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 need a winger. No great news there. The team are narrower than a Guardian columnist’s politics. But who will the wide man be? The Sun says it’s Barcelona’s Brazilian forward Malcom, 21. He only joined the Spanish club from Bordeaux in July 2018, agreeing a five-year contract for a transfer fee of around €41million.
Scouted heavily by Liverpool and Spurs before he opted for Barca, Malcolm was described as a player with “no inflated ego, no excuses – just a burning desire to win at all cost”. He sounds a dream. But his time at Barcelona has been stop-start. And now Barcelona are very keen to offload him. Earlier this month, Chelsea rejected Barcelona’s bid of Malcom plus cash for Willian.
So it’s Malcom to Arsenal, then. Or maybe Arsenal will get Inter Milan’s Croatia attacker Ivan Perisic, 29? Arsenal want Perisic on loan with a £35m option to buy. He’s a cracking player. The BBC says he’s open to leaving the San Siro. Adding: “It is understood Inter would be prepared to do business for between £35m-£40m.” Maybe Arenal will entice Inter into a deal by lobbing them Mesut Ozil and subsiding some of the German’s gargantuan wages?
Also heading to the Gunners – maybe – are Barcelona’s Denis Suarez and Christopher Nkunku of Paris St-German.
As for a defender, well, Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin, Laurent Koscielny and Sokratis Papadopoulos are all injured. But now matter: Carl Jenkinson is available. The best form of defence at Arsenal is to attack.
The story of Gonzalo Higuain’s transfer to Arsenal as told by the Sun continues to top our list of Transfer Balls, our look at dire reporting presented as fact. But coming up hard on the rails is the tabloid story of Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong’s move to Manchester City. The player has just singed a five-year contract with Barcelona, which should be a shock to any fans who get their news in the Sun, the Daily Mirror and the BBC:
The 21-year-old Holland international was interesting Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. But yesterday Barcelona’s Twitter account oozed: “A new artist is coming next summer.” The fee: €75m.
“With the arrival of Frenkie De Jong we add talent, youth and Barça style [aka Akax redux] to our sporting project,” said the club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu. “We are convinced that he will be a key part of our team for years to come.” Comment from Manchester City comes there none.
The less he plays the better he gets. News is that Liverpool have joined Bayern Munich in the chase for Chelsea and England youth winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, 18.
Bild says Hudson-Odoi’s brother and advisor has met with Liverpool representatives. The club’s manager, Jürgen Klopp, likes the player whose Chelsea contract expires in 2020. The German paper adds that Chelsea are moving heaven and earth to keep their man, offering him more money and playing him for a whole ten minutes as they went down 2-0 at Arsenal. It might not be enough.
Having introduced a player apparently worth over £30m to Chelsea fans in dribs and drabs, the Blues are keen to insert a buy-back clause in any deal. Chelsea want to avoid making the kind of mistakes that saw them miss out on Romelu Lukaku when their former striker joined Manchester United. Although how big of a miss that was is debatable.
In today’s 2-0 win for a hard-working Arsenal side over a limited Chelsea, Gunners defender Hector Bellerin was injured. Something happened to his knee. There was no blood. No broken bones. No flesh let on the turf. But to the Sun it was a “horror injury”. How bad was it? Well, the paper wants you to look, oozing: “BELL TOLLS – Watch moment Bellerin suffers horror leg injury before being carried off in tears during Arsenal’s win over Chelsea.” Ghoulish? Yep. But anyone hoping for gore will be sadly disappointed.
After watching a short video of Bellerin falling over – the film topped by an advert for Ibis Hotels (check out those brand values, lads) – readers are told Bellerin was stretchered off “after appearing to suffer a horror leg injury”. Adding: “Replays seemed to show a ligament next to his left knee SNAP.” They did? Maybe. Maybe not. The paper then opines: “Gunners boss Unai Emery will be hoping Bellerin’s injury is not too serious.” He can hope all he likes; the Sun has spoken: it was a “horror injury”. If Emery doesn’t believe us he can watch the video.
The Metro gives us a second opinion: “Hector Bellerin suffered a suspected cruciate knee ligament injury during Arsenal’s Premier League clash with Chelsea.” Suspected by whom?
The Standard doesn’t hear the knee go “SNAP”. Bellerin “went down without contact from a Chelsea player, appearing to twist his knee.” He twisted his knee. Painful. But a “horror injury”?
The Express thunders: “ARSENAL star Hector Bellerin faces nine months on the sidelines after suffering a knee injury against Chelsea.” That all? The diagnosis is rooted in the opinion of a US physio watching the game on the telly.
As for facts… “It is his knee,” Arsenal manager Unai Emery confirmed after the game. “The first prediction is it is an important [bad] injury. I hope no, but it is not positive, our first impression.” More to follow…
A round-up of today’s transfer rumours and other fluff and nonsense in the Press. Let’s kick off with Liverpool, who’ve bid £61m bid for Portugal Under-21 attacking midfielder Joao Felix, 19. Correio da Manha says Benfica, his current club, think the teenager is worth more. Someone arguably worth less is Philippe Coutinho. The Liverpool Echo in a no-news special says Liverpool won’t be resigning the Brazil midfielder, 26, they flogged to Barcelona for a whopping £142m just 12 months ago. Many other clubs also won’t be buying Coutinho.
One player who could be finally on his way to the Premier League is Juventus and Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain. Chelsea want to sign the 31-year-old before week’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Tottenham, says the Sun. That’s the same paper that told us Higuain played for Arsenal. That story remains live on the paper’s website. Chelsea fans shouldn’t buy those Higuain replica shirts just yet.
In the sunny uplands of Manchester United, Anthony Martial, 23, is all set to agreeing a new five-year contract, says Sky Sports. And Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (aka Fergie Mark 2) wants to leave his rooms at the Lowry Hotel in Salford and find a permanent address in Manchester.
Everton have £40m for Chelsea and Belgium forward Michy Batshuayi. Everton are determined to catch the so-called Big 6. That means gaining ground on Arsenal, a club seemingly determined to return to a state of mid-80s torpor. News is that James Rodriguez, 27, will remain at Bayern Munich for the rest of season. The Express says Arsenal have as much chance of signing him as they have of keeping a clean sheet.
And finally Barcelona have had enough fo Malcom, 21. ESPN says that any club offering the £35.2m they paid Bordeaux for the player last July can have him. Spurs are interested.
To say that the Daily Mirror’s transfer reporting on Manchester City’s pursuit of Ajax’s Netherlands midfielder Frenkie De Jong is sourced at bullshit.com is to give it too much credit. Today’s news in the “intelligent tabloid” is that the 21-year-old dreams of playing for Pep Guardiola. So City it is. But Frenkie’s a pragmatic sort so he’s willing to join PSG because they’re the only club willing to meet Ajax’s £66m asking price.
This would all be less interesting were it not for the fact that the Mirror has previously told us De Jong agreed to joined City for £61m:
In other Manchester City transfer balls, AS says Pep likes Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen, although Real Madrid remain favourites to sign the 26-year-old. City also like Crystal Palsce’s 21-year-old right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka. And a deal has been agreed to recruit Hajduk Split’s Ante Palaversa for an initial £7m.
The Mail has a pop at Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil. The paper says the player “was recently pictured on holiday in a hookah lounge as the Gunners lost to West Ham”. Arsenal lost 1-0 to West Ham on Saturday in the 12:30 kick off. The image reproduced by the Mail is of Ozil at Istanbul venue Lulu Hookah Lounge.
Ozil is seen posing for a photo with a well wisher. The image was posted on an Instagram page belonging to @paletzengin on January 13. The same image can be seen on Palet Zengin’s Facebook page on the 12th at 11pm.
Istanbul is three hours ahead of London time. So was Ozil “chilling” at the same time as Arsenal were suffering defeat at West Ham? If he was, the paper provides no proof.
The Sun told us that today Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey was taking his Juventus medical. He’d already agreed to join the Italian side in June on a free transfer. The BBC, Sky Sports and Guardian agreed. Ramsey to Juventus was a done deal. And so to today’s news – the day of the Ramsey’s MoT – and the Sun tells readers that nothing has been agreed. Cancel the knee tapper:
The pick of today’s transfer balls being the inverted commas around his “medical today”. It was the Sun that told us: “The Wales international has already agreed a five-year deal to move to Juventus in the summer once his current contract expires, and will undergo a medical at the club today.”
The Standard told us that no deal had been done:
So what is it? Has Ramsey signed a deal or not? He can’t have agreed to join for nothing in June, be keeping his options open and heading to a club other than Juventus in January?
How much is Mauricio Pochettino worth to Spurs? The BBC says Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy will not let manager Pochettino join Manchester United, even if the Old Trafford club offer £50m for the Argentine. To put it another way: offer Spurs over £50m and see what happens.
The Sun has more. “DANIEL LEVY will not let Mauricio Pochettino join Manchester United — even for £50million,” chimes the paper. “The Tottenham chairman has made it clear to his board he plans to reject any Old Trafford approach at the end of the season.” He also made it clear what kind of transfer fee he puts on Pochettino’s head.
We then get more about the figure:
Poch has four years left on a deal worth £34m. And United are tempted to pay it in full, plus an additional £16m for the world’s most wanted football coach. But Levy, who convinced Poch to sign a new contract last May, fully expects his manager to honour his agreement. And he is even prepared to give Poch the last word on all transfers.
You can unpack that. What United are prepared to pay is known how? No quotes are offered. And Poch might have the last word on transfers if there are any. Spurs didn’t sign a single player over the summer. Had they have done would they now be in better shape to challenge for the title? And what of hanging on to the players they already have? Many of the club’s best performers know they can earn more at other clubs.
Take Christian Eriksen, the Spurs player whose contract expires in 2020. Eriksen earns about £70,000- a-week at Tottenham. He wants an improved deal. Chances are that he’d get a far bigger wage packet at Real Madrid, who are keen on the Dane. Factor in the bill for a £1bn new stadium and Spurs are unlikely to be buying at the top of the market. Poch has done well at Spurs. And if they do win something this season, Levy will hope United and Real both want him. If players can be transferred why not mangers? Let a bidding war begin…
Having been told Aaron Ramsey has signed with Juventus but will remain on the Arsenal books until June (Sky), the media now says he’s signed nothing. Juventus are now mere “favourites” (Standard) to sign the Welshman. Other teams in the offing are: two from Spain, Inter Milan, PSG, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Liverpool. If Ramsey is as good as every pundit says he is, why hasn’t a team put their money where their mouth is and tried to take him this January?
The Standard says Arsenal want £40m for the player. Given Ramsey’s reputation and his being in the prime of his career, you’d suppose many teams would be in for him. Perhaps one will offer Ramsey the £250,000-a-week he was seeking at Arsenal and a chunk of any signing-on fee? Some of the world’s richest clubs have been linked with Ramsey. Will one make a move? Why are only Juventus offering hard cash?
Might it be that injury-prone Ramsey’s not that easy to deal with? The Standard says the deal Arsenal offered him was “left unsigned for several months”. Arsenal tired of the wait. The deal was withdrawn.
The Manchester Evening News rivals the Daily Express for Transfer Balls – that strain of football reporting that treats readers as mugs. The latest tosh is that former Liverpool players Phillipe Coutinho will leave Barcelona for Manchester United. This would be quite some transfer given that Coutinho played for United’s rivals and became the world’s this most expensive player when he moved to Barcelona in 2018 for £106m. But news and no news is coming thick and thicker in the MEN:
“Manchester United ‘open talks’ to sign former Liverpool FC midfielder Philippe Coutinho and more transfer rumours” – January 7, 11.20am.
“Manchester United fans are saying the same thing about Philippe Coutinho transfer rumour” – January 7, 14.17pm.
“Why Manchester United won’t move for Philippe Coutinho in the January transfer window” – January 8, 5am.
“Manchester United favourites to sign Philippe Coutinho in the January transfer window” – January 8, 11.21am.
“Philippe Coutinho, Toby Alderweireld and the 30 players bookies are linking with a transfer move to Manchester United” – January 9, 6:30pm
Any Manchester United fans dreaming or dreading Coutinho joining the club can read another story by Aidan McCartney. This one was also published on Jan 9:
The choices cut of the tosh linking Coutinho to Manchester City being: “Pep Guardiola’s side have been handed odds on signing some of the biggest names in world football.” Pep had no idea which players he was going to sign until Paddy Power and the mugs who make them rich told him.
Real Madrid like the look of Christian Eriksen, the Spurs player whose contract expires in 2020. Eriksen earns about £70,000- a-week at Tottenham. He wants an improved deal. Chances are that he’d get a bigger wage packet at Real. But Spurs stand in his path, asking – get this – £220m for the player they signed from Ajax for £11 million. If he’s worth that much to Spurs, why not pay him £300,000-a-week? Answer: because Spurs are a selling club.
The fee asked is huge and nuts, of course, but the fact Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman, put a number to the question ‘What’s he worth’ shows that he’s ready to sell an asset. Eriksen would be mad not to leave Spurs for Real. Levy knows that. The player realises his value and wants to play for one of Europe’s best sides. The bigger question is if Eriksen is part of a deal that will also take the club’s manager back to Spain? Reports in Spain say Real are prepared to offer £80m for Eriksen. Pick a number around £100m and they’ll get their man.
Which only makes you wonder what Harry Kane is worth – and what price Levy would place on his had?
Arsenal fans watching their club get no transfer fee for Aaron Ramey will be doubtless pleased to note that Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele is costing Chinese Super League club Beijing Guoan £11m. Like Ramsey, Demeble is in the final throes of his current deal, which expires in the summer.
Unlike Ramsey, 28, Dembele, 31, will earn his club a few quid this month. The money sugars the pill for Spurs, who are losing one of their best players – a better player than the overrated Ramsey. As for the Gunners, well, according to the Sun, Ramsey has signed a contract with Juventus and will leave for free this summer. According to other new sources, he’s signed nothing.
But wait a moment. One source says Arsenal are looking to get £20m for the Welshman and get shot of him this January. Gazzetta.it says the Gunners have told Juventus that they can sign Ramsey this month for £20million. It’s all very confusing. We’d ask the player’s agent what’s occurring, but they’re still mowing the grass.
Mauricio Pochettino has “cast doubt on his future” at Tottenham Hotspur, says the Times. Or as the BBC puts it: “Mauricio Pochettino says he hopes to be Tottenham boss for 20 years and perhaps finish his career with the club.” Two twist on the same interview.
The Argentine is wanted by Manchester United and Real Madrid. He knows his value. “Daniel Levy [the Tottenham chairman] is creating a legacy that is going to be amazing for the club,” he said. “I can see in the future Tottenham winning trophies.” When will future Tottenham be ready?
“I don’t know if that will be with us, without us; in one year, in five years. But all the foundations are down for one day to start to win titles and be like other successful clubs.” One day…
Maybe Spurs can be like Arsenal. Pochettino wonders if he can be the next Arsene Wenger – not the one who won things; the one who stagnated. “All that Arsène Wenger gave to Arsenal, to finish in the way it finished was a little bit unfair,” Pochettino said. “He deserves amazing recognition about his work.” He gets it. Not a week goes by without Wenger collecting some gong. Late last year he scored the Humane Order of African Redemption with the rank of Knight Grand Commander. He was pictured with a baby named after him – his namesake wrapped in a replica Arsenal shirt. Pochettino has Chelsea in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup. He needs to win. To date, the affable manager has won nothing with Espanyol, Southampton and Tottenham in 2014. Not that any of those clubs have ever won all that much – Spurs haven’t lifted a pot since Juande Ramos’s team beat Chelsea in the League Cup final 11 years ago.
“If you have money, like the other top six clubs, and you need [something], you buy it,” said Pochettino. “If we need, we build and we need time to build. There is Chelsea, Arsenal, City, Liverpool, United – and us. When people put us in the same level with expectations and everything, it’s unfair.”
Will he get the money? And will it be enough to out-spend Spurs’ more successful rivals? And lastly: if Pochettino is not the kind of manager who demands more money for big-name signings, when the new stadium is ready, should Spurs upgrade the coach and hire one who is?
Having welcomed Denis Suarez to Arsenal, the Daily Mirror now tells its readers: “Barcelona are determined not to sell Spanish midfielder Denis Suarez, 25, to Arsenal.” So which is it – the Mirror can’t be right both times? But this is Transfer Balls, where anything goes.
Over to the Sun, then, where the Mirror’s “£20million Arsenal target” is on his way to the Gunners for “over the £8m mark”. The Sun adds: “Emery knows Suarez well from their time together at Sevilla and is believed to have persuaded the star to reunite with him in the Premier League.”
If you search ‘Denis Suarez’ on trusty Google, you don’t just get utter tosh from the mainstream Press – you also get utter tosh from new media video makers:
Meanwhile, the Sun does have one interesting aside about Suarez:
Mundo Deportivo report Barca paid an initial £1.5million fee — and agreed City will receive £700,000 instalments for every team games he plays for the club until he reaches his century.
It means price for the former Spain Under-21 international could rise to a total of £8.5m.
Barcelona signed Suarez from City in 2013 but he failed to make a first team appearance and was shipped out to Sevilla on loan after a season with the club’s B team — and then sold onto Villarreal.
However, the Catalans included a £2.85m buy-out clause, which they activated after 12 months.
Suarez is a Spanish-born makeweight at Barcelona. They don’t need him. He hardly plays for them. Suarez seems to be one name Arsenal can get. The bigger question is why they’d want him?
Arsenal fans reading about the club’s moves for Roma’s Turkish forward Cengiz Under will be confused as to what the club has bid. The Press are guessing. So far we’ve been told that Arsenal have bid anything from £35m to £55m for the player Roma value at, er, £45m:
“Arsenal have £55m bid for top transfer target Cengiz Under rejected” – The Sun Jan 2.
The paper adds that Arsenal are “battling Tottenham, Manchester United and City for Roma striker”. They are?
“Arsenal AND Chelsea target £54m Roma star Cengiz Under for January transfer window” – Daily Express, Dec 19
The Express lobs Chelsea into the mix.
“ARSENAL TRANSFER EXCLUSIVE: Cengiz Under latest as Chelsea drop out of race for £45m star” – Daily Star Jan 6
“Arsenal hopes of landing £45m AS Roma ace Cengiz Under dashed” – Daily Mirror, Jan 5
“Arsenal are not expected to make an improved offer for Roma’s £45m-rated Cengiz Under, having failed with an initial £35m bid for the 21-year-old Turkey winger” – BBC, Jan 7
“UNDER THE HAMMER Arsenal bid £29million for Roma star Cengiz Under rejected with Tottenham monitoring situation” – The Sun, December 16
Such are the facts.
More from the twilight world of football transfer reporting as the Mirror tells readers: “Welcome to Arsenal Denis Suarez.” One problem with the scoop is that Spaniard hasn’t left Barcelona. He’s not signed for Arsenal. The Mirror goes on to tell readers that Suarez is a Gooner because he was “pulled” from Barcelona’s team for their match with Getafe:
Suarez travelled with the Barcelona squad to take on Getafe but will not even get a seat on the bench as the Catalans seek to stretch their lead at the top of La Liga to five points.
Dropped because he’s off to Arsenal? Or maybe Suarez isn’t all that good? He’s played just twice for Barcelona in the league this season, coming on as an 82nd minute sub against Espanyol – Barca were 4-0 up at the time – and as an 81st minute sub against Levante – when Barca were 4-0 up and Levante were down to 10 men. But he was, you know, dropped for the Getafe game?
The Mirror then does the usual trick of blaming its tosh on “social media” – which is not nearly as trusty as that old media (see Anorak passim). “Fans on social media took the decision as a hint that a deal to take him to north London was close,” says the self-styled “intelligent tabloid”. That’s Denis Suarez, the player the Sun calls “Barcelona outcast Denis Suarez”.
The BBC tells us that Chelsea are signing Gonzalo Higuain, 31. Currently on loan from Juventus at AC Milan, Higuain would add some proven finishing ability to a side reliant on the unconvincing Alvaro Morata. The Sun adds that this is a swap deal and Morata will head to Milan on loan. Can the Sun be relied upon to deliver the facts? Not always, no:
Any deal hinging on Morata, who joined Chelsea from Real Madrid in 2017 for £60m, has to be problematic. Morata has scored seven goals this season but lacks confidence. Chelsea coach Gianfranco Zola wants the player to step up:
“It should be a motivational thing. You are at Chelsea. You’re not playing for Southampton or Brighton, with all due respect for those clubs. People expect a lot from the No 9 of Chelsea. This is normal and Álvaro has to get used to it.
“If he goes to another big club, it’s going to be the same. There is no way you can avoid your responsibilities. It’s part of your job and the better you can handle those situations, the better you’re going to be.
“I know he feels he doesn’t score enough and he feels a lot of responsibility on that. He has to learn to leave everything behind because these are only burdens you take on the pitch and they won’t help you to perform better.”
Bet AC Milan can’t wait to rely on him for goals.
As regular readers know, I’ve been tracking the utter tosh written about Aaron Ramsey’s looming departure from Arsenal. Having told readers that Ramsey had signed a deal to join Juventus – a mere 12 hours after telling the same readers the player was still talking to PSG, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and the Italians – the Sun reports today: “CASHING IN Aaron Ramsey scoops £8m signing-on fee at Juventus plus huge appearance bonus after agreeing free transfer from Arsenal.”
Having told readers that the deal is done, the Sun tells them it ,er, it isn’t: “The Italians offered the Welshman a basic salary similar to his earnings at the Emirates, but included hefty incentives in the proposed contract.” The story then tells us a lot of ‘ifs’:
The source for this misleading tosh is La Gazzetta dello Sport. it does not ay a deal has been done. It says – and this through the mangle of Google Translate: Exit polls ensure that Ramsey’s entourage has cashed the proposal with great interest. So much so that the bianconeri are absolutely at the forefront in a challenge that sees Inter also very active, but especially the rich Psg of Sheikh Al Thani.” So PSG and Inter both want Ramsey. Nothing has been signed.
The Mirror says: “…people are ‘jumping the gun’ over a deal being done. Juventus are Ramsey’s preferred choice, however, with discussions continuing at pace. The Bianconeri could even try to tempt Arsenal into doing business for Ramsey this month for a cut price fee, rather than waiting for the summer.”
In other news, the London Evening Standard says: “Juventus are in pole position ahead of Bayern Munich and Inter Milan in the race to sign the Wales international, with reports in Italy suggesting he is close to agreeing a five-year deal.” Reports in England says the deal is done. And it;s not all doom and gloom for the Gunners: “Juve are willing to offer Sami Khedira as part of a deal to land Ramsey this month, while Liverpool and Manchester United are reportedly monitoring the situation.”
Such are the facts.
Football journalism is a tricky affair. The need to create sensation from dust is testing. Before Manchester City and Liverpool’s big Premier League title decider last night (there are 18 games to go! – ed), the Sun’s Neil Ashton told us that Liverpool are on the up: “Recent history is with them. The night they shook the Kop in last season’s Champions League quarter-final and the stirring 2-1 victory at the Etihad in the return leg are in their favour.” Indeed. And last night Liverpool could easily have drawn a tight encounter that ended 2-1 in the host’s favour. Ashton continues: “The 5-0, when City ripped apart Liverpool’s defence in September 2017, is a distant memory. Notably, that scoreline was also prior to the arrival of the Dutch colossus, Virgil van Dijk.”
Van Dijk has been terrific. But you’d expect little less from the world’s costliest defender. “At £75million, Van Dijk is starting to feel like a snip,” says Ashton. Or as he put it previously:
Ashton told us: “…the Reds blew their brains out to sign the Dutchman.” It was suicide. No worries, though – Liverpool fans don’t read the Sun.
The Sun says Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey has signed a contract with Juventus. The headline is unequivocal: “GUNNERS NEWS 7pm Arsenal news: Ramsey signs Juventus contract.” News of Ramsey’s transfer is on the Sun’s website and primed for Google News:
The problem is that it’s not true. Ramsey hasn’t signed for Juve. He hasn’t signed for anyone. Deep into its story, the Sun says the move has been made “reportedly”. There’s a link to another Sun article. You click the link. The new story presents the done deal in inverted commas. The story’s URL however, says Ramsey’s moved is “confirmed”. So which is it?
Says the paper: “Now the Welsh star is preparing to head to Italy after penning a four-year deal with the Serie A giants, according to Sport Media Set.” Who? We head over there and discover that the Sun’s story is utter balls. Sport Media Set merely says Juventus want to get Ramsey before PSG bid for him:
The site says: “The deal is almost done.” In other words: Ramsey has agreed nothing yet. And just yesterday the Sun told us: “The Welshman is in talks with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich over a summer move.” Such are the facts.
Arsenal’s one-goal-a-season man Aaron Ramsey is off to Juventus. In Italy the player who promised so much without ever quite nailing it will earn a decent £7m a season in Italy on a four year contract. The Press are spinning his departure. The Mirror thunders: “‘Good riddance, sign Banega!’ – Arsenal fans react to Aaron Ramsey’s reported Juventus agreement.” Banega is Ever Banega, the occasional onanist and attack-minded midfielder. Or as the Sports Bible website puts it: “Arsenal On The Verge Of Replacing Aaron Ramsey, Fans Are Fuming.”
Such is the nature of internet reporting that everything must have a hot take – and you can make it whatever you choose. So no sooner has the Mirror waved goodbye to Ramsey and stuck him in the black and white of Juve than it’s reporting: “Aaron Ramsey considered by PSG for January move with £9m offer prepared for Arsenal star.” What of Juventus? They are “monitoring” the situation.
And here comes the BBC to tells us that Ramsey is in talks with – deep breath – Inter Milan, PSG, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Juventus. “Contrary to some reports, he has not yet made a decision,” says the Beeb. So he’s off to Spurs, right..?
Freshly sacked by Manchester United, surly Jose Mourinho is back living at his London home. The Riverside Suite at Manchester’s Lowry Hotel, where he stayed since July 2016, is available to any new manager unwilling to commit to living in the city. But what was the bill for Mourinho’s stay?
The Sun: “Jose Mourinho hotel: Inside the exclusive Lowry where axed Man Utd manager lived for 895 days and spent £779,000 on rent.”
The Mail: “Jose Mourinho finally checks out of the Lowry Hotel… after 895 days and an astonishing £537,000 bill.” Although the Mail also notes: “What’s so special about the Special One’s £600,000 hotel suite? That’s the bill Jose Mourinho ran up in nearly three years.” Are we including tips?
Does the Lowry charge the Sun’s holidaymakers more than Mail guests? But the bill could have been higher. In January 2018, 442 magazine told us: “If Mourinho stays at the Lowry until July 1 2021, it will have cost him £1,489,200.” That figure is based on the rooms costing £816-a-night. But the Guardian can get the same digs for £600-a-night.
It pays to shop around.
Farewell then Jose Mourinho, sacked as as manager of Manchester United for being overrated, whining, bitchy, sarcastic, negative and possessed of all charm of next door’s cat say by a large pile of poo.
After two and a half years in charge at Old Trafford, Mourinho finally got found out by the club’s lazy owners. Yes, he did lead United to the League Cup and Europa League titles. But they are sixth in the Premier League, already a whopping 19 points behind leaders Liverpool.
“A caretaker-manager will be appointed until the end of the season while the club conducts a thorough recruitment process for a new, full-time manager,” says United in a statement. Since Sir Alex Ferguson left, all United managers have been in the caretaker told. United are a desperate club run by a marketing machine. The current owners never knew how United struggled for 26 years to win the title before Ferguson took them to the top. They just saw a chance to make a lot money fast from perennial champions. United can sell you an official noodle but they can’t sell you a dream of glory even in defeat.
So Mourinho goes the way of David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal in the post-Fergie mess. Who next in the hot seat? Given that United’s kingmakers’ lack proven lack of vision, it’ll be a tried and tested name. They should begin their headhunting at Spurs…
No Chelsea fans were at the Etihad last night to see Raheem Sterling and the rest of his Manchester City team beat Hoffenheim in the Champions League. No-one called Raheem Sterling a “fucking black cunt”, as is alleged, or a “Manc cunt”, as is claimed. (Lip-readers are on the case.) No tabloid today links Sterling with rising sea levels, knife crime and the unravelling of Brexit. The Mail does, however, say that some of the visiting German fans gave City’s German flyer Leroy Sane, scorer of both of City’s goals, “some stick”. Sane “appeared to be the subject of a verbal volley”. Tsk! Calling people names at the footy. Whatever next?
On Tuesday, the Mail told us Watford striker Isaac Success “was subjected to aggressive behaviour by local supporters” against Everton. Both Sane and Success are black, like Sterling – the player who illustrated his claim that racism is fueled by media bias with two stories from the Mail. The paper denied the allegation, and appears to be at pains to show readers that other players not in its crosshairs also get shouted at. There’s no claim that Sane was racially abused, and the Everton fans in the photo the paper used to illustrate its story aren’t even looking at Success. They were appealing for handball.
The overriding impression is that football fans are thugs in need of control. That taps into an age-old tale that portrays them as a race-riot in waiting. It also fuels the bigotry that casts people who read and enjoy the tabloid press as violent fools. If Sterling was racially abused – and it’s still alleged that he was – it’s the rarity of the incident that makes it newsworthy. In the 1970s and 1980s, racism was the norm. At Chelsea FC it was condition of entry for many. And, for what it’s worth, nobody else at Chelsea claims to have heard racist language, including a black fan near Sterling’s abusers.
Racism still exists, of course it does. But this singling out of tabloid readers and largely working-class football fans as the root and result of the problem is to pander to other prejudices.