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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

Samuel Umtiti and the Manchester United transfer delivered in code

News that France international centre-half Samuel Umtiti has agreed a new five-year contract with Barcelona should disappoint tabloid-reading Manchester United fans. Umtiti, who joined Lyon for €25m in 2016, will remain at the club until 2023.

umtiti balls man united

 

But on March 4 2008, the Daily Star told readers: “Lionel Messi furious at Barcelona as Samuel Umtiti agrees deal with Man Utd.” The source for the Star’s total balls was Spanish website Diario Gol. Of it, the Star says in a story published on March 4 and headlined “Man Utd News: Messi ‘chooses’ Umtiti replacement”: “Diario Gol often make sensational transfer claims.” Many of them are repeated verbatim in the Star.

 

The Star:- repeating utter tosh

 

One month after Umtiti had “agreed” to join Man United in the Star, the Metro announced: “Samuel Umtiti sends clear message to Manchester United during Barcelona’s victory over Roma.” This “message” was delivered not by email, rather by a gaol for Barcelona. The story has nothing to do what Manchester United. These are its lowlights:

Samuel Umtiti sent an emphatic message to Manchester United during Barcelona’s comprehensive 4-1 victory over Roma in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final…

Umtiti, who has been heavily linked with a £53million move to United in recent weeks, appeared to double Barca’s lead in the 55th minute. However, replays showed it was another own goal from Roma..

Kostas Manolas got the final contact on the ball but this didn’t stop Umtiti wheeling away to claim the goal by grabbing and pointing at Barcelona’s crest on his chest. Sorry, United…

“Sorry United?” Sorry, Metro readers, more like.

 

umtiti balls man united

 

Over in the Sun, Umtiti was off:

Manchester United close in on Samuel Umtiti signing as Barcelona refuse to meet French international’s demands – March 26

SO LONG SAM – Barcelona already looking at replacement for Samuel Umtiti, with Manchester United closing in on French defender – March 29

umtiti balls man united

 

Meanwhile…in the real world:

 

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 4th, June 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Real want Spurs boss Pochettino; fans want Liverpool’s Klopp; Balague eats himself

The BBC says Real Madrid are no longer interested in Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino. Sky Sports adds a little more: “Real Madrid end interest in Mauricio Pochettino, says Guillem Balague.” Ah, him. Balague is the expert who told us Alvaro Morata had signed for Arsenal, Santi Cazorla would join Atletico Madrid, Juan Mata was joining Liverpool and Cristiano Ronaldo was returning to Manchester United. None of those things happened. In January, Sky reported: “Real have shortlisted the Spurs boss to take over at the Bernabeu, according to Guillem Balague.”

One enjoyable oddity to Sky’s latest reports is that Balague cites himself as the source of his own story. Balague’s source is Balague:

 

balague spurs real

 

Says Balague to Balague in a case of football reporting eating itself:

Real Madrid have abandoned their pursuit of Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, says Guillem Balague.

The European champions made Pochettino their number one target following Zinedine Zidane’s decision to quit on Thursday.

However, the lack of a release clause in the Argentine’s contract, coupled with the prospect of dealing with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy – who proved a tough negotiator for Real in the transfers of Luka Modric and Gareth Bale – resulted in them ending their interest.

Or as the Sunday Times puts it:

 

spurs real madrid

Spurs boss ‘keen’ to mange Real Madrid – Sunday Times

 

The Spurs manger was recently talking about Real Madrid on a trip to Spain where he’s plugging his new book, Brave New World: Inside Pochettino’s Spurs – by Guillem Balague! Pochettino told Radio Marca in Spain that Daniel Levy “bites“. And now Balague says Levy has scuppered any hope Poch had of managing Real. Coincidence?

In other news, the Express says Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has emerged as Real Madrid’s new number 1 target. No. He hasn’t. The story tells readers: “Pochettino has given himself a five-day deadline for any approach by Real Madrid to be made… The Argentine is believed to be the favoured option of Real president Florentino Perez.”

Klopp is only mentioned because a poll of Real Madrid fans has Klopp as the one most of them would like to be the club’s next manager. The Express fails to say where this poll was conducted. We found out that it was conducted by Marca, the Spanish newspaper two days ago.

The German received 29 percent of the votes in a MARCA poll… This placed him ahead of the second favourite Mauricio Pochettino, who had 23 percent, while Castilla coach Guti was just behind on 20 percent. Joachim Low claimed 14 percent, while Michel had nine percent. The only other option on the poll was for none of the above, which took a share of five percent.

It was a poll of 6 choices. how many Barcelona fans voted for Klopp is not stated.

Posted: 3rd, June 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal have £88m for Dembele; Liverpool have tea with his mum

Arsenal are using Borussia Dortmund as a feeder club, chasing the German side’s former star Ousmane Dembele. The Gunners want the forward to play with his former teammates Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Ex-Dortmund chief scout Sven Mislintat is now head of recruitment at the Emirates. The Gunners have offered Dortmund £16m for their 29-year-old centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

Demeble joined Barcelona last summer for £97m. News in the Sun is that he ‘could’ be on his way to Arsenal for £88m. Arsenal fans will know huge money buys get mentioned around the same time season ticket renewal notices go out. Last season Arsenal wanted to splurge £90m for Monaco’s Thomas Lemar. The Liverpool Echo now says of him: “The demise of Thomas Lemar – from nine-figure bids to being on the fringes of the French national team squad.”

“I’m very happy to be here, said Dembele when he joined Barcelona on a five-year contract. “It has always been my dream to be at Barcelona and now I’m here I’m very happy. It is the best club in the world with the best players in the world.”

What’s he going to say when he joins Arsenal? And where were Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal scouts when Dembele joined Dortmund from French side Rennes on a five-year deal in May 2016 for £13m?

Liverpool also want him. Sky says former Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp “will attempt to meet Dembele’s mother to help convince the player his future lies at Anfield”. Dembele’s mother Fatimata “is who will decide Ousmane’s future,”, says the player’s agent.

To say nothing of Barcelona, who hold the player’s contract for four more seasons…

Posted: 3rd, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Media still gunning for Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling

Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling is a “great example” to us all, says England manger Gareth Southgate. His tattoo of a gun is no-one’s business but his own. The Sun and other media have been monstering Sterling for some time, focusing on how he spends his money and using his image to illustrate a story on crime. This week the paper linked his tattoo to the Vietnam War and children being stabbed to death.

 

daniloa taylor raheem sterling

Damiloa Taylor was stabbed to death when he was 10 – and Raheem Steling was 5.

 

raheem sterling m16 tattoo

Raheem and his part in the Vietnam War

 

raheem sterling the sun

And the Sun’s Star letter is… GET STERLING!

 

Sterling said the tattoo was about his father, who was shot dead.

Says Southgate: “”He knows what it [the tattoo] means to him and he’s comfortable he has done nothing wrong. He has always been a resilient boy from when I worked with him in the under-21s, to even younger than that He is tough and I have no doubts that he can more than cope and thrive in the environment we are going into…

“He knows he has our support. He understands how some people perceived the tattoo. In my view a tattoo is like any work of art – it’s a very individual meaning…

“The personal story of a lot of our players is quite remarkable. People highlight the issues and faults of all of the squad but for so many of them it’s incredible that they have got to the point they have. They are a great example to young kids of what you can achieve with your life if you are dedicated and focused. Of course they have talent, but there is so much more that is needed to become a professional and a top one. Raheem embodies that. Nothing is given to you in life and you have to fight all the way.”

 

raheem sterling drugs

The Sun tweets: Nothing to do with Raheem Sterling

 

And how does Sky Sports, which corrupted Sterling’s explanation, report on the player: “Sterling apologies to England team-mates.” About the tattoo?

 

Sterling

 

No. It;’ nothing to do with any tattoo. So why was he late?

“He was given off until the Tuesday night and he arrived on the Wednesday morning, so he was late,” Southgate said. “There was a mix-up on flights and a connection. In fairness to him he wanted to apologise to the group, explained his commitment to the team, and it’s done. That was accepted and everybody has moved on.”

Sterling had been given permission to return a day later than the bulk of the England squad to attend to a personal commitment in Jamaica.

However, a mix-up with his return flights – which included a stop off in Miami – saw him arrive 12 hours later than agreed.

In the Sun tomorrow: Why can’t Raheem Sterling get a private jet like everyone else?

Previously:

 

raheem sterling plane

 

More to follow…

Posted: 2nd, June 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United and Chelsea fight for Robert Lewandowski who dreams of Real Madrid

Chelsea are keen on Robert Lewandowski, who wants to leave Bayern Munich (Mirror). Manchester United are favourites to sign the Poland striker, says the Daily Star. Lewandowski’s a gem of a player. And for some time now he’s bene linked with other clubs. So can we believe the stories that he’s heading to the Premier League?

Robert Lewandowski has agreed to join Real Madrid this summer – The Metro, March 19 2018

Chelsea and Man Utd dealt transfer blow: Robert Lewandowski and Real Madrid agree terms – Daily Star, March 19, 2018

Real Madrid news: Robert Lewandowski ‘agrees deal’ after Harry Kane pursuit fails – Daily Express, March 17 2018

Lewandowski agrees Madrid move – Goal, March 16 2018

Real Madrid transfer news: Robert Lewandowski ‘dreams’ of signing for club – Daily Express, December 9 2017

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has his heart set on moving to Real Madrid next summer – The Metro, September 17 2017

Robert Lewandowski to snub Manchester United, Chelsea and Man City by leaving Bayern for Real Madrid – The Independent, January 27 2016

WHERE TO, LEW? Robert Lewandowski latest: Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City, Manchester United or Chelsea? At which Premier League club could he end up? – The Sun, June 16 2016

Clickbait all the way.

 

Posted: 31st, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Raheem Sterling: Sky Sports joins The Sun in monstering the Manchester City striker (again)

Raheem Sterling’s tattoo continues to make news in the Sun (prop. R. Murdoch) and on Sky Sports (prop R. Murdoch). Manchester City striker Sterling has told everyone why he’s got a tattoo of a gun on his leg:

 

Raheem STerling apology guns

NEVER

 

Ot as Sky Sports put it: “…I would never touch a gun again.”

 

raheem sterling apology guns again sky

‘AGAIN’?

 

PS: Sky regrets the error.

 

To recap: it’s a drawing of a gun. Raheem Sterling is very much anti-guns. Here are pictures of England footballers with real guns:

 

 

Previous hatchet jobs on Sterling: here, here and here. No need for guns for a character assassination.

Posted: 30th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United have cool £120m for Bale who won’t laugh at Spurs

Two spots of Transfer Balls on the BBC’s clickbait football pages. First up the news that Manchester United “will offer” Real Madrid 140m euros (£121.8m) for the brilliant Gareth Bale. Oh, and the Spanish shopping trip does not end there because United are also in for Barcelona’s Spanish 29-year-old left-back Jordi Alba.

United are desperate. You realise just how needy the Red Devils are when the BBC also notes that Manchester City “believe” they can recruit Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez, 27, for a “knockdown fee of £60m – though it will still break their transfer record.” United spent more than that on Lukaku.

 

manchester united bale

 

Over £120m for Bale is a lot of money but just one day ago the Mirror was telling us the Welshman would cost United £335m. The advice must be to give it a week and get him for around £20m. Bale’s price is falling fast.

Spanish publication AS, however, backs up the BBC’s guesswork with the story that Bale is wanted by United, Bayern Munich and – get this – Spurs. This is what the Spurs link looks like when its puts through the wonder of Google Translate:

On Tuesday, the British newspaper Independent claims that Pochettino’s Tottenham has joined the bid for the Cardiff end. According to the English publication, Tottenham plans an operation to bring back the player who sold to Madrid for 101 million euros in the summer of 2013. This operation would include a salary cut for Bale…

This contractual data would be very similar to what is currently charged by Tottenham’s flagship player, Harry Kane, so Bale would not be the highest paid player in the London team. Of course, Tottenham is confident that despite these salary cuts, the desire of the Welshman to play all the minutes he does not have in Madrid and to return to the team in which he exploded as a player would be enough to convince the Welshman.

 

bale spurs

Bale ‘could’ in the Indy

 

Bale must be chomping at the bit to rejoin Spurs for less money and less chance to winning anything. So why not take an even larger salary cut and return to Southampton?

Worth checking out the Independent’s story, then. The Indy is now a cickbait factory. It says Bale “could” could Spurs. Just as he could join Millwall or could eat nine shredded wheat. The Indy says Spurs “may” bid for Bale. Spurs have a chance because “United are now cool on the player”. “Sources” says Bale thinks Spurs is an option. Or as Sky puts it:

 

spurs bale

Sky ‘understands’

 

Gareth Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett is set to meet with Real Madrid officials to decide the Wales star’s future – but he will not be returning to Tottenham, Sky Sports news understands.

 

And how “cool” are United on Bale? About as cool as a wasabi enema if the tabloids are to be believed:

 

united bale

 

Utter balls, then.

And we’ve been here before. The story of Bale to Man United returns each summer:

bale united

bale manchester united

 

bale manchester united

bale

 

n transfer talks for Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Raphael Varane

 

Bale never has joined a desperate Manchester United, preferring to remain at the mighty Real and win the Champions League year after year after year…

Posted: 30th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


‘Role Model’ Raheem Sterling should stick to junk food, gay bashing and gambling

Some news that the FA has a Code of Conduct for England players and that Manchester City and England striker Raheem Sterling might have fallen foul of it on account of his M16 tattoo. The Sun cites the Code in its front-page news story on Sterling’s tattoo. The paper links Sterling’s tat to the Vietnam War.

 

raheem sterling m16 tattoo

 

raheem sterling m16 tattoo

 

raheem sterling m16 tattoo

 

 

You can read the full Code of Conduct which Sterling has not flouted here.

And you can read the list of FA ‘parters’ here, highlights of which are: Mars, Lucozade Sport, Emirates, Budweiser, Carlsberg, Walkers and Coca Cola. All the kind of stuff to get the kids fit, lean and healthy. And there’s Emirates, the airline that sponsors the FA Cup. It’s owned by the government-run Investment Corporation of Dubai. In Dubai, the NYTimes says “homosexuality is subject to the death penalty”. Grab your rainbow laces and run like hell.

In 2017, the Football Association ended all of its sponsorships with betting companies, including mutually terminating a long-term Ladbrokes deal. The BBC’s Dan Roan commented:

…it does at least finally address mounting concerns the governing body was being hypocritical and its role as a regulator of gambling was hopelessly compromised by a clear conflict of interest. However, there will still be concerns the football and gambling industries are too closely linked. It will be interesting to see if the clubs follow the FA’s lead.

The Premier League itself may not have an official gambling partner (like the FA), but last season 11 Premier League teams were sporting betting company logos on their shirts, and Sky Bet are title sponsors of the Football League.

Gambling. What harm does that do, eh? Former England player Kieron Dyer told the Mail in 2018:

We were gambling such large sums that we knew we couldn’t possibly do it in public. So we gambled in each other’s rooms, behind locked doors.

We were like clandestine drinkers, hiding ourselves to get wasted. Except the drug was gambling and there was a sizeable band of us that were addicted.

If you’re going to pretend that England players are “role models” to anyone but their nearest and dearest, why focus on a tattoo of a gun and not their employer’s profiteering from gambling, booze, gay bashing and junk food?

PS: Previously the Sun has gunned for Sterling:

 

Young man from working-class background buys house!

 

Sterling-Social-Media-drugs

Spot the obscenity – the story had nothing to do with Sterling

 

raheem sterling PFA daily mail

The Sun: Man has car; eats breakfast; minds own business

 

sterling

Get Sterling

 

To recap: Raheem Sterling is a professional athlete and England footballer.

 

Posted: 29th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Manchester City, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Joe Hart to Manchester United unless Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea get there first

Spare things are not as good as the first choice stuff: second homes, the assistant manager, that old spare mobile with the crack in the screen that might be useful should the lovely new iPhone break. So should the superb David Dea Ge get injured, Manchester United will call up their spare goalkeeper: Joe Hart. The 31-year-old former England goalkeeper still sat on Manchester City’s books, the anti-dandruff campaigner who plays with all the calm authority of a drunk on the night bus and is as mobile as said bus, has “emerged as a contender to join Manchester United as back-up to David de Gea” says the BBC. Jose Mourinho is “resigned to losing current reserve keeper Sergio Romero”.

The Sun agree that Hart to Man United is being considered. But fans of the club can quell the rising panic in the knowledge that neither the BBC nor the Sun come up with single fact to support their claim. After season-long loan spells at Torino and then West Ham United, Hart and his agent are scouting round for a club to take him on. A year go, the Mail told its readers that Arsenal were going to pay £15m for Hart. The Mail reported:

Arsenal are interested in Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart as they consider replacements for Petr Cech. It could lead to a tug-of-war with Liverpool, who have long been linked with the England international. The Gunners are going to look for a new goalkeeper after this season, with 34-year-old Cech to become their No 2 if he stays.

Cech stayed as Arsenal number 1. Liverpool went with Loris Karius. And Hart went to West Ham, who paid half his £130,000-a-week wages. There he spent much of the season on the bench.

Hart’s contract at City lasts until June 2019. The Star tells us: “Joe Hart not waiting forever for Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea to set up summer move.” That story is rooted in an anonymous source, who told the Sun:  “Joe will do what is right for him and his young family. He long accepted his Man City career is over and values playing above everything else. There is still some chatter Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea could be interested but he’s been around long enough not to be waiting by the phone.”

If the media is to be believed, the player who was Number 2 at West Ham and Number 3 at Manchester City is wanted by Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. Five of the top 6 Premier League clubs, then, are all after Hart. And the only top six club not interested is Spurs – which, oddly enough, pay their top performers much less than Hart earns.

It’s going to be busy few weeks for Hart’s agent…

Posted: 27th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: Paul Pogba’s hair goes it alone

When Denmark’s football coach Åge Hareide talked about facing France in the World Cup and mentioned one of their players, Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, the Press mangled his words. Hareide was speaking with Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. The paper headlined the story: “Åge Hareide designates the Danish World Cup quarterfinals as a target.” The full story is behind a paywall. But the Mirror has read it, apparently, and tells its readers:

“Man United star Paul Pogba slammed by national team boss – ‘Damn it, he cares so much about his appearance’ – Denmark boss Age Hareide has stuck the boot into the French international midfielder

The story tells us:

Paul Pogba has been mocked by Denmark’s coach before they meet in the World Cup next month. And Age Hareide claimed Didier Deschamps’ team are not “anything special” with no outstanding players… Hareide, who will face the French in Moscow on June 26, claimed the Manchester United midfielder is not a leader – and is obsessed with flashy haircuts. “He played against Manchester City with his hair dyed blue and white, maybe he’ll have it red and white to play us,” said the 64-year-old.. “Damn it, he cares so much about his appearance…”

That what he said? Not quite.

What he said was – and this through Google Traanslate:

“One day he [Pogba] is good, another bad. He played against Manchester City with his hair dyed in blue and white, maybe he’s red and white when he meets us.
Does he just think of his hairstyles?”

In other news from the Premier League football season just gone:

“Paul Pogba reveals latest haircut” – August 23 2017

“Garth Crooks took aim at Paul Pogba’s haircut” – September 11 2017

“Paul Pogba has unveiled another crazy hairstyle as he eyes a return to action” – Sep 26, 2017

“BBC pundit Garth Crooks has a weird obsession with footballers haircuts” – Nov 20, 2017

“‘Hair is burning!'” Paul Pogba shows off new outrageous hairdo” – December 15 2017

“Paul Pogba shows off striking new haircut” – February 26 2018

“Manchester United supporters slam Paul Pogba after he takes to Instagram to post picture of his new hairstyle” –  March 19 2018

“Paul Pogba’s latest haircut provokes priceless reaction from Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud” – March 28 2018

‘”It’s ridiculous” – Gary Neville slams Paul Pogba for dying his hair”‘ – April 7 2018

You can read all those stories in the Daily Mirror. Damn it – they care so much about his appearance!

Posted: 25th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Costa’s £39m reasons to join Manchester United

Douglas costa bayern manchester united

 

Did you know Manchester United are “willing” to splurge £79m on Douglas Costa, the Bayern Munich forward? The BBC says they are. That’s a lot of money for a player Bayern farmed out on loan to Juventus last season. When Costa joined the Italians on a season-long loan last July, terms of the deal were written across the newswires. Juventus would pay Bayern €6m (£5.3m). There was an additional €1m (£885,000) in performance-related add-ons. Crucially, there was an option to buy Costa outright for a further €40m (£35.4m).

So Costa would cost Juventus around £40m were they to sign up. But Manchester United are “willing” to pay £79m for the same player. Really?

Over in the Sun Manchester United are “ready” to pay £79million for Costa. In the insane world of football transfers – and the twilight world of football reporting – Juventus would buy Costa for £40m and the next day be able to sell him to Manchester United for double that. Agree to give Costa two signing-on fees, and the Brazilian and his agent are happy.

 

douglas costa bayern munich juventus manchester united

The Sun

 

douglas costa bayern munich juventus manchester united

The Daily Star

 

The tin lid is places on this absurd story when the Sun tells its readers :”Presently, the chances of Costa ending up at Old Trafford stand at 40 per cent.”  Says who? Dunno. The Sun doesn’t bother to show us the maths. But it works at 1% for every million a desperate United will are ready and willing to pay over the odds to get their man.

Of course, it’s all true. And United had best move quickly. That fee for Costa rising fast. Just two days ago, United were ready and willing to pay £40m to get Costa, said the Mirror:

 

douglas costa bayern munich juventus manchester united

 

Of course, if you believe everything in the papers and on the BBC, Douglas Costa joined Chelsea in 2015:

 

douglas costa bayern munich juventus manchester united

Daily Star: Costa to Chelsea. It was Costa’s “dream move”. “I’ve realised a dream,:” said Costa when he signed for Bayern Munich for £21m.

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 25th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Fred agrees Manchester City move and will sign for Manchester United

More transfer balls from journalism’s twilight zone of fake news, guesswork and clickbait as the BBC says Manchester United are “close to signing Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred”. United “hope to complete a deal for the Brazil international next week”. The BBC links to a story in the Manchester Evening NewsOver there, readers are told that Fred “could complete his transfer to Old Trafford from Shakhtar next month”.

Well, he could. And  then again, he might not. But if it’s facts you want, the paper tells us that Fred and the rest of the Brazil squad are “travelling to Europe next week for the national team’s friendly with Croatia at Liverpool’s Anfield stadium”. So…? Well, Fred “could finalise his move to United during his stay in the north-west of England. Anfield is only 29 miles away from United’s Carrington training complex”. It’s also not that far from where Manchester City trains. It’s even closer to Liverpool.

It was a different story back in February, when the MEN told us on February 11: “Man City agree £50m deal for Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred.”

Manchester City have agreed a deal to sign Fred in the summer transfer market, according to a report. According to The Mirror a £50m deal has been provisionally agreed with Shakhtar Donetsk for the end of the season.

Like the MEN, the Mirror is owned by Trinity Mirror. The Mirror’s report told readers:

Man City steal a march on rivals United after agreeing £44.5m fee in principle to sign Shakhtar star Fred

It’s £44.5m for Fred to Man City in the Mirror but £50m in the MEN. Reading on, we’re told:

Pep Guardiola will not have to wait long to get his hands on the former Internacional star… The 24-year-old has also been linked with Manchester United, but unlike Alexis Sanchez, the Blues appear set to win out in this transfer battle.

The source for this news is Goal.com. Yeah – the same Goal.com that us a few days ago told us that Mikel Arteta was the new Arsenal manager. As every newspaper echoed Goal’s fact, Arsenal were busy offering the job to Unai Emery. So what did Goal says about Fred on Feb 9? “Man City agree £44.5m deal in principle to sign Fred this summer,” said Goal. “Sources” say Fred is “determined” to join Manchester City this summer”. Goal “understands” Fred and his club have “reached an agreement” with City, “which will come into effect this summer.”

Despite the lack of facts, Goal.com is seen as a source of facts from which reputable newspapers and the BBC can pluck scoops. No sooner had Goal said Fred to City was on than the Express was telling its readers on February 9:

Man Utd target Fred will join Man City after a £44.5m agreement

There was much speculation throughout January that Fred would be moving to the Premier League and now his fate looks to be sealed as league leaders City have agreed a £44.5m deal, according to Goal.

 

fred the metro manchester city

 

fred man city arab news

 

 

Not that there aren’t other top sources for Fred transfer news. On January 23, The Metro told us: “Shakhtar Donetsk and Brazil midfielder Fred agrees to join Manchester City after Manchester United interest.”

Pep Guardiola is a known admirer of the 24-year-old, however, and will win the race to secure his signature in a deal worth £35million, according to Arab News. It is claimed the move is now a matter of when rather than if.

Duncan Castles told Arab News readers:

Brazil midfielder Fred has agreed to join Manchester City, with negotiations between the Premier League club and Shakhtar Donetsk now centered upon the timing of the transfer

Manchester United also explored the possibility of bringing Fred to England in the current transfer window as Jose Mourinho sought to restructure a midfield that has been persistently weakened by player unavailability this season. Unlike their successful head-to-head battle to sign Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal, however, United have accepted that the versatile midfielder is destined for their rivals.

Someone also called Duncan Castles tells Yahoo! readers on May 15:

fred manchester united

 

Fred to PSG it is, then.

PS:  Why do United want Fred?

 

fred pogba

 

“Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho wants to sign Brazilian midfielder Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk as a replacement for Paul Pogba” – BBC, April 18, 2018.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 24th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Emery to Arsenal is like when AVB went to Chelsea

Behold! Unai Emery is at Arsenal and every football hack worth his mince is parroting the same old guff about this being a selection from “left field” (Guardian). It’s an appointment so lacking in direction that “a little bit of Arsenal dies” (John Cross, Daily Mirror). Emery, serial winner – three European titles in four seasons; Arsenal 2 in 50 – caught the nodding heads cold. Arsenal have form here: the Press never saw Ozil, Wenger and Sanchez coming to Arsenal. And Cross, well, he knew Wenger was leaving – it’s just his timing that was off:

 

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

2017…

 

The Sun has its own news on Emery:

SunSport understands Emery blew Arsenal’s recruitment team away with a stunning presentation a fortnight ago. Chief executive Ivan Gazidis along with head of football relations Raul Sanllehi and head of recruitment Sven Mislintat were staggered by the forensic analysis of every player in Arsenal’s squad and his exact plans on how he would improve them.

Yeah. That’s what I thought: it’s too much like Andre Villas-Boas, the manager who had lots and lots and lots and lots of facts at his fingertips when in charge at Chelsea and then Spurs. If you wanted a top-notch powerpoint presentation, AVB was yer man. In 2011, The Telegraph said of AVB:

Football consumed him. He started on the ‘gateway drugs’ football magazines and Panini stickers before slipping down the slope into full-blown Championship Manager addiction. This computer game, with its endless statistics, simulated being a football manager and destroyed the social lives of a generation of football geeks.

Villas-Boas was hooked. He used to carry notebooks around with him, in which he scribbled tactical ideas and stats about players and every Monday, the normally reserved ‘Cenourinho’ (Baby Carrot, because of his red hair) would debate with his friends the weekend’s games. “I remember for one school project he handed in an exhaustive report on Porto and their tactics and substitutions with lots of statistics,” said Eiro, his PE teacher.

The Sun continues – and, yes, of course it’s padding, but this is wonderfully enjoyable balls:

A source told TheSun: “He knew more about the Arsenal squad and every relevant detail about their career path and injury histories than people who had been at the club for years. They’d no idea where he had gathered his information but they were mesmerised by the vision he put before them.”

If only there was something where anyone could call up all manner of facts and data on a footballer – you know, a big book stuffed with information you could cross-reference with a variety of sources; or a magic telly that plays old clips on a device held in the palm of your hand. Until then, how Emery knew anything about the Arsenal side can only be put down to his obsessive attention to detail, spying, an insider and the supernatural.

Emery as AVB II, then? When Owen Coyle left Burnley in January 2010, Villas-Boas wanted the job. He gave the bosses a hi-tech presentation. In Magical: A Life In Football, former Burnley chief executive Paul Fletcher tells all:

“Mickey Walsh, an old playing colleague of mine, got in touch with me to describe Andre as being a real up and coming hot prospect. He sent a very detailed and lengthy application for the job. His CV and Powerpoint presentation were amazing. Even by today’s standards there was some complicated stuff in it, with some things that I didn’t understand. Tommy Docherty used to say he never said anything to his players his milkman wouldn’t understand. I don’t think any milkman would fathom the meaning of a lot of Andre’s presentation. The language and jargon of football gets worse by the day. Villas-Boas uses a lot of it. Would Burnley players have ever understood what he wanted if he’d told them to ‘solidificate’ or some of his other terms?”

Will Emery solidificate Arsenal?

Posted: 22nd, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal becomes Emery’s illness

News of Unai Emery’s appointment as Arsenal manager has amazed and astounded former Gunners striker Ian Wright. “What’s going on at Arsenal? Where’s Unai Emery come from? I can’t get it out of my head.” Poor, Wright, labouring under the impression the media know what they’re talking about. Nothing is ever done until the contract is signed and the new man is kissing the badge. “You’d have thought that by now they would have known exactly what’s going on,” continues Wight.

It’s the Press that are clueless. As Emery was being fitted for his blazer, the Times reported yesterday:

Arsenal are expected to appoint Mikel Arteta as their head coach this week. Their former captain has been finalising the details of his contract and has named who he wants to form his coaching team in the past few days…

Arsenal initially turned to Massimiliano Allegri… Luis Enrique and Joachim Löw were also on the shortlist…Patrick Vieira, another former Arsenal captain, and Julian Nagelsmann, the Hoffenheim coach, were also considered.

No mention of Emery, an experienced winner who cuts an animated figure on the touchline and measured presence in press conferences. “He’s obsessed by football, it’s practically an illness,” said former player Joaquín of the Spaniard.“When I look back at winning the Europa League, the real pleasure and the success was the road that led us there,” he said in 2016. “Constructing your team, going through difficult moments, seeing the team getting better step by step: this is the beauty. Not the final. It’s the day by day work that renders happiness.”

Emery has won five major trophies in 3 years at PSG; he has 3 European trophies in the last 4 years – Arenal have won two in 50 years. He’s 46. – the same age as Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, whose won nothing as a manager. In the 2016 Europa League final, Emery tinkered the formation, turning a 1-0 half-time deficit for Sevilla into a 3-1 win over Jurgen Klopp’s side. His meticulous attention to detail paid off. And he’s streetwise. At Valencia – who between 2010 and 2012 he led to three third-place finishes in La Liga – Emery produced videos for his player to watch at home.  “Did you watch it?” Emery asked of one player he thought had not been watching the videos. “Yes, don’t worry boss,” came the reply.

At Arsenal he’ll find a more compliant and willing squad then the bunch of egoists at PSG who play for the brand but not the fans. Arsenal fans should be excited. A winner’s arrived…

Posted: 22nd, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Manchester United fans in Mourinho Instagram time warp

Manchester United manger Jose Mourinho was so upset following his side’s defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup final that he deleted his Instagram account. Well, so say the papers. The Daily Mirror reports: “Jose Mourinho ‘deletes’ Instagram after abusive comments as Man United lose FA Cup final against Chelsea’.” The Sun says Jose “has deleted his Instagram account after copping a load of online abuse following yesterday’s FA Cup final defeat”.

 

And more: “Jose Mourinho deleted Instagram account after Man United’s FA Cup final defeat” – Irish Independent

 

mourinho instagram

 

mourinho instagram

Pesky fact: Jose Mourinho deleted his Instagram account on the Thursday BEFORE the Cup Final.

Posted: 21st, May 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester City want Hazard; Chelsea star ‘agrees’ Real Madrid move with mind

Pick a top player. Any player. And then say Manchester City want him. The BBC says Manchester City are “planning” a £100m deal for Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. Pep Guardiola has earmarked the 27-year-old Belgium forward as “his top transfer target”. Over in the Daily Star, we get not only the same peak at City’s summer spending plan but also an insight into Pep’s head. News is that he’s “confident” of getting Hazard. And – get this – Hazard is “aware” that City like him.

The Daily Star can read minds. But it can’t conjure a quote of single fact to support its scoop – and neither can the BBC.

It might be worth have a look at what other Eden Hazard headlines the tabloids have provided us with:

Chelsea may offer Eden Hazard in a swap deal for Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele – Daily Star, Jan 21 2018

Eden Hazard AGREES Real Madrid move after snubbing Chelsea contract offer – Daily Express, Jan 10, 2018

EDEN TO REAL Eden Hazard agrees deal to join Real Madrid with Alvaro Morata moving the other way to Chelsea – The Sun, Jul 10, 2017

Eden Hazard reaches agreement with Real Madrid after secret transfer talks – The Metro, April 26, 2017

Hazard has done all that by communicating telepathically. Fact.

Posted: 21st, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United found and mislaid the ‘new Duncan Edwards’

When Phil Jones gave way the penalty that Eden Hzaard scored to give Chelsea 1-0 win over Manchester United in the FA Cup final, he looked both slow and clumsy. It was all so different, of course, when the hype machine hailed Jones’  £16.5m 2011 transfer from Blackburn Rovers.

 

phil jones duncan edwards

 

The Manchester Evening News hailed Jones as the “Reds’ latest teenage wonderkid”. He was ‘the new Duncan Edwards’. The paper added that he might be a reincarnation:

In an amazing coincidence, Jones was born on February 21 – the day United legend died as a result of injuries sustained in the Munich air disaster.

How good was Edwards? Former United great Wilf McGuinness told us: “To me he was like Roy Keane, Bryan Robson and Steve Gerrard rolled into one.” That’s how good Jones was.

So who said Jones was the new Edwards? No-one. The hype came from one quote. “If you talk to Bobby Charlton,” said Paddy Crerand, Bobby Charlton’s team-mate in United’s 1968 European Cup winning team, “Phil Jones reminds him of Duncan Edwards with his power and build.” And that was it.

“Phil Jones destined for Manchester United folklore,” said the BBC.

That was then…

Posted: 20th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Spurs went from ‘Busby Babes’ to grating flops

Spurs win nothing. Again. As usual. Their fans call it all very ‘Spursy’ when they flatter to deceive. On February 12 2017, Neil Ashton is story no longer live on the Sun’s website said Spurs were the new greatest team in English football. Just get a load of this – written after Spurs had defeated a moribund Arsenal 1-0 and were fifth in the league table:. Eatching Spurs was like watching… Barcelona (albeit a Barca side that win nothing and finish as also-rans):

Every once in a while, English football enters a golden age. Think Busby Babes, the great Liverpool side built by Bill Shankly or Sir Alex Ferguson’s swashbuckling United teams. At this rate, in years to come, everybody will want to say they got to watch Tottenham live.

No. They won’t. They will say they saw Manchester City, who finished a mere 23 points ahead of Spurs to win the title. (If you think Spurs will win the title next season – and best of luck with that – www.allascasino.com/nya-casinon is a good place to clean up.)

And Ashton has changed his tune, writing on May 15:

Everybody admires Spurs’ pretty football — but Pochettino knows the pressure is now on to start landing some silverware. The nearly-man tag, the reminders he has yet to win a trophy at Tottenham, are starting to grate

But at least we got to watch Tottenham live in February – when no cups are handed out.

Posted: 15th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal balls: The 9 clear favourites to replace Wenger

A quick catch-up on the inside story on who will be the next Arsenal manger. All these picks come to use via the fake-news busting BBC.

Unai Emery, who will be leaving Paris St-Germain at the end of the season, has emerged as the clear favourite to replace Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager.

Or:

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri, who has also been linked strongly with the Arsenal role, wants a £200m transfer kitty if he is to become the new boss.

Emery sounds cheap. Go for Emery.

Elsewhere, more news on the new boss:

The Sun says Arsenal are targeting Carlo Ancelotti.

The Express states: “Brighton manager Chris Hughton would be the perfect man to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal – if he did not play for Tottenham.”

Note: he’s so good that Tottenham didn’t want him. And he doesn’t play for Spurs. He manages Brighton.

The Express tops that ball by noting – get this – “ARSENAL’s next manager could lead the club to a Premier League title challenge next season.” Well, they could. Or maybe he won’t. Discuss.

And it also states: “PATRICK VIEIRA has emerged as the clear favourite to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.”

The Metro reasons: “Why Arsenal would prefer to appoint Mikel Arteta or Patrick Vieira as Arsene Wenger’s successor.”

Why? Because they are “young”. The Metro says only four names being considered, Allegiri and:

Manchester City’s assistant coach Mikel Arteta, as well as Patrick Vieira and Julian Nagelsmann, whose Hoffenheim side secured Champions League football for the first time in their history by finishing third in the Bundesliga, are the three other names on the Arsenal shortlist.

So much for Emry being the “clear favourite”.

The Indy then makes a statement: “Next Arsenal manager: Mikel Arteta first choice to take over from Arsene Wenger as Max Allegri eyes Juventus stay.”

Or as TalkSport put it: “Arsenal favourites to appoint former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique“.

And as The Week puts it: “Zeljko Buvac is favourite to replace Wenger.”

They don’t have the foggiest.

 

Posted: 13th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal star defies the experts and plays again

Mohamed Elneny is back in the Arsenal first team for their match at Huddersfield. It’s a miracle. Well, it is if you read the hyperbolic bilge written when he was stretchered off at West Ham late last month. Peak balls arrived in the Sun, which spoke of the Egyptian missing the World Cup, repackaged a kick to the foot as a “freak injury” and talked of possible “broken limbs”. It was “Injury El”.

Three days after that tosh, the Sun opined: “It’s good news for Arsenal who will hope to have Elneny fit for the Premier League run-in and potentially the Europa League final… many believing his season was over.”

Why many believed that was not started – but it might be because they read it in the Sun.

No European final for El Neny and Arsenal, of course, just a chance to end their losing streak of 7 Premier League away games on Arsenal Wenger’s final game as the club’s manager. No exactly leaving Arsenal on a high, is he…

Au revoir-  shut the door on the way out.

Posted: 13th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Everton were lucky to have Wayne Rooney for an extra season

Good news Everton fans – Wayne Rooney will stay at the club if Sam Allardyce leaves it. ‘Big Sam’ leaves and you get to watch Rooney  (£300,000 a week!) for another season  Or Rooney goes and you get to watch a season of the kind of hoof-ball top mangers call ‘Plan C’.

Allardye, says the Mirror, doesn’t see Rooney figuring in the first team next season. Everton’s owners says Rooney can go to talk to other clubs. MLS side DC Untied wanted him. But apparently other Everton director thinks Rooney has links with the fans and should stay. They also think Allardyce, who remains unpopular with the fans, should be given the boot; and that the new manager will benefit from having Rooney around, presumably to talk about how great things were at Manchester United, who still fork out a big chunk of his massive wage packet.

Rooney – 253 goals for Man United: five Premier League titles, a Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and three League Cups. Rooney at Everton – zilch. Although he did burst on to the scene by scoring the winning goal for Everton to end Arsenal’s 30-game unbeaten run in October 2002. Rooney was just 16 years old when he beat England goalkeeper David Season with a sublime shot from 30 yards. This season the 32-year-old is Everton’s top scorer on 11 goals, playing under 3 different mangers.

Oh, what might have been had the Everton fan stayed at his boyhood club.

Posted: 11th, May 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal website’s biased report after record-breaking Leicester defeat

Arsenal are the only team in English football without a point in 2018. Arsenal have lost 7 Premier League games in a row away from home in 2018. Tonight they lost 3-1 to Leicester City – their first defeat to the Foxes in 24 games. This is how the Arsenal website reported the latest defeat. Key moments are picked out. On each occasion Arsenal produce a wholly biased sympathetic back story.

The First Goal:

Kelechi Iheanacho gave Leicester the lead against the run of play…

Leicester scored after jut 14 minutes.

The Red Card

Our woes were compounded moments later when Dinos Mavropanos was sent off. The Greek defender got caught on the ball by Iheanacho and hauled the Leicester striker down as he prepared to race through on goal. Rob Holding was the covering defender but referee Graham Scott clearly thought Mavropanos was the last man.

Holding was not covering. He’d have to be a lot quicker than he looks to catch Ihenacho.

The Arsenal Goal

Petr Cech kept us in it with a string of fine saves but, after weathering that storm, our response was gutsy and classy.

Arsenal carried on in the same vein. They made no adaptations in their style of play – lots of pretty passing – when reduced to 10 men. and theta’s ok when the game is young an everyone is pretty fresh. But a lot of energy is being expended. Can they keep it up for 90 minutes away from home?

Sead Kolasinac hit the post and then Aubameyang hauled the 10 men level, crashing a rebound into the roof of the net after Eldin Jakupovic had saved his first effort from Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ cross.

It was a good team goal.

2-1

…Mkhitaryan tripped Demarai Grey and Jamie Vardy found the top corner from the penalty spot.

It was dire defending. Grey was going nowhere when he was sucked to the ground.

3-1

And Riyad Mahrez made the game safe in the last minute.

When he latched onto a booming over the top ball and outpaced and out thought a tired Holding.

Arsenal lost. But according to the club they were “classy in defeat and “gutsty”, too. They were unlucky to lose a player.

What says the Leicester Mercury newspaper:

…the sucker punch came in the 53rd minute when City were opened up down their left flank and Aubameyang scored the equaliser at the second attempt after Jakupovic brilliantly saved his first effort.

Ok. It’s not just Arsnaal who are biased. The save was not brilliant. The ‘keeper palmed a shot back out into open play.

Puel sent on substitute Demarai Gray with 18 minutes to go and within a minute he earned a penalty when he drew a foul from Mkhitaryan inside the box, and Vardy dispatched the spot kick into the top corner to put City back in front.

Drew a ful with his dolkey skills? No. He was in the box, had run into traffic, and then Mkhitaryan running in from behind him touched his boot. Grey went own like, well, Vardy does: quickly and dramticallty.“A very creative, imaginative aspect from the referee,” said Wenger. “It is a nice dive.” Wenger then went giddy: “The spirit is exceptional and they will play for the Premier League next season. I am convinced they will be one of the challengers.” Shut the door on the way out, mate.

To wrap a famous night for City and first win over the Gunners for 24 years, Mahrez broke free in the last minute to cap a superb display with the third.

No word on a covering player for the red card.

The London Evening Standard has its version:

After Mavropanos’ red card the back four became more of a notion than a system as time and time again the defence abandoned their most fundamental requirements, from positioning to discipline.

That had been the undoing of the young Greek centre-back, who was beaten by Iheanacho to a 50:50 and then grabbed the striker’s shirt as he hared away. Mavropanos could have no complaints when referee Graham Scott invited him to leave the pitch.

Arsenal were dire in defence. This report is fair.

And how superb were Leicester?

Arsenal had more chances to win it but their execution was sloppy. A driving run from Ramsey ended with Mkhitaryan giving the ball away too easily. Similarly Leicester’s final pass was invariably anywhere but where it needed to be.

A mistake from either defence seemed the most likely route to a third goal. It was no surprise it came from Arsenal’s. Maitland-Niles was too easily beaten by Demarai Gray. Mustafi’s clearance gave the ball straight back to the winger. Mkhitaryan left a boot hanging.

Arsenal have conceded more goals in 2017-18 than in any other Premier League season. They are woeful in defence. Arsene Wenger’s leaving. He lost his way years ago.

Posted: 9th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal: Ozil’s ‘invisible’ injuries, spiteful Keown and mocking mental health

Arsenal’s players are “frustrated” at Mesut Ozil’s injury problems. Well, so says the  BBC in a view echoed by the Mail. Given the Gunners season after season of injury woes, it’s odd to think of Arsenal players being irked by Ozil’s misfortune. Jack Wilshere,  Aaron Ramsay, Santi Cazorla, Laurent Koscielny and Danny Welbeck have each been injured for months at a time. What is it about Ozil’s problems that upsets them?

Might this story have something to do with Martin Keown, the former Arsenal player now talking on cue for the BBC, BT Sport and the Mail? Only last week, Keown was saying that Ozil was “not fit to wear the shirt” and shedding “crocodile tears” after Arsenal’s defeat to a good Atletico Madrid side in the Europa League. Keown’s imprudent opinions and characteristic grabs for the headlines have make him a ubiquitous presence on football chat shows.

So when Keown guffed from his vantage point sat on office furniture about a shiny coffee table, a story brewed. Said Keown of Ozil:

“I haven’t been happy with him for some time and it seems as if he picks and chooses his games…

“I bet he doesn’t play again this season. He’ll have some emotional breakdown and won’t be able to play at the weekend. I don’t know how many illnesses he’s had this season, but the fella is not kidding me. That is not a proper performance.”

Aside from Keown’s grubby view being narrowed by his need to use Arsenal’s best player to promote his to-deadline views – Ozil was one of Arsenal’s better players in Madrid; only Aaron Ramsey won more tackles for either side on the night than Ozil; the Mail marked Ozil as Arsenal’s joint second-best player on the night; Ozil’s performance was far from being wretched – we wonder if Keown only cares about obvious physical conditions and not mental health – in late 2017 Keown wrongly stated that Ozil “psychologically, mentally” had “already left the football club”. Shame if Keown doesn’t think mental health is a vital part of an athlete’s wellbeing. After all, this is what Keown had to say about mental health on May 4 2017 in the Mail:

Q: Do you think mental health issues are taken seriously enough in football?
Martin Keown: There is a stigma attached to mental health that means people do not necessarily feel as comfortable asking for help. It can be doubly difficult as a footballer. Just because players earn huge salaries does not mean they do not suffer from the same issues and problems as everyone else… We need to recognise issues surrounding mental health as an illness, not a weakness.

 

Keown Arsenal Ozil Sanchez

Martin Keown might be talking nonsense, but he is setting the tabloids’ new agenda?

 

And so to the Mail’s story on Ozil. This is it pretty much the crux of it in full:

MESUT OZIL has angered Arsenal players with his shocking prima donna attitude. A number of the Gunners squad suspect Ozil is being allowed to pick and choose which games he plays in.

Isn’t that what Keown said?

Arsenal players are reported to be losing patience with top earner Mesut Ozil, after it was confirmed the Germany international is to be ruled out for the remainder of the Premier League campaign.

We are told of Ozil’s “mystery illnesses”. We’re not told where the story of dressing room disharmony was first reported. But something very similar was said in the Sun yesterday. The Sun reported:

SICK OF OZ-ILL – Arsenal players fed up with Mesut Ozil ‘injuries’ and prima donna attitude of Gunners’ highest-paid man. Winger is the highest-paid player at The Emirates after finally signing a new £350,000-a-week contract earlier this year..

It has not gone unnoticed that Ozil’s contribution has dramatically tailed off since he signed his new £350,000-a-week contract at the end of January.

Having your health discussed publicly must be horrible. And has it occurred to Keown and Ozil’s attackers that not all “injures” are visible…

Posted: 9th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal’s Ozil and Stoke City’s Shaqiri give pundits a reason to be

Can it be that pundits lambaste top players like Arsenal’s Mesut Oil and Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri because they know it will garner more headlines and promote their opinion far and wide? Take Martin Keown, the former Arsenal player now guffing to-deadline opinions for the Daily Mail, BBC and BT Sport, who said of Ozil after Arsenal were knocked out of the Europa League:

“He was on the edge of things today. He seems to get lost in the defensive traffic, you can hide a little bit in that position. When Wenger made the change and Wilshere came off, at times I was watching and thinking ‘well are you going to get back for your team, are you actually going to put a shift in?’.”

Ozil was far from brilliant. But Keown is wearing blinkers. Ozil won four out of four tackles. He made an impressive 31 successful passes in the final third, as Atletico packed their defence and pressed. Keown, of course, is impervious to fact, and realises that his job is to say something definitive, entertaining and controversial, so he ploughs on:

“He wasn’t fit to wear the shirt tonight. And I’ve seen this a lot this season and it needs to be said because he needs to be dug out because we expect more from him.”

According to Keown, Arsenal players who are fit to wear the shirt are: Ospina |(who is well below par for a top side’s ‘keeper), Bellerin (does anyone teach him how to defend?), Xhaka (failed to put in so much as cursory tackle in the build up to the game’s only goal),  Monreal (squandered good opportunities to put in a good cross), Chambers (weak header in build up to Atletico’s goal) and Ramsay (largely ineffectual; failed to convert a good chance).

And so to Xherdan Shaqiri, of Stoke City, now relegated from the Premier League. Here’s Martin Samuel in the Mail:

George Graham had a maxim on which he built his Arsenal team. ‘Never buy a player who is taking a step down to join you,’ he would say. ‘He’ll think he’s doing you a favour…

Yet watching Shaqiri bung vital corners into the first man, or lose his balance in the box as Stoke chased the game against Crystal Palace, it was hard to reconcile how much higher he thinks he should be playing. He looked every inch a Stoke player, every inch a relegation candidate

This is what the Stoke Sentinel says of Shaquiri, who he paper tips to be the fans’ player of the season:

Stoke’s seven-goal top scorer has enjoyed his best personal season in the Premier League in difficult circumstances. The Swiss star has carried the side’s attacking threat for much of the campaign and when he finds the net it’s usually a contender for goal of the month.

442 magazine says Shaquiri is too good to go down. He is identified as Stoke City’s best player: “The winger is the only worrisome thing about a once-frightening Potters side, and he knows it.”

Why do pundits pick on the best players with the highest profiles and largest number of followers on social media ? Why..?

Posted: 8th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal go for Massimiliano Allegri or former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique

The identity of the next Arsenal manager occupies minds in the Press. The BBC says Arsenal want to hire Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri or former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique to be their next manager. Sky Sports says both are interested in taking the job but have reservations about working within the club’s management structure.

In 2017, Arsenal altered their set up. In came: Raul Sanllehi – Head of football relations; Sven Mislintat – Head of recruitment; Huss Fahmy – Contract negotiator; and Darren Burgess – Director of high performance.

The Mirror says Enrique, who flopped at Roma, wants to manage Arsenal so badly that he’s willing to work for just £15m a year after tax. It was only a week ago that the media was talking of his demands for a £200m budget for new players. The Times (prop. R Murdoch) told its readers that Arsenal had seen the demands and were no longer considering Enrique. Now Sky (prop. R. Murdoch) says they are.

Whatever Arsenal do or so not do, the clock is ticking. The BBC says Arsenal are confident of naming a new manager before the World Cup starts on 14 June. The BBC’s list of people features: former Arsenal players Mikel Arteta and Patrick Vieira; Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim and three-time Champions League winner Carlo Ancelotti. To say nothing of Liverpool coach Zeljko Buvac, who has reportedly already agreed to take over at The Emirates.

The upshot is that we’ll know who it is when Arsenal make the announcement.

Posted: 8th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment