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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Transfer balls: Spurs want £200m for Kane and Hazard has a dream

Real Madrid want to sign Spurs and England striker Harry Kane. But the BBC says that the richest club in the world “may be put off by the 25-year-old’s £200m price tag”. To which the response must be: what price tag? Is there a tag visible when Kane puts his shirt on inside out? And why stop at £200m when you can conjure any figure – why not 300m? As far as we can tell, Kane’s not for sale and is perfectly happy at Spurs.

The cited source is El Confidencial, a Spanish site, which opines: “Real Madrid (after a new crash) wants to sign a goal for now.” Google Translate continues to be gift to comedy. It also tells us that the BBC’s story is utter tosh. Here we go – take it away, Google language bots:

The Real Madrid plumbs the market ahead of the winter window. Aware of his erroneous planning of the squad last summer, which was reflected again this Saturday in the disastrous defeat in Vitoria against Alavés (1-0) , Florentino Perez has given order to comb the market in search of a pair of players that reinforce the template for this winter…

The priority, as seems obvious, is to reinforce the team’s lead with a contrasted goalscorer who adds a goal to a squad that has lost a lot of punch with the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo…

In that list will appear young players like the forward of the RB Leipzig, Timo Werner…

Another profile that is handled is that of the veteran striker who without becoming a star of the first level could complete the Real Madrid goal and add those goals that the team is missing… The perfect example is that of ‘Manolito’ Adebayor , the forward who came from Tottenham to Real Madrid in winter and added eight goals leaving a good taste in the Bernabéu.

And the third way is to bet on the signing of a ‘galactic’ as they could be Eden Hazard or Harry Kane…

So Real are looking to recruit any half decent striker who could be available in January, maybe. As for Kane being worth £200m and it being too rich for Real, the BBC just made that up – just as El Confidencial plucked Kane’s name from the air as a possible big name signing. The actual story is that Hazard says Real are the world’s biggest club and it’s been a childhood dream to play for them. What his price tag is, we’re not told. But it could be ‘lots’..

Posted: 9th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Spurs balls: Pochettinho sack and Lloris’ imagines an injury

spurs poch sacked

 

It’s remarkable how little pressure Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino is under. He wants to win trophies, of course, having won nothing at Spurs since his arrival from Southampton in May 2014. Other managers on a run of three defeats on the bounce, as Pochettino’s Spurs are, would be under far more pressure, their jobs hanging by a thread. But Pochettino’s Spurs punch above their weight, consistently outperforming bigger spending rivals. Spurs would be nuts to get rid of him. But there he is in the Mirror’s back page saying, “I could get sacked.”

What he actually said was:

“I am going to stick with the club, I am not going to criticise the club. All the decisions are our decisions and of course always with the club until the end. Maybe we are still here in five years or maybe in one week we are not here, but we will always be talking well about the club and helping them to achieve all they want.”

Put that through the tabloid mincer and it becomes: “I could be sacked.”

From the same press conference, the BBC delivers its own shocker: “Pochettino claims Tottenham’s 31-year-old goalkeeper Hugo Lloris’ thigh injury is down to the stress of the Frenchman’s drink-drive conviction.” Got that? The Sun shouts the same: “Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has put Hugo Lloris’ thigh injury down to induced stress from his drink-drive shame.”

A psychosomatic injury? The thigh bone is connected to the camshaft… Not quite. What he said was: “I think he was under stress during the game against Manchester United [the last game before his court date]. I think the injury and with the added stress maybe created that injury.” Clear?

Posted: 21st, September 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Time for Spurs and England to drop Harry Kane

Goals can conceal the truth. Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane scored 6 for England at the World Cup finals. The haul won him the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer, and with all the predictability of a glamour model professing shock at her married footballer lover’s infidelity, Kane next appeared for England dressed in a pair of gold-coloured boots. For a player loved for his lack of ego, those boots looked borrowed.

And despite that nod to riches, Kane was poor. And yesterday he was poor against Liverpool. But what about those six goals against the world’s best? Well, three were penalties (Panama x 2 and Colombia); one was a jammy deflection (Panama); another was a tap in (Tunisia); and there a very smart finish (Tunisia). The haul came from the 14 shots Kane took all the tournament.

Before yesterday’s plodding performance for a largely palsied Spurs – Kane attempted 13 passes all match against Liverpool – who only came to life when Son came on for Winks, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettinho told Sky: “I think he [Kane] is fit. I do not read and do not listen to what is going on around… For me, there is no doubt that he is one of the best strikers in the world… It is only time before he starts to score goals. For us, Harry Kane is so important. I have no doubt that he is one of the best players in England and in Europe.”

On his day maybe. But not today. Once irreplaceable for Spurs and England, Kane should be dropped.

Posted: 16th, September 2018 | In: Sports, Spurs | Comment


Liverpool: that photo of Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen massaging Roberto Firmino’s brain

firmino eye spurs liverpool

 

As Spurs lost 1-2 at their adopted Wembley home to Liverpool, many people noticed the moment when Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen appeared to massage Roberto Firmino’s brain.

Did he mean to do it? Gouging usually involves the thumb. Fingers are used to gain purchase on the target’s head. But here Vertonghen leads with the index finger on his favoured left hand. The risk of a long finger nail or one coated in Shellac coaxing Firmino’s eyeball from the socket cannot be overlooked. And there’s the position of Vertongen’s middle finger, pressed as it is below Firmino’s nose in a kind of ‘smell this’ gesture. Add a touch of banter from the Spurs man (“Hand ball!”) and you’ve got a full on assault of the senses.

PS: In rugby union the minimum punishment should be 12 weeks, according to the laws of the game. In 2016, Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele was banned for six games after appearing to gouge the eye of Chelsea’s Diego Costa.

 

Posted: 15th, September 2018 | In: Liverpool, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Spurs goalie Hugo Lloris inspires millions of kids to get drunk and drive slowly in a Porsche

Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has been found guilty of drink driving. It’s amazing that someone on big money bothers to drive when they can surely get blotto and hail a taxi. Lloris was fined £50,000 for his idiocy – police spotted him driving at 15mph in a 30mph zone in Mayfair, London, and banned from driving for 20 weeks. But this is about reporting on the matter – and it’s as confused as Lloris.

What car was he in?

A £140,000 Porsche Panamera – Daily Mail
“The goalkeeper’s £115,000 Porsche was seen veering across the road” – London Evening Standard
A £65,000 Porsche – The Sun
“A new Porsche Panamera” – The Guardian

You can buy a new Porsche Panamera from £68,0000.

Day of Chunder

“His 2018 Porsche Panamera was covered in vomit” – Daily Star
“There was evidence of vomit at the scene” – the Sun

 

Will Spurs fine him?

Spurs will dock him two-weeks wages, around £300,000 – Daily Mail
“Spurs have fined Lloris £250,000 – two weeks wages – Daily Star

And The Role Model Balls

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for the charity Brake, told media: “It is disappointing to see that someone who is a role model to many thousands of football fans has admitted breaking the law by drink-driving. We expect the captain of Tottenham Hotspur and his national team to be setting a good example, not flouting the law in such a manner.”

Said no young football fan ever: “When I grow up I’m going to buy a fast car, get pissed and drive him very slowly because everything Hugo Lloris does Im going to do too.”

Lloris is not a role model. He’s a footballer. He’s no more of a role model than anyone else caught drink-driving, unless it’s your mum or dad…

Posted: 13th, September 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal, West Ham and Manchester City can’t find enough bankers to fill their grounds

The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) says every empty seat at the Emirates is “a tragedy for those who want to watch but can’t get in”. Too true. The suits buy the pricey seats then can’t be arsed to attend. And it could be a scam. Just as Facebook promises to show your advert to a defined number of accounts, a large proportion of which turn out to be operated by robots not humans, thus making the deal much more costly per head than advertised, Arsenal say the official average crowd for home games last season was 57,054. Balls, says the AST. It says the real average attendance was around 46,000. Any advertisers and sponsors are paying potentially 20% over the odds to reach the fans.

The BBC has  more:

West Ham: Newham council says the average attendance at West Ham was 42,779 based on the 12 games it attended – which is 12,530 fans fewer than the club’s season average figure of 55,309.

Manchester City: Greater Manchester Police’s average figures were 7,482 lower than club figures, again based on 12 games.

Southampton: Hampshire Police figures were an average of 4,246 fans lower than figures issued by the club.

Tottenham: Brent Council says crowds at Wembley Stadium were on average 3,740 less than the club’s stated numbers.

Chelsea: Hammersmith and Fulham council says its average was 3,505 fans lower than club numbers, based on six games.

And the most honest club whose figures were shared with the BBC was Manchester United. Trafford Council and Greater Manchester Police both said United’s published attendance figures matched its own, based on 12 games.

Why does it happen?

Most teams in the Premier League choose to publicise the number of tickets sold for a game rather than the number of people actually in the stadium. That means they include season ticket holders who don’t attend, and complimentary tickets that are not used.

If only you could still pay on the gate and just rock up with your mates. It’s all so corporate and organised. Where is the next generation of fans coming from?

 

Posted: 12th, September 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Why Harry Kane is underperforming for Spurs and England

Harry Kane, the Spurs and England striker, kicked the ball 20 times in England’s 1-2 defeat to Spain. Of those touches, accumulated over 90 minutes, just three were in the Spaniard’s penalty area. Drop him? No chance. Kane is by far and away the best English striker. Behind him are Marcus Rashford and Danny Welbeck. So Kane it is. Analysis is thin on the ground, as pundits demand more from players who are tying their best. Take this from the Sun’s Neil Ashton: “Even if Southgate does stay beyond 2020, committing his future to a World Cup in Qatar, it is obvious that he does not have the resources to challenge the top nations.” Or as he put it waaaay back in July, when England made it to the semi-final of the World Cup: “This is England, our England for goodness sake, and this football-crazy country demands a group of players who can compete with Brazil, with France, or Uruguay. That’s just the way it is.” England have now lost three in a row. This, says the Mirror’s John Cross, “gives him an idea of how far his side are behind the world elite.” Don’t you think he knows that? And the appraisal of Kane is that he “looks absolutely knackered”.

After such balls, let’s look at a terrific report by James Gheerbrant in the Times, who reasons that Kane is not the same player since succumbing to injury on March 11 when playing for Spurs. Kane next started for Spurs on April 7. Kane is taking less shots and competing less in the box:

In 19 matches for club and country since his return, he has only averaged 2.57 shots per 90 minutes – by far the lowest level of his career. To put it even more starkly: Kane played 42 matches prior to his injury last season and hit five or more shots in 29 of those games. He was regularly shooting eight or ten times a match. But in the 19 matches since his injury, he has only hit five shots once: against West Bromwich Albion in May…

Last season, before he got injured, he was getting off 2.46 shots on target per 90 minutes. But since he came back after his injury, the frequency with which Kane works the keeper has dwindled – he is averaging 0.99 shots on target per 90 minutes since his return. His expected goals – a measure of the chance quality of the shots Kane takes – have also been cut in half, from 0.85 per 90 minutes prior to his injury last season, to 0.43 since his return…

Last season prior to his injury, he was taking an average of 7.20 touches in the opposition box per match. Since his return, the figure has dropped to 4.35. Unlike strikers blessed with extreme pace, Kane doesn’t often get clear in behind – he scores a lot of his goals in the crowded spaces of the penalty box, with defenders in close attendance. It may be that the lingering effects of his injury, either physical or psychological, are making him more reluctant to prowl in those heavily policed areas where strikers risk getting crunched.

Read it all…

Posted: 10th, September 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong joins Barcelona, laughs at Manchester City and chased by Spurs

The Guardian says Spurs are in for Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong. The fee? £40m. Not too shabby for player whose made 37 appearances for the Ajax first team. But is he really going to Spurs, following that well-trodden route from Amsterdam to London, as taken by Christian Eriksen, Dávinson Sánchez and Jan Vertonghen? No. Well, no if 90mins.com are believed.

In April 2018, the thundered: “​​Barcelona have reached an agreement to sign Frenkie de Jong from Ajax, which could go through this month.” They have? No. Elevens ays later on April 20, the Express said “De Jong hopes the two clubs can come to an agreement”. In June, moving to Barcelona was de Jong’s “dream”. In July, the Sun said Barcelona “are going to make a third offer for Ajax starlet Frenkie De Jong”. But “Marc Overmars, the Dutch club’s sporting director, has made it perfectly clear that the Barcelona target is not for sale,” reported ESPN later in the month.

The only fact is that in December 2017, de Jong singed a new deal with Ajax, tying him to the club until 2022. That same month there was some clickbait about him leaving Manchester City in the Manchester Evening News, there were a few words from the man himself:

And, when asked about the prospect of moving to the Etihad, de Jong was keeping his feet firmly on the ground.

“I’ve read it too, haha,” he laughed. “I do not think I’m ready to play at the first team at Manchester City or something like that. Right now I really just want to develop here at Ajax and become a solid starting player. Especially in midfield. Then we’ll see further.”

Done deal it is, then.

Posted: 5th, September 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United’s vanishing £60m agreement for Spurs star

In the shadowlands where transfer news and transfer gossip merge into clickbait balls was the summer’s news that Manchester United were dead keen on Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld. Today the BBC tells its readers that Man United “made no attempt” to sign Alderweireld, 29, from Spurs.

Really?

The Metro told us on August 6:

Tottenham were demanding £75million for Alderweireld, but a compromise has been reached and United are poised to complete the deal.

One day on the Daily Star had reduced the fee by a mere £20m – still £15m more than the United “bid”:

 

Toby Alderweireld transfer

 

Confusing stuff. Maybe the Mirror can help. It’s the source of the BBC’s story that United never did bid for Alderweireld. The paper reports:

Manchester United made NO attempt to sign Toby Alderweireld or Danny Rose in the summer transfer window… despite reports claiming otherwise.

In fact, it’s emerged that it was Spurs who informally approached United, their hosts for Monday night’s Premier League game, to ask if there was interest in either of their stars in the lead up to deadline day.

Fact. But on August 5 the Mirror said United were “set to sign” the Belgian for – get this – £60m.

 

Toby Alderweireld transfer

 

Just two days later and the “final offer” form United was down to £40m:

 

Toby Alderweireld transfer

Total balls, then.

Posted: 27th, August 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer Balls: ‘hijacked’ by Arsenal Malcolm ‘agrees’ to join Spurs after Manchester United ‘deal’

Roma have moved to sign Malcolm from Bordeaux. The Brazilian winger will cost the Italians around £36 million. And baring a late and successful bid from Barcelona, the deal will go through. But not so very long ago the press was telling us that Malcom wanted to play for Spurs. ​90mins.com told its readers: “Bordeaux winger Malcom has agreed a summer move to ​Tottenham after meeting manager Mauricio Pochettino.”

 

malcolm spurs

 

In the Sun, Malcolm was “hinting” at joining any one of Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool and Manchester United. The story was first-class balls:

BORDEAUX winger Malcom’s agent hinted a January Premier League transfer could be underway after sharing a snap of himself in London.

Agent takes holiday photo. Read on…

Leonardo Cornacini of Elenko Sports – an agency representing the Brazilian – posted a picture to Facebook of himself in the capital.

It was a “teasing picture”. And the teasing caption to the photo?

Cornacini captioned his post: “This is @elenko_sports… invading the land of Royal Majesty #PremierLeague.”

And..? And nothing. Undaunted by the lack of news in this scoop, the Sun added: “One social media user asked: “Does it have anything to do with Malcom to Arsenal?” And the response from Cornacini? Nothing. But he did go to the Albert Hall to watch a show.

Over in the London Evening Standard the story went: “Tottenham and Arsenal target Malcom reveals Premier League dream.” And, indeed, Malcolm did say last January: “It is true that England is a dream for every player.” That was a rare moment of fact. Although he never mentioned a club.

Goal.com told its readers: “Manchester United are ready to make a £40 million opening bid for Bordeaux forward Malcolm.” They weren’t. But The Metro told its readers that Arsenal had hijacked United’s £44m  “deal” for Malcolm – you know, the deal they never made:

 

malcolm roma arsenal

And then the Sun said Malcolm was off to…Fulham or Inter Milan.

 

malcolm trasnfer

 

Such are facts.

Posted: 23rd, July 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


‘Traditional’ new Spurs kit ‘is the Barcelona training kit’

Spurs are looking a lot like Barcelona. No, not in their style of play – and Barcelona actually win things. The two clubs’ kits ate remarkably similar. Nike’s marketing guff for the new Spurs kits tells us: “Binary blue and polarised blue knit sleeves reinforce the team’s heritage and values as they pay homage to the secondary blue used in many past kits.”

But this “special reinforcing of heritage and values” from Nike looks not a lot unlike the kit Nike supply for Barcelona to train in.

 

spurs kit barcelona

Spurs kit

 

Spurs Barcelona kit

Barcelona training kit

 

Listen out for chants of “Are you Tottenham in disguise” should Barcelona fail to win a trophy next season.

Posted: 22nd, July 2018 | In: Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Spurs ‘flop’ Modric to Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool

A headline is an opinion, which is why the Daily Express can call Croatia’s brilliant midfielder Luka Modric a “Spurs flop”. The full headline used to seduce readers to click on the paper’s story runs: “From Spurs flop to World Cup semi – the rise of Luka Modric.” Total balls, of course. Modric was great at Spurs. He joined Spurs on April 26, 2008 for around £17 million. He was good enough to attract the attention of Chelsea – who offed £40m for him – and Real Madrid, who signed Modric for a fee in the region of £30m. “Luka has been a terrific player for us and, while we preferred not to part with him, we are pleased that it is to Real Madrid, ” said Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy. At Real, Modric has been instrumental in the club winning the Champions League four times in the last six seasons.

And so to the Express’s story about this “Spurs flop”. Matthew Dunn calls Modric a “prodigious talent”. It “pained Tottenham to lose their midfield gem”. “His energy in midfield coupled with his reading of the game meant that whenever a team-mate was in trouble, Modric was always an out-ball.”

 

modric spurs

 

Others spotted the chasm between headline and story. Dunn responded to criticism on twitter:

“Thanks to all who’ve taken the trouble to say what they think of me based on one word in a headline, since changed, that I didn’t even write. By my reckoning, only one of you took the trouble to read the 842 words I did write. Thanks btw @chilly_spurs”

Sure enough, the Express clickbait factory did change the headline to: “Luka Modric: How the quiet Croatia star evolved from Tottenham to become a World Cup hero.” Time for Dunn to have a word with the hacks to run the website. But it’s unlikely the clickbaiters will listen. The paper’s other news on Modric is that he is joining Arsenal:

 

daily express modric arsenal

 

And the story?

Modric is likely to leave Real Madrid at the end of the season with the Croatia international’s form waning this season… And Spanish website Diario Gol say the veteran could make a stunning move to Arsenal.

He’s a flop!

The story contains no link to the source of the scoop. And the paper of record does not stop there. Modric is heading to Arsenal AND Liverpool, says the Express:

 

modric liverpool

 

That story contains not a single fact linking Modric to either Arenal or Liverpool. But the Express does not stop there. Modric is also going to play for Manchester United:

 

 modric manchester united

 

What is the “one reason” Modric will join United? Want to know what it is? Is it that he loves Manchester? Not quite. Jack Otway has the facts:

It is claimed Real will offer the player a new deal.

Who made that claim? Otway doesn’t say. But he does tell us:

But that will only be until 2020 and Modric, who feels he can play at the top level for many more years, may want a longer contract.

He may. He may not.

That is where United can intervene. However, whether Real allow another key asset to leave the club remains to be seen.

More shameless tosh in the Express every day.

Posted: 13th, July 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Spurs striker Kane in heartbreaker horror

harry kane daily mail

 

The Daily Mail is not alone is praising Harry Kane, the Spurs and England footballer. His bare chest fills the Sun’s back page. “Everybody loves Harry,” says the Mirror on its. But only in the Mail is there a focus on Kane’s looks. Over pages 10 and 11, David Jones and Sarah Rainey gells readers that Kane is -“Shock horror!” – a footballer “England can be proud of”.  His list of accomplishments are headlined:

  • no tattoos
  • polite
  • patriotic
  • engaged to his child his sweetheart

And handsome. “What a heartbreaker cooed one devoted fan on twitter.”

 

harry kane daily mail

 

They did? Sort of. A search on twitter delivers this:

 

 

 

No-one called Kane a heartbreaker on twitter.

Posted: 20th, June 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | 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


Spurs kill Pochettino’s dream to manage Real Madrid

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has been talking about Real Madrid. He told us he’d have to listen if the Spanish club offered him the manager’s job. He gave Real a heads up about Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, saying the tough negotiator “bites”. Now the Mail says “Pochettino was, for all intents and purposes, offered the vacant manager’s job.” And: “He turned his back on his dream, knowing it would lead to questions over loyalty.”

That’s Pochettino who cut short his Southampton contract to manage Spurs.

The Mail then hammers home its point that Pottechino rejected Real not because he didn’t want the job, rather because he is principled:

Mauricio Pochettino rejected the chance to become Real Madrid’s next manager because he didn’t want to labelled a mercenary.

And:

Pochettino was offered the vacant position after Zinedine Zidane’s (right) departure.

Says who?

But sources claim the Argentine turned his back on a dream switch to Real, knowing such a move would lead to serious questions over his loyalty.

What sources? The Mail mentioned none.

Knowing chairman Daniel Levy would rebuff any approach from Spain, Pochettino knew he would have to force the issue if he wanted the Real job. It’s now apparent that Pochettino was unwilling to risk his reputation, fearing his integrity would suffer an irreparable blow.

It all reads like a PR missive. Only yesterday Guillem Balague was talking. The Spurs manager had been on a trip to Spain to plug his new book, Brave New World: Inside Pochettino’s Spurs – by Guillem Balague. Balague said Levy had scuppered any hope Pochettino had of managing Real. Now we get “sources” telling us that Levy and the manager’s conscience ended Pochettino’s “dream”.

Words from Real Madrid: nil. Facts to support the sources claims: nil.

PS: Real Madrid usually get their man. 

27 Jun 2012: Tottenham’s Gareth Bale signs new four-year contract.

23 May 2013: “Gareth Bale to sign new Tottenham contract worth £150,000 a week” (Guardian)

1 September 2013:  Gareth Bale agreed a £300,000 per week to join Real Madrid.

It’s not over yet. Everyone has their price at Spurs.

Posted: 5th, June 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Real want Spurs boss Pochettino; fans want Liverpool’s Klopp; Balague eats himself

The BBC says Real Madrid are no longer interested in Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino. Sky Sports adds a little more: “Real Madrid end interest in Mauricio Pochettino, says Guillem Balague.” Ah, him. Balague is the expert who told us Alvaro Morata had signed for Arsenal, Santi Cazorla would join Atletico Madrid, Juan Mata was joining Liverpool and Cristiano Ronaldo was returning to Manchester United. None of those things happened. In January, Sky reported: “Real have shortlisted the Spurs boss to take over at the Bernabeu, according to Guillem Balague.”

One enjoyable oddity to Sky’s latest reports is that Balague cites himself as the source of his own story. Balague’s source is Balague:

 

balague spurs real

 

Says Balague to Balague in a case of football reporting eating itself:

Real Madrid have abandoned their pursuit of Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, says Guillem Balague.

The European champions made Pochettino their number one target following Zinedine Zidane’s decision to quit on Thursday.

However, the lack of a release clause in the Argentine’s contract, coupled with the prospect of dealing with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy – who proved a tough negotiator for Real in the transfers of Luka Modric and Gareth Bale – resulted in them ending their interest.

Or as the Sunday Times puts it:

 

spurs real madrid

Spurs boss ‘keen’ to mange Real Madrid – Sunday Times

 

The Spurs manger was recently talking about Real Madrid on a trip to Spain where he’s plugging his new book, Brave New World: Inside Pochettino’s Spurs – by Guillem Balague! Pochettino told Radio Marca in Spain that Daniel Levy “bites“. And now Balague says Levy has scuppered any hope Poch had of managing Real. Coincidence?

In other news, the Express says Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has emerged as Real Madrid’s new number 1 target. No. He hasn’t. The story tells readers: “Pochettino has given himself a five-day deadline for any approach by Real Madrid to be made… The Argentine is believed to be the favoured option of Real president Florentino Perez.”

Klopp is only mentioned because a poll of Real Madrid fans has Klopp as the one most of them would like to be the club’s next manager. The Express fails to say where this poll was conducted. We found out that it was conducted by Marca, the Spanish newspaper two days ago.

The German received 29 percent of the votes in a MARCA poll… This placed him ahead of the second favourite Mauricio Pochettino, who had 23 percent, while Castilla coach Guti was just behind on 20 percent. Joachim Low claimed 14 percent, while Michel had nine percent. The only other option on the poll was for none of the above, which took a share of five percent.

It was a poll of 6 choices. how many Barcelona fans voted for Klopp is not stated.

Posted: 3rd, June 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino flirts with Real Madrid

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says he very happy to be with Spurs. He said that after stating that if Real Madrid came calling he would “have to listen”.  Pochettino said that in Spanish at the launch of his new book. Hours after Zinedine Zidane quits as boss at the Bernabeu, Pochettino in Spain talking about Real Madrid. What are the odds?

 

Mauricio Pochettino

Come and get me

 

Marca says “There is an agreement between Pochettino and Levy which should make talks easier if Perez [Real Madrid president Florentino Perez] were to make the call to London”.  The BBC says no agreement exists. But Marca says  Pochettino “has also made it clear that it is not impossible to say no to Real Madrid”. He did? Not exactly, no. He told Marca’s journalist:

“If I see myself on the bench of the Bernabéu? Someday, like any other team, of course, or the selection of my country They are teams that I’ve been following since I was little, in your head, logically, in the future, like any person who feels passion for this sport, I do not want to create any controversy, I would also like to direct Argentina, Newell’s, back to Espanyol, to Madrid. .. if someday if the possibility is given, why not? “

And of that decision to sign a new five-year deal to stay at Spurs? Says Pochettinho: “We all have dreams, but I’ve renewed ten days ago and I’m happy in London.” Not exactly settling minds at Spurs, is he?

The Spanish paper recalls that when Gareth Bale and Luka Modric both made the move from Spurs to Real Madrid talks dragged on until very late August as Spurs chairman Daniel Levy made the Spaniards sweat. But doing that again could leave Spurs without a manager or with an unhappy one. “Daniel bites,” said Pochettinho of the chairman’s negotiating style. Is that come kind of heads up to Madrid?

“It would be disrespectful to Daniel for me to force a move,” he continues. “I’ve just renewed with Tottenham and I am happy. I live in the present – there is nothing more important than that. I enjoy what is happening and what has to be will be. The link now with Madrid is normal and I take it with all normality. I’m committed to Spurs and still have a long contract with them I just signed.”

Is he “ready for a challenge like Real Madrid”. Yes? No? “Right now I am ready to go to lunch. I’m looking forward to going back to London,” Pochettino replies.

This one’s going to run and run…

Posted: 2nd, June 2018 | In: Sports, Spurs | 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


Spurs went from ‘Busby Babes’ to grating flops

Spurs win nothing. Again. As usual. Their fans call it all very ‘Spursy’ when they flatter to deceive. On February 12 2017, Neil Ashton is story no longer live on the Sun’s website said Spurs were the new greatest team in English football. Just get a load of this – written after Spurs had defeated a moribund Arsenal 1-0 and were fifth in the league table:. Eatching Spurs was like watching… Barcelona (albeit a Barca side that win nothing and finish as also-rans):

Every once in a while, English football enters a golden age. Think Busby Babes, the great Liverpool side built by Bill Shankly or Sir Alex Ferguson’s swashbuckling United teams. At this rate, in years to come, everybody will want to say they got to watch Tottenham live.

No. They won’t. They will say they saw Manchester City, who finished a mere 23 points ahead of Spurs to win the title. (If you think Spurs will win the title next season – and best of luck with that – www.allascasino.com/nya-casinon is a good place to clean up.)

And Ashton has changed his tune, writing on May 15:

Everybody admires Spurs’ pretty football — but Pochettino knows the pressure is now on to start landing some silverware. The nearly-man tag, the reminders he has yet to win a trophy at Tottenham, are starting to grate

But at least we got to watch Tottenham live in February – when no cups are handed out.

Posted: 15th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Pochettino knows debt and history make Spurs a selling club

Another season with no silverware for Spurs. They’ve won nothing since 2008 – and then it was only the League Cup. But current manager Mauricio Pochettino has a plan. He wants chairman Daniel Levy to “take risks” to improve the side.

“If we want to be real contenders for big, big trophies, we need to review a little,” says Pochettino. “First of all, I need to speak with Daniel [Levy; the club’s chief executive], then we will know what we are going to do. I think it’s a moment the club needs to take risks and if possible work harder than the previous season to be competitive again.”

Work harder? Or just spend bigger?

Pochettino, 46, has been successful at Spurs. Since arriving at the club in 2014, Tottenham has finished fifth, third, second and third in the Premier League. Where next? It would take a revolution in Abu Dhabi for Spurs to make up the 23-point gap on Manchester City. The smarter money is on Pochettino leaving for Real Madrid. Pochettino, who has three years to run on his current deal, hinted at an early exit after his side’s FA Cup semi-final defeat by Manchester United, opining that the club “need more time with me or another”.

Now he adds: “I think I have a very clear idea what we need to do; I don’t know if the club will be agreeing with me or not. But we are going to talk, next week, to create the new project, or what I think what we need to do, together again, to try to improve. That is a little bit up to Daniel of course, to the club, to be happy with us, because after four years I think we need to assess that period. I think Daniel is going to listen to me. But you know me and sometimes I have some crazy ideas. In this type of situation, with a club with our unbelievable fans, being brave is the most important, and to take risks.”

And then there’s that new ground, which has risen in cost from £400m to £750m to £850m and now to – and this is according to the Daily Mail – almost £1bn. The new municipal 61,000-seat stadium will host football and NFL matches with two sliding pitches, ‘extra changing rooms’ and tailgate parties. It sounds awful. Three banks have approved five-year loans of £350m. Any outstanding debt after the five-year period will be refinanced or placed into bonds.

And on top of that the manager wants big money for big names. He wants be be able to outbid Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. When Spurs move in to their sponsored stadium, “It would be the time to say: ‘Now, we will win the title’,” said Pochettino last December. Fast forward to April and the manager had changed his tune. “The move to the new stadium is not suddenly going to change everything and millions of pounds will rain from the sky,” Pochettino said. “You have to manage and know exactly the expectations. It will be important to review and set the principles again – how it will be with the team once we move.”

Now he wants the owners to take “risks”.

Pochettino knows Spurs will have go sell if they want to buy. And those wages? Levy earns £115,000-a-week at Spurs – more than the club’s best-paid player, whose wages are capped at £100,000-a-week. Spurs have been linked with a move for Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, who earns more than £120,000 a week at the Eagles. How long will Harry Kane be content playing for a third of what he could earn at Manchester United, say, where he’d stand better chance of winning things?

Spurs have a plan. But they’re playing catch-up – and their bigger rivals all have a head start…

Posted: 14th, May 2018 | In: Sports, Spurs | 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


Spurs striker Harry Kane is still stressing over that tweet

Someone should tell Tottenham striker Harry Kane that no comment is still a comment. He’s still stressing over that tweet sent from the FA Cup account, you know, the one posted after Manchester United’s 2-1 FA Cup semi-final victory over Spurs. “What’s in your pocket?” asked the FA of United defender Chris Smalling. A short clip played of him replying: “Harry Kane.”

“I talked to the gaffer about it and all he was saying was, ‘Would other countries do that to their own players?’ Probably not,” says Kane. “The FA tweet was a silly tweet, we all know that. It is something that has gone, it was two weeks ago or whatever it was, I am over it.”

So about the…

“The gaffer said I was sad about it, but I am focused. I am a guy who gets on with things. If it happens, it happens, I move on, I look forward, I look forward to the next game, that’s all I worry about, getting out on the pitch and doing my job.”

Good job that claiming scoring goals as if his daughter’s life depended on it is the only thing on his mind…

Posted: 2nd, May 2018 | In: Sports, Spurs | Comment


Spurs Harry Kane goes full Atletico Mince over being ‘bullied’

Spurs striker Harry Kane thinks he’s being bullied. Kane is said to be upset over a joke made by PFA chairman Ben Purkiss (Swindon Town FC) at the recent awards do. Purkiss told the room: “Harry Kane is so prolific that he is able to score without touching the ball.”

And…? And nothing. The reference being, of course, Kane’s sad and desperate – and oddly successful – mission to claim Spurs’ winning goal against Stoke City a few weeks ago. The ball appeared to go directly in from a Christian Eriksen freekick. But Kane felt a draft on his shirt and claimed it;  taking home, presumably, any goal bonus and edging closer to the Golden Boot for the Premier League’s top scorer.

The Daily Mirror notes:

It is understood Kane and his family are furious and see the jokes being made at the striker’s expense as a form of bullying.

Bullying? He’s a grown man, hymned by the masses and reared in a bubble of sycophants and lackays. Suck it up, Harry. You’re looking like a fool.

 

 

Posted: 27th, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Spurs balls: £120m on five new players and just one out

No soon do we read in the Telegraph that Mauricio Pochettino has “hinted” at his imminent departure from Spurs – which he sort of did and sort of didn’t – than the Independent says his club will spend – get his – “at least £120m” on new players this summer.

The player the Indy “understands” Sours will buy are Newcastle United’s Jamaal Lascelles, Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt, Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, and West Brom pair Jonny Evans and Jay Rodriguez. All are being “considered”. And where are they all going to play, then? This is utter guff from the Indy, which cites not a single source for its story.

The Indy reasons that Spurs will balance he books with the sale of Toby Alderweireld.

The Indy’s shameless clickbaiting is lampooned by its own lay-out: Zaha stays!

 

independent clickbait spurs

 

 

Says Zaha:

“Crystal Palace is my home town and the support we have here is genuine support with families watching with their kids loving us as players so I don’t really see myself anywhere else. I am enjoying my football here and just focused on us being a stable club and not having to listen to all the speculation about us getting relegated.”

Words on Spurs:  none.

Posted: 22nd, April 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment