Back pages | Anorak - Part 40

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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

Transfer balls: Manchester United want Guardiola, Messi, Kroos, Niguez, Cavani and Gomes

Manchester United will seek to make Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola their manager. To help him settle in at Old Trafford, United will sign Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, who Pep used to manage.

This we know because we read it in the Daily Star. The paper adds that Manchester United can afford both Pep and Messi because they have lots and lots of cash from Adidas. Will Messi will want to play for Manchester United – following a path trod by Argentine players Juan Veron and Angela Di Maria, both who flopped at Old Trafford after big money moves? Question asked, question answered. It’s not going to happen.

Next up is Toni Kroos. Fichajes says the Real Madrid player is going to either Chelsea or Man United. The Express says both clubs have approached the players agent with £40m in their hands.

Can we trust the Express to be right? Let’s look at the paper’s past reporting on Kroos:


Toni Kroos Manchester United


The Express later declared:

MANCHESTER UNITED have agreed a deal with Bayern Munich for attacker Toni Kroos

Sticking with the Daily Express, we learn that United want Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, 21, who wants to remain in Spain.

The Independent says United want Valencia play-maker Andre Gomes, 22, because Niguez won’t return their calls.

Lastly, the Manchester Evening News says Edinson Cavani could be of interest, as could Mats Hummels, who in January 2015 caused the Daily Star to scream: “Borussia Dortmund star Mats Hummels AGREES £37m Manchester United deal.” He didn’t. He went nowhere – much like reporting on Manchester United targets.


Posted: 13th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment

Transfer Balls: Chelsea move for Vardy, consider Adebayor

The Times says Chelsea are considering  a bid for Leicester City’s striker Jamie Vardy.

Gary Jacob says Chelsea’s occasional manager Gus Hiddink has expressed a need to sign a striker. He’s worried at the Blues’ lack of cover for Diego Costa.

The Chelsea wish list runs: Jamie Vardy, Saido Berahino, Jackson Martinez and…Emmanuel Adebayor.

Chelsea fans, who do you want – and who do you think you’ll get?


Posted: 13th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment (1)

Spurs make Alli the cut-priced Pogba

dele alliCan Tottenham hang on to Dele Alli, the 19-year-old midfielder signed from MK Dons for £6m? Alli has signed a new deal to keep him at Spurs for the next five seasons. His pay rises from £12, 500 to £25,000 a week, says the Sun.

So good is Alli that the Sun, which leads with news of his new contract deal, hails him as “the English Paul Pogba”. That’s Paul Pogba, 22, the languid, purposeful, imaginative, gifted Frenchman who ended last season playing for Italian double-winners Juventus in the Champions’ League final.

Pogba finished 15th in the Ballon d’Or list. On Monday, he was named in the FIFPro World XI for 2015. At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, he was named best young player of the tournament. Gifs and Vines of Pogba’s skills are all over the web.

Pogba makes and scores goals. He bosses games.

If Alli is the English equivalent of the shining Pogba why is he on the kind of wages that surely make every team bigger than Spurs confident of securing his signature? Gazzetta dello Sport says Pogba earns €4.5m (£3.3m) a season.

The Mail says PSG are watching Alli. The player, we learn, “is keen to play abroad in the future”.

So why don’t Spurs put him on higher wages?

In December 2012, Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere, then 20, signed a new contract. The Mail said his wage was £80,000-a-week.

If Spurs think Alli can be one of the best, why don’t they pay him a wage that will stop him looking elsewhere?

Posted: 13th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment

Transfer balls: Saido Berahino will only play for Spurs – unless Liverpool buy him

The Sun says West Bromwich Albion’s occasional striker Saido Berahino wants to join Tottenham this January. The paper says Berahino is ready to reject other all offers in favour of Spurs.

Reportedly, Stoke and Newcastle are also after the 22-year-old but he’ll only joins Spurs – “he is ready to snub any other offers to make sure he becomes a Spurs player.” His “heart is set on White Hart Lane”.

Well, given the option of Spurs, Stoke or Newcastle, who would you chose to play for? Which city would you want to live in?

The Independent has a new option. It says Berahino has been earmarked to replace Daniel Sturridge at Liverpool. The Mirror agrees.

As for Berahino, the player who arrived in the UK as a 10-year-old fleeing for his life from the Burundian civil war, well, he’s managed to look every bit as doltish as the next hungry ‘I am’. He wanted to leave West Brom in the summer, handing in a transfer request that the club refused to agree to.

In December 2015, we read:

The Times has learnt that the 22-year-old became increasingly isolated after he angered the club in late autumn. Berahino is understood to have upset his fellow players with his reaction to being substituted at half-time in the 2-0 defeat away to Crystal Palace in October, when he listened to music through his headphones after learning of the decision to replace him.

He also upset the West Brom hierarchy by returning a day late from an agreed trip to Dubai.

One question: why do Spurs want him? He’s a good player. He’s ambitious But he also comes across as trouble. Why disrupt a tight dressing room?

Posted: 12th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment (1)

Transfer balls: Pep agrees Man City move but wants Arsenal says clueless tabloid source

Pep to ArsenalThe Metro brings news that Pep Guardiola “is interested in succeeding Arsene Wenger”.

Newspaper have been on a mind that Pep is heading to Manchester City at the end of this season.

See the Metro stories: “Pep Guardiola has already agreed to take over at Manchester City next season”; and “Pep Guardiola agrees deal to become Manchester City manager next season”.

Can it now be that the Spaniard is to become the next Arsenal boss, replacing Wenger, who has expressed no desire to leave in the summer?

Reading on we learn that the story is attached to the explainer ” claims Guillem Balague”.

The story is utter balls:

“I agree that Pep would be perfect for Arsenal but, despite the interest of Pep in the London team, I feel he might be going somewhere else,’ Balague told SkySports. “As it stands, he has not signed anything and both City and Chelsea think they have a good chance to get him.”

In other words: he hasn’t the foggiest.

Lots more on what Guillem feels here.

Posted: 12th, January 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment

Transfer balls: Arsenal to sign wonderkids and Nolito, Arteta to West Ham,

The Times brings news that Arsenal are on the verge of sining Nigerian “wonderkids” Kelechi Nwakali and Samuel Chukwueze for a combined fee of £3m.

Nwakali rose to the fore thanks to his captaining of Nigeria in their successful pursuit of the U17 World Cup. His older bother plays for Manchester City – so look out for them getting involved.

Both players are with the ASJ Football Academy.

In other news:

Arsenal have the £13.4m to give Celta Vigo for 29-year-old Spain forward Nolito, says Mundo Deportivo.

Metro says Mohamed Elneny will join Arsenal in time for their game at Stoke City. The paper says Arteta could be on his way to West Ham United. It also notes that Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be a Gunner as soon as Arsenal hand over £60m. Which they won’t do.

The Mirror says Arsenal have “joined the hunt” for Chelsea youngster Ola Aina.

Right-back Aina’s current Blues deal expires in the summer. And having refused to sign a new deal so far the 19 year-old has been demoted from Chelsea’s first-team set-up to the under-21s, edging him closer to the exit.

Because with Debuchy, Bellerin and Jenkinson on the books, Arsenal really need a right-back.

Posted: 12th, January 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment

Transfer balls: Arsenal defender leaves, commits future to Gunners

Other than politics and Her Majesty, only the ending of footballers’ carers occupy the Press. Today the Mirror and other sources tell readers that Arsenal’s Spanish left-back Nacho Monreal is set to sign a new contract. This deal ties him to the Gunners for a further three years.

But before this, those same sources have been full of Monreal’s Arsenal demise.

Daily Star: “Arsenal rocked as Spanish international edges closer to shock exit”

Spanish newspaper Marca claim the 29-year-old, who joined the Gunners in 2013, has agreed a two-year contract with Athletic Bilbao.

Evening Standard: “Arsenal transfer news: Nacho Monreal’s £7m exit looms”

The Metro: “Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal follows Athletic Bilbao on Twitter amid transfer speculation”

The Independent: “Nacho Monreal to Athletic Bilbao” “Arsenal agree to sell Nacho Monreal to Athletic Bilbao”

All complete and utter tosh.


Posted: 11th, January 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment

Arsenal transfer news: Aubameyang £44m balls, Krychowiak hears, Oxlade-Chamberlain to Chelsea

Arsenal transfer news in today’s newspapers:

The Daily Mail says Arsenal don’t only want Watford’s Troy Deeney – they’re bidding for his Watford strike partner Odion Ighalo. Ighalo endears himself to Gunners fans by telling the Sun that he’s always loved Manchester United. “I don’t think I will be moving,” he says, “but I’m not sure I’d say no if United called.”

The Mirror ignores that and says Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger “has put Watford striker Odion Ighalo on his transfer hit-list”.

Wenger’s hit-list has long been a mystery to everyone. Is he really looking to replicate Watford at The Emirates?

Over in the Mirror, readers learn “Arsenal make Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang transfer offer”. The paper says the Gunners have offered  £44.6million transfer offer to sign Aubameyang. They have?

Well, the Metro says “top Spanish journalist” Kike Marin says Arsenal have made a £44.6m offer for the Dortmund star.

How reliable is Marin?

kike marin 3

kike marin 2

kike marin


Answer: not very.

The Mirror says Seville’s Grzegorz Krychowiak has heard of Arsenal.

“The Premier League? Some say it’s the best in the world, other people think that’s La Liga,” he tells FourFourTwo magazine. “I’ve heard about Arsenal, but I leave it to my agent. I trust him and he’s the one who deals with that kind of the stuff. I can’t think about things like that. I have to keep my mind free of any distraction and just focus on doing my job for Sevilla.”

The Daily Telegraph twists that into:


daily telegraph bullshit


No. He did not “confirm interest”.

The Sun says Chelsea will attempt to sign Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain if Eden Hazard leaves.

Chelsea are desperate for English players. Would the Ox leave? Probably not.

Posted: 9th, January 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment

Manchester United transfer news: Pep sniffs, Blanc in, £40m for Lukaku, Ronaldo dead

star pepTransfer balls: A look at players being linked to Manchester United in today’s Press.

Manchester United are interested in Paris St-Germain manager Laurent Blanc. They want him now or in the summer, reports the Le10 Sport via Daily Star.

The Star also reports, that Manchester United are interested in recruiting Pep Guardiola, the Spanish coach who wants to manager a Premier League team next season. Current United coach Louis Van Gaal says Pep “wants to sniff the culture of England.” Does the Premier League have a perfume? It should do. HYPE, by PL: base notes of used bank notes and crude oil overlaid with top notes of phlegm, lager and yoga mat. All served in a satellite-dish shaped bottle which when opens plays Search for the Hero, by M People.

The Star says Van Gaal is not fazed by talk of Pep to Old Trafford. He shouldn’t worry, says talkSport. The radio station thunders: ” Man United are not pursuing Pep Guardiola because he lacks Premier League experience, claims Spanish football expert.”

Which is why, er, United went for PL rookie Van Gaal.

Sky Sports says “Watford forward Odion Ighalo admits it would be hard to reject Man Utd.”

“There has been speculation from Spain and Italy but I’ve played there and now want to play in England,” Ighalo  told the Sun. “I don’t think I will be moving but I’m not sure I’d say no if United called.”

United have not called.

The MEN says United are not going to win the race to sign Brazil striker Alexandre Pato: “Tutto Mercato claims that bitter rivals Liverpool are set to win the race for Corinthians star, with the club eager to offload him because of his massive wages.”

Ronaldo won’t be rejoining United.  New Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane tells everyone:

“Cristiano Ronaldo is non-transferable. He’s the soul of this team. While he’s here, he won’t leave. Cristiano will play on the wings, how he’s most comfortable. I won’t tell him much. I want him to be happy.”

Cue lost more news on Ronaldo to United.

One signing that should excite United fans is that of Romelu Lukaku, the talented Everton striker. The Metro reports United have £40m for the Belgian.

Why Everton would sell their £28m star to a rival mid way through the season is a moot point. Surely they won’t.

Posted: 9th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment (1)

Transfer balls: Hazard £65m To Manchester United Or £100m to Real Madrid

hazard man united transferTransfer balls: Is Chelsea’s Eden Hazard heading to Manchester United? The Daily Star seems to think he might be. The fee? £65m.

Of course, not so long ago (it was yesterday), Manchester United were buying Gareth Bale from Real Madrid. The Star explains the sudden shift in targets: “New target as Bale deal is off.”

Was it ever on?

The Star says United will “battle” PSG and Bayern Munich for Hazard. The Daily Mail says Real Madrid want him. But the Star is sticking with Hazard to United, saying the club’s owners have approved a bid and £250,000-a-week wages for the Belgian.

But hold on a moment. The Express leads with news that Chelsea are “banking on  Didier Drogba’s arrival as coach being the key to keeping Eden Hazard”.

hazard didierWhy? Well, Drogba “persuaded” Hazard to join a winning Chelsea side from lowly Lille for £35m and a massive pay hike in 2012. Drogba is some negotiator.

The Express reasons that Drogba will now persuade Hazard to remain at Chelsea and turn down a massive signing on fee and more wages at a bigger club.

The Mail quotes a Chelsea “insider” saying of Hazard: “In his head he has already left. It would take some U-turn to keep him.”

Champions’ League football would help – which makes you wonder why Hazard would join a struggling Manchester United when he’s good enough to play at Madrid or Barcelona.

Finally, the Independent has a few words on Hazard’s worth.

The Belgian, 24, is ranked ahead of current Balon d’Or holder Cristiano Ronaldo, who is fourth, with a current market value of €130.5million (£95.77m), according to football think-tank the CIES Football Observatory.


The value means that Hazard, who has been linked with a £100m move to Real Madrid in the January window, trails only Barcelona pair Lionel Messi and Neymar.

Such are the facts.


Posted: 8th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment

Chelsea shock: Oscar tackles player, Costa hurts hair, players exchange handbags

oscar costa fightChelsea players have been in a “row” says the Daily Mail. Diego Costa and Oscar squared up in a “fracas” during training.

In the great pantheon of sporting fights this one is in the bargain basement, tossed in a bin below compilation tapes of Audley Harrison’s best bouts.

The Mail says Oscar and Costa fought after two “hefty” tackles. The mind’s eyes sees Oscar shouting ‘boo!’ and tickling Costa with a feather duster, followed by Costa pinching his attacker on the legs and tumbling to the floor clutching his face, heart and hair.

The Mirror says the pair “clashed furiously” after “X-rated tackles”. Over two pages we read of “Fear and Loathing in SW6”. That’s the London postcode for Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge.

The Sun calls it a “dust up”. It says the players had to be pulled apart. No punches were thrown, says the Mirror. The Sun says they might have been.

Oscar did go in with a knee-high challenge on his teammate, says the Sun. Chelsea players were “shocked by the ferosity of the challenge”. Well, they’ve seen Oscar play. Any challenge from him is a bit of a surprise. The Times says the players “clashed repeatedly” during the session.

And then? Well, the Sun quotes Oscar, who says he and Costa are “very good friends” and have “no issues whatsoever”.

And that’s the story of “fear and loathing” at the modern, sanitised version of Chelsea FC.


Posted: 8th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Sports | Comment

Transfer balls: Ezequiel Lavezzi beats Arsenal, wants Spurs, joins Barcelona

Transfer balls: a look at terrible football reporting. The Daily Telegraph has news for Arsenal and Spurs fans:

In case you thought the bitter north London rivalry needed anything else to ramp it up, it has been reported that both Arsenal and Tottenham are after the same man – and the team in white are going to win.

They are? Who is this player? And who picks Spurs over the Gunners?

Arsenal have long shown an interest in Ezequeil Lavezzi, reportedly failing to agree a fee for the Paris Saint-Germain winger last summer.

The piece ends:

The former Napoli man is out of contract in the summer and Spurs will be able to seal the deal for a knock-down price.

Number of sources linked to: nil.

Number of people quoted: nil.

But we can quote a source who seems to know all about Lavezzi.

Chelsea ready to pursue deal for PSG’s Ezequiel Lavezzi – May 2014

Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Gunners suffer blow in bid to sign PSG’s Ezequiel Lavezzi -PSG winger Ezequiel Lavezzi is unlikely join either Arsenal in January, according to his agent. – Dec 31, 2015

You can read those stories in the Daily Telegraph.

In other Lavezzi news:

lavezzi liverpool
And Gazzetta dello Sport says that Tottenham are not fighting Arsenal for the player – it’s Barcelona and Internazionale they need to beat. Best of luck with that. 

Posted: 7th, January 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment

Transfer Balls: Ronaldo and Bale to Man United, Messi to Man City, Pep to Chelsea

bale ronaldo united manchester


Transfer balls: The British Press is obsessed with Real Madrid. The latest news is that Cristiano Ronaldo will definitely leave Real Madrid in the summer, with Manchester United and Paris St-Germain keen to sign the 30-year-old Portugal forward. So says the Telegraph.

This will trigger a new wave of spending by Real Madrid, who will fight PSG for Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. The 24-year-old Belgium forward is certain to leave Stamford Bridge in the summer, says the Daily Mail.

And there is Gareth Bale, the 26-year-old Real Madrid player who will follow Ronaldo out of the Spanish capital, heading to join Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Manchester United or PSG. Unless he elects to stay in Spain, says the Sun.

Should Bale head to Manchester United he will hook up with that club’s next manager. Yeah, it’s 56-year-old Carlo Ancelotti, who was approached by United’s king maker’s last November. Back then the Italian rejected the chance to replace Louis van Gaal because he wants to manage Bayern Munich, says the Daily Mail. But he’s yet to be offered that job. So it might be United for him.

Bayern, of course, are waving goodbye to their manager, Pep Guardiola. The Manchester Evening News wonders if Pep, 44, is to be United’s next boss. News is that he won’t be. Apparently United feel he’s already set his mind on bossing Manchester City, where, says the Sun, he will attempt to buy Lionel Messi from Barcelona. The Catalans will then attempt to buy Hazard.

Unless the London Evening Standard is right and Pep is going to receive an offer from Chelsea he cannot refuse. In which case, Hazard will stay at Chelsea, Bale will stay at Real and Ronaldo will cancel his flight to Old Trafford.

Meanwhile…at Arsenal….



Posted: 7th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment

Transfer balls: Gareth Bale to Chelsea, Hazard to Real, tabloids to guessing

Transfer balls: It’s going to be a month of Gareth Bale this and Gareth Bale that.

The Daily Mail says Bale will head to Manchester United for £75m. There he will hook up with Ryan Giggs, forming a Welsh dream team not seen since Tom Jones pulled on his pulling knickers. 

The Guardian says Bale is not leaving Real. He’s going to see if he can make a fist of it.

But if Real do sell Bale this January – which they won’t do – who will replace him in Spain? The Daily Star knows. The paper says Real will invest £100m in ‘tired’ Eden Hazard. 

The Daily Mirror, speculates, that could mean Bale heading to Chelsea in a swap deal.


Posted: 6th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment

Transfer balls: Liverpool ‘get’ Grujic, chase Gundogan, Sane and Aubameyang

Klopp transfers liverpoolLiverpool manger Jurgen Klopp “may be forced into the transfer market”, reports the BBC. During Liverpool’s 1-0 League Cup semi-final first-leg win at Stoke, Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren were forced from the field with hamstring injuries. At the final whistle, Kolo Toure looked to be struggling.

With Martin Skrtel already injured, Liverpool have no fit central defenders.

“This is something we have to think about,” said Klopp after the match when asked if he was now looking for new players.  Two weeks ago we had three centre-backs, which is a good situation, and the season started with five – but now it is zero. It is a strange feeling because on one side it is very, very good then we have these injuries.”

BBC Radio 5 live pundit Kevin Kilbane, blames Klopp for the injuries:

“I’ve seen it at some clubs before. Perhaps it’s down to the change in training methods. Under Jurgen Klopp they’ll train much harder day in, day out. The amount of medical attention footballers get at football clubs now – and also the physical work which is put in – this shouldn’t be happening. I put down the various hamstring injuries down to Klopp’s change in style.”

Does Klopp agree? “Maybe I could look at our training methods but we don’t train – we only recover. There is no training,” he says. “I’m responsible for these things and if you want to make me responsible for our hamstring strains, then OK.”

On the matter of what players Liverpool should buy, the Press is full of guessing.

The Liverpool Echo links Liverpool to Ilkay Gundogan yesterday ,Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Joel Matip and Leroy Sane.

The Express says “Marko Grujic looks set to be unveiled as Jurgen Klopp’s first signing as Liverpool boss today”.

The Star says Toni Kroos is on his way to Anfield – maybe.

The Metro declares: “Liverpool transfer news: Kamil Grabara deal, Max Meyer eyed, Kylian Mbappe targeted.”

Such are the facts.


Posted: 6th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment

Arsenal join Man City, Chelsea and Man United in chase for Pep Guardiola

june 30 wengerPep Guardiola will manage Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal. He’s leaving Bayern Munich in the close season so he can manage in England.

He told the Press:

“I need a new challenge and I want to use that chance to be a manager in England. I want to experience the atmosphere in England and I look forward to the stadiums there. I am 44 and it is the right time. There are offers but I haven’t signed for anyone yet. When I have a new club I will let everyone know.”


So where for Guardiola? Well, when at Barcelona he worked with Ferran Soriano, now Manchester City’s chief executive, and Txiki Begiristain, City’s sporting director

But United and Chelsea both want him.  Blues’ owner Roman Abramovich loves Pep.

But surely the best fit is for Pep to join Arsenal. Pep to replace Wenger… It makes sense.


Posted: 5th, January 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment (1)

Transfer balls: Arsenal want Watford captain Troy Deeney for £20m

“EXCLUSIVE,” says the Daily Star. “Arsenal eye shock move for Watford captain Troy Deeney.”

They are? And, yeah, it would be a shock. It would also be insane.

We’re not not told how this rumour came about. But we do learn that “Watford are extremely unlikely to sell their skipper”.

But Wenger is in the market for a hitman, knowing adding a ready-made striker to his squad could be key to the club winning their first title for 12 years.


express balls


The Express says Arsenal are readying a £20m bid for Deeney.

This is, of course, complete tosh. but it doesn’t stop the Telegraph adding Deeny to the journalism-by-numbers list “10 strikers Arsene Wenger could sign.”

Or could not.




Posted: 5th, January 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment

Transfer balls: Manchester United ready huge bid for ‘disappointed’ Bale

Transfer balls: Manchester United are all set to splash a year’s worth of Adidas cash on a £75m bid for Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale.

The Daily Mirror, The Times and Daily Mail all agree this will happen.

But what will Bale do? The Press haven’t got the foggiest:

The Times says that Rafa Benitez’s sacking as Real manager has left the Wales player “intensely disappointed”.

But on the BBC, former Real Madrid coach John Toshack says of Rafa’s sacking: “I don’t see it affecting Gareth at all. I don’t see that as a problem.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 5th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, manchester united | Comment

Arsenal things: Wenger zips, Wilshere injured, Newcastle nil

Five Things We Learnt. It’s the made-for-internet football story that enables jobbing hacks to conjure clicks from what has already been reported many times over.

Let’s look at how the mainstream media responded to Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Newcastle United. These are things the pundits expert in football ‘learnt’ from the match:

Daily Telegraph: “Arsenal 1 Newcastle 0, five things we learnt”

3. Wenger has a bigger wardrobe than we realised.

Arsene Wenger wore a tracksuit.

Daily Mirror: “Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle: 5 things we learned as Laurent Koscielny saves sluggish Gunners”

2. Arsenal have injuries.

With so many players out injured – Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere, Francis Coquelin and so on – the biggest problem is that they have got nothing on the bench to change a game when needed.

Arsenal had those injuries before the match.

Newcastle Chronicle: “Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle: Five things we learned as struggling Magpies come up short again”

2. It is now 322 minutes with a league goal… and counting

The Sun: “Five things we learnt as Laurent Koscielny goal puts Arsenal two points clear at the top of the Premier League”

1 – ARSENE WENGER does not normally wear a tracksuit – and he should keep it that way. The Arsenal manager looked ridiculous in his ill-fitting garment and should keep his big coat on – even though he struggles with the zip.

Five Things We Learnt about Football Journalism: counting is easy.

Posted: 4th, January 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment

Transfer balls: De Gea announces Manchester United departure

de-gea-facebookIt’s January. Football’s transfer window is open. Manchester United goalie David De Gea has a new Facebook profile photo.

Did you join the dots?

The Telegraph, did. It takes the updated photo as a sign that De Gea is preparing to leave Manchester United, causing “mild panic” to spread among the club’s supporters.

Why all the fuss? Well, chiefly because there’s no United badge on De Gea’s shirt.

De Gea is communicating in code.

But has the Telegraph missed a trick? Our pals at Pies have rotated the De Gea symbol 90 degrees…




Posted: 4th, January 2016 | In: Back pages, Broadsheets, manchester united, Sports | Comment

Transfer balls: Aubameyang wants to play for Arsenal (or Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United)

arsenal Transfer balls: Arsenal are all set to offer £42m for Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, says the Sun.

Aubameyang has scored 24 goals in 23 appearances this season.

He has “told friends” he wants to leave Germany and play in the Premier League.

The paper says an Arsenal rep is in Germany talking with Dortmund.


A source then pops up to tell us:

“An intermediary has made contact with Dortmund about Pierre-Emerick making a move to Arsenal. Wenger knows the fee is very high — yet this is a striker who can make a massive difference for him and help win the title for the first time in 12 years. But there is a lot of interest in him.”

So says the source, who sounds a helluva lot like a PR rep.

The Sun then notes:

Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool have also been linked with making a move for the Gabon ace, 26.

They have?

Arsenal have the cash to meet Dortmund’s valuation this month and are in a strong bargaining position.

They are?

In July, the player singed a new contract at Dortmund. The Mail wrote:

Aubameyang, who wore a bow tie and sharp grey blazer as he put pen to paper, had been linked with a possible switch to the Premier League, but the new deal – which ties the 26-year-old to Dortmund until July 2020 – ends any such speculation surrounding his future.

Or not.


Posted: 3rd, January 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment

Transfer balls: £35m Isco £64m to Arsenal, £25m to Man City, £29m to Juventus

Isco arsenalEvery transfer window a player occupies the media. This January its Isco.

The Mirror says Real Madrid midfielder Isco, 23, is hoping to engineer a £25m move to Manchester City.

Is h? We don’t know. The Mirror’s scoop contains not as single source.

Also today the Express says Isco is heading to Juventus.


Isco Arsenal


On 15 Dec 2015, Metro said Arsenal have been placed “on red alert” for Isco, who had fallen out with Real’s management.

On December 3, Metro said Liverpool also want Isco.

On December 1, the trusty Metro said Arsenal are “ready to pay £35million asking price to seal transfer of Real Madrid star Isco”.

Isco’s price is fluctuating.

On October 15, Metro said “Arsenal are working on a £22million deal to sign Isco from Real Madrid.”

But hold the back page because Arsenal were ready to splash out – get this – £64m for Isco.


Isco Arsenal


It’s almost as if they don’t have the foggiest…



Posted: 2nd, January 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment

Arsenal balls: Newcastle cut up rough

The Sun says that Newcastle United manger Steve McClaren has “ordered  Newcastle to rough up” Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil when the teams meet this afternoon. Are the Magpies really going to kick Arsenal’s best player out of the game? Is that the game plan?


Ozil Newcastle


No. Of course not.

McClaren merely said his side must show a “certain amount  of aggression” to keep Arsenal within reach. Which seems an entirely reasonable position.



Posted: 2nd, January 2016 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment

Transfer balls: Arsenal in for Ben Chilwell, get Elneny, disappoint fans

Arsenal “will look to sign new players in January”. So says the Mail, which picks up Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s words to the Press. “I’ll be busy, that’s for sure,’ Wenger said. “I am already busy and I said already one month ago, we are a bit short to deal with all the competitions we face, especially in midfield. We will be busy, yes.”

The Mirror says busy does not mean buying. The Mirror says Arsenal fans will be left “disappointed”. The paper says Arsenal will buy only one player this January: Mohamed Elneny. The Metro says he’s “confirmed he’s undergone a medical and agreed terms to join Arsenal from FC Basel”.

A done deal? No. Wenger adds: “Unfortunately we cannot announce anything at the moment about this player because nothing has been concluded.”

The Times says “Elneny will provide cover in the short term, but Wenger believes that there will be greater value for money in the summer when he will be looking to sign a heavyweight defensive midfielder. Southampton have told Arsenal that Victor Wanyama is not for sale until the summer, when he will have one year left on his deal.”

The Sun says Arsenal are in for Leicester City left back Ben Chilwell. He “could be an Arsenal player next week”.

Or maybe not.

Posted: 31st, December 2015 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment

Arsenal transfers: Javier Hernandez, Jese, Nolito and Elneny all in

Arsenal transfer news round-up.

Daily Star:  Arsenal are chasing former Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez. The Mexican, 27, has hit 19 goals in 21 games for Bayer Leverkusen since leaving Old Trafford. (Top work getting rid of him, Louis Van Gaal!)

Don BalonArsenal are keen to offload unconvincing Joel Campbell, 23. They’re ready to roll him into a swap deal for Celta Vigo’s Nolito.

Daily Mirror: Arsenal are due to sign 23-year-old midfielder Mohamed Elneny from Basel. The Egyptian will do the work of the Gunners’ creaking Mathieu Flamini, Mikel Arteta, 33, and Tomas Rosicky, 35.

The Guardian says Arsenal also want Real Madrid’s 22-year-old substitute Jesé.

Posted: 28th, December 2015 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment