Anorak

Arsenal | Anorak - Part 4

Arsenal Category

Arsenal football club news, Arsenal transfers

Transfer Balls: Arsenal swoop for Barcelona sub Denis Suarez

More from the twilight world of football transfer reporting as the Mirror tells readers: “Welcome to Arsenal Denis Suarez.” One problem with the scoop is that Spaniard hasn’t left Barcelona. He’s not signed for Arsenal. The Mirror goes on to tell readers that Suarez is a Gooner because he was “pulled” from Barcelona’s team for their match with Getafe:

denis suarez

Suarez travelled with the Barcelona squad to take on Getafe but will not even get a seat on the bench as the Catalans seek to stretch their lead at the top of La Liga to five points.

Dropped because he’s off to Arsenal? Or maybe Suarez isn’t all that good? He’s played just twice for Barcelona in the league this season, coming on as an 82nd minute sub against Espanyol – Barca were 4-0 up at the time – and as an 81st minute sub against Levante – when Barca were 4-0 up and Levante were down to 10 men. But he was, you know, dropped for the Getafe game?

The Mirror then does the usual trick of blaming its tosh on “social media” – which is not nearly as trusty as that old media (see Anorak passim). “Fans on social media took the decision as a hint that a deal to take him to north London was close,” says the self-styled “intelligent tabloid”.  That’s Denis Suarez, the player the Sun calls “Barcelona outcast Denis Suarez”.

 

Posted: 6th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: £8m for Ramsey, Sami Khedira to Arsenal and Liverpool in the hunt

As regular readers know, I’ve been tracking the utter tosh written about Aaron Ramsey’s looming departure from Arsenal. Having told readers that Ramsey had signed a deal to join Juventus – a mere 12 hours after telling the same readers the player was still talking to PSG, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and the Italians – the Sun reports today: “CASHING IN Aaron Ramsey scoops £8m signing-on fee at Juventus plus huge appearance bonus after agreeing free transfer from Arsenal.”

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

Having told readers that the deal is done, the Sun tells them it ,er, it isn’t: “The Italians offered the Welshman a basic salary similar to his earnings at the Emirates, but included hefty incentives in the proposed contract.” The story then tells us a lot of ‘ifs’:

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

The source for this misleading tosh is La Gazzetta dello Sport. it does not ay a deal has been done. It says – and this through the mangle of Google Translate: Exit polls ensure that Ramsey’s entourage has cashed the proposal with great interest. So much so that the bianconeri are absolutely at the forefront in a challenge that sees Inter also very active, but especially the rich Psg of Sheikh Al Thani.” So PSG and Inter both want Ramsey. Nothing has been signed. 

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

The Mirror says: “…people are ‘jumping the gun’ over a deal being done. Juventus are Ramsey’s preferred choice, however, with discussions continuing at pace. The Bianconeri could even try to tempt Arsenal into doing business for Ramsey this month for a cut price fee, rather than waiting for the summer.”

In other news, the London Evening Standard says: “Juventus are in pole position ahead of Bayern Munich and Inter Milan in the race to sign the Wales international, with reports in Italy suggesting he is close to agreeing a five-year deal.” Reports in England says the deal is done. And it;s not all doom and gloom for the Gunners: “Juve are willing to offer Sami Khedira as part of a deal to land Ramsey this month, while Liverpool and Manchester United are reportedly monitoring the situation.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 4th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal transfer balls: Ramsey signs for Juventus and stays at the Gunners

The Sun says Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey has signed a contract with Juventus. The headline is unequivocal: “GUNNERS NEWS 7pm Arsenal news: Ramsey signs Juventus contract.” News of Ramsey’s transfer is on the Sun’s website and primed for Google News:

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

The problem is that it’s not true. Ramsey hasn’t signed for Juve. He hasn’t signed for anyone. Deep into its story, the Sun says the move has been made “reportedly”. There’s a link to another Sun article. You click the link. The new story presents the done deal in inverted commas. The story’s URL however, says Ramsey’s moved is “confirmed”. So which is it?

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

Says the paper: “Now the Welsh star is preparing to head to Italy after penning a four-year deal with the Serie A giants, according to Sport Media Set.” Who? We head over there and discover that the Sun’s story is utter balls. Sport Media Set merely says Juventus want to get Ramsey before PSG bid for him:

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

The site says: “The deal is almost done.” In other words: Ramsey has agreed nothing yet. And just yesterday the Sun told us: “The Welshman is in talks with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich over a summer move.” Such are the facts.

Posted: 3rd, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal Transfer balls: Navas in, Ozil stays, Pepe ready and Ramsey stinks

What do Arsenal need in the mid-season transfer sale? A defender below the age of 30 who can tackle and react in the box faster than a three-legged pony? A winger? How about a new goalkeeper? Rumours are that the Gunners have bid £14m for Real Madrid and Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas. He’s 32. What this means for current Arsenal number 1 Bernd Leno is uncertain. You might suppose that Arsenal’s  weak defence was allowing Leno the chance to showcase his talent. You’d be mistaken. Leno has made 45 saves in 15 matches this Premier League season. He’s been beaten 22 times. And you’d be hard pushed to recall a top-class save from the 26-year-old. So Navas it is, then. 

In other Arsenal news, the Gunners are intent on picking Aaron Ramsey until his contract expires in the summer. Juventus want him on a free. Arsenal should get rid now, of course. The idea of Ramsey playing for Arsenal when he’s already agreed to play in Italy is unsettling. Will the injury-prone midfielder tackle hard and run his heart out with a new life in Italy looming? “Yes, we are interested in Aaron Ramsey, he’s a great midfielder. But at the moment he’s an Arsenal player, we’ll see,” says Juventus director Fabio Paratici. Arsenal should move hard to get any fee they can for the player. 

Better news for Arsenal is that Mesut Ozil’s agent insists the 30-year-old midfielder’s future remains at Arsenal despite interest from Real Madrid and Inter Milan. Ozil is a terrific player. Sure, he can’t tackle but then nor can the club’s defenders. 

And finally Arsenal target Nicolas Pepe tells everyone: “For me, that’s for sure. As the president has already said, my desire is to finish the season at Lille. I am under contract until 2022. My idea is to end this season in Lille and then, why not, leave for somewhere in Europe. It would be beautiful.” How heartening for Lille fans to hear that their player wants to go. What price loyalty..?

Posted: 3rd, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: the Aaron Ramsey myth

aaron ramsey

 

Like cocktails, ITV dramas and Disney World, Aaron Ramsey gets a lot of hype but delivers little. The Mirror hails Ramsey as “one of Europe’s top goal-scoring midfielders”. Utter tosh. Last season Ramsey scored 7 Premier League goals – the same number as: Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford), Pascal Groß (Brighton) and Marcos Alonso (Chelsea). In season 2016-17, Ramsey scored one Premier League goal. In 2015-16 he scored 5; in 2014-15 he got 6; and in 2013-14 he scored 10. Is he one of the continent’s best goal-scoring midfielders? He was good and full of promise. But now he scores not all that often.

In today’s match, Ramsey came off the bench to score against Fulham – the side he scored his only other goal of the current season against. The Welshman converted a loose ball on the box after the dangerous Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit the post. A rare goal, then. (The strike puts Ramsey on 2 goals for the season – the same as:  Nathan Aké (Bournemouth), Marc Albrighton (Leicester City) and 35 others PL players.)

But not to BBC pundit Paul Parker. The ex-Fulham and Manchester United defender tells BBC Radio London listeners: “The fans were not happy when he came on but Aaron Ramsey does what he does best, scoring goals and he gets one coming off the bench.”

If scoring is what Ramsey does best, what does he do the rest of the time when he’s not not scoring?

 

 

 

Posted: 1st, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal fans rejoice at new signing as Ramsey heads for Italy, Spain AND France

aaron ramsey

Bullshit.com reports

 

Arsenal’s one-goal-a-season man Aaron Ramsey is off to Juventus. In Italy the player who promised so much without ever quite nailing it will earn a decent £7m a season in Italy on a four year contract. The Press are spinning his departure. The Mirror thunders: “‘Good riddance, sign Banega!’ – Arsenal fans react to Aaron Ramsey’s reported Juventus agreement.” Banega is Ever Banega, the occasional onanist and attack-minded midfielder. Or as the Sports Bible website puts it: “Arsenal On The Verge Of Replacing Aaron Ramsey, Fans Are Fuming.”

Such is the nature of internet reporting that everything must have a hot take – and you can make it whatever you choose. So no sooner has the Mirror waved goodbye to Ramsey and stuck him in the black and white of Juve than it’s reporting: “Aaron Ramsey considered by PSG for January move with £9m offer prepared for Arsenal star.” What of Juventus? They are “monitoring” the situation. 

And here comes the BBC to tells us that Ramsey is in talks with – deep breath – Inter Milan, PSG, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Juventus. “Contrary to some reports, he has not yet made a decision,” says the Beeb. So he’s off to Spurs, right..?

 

Posted: 31st, December 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal get Argentine star who ran himself over

Arsenal are in for Ever Banega, the Argentine currently at Seville. Banega, 30, will cost Arsenal around £18million. He’s worth it. The Gunners get an experienced player in his prime. They also get a man with a bit of history. Jonathan Liew writes the biog:

Whether it was heavy drinking, going out on the town several nights in a row, turning up for team meetings still half-asleep, being pulled over by police for drink-driving, getting caught pleasuring himself on a live webcam or being run over by his own car after leaving the handbrake off at a petrol station and breaking his leg in two places, Banega’s early forays in the game left coaches and potential suitors with one overwhelming sensation: that he was trouble.

He sounds just what Arsenal need: a player with bit of personality. His Twitter feed should be interesting (and possibly X-rated).

 

Posted: 29th, December 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


The joy of cheating

cheating football

Cheats never prosper – but Maradona went on to win the World Cup after his ‘Hand of God’ moment

 

We love cheating, referee errors, good goals disallowed and bad goals that were. A Manchester United player was just offside for their first goal against Arsenal last week. The officials missed it. Arsenal’s first goal crossed the United goal line by the width of a cigarette paper. Again the referee missed it. But the robots didn’t. Goal given. Last night West Bromwich Albion cheated in their 2-2 draw with Aston Villa. “Jay Rodriguez just threw himself at the cross,” Baggies head coach Darren Moore told BBC Sport. “He admits that it did hit his arm but he didn’t know much about it. And you’ve got to admire his honesty.” 

How can you not admire the footballer who scores with his hand? Not the part about his being honest. That’s guff. Cheating is cheating. We should admire Rodriguez because he pushed the rules to the limit, found them wanting and in so doing created emotion and a story from a small moment in a distracting leisure activity. Isn’t football great.

Well, enjoy it while it lasts. VAR is an abomination. Football is fast. Mistakes happen. Fans and players feel feted or hard done by. The joy surges. The antagonism builds.

At another recent Arsenal match, this time against Spurs, the Tottenham striker Son dived to win a penalty. No VAR was used. Arsenal felt aggrieved. The home fans seethed. The visitors taunted. The stadium throbbed like Terry Waite’s bladder. It was great. What a show. This was the theatre of football. It’s not an insurance seminar on risk reduction. 

So congratulations to Rodriguez, Son and all the players and refs who keep the game human. Don’t let the robots in. They’ll kill it. 

PS:  If football is to become an extension of the classroom, will that stop cheating? Nope. James M. Lang argues that place and time can trigger cheating: 

[C]heating levels are fairly high, but they have always been so. The better question to ask is why. Duke University researcher Dan Ariely and his colleagues have conducted dozens of experiments designed to see what makes people willing to engage in acts of cheating and dishonesty in their everyday lives. Their findings have been remarkably consistent: most people, under the right circumstances, are willing to engage in small acts of dishonesty. This seems to be a part of our human nature.  With enough incentives in front of us, most of will cheat at least a little bit.

Cheating is natural. The temptation to cheat is human:

As it turns out, almost anyone will cheat when given even minor, consciously imperceptible behavioral cues. For instance, in a series of three experiments, a group of psychologists found that lighting could affect cheating. In one study, participants in a dimly-lit room cheated more often than those in a lighter one. While both groups performed equally well on a set of math problems, students in the darker room self-reported that they correctly solved, on average, four more problems than the other group—earning $1.85 more as a result, since they were being paid for each correct answer. The authors suggested that the darkness created an “illusory anonymity”: even though you aren’t actually more anonymous in the dark than in the light, you feel as though you are, making you more likely to engage in behaviors you otherwise wouldn’t. Similar effects have been observed with a variety of situational factors that don’t seem directly related to cheating. We cheat more, for instance, when we’re in a messy environment—one that has more signs of socially deviant behavior, like litter, graffiti, and other rubble.

And then – and then – you think of the spirit and what happens next. What reputation do you want? Matthew Syed cites a sporting great:

In the World Cup semi-final between Australia and Sri Lanka at St George’s Park in 2003, the Aussies were on 34 after five overs when Aravinda de Silva was brought on to bowl. On his second delivery, Adam Gilchrist stepped forward to sweep, edged the ball on to his front pad, and watched it sail into the hands of Kumar Sangakkara, the wicketkeeper. The Sri Lankans made a sustained appeal. Rudi Koertzen, the umpire, shook his head. “Not out,” he said.

In True Colours, his wonderful autobiography, Gilchrist would later recall that he felt “strange” at that moment, perhaps a little confused. “So much discontent about umpiring, video decisions, and trust between players had been bubbling away,” he said. He then heard an emphatic voice in his head. “Go,” the voice said. “Walk”. As he made his way towards the pavilion, something odd happened. The Port Elizabeth crowd started cheering. They knew that he had made a gesture more important than mere winning and losing.

We love the cheats. And we love the heroes. The best bit is that in the rough and tumble of sport, in the complexity and contradiction of what it is to be human, you can be both. And there’s always the drugs…

Posted: 8th, December 2018 | In: Arsenal, manchester united, News, Sports, Spurs, Technology | Comment


Arsenal players in legal high role model shocker

Arsenal crack

 

PSST! Wanna see young men inhaling nitrous oxide, you know, like medical students and junior doctors used to do? Well, you can, reportedly. Photos of Arsenal players inhaling balloons of what is allegedly nitrous oxide are all over the Sun. Lest you suppose young men larking about during their summer holidays is no big deal, the Sun tells us the men are “role models” – for who is unsaid; maybe their children – and the gas is “hippy crack”, a nickname that manages to make light of actual crack cocaine – the crap that erodes your head – and gives laughing gas a dangerous edge.

The images will, says the paper, “horrify fans”. No, not drugs fans upset that that this airy rubbish, this balloon juice is being likened to Grade A ‘good stuff’. The “fans” are football fans who looks for life guidance to Mesut Ozil or Matteo Guendouzi. For them this is a disaster. Of course, anyone who considers a stranger and not a big brother, mum, uncle or someone they meet regularly a “role model” most likely has other issues that need professional help.

Over pages 4 and 5, we learn that the “aces” were at private do where alcohol – that legal poison – was freely sold at exorbitant prices. There was scotch – aka Hippy Buckfast –  champagne – aka Vagrants Thunderbird – and vodka – aka Peasant Fuel. All legal to possess – just like hippy crack!

 Yes, folks, the story is grim – men break no laws at private do! The horror! The horror! 

Posted: 7th, December 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal balls: the myth about Wenger’s Mbappe monument

Huge News on the BBC that Paris St-Germain and France forward Kylian Mbappe, 19, rejected the chance to play for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal in 2017. France Football had the scoop that pretty much every knew already, but the BBC points its readers towards the Metro website. Thereon we can enjoy the wonders of Google Translate. Metro can’t be arsed to put Mbappe’s words into more erudite English, so it just repeats what Google Translate burps out. Mbappe is talking in French to the French magazine about the French manager Arsene Wenger:

 

Mbappe Arsenal

 

“He is a real French football monument who has left Arsenal. I have not seen many people in this world being viewed in such a unanimous way. When the entirety of Europe gets on its knees in front of him to celebrate him, that certainly means something. A little while ago, before I signed for PSG, we were in contact in 2017. I chose a different direction but he wasn’t annoyed at me. He was a gentleman about it and wished me good luck.”

How close did Arsenal come to signing Mbappe? Not very. He joined Paris Saint-Germain for £166million instead of the buttons the Gunners were offering. 

PS: The Sun and the Mirror also have the exact same quotes in mangled English that Mbappe gave to France Football in his native French. Does no-one check anything anymore?

 

Posted: 5th, December 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Lucas Torreira looks smaller on the telly

Arsenal are back. Well, so says Mark Irwin in the Sun. Unai Emery has “brought the nastiness” back to the Gunners, he tells his readers. The Gunners are no longer a “soft touch with diminutive midfielders who can be trampled all over”. If size was everything, Manchester United’s giants would be top of the table. It isn’t. This we know because the best player on the pitch at the weekend’s North London derby which Arsenal won 4-2 was Lucas Torreira. The 22-year-old from Fray Bentos, Uruguay towers 1.66m in his socks and weighs in at 60kg. In post-Brexit terms, Torreira is 5ft 4 inches high and tips the scales at under nine and a half stones. 

Yesterday the FA changed Arsenal and Spurs with failure to control their players. Even the little ones… 

Posted: 4th, December 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Media Bias: Son dives for Spurs but Arsenal prosper

son dive spurs arsenal

 

Arsenal beat Spurs 4-2 in the North London derby in which Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was sensational. Both sides scored from the penalty spots. But should the Spurs penalty for a foul on’ Heung-Min Son been given? Let’s look at the match reports for signs of bias.

Arsenal FC says “contact looked minimal”. The game turned on “Son’s elaborate fall for the penalty”. The penalty was “controversial” .The official Spurs website says “Son was clipped in the box by the sliding Rob Holding”.

Clipped? Really? No.

The neutral’s view comes to us via the Guardian:

There was controversy when Spurs went ahead. Son had sprinted through again and Rob Holding jumped into a risky tackle but, when Son checked back, there was no contact from the Arsenal defender on him.

The Indy:

If contact had been made, Son was guilty of at least jumping and appealing as if he’d been deeply injured from a graze. What was worse, TV replays showed that no strong contact had been made whatsoever. It appeared Holding had not even touched him.

The Sun gives us the tabloid view:

SON HEUNG-MIN was given a dressing down by Arsenal ace Sokratis Papastathopoulos at full-time over his disgraceful dive to win a penalty for Tottenham.

The Spurs ace was guilty of a shocking bit of simulation which tricked referee Mike Dean into pointing to the spot during the North London derby.

What about the red card awarded to Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen with the score at 4-2? Arsenal says he was sent off late on “for a lunge on Lacazette”. Spurs make it more benign:

Insult to injury followed five minutes from time as Vertonghen slid the ball out to substitute left-back Danny Rose but was involved in a collision with Lacazette as he did so, which resulted in the Belgian international picking up a second yellow card.

One team’s lunge is another’s collision. As for the dive, well here it is:

 

Posted: 2nd, December 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer Balls: Liverpool want shot of Fabinho and Manchester United target Militao

Let’s kick off today’s Transfer Balls with news of Ousmane Dembele’s desire to leave Barcelona and play for Arsenal, Liverpool or any other side that can afford* a £100m transfer fee for a player who enjoyed one decent season at Borussia Dortmund before being flogged for an eye-watering sum to the Spanish giants. The BBC has news: “France forward Ousmane Dembele, 21, has told Barcelona he does not want to leave in January.” That’s according to an unnamed source talking to ESPN. It might be the same source who gave the Mail the story just two days ago: “Ousmane Dembele asks Barcelona if he can leave in January.”

Google News updates the breaking non-story:

 

transfer balls dembele

Two non stories = two exclusives and Liverpool ‘news’

 

In other transfer gossip, former England, Chelsea and Arsenal left-back Ashley Cole, 37, has been offered a new deal by LA Galaxy – just days after being released by the club. But he fancies swapping LA for life in Birmingham. Aston Villa want him. Why is uncertain. Experience counts – but if he can’t make the LA Galaxy side, why would an ambitious Championship club seek his services? 

At Liverpool, missing midfielder Fabinho is to be the subject of a post-match chat with Paris St-Germain when the sides meet in the Champions League. PSG will offer a lot of money for the Brazilian. And Liverpool will wonder who they’re talking about. Fabinho joined Liverpool for around £40 million in July. He’s been less than spectacular. But that’s what £40m buys you these days: a squad player who can afford a well-paid agent.

In the obligatory news on Manchester United’s search for a defender, Jose Mourinho wants to sign Porto defender Éder Militao. He’ll be great – right up until Mourinho calls him rubbish, unfit, fat and useless. 

* Not Arsenal.
 

Posted: 28th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Ozil victim of tabloid copy and paste factories

The Daily Express’ report on Arsenal’s 1-2 win at Bournemouth is the same report you can read in the Daily Mirror. Both are written by Neil McLeman. The Express and Mirror are both owned by Reach. Surely this sharing spells the end for one of the titles. A clue to which tabloid is getting sidelined comes on the Express‘ back page. In a story about Spurs player Dele Alli, the paper tells readers the article continues on page 55, column 3. But page 55 doesn’t mention Alli once. In fact, it doesn’t mention football at all, preferring to focus on England’s win over Australia in the rugby union. There is news of Alli on page 53, column 2. 

 

daily express

DailyExpress: Dele Alli story is continued on Page 55

 

daily express football

Page 55 contains not a single word on Dele Alli

 

As for the Ozil story so good it’s repeated in two daily tabloids, well, it’s some balls about Mesut Ozil being left in the “cold”. The German was an unused substitute in Arsenal’s win. Asked why Ozil didn’t play, Emery replied: “It depends how the match is going, what the result is. I decided for other options.” He added: “The match was very demanding…with physicality and intensity.” Put that though the tabloidese machine and you get: “Unai Emery admitted he needed players who could cope with the physicality and intensity of Bournemouth.” Can anyone think of a Premier League game that isn’t intense and physical? Answers to the Mirror and Express. Two cover prices – but one second-class stamp should cover it. 

Posted: 26th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer Balls: Rashford makes Manchester United an offer they can refuse and a Liverpool move is back on

Good news for Chelsea fans: N’Golo Kante has signed a new five-year deal. “It has been two beautiful years and I wish for more to come,” he said after signing the news contact. “Since I came, I have completely improved as a player, challenged myself and got some awards I never thought about. I like the city, I like the club and I am happy to be here for more time.” Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia hails him for his “tireless and unselfish displays”. Kante is the player every other side wants in their team. 

Liverpool, however, are still chasing Nabil Fekir. Jurgen Klopp is said to be keen to rekindle a move for the France midfielder. Fekir was on his way to Liverpool in the summer. He never arrived. But Liverpool still want him. They also fancy Dortmund’s Julian Weigl. Arsenal like him, too, chiefly because they like pretty much anyone that plays for Dortmund with a hard to spell name. If he comes to the Emirates, Weigl will join fellow ex-Dortmund players: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and head of recruitment Sven Mislintat. 

Over at Old Trafford, news is that Marcus Rashford would find it hard to refuse a move to Real Madrid. He would also find it hard turn down the job of Prime Minster, the manager for Victor Secrets On Tour, £1bn in spun gold and the French throne. The odds of Rashford playing for Real are slim. But with two years to go on his current deal, rumours abound that United must do more to keep him happy or else another huge club will. So Real Madrid it is. Or Wolves. Or maybe Everton. Or, well, anywhere that will give him a game. “Manchester United’s England striker Marcus Rashford, 21, is ready to talk to Real Madrid if he fails to win a regular first-team place at Old Trafford,” says the BBC. To which the obvious answer from United is: “Let us know how it goes.”

Finally, Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez wants to sign Atlanta United’s attacking midfielder Miguel Almiron. Arsenal, West Ham and Everton also like the Paraguay international. Magpies owner Mike Ashley will surely swoop to get his man, sealing the deal with a 10% discount is one of his Debenhams stores (not applicable with any other promotion) and a Saturday job for any of Almiron’s loved ones in Sports Direct.  

Posted: 23rd, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Nicolas Pepe tops the wish list

Nicolas Pepe

 

Transfer balls: Arsenal are looking to sign a forward in the January transfer window. Danny Welbeck’s ankle injury has ruled him out for a few months at least. Arsenal a little light up front. News is that top of the wanted list is Nicolas Pepe. The Lille winger will cost the Gunners around £27 million, says the Times. The Star, however, has picked up a different brochure. It says Pepe is worth £43m. The Sun says Pepe is on a “three-man shortlist” to replace Luis Suarez at Barcelona. The Mirror says, Lyon, Sevilla and Real Betis all wants Pepe. The Sun says Bayern Munich are keen. Goal says he’s good enough to play for Real Madrid. And the Times says Spurs also want him. 

Anyhow, Arenal need him most. So will they get him?  “If there is a very good opportunity we are definitely going to consider, we will see,” Raul Sanllehi, the Arsenal director of football, told media. “Danny Welbeck’s injury alters, in a way, the views. It’s a good time to start analysing what options we have in the market. We are not closing the door but it’s still not the preferred one. I am not saying that’s a green light to go to the market but we have good players in the house also that may get further opportunities, like Eddie Nketiah for example.”

Closing the door. Green light. In the house. Did Sanllehi learn England from The Big Boom of Cliches? He’s pretty managed to say nothing.  Once upon a time, a hot French talent would have been a shoo-in to play for Arsenal. But now… Well, can they really compete in the transfer market? In 2017, Arsenal bid £92m to sign Thomas Lemar from Monaco, said Sky Sports. They never got him. The France winger joined Atletico Madrid one year laster for €60 million.

Posted: 21st, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Ramsey could stay

Being a pundit is easy. You speak. And then move on to the next bit of mindless chatter. Which brings us to former Arsenal striker Ian Wright who is waxing lyrical about Aaron Ramsey, the midfielder who delayed signing a new deal for so long ever Arsene Wenger left the club. Arsenal offered Ramsey an eye-wateringly expensive long-term deal and then withdrew it. Ramsey is now free to leave at the season’s end. Says Wright:

“I think it might be the perfect time for us (Arsenal) and for him to move on. I think the boss should be given now the time, especially the money, to try and find maybe one or two replacements for someone like Aaron Ramsey, rather than giving Aaron Ramsey the kind of money he was asking for…  It isn’t something I’m too disappointed about, I’m pleased for him and I’m pleased for the new ruthless Arsenal in respects of the way they are saying ‘if that’s the way it is going to be then that’s the way it is going to be’.

This the same Ian Wright who opined in September:

“Ivan Gazidis has got a lot to answer for for this to happen because Ramsey should be a focal point in the team… I’m desperate for him to stay.”

In other news, Arsenal have found a replacement for the very replaceable one-goal-a-season Aaron Ramsey. It’s Villarreal midfielder Pablo Fornals. The Sun says the the 22-year-old has a €20m release clause. If not him then the Mirror says it could be one of five – yeah, just five – players Arsenal could sign to replace Ramsey. The Express says they could replace him by picking another player already at Arsenal. Oh, and in the Standard, Arsene Wenger says Ramsey might yet stay at Arsenal. 

Such are the facts.

 

 

Posted: 20th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Real Madrid in for Harry Kane at Spurs and Liverpool want Demirbay

Transfer Balls: undaunted by their apparent failure to recruit Aaron Ramsey from Arenal – he’s on his way to Bayern Munich, reportedly – AC Milan have begun talks with another player with ‘Arsenal captain’ on his CV, this time former Gooner and Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas. The 31-year-old has had enough of warming the bench at Chelsea and Italy beckons. 

Manchester United are ready to offer Roma’s 22-year-old Italy midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini twice his weekly wage. We’ve no idea what that amount to but estimates put it shy of Alexis Sanchez’s £500,000-a-week but north of what Marcus Rashford pockets by way of a monthly goal bonus. We are told, however, that Pellegrini will cost United £26m in transfer fees.

You can expect to hear lots about Harry Kane or Eden Hazard heading to Real Madrid because the Spaniards are desperate for a goalscorer, having worked out that Cristiano’s Ronaldo’s 50 goals a season were hard to replace. Gareth Bale, 29, and France’s Karim Benzema, 30, are not quite up the task. so Kane it is. A huge money offer will surely tempt Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman. 

Finally, Hoffenheim central midfielder Kerem Demirbay is wanted by Liverpool. Another centre back for the Reds? Why not? 

Posted: 19th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal bid for Demeble and Liverpool will trigger his £369.6m release clause

Ousmane_Dembélé_

 

A coup for the Premier League, then, should Ousmane Dembélé move from Barcelona to Arsenal or Liverpool. The 21-year-old Frenchman remains a prized and coveted talent. He could be great. He might even prove to be worth the huge fee Barcelona paid Borussia Dortmund for his services. But there are problems. Marca reports the player is being sued for leaving a rented house in a mess. AS, another Spanish news outlet, talks of Dembélé’s having a “gaming disorder”. A Barcelona teammate says he is “always late for training”. You wonder if anyone is looking out for Dembélé or just his money. His career is one shaped by one thing: greed, says Barney Ronay. He writes:

It is 15 months now since Dembélé was plucked out and beamed down at the Camp Nou for a fee close to £100m. Since when he has played 90 minutes just four times and scored 10 goals. Information from Football Leaks tells us Dembélé has been paid £15m in basic wages in this time, with £9m siphoned off to “intermediates”, transformed in not much more than a year from promising Rennes teenager to one-man sporting mega-industry.

So is he heading to Arsenal or Liverpool? The Gunners have made an offer to take him on loan with a right to buy. Liverpool are very interested. Barca say Dembele’s contract has a release clause of 400m euros (£369.6m). Seems fair. Chuck in a Playstation and it’s a deal. 

 

Posted: 17th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Broadsheets, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Clickbait Watch: how to BAFFLE an Arsenal fan

baffled footballWriting clickbait for football fans is hard graft. All those budding hacks who dream of talking truth to power are reduced to spinning for clicks at sister newspapers the Daily Express, Daily Star and Daily Mirror.

Language is mangled. Simple facts are “revealed”. “Five things” are learned from watching paint dry. Rumours are mutated into ‘fact’. But every so often, clickbait talent emerges to connive a new meme for the SEO gurus running websites to applaud. Right now everyone at Arsenal – fans, players, Gunnersaurus – is “baffled”.

“Arsenal fans left baffled by Graeme Souness’ comments about Mesut Ozil” – Daily Mirror, October 23

“Lucas Torreira baffles Arsenal fans with what he did in training”  – Daily Mirror, October 10

“Arsenal fans left BAFFLED at staggering claim: ‘Are you mad? He can’t be serious'” – Daily Express, November 14

But it’s not just Arsenal being “baffled”:

“Jurgen Klopp baffled by remarkable Liverpool statistic” – Daily Mirror, Oct 19

“Graeme Souness leaves Manchester United fans baffled” – Daily Mirror, Oct 22

“Mohamed Salah leaves Liverpool fans baffled with social media post” – Daily Mirror, Oct 24

“Matteo Darmian leaves Manchester United fans baffled” – Daily Mirror, October 25

“Cesar Azpilicueta baffled by inconsistent Chelsea’s struggles” – Daily Mirror, Oct 26

“Celebrity Gogglebox: Fans baffled by Dele Alli’s composer comment” – Irish Mirror, Oct 26

“Man Utd news: David De Gea baffled by what Jose Mourinho said” – Daily Express, October 31

“Chelsea news: Sky Sports pundit baffled by one Maurizio Sarri” – Daily Star, Nov 4

“Manchester United fans left baffled by Paul Pogba’s ‘heartbreak’ haircut” – Manchester Evening News* Nov 4

* The MEN is sister title to the Star, Express and Mirror. It’s true? Unless you’re a football fan, in which case it’s baffling!

Posted: 16th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Key Posts, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer Balls: Spurs and Arsenal in for Bailly as Manchester United get a new defence

Transfer Balls: José Mourinho will change Manchester United’s defence early next year. From “When we win it’s all down to me; when we lose it was everyone else”, the new defence will feature new defenders. United plan to bring Toby Alderweireld and Diego Godin to Old Trafford in January, and get rid of Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo. Spurs and Arsenal both like Bailly; Everton fancy Rojo; and Smalling could return to Fulham. Godin, 32, could cost £53m. 

In London, Arsenal will be waving a none-too-teary adieu to Aaron Ramsey, the midfield who resisted signing a new contract for so long that even Arsene Wenger left. He’s off to play for Bayern Munich. Either than or Ramey will be a sub at Chelsea or Liverpool. Arsenal and Chelsea are both looking at spry Atlético Mineiro right-back Emerson. And reports from Italy says AC Milan want to sign Liverpool’s Brazil midfielder Fabinho, 25, (who he?) in January. 

Over at West Ham, Marko Arnautovic, 29, wants a weekly living wage of £200,000 to continue working at the London Stadium. If he does;t get it then he could be off, possibly to Manchester United. 

Posted: 16th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer Balls: Manchester United want Milan’s Milan and Liverpool dog deep for Dembélé

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.

 

Posted: 14th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Gareth Bale to Arsenal and ex Gooner becomes a Prophet

clickbait arsenal gareth bale transfer

 

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”:

 

clickbait arsenal gareth bale transfer

 

Reading on:

Gareth Bale EXCLUSIVE

Yes! Yes…

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.

 

Posted: 12th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal Balls: Daily Express feasts on Danny Welbeck’s pain

danny welbeck

 

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:

November 9:

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’

November 10: 

 

arsenal danny welbeck bt daily express

Journalism: it’s not all speaking truth to power.

 

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!

November 12:

Arsenal news: Unai Emery admits Danny Welbeck uncertainty with fresh injury update

Not quote RIP Danny Welbeck, then.

Posted: 12th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal balls: Danny Welbeck – more injury facts

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.”

Welbeck Express

 

welbeck express

 

 

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.

 

Arsenal transfer pepe

The Sun

 

Despite the lack of facts, the Express and Star pile in:

 

Pepe Arsenal

The Express

 

 

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.

Posted: 10th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment