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Back pages | Anorak - Part 39

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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

Misleading headline of the day: Man City’s Bruyne at war with Arsenal’s Ozil

Kevin De Bruyne desperate to dethrone Mesut Ozil as King of the Prem assists

 

Misleading headline of the day is in The Sun, which brings news of Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Arsenal star Mesut Ozil. The headline thunders:

Kevin De Bruyne desperate to dethrone Mesut Ozil as King of the Prem assists

Desperate? What did he say when asked about assists?

“I know Ozil is leading. Last year I had 21. You can quickly get ten or 11 assists in half a season. You can sometimes have six and then seven matches with nothing, then a run. For me personally it does not matter.”

How did “it does not matter” become “desperate”.

Posted: 27th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports | Comment


Liverpool lose and Stoke remain ‘in the mix’ for League Cup final, say papers

Last night Liverpool FC reached the League Cup final after a penalty shoot-out with Stoke. Let’s see which newspapers went to print before the match finished.

 

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Stoke are in the mix. Stoke shaking it up. So reports the Daily Express and Daily Mail. In other news: Stoke lost.

 

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Posted: 27th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Manchester United v The Sun II: paper at club at odds of Van Gaal resignation

LVG quitsThe Sun says Manchester untied manager Louis Van Gaal offered to resign but the Man United board ordered him to stay.

But Manchester United says the Sun’s scoop is balls. On the BBC we read: “Sources have told BBC Sport no such conversation took place.”

But the Sun says it is “understood” the conversation did take place.

This is the second time in under a week the Sun has been contradicted by United. The paper reported that Man United’s reps had met Pep Guardiola at a Paris hotel. United said that was balls.

Either the Sun is writing nonsense, or else the club is lying.

And what, then, of the Mirror’s news?

 

Van Gaal sacked

 

This is not only a fight over Van Gaal’s future – it looks like United dealmaker Ed Woodward is fighting to save his job at United.

Posted: 26th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United: Van Gaal on the brink, Giggs gets the job, Mourinho promises the title

Following defeat to Southampton, Louis Van Gaal has let it be know that he’s “very disappointed” he is unable “to reach the expectations of the fans”. The Daily Mail (“GET Rid of LVG”), says those who pay Van Gaal are condidering ‘letting him go’.

The paper says United’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, has asked senior players what they think of the Dutchman. They told him of their problems with Van Gaal. They have “stopped responding”.

The Mail says Van Gaal’s end will spell promotion for Ryan Giggs. But Gigs wants the job on a long contract, not just to be an interim boss. Giggs is the “most likely choice”, readers are told.

Unless Jose Mourinho can get the job he craves. The Mail says the former Chelsea manager is “desperate” for the job. His agent has, reportedly, told United’s dealmakers Mourinho can win the title in his first season at Old Trafford. He did not add “or your money back!”

The Sun says it’s “GAAL OVER’. The paper says he’s “on the brink” of “quitting” United. For months the Sun’s being saying Van Gaal’s been on the brink. That brink is wide and generous.

The Mirror says Van Gaal “edges closer to ending the misery”. He has “dropped a quit hint”. He hasn’t.

Meanhwile, not one newspaper lead with a well cone to Southampton, who on  much smaller budget than United’s, won the game.

Posted: 25th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Jose Mourinho writes to Manchester United: ‘I love you… I can change’

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 28: A fan poses with a Manchester United scarf displaying the image and name of former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, outside the stadium before the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on December 28, 2015 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Jose Mourinho has written a “six-page love letter to United”, says the Independent.

Sadly, we don’t get to see any extracts from the former Chelsea manager’s love letter. We just get told how respectful Jose is to Louis Van Gaal, the current Man United boss. Which sounds a lot of utter balls when you realise the Dutchman’s contract runs until 2017.  If the letter exists, it is surely a pitch for the man’s job and with it his sacking.

The Indy notes:

Though many among the United hierarchy were more open to appointing the Portuguese than they were when Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, the former Chelsea manager’s camp were made aware that there was a still a considerable faction at the club opposed to hiring him. The reasons are thought to range from Mourinho’s regular controversies, his style of football and his failure to nurture young talent.

The Portuguese is well aware of this thinking, and that is why he took the decision to write a lengthy document, emphasising just how much he wants the job and how he would be willing to adapt his style to meet United’s principles. They have traditionally prided themselves on playing open, attacking football, and they have always set great store on developing their own young players.

In his submission Mourinho also presented a forensic analysis of this season’s team…

Is this PR dressed as a new story – dire off the missive, leak it to the Press and see what occurs? Look out for life-size cardboard cut-outs of Jose Mourinho in the Old Trafford stands.

And are United fans so desperate they want Mourinho, a man who delivers silverware but in a caustic style of management reliant on slash and burn-out? Is Jose so desperate to get one over on Chelsea, keen to show the club where he cemented his reputation and from where he was twice sacked that it wasn’t him, it was them? Could any Chelsea fan stand to be on the receiving end of his snark and sneer, to see him lead United to glory?

Mourinho’s agent  Jorge Mendes says the letter is nonsense, writing on his company’s website:

With regard to news published today in the British Press about Jose Mourinho, Jorge Mendes explained the following: “It does not occur to anyone that a coach like Jose Mourinho can write letters to clubs offering their services. It is absolutely ridiculous and totally absurd. “

Absurd. Ridiculous. But believable. This is Mourinho who once hid in a laundry basket. He wants that Man United job.

Posted: 24th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Chelsea top target is target Allegri (unless Pep Guardiola is)

Who is the top target for the Chelsea job? The papers haven’t a clue:

The Sun (Jan 22): “Chelsea have made Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri, 48, their top target to take over as manager next summer.” It’s news the Mirror reported in December.

Daily Express (Jan 14): “CHILE boss Jorge Sampaoli has handed Chelsea a major boost in their pursuit of him…”

Daily Star (Jan 10): “Guus Hiddink backs Pep Guardiola to be the next Chelsea boss.”

The Independent (Jan 7): “Pep Guardiola: Chelsea and Manchester City to fight for Pep…”

Daily Express (Jan 6): “CHELSEA have set their sights on Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone as their next permanent manager.”

Maybe Chelsea will just four mangers in one go and line them up, saving time looking for the next head coach between sackings.

 

 

Posted: 23rd, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Arsenal legend picks Mourinho over Wenger and four Manchester United players in Dream Team

Much is being made of former Arenal captain Patrick Vieira ‘s selection of Jose Mourinho to manage his dream XI. Arenal manager Arsène Wenger, who brought the player to English football, is overlooked. Vieira played under Mourinho at Inter Milan for 18 months – he played for Wenger for nine years.

“[Mourinho’s] the manager who had more influence on me, ” says Vieira. “Why? Because he was the one who impressed me most on his work ethic. He knew everything about the opposition, the strength, weakness. His detail was unbelievable; everything was so clear about what he wanted from each player. I don’t know what happened at Chelsea but he always got the best out of his players… Arsène is more concentrated on his own team. He gives freedom to players to express themselves. It’s a different style.”

Vieira is now carving out a career in management at Manchester City, attempting to prove his coaching potential with New York City FC, a Man City franchise. Arsenal never did come calling for their former captain. Is he bitter?

 

vieira dream team

 

These are his dream teams to play with and play against:

 

vieira dream team 1

 

 

Posted: 23rd, January 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Koeman jokes about managing Chelsea and the tabloids take it as fact

koemanTransfer balls: The Mirror leads with news that Southampton FC manager Ronald Koeman “wants Guus Hiddink to recommend him for the Chelsea job”. Readers are told: “Ronald Koeman has revealed he wants countryman Guus Hiddink to back him to be the next Chelsea manager.”

In 2014, Koeman joined Southampton on a three-year-deal. Is he really openly angling for the Chelsea job whilst coaching a rival club? He’s been talking on Dutch radio ahead of Southampton’s match with Manchester United, the club managed by fellow Dutchman Louis Van Gaal. The Mirror shares his words:

He remains keen to return to the top of the game and told Dutch radio: “It is certainly something that I always have at the back of my mind. “I always want to achieve the highest possible level. That has happened in Holland and that’s what I’d really like to achieve abroad.”

The Sun has the same news:

The Dutchman, 52, admitted a word from his fellow countryman Hiddink would work wonders to his cause of landing the job at Chelsea. Koeman told Dutch radio: “If Guus puts a good word in for me, that would be a big influence.”

One thing the papers don’t mention is that Koeman was joking when he spoke with Radio 538. You can hear it here.

Posted: 23rd, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment (1)


Manchester United v The Sun: Pep vanishes in Paris

Compare and contrast two of today’s stories on Manchester United an Pepe Guardiola:

pep united secret
And the, as reported by the Guardian:

Manchester United have denied reports that club officials met Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola in Paris last week to discuss the possibility of him replacing Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford. A report in France Football on Thursday claimed that the meeting with the Spaniard took place at the Hotel Bristol in the 8th arrondissement of the French capital last week. However, a United spokesman insisted there was no truth in the story.

Mentions of France Football in The Sun’s story: nil, although, like the Express, it does mention “reports in France” as the story’s source.

Either the Sun doesn’t check sources before it yells ‘Scoop!’ or else United are mistaken.

 

Posted: 22nd, January 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United move for Pep, block Van Gaal and have £45m for Stones

pep united secretManchester United have been talking to Pepe Guardiola, the football manager who will lead whichever club he coaches to ultimate glory. The Sun says Manchester United’s schmoozers met Pep at the “five-star Le Bristol hotel” in Paris. This was, we are told a “secret”.

It is also a “shock” to Manchester City who “convinced” Pep was on his way to their place. The paper suggests Pep is reluctant to reach an agreement with City because his current club, Bayern Munich, could meet them in the Champions League.

The Mirror leads with news that current Man United boss, Louis Van Gaal, is certain to leave the club in the summer. The United board have slapped him with a “transfer ban”. ll big deals are on the “back burner”. Odd because it was the Mirror that reported on December 31 2015, “Manchester United close in on £35m midfielder” and today yells: “John Stones ‘remains Louis van Gaal’s top target.” Van Gaal will bid £45m for Stones.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 22nd, January 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Arsenal top of list of clubs Pep Guadiola wants to manage

Former Times football editor Tony Evans tells the Evening Standard that Pep Guardiola wants to mange Arsenal.

Arsenal have the opportunity to acquire a coach with the potential to take the club into the next age of the game. Pep Guardiola is the sort of manager who can lift the Gunners to another level. He is young, suited to life in north London and keen to work in the Premier League…

Ever since he took that time off after Barca, he’s talked about clubs that attract him. It’s a very short shortlist and Arsenal are top of it.

The problem is, the position’s not open. It might just be a case of wrong place at wrong time, which is sad for you Gunners. He’d be a perfect fit. It does worry me there’s no plan for the succession at the Emirates

Pep is a great fit for Arsenal. But, then, so is Arsene Wenger.

In other Evening Standard news:

 

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Pep to Arsenal looks like nothing more than wishful thinking.

 

 

Posted: 21st, January 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: desperate Pato agrees Liverpool deal and signs for Chelsea as his price keeps on falling

Transfer balls: Chelsea have agreed to pay Corinthians £8m for 26-year-old striker Alexandre Pato, says the Daily Express. Is that a good price for a lightweight but talented player who has largely failed to live up the promise shown in his early carer at AC Milan? Judging by the Pato chatter over the last few months, £8m is a snip.

April 3, 2014: The Daily Mirror declares “Chelsea’s £40m Pato, deal –  Abramovich green-lights Chelsea’s £40m Pato deal.”

October 14, 2015, Metro says Alexandre Pato could be on his way to Arsenal or Spurs. A source is quoted: “…if a club comes in with an offer of €25m (18.5m), we will let him go.”

November 2015: Pato is worth £15m, says TalkSport – and he’d agreed to join Liverpool. He’s the new Luis Suarez – maybe:

 

Pato Chelsea

 

On January 10, the Independent said Pato was heading to Liverpool, albeit for £11m.

 

pato liverpool

 

And finally the Western Daily Press reaches a new low price: “Brazil star Alexandre Pato agrees £7 million deal with Chelsea.”

Corinthians are desperate to sell Pato. Give it a week and £8m will look overpriced.

Posted: 21st, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Misleading headline of the day: Wenger’s ‘exciting Arsenal transfer plans’

Exciting Arsenal

 

The Metro has some terrific transfer balls. The paper decalres: “Wenger gives exciting update on Arsenal transfer plans for next two weeks.”

The story runs:

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has refused to rule out making more signings this month – but says he expects a quiet end to the window…

Says Wenger:

“At the moment I expect our last ten days to be quiet.”

Excited much?

 

Posted: 21st, January 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages | Comment


Transfer balls: Liverpool open bidding for Alex Teixeira

Liverpool have made a move for a big-named signing. It’s Alex Teixeira. He plays for Shakhtar Donetsk. He scores lots of goals. He’s from Brazil.

The Guardian says Liverpool have made a £24.5million bid.

The Liverpool Echo says Liverpool can forget it because Shakhtar ‘value the player at around £38.5million.

What that means, of course, is that when an English club comes knocking the player’s foreign owners looks at the massive TV deal – every Premier League team next season is guaranteed about £95m just for taking part – and bumps up the price. That explains why the Daily Mail says Shakhtar are “willing to sell for £29m”; the Daily Mirror says Shakhtar want around £36m; and The Times says Shakhtar “value Teixeira at closer to £40m”.

They don’t know because the fee is because Shakhtar keep pulling the lever on the one-armed bandit.

Posted: 21st, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Arsenal earn more money on match day than every other club in Europe

Arsenal matchday

 

Arsenal raked in more cash from match-day activities last season than every other club in Europe. The Gunners took a whopping £101.6m, beating Real Madrid (#99.9m), Barcelona (#980m) and Manchester United (#87.8m).

Given that three other clubs directly behind Arsenal in the list of top earners all boast larger grounds, it’s clear that Arsenal are getting rich on having supporters willing to pay top whack for tickets and snacks.

 

Posted: 21st, January 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Money, Sports | Comment


Spurs go marching on as Leicester sacrifice Cup glory for league success

son FA Cup Spurs are on their way to Wembley! Well, if they can negotiate a deal to play at the national football stadium while their new ground is being built, then yes, they are. Before that they will play at least one more round in this season’s FA Cup, having seen off Leicester City in a replay earned via an iffy penalty when the team first met. The tabloids all lead with Spurs’ 0-2 win at Leicester.

The Sun  – “It was the Son wot won it” – hails Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son. His goal hit the net at 54mph. Good to know. No less interesting is the paper’s dire and ubiquitous “5 Things we learnt” column, in which a football writer is tasked with the dread job of making a list to fill a space. The first point is: “Tottenham’s reserve team was far better than  Leicester’s reserve team.” Not so. Of  the 14 Spurs player who took part in the match, 8 played against Leicester last weekend. Leicester called on 6 from 14. Neither side was at full-strength, but to call them reserve sides is wrong.

And what football writer worth their corn had to watch the match to “learn” that bigger, richer Spurs have more strength in depth than smaller, poorer Leicester?

When Spurs went 1-0 up, fist-choice striker Harry Kane came on. Only with Leicester 2-0 down did Claudio Ranieri, Leicester’s manager, send on top-scorer Jamie Vardy. Two Leicester City players – Demarai Gray and Ben Chilwell – were making their home debuts. Son’s fine goal was in part down to Chilwell’s failure to close him down. It’s pretty clear that Spurs manger, Mauricio Pochettino wanted it more.

Spurs march on. Leicester continue to be the season’s surprise package.

Posted: 21st, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comments (2)


Manchester United balls: Louis Van Gaal ‘Walks’

The Daily Mirror has news: Louis Van Gone – Old Trafford pressures force boss to consider his future.. he could walk a year before the end of his contract.”

 

Van gaal

 

This follows other Lois Van Gaal walking news:
walking van gaal

 

van gaal manchester united walk

 

And so to today’s walking Louis news:

Louis van Gaal is considering walking out on Manchester United this summer – a year before his contract expires… Sources in Holland claim the Dutchman’s family have become increasingly concerned at the heavy toll leading the Old Trafford giants is taking on the 64-year-old.

Sources in his homeland? If he goes, then what?

 

Van Gaal stepping down would leave the way clear for Jose Mourinho, sacked by Chelsea last month, to take over — the Special One is said to be willing to bide his time until the summer to land the Old Trafford gig.

Mourinho is “willing” be manager of the biggest club in British football. Feel the humility. Why United would go for Mourinho seems odd. Maybe thy plan to narrow the Old Trafford pitch?

 

Posted: 20th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Spurs make James Maddison the ‘new Dele Alli’ by bidding less than Arsenal

James-MaddisonTransfer Balls: No sooner have Tottenham Hotspur signed Dele Alli, 19, then they’re getting an second Dele Alli. The Times brings news: “Spurs make fresh bid for new Dele Alli.”

This new version of the old Alli is 19-year-old James Maddison, currently on Coventry City’s books. Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City, Southampton and Newcastle United are also in for him, we’re told. The Times says Spurs will offer Coventry £5m.

But the Mirror says Liverpool are “leading the chase” for his signature, although the Reds will probably just wait for Southampton to buy Maddison and then sign him from there.

The Metro says Arsenal also want Maddison and Coventry “could accept a £10m bid”.  The Express agrees, saying that £10m for the “wonderkid” is a fair price.

After so much speculation, we wonder how good he is? The Coventry Telegraph reported a few words from his manager Steven Pressley, back in 2014:

“James typifies what I want to see at this club,” he said. “After the game on Wednesday he was the last player out the dressing room, not because it took him longest to get changed but because he helped Andy Harvey collect the kit and clear up. That’s what it takes at this club – it takes everybody buying into what we are… “

He’s talented and hard-working. No wonder the big clubs want him.

Posted: 20th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Chelsea want Berahino who wants Spurs but will go to Newcastle

berahino spurs

 

It’s been a busy fee days of doing nothing for West Brom’s Saido Berahino. The Birmingham Mail says he’d play for Spurs or go “nowhere”.

A few days on and the London Evening Standard says Berahino is heading to Chelsea. The Blues are “favourites” to land the striker’s signature. The Daily Express says Berahino is off to Newcastle United. 

Spurs or nowhere? More like just anywhere.

Posted: 19th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Sports | Comment


Laughably biased Daily Express story calls BT Sport The Arsenal of TV

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 15.10.45

 

In “BT Sport’s winning duo: Hoddle and Hargreaves showing Sky are no longer the limit” the Daily Express’. The story on Liverpool’s 3-3 with Arsenal is written by Jim Holden. It contains the following:

BT! And there was something else which made this a memorable match – the superb coverage last Wednesday evening by BT Sport…

This was the night when they proved their live football broadcasting can be the equal of the brilliance for so long provided by Sky…

Instead of going to an advert break at just the wrong moment before the start of the game, they allowed us to hear The Kop singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. As anyone who has been to the ground knows, this is an integral part of matches at Anfield and it should always be conveyed to TV viewers….

…the radical decision by BT to have two analysts talking about the match alongside the commentator worked a treat….

Owen Hargreaves and Glenn Hoddle combined perfectly…

This H-men double act of Hoddle and Hargreaves will give the best of Sky a run for their money…

The use of World Cup Final referee Howard Webb to give instant verdicts on contentious or surprising decisions by the officials is another bonus from BT Sport…

You want more?

It takes time, and it has taken time, for a new TV station to develop its coverage and win the loyalty of viewers at home across the country. In my experience, that hurdle has now been jumped by BT Sport.

They are a serious player, much like Arsenal in this year’s Premier League title race…

Nowhere does it say that Holden has another gig:

 

BT Sport Daily Express

 

Back of the net!

 

Posted: 19th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Sports, Tabloids, TV & Radio | Comments (5)


Transfer balls: four Chelsea players in mass exodus is a blessing

It’s “cHELLsea” on the Sun’s backpage, the pun a natural fit between the fires of Hades and a football club in West London. “Chelsea are fearing an exodus of their biggest players this summer,” writes Rob Beasley in a story on the Blues’ “fab four”.

The “Fab Four” are  Eden Hazard, Diego Costa, Oscar and Thibaut Courtois. These four players have been unsettled by Chelsea’s failure to be closer to the cop of the table, we read. Should Chelsea fail to be better the Fabn Four will leave. Well so says a “source”, who opines: “Yes, they’re tied into deals but those contracts won’t stop rivals moving in at the end of the season. And they won’t stop our players considering their futures either. Contracts don’t count for a lot these days.”

Wise words that could be applied to pretty much every single footballer and every club. Rival clubs buy good players (see Chelsea’s Hazard, Costa, Courtois and Oscar – all bought by Chelsea from less wealthy clubs).

One way around this “fear” of a player exodus would be for Chelsea to develop their youth system so that players from it can progress into the first team, giving Chelsea player who actually care about the club’s fortunes.

 

Posted: 19th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Liverpool Balls: Brendan Rodgers and who gets the ‘final say’ on transfers

Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers tells us:

“Well…it was a group decision, really. It was certainly not something I would have the sole or final say on. It’s difficult really. When there is a list of players and the player that you want isn’t on that list, you have to take someone. You can’t have no players. If you haven’t got a left-back, if the left back that you want, for whatever reason, you can’t bring in, if there is a list of three or four, you are having to take the best on that group. It’s the model.”

Is that the same Brendan Rodgers who when Liverpool manager told Liverpool Echo on May 28 2014:

 

Liverpool Rodgers

 

“Obviously, I am involved heavily in the identification of the player,” Rodgers told the ECHO.

“The principle idea when I first came in was that like any manager you will have the first call on a player and the last call.

“That’s the call on whether he’s good enough to continue to look at and try to organise a deal and the last call to say yes or no.

“There is a big part that goes on in between. In modern football you need to trust other people to do the work. That’s something we do here and that’s why we have had the success we’ve had.

“The finer details of that are left to Ian who does a terrific job and our other guys in that field who will go through the contracts. I am aware of where the situation is at right the way through the process.

“We will never bring in a player here who the manager doesn’t want in. That’s a great credit to the owners and the other people at the club.

“We work very closely together – it’s worth stressing that. It’s key that we are very much one club.

“We are really preparing for next season. I’ve had some very good meetings with our recruitment team. We are very much together as one.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 18th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Manchester United can win league say every tabloid that wants Van Gaal sacked

When Liverpool play Manchester United the Press like to hype it as a meeting comparable to Spain’s El Clasico, the shimmering fixture between Real Madrid and Barcelona. It isn’t. It’s a match between a mid-table side (Liverpool) and also-rans (Manchester United) in an ordinary Premier League league. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp calls these big matches ‘the salt in the soup’. But the soup is horribly thin and over-priced.

In yesterday’s poor match, Manchester United took all three points thanks to a Wayne Rooney goal scored with United’s single shot on target. Rooney’s strike was the one moment of genuine skill in a game devoid of style, intensity, technique and excitement.

The tabloids all lead with news that the result is all that matters.

The Express: “VanTitle Drive – Rooney keeps United hopes alive”

Mirror: “Van Gaal: We are back in title race… and it’s all down to wayne goals”.

The Sun: “Roo Gotta Believe Us – We can still win title claims defiant LVG”

Daily Mail: “Roo in Title Charge – His goal puts United back in the frame”

A dull away win against a bang average Liverpool side and Manchester Untied can in the Premier League. Wow! And these are the same paper that a few weeks ago wanted LG sacked for being dull.

 

Posted: 18th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Toni Kroos rejoins Manchester United in clickbait cavalcade

Transfer balls spot this in the MetroReal Madrid are tying to sell Manchester United Toni Kroos, 26, to help them pay for Paris St-Germain striker Edinson Cavani, 28.

Regular readers will recall the tabloids telling them that Kroos joined United from Bayern Munich in May 2014.

 

Toni Kroos Man United

 

The trusty Metro said Man United has paid £20m for Kroos.

 

Kroos United

 

All total balls. Kroos joined Real for £20m on a six-year deal.

And so to today’s Metro scoop:

Real Madrid want Manchester United to spend £40.5million on the transfer of Toni Kroos so they can use the funds to sign Arsenal target Edinson Cavani.

Real bought Kroos for £20m. They want to get rid of him so are asking for over £40m. Eh?

The La Liga side are concerned that their transfer ban will leave them short in the striking department. Real president Florentino Perez wants to sign the Paris Saint-Germain striker but needs to raise funds to do so. And he is willing to let United buy Kroos to fund a deal, according to A Bola.

Over to A Bola we go. There we learn that Real’s top target is not Cavani – it’s Robert Lewandowski. Cavani is mentioned only by the writer behind the article as a player he’d like Real to sign. The report does mention Kroos. We learn that Manchester United have bid €53m for the German. The sources is cited as AS. We looked at AS. We can find no word on Kross to Man United. German newspaper Bild did pick up the story. It’s source is the The Telegraph, which heard the news of Kroos to Old Trafford on Fichajes. Its source is Ok Diario. That organ says Chelsea, Manchester United and PSG want to buy Kroos:
The three clubs showed to the representative of Kroos their willingness to engage in talks with Real Madrid at the end of the season and put on the table a negotiating offer of around €50m. The whites signed the world champion in the summer of 2014 for €25m. Kroos had only one year contract with Bayern and didn’t want to renew, so the price of his transfer was much lower than his actual market price.

No sources are cited. There are no quotes. No names. From that one report so many newspaper say Manchester United have bid over €50m for Kroos.

You have to wonder why when facing a two window transfer ban Real would sell one of their players, especially one on a long contract?

Posted: 17th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Liverpool and Arsenal compete to sign Iñaki Williams – La Liga’s fastest ever player

Liverpool are looking at Athletic Bilbao’s winger Iñaki Williams, 21. Any club can buy Williams if they can produce the €20m needed to activate his release clause. His current contract expires in June 2017.

Will Liverpool get him? The Guardian says Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid also fancy the player. Given that both Madrid clubs are facing a two-window transfer ban, either club could move fast.

The paper adds that Arsenal and Tottenham have also sent scouts to watch Williams. Keiran Gill of MailOnline says the Gunners like what they saw and are ready to spend £15 million on Williams, who has been clocked as the fastest player in La Liga, being recorded at 22.2 miles per hour in a league match last May. That’s 35.73 kph, putting Williams right up with Premier League flyers.

 

Fastest player in a PL match 2015-2016 Via

Fastest player in a PL match 2015-2016 Via

 

He’s quick. But is he any good?

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 15.57.53

 

 

Yes. He looks like the real deal. £15m for such a talent seems a little chap. Atletico want him to sign a new contract with a €100m release clause. Williams is on a reported £16,000-a-week at Atletico. At the very least he will use the interest in him to negotiate a hefty raise.

 

Posted: 16th, January 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment