By now you’ll be wondering what Harry Redknapp has been up to? The resting manager is talking abut Spurs on BT Sport. Redknapp is aghast that now-one came in for Dele Alli when he was at Milton Keynes Dons. Why did it take so long for Spurs to sign the tyro for £5m?
“Can you tell me how all those scouts failed to spot him when he was playing for MK Dons every week?” asks Redknapp. “How did they end up waiting until Tottenham came in for him?”
Spurs were not the only club to take a look at Alli. In fact, one club was managed by – get this – Harry Redknapp. Ten months ago, Redknapp opined: “I scouted Dele Alli several times as did a lot of other clubs but with a view to the future.”
Redknapp cites the moment when all the clubs should have got Alli. “Didn’t he play for MK Dons against Manchester United when they beat them 4-0 in the League Cup?” he asks. “United should have signed him there and then.”
That was August 26 2014 – when Redknapp was manger of QPR, then of the Premier League. Presumably the player Redknapp values at £100m wasn’t good enough for QPR.
Such are the facts.
Media Balls – a look at biased footballer reporting. Today Manchester City drew 2-2 with Tottenham. With the game 2-1 in City’s favour, Raheem Sterling was through on the Spurs goal. Spurs defender Kyle Walker was closest to Sterling. What happened next?
The BBC gives us the facts:
Raheem Sterling leaves the Spurs defence smoking exit dust as he breezes onto a through ball – just the keeper to beat with Kyle Walker pedaling hard to catch up..
But Sterling can’t take the chance, he’s off balance as he prods tamely towards Lloris – and it looks like Walker’s hand in the back is to blame.
Foul, then? Red card for Walker. Penalty to City. Nothing given. What do the clubs and their local newspapers say on the matter?
The Spurs website: “Kolarov sent Sterling clear, Walker got back at him, poor finish, easy for Lloris.”
Walker recovered. Sterling is rubbish. Lloris makes it look easy.
Manchester Evening News: “Walker should have been sent off for a push on Sterling as he was about to pull the trigger. Sterling had raced through for yet another one-on-one with Lloris but it ended up a soft shot into his grateful arms.”
Such are the facts.
The Mirror leads with news that Liverpool have no intention of selling Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £60m. “NOU CHANCE,” puns the paper.” Liverpool manger Jurgen Klopp says “no amount of money” will force him to sell his star player.
Wishful thinking, of course. Every player has their price. After all on December 26, the Mirror reported: “Liverpool transfer news and rumours: Paris Saint-Germain plotting £40million Philippe Coutinho swoop.” Putting a price alongside a player’s name is simple.
Over in the Sun, the figure of £60m also figures large on the back page. This time it’s the sum Manchester United are willing to invest in Spurs full-backs Kyle Walker and Danny Rose. But United won’t have it easy. The paper adds that Manchester City will fight United for the England players.
Walker and Rose each earn around £70,000-a-week at Spurs. Given that Spurs are better than United and outplayed City this season, it’s surely only money that will make either of them move.
Mark Irwin tells Spurs fans to expect the worst. Needing money for their new £750m stadium, Spurs will cash on on their star turns. Irwin notes that Rose, Walker and other young Spurs players, like Dele Alli Harry Kane, Eric Dier and Christian Eriksen, know they could earn far more at Chelsea, Arsenal or either of the Manchester clubs.
“Pochettino defends Alli’s diving,” says the Times in its report on Spurs’ 5-0 hammering of Swansea City. The first goal came from the penalty spot after Tottenham’s Dele Alli fell to the ground. Elsewhere in the paper, former referee Howard Webb tells readers: “It was a dive and Dele Alli needs to be careful he doesn’t get a reputation.”
Spurs’ Argentinean manager Mauricio Pochettino was invited to consider the incident. Did Alli dive?
Pochettino recalls the time England’s Michael Owen collapsed under his challenge at the World Cup. “David Beckham scored the resulting penalty, effectively ending Argentina’s tournament and, in turn, Pochettino’s international career,” says the Times. “Don’t believe that English football is fair play always because Owen jumped like [he was] in a swimming pool,” Pochettino tells us. “Maybe he [Alli] will say, ‘OK I fell down but I didn’t mean to dive but the referee believed it was a penalty,’ or it wasn’t his intention.”
An accidental dive is a nice take on the non-denial denial.
Lest you think Swansea would have lost anyhow, the paper says the penalty was the game’s defining moment: “The penalty effectively ended Swansea’s afternoon. For the first 39 minutes, they had held on with all they had, but after going behind they crumbled.”
Does everyone agree with the Times and think Alli dived? The Spurs website says Alli was fouled:
Dele latched onto a ball down the left-hand side of the area and was clipped by Naughton, with referee Jon Moss pointing the spot after a moment of consideration.
The Swansea website says:
The Swans were level at the Lane until Spurs won a highly contentious penalty
The South Wales Evening Post – Swansea’s local newspaper – tells its readers:
Stuart Pearce – ‘No doubt in my mind Dele Alli dived for controversial penalty against Swansea City’
The paper’s match report is clear:
The game was goalless when Dele Alli induced referee Jon Moss into giving a penalty when the Spurs midfielder appeared to go over with no contact from Kyle Naughton.
The Tottenham Independent saw contact:
Spurs finally took the lead on 38 minutes. Kyle Naughton caught Deli Alli’s [sic] trailing leg in the box and referee Jonathan Moss awarded a penalty.
Such are the facts in the biased media.
Spurs striker Harry Kane secured a huge pay rise because the club “caved in” to his demands. So says the Times, which calculates Kane’s Tottenham at around £150,000-a-week, based on a base salary of £120,000-a-week plus bonuses.
The new contract, which runs until 2022, contains no buy-out clause should Spurs fail to reach the Champions’ League.
Kane’s manager Mauricio Pochettino tells media, “If you ask him he is sure that is not about the money.” He then says he was always sure Kane would remain at the club.
Yeah, right. Kane bleeds for Spurs. He’s one of their own. Nonsense. It’s always about the money. He’s more than doubled his money from the £60,000-a-week deal that had four years to run. Give it a year of good form and he’ll be asking for more.
Feel the love.
To secure Kane, Spurs had to obliterate their wage structure. The club wanted Kane to sign a new deal in September, but he wouldn’t. The paper talk was of him wanting £100,000 a week. Then it was parity with Jamie Vardy’s £120,000 a week. Now Kane earns the same as Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez.
The Times says it wasn’t until last week that Kane and Spurs talked about the contract – and the club “caved into his wage demands and completed the deal in the space of two days”.
Below Kane, the club’s top earner is Hugo Lloris – and you can expect the captain’s agent to be knocking on the chairman’s door very soon. He’ll be in a queue behind Dele Alli’s agent. The young Englishman earns £50,000-a-week.
Spurs’ wage bill is set to rocket.
Last night Spurs crashed out of the Champions’ League, losing to Monaco in France. The Sun’s Paul Jiggins says Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettinho “sprang a surprise” by playing Eric Dier and Kevin Wimmer in defence in place of the “ever-reliable Jan Vertonghen“.
When Monaco defeated Spurs 1-2 at Wembley earlier in the CL, Vertonghen was hardly sublime. The Evening Standard reported:
Spurs would come to rue those missed opportunities. Lamela conceded possession in his own half and Fabinho fed Silva, who drove into the box past Jan Vertonghen before unleashing a driven effort with his left foot that flew past Hugo Lloris.
The Mail noted:
Silva shimmied into the penalty area and, when Jan Vertonghen showed him the goal, lashed a left-footer inside the far post.
Stunning finish, but not great defending from Vertonghen, who lets Silva cut in and get the shot away…
Thomas Lemar jumped ahead of Vertonghen to reach Djibril Sidibé’s cross. The ball broke back to Lemar at the near post and he lashed it high beyond Lloris from close range.
When Spurs were beaten 0-1 by Bayer Leverkusen at Wembley Stadium, Sky Sports reported:
Jan Vertonghen set the tone when he nervously mis-hit a clearance in the opening minutes. Leverkusen were on the front foot immediately and Spurs, usually so aggressive under Pochettino, couldn’t cope with a taste of their own high-pressing medicine.
Tottenham in a bit of a pickle as Vertonghen wildly slices a clearance up in the air that Leverkusen pounce on…
Vertonghen’s a good player, but in the Champion’s League he’s been no rock-like presence.
And he’s been lucky in the Premier League:
The Indy: “Confusion reigned at White Hart Lane on Saturday as referee Bobby Madley failed to award a penalty for Jan Vertonghen’s clear pull on Joel Matip’s shirt at a corner.”
The Mail: “Jan Vertonghen had a full hold of Granit Xhaka’s shirt while defending a corner and even beats the midfielder to heading the ball away. A penalty in the laws of the game…”
Harry Kane, the Spurs and England striker, is at “loggerheads” with his club. Well, so said the Sun on November 14. All “talks ware on hold” Tottenham, are “refusing” to make Kane one of the club’s top earners.
Says Kane today:
“I am happy at the club and want to be here for a long, long time. We are in talks and I’m sure we will get something sorted. I’m not panicking and I’m not demanding anything as I’ve read in the paper.” We’re having a conversation and I have no doubts that we will get it sorted.”
Or as the Sun puts it:
Harry Kane isn’t cool. Harry Kane is “in a contract stand-off” and “pleading” with the club to give him a rise.
“Hopefully we will have no issues with the contract – we have only just started talking about it. Get that down and get that wrapped up,” says Kane on the BBC. “I’m happy,” said the Spurs player four times in the Mail. “Kane pledging future to Spurs, ” says the Express.
In other words: no news. But lots of balls.
Media Balls: a look at biased football reporting in Tottenham’s 3-2 victory over West Hm United in the Premier League.
This is how the Tottenham Hotspur website described the deciding goal, a penalty strike by Harry Kane:
Hammers substitute Harvard Nordtveit tripped Son in the area and the referee again pointed to the spot.
The BBC sees not a clear trip but a dash of the dark arts:
[Son was] smart enough to invite a wild challenge from fellow substitute Nordtveit, cutting inside and leaving his standing leg invitingly in the path of the defender’s needless lunge
The Newham Recorder (in West Ham’s manor):
Havard Nordtveit – on for Payet – was harshly adjudged to have brought down Son as the two jinked and jostled in the area
West Ham sub Havard Nordviet clumsily brought down Heung-Min Son, giving Mike Dean no option but to award the second penalty of the afternoon
No opinion or harsh? Having dealt with the last goal, the game’s first penalty, one awarded to West Ham, is couched in caveats.
The Tottenham website: “Janssen was adjudged to have pulled down Reid in the area at a West Ham corner”
The Newham Recorder: “Janssen dragged down Reid”
Such are the facts.
The news cycle has lots more on Harry Kane, the Spurs player at “loggerheads” with his club over a new pay deal. The Mail leads with the story that Kane is demanding parity with Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy, currently trousering £120,000 a week. But Spurs are “not prepared” to give Kane that kind of cash.
Spurs might have noticed that before Vardy signed his new bumper deal, he was on fire. At this stage last season, hungry Vardy had scored 12 goals. Over the summer he got a new contract. Vardy has now gone 14 matches without scoring. Big pay does not always equate to big performances.
Facts then become a little murky. The Mail says Spurs’ top earner is Hugo LLoris, who earns £90,000 a week. But yesterday the Sun said Spurs midfielder Moussa Sissoko gets £95,000 a week.
The paper says Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman, is a “shrewd” operator. His method is to give improving players “incremental pay rises while adding a year or two to the deal”.
(And who cannot agree that Levy gets value? In today’s Express, David Kidd reminds us of Spurs’s battle with West Ham over the Olympic Stadium. Levy wanted to rip up the running track and joint-fund the venture with AEG. He’d also revamp the Crystal Palace stadium for athletics. Instead of that, the taxpayer now funds a soulless bowl where fans sit a long way from the action. “As for West Ham’s claim they would make football more affordable – well, for their first category A Prem home match with Arsenal, even kids and OAPs must pay £50-£80.” Levy was right.)
The issue for Spurs is that Kane wants a big lift on the £60,000 a week he now earns. The good news, we’re told, is that Kane is not “demanding” to be paid the £200,000 a week the likes of Raheem Sterling earns at Manchester City. He’s happy to be on par with Vardy and Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge.
On the flip side, the Mail says Manchester United and Chelsea can pay that sort of cash and both want Kane. If they want him that badly, they will need to cough up. Spurs have shown they are prepared to sell their top talent for big money. It’s not far-fetched to think of Kane leaving – and Spurs doing very well from the deal.
Spurs fans will tremble at the news that Harry Kane – “he’s one of there own” (insert picture of young Harry in his Arsenal short – ed) – has “KO-ed” a new deal at the club.
Reading the Sun’s headline might lead you to suppose Kane will not be extending his Tottenham contract. The deal has been knocked out. Talks have been “called off”. Surprisingly the story does contain a muon of fact, albeit dressed in speculation, clickbait balls and hype.
Tottenham striker puts contract talks on hold with two parties at loggerheads as Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City circle
From being knocked out and over, the Sun sniffs the smelling salts and says talks to keep Kane at White Hate Lane are “on hold”. Not knocked out, then. Paused. The Sun then pretty much does Kane’s negotiations for him by name-checking a few other clubs and noting: “Kane is paid £60,000-a-week, £35,000 less than Moussa Sissoko.” And, of course, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United can offer far higher wages than even the Frenchman trousers.
Oh, and so too can Arsenal. After all, the Express reported that Kane had agreed to join the Gunners:
Neil Ashton writes in the Sun:
HARRY KANE and Spurs have agreed to put all talks over a new contract on hold.
So both parties are in agreement. Ashton counters that in the every next line:
The England striker’s future is increasingly uncertain as the two parties are at loggerheads.The England striker’s future is increasingly uncertain as the two parties are at loggerheads.
News that Kane and Spurs have “agreed” to be a “loggerheads” will be a “massive worry for Spurs supporters”, says Ashton. Why? Kane’s contracted to Spurs until 2020 and currently earns £60,000 per week. Spurs have no need to rush.
It all amounts to a lot of nothing. But it’s enough for the Mirror to read the Sun’s story and cry: “Harry Kane and Tottenham at loggerheads.”
This is the same Mirror that reported in September:
Kane’s £50,000-a-week basic will be at least doubled in the wake of the money that has flooded into Premier League clubs due to the bumper new television deal.
And back to Sissoko. In today’s Sun, Ashton writes:
There is a feeling at White Hart Lane that Kane’s loyalty is being tested, especially with the club offering Moussa Sissoko £95,000 a week to sign from Newcastle in the summer.
But the Mirror said Sissoko is good news for Kane:
Sissoko’s arrival will see Kane’s basic weekly wage jump to around £120,000 – with bonuses and image rights he could end up taking home a cool £7.5m-a-year – meaning his entire package is likely to be in excess of £35m.
In conclusion: The tabloids haven’t got a clue.
Media Balls: Arsenal draw 1-1 with Spurs in the Premier League.
Spurs scored from a penalty. Should it have been awarded?
BBC: “Koscielny was harshly penalised for a foul on Mousa Dembele in the box”
Spurs website: “…the excellent Mousa Dembele was brought down in the box by Laurent Koscielny.”
Arsenal website: “Dembele’s slaloming run into the box provoking a mistimed challenge from Koscielny.”
The Guardian: “This looks controversial as well. Dembele falls over just inside the box after a tackle from Koscielny, and Mark Clattenburg gives a penalty. Replays suggest it was a good decision.”
The Mirror: “A lazy, brainless challenge from Laurent Koscielny on the impressive Mousa Dembele resulted in a penalty.”
The Arsenal goal, scored by Tottenham’s Kevin Wilmer:
The Telegraph: “Spurs could rightly be aggrieved that at least two Arsenal players were offside when Ozil swung his set-piece in but the goal stood and Arsenal held the lead at the interval.”
The Guardian: “Arsenal’s pressure has told. Ozil’s inswinging free-kick is headed down into the corner of his own net by Kevin Wimmer. He was stretching towards his own goal, and had to do something with two Arsenal players behind him – but those two players were offside, so Spurs will feel pretty aggrieved.”
Sky: “Arsenal took the lead three minutes before half-time as Ozil’s free-kick was diverted by Wimmer’s head into his own goal, though the replays showed that Sanchez, who did not touch the ball but was arguably involved in play, was offside from the German’s cross.”
The Express: “Both Sanchez and Laurent Koscielny were in offside positions next to him but judged not to be interfering – as if the derby needed a bit of controversy to feed the emotions – and moments later an unseemly squabble led by Jan Vertonghen and Theo Walcott set things up nicely for the second half. At least referee Mark Clattenburg got the first big decision of the second period right – spotting Koscielny’s trip on Mousa Dembele just inside the area and pointing to the spot.”
Such are the facts.
Have you seen the ‘New Messi”, a player the Sun dubs “Mini Messi” after the brilliant Barcelona player? He’s called Marcus Edwards. He’s 17. And he plays for Spurs. Well, Spurs reservers because this new Messi isn’t good enough play for the first XI.
Having dubbed him Mini Messi, the Sun then says, “When he’s got a bag full of Ballon d’Ors like his La Liga nick-namesake you can compare him with Messi.”
Or when you’ve got column to fill.
PS: The Mini Messi tag is attributed to a few words Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino shared on 5ft 5-inches of Marcus Edwards. He said: “His qualities … it’s only looks – his body and the way that he plays – remember a little bit from the beginning of Messi.”
Yeah, he’s a little bit like Messi was before he became exceptional.
PPS: The real Messi was 16 years, four months, and 23 days old when he made his debut in the Barcelona first team. Spurs’s Messi is 17 and still waiting.
More BBC Transfer Balls as the State broadcaster tells readers to its website – and why doesn’t the BBC just publish a newspaper? – “Manchester United target Isco has hinted he may leave Real Madrid at the end of the season.”
With not a single fact to support its headline news, we follow a link to the Manchester Evening Post, which declares: “Manchester United get Isco boost as he explains Real Madrid situation.” What said the player who started one league match for Real last season? “If I’ve still only made a few appearances by the end of the season, I’ll look elsewhere,” says Isco. “At 24 years of age I have to right to better myself.”
Over on TalkSport that becomes: “Tottenham transfer news: Top target Isco admits he could leave Real Madrid if his situation doesn’t change.”
The Metro is less precise, saying all top-flight clubs are in for the players: “Isco puts Premier League clubs on red alert by revealing he could leave Real Madrid.”
Bournemouth, Hull and Swansea have heard Isco’s words and sounded the klaxon.
Is Isco really leaving Real? The Press hasn’t got the foggiest.
The Mail told us on October 6: “Real Madrid midfielder Isco ‘is primary transfer target for Juventus’.”
That followed the Express’s news of 19 Sep 2016: “JUVENTUS are not interested in signing Tottenham target Isco from Real Madrid.”
In June, El Confidential reported that Isco had agreed to join Manchester City 25 million euros.
In March, the Metro had other news: “Isco is a priority for Guardiola, with City now seemingly ready to beat the Gunners to his signature.”
They didn’t. Isco stayed at Real Madrid.
Time, then, to hear from the player himself. On October 5, Sky Sports told us: “Isco determined to fight for Real Madrid place under Zinedine Zidane.”
Asked by Marca if he considered an exit, Isco said: “Not really, I have two years left on my Real contract, the club said nothing and I never looked for anything to leave… In the end, if I’m not the star man with (Carlo) Ancelotti, (Rafa) Benitez or Zidane, I will not be foolish and look for problems where there are none. In the end, I’m responsible and that’s where I must improve. There are ups and downs and I won’t give up, I fight to the end and want to prove that I’m fit for Madrid.”
Turn the red alert off. He’s going nowhere.
Media balls: Spurs concede 6 goals all season, Chelsea beat Manchester United and Liverpool are pipped by Arsenal
Filling in the dull bits between transfer windows when the Daily Express’ clickbait bots can link Arsenal to every striker over 10 years of age, the ‘World’s Greatest Newspaper’ has created a Premier League predictor. Using the technical marvel of guessology and powerful maths, the Express makes some bold statements.
Bournemouth, Sunderland and Stoke are all relegated – Stoke scoring 6 times all season.
In the world of the Express, The Cherries are worse than Hull City – who are better than Southampton – and West Ham. Everton, who Bournemouth just beat 1-10, finish runners up. Chelsea finish above Manchester United.
Spurs finish third, conceding – get this – 3 goals.
Manchester City win the title.
Oh, yeah – Arsenal finish fourth, naturally. Even robots can be right some of the time.
Daily Express readers will be shocked to learn that Spurs and England player Dele Alli has signed a new deal at the London club. Alli’s new contract keeps him at Spurs until 2022.
This is at odds with the Express‘ reports of May 2016: “Real Madrid: Spanish giants plot summer swoop for Alli.”
One month earlier, the Sun told its readers: “Tottenham news: Dele Alli in sights of Real Madrid as transfer process begins.” The Sun said Madrid “mouthpiece” Marca had created “momentum which results in the club getting their man.”
Madrid never did bid for Alli,
Transfer Balls: In June, the Express told readers that Spurs and England player Eric Dier was being watch. “Carlo Ancelotti eyes Tottenham swoop,” thundered the headline. News was that the new Bayern Munich manager wanted Dier. “Bayern will have to mount a fight to prise Dier away from Spurs,” continued the story.
The Indy agreed: “Tottenham Hotspur braced for move for England midfielder this summer.”
The Sunday People said the German champions are putting together a dossier on Dier.
The Sun went further. “BAYERN WANT NEW BECKS,” it declared.
Tottenham midfielder has the nickname Becks and the attention of the German giants after his stunning free-kick
And so to today’s news: “Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier has signed a new five-year contract, which runs until 2021.”
Number of bids made for Dier over the summer: nil.
Such are the facts.
Football journalism finds its nadir in the Metro, which when not writing hundreds of clickbait articles every week, is making up its Team of the Week. This week’s team features Tottenham’s Danny Rose.
Spurs tonked Stoke last Saturday. And anyone who saw the match will have spotted Danny Rose… sat in the cheap seats nursing his injured hamstring.
The Metro’s analytical expert appraised his every move:
Tottenham are back! Or so it seems after a convincing 4-0 win over Stoke.
Rose was one of the many Spurs stars to finally hit their straps after a steady start to the campaign, contributing at both ends of the pitch to ensure the north Londoners came away with all three points.
Ben Davies was at left back.
Transfer balls: the BBC says Spurs and England striker Harry Kane is to be the subject of a bid from AC Milan. The Beeb says the Italians think Kane is worth 50m euros (£42.4m).
Corriere dello Sport says Napilo made moves for Kane in the summer, viewing Kane as the man to replace Gonzalo Higuain, who left for Juventus. Kane is praised heavily: “Powerful, fast and versatile, Kane is heir to Teddy Sheringham.”
He’s better than Sheringham? The former Millwall, Spurs and Man United striker admitted as much, saying: “He has more in his locker than I had. He can go forward.”
Corriere dello Sport also says Kane reminds AC Milan of a young Marco Van Basten.
Getting the new Marco Van Basten for less than Manchester City paid for Raheem Sterling would be a bargain. AC Milan will have to dig deeper, says the Mirror, which estimates, “The England striker would command a fee greater than the £75m.”
Of course, right now it’s all just chatter. After all, the Indy told us last March:
Manchester United transfer news: Jose Mourinho to make £60m Tottenham striker Harry Kane his top target. EXCLUSIVE: Tottenham striker seen by Portuguese manager as key to his plans – should he get the job at Old Trafford
Mourinho never did bid for Kane.
So Tottenham panicked and spent £30m on Moussa Sissoko from Newcastle, after matching Everton’s bid for the midfielder very late on deadline day. Newcastle had accepted Everton’s offer for the French player but could not agree personal terms. Spurs then snatched up the phone and signed the 27-year-old.
“I will give everything for you and the team. I hope we win a lot of games and titles,” Sissoko told Tottenham fans. This is, of course, the same Sissoko who told other fans in June: “…Arsenal is the club of my heart… The beautiful Arsenal.”
The Indy tells its readers “Why Mauricio Pochettino has decided to spend £30m on Moussa Sissoko”. Panic? No. The Indy says:
Spurs have been lacking pace in wide areas, and after missing out on Wilfried Zaha, Moussa Sissoko became the next big target to provide that
That’s Zaha, the pacy winger Spurs called the next Cristiano Ronaldo and bid £12million for? They didn’t get him so they bought Sissoko, the player who says of himself: “Everybody knows my best position is centre midfield.”
The Indy adds:
Sissoko may not be an obvious Pochettino player, given the worries about his application and consistency. But he proved at Euro 2016 that he can rise to the occasion, and it may well be that in a better environment, with a better coach and team-mates, that he would deliver more often.
Blame Newcastle, the manager and the team for not getting Sissoko to play better. Just don’t blame him.
Spurs have long admired Sissoko and his “box-to-box” playing style. The Mail reported in 2009:
Back then Spurs offered £15.5 million for Sissoko. They didn’t get him. In 2013, Newcastle signed him for £1.5m. They got relegated. And in the crazy world of football transfer Sissoko became worth £30m. Even he was mystified. “Newcastle are asking for 40m euros (approx £34m) for me to be transferred, he told L’Equipe Magazine. “Honestly, they are overdoing it, they bought me for barely €2m.”
Is he worth £30m? No.
This is how Sissoko was described by the Newcastle Chronicle in April:
It feels from the outside like Sissoko is a big part of the problems at United – head of a coterie of players who believe their own hype and are frequently guilty of playing like what they are: expensive mercenaries eyeing the next opportunity.
And by the Telegraph:
The problem – perhaps even the tragedy – is that Sissoko is also a shirker, a mercurial talent who has spent most of his time on Tyneside hiding behind the failings of others, content to go through the motions, only switching off his cruise control setting against the glamorous English clubs. Why? It hints at a bad mentality, poor motivation and a player whose self-interest and questionable desire could be harmful to the collective rather than beneficial.
Look out for Sissoko playing well against Manchester United, his beloved Arsenal and in the Champions’ League, which is his next shop window.
Transfer balls: Moussa Sissoko is on his way to Spurs from Newcastle. He’s been allowed to leave the France training camp at Clairefontaine to seek a new club.
Newcastle want £30m for him. Spurs are offering tuppence and an IOU. Well, not quite. Sky Sports says Newcastle will “accept five payments of £6m each for Moussa Sissoko”. The Guardian wonders, “Is it six payments of £5m each or, hang on, now it’s 15 payments of £2m each? Can we get to 30 million payments of a quid each before the midnight deadline?”
Or as Harry Redknapp tells Talksport: “If Newcastle are asking for £35million Daniel (Levy) will bid £5m.”
The paper adds that Chelsea are also talking with Sissoko.
As for Newcastle, for whom Sissoko still plays, the fans are unimpressed.
@NewcastleStats looks at Moussa Sissoko’s career:
15/16: 37 apps, 1 goal, 7 assists
14/15: 34 apps, 4 goals, 2 assists
13/14: 35 apps, 3 goals, 6 assists
People are saying Daniel Levy’s a genius for bidding £16m for Sissoko. He’s not. It’s the prices that are insane.
And finally Sissoko’s gone all Odemwinge:
Never mind. There’s always China.
Palace chairman Steve Parish says the offer is “ridiculous”.
The Mirror says Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke “admits he is desperate” for Zaha to remain at Palace. He is? What he said was: “I came to Palace because of the way that they play. Everyone knows Wilf’s ability on the ball and he helped us a lot when he came on. Of course we’d like him to stay. I’ve tried to convince him to stay, but that’s football.”
So not desperate, then, just answering a journalist’s question about a teammate and answering with no little diplomacy. Or as the Mail puts puts in hyperbolic terms: “Christian Benteke pleads with Wilfried Zaha to stay.”
Over in the Telegraph readers get “The curious case of Wilfried Zaha and a very weird transfer window”. We learn that Spurs manger “Mauricio Pochettino considers Zaha to have the potential of a Cristiano Ronaldo”.
Sam Wallace says Spurs are doing what Spurs do:
It should be said that his Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, wants to pay a Ronaldo-sized fee – although the fee in question is not the record-breaking £80 million Real Madrid paid in 2009. Rather it was the £12.25 million Manchester United paid Sporting Lisbon for the 18-year-old Ronaldo in 2003.
Was it just Levy doing what Levy does so well? That being, antagonising the competition with derisory bids for their best players while simultaneously demanding top dollar for Spurs’ own collection of waifs and strays? The early signs would suggest so.
So Levy wants a “bargain”. Don’t all clubs want that? Well, not Manchester United, obviously, who paid well over the odds for Paul Pogba. Wallace says if Levy were “serious” he’d start the bidding at £30m.
Maybe it’s all just a way for Zaha to get a fat raise?
Certainly Zaha, on around £40,000-a-week already, will get a new contract out of this wrangle, despite having four years left on his existing deal, which he signed last year when his move back from Manchester United was made permanent. Palace are one of many clubs who are now paying new signings such as Andros Townsend the kind of wages that they have never paid before, and if one talented, erratic winger can earn big money, then it is only a matter of time before the other talented, erratic winger wants the same.
Fair point. When Jamie Vardy’s agent offered his client to Arsenal, the Leicester City striker ended up getting a pay rise to stay at Leicester.
Andros Townsend’s wages at Palace are close to £80,000 a week.
Are Palace getting Zaha on the cheap?
Palace manager Alan Pardew is quoted in the Guardian:
“I’ll try and be as fair and honest as I can be with Wilf and try and take his game forward. I’ve worked so hard with him this year. I’ve probably spent more time with Wilf and [Yannick] Bolasie than with any other player at the training ground, and I’d like to think there’s been an improvement in both. One I’ve lost [to Everton]. I don’t intend to lose the other one, and the chairman’s feelings have obviously enhanced that.”
In September 2015, Bolasie signed a new deal at Palace that saw his wages double from around £20,000 a week to £40,000. At Everton he earns around £80,000-a-week, and very probably secured a percent of the signing-on fee.
“At the end of the day, sport is a business, and there are business decisions to be made. But I’ve been at other clubs where the business sometimes comes first. Here I generally feel we try and do it the right way, and we’re trying to help Wilf to become a better player. We think his ambitions to play for England can be realised here, and there’s no reason why that can’t happen.”
Pardew can’t guarantee that Zaha will get better, but Palace can guarantee one of their best players more money in an inflated market.
Transfer balls: Spurs are after Newcastle United’s Moussa Sissoko, or at least they fancy the version of the Magpies’ midfielder who played well for France at Euro 2016.
The BBC says “Tottenham may offer midfielder Nabil Bentaleb, 21” as part of any deal. Or they may not. Bentaleb ‘may’ have read the news on ESPN that he “will not be sold by Tottenham this summer”. Things are far from certain.
Have Spurs seen enough of Bentaleb, of whom the Mirror reported in 2014, “Tottenham’s Nabil Bentaleb: I’m getting my revenge on the clubs that snubbed me”? He’s now playing for the Tottenham Under 21s. Revenge is a dish best served cold.
As for Sissoko, well, he was once batting his eyelashes at Arsenal. Sky Sports reported in June: “Moussa Sissoko wants to leave Newcastle and join Arsenal.” Arsenal were on “red alert” said the Sun. Sissoko was very keen, cooing: “…Arsenal is the club of my heart… The beautiful Arsenal. We will see. I cannot tell you if I am going to go to Arsenal.”
We can. You’re not.
As Arsenal didn’t call, Sissoko looked again. “I hope Real will come for me, I’m still waiting,” Sissoko told World Football in August. “If Real Madrid are interested in you then of course you will be happy, but right now I am still a Newcastle player.”
But he’s off to PSG. We know that because the Mirror wrote: “Paris Saint-Germain preparing move for Moussa Sissoko – once Paul Pogba joins Manchester United.”
Such are the facts.
Football news: Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen thinks his current contract undervalues his talents. The Dane is seeking to extend his contract, which has two years left to run, by securing a 368.75% pay rise.
Eriksen earns a basic weekly wage of £32,000. The Telegraph says he is seeking £150,000 a week – much more than Spurs top earner Hugo Lloris’ 95,000 per week. This, says the paper, has “stunned” Spurs. Balls. Spurs is owned and run by money-men. They know the market rate for a very good footballer playing Champions’ League football. They also know that a good club should strive not have the best players but the best team.
Is Eriksen a key part of an improving Spurs side? Yes. Can he be replaced by a cheaper and better player? Yes, of course he can. The hard thing is identifying and signing that player.
Spurs also know Eriksen’s worth if he’s sold*. Should they cash in?
*Unless a marketing spod at Manchester United, a desperate club in thrall of commercial possibilities, thinks Eriksen can sell merchandise, then any fee can rocket (see Paul Pogba).
In September 2015 Eric Dier signed a contract that ties him to Spurs until 2020. Dier was signed from Sporting Lisbon in 2014 for a £4m fee. He’s become a mainstay of a dynamic Tottenham team and a key player for England. One site says Dier earns £60,000-a-week. Surely he can earn more at another club. And maybe – just maybe – if another club shows an interest in him he can negotiate a new contract?
Cue Neil Moxley in the Sunday People to report that Bayern Munich are looking Dier: “Backroom staff at the five-time European Cup winners have been making background checks on the England international during the last few days.” Background checks? His credit rating. Any criminal convictions or banning orders?
The Express has heard enough, yelling: Carlo Ancelotti eyes Tottenham swoop: Eric Dier in shock link to Bayern Munich.”
But what are the facts? There are none. But we do know that in April 2016, the Standard reported: “At this stage, Dier is simply a player Bayern will keep under observation.”
Is he ill? No. But he could earn a pay rise if he plays his cards right…
Why does Tottenham’s Harry Kane, the Premier League’s top goalscorer, take corners for England? Is the plan to have him bend one into the far corner? It seems utterly bizarre to have the side’s best finisher at the start of the move, marooned near the corner flag as the balls sails into the danger area.
Barney Ronay tells Guardian readers Kane taking corners makes “no sense”. Which of England’s opponents won’t be delighted to see Kane stuck out wide, preferring, surely, to battle in the box Wayne Rooney’s waning talents.
Kane has yet to score direct from a corner. Moreover, against Portugal this week he managed to pass directly to an opposition player. David Beckham he ain’t. Yet England manager Roy Hodgson says Kane is the “best man for delivery”. What does that say about the rest of the team’s aptitude with the dead ball? Says Roy: “I don’t need to apologise for Kane taking a corner, especially if you’ve got a player with his quality striking a ball and no one else in the team who comes up to that level of striking a ball.” It’s the same skill that makes Kane’s England’s best finisher.
What of the alternatives? James Milner took 116 corners for Liverpool last season. A big number. Most of them were functional or, as against Borussia Dortmund, weak. Everton’s Ross Barkley took 70 corners. Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand took 52. Kane took 7 for Spurs – and you can only envy Spurs for having Christian Eriksen, who hits the ball so sweetly. Rooney took five for Man United, the same number Raheem Sterling took for Man City.
Surely dropping Rooney for Sterling and honing the winger’s deadball abilities is one sensible move? But Hodgson sticks with his captain, which means Kane really is the best England man for the job – more’s the pity.