Sports news, commentary and scores with wit and added value. We compare and contrast the best and worst sports reporting in the mainstream press, blogs, TV and online. We love the English Premier League (Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, Manchester United and Manchester City) and all things football but we cover cricket, rugby, the Olympics, tennis, golf, F1 and highlights of the sporting year.
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TRANSFER Balls: Liverpool’s Luis Suarez will not be a Red for much longer if the experts are right:
BBC: “Luis Suarez still wants to leave Liverpool, says his agent”
Luis Suarez’s agent has reiterated the Uruguayan’s desire to play for a Champions League club during talks with Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers and managing director Ian Ayre.
Or as the Liverpool Echo puts it:
Liverpool FC hold ‘positive’ talks with Luis Suarez’s agent
And on Sky Sporta:
Luis Suarez staying at Liverpool, agent tells Sky Sports News
THE Daily Bale: A look at Spurs star Gareth Bale in the news. We thought the transfer talk was over when Tottenham Chairman Daniel Levy apparently said the player was not for sale and Real Madrid said they were not going to bid for the player they’d been trying to tap up. The experts who said Bale was going to Madrid in early July were wrong.
The Sun: “Bale in kit hint”
The Sun says Bale modelling the news Spurs kit is a hint that he will stay.
WHEN Andy Murray won Wimbledon some of you might have picked up the whiff of misogyny. Had he really ended the 77 year wait for a British Wimbledon Champion? Was he the first British champions since Fred Perry built a T-shirt brand in 1936? Whisper these names Virginia Wade (1977), Jamie Murray (mixed doubles, 2007) , Jonathan Marray (mens doubles, 2012), and Angela Mortimer and Anne Shilcock (ladies doubles, 1955).
But Murray’s a man. And it’s all about the men. Those headlines came thick and thicker:
Times: “Murray ends 77-year wait for British win.”
Telegraph: “After 77 years, the wait is over.”
Daily Mail: “The moment Andy ended Britain’s 77 year wait.”
Daily Mirror: “Andy ends our 77-year wait for Wimbledon glory”
Daily Star: “Murray ends 77 years of hurt”
And on it goes….
TRANSFER Balls: Anorak’s daily look at news of player movements in the national press focuses on Arsenal. With a purported £75m to spend on players, the Gunners have set their sights on Gonazalo Higuain (Real Madrid), Wayne Rooney (Manchester Untied) and Luis Suarez (Liverpool).
The mood among Arsenal fans is one of cynical amusement. Is the Gunners’ plan to bid big money for star talent in the knowledge that the deals are unlikely to happen?
Let’s start with Higuain:
On July 6, the Sun screamed:
ARSENAL last night smashed their transfer record when they agreed a £23million fee for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain.
Today the Sun reports:
GONZALO HIGUAIN’S future is still undecided, according to Real Madrid sources.
WHEN football referee Otavio Silva Cantanhede Jordan, 20 (seen above), red-carded Josenir Abre (below right), that wasn’t the end of it. Silva took out a knife and stabbed Abreu to death.
Fans watching the amateur match in Brazil invaded the pitch, stoned Silva to death, quartered him and as a final act that redefines headers, decapitated him. The fans then stuck Silva’s head on a stake in the middle of the pitch.
DID you see Andy Murray win Wimbledon? Did you watch it all? Or are you one of the many who saw bits of it, popping in an out of the kitchen and garden to see parts of the tennis player’s momentous win? Tennis remains a minority sport. It’s not the football. But today it’s bigger. For those of you who love reading about football in the newspapers – or for that matter, politics, weather, celebs, wars etc. – you’ll having to find it amid reams and rams of Murray Mania:
The Times has a wraparound cover. It’s a photograph of joy to kickstart the working week.
BBC presenter John Inverdale watches Marion Bartoli defeat Germany’s Sabine Lisicki to take the Wimbledon title. He then tell BBC Radio Five Live:
“Do you think Bartoli’s dad told her when she was little, ‘you’re never going to be a looker, you’ll never be a Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight?”
Ordinary looking women on the telly? Cor, luvvus! They’’ll be letting them vote next.
Bartoli was born in 1984. Sharapova was born in 1987. It’s more likely Mr Sharapova looked at his daughter and told her: “If you’re like Bartoli, they might notice you for more than your looks.”
TRANSFER Balls: A look at Liverpool’s Luis Suarez in the news. When we last saw Suarez he was being misquoted and sent packing o Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. This is the more recent news (since June 30):
Daily Express: “Chelsea swoop for Liverpool’s Suarez”
Swoop? The Blues have triggered Suarez’s £40m release clause to do for his career what they did for Fernando Torres?
According to reports in Spain, Chelsea are on the verge of launching a £34m bid to sign Liverpool striker Luis Suarez with the Uruguayan set to be offered a £4.7m a season to join.
You can trust those reports in Spain about the Liverpool player on his way to a London club. Spain is the go-to place for such inside knowledge. Recently reports in Spain told us that Gareth Bale was on his way to Real Madrid.
Daily Express: “Liverpool star Luis Suarez backed for shock switch to Arsenal”
Who backs him?
William Hill suspended betting on the market last night, while Paddy Power today price Suarez at 5/2 to join Arsene Wenger’s side – shorter odds than the 26-year is to move to long-term admirers Bayern Munich (7/1).
Real Madrid remain the 8/11 favourites, and with Arsenal set to bring in £22m Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid, a move to snatch the La Liga outfit’s target looks unlikely.
This is news reporting based on betting patterns. The Express fails to tell readers how big the market in Suarez is. No newspaper tells us. You might be able to move the market for as little as a few hundred pounds. This would give the bookmaker a press release that willing newspapers lap up.
Experts tells the Daily Mirror the betting “would suggest they have heard something substantial”.
Or that someone in the bookies PR company stuck £50 on Suarez to the Gunners.
What say the ex players?
Steve Nicole, former Liverpool star, says selling to a “rival” like Arsenal or Chelsea is “madness“. Another former Red, Jan Molby, says “I think he’s made it pretty clear that he would like to try something new, including playing at a club that’s in the Champions League.”
Cue the Daily Mirror to tell us: “Luis Suarez has three weeks to sort out his future.”
What happens after three weeks?
After that, the controversial striker will be expected to knuckle down and commit himself to the Liverpool cause.
And if he still wants to leave or a big offer for him is received..?
The Uruguay international has been given until Monday July 22 to take a holiday in South America following Confederations Cup duty that only ended last Sunday, before reporting back to the club he has repeatedly said he wants to leave. No decision has yet been made on precisely where the forward will be told to join his team-mates, but it is almost certain he will be ordered to take part in the Reds’ tour of the Far East and Australia.
The three-week deadline is because Suarez is on holiday. And when it’s over, sod the Champions’ League, Suarez has got this to look forward to:
That could mean Melbourne, and the massive game Liverpool will play on July 24 at the Aussie city’s world-famous cricket ground. Far more likely is the prospect of him returning for the last leg of the tour, when the Reds meet a Thailand XI in Bangkok on July 28.
Saurez will be gutted to miss that.
Daily Star: “LUIS SUAREZ could still be a Liverpool player next season after Real Madrid cooled their interest in signing him.”
But the Star’s sister paper, the Express, says Real and hot favourites to sign Suarez? Are we to deduce from this that betting patterns count for nothing? And the Star does say on July 4:
ARSENAL LINKED WITH STUNNING LUIS SUAREZ SWOOP
It’s getting confusing.
More transfer balls every day…
ANDY Murray is tough. Some bright spark has noticed that the tennis star is tough enough to squeeze toothpaste:
WAYNE Rooney Transfer Balls: A look at the Manchester United star in the news:
The Times says:
Wayne Rooney will have to submit a formal transfer request if he wants to leave Manchester United as the saga concerning the England striker’s future remains shrouded in uncertainty.
In other words: there is no news.
But the Express says there is news. Rooney stays!
David Moyes is set to announce that Wayne Rooney is staying at Old Trafford when he faces the media today for the first time since becoming Manchester United manager.
And to sum up that fact, the Telegraph quotes a man who knows nothing:
Wayne Rooney may leave Old Trafford, says former Manchester United manager Mike Phelan
The Indy says that United will offer Rooney a new deal:
Rooney’s failure to justify the most lucrative salary at Old Trafford is one of the problems new manager David Moyes and chief executive Ed Woodward face in matching his agent Paul Stretford’s expectations for a new deal
But wasn’t that all sorted when Moyes met Rooney and the player’s agent Paul Stretford earlier this week? The Indy adds:
It was unclear whether the Rooney and United camps held the meeting they had scheduled for this week, though they did have the opportunity
Unclear. The paper’s not kidding. So far the experts have told us Rooney met United to talk money and contracts:
Sunday: The Sun
This week: The Independent
Tuesday: Daily Mail
Thursday: The Sun
Friday: The Times has the scoop:
Rooney and Moyes have spoken briefly on several occasions in the past 48 hours, but a formally arranged meeting between the pair, Paul Stretford, the striker’s agent, and Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, which was scheduled for this week, has yet to take place.
It was unclear last night whether the meeting would now happen this week, with some suggestions that Stretford is out of the country, but Moyes is believed to have no intention of ducking questions about Rooney’s future today.
Such are the facts.
More transfer balls every day….
TRANSFER Balls: Today we look at Manchester City’s moves to spunk lots of cash on footballers.
So. Is Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo heading to the Etihad Stadium?
The Times says he is:
Manchester City close on £24m Álvaro Negredo to replace Carlos Tévez
Manchester City were close to a £23.8 million deal for Álvaro Negredo last night as a replacement for Carlos Tévez.
THE Daily Bale: Anorak’s look at the Spurs star in the news.
And the news is that Bale is staying at Tottenham. He won’t play for Real Madrid. At least not this coming season.
The Express say Spurs fan can thank the club’s Chairman Daniel Levy:
Madrid appear to have been guided to their conclusion by Bale’s reluctant agent Jonathan Barnett.
He will have made it clear to them that some of the shenanigans that have accompanied other transfer coups in the past – sulking, refusing to play, handing in transfer requests – are just not part of the Bale repertoire.
It has not been for want of trying on Barnett’s part though.
At the end of May he made an inflammatory appearance on Marca TV in which he said it would be “an honour” if Real Madrid made a bid and insisted they would “listen”
WAYNE Rooney Transfer Balls: Will the Manchester United and England striker be leaving Old Trafford? Anorak’s round-up the news in the media over the past 24 hours:
Let’s kick off with the Daily Star, which keeps up its daily scoops with a question:
Have Wayne Rooney and David Moyes been involved in a stand-off over their imminent Manchester United talks?
Dunno. But this follows scoops that Moyes and Rooney met on Tuesday (Daily Mail) and Wednesday (The Guardian).
THERE’S no hiding from the fact that people who can do Parkour are really, really cool. It is dangerous, dynamic and makes us all look like wobbling, wheezing pedestrians in every single way.
God, how irritating these Parkour types are.
That said, when we’ve stopped being jealous, we can only admire these people and the things we do – especially James Kingston who stars in a frankly astounding video, designed to make all your genitals retract into your body with vertigo and fear.
ONE of Anorak’s favourite football chairmen, AFC Bournemouth’s Eddie Mitchell, is understandably excited about his side’s match with Real Madrid on the sunny south coast.
Says the property developer:
“We see the fixture as a well earned gift to our fans for their unwavering dedication to AFC Bournemouth…”
In other news:
Cherries season ticket holders:
General sale price:
It’s the gift you buy yourself….
PS – Normal ticket prices for the club’s Championship matches start at £5 and rise to £36.
(SO) Soledad Fandino is dating Arsenal-bound Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain.
Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere was in conversation with ESPN sports:
ESPN: “Are you excited about the prospect of Gonzalo Higuain joining Arsenal?”
TIMES journalist and former table-tennis champ Matthew Syed is talking about Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to Sky Sports News. Sayed shows us why journalists and not ex-pros make the best pundits. Syed tonks Roman Abramovich’s tenure as Chelsea with the bare facts. Tony Cascarino, who also writes for the Times, says Abramovich has been “a huge success for the Premier League” . How? By winning the Premier League for Chelsea?
Abramovich has been a huge success for Chelsea. That much is certain.
THE Daily Bale: Anorak’s look at the Tottenham Hotspur star in the news. Today’s Transfer Balls:
Belfast Telegraph: “Manchester United manager David Moyes told: Go and buy Gareth Bale”
Manchester United told David Moyes yesterday that he can break the British transfer record this summer if he so desires.
The club’s American owners are happy to show they mean business by backing the new manager with a ‘marquee signing’ before the transfer window closes.
And for Moyes, that means carte blanche to land Welsh wing wizard Gareth Bale, even if it means having to spend an eye-watering £60m on the Spurs player.
TRANSFER Balls: Anorak’s look at Wayne Rooney, the Manchester United striker. Will he go? Will be stay? Will he tie himself to a radiator and drink a glass of Terry Waite’s urine? Let’s see what the experts have said in the past 24 hours:
DNA: “New Manchester United boss David Moyes has reportedly secretly met Wayne Rooney to convince the concerned star to stay at the club”
Or as the Mail reports:
David Moyes officially began life as Manchester United manager on Monday but is increasingly resigned to the fact that Wayne Rooney’s Old Trafford career is coming to an end. It has emerged that the two men met before going on holiday earlier this summer, and the feeling is that if the conversation had gone well there would have been no need for a make-or-break summit this week that will also involve Rooney’s agent Paul Stretford and new United chief Ed Woodward.
But it did go well. The Sun cites Rooney “source”:
“It was an amicable meeting but it gave Wayne the chance to get a lot of things off his chest. There is little doubt the new boss wants to keep Wayne. Any suggestions the two don’t get on is complete rubbish.”
Transfer balls: Arsenal ‘sign’ QPR’s Julio Cesar and Liverpool’s Pepe Reina as Wojciech Szczesny ‘fights for place’
TRANSFER BALLS: A look at Arsenal’s moves for a new goalkeeper, as reported by the experts in the news media with a wet finger held up in the breeze and a deadline to hit.
Arsenal will buy QPR’s Julio Cesar:
Julio Cesar has dropped his biggest hint yet that he will leave QPR for Arsenal this summer by admitting he wants to continue living in London… when asked if his son had admitted to him that he wants to remain in London, Cesar said: “Yes, me too. I love the city and I’m enjoying living there.” - Evening Standard
A bid has been made for Cesar? This site says it has been:
Arsenal Launch Formal £1.5m Bid for QPR Keeper Julio Cesar – Caught Offiside
Arsenal have stepped up their interest in QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar – but face a battle with Roma and Fiorentina to land him. – Metro
Arsenal have two scouts at the Confederations Cup and are well aware that Cesar is available following QPR’s relegation to the Championship. They have also been monitoring Liverpool’s Pepe Reina and Stoke’s Asmir Begovic but either of those options would be likely to cost in excess of £10 million. – Daily Telegraph
The Daily Mail says a deal will be done:
Arsenal will look to complete the signing of Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Julio Cesar after the Confederations Cup. Arsene Wenger wants an experienced goalkeeper to provide competition for Lukasz Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny.
The Sunderland Echo says Cesar is off to join Sunderland.
The Evening Standard says Arsenal want Liverpool’s Pepe:
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger remains a keen admirer of Reina, having tried to sign him two seasons ago, and he is considering a number of options as he looks to provide competition for Wojciech Szczesny.
The Mail said Arsenal want the Spaniard, having bid £20m for him in 2010.
The Mail also told us:
Cech wanted by Arsenal as patience runs out with mentally fragile Szczesny
That’s the same Mail that also says Szczesny isn’t leaving and will fight Cesar for the No.1 jersey.
Cesar is off to Italy?
Arsenal goalkeeping target Julio Cesar refuses to rule out Serie A return. “I played for Inter but this doesn’t preclude my return to Italy,” Cesar told Italian paper Gazzetta dello Sport. – Daily Express
Well, he’s not ruled it on. But he’s not ruled it in, either.
The Standard then notes:
Julio Cesar keen on return to Italy
No. That’s not what he said.
More transfer balls every day….
TALKING Balls: Anorak’s look a transfer speculation in the news. Today we look at Liverpool striker Luis Suarez’s past week. This is Suarez, the skilful player billed in the British Press as being essentially low-minded and very foreign. He does things that no British gentleman would ever do (unless you’re Jermain Defoe, Gareth Bale or, as is alleged, John Terry). Now read on….
Daily Star: “JAN MOLBY: LIVERPOOL SHOULD LET LUIS SUAREZ GO”
Molby, 49, said: “Liverpool are preparing for life without Suarez. “It is just a question of getting as much as they can for him. I think Suarez is very keen on moving to Real Madrid.”
Molby thinks Suarez is keen on Madrid. That would be Suarez who said he would “give my soul in every match” for Real and:
A player always aspires to the top, and Madrid are always one of the highest ambitions for any footballer. Every player would love to get to the absolute top and Real Madrid is it.
He also said:
“I don’t feel comfortable here anymore. They know it, so I think it is understandable that I leave.”
THE Daily Bale: Anorak’s look at the Tottenham Hotspur in the news media – a murky world between fact and fiction. The latest round of Transfer Balls is typically light on fact and, as ever, features not a single word from either the player or Spurs to suggest Bale is leaving.
Football Espana says “Corinthians midfielder Paulinho has hinted that he will be signing for Tottenham Hotspur, where he expects to link up with Real Madrid target Gareth Bale”.
Hinted? It was Paulinho who said:
“I couldn’t turn them down if they made me an offer. It would be a fantastic opportunity to play for Tottenham.”
Are there any stumbling blocks to the move? The player replies:
“This summer there has been interest in their Coach and their best player[Bale] – and they have been clear they both are not going anywhere.”
What about the reports of Bale’s agent meeting Real Madrid’s accountants?
Former Spurs player Glenn Hoddle tells the Sun:
“If he does move, I think he will settle easier at another club in England. The only ones he can realistically join are Manchester United and Manchester City. He could get Champions League football there. But I want him to stay at Tottenham.”
If? He is staying at Spurs. And, as this blog says, the Manchester Clubs won’t get Bale:
…you would imagine Daniel Levy would rather sell to Real Madrid or PSG than Manchester United.
The Mirror says, “Real Madrid have offered cash AND players to Spurs in a bid to deliver Gareth Bale for newly-appointed boss boss Carlo Ancelotti.”
The Star adds:
MANCHESTER UNITED will turn their attention to Gareth Bale if they fail to lure Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford.
As an aside away from the Daily Transfer Balls, Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere has produced All Star European and Rest of the World XI for a new fantasy football game. Cooking up a dream team is the kind of thing fans and journalists do when they need to kill time. When Wilshere does it its becomes a story in the Huffington Post entitled:
Jack Wilshere’s Gareth Bale Omission Stems From Jealousy
No. It stems from marketing.
More Balls Balls every day….
TRANSFER Balls: A week in the life of Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini. When we last covered the story, Fellaini was on his way to Arsenal, the Gunners had made a bid and the Belgian has rejected a contract worth £70,000-week. Now read on…
Everton Manager Roberto Martinez:
“You are not talking about a player who is out of the squad or in negotiations with another club. I won’t look to speak to him about this because there is nothing to speak about. What I want is him to be ready for the next season, to be ready to take an important role at the club and understand that it is a big season for him. As an individual, he has got an exciting year in front of him and I don’t think he is personally thinking, ‘Am I going to be here?’ I don’t think that’s in his head.” - Thame Today
…Everton have yet to receive offers for the midfielder, who has a clause in his contract that would allow him to move in the event of a £24m bid. The clause expires in mid-August… Arsenal and Chelsea are interested in the 25-year-old – The Times
The British transfer window is about to open and Arsenal look set to make some big moves in the coming days. It’s understood Arsene Wenger has been given a transfer kitty of around £60m. Everton’s towering power-house midfielder Marouane Fellaini is a key target for Wenger and he could be ready to trigger the £24million release clause in the Belgium internationals contract. – Winner Sports
What was £70m is now £60m. Also, the Premier League transfer season begins on the final day of the season and ends on Augusta 31. Other than the that the report is accurate.
CaughtOffside understands that Wenger is set to make a £22m bid for Toffees midfielder Marouane Fellaini, an offer that will trigger the Belgian’s release clause which should set in motion a move to bring the 25 year old to the Emirates Stadium.
£22m or £24m, someone should tell Arsenal. The site adds that Arsenal will offer Fallaini £125,000-a week.
The Daily Mail says Fallaini wants £100,000-a week to play for Arsenal.
The Week says Fellaini earns £75,000-per-week at Everton.
Also, we learn that Zenit St Petersburg or Manchester City are eyeing Fellaini.
And this site adds:
Arsenal Stumble Over Potential £50m Price for Fellaini
Fellaini… Who he?
Manchester United & Arsenal lead £5m ‘new Fellaini’ chase. Belgian midfielder Bernard Malanda-Adje is wanted by Arsenal and Manchester United - GiveMeSport
The Gunners, who have already activated the Belgian’s £22 million release clause – Yahoo
…the Arsenal manager is considering activating Fellaini’s £23m release clause at Everton. – Evening Standard
Such are the facts. More Transfer Balls every day…