Transfer Balls favourite Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain, 28, will not be renewing his contract with Napoli, reports Spain’s Radio Continental. We know, of course, that Higuain plays for Arsenal. The Sun reported Higuain signed for the Gunners in 2013.
He never did, of course. The Sun was wrong.
So is Higuain leaving Napoli for the Premier League?
“There was talk of a project worthy of the Champions League, a convincing plan to fight for the Scudetto,” says Higuain’s agent and brother.”
The agent then dangles a large carrot:
“I don’t need to talk with the Parisian club about my brother, if PSG want him they should call [Napoli chairman] De Laurentiis.”
The Express says this puts Liverpool and Chelsea “on alert”.
But what of Manchester United? On March 16, the Metro declared: “Gonzalo Higuain agrees Manchester United.” One day later the Express added: “JOSE MOURINHO has personally agreed a deal to bring Gonzalo Higuain to Manchester United if he becomes manager.”
On May 30, the Metro changed its mind: “Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain is keen to sign for Liverpool.” The Sun agreed. On June 7, it reported: “Liverpool set to seal mega-money deal for Napoli’s goal-scoring hero Gonzalo Higuain.”
Such are the facts in the tabloids.
More Manchester United transfer chatter in the Daily Mirror, which says the Red Devils are once again talking with Real Madrid. The paper says James Rodriguez, 24, “has been told” he can quit the Champions League winners for life at Manchester United. He must be delighted. Europa League football, here he comes. And just as soon as United stump up £50m he can be on his way.
The Sun says James to Manchester United makes sense because the Colombian and the club’s new manager Jose Mourinho are both represented by Jorge Mendes. Or maybe he’ll join Arsenal. Rodriguez is married to Daniela Ospina. sister of Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina.
Pick a link and hammer it. After all, the Express says James was “edging closer” to Manchester United back in April, when Louis Van Gaal was in charge.
The Star says Rodriguez it’s United all the way because the player is house hunting in Manchester’s “golden triangle”.
Not so says Marca, which notes that James could be on his way to Juventus. The, er, Mirror agrees, stating that Juventus and Bayern Munich fancy James.
Is Gareth Bale heading to Manchester United? No. Moreover, the Daily Mail says Real Madrid are all set to offer Bale, 26, a “contract for life”. The Mail says “Bale can expect a deal stretching way beyond his 30th birthday.”
We don’t know how old the Mail’s Ian Ladyman is but we suspect he consulted with a Snapchat of 14-year-old girls before deciding that 30 is very old and reaching the milestone constitutes a “life”.
The odds on Bale leaving Real are longer than Victoria Beckham’s shopping list. That doesn’t stop the Manchester Evening News teasing its readers with news that Bale and Manchester United are linked. Today’s MEN readers are told: “Why Manchester United manager Mourinho is a big fan of Euro 2016 star Gareth Bale.” Is it because Bales is the star of Euro 2016. Or does Jose like Bale’s hairstyle?
Stuart Mathieson reveals all: “New Man Utd manager Jose Mourinho believes Wales’ tournament leading scorer is a match winner.” Jose believes it. The rest of us know it.
The Daily Paul Pogba: a look at the former Manchester United player being touted as future Manchester Untied player.
Marca says Real Madrid have open talks with from Juventus. “We are talking [with Real] but nothing is decided,” says Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola. “[The manager Zinedine] Zidane’s wish is important and the club’s wish is important. We are in the initial phase, it’s not a negotiation.”
It’s just a natter over coffee.
The Manchester Evening News has an alternative view, yelling: “Manchester United get Pogba boost.” How so? Isn’t his agent talking with Real Madrid? Samuel Luckhurst finds a single thread and ties in it knots:
It is difficult to think of one Jorge Mendes client who has not been linked with Manchester United…
Bébé, Nani, Anderson, Falcao, Angel Di Maria all were. In fact, United bought all of them. Nani was ok. The rest were not so good.
…but the politicking and mischief-making of the transfer window could work to Jose Mourinho’s – and Mendes’ – advantage. Valencia midfielder Andre Gomes has recently reaped the benefits of being represented by Mendes but is one Gestifute-connected player who might not end up at United.
Gomes not going to Manchester United. Ok. Got it. How is this linked to Pogba giving United a “boost”?
The Portugal international, 22, has been tipped to join Juventus by Gazzetta dello Sport in a €40million deal, which is more good news for United.
Top player could be joining Juventus. And that is “more good news for United”. What was the original bit of good news?
Mourinho vetoed signing Miralem Pjanic , who joined Juve last week, from Roma so United could focus on the Serie A champions’ prized Paul Pogba. A second midfield addition in Gomes would suggest the France international has played for the Bianconeri for the last time.
Luckhurst then write in another story on Pogba in today’s MEN: “Manchester United have not bid for Pogba.” This we know because Juventus chief executive Giuseppe Marotta told media “We have not received any offers. He is a fundamental and indispensable player for the present and future of Juventus.”
And the bidding war cranks up.
Manchester United are using the TV to watch Italy’s Leonardo Bonucci. The Juventus defender who performed so well for Italy as they defeated Belgium at Euro 2016 is admired by Jose Mourinho. United are looking to make a £25m bid for Bonucci, says the Guardian.
Mourinho is less keen on another Italian, one Matteo Darmian. New Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte is reported to be eyeing an exchange deal, swapping United’s Darmian for Nemanja Matic.
Of course whenever we mention Manchester United we must (10th rule of journalism) mention Paul Pogba, the player that left them to make it big with Juventus. Marca say Juventus have informed Pogba that he can move away from Turin so long as the transfer fee is right. Overlooking the obvious that any player can move so long another club is willing to pay a fortune for them, Marca, being a Spanish organ, say Pogba would pick Real Madrid over Manchester United.
Not so says the not-at-all-biased Manchester Evening News. It says Pogba is a credible target for United. “They will face fierce competition to land the Frenchman – but Mourinho might be just the man to convince him to return to the club he left three years ago,” the paper adds.
United are also being linked with a move for ageing Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. TF1 says The Zlatan has yet to decide on his future. When he does do United the whole favour of playing for them, and United agree to his demands to be renamed Zlatan United, we’ll let you know.
Oh, Ryan Giggs is all set to leave Old Trafford, says the Mirror. Where he goes next is not said, but Gay Neville’s mate does own Valencia, so…
Manchester United are competing with Paris St-Germain and – get this – Real Madrid to buy out Neymar’s £157m contract at Barcelona. Well, so says the Manchester Evening News, which reports the words of Neymar’s agent, Wagner Ribeiro. He says:
“There are three big clubs in the world that want to sign Neymar and pay a clause of €200m to Barcelona. I cannot say more than this because it is sensitive. I can only guarantee that Neymar is happy at Barcelona.”
Neymar wants a new and improved deal at Barcelona, the current Spanish champions, where he plays in a coruscating forward line with Suarez and Messi. If Neymar fails to get it he will move to Real Madrid – have the pig’s heads ready, lads – PSG and the French mono-league, or to live in Manchester and play in the Europa League. So says the Manchester Evening Post.
As negotiating tactics go, Neymar’s agent looks a bit desperate.
Good new for Manchester United fans: the team’s best player, David De Gea, is staying at Old Trafford. The Sun’s “exclusive” tells readers that David de Gea wants to stay at Manchester United. As the headline states:
‘DE STAYER: David De Gea gives Man United boss Jose Mourinho huge boost by saying: “I’m staying here”’
Unequivocal stuff. Or not. The paper hears not from De Gea, rather from a “friend”, who says:
“Jose played a big, big part in this story. If the other one was still manager, David would be a Madrid player today.”
This friend wouldn’t happen to know De Gea’s agent, Jorge Mendes, would they – the agent who also represents Mourinho?
“Jose has been texting David all the time to say ‘stay and play for me’. Madrid have been pushing and pushing the boy to come, but in the end it was his decision to stay in Manchester.”
Praise for Mourinho is fine. He is, after all, the self-style Special One. But that slight on Van Gaal is odd, especially given that De Gea told Marca last week (not an exclusive) that he wanted to stay at United and Van Gaal did a decent job:
“This FA Cup is important for the club, it’s important for the fans, and it’s an important step towards winning major titles again.”
So much for “the other one”.
Having declined to join Real Madrid from Manchester Untied last summer, David De Gea is once more being tipped for a move to Spain. The Sunday Times leads with news that the United goalkeeper “faces an ultimatum” this Wednesday. That’s when an “exit clause” in his contract says he can join Real Madrid for £47m.
The story goes that De Gea was mentally winning Champions’ Leagues with Real when the a mix up with fax machines and deadlines caused him to sing a new four-year contract with United and eye next season’s Europa League.
Now we read that De Gea is even less decided than he was last summer, thinking that the arrival of new Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho could make the Red Devils a better team than Louis Van Gaal’s army. On the other side, Real’s president Florentino Perez wants De Gea has asked Madrid’s Spain national team players to use the country’s Euro 2016 campaign to convince De Gea to move.
Whichever way De Gea falls, he will surely kiss that club’s badge and tell everyone he has made the correct decision – until next summer…
Transfer balls: The Daily Star says Gareth Bale will join Manchester United this summer. Bale, will – get this – leave Real Madrid, where he’s won two Champions’ Laegue medals and seen his star rise, to play for United in the Europa League.
United will pay Real £94.6m for Bale who is – get this II – “keen to return to England”. Colin Harvey adds, Bale will be “United boss Jose Mourinho’s marquee signing this summer”. A marquee is a large tent. Bale to United is a fantasy.
The Star’s scoop is a rehash of a report in Spain’s El Confidencial. Over there we learn from Kike Marin (via Google translate):
Gareth Bale is back in the crosshairs of Manchester United , but this time in the offices of Old Trafford are convinced that his move is feasible…. the Welshman is eager to return to the Premier League…
It is known that Florentino Perez feels predilection for the Welshman, who has always seen as the heir to Cristiano Ronaldo, although Bale asks him to return home, neither will be easy for the president to keep him…
Is Marin right? His report contains no word from anyone. His track record is a little mixed. And then there is the Star:
Oh, and this is what Bale said on May 26th:
“I feel much more comfortable this year, it’s true. You can notice that on the pitch. I feel more integrated, I have more personal relationships with my team-mates and that always gives you more happiness and that reflects on my game. I’m enjoying myself a lot in Madrid and I hope this continues for many years.”
He’s chomping at the bit.
As the summer arrives so too does the newspapers’ obsession with Paul Pogba, the former Manchester United player now starring for Juventus and France.
The Daily Mirror says Manchester United “must” pay £78m if they want Pogba back at Old Trafford. The Mirror says news United manager Jose Mourinho wanted Pogba when he was at Chelsea last season. But Chelsea and Manchester City baulked at the £71m asking price.
The Sun spots the Premier League’s “scramble” for Pogba. The clubs need not bother. The Sun says Pogba’s “dream is to play in La Liga for Real Madrid or Barcelona”. The Juventus player is “waiting on Spain’s big two before making any decisions”.
Not so says the Manchester Evening News’s Rob Pollard: “Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Chelsea have all been linked with him in the last 18 months – but it seems the path has cleared somewhat and United are now clear favourites to land him.”
So United will pay £78m? No, says the Express : “JOSE MOURINHO will offer Matteo Darmian as part of a deal to try and land Paul Pogba.” The deal is Darmian plus £60m cash. So says the Express, which has also told its readers that Pogba has agreed to join PSG and Barcelona.
Such are the facts.
The only things standing between United and Pogba are: Juventus trying to trigger a bidding war for their star player; Barcelona; United’s failure to appear in next season’s Champions’ League; Barcelona; any other big team with pots of cash; Manchester City; the fact that the bid is actually £48m plus bonuses, which values him less than Manchester City paid for Raheem Sterling; and did we mention Barcelona?
On the plus side, the Sun “understands” that Pogba likes Mourinho and his plan to make United “great again”.
Of course, we have read news of Pogba’s movements before in the Sun. There was the time he was joining Chelsea:
CHELSEA have agreed a stunning £69million deal to sign Juventus’ Paul Pogba. – August 2015
PAUL POGBA is ready to snub Manchester City and extrend his deal with Juventus. The Frenchman is wanted by a host of top clubs but would come with a huge £75million-plus price tag. – March 2016
Paul Pogba ready to snub Manchester United, Real Madrid and Manchester City as he aims to cement his legacy at Juventus – May 2016
CHELSEA are in constant contact with Juventus star Paul Pogba over a possible £76million transfer – May 2016
Manchester United target Paul Pogba ‘buys house in Barcelona’ as Jose Mourinho looks set to miss out on Juventus star – June, 2016
Such are the facts.
Transfer balls – a look at iffy reporting in the mainstream media. News is that Arsenal are still after Alvaro Morata.
The Mirror says “Arsenal and Chelsea could go head to head in the race to sign 23-year-old Juventus striker Alvaro Morata.” So only two clubs are in for the striker. It is a head-to-head race.
The Mirror adds:
Alvaro Morata has sparked an auction between Arsenal and Chelsea after admitting he believes the Premier League would be a “great destination.”
Or as the player wanted by PSG (source: The Mirror) and who has an agreement to re-sign for Real Madrid should they want him says:
“Hopefully everything will be resolved before then, because it is uncomfortable to be helping your country with phone in hand. My wish is to succeed in Madrid… There are some offers from England that are tempting, not only because of the contract. I think my characteristics mean the Premier League would be a great destination.”
If Real don’t want him, then maybe he’ll look to the PL. It’s a head-to-head-to-head race – and one club has a massive head. As Spain’s AS put it:
Alvaro Morata wants a return to Real Madrid
In other news:
The Evening Standard and Manchester Evening News saysManchester United have added their head to the race – and United have a real bighead in charge:
And the Liverpool Echo say Liverpool want him:
Of course, Morata already plays for Arsenal. The Daily Star told us that:
Such are the facts.
The Daily Star leads with news of a Manchester United “Star Love Rat’s Secret Baby”. The star love rat is Marcos Rojo, whose secret baby is being carried by his, er, wife Eugenia Lusardo. She kept the “secret” by posting a posting a baby scan photo online.
The Star’s hook is that married Rojos once obtained an injunction against a woman he’d shagged, one Sarah Watson, from telling her story. That was overturned. She told her story and aside form the injunction element, we yawned at it.
Instead of news of a extra-martial sex by a famous face who milks his family man credentials for profit and fame, we get legal wrangling and Marcos Rojo, a footballer with the celebrity profile and news value of a spoon.
Transfer balls: Is Cristiano Ronaldo, hero of Real Madrid, scorer of the decisive penalty as Real won their 11th European Cup, heading to Manchester United to play in the Europa League?
No, says the Mirror’s Ed Malyon on May 27:
Manchester United’s long-term interest in Cristiano Ronaldo would hit the buffers were Jose to be hired. Their relationship soured hugely at Real Madrid and, with Paris Saint-Germain having pursued him for so long and so persistently, the move to Ligue 1 would make the most sense
Yes, says the Sun’s Neil Ashton on May 23:
The budget is so big this summer that United already have their beaks into Cristiano Ronaldo, yet again. Real Madrid have quoted £80million for the winger. Meet that and Ronnie returns. Mourinho’s frosty relationship with Ronaldo, exposed at Real Madrid, will be set aside if the deal is done.
That Ronaldo news follows other Sun news from April:
Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent sensationally agrees verbal deal for former Manchester United superstar to leave Real Madrid and join Paris Saint-Germain
To which Simon Rice tells Indy readers on May 27:
Cristiano Ronaldo rules out Manchester United return despite Jose Mourinho arrival
Which brings us to the trusty BBC, which says on May 28:
Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United XI – Bale, Ronaldo, Pogba, Zlatan?
No. No. Maybe – but why? No.
Is Zlatan Ibrahimovic on his way to Manchester United? The Swedish striker, who says age is just a number, turns 35 in October. Why would United want the ponderous player when they have Martial and Rashford? This week, the Times has been telling its readers that Zlatan to United is very much on. Each of the following quotes are from separate stories that appear on the paper’s website:
May 25: “Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the 34-year-old forward, is set to become Mourinho’s first signing”
May 26: “United want to use Ibrahimovic as bait to draw stars to Old Trafford”
May 27: “Manchester United believe appointing José Mourinho and signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic would attract yet more star names to Old Trafford… [Jose Mouirnho] is expected to make Ibrahimovic, the Sweden forward, his first signing… it is understood that United, who are ready to offer him a one-year contract with the option of a further year, are his preferred choice.”
May 27: “United hope his arrival, and that of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Sweden forward, will attract other leading names to Old Trafford.”
May 27: “…the 34-year-old looks set to move to Old Trafford to be reunited with Mourinho — the man who coached him for one season at Inter Milan.”
May 27: ” Ibrahimovic yesterday increased speculation that he will join United by endorsing the appointment of a man with whom he enjoyed one successful season at Inter Milan. “I believe he is the man to bring [United] back to the top,” Ibrahimovic said.”
Which brings us to todays news in the Sunday Times:
While Mourinho has explored the possibility of bringing Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the Premier League, conversations with the out-of-contract Swede are understood to have led him to look elsewhere for a younger ‘top striker’.”
Such are the facts.
What does new Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho smell like? The Star reports on “Chelsea’s ban on Jose aftershave”. In the changing room, yes. Unsettling for new Chelsea manager Antonio Conte to contend with the Portuguese winner’s legacy without picking up his essence as John Terry splashes the masking Jose for Him and Her all over (spoiler alert: Revenge by Jose smells of top notes of silver polish over base notes of bile, pith and whicker basket).
This story turns to the essence not of Jose’s scraped and diffused bed linen, rather to the story of who owns what in football. Do Chelsea or Manchester United own the rights to sell Jose Mourinho perfumes, suntan lotions, toothpaste, mouthwash, lipstick and nail polish? Which of Chevrolet (sponsors of Man United) and Jaguar (sponsors of Jose Mourinho) get to market the official in-car scent?
And can you ever own someone if you don’t possess their smell?
After all, in Patrick Süskind’s Perfume: The Story of a Murderer the killer who smelled of nothing “succeeded in being considered totally uninteresting… Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.” Scent is “the invincible power to command the love of mankind.”
Get the smell of Jose or get nothing.
Meanwhile, at Chelsea, Conte may care to invest in odor-eaters for all staff, install a wet basset hound in the Chelsea dugout and refrain from washing his hair for months.
In March 2005 Chelsea secured the legal rights to Jose Mourinho’s trademark for 20 years. This means that should Manchester United hire Mourinho, a move that seems as certain as Katie Price sleeping on her back, the Red Devils will be unable to stick their new manager’s name on such items as teddy bears, aftershave, computer games and all manner of tat. But how important is the Jose moniker?
In an “exclusive”, the Times says Chelsea’s ownership of the Mourinho trademark “will not delay his appointment at Old Trafford”.
Or as the Mirror puts it: “Jose Mourinho’s appointment as Manchester Untied manager is being delayed because Chelsea still own his signature.”
Not so, say the Times, which states: “Until recently Mourinho’s former employers [Chelsea] also owned the rights to reproduce his signature, but that ten-year trademark expired earlier this year…”
The Mirror then says United “face a six-figure bill to secure the rights to his signature and name”.
The Times says Chelsea could demand “several million pounds”.
The Sun says United will have to “£1million -plus” to use the name Jose Mourinho on merchandise.
The Mail says the 20-year licence Jose signed with Chelsea in 2005 expires in, er, 2013. That Mail says it’s between 2013 and 2015. The Times says it’s 2025.
Such are the facts.
So José Mourinho is the new Manchester United manager. Well, so say all the newspapers. The Guardian says the former Chelsea manger – twice-sacked by the Blues – will be handed £150m to spend and will first target Everton’s John Stones. Sounds good. Man United need defenders and wingers.
The Star says Mourinho has £200m and his number one target is Zlatan Ibrahimovich. Why? They have Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. Why buy a player who will bock the talented Frenchman and the English tyro’s path? Will Jose just buy big to win big, farming youth out on loan?
The Star says Mourinho will sign a three-year deal worth £10m a year. The Mail says Jose’s Manchester Untied’s contract is £75m for five years, but does agree that he has £200m to spend on a new team. Inevitably one newspaper – the Mirror – calls the transfer kitty a “war chest”.
The Express says he has £300m.
The Mail adds that mid-way through this season, United paid the Portuguese £4m not to take another job. The Times says United deny making any payment.
The Sun says Mourinho’s arrival will trigger Ryan Giggs to leave Old Trafford. It also marks the end of Louis Van Gaal’s United stint. The Times says the Dutchman will leave with a bitter taste in his mouth and a sweet £5.4m in compensation.
As for the future, well it will interesting. One thing is certain: with Mourinho in charge, Manchester United will win back the fear factor.
Sky News are reporting that Manchester United have offered Jose Mourinho the Manchester United job and the former Chelsea manager has accepted. Not all that good news for current Old Trafford boss Louis Van Gaal, then, who yesterday delivered the FA Cup, Man United’s first trophy in three years – albeit the pot Alex Ferguson’s serial winners didn’t even bother to defend in 1999, preferring to take a brand-building winter break in Brazil.
So is Sky correct? For some months its sister organ, the Sun, has been reporting that Mourinho is a shoo-in for the job.
The Sun and Sky’s other sister organ, The Times, also banged the drum for Van Gaal’s end.
They’ve yet to proven right. If you continue to doubt just how wrong these journalists with the inside scoop can be, look at what the Sun’s Neil Ashton said of Manchester United’s on May 19:
Is Mourinho heading to United? What say the other papers?
Such are the facts.
At tonight’s match between Manchester United and Bournemouth, three MUFC mascots were painted blue as part of promotion of club’s commercial partner 20th Century Fox’s new X-Men movie.
Is there anything Manchester United won’t flog to sponsors?
What need of facts, Alan Shearer? No much. Alan writes of Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere in the Sun:
“The debate might well be whether Marcus Rashford can force his way into the final 23 and go with England to Euro 2016. For me, the bigger argument is what Jack Wilshere is doing in the squad in the first place. Nobody seems to be questioning whether he will now go if he remains fit through these last three friendlies ahead of the finals.
“Have we not learnt any lessons from the past when it comes to the issue of racing players back? It was David Beckham back in 2002 when he suffered a metatarsal injury towards the end of the season and still went to the World Cup.”
What we learn, Alan, is that Wilshere is fit. He’s not been rushed back to the Arsenal side. He’s fully fit and playing in the first XI. We also learn that Beckham’s injury went like this:
20 April 2002: 51 days before the World Cup, Beckham is injured by Pedro Duscher in Manchester United’s Champions League quarter final clash with Deportivo La Coruna. His second metatarsal bone is broken. Beckham makes a hard bid to get fit.
9 May 2002: two days before the World Cup, Beckham declares himself fit for the Sweden game. He says: “I’ve had a lot of treatment over the past two months and a lot of people from Sven-Goran Eriksson to the Queen have wished me good luck. The way I felt when I led training is the highest I have felt in weeks.”
2 June 2002: England v Sweden. Beckham plays 63 minutes of the game before being substituted. It is his first competitive action since the injury.
7 June 2002: England v Argentina. Beckham’s 45th minute penalty gives England victory. He lasts the full 90 minutes. In the quarter-finals, Beckham plays as England lose to Brazil.
And how did the Sun talk of Beckham’s injury way back then? Were they circumspect?
A HUGE team of Sun readers today prayed for the hand of God to revive England’s World Cup hopes by mending David Beckham’s broken foot.
We urged our army of 10 million readers to boost David’s fitness fight at the stroke of midday by placing their hands on our picture of David’s left peg and praying for a speedy recovery.
And so many of you did.
Even bishops joined in. One said: Were rooting for him.
And Canon David Meara, the vicar of St Bride’s in London’s Fleet Street, even came into the Sun’s Wapping HQ to say a special “get well” prayer as the entire office touched David’s foot on the dot of noon.
The 54-year-old Spurs fan said: There is no doubt that prayer can assist in the healing process.
Wilshere is no Beckham – he’s fitter.
Jose Mourinho’s PR calls the Daily Mail, which dutifully produces the headline: “JOSE PSG TALKS – Manchester United must act NOW if they want Mourinho.”
From hammer-headed Dutchman Louis Van Gaal to divisive Portuguese Jose Mourinho, United fans must wonder how it came to this, the pragmatic taking over from the dreamers. The Mail says Mourinho is the “prime contender” to replace Van Gaal “should United sack the Dutchman”.
Says who? We soon find out: “Mourinho, 53, wants a deal agreed by next week and unless United make their move quickly they could miss out on the Portuguese.” Mourinho’s desperate, isn’t he. United need not rush. The French league is one-trick pony. Man United are huge. They pick the manger. The manager does not pick them.
In the Sun, which has spent weeks hailing Mourinho as the next Man United boss, Neil Curtis tells Van Gaal, “You’re 4 It”, a pun on Van Gaal’s United missing out on a top finish and with it a berth in next season’s Champions’ League.
Curtis says fans “protests could follow tonight’s rearranged clash with supporters fed up with United’s turgid style of play”. They could. And then again, the could not. Perhaps those United fans who can recall life before Alex Ferguson made them serial champions will be circumspect and wait and see what happens. Winning is all the more glorious when it follows fallow years.
Curtis seeks fans’ fury but finds none. We hear from one fan who says he “admires” Van Gaal and does “think he will get it right in time”, and another who says Van Gaal has “an aversion to risk” and “no club has the divine right” to play in the Champions’ League.
Curtis never does ask them what they think of Mourinho, which given the man’s playing style might be just as well…
The Sun has been telling us for months that Manchester United are to sack Louis Van Gaal and manager and replace him with Jose Mourinho. The paper’s Neil Ashton finds another reason to undermine the hammer-headed Dutchman’s leadership:
JESSE LINGARD’S video from the team bus gave an insight into life under boss Louis van Gaal at Manchester United. Discipline, once a bastion of this great club under Alex Ferguson, has pretty much disappeared under the Dutchman. Lingard’s 28-second film of the chaotic scenes inside the coach ferrying United’s players to West Ham on Tuesday is proof of that.
Lingard is a wally. Videoing himself on the team bus as it was pelted by beer cans tossed by West Ham fans and then posting the video on social media was the mark of a fool. Should United need a new coach – yes, that one with wheels and an improved SatNav – they might consider getting Lingard a car seat, such as the Mothercare Sport Car Seat in red with an integral harness, soft padded body, head support cushion, and chest and buckle pads. To blame Van Gaal for a 26-year-old using social media is madness.
As for the Sun warning against the perils of mobile phone abuse and linking it to poor leadership – the bucks tops with the boss – well, let’s just say we wish former Sun and NoTW editor Rebekah Brooks (innocent of all any any involvement in her underlings’ phone hacking and ill discipline) well in her new job as head of News Corp.
Ashton goes on.
With Lingard larking around, it showed how slack these players have become. Imagine Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs or Peter Schmeichel sticking their tongue out and shouting for “mommy” in similar circumstances.
That dressing room, which accounted for 13 Premier League titles during Fergie’s rule, used to police itself. When someone overstepped the mark or broke the rules, the big voices at United would close in on them. Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand or Keano saw to that.
To say nothing of lawyers:
To say nothing of it being the era before smart phones and social media:
Ashton ploughs on:
When Lingard took the trouble to send his footage to some friends, who helpfully posted it on social media, his amateur video went viral.
Sadly for Van Gaal, who is still trying to figure it all out at United, it showed another side to events at Upton Park.
Ill-discipline is rife inside the United camp.
Or as Roy Keane put it:
Asked by ShortList if Ferguson ever had words over his drinking, Keane said: “Oh, of course. And quite rightly. This idea that me and Ferguson just had one bust up right at the end… We had loads! We had disagreements about my drinking, as fans are happy to report you if you’re spotted out at 3am. But if we had a game on a Wednesday and the manager said to me, ‘I heard you were out Sunday night,’ I’d say, ‘Yeah, I go out Sundays.’ I was single, I was 21. I wasn’t a golfer. Drinking was my hobby, I suppose. I’m not giving it the thumbs up, but it was my trait. I don’t know why – because I’m Irish, maybe, because I lived by myself. Boredom kicked in.”
Such are the facts…
Transfer balls spots more tales of Jose Mourinho to Manchester United. The Star thunders: “Mourinho to Man Utd in hours.”
How many hours is unspecified by Luke Gardener, who made his prediction on May 13th. But he does cite his course: “Sky Sports Italy claim he will replace Louis van Gaal at the end of the season and sign a deal imminently.”
Sky Sports states: “José Mourinho will be the next manager of Manchester United.” The story is titled: “Mourinho, yes to Manchester United.”
The Indy reads that and states: “Jose Mourinho to Manchester United: Former Chelsea boss reaches agreement to become manager.”
Or as, er, Sky Sports puts it today: “Manchester United have no deal in place with Jose Mourinho, say Sky sources.”
Does writer Rory O’Callaghan consider Sky as reputable source?
More transfer balls throughout the summer.
Manchester United v Bournemouth was called off yesterday. A suspect package was discovered at Old Trafford. The Telegraph tells the sorry tale:
A farcical security blunder led to Manchester United’s final Premier League game of the season being cancelled on Sunday, after a private security firm forgot to remove a fake bomb taped to the back of a toilet door as part of a training exercise at Old Trafford.
The colossal error had sparked fears of another potential terrorist attack and resulted in the match against Bournemouth being called off as tens of thousands of fans were evacuated from one of the world’s most famous sports grounds.
Heads will roll. No, not at ISIS. It wasn’t a bomb. At the security company that didn’t find all its ‘bombs’, then forgot to collect and count them. But really it’s just pretty funny.
PS: What’s odd is the Guardian’s front page, which leads with a picture of a sobbing child and a morose adult. Manchester United fans, which they surely are, should be delighted. That was the most urgency seen at Old Trafford this season: