United will call up their spare goalkeeper: Joe Hart. The 31-year-old former England goalkeeper still sat on Manchester City’s books, the anti-dandruff campaigner who plays with all the calm authority of a drunk on the night bus and is as mobile as said bus, has “emerged as a contender to join Manchester United as back-up to David de Gea” says the BBC. Jose Mourinho is “resigned to losing current reserve keeper Sergio Romero”.

The Sun agree that Hart to Man United is being considered. But fans of the club can quell the rising panic in the knowledge that neither the BBC nor the Sun come up with single fact to support their claim. After season-long loan spells at Torino and then West Ham United, Hart and his agent are scouting round for a club to take him on. A year go, the Mail told its readers that Arsenal were going to pay £15m for Hart. The Mail reported:

Arsenal are interested in Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart as they consider replacements for Petr Cech. It could lead to a tug-of-war with Liverpool, who have long been linked with the England international. The Gunners are going to look for a new goalkeeper after this season, with 34-year-old Cech to become their No 2 if he stays.

Cech stayed as Arsenal number 1. Liverpool went with Loris Karius. And Hart went to West Ham, who paid half his £130,000-a-week wages. There he spent much of the season on the bench.

Hart’s contract at City lasts until June 2019. The Star tells us: “Joe Hart not waiting forever for Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea to set up summer move.” That story is rooted in an anonymous source, who told the Sun:  “Joe will do what is right for him and his young family. He long accepted his Man City career is over and values playing above everything else. There is still some chatter Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea could be interested but he’s been around long enough not to be waiting by the phone.”

If the media is to be believed, the player who was Number 2 at West Ham and Number 3 at Manchester City is wanted by Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. Five of the top 6 Premier League clubs, then, are all after Hart. And the only top six club not interested is Spurs – which, oddly enough, pay their top performers much less than Hart earns.

It’s going to be busy few weeks for Hart’s agent…

Posted: 27th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: Paul Pogba’s hair goes it alone

When Denmark’s football coach Åge Hareide talked about facing France in the World Cup and mentioned one of their players, Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, the Press mangled his words. Hareide was speaking with Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. The paper headlined the story: “Åge Hareide designates the Danish World Cup quarterfinals as a target.” The full story is behind a paywall. But the Mirror has read it, apparently, and tells its readers:

“Man United star Paul Pogba slammed by national team boss – ‘Damn it, he cares so much about his appearance’ – Denmark boss Age Hareide has stuck the boot into the French international midfielder

The story tells us:

Paul Pogba has been mocked by Denmark’s coach before they meet in the World Cup next month. And Age Hareide claimed Didier Deschamps’ team are not “anything special” with no outstanding players… Hareide, who will face the French in Moscow on June 26, claimed the Manchester United midfielder is not a leader – and is obsessed with flashy haircuts. “He played against Manchester City with his hair dyed blue and white, maybe he’ll have it red and white to play us,” said the 64-year-old.. “Damn it, he cares so much about his appearance…”

That what he said? Not quite.

What he said was – and this through Google Traanslate:

“One day he [Pogba] is good, another bad. He played against Manchester City with his hair dyed in blue and white, maybe he’s red and white when he meets us.
Does he just think of his hairstyles?”

In other news from the Premier League football season just gone:

“Paul Pogba reveals latest haircut” – August 23 2017

“Garth Crooks took aim at Paul Pogba’s haircut” – September 11 2017

“Paul Pogba has unveiled another crazy hairstyle as he eyes a return to action” – Sep 26, 2017

“BBC pundit Garth Crooks has a weird obsession with footballers haircuts” – Nov 20, 2017

“‘Hair is burning!'” Paul Pogba shows off new outrageous hairdo” – December 15 2017

“Paul Pogba shows off striking new haircut” – February 26 2018

“Manchester United supporters slam Paul Pogba after he takes to Instagram to post picture of his new hairstyle” –  March 19 2018

“Paul Pogba’s latest haircut provokes priceless reaction from Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud” – March 28 2018

‘”It’s ridiculous” – Gary Neville slams Paul Pogba for dying his hair”‘ – April 7 2018

You can read all those stories in the Daily Mirror. Damn it – they care so much about his appearance!

Posted: 25th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Costa’s £39m reasons to join Manchester United

Douglas costa bayern manchester united

 

Did you know Manchester United are “willing” to splurge £79m on Douglas Costa, the Bayern Munich forward? The BBC says they are. That’s a lot of money for a player Bayern farmed out on loan to Juventus last season. When Costa joined the Italians on a season-long loan last July, terms of the deal were written across the newswires. Juventus would pay Bayern €6m (£5.3m). There was an additional €1m (£885,000) in performance-related add-ons. Crucially, there was an option to buy Costa outright for a further €40m (£35.4m).

So Costa would cost Juventus around £40m were they to sign up. But Manchester United are “willing” to pay £79m for the same player. Really?

Over in the Sun Manchester United are “ready” to pay £79million for Costa. In the insane world of football transfers – and the twilight world of football reporting – Juventus would buy Costa for £40m and the next day be able to sell him to Manchester United for double that. Agree to give Costa two signing-on fees, and the Brazilian and his agent are happy.

 

douglas costa bayern munich juventus manchester united

The Sun

 

douglas costa bayern munich juventus manchester united

The Daily Star

 

The tin lid is places on this absurd story when the Sun tells its readers :”Presently, the chances of Costa ending up at Old Trafford stand at 40 per cent.”  Says who? Dunno. The Sun doesn’t bother to show us the maths. But it works at 1% for every million a desperate United will are ready and willing to pay over the odds to get their man.

Of course, it’s all true. And United had best move quickly. That fee for Costa rising fast. Just two days ago, United were ready and willing to pay £40m to get Costa, said the Mirror:

 

douglas costa bayern munich juventus manchester united

 

Of course, if you believe everything in the papers and on the BBC, Douglas Costa joined Chelsea in 2015:

 

douglas costa bayern munich juventus manchester united

Daily Star: Costa to Chelsea. It was Costa’s “dream move”. “I’ve realised a dream,:” said Costa when he signed for Bayern Munich for £21m.

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 25th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Fred agrees Manchester City move and will sign for Manchester United

More transfer balls from journalism’s twilight zone of fake news, guesswork and clickbait as the BBC says Manchester United are “close to signing Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred”. United “hope to complete a deal for the Brazil international next week”. The BBC links to a story in the Manchester Evening NewsOver there, readers are told that Fred “could complete his transfer to Old Trafford from Shakhtar next month”.

Well, he could. And  then again, he might not. But if it’s facts you want, the paper tells us that Fred and the rest of the Brazil squad are “travelling to Europe next week for the national team’s friendly with Croatia at Liverpool’s Anfield stadium”. So…? Well, Fred “could finalise his move to United during his stay in the north-west of England. Anfield is only 29 miles away from United’s Carrington training complex”. It’s also not that far from where Manchester City trains. It’s even closer to Liverpool.

It was a different story back in February, when the MEN told us on February 11: “Man City agree £50m deal for Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred.”

Manchester City have agreed a deal to sign Fred in the summer transfer market, according to a report. According to The Mirror a £50m deal has been provisionally agreed with Shakhtar Donetsk for the end of the season.

Like the MEN, the Mirror is owned by Trinity Mirror. The Mirror’s report told readers:

Man City steal a march on rivals United after agreeing £44.5m fee in principle to sign Shakhtar star Fred

It’s £44.5m for Fred to Man City in the Mirror but £50m in the MEN. Reading on, we’re told:

Pep Guardiola will not have to wait long to get his hands on the former Internacional star… The 24-year-old has also been linked with Manchester United, but unlike Alexis Sanchez, the Blues appear set to win out in this transfer battle.

The source for this news is Goal.com. Yeah – the same Goal.com that us a few days ago told us that Mikel Arteta was the new Arsenal manager. As every newspaper echoed Goal’s fact, Arsenal were busy offering the job to Unai Emery. So what did Goal says about Fred on Feb 9? “Man City agree £44.5m deal in principle to sign Fred this summer,” said Goal. “Sources” say Fred is “determined” to join Manchester City this summer”. Goal “understands” Fred and his club have “reached an agreement” with City, “which will come into effect this summer.”

Despite the lack of facts, Goal.com is seen as a source of facts from which reputable newspapers and the BBC can pluck scoops. No sooner had Goal said Fred to City was on than the Express was telling its readers on February 9:

Man Utd target Fred will join Man City after a £44.5m agreement

There was much speculation throughout January that Fred would be moving to the Premier League and now his fate looks to be sealed as league leaders City have agreed a £44.5m deal, according to Goal.

 

fred the metro manchester city

 

fred man city arab news

 

 

Not that there aren’t other top sources for Fred transfer news. On January 23, The Metro told us: “Shakhtar Donetsk and Brazil midfielder Fred agrees to join Manchester City after Manchester United interest.”

Pep Guardiola is a known admirer of the 24-year-old, however, and will win the race to secure his signature in a deal worth £35million, according to Arab News. It is claimed the move is now a matter of when rather than if.

Duncan Castles told Arab News readers:

Brazil midfielder Fred has agreed to join Manchester City, with negotiations between the Premier League club and Shakhtar Donetsk now centered upon the timing of the transfer

Manchester United also explored the possibility of bringing Fred to England in the current transfer window as Jose Mourinho sought to restructure a midfield that has been persistently weakened by player unavailability this season. Unlike their successful head-to-head battle to sign Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal, however, United have accepted that the versatile midfielder is destined for their rivals.

Someone also called Duncan Castles tells Yahoo! readers on May 15:

fred manchester united

 

Fred to PSG it is, then.

PS:  Why do United want Fred?

 

fred pogba

 

“Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho wants to sign Brazilian midfielder Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk as a replacement for Paul Pogba” – BBC, April 18, 2018.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 24th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United fans in Mourinho Instagram time warp

Manchester United manger Jose Mourinho was so upset following his side’s defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup final that he deleted his Instagram account. Well, so say the papers. The Daily Mirror reports: “Jose Mourinho ‘deletes’ Instagram after abusive comments as Man United lose FA Cup final against Chelsea’.” The Sun says Jose “has deleted his Instagram account after copping a load of online abuse following yesterday’s FA Cup final defeat”.

 

And more: “Jose Mourinho deleted Instagram account after Man United’s FA Cup final defeat” – Irish Independent

 

mourinho instagram

 

mourinho instagram

Pesky fact: Jose Mourinho deleted his Instagram account on the Thursday BEFORE the Cup Final.

Posted: 21st, May 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United found and mislaid the ‘new Duncan Edwards’

When Phil Jones gave way the penalty that Eden Hzaard scored to give Chelsea 1-0 win over Manchester United in the FA Cup final, he looked both slow and clumsy. It was all so different, of course, when the hype machine hailed Jones’  £16.5m 2011 transfer from Blackburn Rovers.

 

phil jones duncan edwards

 

The Manchester Evening News hailed Jones as the “Reds’ latest teenage wonderkid”. He was ‘the new Duncan Edwards’. The paper added that he might be a reincarnation:

In an amazing coincidence, Jones was born on February 21 – the day United legend died as a result of injuries sustained in the Munich air disaster.

How good was Edwards? Former United great Wilf McGuinness told us: “To me he was like Roy Keane, Bryan Robson and Steve Gerrard rolled into one.” That’s how good Jones was.

So who said Jones was the new Edwards? No-one. The hype came from one quote. “If you talk to Bobby Charlton,” said Paddy Crerand, Bobby Charlton’s team-mate in United’s 1968 European Cup winning team, “Phil Jones reminds him of Duncan Edwards with his power and build.” And that was it.

“Phil Jones destined for Manchester United folklore,” said the BBC.

That was then…

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


Premier League fixes schedules to give Arsenal, Liverpool Manchester United and rest of big six easier starts

The Premier League doesn’t pull a fixture lit at random from the hat. The schedule’s fixed so that none of Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City – the so-called ‘Big Six’ – meet on the opening or final weekends of the season. This secret agenda means fans watch matches between the biggest clubs throughout the season and attendances for the final matches remain higher than if everyone was tuning in for a title decider between two heavyweights  – all matches on the final weekend kick off at the same time. The season’s opening games are in the summer, when many people are on holiday. Less people tuning in means less advertising cash. As with everything in the Premier League, it’s all about the money.

And the new scheduling stymies the effect of unusual results, like Leicester winning the title or Liverpool finishing 8th. Clubs are arranged over their “highest average finishing positions in the Premier League competition over the three seasons immediately preceding that season”.

Sad to think you’ll never see a thrilling finale again, like when Arsenal played Liverpool in a title decider on May 26, 1989. There will never be a winner takes all match.

 

arsenal-liverpool-1989

I was there!

 

A spokesman for the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) tells us: “We are very concerned about this apparent designation of an elite group of top-six clubs. Every Premier League club should be treated equally, and we also do not agree with this push for them to receive a bigger share of television money. The AST would like the focus to be on organising fixtures and kick-off times that are convenient for fans who go to matches, rather than what best suits domestic or overseas TV viewers.”

Kevin Miles, chief executive o f The Football Supporters’ Federation, adds: “This is certainly news to us and we look forward to holding discussions with the Premier League about the pros and cons of it.”

 

Pros: money. Cons: treating fans like lab rats.

Posted: 8th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Manchester United Alex Ferguson ‘fights for life’ and privacy

The red-top tabloids agree on one thing: former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is “fighting for his life”:

 

alex ferguson brain surgery

 

The Sun on Sunday, Mirror and Star all  lead on Sir Alex Ferguson’s emergency operation for a brain haemorrhage. The former Manchester United boss is in intensive care at Salford Royal Hospital.

The news is peppered with good will wishes from many, including Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s unlikely Fergie is reading them. But such public displays of support serve to pad out the single-thread news and cast a light on the tweeters and Instagramers.

Ferguson’s family have asked for privacy – which is presumably why the news media is camped outside the hospital. Sky News’ man in the car park told us this morning that Fergie is “in the best place”.  You think?

Amidst much guff, credit, then to Everton manager Sam Allardyce who rather than shining a light on himself, offered instead: “I hope he’s in good hands and I hope the operation is a major success.”

Well said. And well said too, Man United’s Ashley Young: “Gutted to hear the news tonight about Sir Alex. Don’t really know what else to say other than thoughts and prayers with you and your family, boss.”

A bit less well said was is what former United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar noted: “Devastated about the news about Sir Alex and knowing all too well about the situation ourselves. Stay strong and hope together with everyone you recover.”

He is alive, Edwin.

 

alex ferguson brain surgery alex ferguson brain surgery

Posted: 6th, May 2018 | In: manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Manchester United great Alex Ferguson is very ill

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has undergone emergency surgery for a brain haemorrhage. We all wish him well.

Ferguson led Manchester United to 13 Premier League titles, two Champions League and FA Cups over 26 years. When he did finally retire in 2013, he told us: “The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about. It is the right time.”

He did, of course, plan to quit in 2002. “My first run at retirement was a textbook case for how not to do it,” he wrote. “I was turning 60, which in my father’s time was a watershed age, but these days has far less significance. I could not help but think of what happened to Jock Stein and Bill Shankly after they had retired from Celtic and Liverpool, and I was determined that would not happen to me.”

When he did call it a day, Ferguson’s his wife Cathy was instrumental in making up his mind. He called it a “watershed moment” when Bridget, Cathy’s twin, died in late 2012. He wrote: “I felt that, after all those years during which Cathy had put me first, it was time that I took care of her needs.”

In his 2015 book, Leading, Ferguson told us about his new routine: “Now, after a lifetime of getting ready for work at six in the morning, I like waking up at eight, having breakfast with Cathy (which I had not done for 30 years), reading the paper, and going to have lunch in the village… For the first time in my life, I was in charge of my life in a way that I had not been since the school holidays of my childhood. It was a liberating experience and has allowed me to do things that I could never have done while at United.”

 

Posted: 5th, May 2018 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United should wish Fellaini a bon voyage to China

The two words Manchester United should tell Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini, 30, as he haggles over a new deal are “zài jiàn”. The Sun says Fellaini has “warned” United that unless they offer him huge money he will consider moving to China.

It comes to something when an average Premier League footballer – albeit one who makes full use of his height and reach; but lacks pace, technique and poise – is firing shots across the bows of one of the world’s biggest clubs. The question is not what United should do to please Fellaini but how he ever played for United in the first place?

The Sun says it would cost £50m to “replace” Fellaini. Which invites another question: why would you want to?

It’s also utter tosh. Fellaini joined a desperate United from Everton in 2013 for £27.5m. Since then, United have splashed out on the following talents:

Juan Mata (Chelsea) £37,100,000 – 25 Jan, 2014
Ander Herrera (Ath Bilbao) £29,000,000 – 26 Jun, 2014
Luke Shaw (Southampton) £27,000,000 – 27 Jun, 2014
Andreas Pereira (PSV Eindhoven) – 01 Aug, 2014
Marcos Rojo (Sporting) – £16,000,000 20 Aug, 2014
Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid) – £59,700,000 26 Aug, 2014
Daley Blind (Ajax) – £13,800,000 01 Sep, 2014
Victor Valdes (Barcelona) – Free 08 Jan, 2015
Memphis Depay (PSV Eindhoven) – £25,000,000 11 Jun, 2015
Matteo Darmian (Torino) £1 -2,700,000 11 Jul, 2015
Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich) – £14,400,000 13 Jul, 2015
Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton) – £25,000,000 13 Jul, 2015
Sergio Romero (Sampdoria) – Free 27 Jul, 2015
Anthony Martial (Monaco) – £36,000,000 01 Sep, 2015
Regan Poole (Newport Co) – £100,000 01 Sep, 2015
Eric Bailly (Villarreal) -£30,000,000 08 Jun, 2016
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Paris St-G. Free 01 Jul, 2016
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (B Dortmund) -£26,000,000 06 Jul, 2016
Paul Pogba Juventus (£89,300,000) – 08 Aug, 2016
Victor Lindelof Benfica (£31,000,000) – 14 Jun, 2017
Romelu Lukaku (Everton) – £75,000,000 10 Jul, 2017
Nemanja Matic (Chelsea) – £40,000,000 31 Jul, 2017
Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) – Player plus cash – 22 Jan, 2018

And in that same period: Manchester City bought Kevin De Bruyne for £55m in 2015; Liverpool bought Mo Salah for £39m in 2017; and Spurs bought Del Elli for £5m in 2015.

But for £50,m you can get another Fellaini. If you’re not careful you can, yes.

Here’s Fellaini:

“I went to see the manager last year, and said I wanted a new contract. I then had a second meeting, but I’m not going to ask ten times. Since then I have become important for the team – and it costs £50m minimum to buy a good new player.”

No. It doesn’t. As Jose Mourinho put it on May 1:

“My Player of the Year has to be Scott McTominay.”

He cost United nothing in transfer fees. He’s 21. He’s dynamic. He’s hungry. And never once has he sounded as if he was doing the club a favour.

Best of luck in China, Marouane. Close the door on the way out…

Posted: 3rd, May 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Joe Mourinho admits something is wrong with De Gea at Manchester United

How are things progressing for Manchester United with Jose Mourinho in charge? Pretty good. Second in the table, albeit a mile behind Manchester City, and in the final of the FA Cup, United are competitive. Mourinho will have been two years in the job this May 27. Has progress been made under his pragmatic methods?

This is what Jose said in January 6 2017:

“I think when a goalkeeper is a player of the season, it’s because something is wrong. Of course I would love goalkeepers to be recognised, to win the golden ball (Ballon d’Or), to be player of season in the Premier League because goalkeepers are lonely guys with a different shirt to everybody else.

“When they play phenomenal people forget, when they make a mistake, everyone remembers. That’s why I hugged David at the end of the West Ham game because no save, Antonio goal, no three points.

“Season after season the goalkeeper is player of the season, it means that something is wrong. Hopefully he’s not player of the season this season but hopefully he keeps making important saves for us like he did in last week”

And so to today’s news:

David De Gea has been crowned the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year for 2017/18. The coveted award is certainly in safe hands as the Spanish stopper has now won it more times than any other player in United’s history. It’s the fourth time in five seasons that De Gea has claimed the historic accolade.

De Gea is the only goalkeeper to have won the award. He’s won it in both season’s Mourinho has been in charge.

This is the list of all the winners to date since the award was first given in 1988:

1987–88 Brian McClair, Forward
1988–89 Bryan Robson, Midfielder
1989–90 Gary Pallister, Defender
1990–91 Mark Hughes, Forward
1991–92 Brian McClair
1992–93 Paul Ince, Midfielder
1993–94 Eric Cantona, Forward
1994–95 Andrei Kanchelskis, Midfielder
1995–96 Eric Cantona France Forward
1996–97 David Beckham, Midfielder
1997–98 Ryan Giggs, Midfielder
1998–99 Roy Keane, Midfielder
1999–2000 – Roy Keane
2000–01 Teddy Sheringham, Forward
2001–02 Ruud van Nistelrooy, Forward
2002–03 Ruud van Nistelrooy, Forward
2003–04 Cristiano Ronaldo, Midfielder
2004–05 Gabriel Heinze, Defender
2005–06 Wayne Rooney, Forward
2006–07 Cristiano Ronaldo
2007–08 Cristiano Ronaldo
2008–09 Nemanja Vidić, Defender
2009–10 Wayne Rooney
2010–11 Javier Hernández, Forward
2011–12 Antonio Valencia, Midfielder
2012–13 Robin van Persie, Forward
2013–14 David de Gea, Goalkeeper
2014–15 David de Gea
2015–16 David de Gea
2016–17 Ander Herrera, Midfielder
2017–18 David de Gea

And next year’s winner is…

Posted: 2nd, May 2018 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment


Biased Reporting: Jose’s ‘masterstroke’ helps Manchester United block Arsenal

Manchester United’s “never-say-die streak” saw them beat a much-weakened Arsenal side at Old Trafford – it was the Gunners’ youngest Premier League starting XI. The official Manchester United website says Jose Mourinho “outsmarted” Arsene Wenger by bringing on the very tall Marouane Fellaini late on and lobbing the ball towards his bonce. It was Jose’s “masterstroke” that Fellaini scored with his head against two young Arsenal centre backs who’d never played together before, including one making his debut.

The official Manchester United organ’s blinkered match report makes no mention of the fact that Arsenal’s goalscorer, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, used to play for the club – also not noting that Jose Mourinho shunted him out, just as he got shot of the Kevin De Bruyne and Mo Salah, when he thought neither of this season’s star turns for Man City and Liverpool, respectively, was good enough for his Chelsea.

But there is this on the opening goal:

It didn’t take long for United to make Wenger’s last time as Gunners boss initially uncomfortable when taking a 16th-minute lead. Pogba started and finished the move. The France midfielder stroked a pass to Romelu Lukaku and went driving on into the area. Lukaku’s cross was met with a header from Alexis Sanchez. His hopes of a dream goal against his former employers were dashed as his effort hit Hector Bellerin and came off a post, only for Pogba to volley home.

It hit Bellerin?

The Daily Telegraph saw this:

Unmarked, Sanchez’s diving header was diverted onto the post by Hector Bellerin at full-stretch only for the ball to rebound to Pogba who simply volleyed it into the unguarded net.

As for the official Arsenal website, it went like this:

Alexis looked certain to score with his head at the far post, but Hector Bellerin made a superb diving block to divert his effort onto the post. Unfortunately the ball fell straight to the waiting Pogba to tap home.

What say the papers?

The Islington Gazette adds:

…the goal itself was slightly fortuitous as Hector Bellerin’s block from Alexis Sanchez’s header diverted the ball onto David Ospina’s right hand post.

The Ham & High needs a lesson in human anatomy:

Excellent block from Alexis Sanchez’s header deserved better than for it to hit the post and rebound back for Pogba to head home.

And the Manchester Evening News shoves Bellerin down the memory hole:

Great counter attack by United. Pogba out to Sanchez on his right who floats in a great cross, Sanchez header at the far post comes off the post and Pogba’s there to finish it and put United 1-0 up.

They say “volley”. You say “tap”. They say “hit. You say “superb diving block”.

One thing the Arsenal website fails to mention is the dire fact that Arsenal have now lost six successive away fixtures in the league for the first time since Billy Wright was their manager in 1966. But, yep, Jose’s the master.

Wenger OUT!

Posted: 29th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal offload Wenger to China; Manchester United want 9

With all the shock value of a baby with a full nappy, news is that departing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will become the highest-paid manager in the world should he move to the Chinese Super League. The BBC says so.

He won’t go, of course. It was only a day or two ago that the tabloids were telling us of Wenger’s “hint” at continuing to coach in European football. China might well own vast chunks of European real estate and capital, but we’re not yet an enclave.

The BBC and Mirror mention not a single club by name to have offered Wenger anything in mangement, only that he has been “inundated” with offers and it is “understood” the deal is worth even more than “Marcello Lippi receives on his £24m-a-year deal as boss of the China national team”. (Lippi’s alive?!)

And then this guff:

But Wenger, who has been earning £8m-a-year, can get even more after being sounded out with a serious offer from China for when he steps down at Arsenal this summer.

Oh, and the Mirror “understands” Wenger would prefer to manager in Europe. The paper “believes” Wenger wants to continue in management. Mirror and BBC readers might well understand that this story has more holes than the Arsenal defence, which is lots.

 

wenger manchester united

Via (The Times)

 

8-2 arsenal

 

As for the actual football, Arsenal travel to Manchester United on Sunday. The game falls between their Europa League clashes with Atletico Madrid. Arsenal fans have no need to wonder what team Wenger will send out at United – it’s not the one that used to fight and scrap and win. It’s the one that follows an 8-2 drubbing; the team of journeymen you get when a palsied board stick with a faded talent in exchange for regular dividend cheques that come with being also-rans.

Arsenal are slipping. Last summer was dominated by the mess over Alexis Sanchez (now at Man United, of course, and playing well) and Mesut Ozil’s contracts. This one will be about a new manager, and Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck when the pair enter the final 12 months of their existing deals in June – when Jack Wilshere will be a free agent. No planning. No vision.

“I always got a great reception at Old Trafford,” says Wenger. “I don’t know what kind of reception I will get but we will be focused on winning the game. We always had some great battles in 22 years.” When was the last one, Arsene?

Manchester United 8, Arsenal 2 (2011). He should have gone years ago.

Posted: 28th, April 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United Transfers: Paul Pogba touted to Manchester City and, well, anyone

Paul Pogba was going to be the world’s greatest midfielder when he re-signed for Manchester United. He’d become the pulsating heart of United’s post-Ferguson return to the top. Former United star Rio Ferdinand told us Pogba was “on the right track ” to becoming the best player on the planet.

“This is the right club for me to achieve everything I hope to,” said Pogba in 2016. Pogba, who left United for free in 2012 – joining Juventus, where he won four league titles – was coming ‘home’. United manager Jose Mourinho told us Pogba could be “the heart of the club for the next decade and beyond”.

The money was huge. Pogba was recruited for £89m. The Times heard that Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, was taking £41million from the deal. The same paper claimed Pogba was being paid an initial £165,588 a week by United, with an additional payment of £2.87 million for image rights. Reportedly, this season his salary was enlarged with a “loyalty bonus” of £3.46 million.

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Posted: 18th, April 2018 | In: manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Manchester United: The Sun buries the hatchet in Marcus Rashford’s Cane Corso

PHEW! For a while it looked as if Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United striker, was going to be given time to develop as a top-flight England footballer. But the Sun has reached for the hatchet, just as it did in 2017, when apropos of nothing it told readers about the “£30,000-plus Rashford spends annually on car insurance” and how he “splashed out £14,500 on a Rolex Santos wristwatch for his mother Melanie’s birthday”.

One year on and in “Manchester United star Marcus Rashford needs a reality check… he has the car, the gold and even the dog but is still just a substitute”, we get more spite.

The story begins: “NO wonder Marcus Rashford is confused.” No, he’s not confused because he thought making a career from a leisure pursuit was living the dream. This is all about the marketing, the hype machine that has turned footballers into ‘legends’, ‘icons’ and  – dread phrase – ‘role models’. So wrapped about a few photos and a video of Rashford advertising Nike tat, the Sun constructs the story of a man in moral decline:

They dunked the kid in gold paint, dangling a pair of their latest boots around his neck as part of another extravagant advertising campaign to promote their glamorous range.

Rashford’s presented as a slack-jawed, mentally negligible clothes horse. And he’s guilty. He’s guilty of not being the best footballer in the world and playing for Real Madrid:

This is not Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored in his 11th successive Champions League match with Real Madrid’s last-minute penalty against Juventus at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

No. It’s Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford wearing “glamorous” man-made fibres.

When Rashford returned to the day job at Old Trafford, he was still a Manchester United substitute. He is living in a bubble, a cosseted world that will seem pretty cool to a kid who grew up in Wythenshawe… Nike are taking full advantage of that innocence.

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Posted: 16th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Clickbait Balls: Manchester Untied fans are not wild about Depay

Clickbait time now, as we read in the Manchester Evening News about Memphis Depay, the Dutch footballer who joined Manchester United for €35,000,000 in June 2015 and on January 20 2017 moved to Olympique Lyonnais for €18.5million. News is that Memphis has been on the phone, a happening retold in the MEN story: “Manchester United fans sent wild after Memphis Depay’s cryptic Instagram post.”

Wild! Well, he is the new Paul Pogba:

Eager to avoid a Pogba-like scenario, when a young talent goes on to flourish elsewhere, United included a buy-back clause in the £22m deal that took Memphis to Lyon in January, 2017.

Why United wold want him is moot. Depay plays on the left of a front three or as a central striker. Where would he play at United? And talk of his United return is astonishing guesswork. The entire story is based around an Instagram post. Memphis is seen walking by a plane. He is on the phone. He writes: “Touch down in….? on the phone with…?”

Is the answer, Syria and Vladimir Putin? Or how about, Orlando and Mickey Mouse? Or how about the guess by ‘Georgeshap’, who noted: “Back in Manchester to get things back on track with United.”

And from that the MEN has its story.

And is buy-back clause is not as the MEN described it when he left for Lyons. Back then the paper told its readers:

It will mean a loss for the Reds who paid PSV Eindhoven £26.3m to take him to Old Trafford in 2015. Because of that United have insisted on a first-refusal buy-back clause and a sell-on clause should they choose to let him go elsewhere.

It’s not him United want. It’s a chance to mitigate the financial loss.

 

Posted: 13th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment