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: So desperate is Alexis Sanchez to leave Manchester United that he’s going to demand a reduction in his £500,000-a-week wage to make him more affordable to, well, anyone who’ll let him play either football, the piano or both at once. Either that or he’ll just sulk and wait until Jose Mourinho is sacked and the next manager realise what a top talent he is.
Racing Sanchez out the door are Marcus Rojo and Eric Bailly. They will replaced by – deep breath – Nathan Aké, Jérôme Boateng and / or Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar.
Higher up the Premier League table, rumours abound that Liverpool will bid over £85m for Ousmane Dembélé, who cost Barcelona £105m when he moved from Borussia Dortmund in 2017. The German side have a knack of developing players and selling them on for top money. Barcelona made them an offer they could not refuse for the Frenchman who has failed to shine in Spain. But will they take a £20m hit on him? Or is £85m for a flop good money? That question to Paul Pogba.
Arsenal have woken to the fact their centre backs are slower than a Granit Xhaka tackle. The Gunners are looking at Atalanta’s Gianluca Mancini.
And Tottenham are readying a £35m bid for Cagliari’s 21-year-old Italian midfielder Nicolo Barella. But Man United and Liverpool also want him. So watch the price rocket.
Manchester United will sack Jose Mourinho if the club fails to achieve Champions League qualification this season. So says the BBC. And so says the Sun. The paper offers no fact to support its back-page story. Not that the Express needs more to echo the news as an exclusive. “Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho to be SACKED unless he does one thing,” says the clickbait farm. That one thing he must do is to be successful. Who knew?
Not the Daily Mirror. Its readers out think Mourinho has been sacked, his role replaced by a stunt double:
Back in the Sun, we’re told United still fancy recruiting Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino. Well, they should do. He’s been great at Spurs. But he’ll win nothing but plaudits there, so surely the Argentine wold fancy managing United with all that extra money to spend on top players? Real Madrid want Poch, too. But the Sun says his contract at Spurs is “almost impossible” to break. Which is utter balls, of course. Everyone has their price. If United can spunk £31m on Victor Lindelof, surely they can get their manager for around that fee?
The pressure at United would be different to what Poch feels at Spurs. In today’s Mirror, there are three pages on Manchester United losing and one mention of Spurs – columnist Stan Collymore says Pochettino is very good. Spurs are not mentioned once in the Sun – but there are four pages on Man United.
In other united news, the Times reports that Mourinho’s faith in Nemanja Matic is upsetting some of this team-mates. And in the Mirror former United “guv’nor” Paul Ince says United are “scared” of Manchester City. Surely, City just have better players. It’s not fear. Its ability. It’s better recruitment. Nonetheless, seven Mirror hacks respond to the poser, “What on earth can United do to narrow the gap?” Darren Lewis advises “attack from the outset”. Away to Manchester City, United should attack form the outset? Tom Hopkinson says – I kid you not – “It’s simple: new manger, new team.” Andy Dunn says United must stop being “archaic”. And David McDonnell suggests a “radical overhaul”.
The biggest question is: where were the fans who can remember when United didn’t win the title for 26 years? When did titles become entitlement?
Clickbait Balls: a look at newspapers tricking readers . Today, as ever, it’s the Daily Express, which thunders: “Arsenal news: Gareth Bale transfer EXCLUSIVE, Unai Emery revelation, Wolves team news.”
It’s the first bit that bites, right? Can it be that Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale – formerly of Spurs – is on his way to Arsenal? Surely not? Or maybe… So you click. Your click triggers – get this – 32 adverts and sponsored links. But the news will be worth it. James Walters has the “exclusive”. Just get a load of that URL: “Arsenal-news Gareth Bale transfer exclusive”:
Gareth Bale EXCLUSIVE
Arsenal must go in for the best players on the planet – the likes of Gareth Bale – if they are to challenge for the Premier League, John Hartson says…
Hartson exclusively told Express Sport: “No disrespect to Arsenal, if say for arguments sake, a Gareth Bale becomes available [they won’t go in]. I know he’s ex-Spurs and it may not happen.
“But if a top player like that became available and he’s £95m with £40m wages over the next four years, will they go in for him? They might not.”
May. Might not. What a scoop!
Treating your readers like mugs is anti-journalism. But let’s give the Express a chance. How about part two of the sensational headline, the part about an “Unai Emery revelation”:
Arsenal are a more solid under Unai Emery compared to when Arsene Wenger was in charge, Matthew Upson claims.
And..? And nothing. That’s it. When ex-Gooner Upson speaks to the BBC it’s a “revelation”. The man’s a prophet. finally, how about that “Wolves team news”? It’s that Danny Welbeck, the bloke with the broken ankle, won’t be playing. More on him here.
The ghouls have been out fo Arsenal striker Danny Welbck. Last night, Arsenal manger Unai Emery told media that Welbeck had surgery on his badly injured ankle on Friday – the day after he was injured playing in the Europa League match against Sporting Lisbon. “He won’t be back with us for a long time,” the Arsenal manager said. Will he play again this season? “The doctor can answer that better than me,” replied Emery.
No need to ask the doctors. The Express knows it all. Since Welbeck got hurt, the “World’s Greatest Newspaper” has published 10 Danny Welbeck articles. It began by labelling the incident a “horror injury“, as many tabloids did. Today the paper downgraded things to a “nasty” injury. The facts keep on coming in the Express eVulture news service:
Danny Welbeck prediction made by injury expert after horror Arsenal scenes. DANNY WELBECK is facing around four months on the sidelines after badly hurting his ankle, says injury expert Ben Dinnery.
November 9 – article 2:
Arsenal news: Welbeck ‘may never play again’
Danny Welbeck in Arsenal injury horror… pics BT Sport didn’t want YOU to see – WARNING.
WARNING – these are the pictures BT Sport didn’t want you to see of Arsenal star Danny Welbeck’s horror injury.
Achtung! Achtung! Gather round to see something horrible. Bring a knife and fork to feast on Danny Welbeck’s remains. (The photos are pretty much the same as those carried by every newspaper, although one is cropped to show Welbeck’s ankle twisting.)
November 10: fact 2
Danny Welbeck injury: Arsenal fear forward will miss the rest of the season
November 10: fact 3:
“Welbeck is in hospital and will undergo surgery after breaking his right ankle, which will rule him out for the remainder of the season.”
November 10: fact 4:
“Welbeck’s latest injury setback is expected to keep him on the sidelines for at least four months.”
November 10: fact 5
Danny Welbeck: New Arsenal contract demand made after horror ankle injury
No, not by Danny Welbeck. This is the opinion of Perry Groves, the former Arsenal player. It’s not a demand. It’s just Perry filling in space on one of his media stints.
November 10: fact 6:
“Unai Emery readying £45 move for Danny Welbeck replacement”
It’s Lille’s Nicholas Pepe. Sorry, Danny, you’re finished. Get well soon, mate. Chin up!
Arsenal news: Unai Emery admits Danny Welbeck uncertainty with fresh injury update
Not quote RIP Danny Welbeck, then.
Manchester City attacker Raheem Sterling has a dog. The Daily Mirror presents this as news. Having priced the player’s home, the Mirror then delivers one of the most asinine lines ever to find its way into print. This, ladies and gentleman, is an “exclusive” from the self-styled ‘intelligent tabloid’. Go: “He follows a number of Premiership stars to buy dogs…”
How much is his home worth?
Raheem Sterling – is he ever not newsworthy?
When Danny Welbeck hurt his ankle playing for Arsenal, the Press were quick to brand it a “horror injury“. Welbeck was in pain. That much was clear. But it wasn’t look-away horrific. And we don’t yet know how bad the injury is. It wasn’t like when Welbeck’s Arsenal team-mate Aaron Ramsey had his tibia and fibula broken at Stoke City, or when Eduardo had his leg badly broken when playing for Arsenal at Birmingham City. Eduardo’s injury was so nasty that Sky Sports decided against showing replays of it. Educardo’s bone ended up poking though his sock.
And Can we talk about David Busst? On April 8, 1996, Busst was playing for Coventry City at Old Trafford to take on English football giants Manchester United. After two minutes of the match played, Busst had suffered compound fractures to the tibia and fibula of his right leg. He never played professional football again.
The Express sticks with the hyperbole and tells its readers today: “Welbeck is in hospital and will undergo surgery after breaking his right ankle, which will rule him out for the remainder of the season.” It will? Arsenal haven’t said anything other than the injury looks “serious”. Oddly, another Express story tells readers: “Welbeck’s latest injury setback is expected to keep him on the sidelines for at least four months.”
Hold that scalpel! The Star says: “According to the Daily Mail… doctors will give him an MRI scan to see if he requires an operation.”
As the papers guess, and anyone sane wishes Welbeck a speedier recovery than the ghouls do, the Sun says Arsenal are already looking for his replacement. So how do you replace a man valued at £10m and in the final year of his contract – a player whose not been offered a new deal and was likely to be sold in January to Crystal Palace?
They say Emery could now make a £45m bid for Lille’s Pepe in January.
DAN BUSTER Arsenal transfer news: Danny Welbeck injury forces Unai Emery to step-up £45million pursuit of Lille winger Nicolas Pepe.
Gunners need a rethink of their January sales plans as rookie Eddie Nketiah is now the main back-up for front two Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette
Got that? The Gunners will splash out £45m on a new face because Danny Welbeck got injured. No full diagnosis has been made. The “England striker could also have suffered ligament damage” says the Sun. He could have. Or maybe he didn’t? As for Pepe, well, the Sun provides not a single fact to support the news that Arsenal want the Lille man.
Despite the lack of facts, the Express and Star pile in:
In other news, Pepe’s price has rocketed:
Arsenal “could” face competition for his signature form Barcelona and Sevilla, says the Sun. The Express says Bayern Munich want him. The Times says: “Manchester City bid for Lille’s Nicolas Pepe .” And the Manchester Evening News says, predictably, Manchester United are chasing Pepe. Meanwhile, the player is still at Little. And Welbeck hasn’t been despatched to the glue factory. Yet.
Such are the facts.
When Raheem Sterling was awarded a penalty for falling over in the box during Manchester City’s 6-0 hammering of Shakhtar it was clear to everyone but the referee the wrong decision had been made. Sterling never thought to tell the referee he’d got it wrong. He never offered to take the penalty and deliberately miss. Sportsmanship was not the winner. But if Sterling’s looking for ways to improve his conduct, the former Liverpool player can read the Liverpool Echo’s story headline: “Raheem Sterling Man City penalty row – and the Liverpool example he SHOULD have followed.”
Which Liverpool example is that, then? This one?
No. It’s this one – when Robbie Fowler went to ground easily at Arsenal:
Fowler and Liverpool celebrated the egregious refereeing error by scoring the penalty and celebrating wildly. If only Sterling had stayed at Liverpool he could have learned what you “should” do when a penalty is awarded wrongly. But he plays in Manchester, having left Liverpool to earn more money and win trophies, so he’s a cheating sod.
Happy 43rd birthday Stephane Henchoz 👊
League Cups 🏆🏆
FA Cups 🏆
UEFA Cups 🏆
Saves in cup finals 👐 pic.twitter.com/UZXWamUG9U
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) 7 September 2017
And sometimes you get away with it:
Happy 43rd birthday Stephane Henchoz 👊
League Cups 🏆🏆
FA Cups 🏆
UEFA Cups 🏆
Saves in cup finals 👐 pic.twitter.com/UZXWamUG9U
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) 7 September 2017
Happy 43rd birthday Stephane Henchoz 👊
League Cups 🏆🏆
FA Cups 🏆
UEFA Cups 🏆
Saves in cup finals 👐 pic.twitter.com/UZXWamUG9U
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) 7 September 2017
Arsenal v Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League, and Danny Welbeck suffers a “horror ankle injury” that “leaves Arsenal team-mates shocked”. So says the Daily Mail. It looks pretty nasty. But the paper has no idea what the damage is. “Danny Welbeck out for the season?” asks the BBC. Dunno. Is he?
The Sun agrees that it is a “horror injury”. Welbeck contested a header and landed “awkwardly”. There was no blood. He was not unconscious, says the Beeb.
— Arsene H (@Arsene1034) November 8, 2018
The Sun then tells us it looks like a “broken or dislocated right ankle”. Which is it? He will “almost certainly be taken to hospital for treatment”. I might not be medial man but a broken ankle usually necessitates a trip to the hospital. The paper then adds: “The ex-Manchester United ace is also expected to now pull out of Gareth Southgate’s England squad for next weeks two matches.” Maybe. But if Wayne Rooney can get a recall, maybe a one-legged Welbeck still stands a chance of being selected to play. “It could well be his last appearance for the Gunners,” says the Sun.
Over in the Indy, their experts can confirm – or guess – that Danny Welbeck is “to have an x-ray”. When does an injured footballer not have a scan? But it must be bad, right? “The injury will almost certainly see him withdrawn from Gareth Southgate’s England squad for matches against the United States and Croatia,” says the website.
It might be bad. It might be a “horror” injury. Or it could be pulled ligaments. Or a bad sprain. Or a fracture – which, according to the NHS, involves placing the injured ankle in a protective boot for around 6 weeks. Welbeck might be ok to play in two weeks time for England, say the papers. Or maybe he’ll never play for Arsenal again, say the same papers.
They shoot horses.
Such are the facts.
UPDATE: Sky Sports: “Danny Welbeck “broke something in his ankle” during Arsenal’s Europa League draw with Sporting Lisbon on Thursday, according to head coach Unai Emery.
“We think it’s a serious injury. Every injury is different. He broke something in his ankle and it’s a different injury than another. Now he’s at the hospital and the news is at the moment we are going to wait, but we think this is a serious injury.”
Get well soon, Danny.
Transfer Balls: how much is Anthony Martial worth to Manchester United? Whoah, there. That’s a rhetorical question. The answer is £45m. That’s a lot of money for a player who was on his way out when his current contract expires at the season’s end. United do have an option to extend that by one year. But Martial holds the cards. So United will sign him up on a new deal and then flog him when Jose Mourinho starts calling him names. The Sun says the new deal will last for five-year deal and earn the Frenchman £190,000-a-week. The paper doesn’t say if that figure includes extra cash for doing his job – scoring goals; being on the winning team; getting selected – or the absurd ‘loyalty bonus’. But it’s decent money, albeit not in the Alexis Sanchez bracket of more than double that figure. You get real value at United.
Manchester United also fancy Sampdoria’s 22-year-old Danish defender Joachim Andersen. No idea what his fee would be, but Inter Milan’s 23-year-old defender Milan Skriniar, a player wanted by United, is reportedly worth £100m, according to the club’s manager Luciano Spalletti.
Away from Old Trafford, Chelsea and Bayern Munich are chasing Lyon’s Nabil Fekir. The Star says the man who looked to be on his way to Liverpool last summer could arrive in London. Joining him in the Smoke is Lille winger Nicolas Pepe, 23, who has “welcomed speculation linking him with Arsenal”, says the BBC. How that plays out with his team-mates is moot.
Clickbait Balls courtesy of the BBC, which spots Everton player Seamus Coleman contributing to the fund set up to help Sean Cox, the Liverpool fan set upon by Roma fans before a Champions League match. The BBC says Coleman is “worried Everton fans would question him for donating money to Liverpool fan Sean Cox.” Sheesh! Coleman must think Everton fans are real numbskulls. Are they so loyal to Everton that they’ll condemn a player for helping a fellow countryman – both Coleman and cox are Irish.
Clicking on the link we’re told:
Everton defender Seamus Coleman worried fans would question him for making a donation to help an injured fan of city rivals Liverpool.
Maybe rabid Liverpool fans don’t want his money? Or maybe the BBC’s heading is total clickbait balls:
“You think ‘Do you put your name towards it or not?'” Coleman said. “You might get people saying ‘he might have put more money in’ or whatever,” he added… “I wanted to put my name to it because sometimes that raises more publicity. That’s what the Liverpool manager did.”
Mentions of Everton fans? Nil.
He doesn’t say that at all though does he? You fucking horrible little arseholes, fuck off.
— Everton Aren't We (@EvertonArentWe) November 6, 2018
Absolute joke! Everton and Liverpool share a great rivalry but when it comes to community we are always together i.e. Hillsborough. Good on Seamus for putting something back in! 🙂
— William Wallace (@BillyWallace89) November 6, 2018
More BBC clickbait soon…
Unable too secure the job for life at Arsenal some thought was rightfully his, Arsene Wenger is to manage AC Milan. That’s the once mighty Italian club now owned by an American hedge fund which last month appointed former Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis to run things. Gazidis is the towering force who took Arsenal from 1st to 6th. He was part of the problem that let Arsenal drift into mediocrity as the club’s fans split between ‘Wenger In’ and ‘Wenger Out’ factions. The BBC relays the news. But France Football have the scoop. As ever, putting the story though Google Translate comes up trumps:
But the man with the three titles of Premier League and seven Cups of England has been negotiating for a few weeks with AC Milan. These negotiations are close to succeeding for a quick start. The situation of the Lombard club is not dramatic but far from the expectations of its new shareholder, the US investment fund Elliot Management Corporation, which took over the debts of Chinese Li Yonghong. Arsene Wenger would replace Gennaro Gattuso (40) at the head of the Rossoneri. He would also have a larger role in his duties with the sports director, the Brazilian Leonardo. This arrival of one of the greatest French coaches would also be orchestrated by Paul and Gordon Singer. Billionaires, the father and son run the fund now owns AC Milan and also has interests in Lille. The two businessmen, who spend time in London with a lot of business in England, are fans … of Arsenal. According to some sources, the arrival of Wenger in the club to the seven Leagues Champions would be even already “deal”.
Italy here he comes, then.
Barney Ronay was at the Emirates to match Arsenal draw 1-1 with Liverpool. The pre-match chatter was of the Reds being years ahead of Arsenal. Nothing of it. Under Unai Emery’s management Arsenal are on the up. Wengeresque torpor is being dusted away. And at the heart of it all, Lucas Torreira is a force to be reckoned with:
Just past the half-hour the Emirates erupted into a rare barrelling wave of noise as Torreira dumped Sadio Mané on the turf with a perfectly timed roundhouse slide-tackle. It was oddly rousing, like a roomful of convalescents granted a rare glimpse of the sun through the French windows. In front of the press box two home fans stood up and spontaneously hugged. Vigour, energy, persistence, grit. What a change to see all of these things.
‘Lucas Torreira, the Mighty Insect, embodies Arsenal’s new grit’ – Guardian.
Manchester United are desperate to keep David de Gea, 27, and Anthony Martial, 22. But plans to offer the pair improved contracts are being hampered by the massive sums paid to Alexis Sanchez, who commands around £500,000-a-week in wages. So Sanchez has to go. But only PSG would ever pay such an absurd amount for the Barcelona reject turned Arsenal star. And why would they want a man who it turned out only pretended to play the piano.
There’s more Aaron Ramsey news, of course. Linked in print to – deep beneath – to Real Madrid, Juventus, PSG, AC Milan, Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea – the Arsenal player who stalled on signing a new deal for so long that even Arsene Wenger got tired of waiting and left the club is now on his way to… Bayern Munich. Well, so say the Express, so it might not be entirely true.
Chelsea and Manchester City are chasing Sunderland’s 17-year-old Bali Mumba. Spurs fancy Colombia midfielder Wilmar Barrios from Boca Juniors. And Everton like Crystal Palace right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka. The Toffees could include the terrific Ademola Lookman in any deal. If that transfer takes place, Everton should check the name gag in Wan-Bissaka’s shirt. Buyer beware, mistakes after purchase cannot be rectified.
Aaron Ramsey says he’s no idea why Arsenal withdrew their contract offer. For months and months the club’s offer of £170,000-a-week for four years reportedly sat on the table. Ramsey never signed. Why not? We can only suppose he wanted more money, as much as £250,000-a-week to deliver one Premier League goal a season, as he did last season, and spend a large chunk of time sat in the treatment room. As Ramsey dithered and his Mr 15% thought they held all the cards, Arsenal moved on. First Arsene Wenger was sacked, then Ivan Gazidis, the ineffectual chief executive, went to work for AC Milan, a once great club now operated by a US hedge fund. The new Arsenal hierarchy looked at Ramsey, considered his value and thought him not worth the money.
Gazidis’ successor Raul Sanllehi can only be an improvement. “I don’t think I am inventing the wheel,” he told the Sunday Telegraph of the club’s new decision not to let key players enter the final year of a contract. “Anybody could agree on that.”
There’s a lot of chatter about where Ramsey might go next. The Star says Chelsea don’t want him because Ross Barkley, 24, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 22, are playing well. Sky says Liverpool have ruled out making a move for Ramsey. The Welshman could join Manchester United in January with Juan Mata moving the other way, says the Sun. Why United would want a slowing midfielder is moot.
The Telegraph says Arsenal “have embarrassed themselves again” by letting a £50m player leave for free. To which the question must be: which club was ever going to pay £50m for Ramsey, plus around £200,000-a-week in wages? And why is it embarrassing to get rid of players who rate themselves too highly and bring on hungry, fresh talent, as Arsenal have, notably in the shape of Emile Smith Rowe, Matteo Guendouzi and a vastly improved Alex Iwobi?
Arsenal called Ramsey’s bluff. Everton beckons him. He’ll leave behind an Arsenal side possessed of a new sense of direction.
As newspapers tank, red-top tabloids try to translate splashy sensation from paper to the web. The Sun thunders:
“Manchester United flop Alexis Sanchez wanted by PSG in shock transfer, amid continuing Old Trafford struggles.” Sanchez wants out of his absurd £600,000-a-week contract? And PSG in their wisdom think Sanchez is worth the effort?! The story is full of zero facts:
PSG would be willing to take Sanchez off their hands as long as they can land him on the cheap or even on a possible free transfer. It is understood the idea of getting him off their books has been talked about by the United hierarchy.
A “source” from somewhere inside or at least stood pretty close by Manchester United say it all “could” happen. The source is unnamed. But they are chatty:
“It’s no secret he has struggled and not lived up to the expectations. He isn’t getting any younger and it might never work for him. There was interest before the club signed him but he preferred staying in England at the time. That may have changed now. One of their [PSG’s] top stars could go and it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that a deal could be struck between the two clubs.”
Nonsense, then. But this is the desperate web and from that “exclusive”, we get the Daily Mirror thundering: “Alexis Sanchez transfer: Why PSG think they can sign Manchester United star on FREE.” Why? Dunno. But the guess is that he costs a lot of money in wages and is not all that good. And on it goes:
Daily Express: “PSG want to sign Alexis Sanchez from Manchester United on one condition.”
Daily Star: “Man Utd news: PSG eye Alexis Sanchez on free transfer.”
talkSport: “Manchester United transfer news: Paris Saint-Germain plot shock move.”
Manchester Evening News: “Manchester United winger Alexis Sanchez ‘eyed’ for Paris Saint Transfer.”
All utter tosh.
Such are the facts.
Tottenham players “fear” Mauricio Pochettino is to leave the club for Real Madrid or Manchester United. Which Spurs players are in dread of the Argentine leaving, and maybe taking them along for the ride and the huge hike on wages that would come with it, is unsaid by the BBC. Over in the Telegraph that “fear” is reduced to a mere “feeling”. The Sun tell us that Real Madrid will double Pochettino’s wages to £17m a year. How it knows that is moot. It just does. It feels it.
But why would Pochettinho want a job with a shorter shelf life than a Halloween pumpkin? AS tells us that former Real Madrid star Michael Laudrup has rejected down the chance to become the club’s new manager. Fair enough. After all, Marca told us former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte would be appointed as soon as Real sacked Julen Lopetegui as manager. He wasn’t. Meanwhile, the Mail says Belgium manager and former Everton and Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is the white-hot favourite to become the next Real Madrid chief. Or as the Guardian puts it: “Mauricio Pochettino has emerged as Real Madrid’s No 1 choice.”
To recap: they don’t know.
In other news, Alexis Sanchez is off to play at PSG, says the BBC. Manchester Untied will replace their striker by digging huge hole in the ground and pouring £600,000-a-week into it.
And then some bigger news in Spain’s Sport. Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembélé is to be shunted out of the club this January. He turned up late for a game, we read, and Barcelona “have decided to act strongly on the issue”. Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea all want the Frenchman. Will it happen? Dunno. Back in August the Express told its readers: “Arsenal transfer news: Gunners make £90MILLION bid for Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele.” They didn’t.
And finally, get this from the BBC: “Newcastle are understood to be ready to offer Rafa Benitez the contract extension he wants – providing he is prepared to wait for certain requests.” Such as his discount voucher for Sports Direct and a chance to win the Championship.
Arsenal’s ‘head of football’ – what a great title that is; as if Arsenal’s purpose his anything but football – Raul Sanllehi promises everyone that the club will no longer allow the contracts of key players to enter the final year. Right now Aaron Ramsey is nearing the end of their current deals, so too Danny Welbeck.
In recent seasons, Arsenal have allowed the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to enter the final six months of their contracts. This foolish negotiating tactic overseen by the not-in-the-least-bit-lamanted chief executive Ivan Gazidis, now at AC Milan, resulted in Ozil getting a whopping £350,000-a-week on a new deal and Sanchez heading to Manchester United last January. Jack Wilshere’s contract expired. He ended up getting a free transfer to West Ham.
“In general, I do believe that a player’s contract should never go to the last year, as a policy,” Sanllehi told the Sunday Telegraph. “But I don’t think I am inventing the wheel. Anybody could agree on that.” It appears that Gazidis did not agree. “Normally, the contracts of the players are for five years. You need to have a clear idea of what you want to do with that player when he is in the third year, at the latest.”
“We don’t take decisions overnight, on a quick reflection. We really go through not only a long period of thinking but also a lot of people are involved. People in which we have a high trust. In general I would like to make that point clear. There are no decisions that are left to the last minute. When we reach a decision, it is for a reason.”
To further illustrate how slack things got at Arsenal under Gazidis and Arsene Wenger, Per Mertesacker and Huss Fahmy, have been promoted to the club’s “executive team” as the club look to increase the “football representation” at decision-making levels. It’s the school of the bleeding’ obvious. Ignore the actual football, focus too much on marking and branding, and watch the club turn into, well the current Manchester United mess.
But it’s not all about the footy. Mertesacker, Fahey, Sanllehi and Sven Mislintat are the only “footballing representatives” on the 15-man executive team, which “encompasses everything that we do as an organisation”. Eleven people do what exactly? As Sonny put it so succinctly on the night of the big dance-off in the hit movie Grease, ‘Let’s hear it for the toilet paper.”
Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, that “flower amongst the rubble”,is all about “winning games, rather than contracts”. Well, so he says. But de Gea has been widely linked with a tender to Juventus when his contact runs out next summer – and if they can afford to lash out £90m plus on an ageing Cristiano Ronaldo, the Italians can spend big wages on arguable the world’s best goalkeeper.
De Gea, 27, would replace curent Juventus ‘keeper and childhood Arsenal fan Wojciech Szczęsny. The former Arsenal player, who when wearing the Gunners red and white often looked a tad vacant, a man who could distracted by a passing plane, bird or ball, has done well in Italy. As he told the Indy this year:
“…I started playing at a very young age with Arsenal and as you play you gain experience and that’s how you grow. But, honestly, I couldn’t say from a technical standpoint that I improved in any way from when I became first-choice at Arsenal until the day I left for Roma.
“However, in the two-and-a-half years since I came to Italy, I’ve improved massively which is thanks to the coaches and the way they work. It’s not about improving when you play, it’s every day in training you have to work on every aspect of your game and that’s something I’ve really enjoyed.”
Arsene Wenger never made the Poland goalkeeper a better player. But through no fault of his own and no lack of effort, he’s not de Gea’s equal. Juventus, looking to replace the great Gianluigi Buffon, who at age 40 finally left the club for PSG in the summer, would do well to get the Spaniard. United manager Jose Mourinho says he is “not confident” De Gea will remain at Old Trafford.
“You have to be focused on what’s important,” De Gea told Sky Sports. “What matters is the team and all of us being focused on what we need to focus on, which is winning games, rather than contracts or any topics that can be a distraction. What matters is focusing on football.” So why mention them? “You don’t have time to think about things that aren’t as important as football and the points that are at stake in the games that we have to win and do well in.” And after and before the match, is that when you owner about life with Italy’s perennial champions?
Is it time for a change? “I’ve been at the club for eight seasons now. I’m very happy here,” says De Gea. “I always feel that warmth from the fans and everyone who works at the club.”
But Untied are not the force they were under Alex Ferguson, under whose knowing eye De Gea was recruited. The clock;s ticking. Juventus are happy to wait or get their man for cheap this summer…
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino is on his way to Real Madrid after all, then. The Sun says Pochettino will replace Julen Lopetegui, should Real sack him, which they will in 10…9… The Mail says Real headhunter Florentino Perez wanted to sack the one-time Spain coach last week. You might have watched Perez during Real’s Champions League match against Viktoria Plzen “storming away from his balcony”. It was only other club officials who prevented an on-the-spot sacking, says the paper.
If Lopetgui goes, so do all the players thundered the overrated Isco to media. To which Real fans say in one voice “adios”.
Real finished 17 points behind Barcelona in La Liga last season. Ronaldo left, taking his 50 goals a season with him to Juventus. Real look leaderless on the pitch. So Pochettino it is. The Sun says Real prefer him to Antonio Conte. Well, who wouldn’t. The big shock is that Manchester United haven’t already offered Spurs £40m for Poch. Why don’t clubs trade managers as they do players?
But Real also admire current Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese would do well to take the hint and leave Old Trafford. If David de Gea leaves on a free transfer to Juventus when his contract expires next summer, as the Times says he might, United will look even more hapless. Ubiquitous Spanish journalist Guillem Balague told BBC Radio 5 live listeners that the Real kingmakers love Jose. Why? Haven’t they been watching…
Do Manchester United buy players to fit the team or advance the global brand? Rumours abound that Manchester United want to sell Paul Pogba but any exit would blow a big hole in the club’s marketing scheme. The trick for United is less who wants Pogba, but which mega-star replaces him and why they’d want to? The Mail says the marketeers who run United are stuck on who could match Pogba’s commercial value. Think less of the overrated player and more of how much merchandise he shifts.
The media is full of stories about how Pogba would leap at the chance to join Barcelona – he’d leap higher than he did when he lost Antonio Rüdiger at a corner for Chelsea’s opening goal last weekend. The bigger question is: why would Barcelona want the hype-powered France footballer whose shown few signs of being worth a fraction of his £90m fee that took him from Juventus to United? The still bigger question is: why would Barcelona spend £200m for the privilege?
Another Frenchman less than chuffed with life at Manchester United is French forward Anthony Martial, 22. Last week he was all set to see out his contract and leave on a free. Today the BBC says he’s ready to to stay at the club. First Jose Mourinho heaps prise on Luke Shaw, a man he once branded a brainless plodder, seeing to it that the asset nearing the end of his contract was awarded a new contract; now Jose starts praising and picking Martial just as he looked all set to leave for nought. Who picks the side at United: Mourinho or the moneymen who run the club?
The Sun says LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks set to rejoin Manchester United on loan during the MLS off-season. He’s one for the future.
Across town, Manchester City fancy Juventus’ Brazilian full-back Alex Sandro, 27, and Japan midfielder Ritsu Doan. Down south, a resurgent Arsenal are monitoring Ajax’s Argentina left-back Nicolas Tagliafico, 26. Chelsea are closing in on 18-year-old Italian midfielder Sandro Tonali. And Crystal Palace like Inter striker Gabriel Barbosa, whose on loan at Santos having failed to command a place with the Italians. Barbosa tells Marca his “intention is to go to a place where I can be as happy as I am here [at Santos]”. Palace it is, then.
And Wolves – they’re after Inter Milan’s 25-year-old Portuguese midfielder Joao Mario and a striker. Maria is also liked by Leicester and Southampton.
Manchester United were comprehensively outplayed in their home Champions league tie with Juventus. Stodgy, defensive and possessed by nary a muon of the swashbuckling style that made the club great. After the dull match and the performative nature of Jose Mourinho’s snipes, snarks and adherence to the belief that the boredom is not of his making, Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport reviewed United’s pampered posers:
Romelu Lukaku scored a 4/10 – the lowest of anybody on the pitch
(He is) a symbol of the torments of the United season: when the striker does not score, it becomes hard for everyone.
At this moment the Belgian is almost a deadweight, lost and confused in opposing defences, but Mourinho has no alternative.
Anthony Martial (5.5/10)
Another step backwards.
Marcus Rashford (4.5)
Never really dangerous. Half a disaster.
Luke Shaw (5)
Targeted as the weak link. Dazed. Stunned.
Chris Smalling (5)
His performance was as mediocre as his haircut.
David De Gea (lauded as United’s best player by a distance)
Like a flower amongst the rubble.
A delicate flower or a weed?
MARCA was tops, though, awarding Lukaku, Rashford, Smalling and Nemanja Matic a combined score of zero.
On the look out for bias, let’s see what the Manchester Evening News said about United:
David de Gea – United’s best player by a country mile:
Kept United in it with a few saves as United struggled to contain Cristiano Ronaldo, Juan Cuadrado and Paulo Dybala. 7
Victor Lindelof – who was every bit as good as De Gea. Yeah, really:
One of his more impressive displays for United, despite Juventus’ firepower. Read the game well and timed his challenges impressively. 7
Nemanja ‘nil points’ Matic:
Was disciplined and tried to get things going but the fleet-footed Blaise Matuidi and Miralem Pjanic outfoxed him. 5
And Romelu Lukaku, the big bloke up front who was good at Everton:
When United supporters screamed ‘move’ Lukaku rarely did. Bossed by Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci and too static. 2
Such are the facts.
Reasons for Arsenal fans to love Unai Emery mass by the day. After last night’s Wenger-esque victory over Leicester City, a performance illuminated by three synchronised team goals of rare beauty, what one writer compared to “watching a tribute band play better than the act they are paying homage to”, comes news that were it not for Emery Jack Wilshere would still be at the club.
Well, so says Wilshere, who tells the Islington Gazette:
“If Arsene had stayed I would have stayed, because of the influence he had in my career and the trust he had in me. He gave me the armband and respected me a lot. So, I had pretty much agreed to stay. And then he left and that changed things. Arsene had said to me previously ‘stay and fight your way back into the team’. Because I knew Arsene and knew he had trust in me, I knew I could do that and fight my way into the team.”
Wilshere was a hugely promising talent who rarely delivered. Arenal fans will wish him well at West Ham, but would he really get into the current side, who play such a high-tempo game? No. And if he did, when the ball reached Wilshere, the move would slow.
Emery is now working his magic on Aaron Ramsey, who having seen his demands for £250,000 a week in wages and a four-year deal rebuffed is seeking pastures new when his contract expires in the summer. As Ramsey’s agent whines on twitter about there being “no other option” for their low-scoring, injury prone midfielder of a client to leave because he can’t get £1m a month wages (plus loyalty bonuses?), Emery’s stock rises.
Cancel the trip to Jose Mourinho’s hotel room in Manchester and the one-way ticket to Real Madrid, Eden Hazard will stay at Chelsea. The BBC says Chelsea will offer their best player £350,000-a-week to stay at the club. This, says the Express, will make Hazard “the highest-paid player in the Premier League”. Which is odd because the Express says Alexis Sanchez is the league’s number one earner on £500,000-a-week.
As the Express delivers the facts and then fact that counter those facts in a SEO blizzard of utter balls, the Express also says struggling Real Madrid want to hire Raheem Sterling to bolster a forward line missing Cristiano Ronaldo’s 50-odd goals a season. There are no facts to support the claim. The Mirror says Sterling wants more money to stay at Manchester City, who will of course find it down the back of the sofa.
Finally, the Star says Arsenal fancy taking Barcelona’s Brazilian winger Malcom, 21, on loan in January. That’s be the same Malcolm the press told us had agreed to join Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester United before he went to Spain.
More facts from the twilight zone of football reporting every day…
Is Eden Hazard leaving Chelsea for Manchester United? Surely not. But the Manchester Evening News implies that United is on the brilliant Belgian’s radar. The Twitter feed for the Manchester Evening News dedicated to Manchester United news – “Manchester United Football Club news from the Manchester Evening News” – tweets a photo of Hazard and a link to a story on the paper’s site. In anyone still can’t understand the story that Hazard is looking at his “future plans” which seem to included a move to Manchester United, the paper includes the tag ‘#mufc”.
Taking the bait, we click the link and are told:
Words form Hazard on playing for Manchester United: nil. In fact, the MEN merely ping readers a post by Sky Sports, in which Hazard says he loves Chelsea and could end his playing days there:
So what is the story on Hazard that will be of interest to Manchester United fans? Oh:
Eden Hazard reveals his future plans
The Chelsea superstar previously revealed he would love to work with Jose Mourinho again, but that’s not going to happen unless the United boss ends up back at Stamford Bridge for a THIRD spell it seems:
Total tosh from the trusty MEN.
Does the BBC need to clickbait Arsenal fans with news of Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey? The BBC says Ramsey is “set to leave Arsenal for Everton on a free transfer in the summer”. Wasn’t he heading to Manchester United, Spurs, Liverpool, Manchester City or Chelsea? Earlier this week, the BBC told its reader that Ramsey was “open to joining one of Arsenal’s top six rivals if he leaves Emirates Stadium on a free transfer in the summer”. Everton are not a top six side. And that was “if” not “when”.
The BBC also told us that Real Madrid want Ramsey; and Liverpool and Man United were looking to get Ramsey in a “cut-price” deal this January.
Now we’re told, Everton are “ready to offer the 27-year-old a £15m signing-on fee”. Says who? Says the Sun, which actually says nothing of the sort. The BBC cites the tabloid as the source of its news, but when you head to the Sun, it tells us Ramsey “can command a stunning £15million signing-on fee.” He can. But will he? Everton could also pay the injury-prone player £150,000 a week to be “the main man in Silva’s midfield”.
Ramsey wants £250,000-a-week to stay at Arsenal on a four-year contract, working out at £52m. The Gunners rejected that option to nearly double Ramsey’s current salary. And now Everton will offer him £15m plus £31m in wages – that’s £46m over four-years. Although the Sun doesn’t say how long any contract offer will be for – just as it doesn’t says Everton are going to offer the player a £15m signing-on fee.
What next for Ramsey? The BBC hasn’t got the foggiest idea. He might yet stay at the Gunners. Look out for that theory on the BBC…