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Premier League news. Stories from the newspapers and BBC sport – sports news from tabloids Daily Mail, Daily Express, Daily Star, the Guardian, Daily Mirror, the times, daily telegraph

Arsenal balls: Granit Xhaka to AC Milan and Cole Bassett flys in

When Ivan Gazidis, the hapless Arsenal chief executive tucked his “catalyst for change” into his Gridiron knickers and headed for another American-run project at AC Milan, we hoped he’d take a few unloved Arsenal player with him. And now comes news that unpopular Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka, 27, is looking for property in Italy ahead of his mooted transfer to AC Milan in January. Well, so says the Star.

Stripped of the Arsenal captaincy after an on-pitch hissy fit in which he told fans to “f**k off”, before offering an apology constructed around the kind of sympathetic back story Hollywood producers would appreciate.

In other news to thrill the Gooners, Arsenal have given a week-long trial to Colorado Rapids midfielder Cole Bassett. Yay Cole! Dude! Woo! The 18-year-old American could join the Gunners in January, says the Sun. The Mirror, predictably enough, labels young Cole a “wonder kid”. As do the Sun and the Mail. Why is he so wonderful? Well, he’s 18 and have a trial at Arsenal. What more proof do you need?

PS: you know who own the Colorado Rapids? Yeah, Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke. World domination cannot be far away.

Posted: 13th, November 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United: Solskjaer’s ‘Cultural reboot’ and other tosh

Don’t panic, Manchester United fans. News is that you’ll have Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the wheel for some time to come. The Norwegian, once sacked by Cardiff City, has been reassured that his future at United is safe, even if his side are murdered when they play their next match, which is against Liverpool.

Reports point to Solskjaer being given time to push the huge marketing machine that used to be football club into the big time. And in the new year the owners will give him four news players to polish the manager’s “cultural reboot”.

What does it all mean? Henry Winter tells Times readers:

The recruitment of Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace for £50 million was an extensive process, with United looking at hundreds of right backs around the world, taking input from their 32 scouts in more than 30 countries, with data on each player being analysed by 15 people.

And then after employing scores of experts to check out “hundreds’ of right backs, United bought for £50m the Crystal Palace right back who everyone was talking about because the Englishman had made third highest number of tackles in the Premier League.

Never mind the plodding football, just marvel at the mind-boggling science…

Posted: 10th, October 2019 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Mustafi is ready to leave Arsenal

Vilifying one footballer for a team’s poor performances is brutal. And Shkodran Mustafi hasn’t been all bad for Arsenal. Or maybe the take away from the The Sun’s Top Trumps-style compare and contrast with Manchester United’s £85m recruit Harry Maguire sheds light less on the German’s abilities than Maguire’s hugely inflated fee. Both played 31 games for their respective sides. Their record for last season is as follows – both players featured in 31 games for Arsenal and Leicester City, respectively:

  • Blocks – Maguire 18, Mustafi 17
  • Interceptions – Maguire 37, Mustafi 58
  • Tackles – Maguire 31, Mustafi 62
  • Tackles won – Maguire 17, Mustafi 45
  • Percentage of tackles won – Maguire 55%, Mustafi 73%
  • Clearances – Maguire 152, Mustafi 161
  • Headed clearances – Maguire 77, Mustafi 106
  • Aerial duels won – Maguire 118, Mustafi 123

A more telling stat is that Arsenal new-boy David, Luiz completed more successful passes per 90 minutes than Mustafi. When you’re playing the passing game, Mustafi’s slow, misplaced passes hinder the team. Arsenal are better without him.

A statement from his father and representative Kujtim Mustafi gives points to an imminent transfer: “Shkodran had a great time with Arsenal. We still have a contract for two years and can imagine to stay in London. However the best for both sides is probably to work on a transfer. But for that it also needs market-driven transfer-fees.”

Arsenal may care to present the Sun’s findings in their sales package. And if the buying club only looks at those stats and not his tendency to wander out of position and lump the ball to no-one in particular, Mustafi could go for a fortune.

Posted: 24th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal to flog Shkodran Mustafi to Roma for £23m and a year of relief

Arsenal are fighting to keep hold of their brilliant Germany international defender Shkodran Mustafi, 27. Roma want to take the brutally underpaid player (£90,000 a week) on a year-long loan with the obligation to buy for ja ridiculously low fee of just – JUST! – £23m. (How’s that Josh Kroenke, any good? The over-priced big lummox has been stinking up the place for ages.)

The better new for Arsenal is that Josh will splash the dosh this January in the hope to improve the squad reeling from Mustafi’s departure (ok – enough, already – ed).

“As for January,” says Josh, “I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. We’ve got to evaluate some things in the short term and figure out where we might need to address going forward, so when January does roll around we’re going to be proactive again.”

A vast and fast centre-back, Josh, and a Patrick Vieira clone in midfield.

Posted: 20th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Alderweireld rockets down

The BBC says Tottenham’s Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld, 30, will leave on a free transfer at the season’s end. The Sun backs up this news. That’s the same Sun which told readers that the player’s transfer value had “rocketed” when no club took the offer to recruit him for £25m, per the terms of his release clause, now expired. It didn’t. Spurs will not try to get all they can for the player.

Posted: 14th, August 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal : £60m plus Emile Smith Rowe for Upamecano; Mustafi on his way

Arsenal Upamecano deal

Having damned Arsenal as “skint”, the Sun now bills them as “DESPERATE” in reaction to the Gunners’ £65m bid of Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano. You may recall when Arsenal had a “derisory” £40m to spend this summer. That was before they lashed out around £100m on Saliba, Pepe and Martinelli. And now there’s very big money move for France’s Upamecano. And they might well get him.

Arsenal
From ‘Skint’ to ‘Desparate’ in £150m

The German side want £90m for their man. But they’re willing to take £60m plus Arsenal tyro Emile Smith Rowe, either on a permanent deal or long loan. The 19-year-old is valued at £20m. He spent part of last season at the Bundesliga side, although injury hampered his performance.

Arsenal should have the money if they can get shot of the irksome Shkodran Mustafi before the European transfer window shuts. Monaco are keen and willing to meet the Gunners’ £27m asking price. The French club can recruit Mustafi up to the September 2 deadline. Arsenal hope that having got shot of Laurent Koscielny to a retirement village in France and with Carl Jenkinson eyeing a move to Notts Forest, that dire defence will finally get the revamp in needs.

Failing that – and the smart money is on Arsenal getting their man – the Gunners will move for Juventus benchwarmer Daniele Rugani. The Italians have rejected Arsenal’s offer the loan deal, preferring to sell the not-all-that-quick Rugani. Arsenal remain keen on Celtic’s Kieran Tierney.

Posted: 7th, August 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Talking balls: Manchester United mix up and Arsenal’s Pepe not African

Daily Star fail

Tip-top reporting from the Daily Star, which manages to illustrate a story on Romelu Lukaku with a pen pic of his Manchester United teammate Paul Pogba. It also hails Arsenal’s new player the “France winger” Nicolas Pepe. He plays for the Ivory Coast, which isn’t in France. S

Oh, and Pogba hasn’t been left out of the United squad in Norway. He’s on the bench:

Such are the facts.

Posted: 30th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Spurs will get nothing for Alderweireld; Manchester United wait

Transfer Balls: No club bid the £25m that would have triggered Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld’s transfer from Spurs. The Sun reasons that because the deadline for that “bargain of the summer” (Telegraph) expires at midnight tonight, the Belgian’s value “has increased dramatically”. Alderweireld is now in the final year of his contract with Spurs. In June 2020 he can leave for free and pocket all that extra cash in a signing-on bonus and wages. The player has already rejected a long-term deal to remain at Spurs. He’s 30. The next move will be his last chance to maximise his earnings.

The Sun thinks he’s now worth, well, what: £50m? £70m? More? Alderweireld earns around £80,000 per week at Spurs. He can earn much more than that a top club. And with no transfer fee, he’ll surely get it. 442 reasons “the club will be delighted” that their “Rolls Royce” of a player hasn’t left for a low sum of £25m – low given that Aston Villa paid over £20m for Bournemouth lummox Tyrone Mings.

Manchester United wanted him last year but cooled their interest. Roma wanted him this summer but thought the £25m fee too high. So Spurs are stuck with an ageing player in the final year of his contract. Where’s the win?

Posted: 26th, July 2019 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Chelsea may not outbid Everton for Arsenal fan Zaha

ZAha to Chelsea
One newspaper’s rumour is the other newspapers’ fact

Chelsea are “plotting” to invest £60m in Wilfred Zaha. Arsenal and Everton have been quoted £80m for the Crystal Palace player. But the Sun says so long as Zaha is prepared to wait a year, once their transfer ban is spent they will offer £60m for him next summer. As “plots” go that ones replete with all the cunning of Jeremy Corbyn’s prized marrow.

The Telegraph adds: “Exclusive: Everton want Wilfried Zaha and are willing to pay £60m plus Cenk Tosun but fear missing out to Chelsea.” Not a word on missing out to Arsenal, the club Zaha wants to play for now. The story is utter bunkum. Get this: “With Arsenal currently struggling to come up with the funds to match Palace’s £80m valuation, Chelsea may see an opportunity to offer a deal that could suit all parties.” Or they may not.

Posted: 26th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Zaha to Everton, Everton to Arsenal, Dyabla to Spurs

Everton fans must be thrilled. With £80m to spend on new talent, the Toffees are after Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha – the player who supports the Arsenal, loves the Arsenal and wants to play for the Arsenal. Compared to the £80m Manchester United want to spunk on Harry Maguire, Zaha for the same fee looks like good value.

One other issue for Everton is that their midfield tyro Idrissa Gueye is off to Paris Saint-Germain for around £30m.

As Arsenal faff about and hope Palace get desperate as the August 8 transfer deadline approaches and sell Zaha to them for some buttons, promises and a Carl Jenkinson – or buy Brazil’s Everton for £30m – Spurs make plans. Like Manchester United and Bayern Munich, they’re after Paulo Dybala, the Juventus striker. And like Maguire and Zaha, he too is in the draw marked ‘£80m’.

Meanwhile, back on planet earth away from hot football flesh, it’s boiling.

Posted: 25th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: £60m is more than £65m as Spurs beat Manchester United to Giovani Lo Celso

Transfer Balls hears the rumours that Spurs want to sign Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso. The tabloids are confused as to his value and what Spurs are willing to pay:

“Tottenham are refusing to pay £60million for Real Betis’ Giovani Lo Celso” – The Sun

“Spurs are set to smash their transfer record for a second time this summer as they finally step up their interest in £70million-rated midfielder Giovani Lo Celso” – Daily Mirror

The Mirror says Spurs are “desperate to land Lo Celso after shattering Tottenham’s transfer record to sign Tanguy Ndombele for £65million”. But the Sun says they’re not all that desperate for the player who flopped at PSG and won’t pay over £60m.

Giovani Lo Celso transfer

The tabloids don’t have the foggiest. The Mirror (prop. Reach plc) says Spurs will get their man – it’s a sure thing. But Football.London (prop Reach plc) says Lo Celso could be off to Manchester United.

Such are the fatcs.

Posted: 19th, July 2019 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Zaha to Everton clickbait or slowly to Arsenal

The Liverpool Echo says there is an increased chance of Wilf Zaha joining Everton. There is also an increased chance of Zaha joining Wrexham or your local pub side. The Echo’s story is based on news that the player has told Crystal Palace he wants to leave the club. And if your side has anything from £80m (BBC) to £120m (Sun) lying about the place, they can buy him. So the Liverpool Echo seduces Everton fans with a headline based on a muon of truth.

Sky Sports says Arsenal, who’ve already seen a £40m bid for Zaha fail, are “expected to raise their offer in the coming days”. To what sum is unknown, but rumours are that they’re holding a car boot sale next Sunday and Carl Jenkinson, Calum Chambers, Mo Elneny and that bloke who used to walk about the North bank shouting ”Eanuts” are being pushed into the hatchback.

Posted: 19th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: The Arsenal ‘ace’ to replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka might be a joker

CArl Jenkinson Crystal Palace
‘ACE’

Transfer Balls likes to spot clickbait – and the Daily Star’s news that an Arsenal “ace” is to replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka at Crystal Palace is a cracker. Wan-Bissaka is now at Manchester United, which means Palace are in search of a replacement right-back. Step forward the “Arsenal ace”. No, not Hector Bellerin. It’s Carl Jenkinson – the same Carl Jenskinson who was hooked off at half-time when Arsenal last played Palace, having made “the sort of errors you would not expect to see in the third or fourth tier”.

Maybe the “ace” can be worth the £40 million Arenal need to take Wilfried Zaha from Palace to Arsenal? Maybe. The Sun says, “Eagles boss Roy Hodgson has always been a fan of the defender and even gave him his England debut against Sweden in 2012.” It might happen…

Posted: 18th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Matthijs De Ligt joins Juventus but ‘agreed’ terms with PSG and Manchester United

Dutch defender Matthijs De Ligt has joined Juventus from Ajax for £67.5m. That must come as something of a shock to Manchester United and PSG fans because on July 6, the Sun bellowed: “Man Utd and PSG ‘agree transfer fees with Ajax for Matthijs De Ligt.” That news followed the Express’s July 5 scoop: “Barcelona transfer news LIVE: Matthijs de Ligt AGREEMENT in place.” Also on July 5, the Daily Star told its readers: “Man Utd and Ajax come to agreement over Matthijs de Ligt transfer.” The Daily Mirror agreed.

The Google News bots picked up the balls:

Matthijs De Ligt
Matthijs De Ligt
Matthijs De Ligt
Matthijs De Ligt

More clickbait every day…

Posted: 18th, July 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer Balls: Arsenal sign William Saliba, Everton medical, Cabellos close and Zaha is for sale

The Sun says the deal is done: William Saliba has joined Arsenal. But he won’t kiss the badge until 2020. The Gunners have paid £27m for the 18-year-old and allowed him to spend the season at Saint-Etienne. This suits Arsenal because the fee is being paid in instalments.

“Hi @arsenal loving the away new kit,” quips one Gooner on Twitter. “I’d like a Medium Men’s. I’ll pay £5 now. £5 on delivery and £40 based on bonuses and appearances.”

In other Gunners, news, the BBC says they are “very close” to securing Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos 22, on loan. The Spanish central midfielder was voted player of the tournament at the Under-21 European Championships.

It’s also widely reported that Arsenal have signed Gremio winger Everton for £36m. Apparently he’s having his medical in Brazil. Which leaves the club’s interest in Wilf Zaha where? “I don’t think Arsenal have actually made a bid that has come anywhere near our valuation,” Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson told Sky Sports. “I’m sure the player realises that if someone’s going to take him away from us, he’ll expect clubs to pay the market value. Until someone does that, there’s not much to discuss regarding Wilf.”

In other words, Zaha is for sale. If Arsenal can get him on the the drip, he could yet arrive at The Emirates.

Posted: 18th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Bale ‘agrees’ Manchester United terms and ‘agrees’ Spurs return; plays for Real Madrid

The latest transfer balls has Spurs buying Gareth Bale from Real Madrid for £55m and somehow managing to finance his £600,000-a-week wages. The 30-year-old player’s agent declined to go on talkSPORT to discuss his client but said of the Spurs rumours: “I don’t comment on rubbish.” Having thus offered a loud comment, Manchester United fans can wonder what happened to their target?

Bale spotted in Manchester; Lord Lucan sighted in Norwich

And as for Bale returning to Spurs, well, Daily Express readers know that he rejoined the club last summer:

Such are the facts.

Posted: 16th, July 2019 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Malcom to Arsenal (again), Pepe to Everton and Newcastle to Championship

A year or so ago, Arsenal, Manchester United, Spurs and Fulham were competing hard to invest £45m in Malcom, a raw Brazilian winger playing for Bordeaux. Roma were “on the verge of signing” him (BBC). And then he joined Barcelona for £36.5m. One year on and the talent is not wanted by the Spaniards and worth £31m, the sum Everton have bid.

Barcelona want to resign Neymar. They need to offload Malcom because regulations in Spain mean that each team is only allowed to register three non-EU players. Barcelona have Arturo Vidal, Arthur and Malcom. Neymar makes four.

Apparently Arsenal now want Malcom to wait and see if Louis Zaha hands in a transfer request at Crystal Palace. Or if Palace accept Arsenal’s new offer of £40m plus Calum Chambers, Mohamed Elneny and Carl Jenkinson. How flattered Malcolm must be to know that his future rests on Jenkinson’s slim shoulders.

Everton fans can just to see if an Arsenal reject will join them for a big transfer fee – and if he’s joined by former Chelsea irritant Diego Costa, now stinking the place up at Atletico Madrid. Or Everton will spend £58.5m on Lille’s Nicolas Pepe, the 24-year-old Ivory Coast forward – unless Liverpool, who also want him, get there first.

As Everton fans wonder if their revolution is based more on cash than substance and Gooners try to work out where all the money has gone, all clubs can look down on Newcastle United. The Magpies have asked Sam Allardyce to mange them. And he’s turned them down. Your club might be struggling but at least it’s not Newcastle.

Posted: 11th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Manchester United transfer balls: Paul Pogba yo-yos between homes

Whoever takes the penalties for Juventus had best watch out: the Turin club is preparing a £120m bid for Manchester United’s 26-year-old France midfielder Paul Pogba. United should bit their hand off at the shoulder.

Juventus know what to expect from their former player – which makes you wonder how they think he’s worth such a vast sum of money. Having retuned “home” to United – his word for rejoining the club he left for Juventus in 2012 – Pogba told us in 2016, when his then world-record £89m transfer to United was completed, that “the time is right to go back to Old Trafford… This is the right club for me to achieve everything I hope to.”

The collaboration with Kanye West on a range of leather shorts and a starring role in Game of Thrones were surely near the top of the list of Pogba’s hopes. The football was okay in parts (those penalties taken in the style of a dressage pony) and less ok in others.

The tosh that heralded Pogba’s return to Old Trafford was not confined to Pogba Inc. BBC pundit Danny Murphy told us that “with their summer signings and with Jose Mourinho in charge, United will soon have their old fear factor back.While Pogba has arrived, I do not see Juan Mata being at Old Trafford for too much longer.”

Mata has just extended his United contract by a further three years. Pogba has been telling his United teammates he’s ready to leave. Presumably it’s the ‘right time’ to embark on another marketing project.

The Times says United want Pogba to be the pivot for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s new team. Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola says he is “in the process” of arranging a transfer for Pogba. “Everyone within the club from the manager to the owner knows Paul’s wishes. Everyone knows the willingness of Paul to move on. We are in the process of that. Everyone knows what the feelings of Paul are,” said Raiola.

And for the right fee, you can feel the love.

Posted: 8th, July 2019 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: the £76m transfer kitty

How skint is skint? The Sun tells readers Arsenal are “skint” because they have “just” £40m to spend on new players this summer. The Bleacher Report and others agree: Arsenal are “skint”.

A few days on and the BBC tells its readers: “The Gunners have up to £70m available as they prepare to make a second bid for Zaha.”

Arsenal transfers
Arsenal skint

A click over the the Sky Sports scoop reveals: “Arsenal have up to £70m available to make an improved bid for Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha, Kaveh Solhekol told The Transfer Show.”

Kaveh…who? He’s a reporter on Sky Sports. And he “believes” Arsenal can afford to spend £70m on Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha. Add the £6m the Gunners recently forked out for Gabriel Martinelli and the Gunners transfer kitty swells to £76m.

As we try to fathom the numbers – and work out on what planet or gated community £40m quid to spend means you’re “skint” – The Bleacher Report tells us that Arsenal have “nothing”:

Arsenal have “no money” None. Not a bean. Or maybe they have £76m. It all depends which sofa you’re looking under for change.

Posted: 4th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal Transfer Balls: Monreal lies and corrections

Arsenal transfer news

On the Sun’s transfer news page for Arsenal, readers see the headline: “Monreal CONTRACT TERMINATED.”

Nacho Monteal has been sacked? What did he do. The hard-working Spaniard has never been a problem at Arsenal. To be sacked he must have done something incredible. Monreal contract runs until the end of the 2019/20 season. Arsenal would surely prefer to sell him. So you click on the headline and get told:

Arsenal transfer news

The Sun says there is “nothing in reports that Nacho Monreal has left Arsenal”. Reports like – yep – the Sun’s reports “Monreal Contract TERMINATED”. Which for those of hard of understanding appears in capital letters at the top of a story saying it’s nonsense.

Not that the Sun is alone in this tosh. Football.London and The Daily Record have the same owners.

As the Sun says: “confusion reigns.” And bullshit.com thrives.

Posted: 3rd, July 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Raheem Sterling’s ‘stolen’ ghost hat-trick: Manchester City beat Watford

raheem sterling fa cup final

The BBC’s report on the FA Cup final hype between Manchester City and Watford at Wembley makes for odd reading. The BBC’s voracious website tells us that City’s England striker Raheem Sterling scored a hat trick and didn’t score a hat-trick. Phil McNulty was there:

He writes:

Raheem Sterling scored the first FA Cup final hat-trick since 1953 as Manchester City rounded off an outstanding season by crushing Watford at Wembley to clinch a historic domestic treble.

Two goals is not a hat-trick. Three is.

McNulty continues:

City’s second goal in the 38th minute was scored by Gabriel Jesus. The Football Association says Sterling is NOT the first scorer of an FA Cup final hat-trick since 1953. He did, however, make sure Gabriel Jesus’s strike hit the net.

And before Sterling is hammered in the Press:

Raheem never did claim the second goal. He was just joyously ramming it home. He responded to media chat about his hat-trick: ‘You’re bantering me. That’s sh*t from me then… poor from me! I didn’t mean to do it. I’m sorry.” He did not “steal” a goal.

Posted: 18th, May 2019 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports | Comment


What racism? Raheem Sterling becomes the tabloids’ role model

Raheem Sterling the sun

In a tribute to Jadon Sancho, the England and Borussia Dortmund winger, the Sun’s Martin Blackburn says Raheem Sterling might be “something of a role model” to the tyro. Writing in the Times, Henry Winter calls Sterling “a role model in a divided land crying out for them”. Watford’s Troy Deeney has no truck with footballers being pitched as role models to strangers, arguing that he’s a role model only to his kids. But this isn’t about Sterling’s talents, which are considerable, but how the press portrays him. And the Sun has changed tact.

Winter has called out the media’s bias towards Sterling, an intelligent, driven young black athlete on the receiving end of some monocular reporting. And the Sun has been accused of treating Sterling unfairly.

raheem sterling drugs
Story about drugs: Nothing to do with Raheem Sterling
Young man from working-class background buys house!
raheem sterling tattoo gun
Sterling gets a tribute to his late father – it’s an anti-gun tattoo
raheem sterling the sun
And the Sun’s Star letter is… GET STERLING!
raheem sterling m16 tattoo
Raheem and his part in the Vietnam War

Today the BBC reports the words of Spurs and England full-back Danny Rose, who says players were “over the moon” to see Raheem Sterling criticise the media’s portrayal of black players and says the winger was “spot on”. Sterling opined that newspapers helped “fuel racism” by the way they portray young black footballers.

“Raheem was only saying what we all say in the dressing room,” said Rose, 28.”It’s sad really but he’s 100% spot on with what he said… The stick he used to get from the media was bang out of order. When he put the [Instagram] post up about the media we were all over the moon with that because we all agree. Fair play to Raheem… One of the few positive things about social media now is you have a voice and you can influence people. Now it’s not just boys in the dressing room talking about the media targeting Raheem, the general public have now seen it. We hope it changes but it doesn’t affect Raheem in any way, which we are all grateful for.”

I’ve no interest in a footballer being a role model. I just want them to be brilliant and give their all when playing for my team and rubbish in a rival club’s shirt. Does what Wayne Rooney or Raheem Sterling do in their downtime fill a gap in your parenting skills? Simon Barnes summed it up well in The Times: “Football itself is neither disgusting nor admirable. It’s just a game, it doesn’t have any pretensions to be a moral force, for good or evil. That’s not its job.” Stop holding footballers up as an example to the slack-jawed masses, and stop making examples of them.

Next week: why aren’t MPs role models?

Posted: 20th, March 2019 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Monchi agrees Arsenal move and joins Seville

On February 25 this year, the Daily Mirror reported: “Arsenal transfer news: Monchi ‘agrees deal’ to become Gunners sporting director.” Yesterday, Ramon Rodriguez Verdejo, better known as ‘Monchi’ and blessed with the looks of a detective in the Obscene Publications Squad, started work in his new job at Sevilla.

What happened? Well, the Mirror’s scoop was based on an article in Il Messaggero, which said Arsenal had agreed to pay the “£2million” needed to activate the buy-out clause in his Roma contract. The odd bit is that the Italian website reports two days after the Mirror’s story – and this through Google Translate:

Evening Standard publishes today, Rome would have already resigned itself to salute Monchi. The current Giallorossi ds seems destined to reach Arsenal, one of the most glorious English clubs. The London newspaper notes that Monchi could even leave the Capital in advance, if the ‘Gunners’ pay a termination clause of around 3 million.

To the Standard, then, to read on February 26:

Roma are increasingly resigned to the departure of sporting director Monchi, with Arsenal a leading contender to hire him in the summer…

Monchi has been at Roma since 2017 and his contract, which has two more years to run, is thought to contain a release clause of around £2.6million.

Nothing agreed at all. And the fee is an issue. But one day earlier talkSport said it was a done deal – just look at the URL:

And on March 8, the Sun told us:

Monchi arsenal

Today the BBC reports: “Monchi will return to La Liga club Sevilla as sporting director, ending reported links with Arsenal.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 17th, March 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Zidane to Real Madrid, but Spurs boss on shortlist

The big football news on the BBC’s website is that Zinedine Zidane “is set to return as Real Madrid manager just 10 months after leaving the Spanish giants”. Wowzer! That fact amplified by the Beeb is “according to European football expert Guillem Balague”. That would be the same Balague who has also told us: 

“Real have shortlisted the Spurs boss to take over at the Bernabeu, according to Guillem Balague” – – Sky

Alvaro Morata was signing for Arsenal. He joined Chelsea and now plays in Madrid.

Santi Cazorla was on his way to join Atletico Madrid. He joined Villarreal.

Juan Mata was joining Liverpool. Mata remains at Manchester United.

Cristiano Ronaldo was returning to Manchester United. He left Real Madrid for Juventus.

He also told us: “Real have shortlisted the Spurs boss to take over at the Bernabeu.”

I read it on the BBC

Undaunted by circumspection, the BBC continues: “The Frenchman will replace Santiago Solari, who was in charge for less than five months.”

He will? Maybe…

PS: Why is the BBC treating guesswork as fact? Guillem Balague hosts BBC Radio 5 Live’s Football Daily podcast Euro edition.

Posted: 11th, March 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Chelsea balls: Sarri not sacked (day 236)

sarri sack mirror

If you get your news from the Daily Mirror, the shocking realisation is that Maurizio Sarri is still the Chelsea manager. He was not sacked when Chelsea lost the Carabao Cup final to Manchester City. (The Mirror has form with predictions – see here.)

Sarri Mirror chelsea

But clickbait is as clickbait does, and the Mirror today reports that Sarri has dropped the “biggest hint yet he WILL be Chelsea manager next season”. What tosh. He signed a a three-year deal to mange Chelsea in July 2018. But that’s more of a fact than a hint. If you want clicks, you need to conjure ‘hints’ and ‘five things we noticed’ and all manner of other drivel from football. So a few weeks after telling readers Sarri was getting sacked, the paper reports: “Two weeks after the Chelsea axe seemed set to fall on their new boss Sarri, he is now plotting their future.”

He never did stop plotting their future. It’s his job.

Posted: 7th, March 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment