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Arsenal | Anorak - Part 5

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Arsenal football club news, Arsenal transfers

Arsenal balls: Danny Welbeck’s ‘horror’ injury revealed

Arsenal v Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League, and Danny Welbeck suffers a “horror ankle injury” that “leaves Arsenal team-mates shocked”. So says the Daily Mail. It looks pretty nasty. But the paper has no idea what the damage is. “Danny Welbeck out for the season?” asks the BBC. Dunno. Is he?

The Sun agrees that it is a “horror injury”. Welbeck contested a header and landed “awkwardly”. There was no blood. He was not unconscious, says the Beeb.

 

 

The Sun then tells us it looks like a “broken or dislocated right ankle”. Which is it? He will “almost certainly be taken to hospital for treatment”. I might not be medial man but a broken ankle usually necessitates a trip to the hospital. The paper then adds: “The ex-Manchester United ace is also expected to now pull out of Gareth Southgate’s England squad for next weeks two matches.” Maybe. But if Wayne Rooney can get a recall, maybe a one-legged Welbeck still stands a chance of being selected to play. “It could well be his last appearance for the Gunners,” says the Sun.

Over in the Indy, their experts can confirm – or guess – that Danny Welbeck is “to have an x-ray”. When does an injured footballer not have a scan? But it must be bad, right? “The injury will almost certainly see him withdrawn from Gareth Southgate’s England squad for matches against the United States and Croatia,” says the website.

It might be bad. It might be a “horror” injury. Or it could be pulled ligaments. Or a bad sprain. Or a fracture – which, according to the NHS, involves placing the injured ankle in a protective boot for around 6 weeks. Welbeck might be ok to play in two weeks time for England, say the papers. Or maybe he’ll never play for Arsenal again, say the same papers.

They shoot horses.

Such are the facts.

UPDATE: Sky Sports: “Danny Welbeck “broke something in his ankle” during Arsenal’s Europa League draw with Sporting Lisbon on Thursday, according to head coach Unai Emery.

“We think it’s a serious injury. Every injury is different. He broke something in his ankle and it’s a different injury than another. Now he’s at the hospital and the news is at the moment we are going to wait, but we think this is a serious injury.”

Get well soon, Danny.

Posted: 8th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Martial offers 45m reasons to stay at Manchester United

Transfer Balls: how much is Anthony Martial worth to Manchester United? Whoah, there. That’s a rhetorical question. The answer is £45m. That’s a lot of money for a player who was on his way out when his current contract expires at the season’s end. United do have an option to extend that by one year. But Martial holds the cards. So United will sign him up on a new deal and then flog him when Jose Mourinho starts calling him names. The Sun says the new deal will last for five-year deal and earn the Frenchman £190,000-a-week. The paper doesn’t say if that figure includes extra cash for doing his job – scoring goals; being on the winning team; getting selected – or the absurd ‘loyalty bonus’. But it’s decent money, albeit not in the Alexis Sanchez bracket of more than double that figure. You get real value at United.

Manchester United also fancy Sampdoria’s 22-year-old Danish defender Joachim Andersen. No idea what his fee would be, but Inter Milan’s 23-year-old defender Milan Skriniar, a player wanted by United, is reportedly worth £100m, according to the club’s manager Luciano Spalletti.

Away from Old Trafford, Chelsea and Bayern Munich are chasing Lyon’s Nabil Fekir. The Star says the man who looked to be on his way to Liverpool last summer could arrive in London. Joining him in the Smoke is Lille winger Nicolas Pepe, 23, who has “welcomed speculation linking him with Arsenal”, says the BBC. How that plays out with his team-mates is moot.

 

Posted: 8th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says AC Milan job is ‘fake news’

It’s “fake news,” says former Arsenal manger Arsene over reports linking him to the AC Milan manager’s job.

 

 

So, there’s no chance of him becoming AC Milan next manager – the report in France Football is wrong:

 

AC Milan wenger

 

Fake News!

 

wenger arsenal transfer budget

wenger staying arsenal

daily express arsenal fake news wenger

wenger

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

2017?

 

Such are the facts…

Posted: 7th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsene Wenger heads to AC Milan to work for Arsenal fans and Ivan the Terrible

Unable too secure the job for life at Arsenal some thought was rightfully his, Arsene Wenger is to manage AC Milan. That’s the once mighty Italian club now owned by an American hedge fund which last month appointed former Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis to run things. Gazidis is the towering force who took Arsenal from 1st to 6th. He was part of the problem that let Arsenal drift into mediocrity as the club’s fans split between ‘Wenger In’ and ‘Wenger Out’ factions. The BBC relays the news. But France Football have the scoop. As ever, putting the story though Google Translate comes up trumps:

But the man with the three titles of Premier League and seven Cups of England has been negotiating for a few weeks with AC Milan. These negotiations are close to succeeding for a quick start. The situation of the Lombard club is not dramatic but far from the expectations of its new shareholder, the US investment fund Elliot Management Corporation, which took over the debts of Chinese Li Yonghong. Arsene Wenger would replace Gennaro Gattuso (40) at the head of the Rossoneri. He would also have a larger role in his duties with the sports director, the Brazilian Leonardo. This arrival of one of the greatest French coaches would also be orchestrated by Paul and Gordon Singer. Billionaires, the father and son run the fund now owns AC Milan and also has interests in Lille. The two businessmen, who spend time in London with a lot of business in England, are fans … of Arsenal. According to some sources, the arrival of Wenger in the club to the seven Leagues Champions would be even already “deal”.

Italy here he comes, then.

Posted: 6th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: all hail Lucas Torreira the greatest love

Barney Ronay was at the Emirates to match Arsenal draw 1-1 with Liverpool. The pre-match chatter was of the Reds being years ahead of Arsenal. Nothing of it. Under Unai Emery’s management Arsenal are on the up. Wengeresque torpor is being dusted away. And at the heart of it all, Lucas Torreira is a force to be reckoned with:

Just past the half-hour the Emirates erupted into a rare barrelling wave of noise as Torreira dumped Sadio Mané on the turf with a perfectly timed roundhouse slide-tackle. It was oddly rousing, like a roomful of convalescents granted a rare glimpse of the sun through the French windows. In front of the press box two home fans stood up and spontaneously hugged. Vigour, energy, persistence, grit. What a change to see all of these things.

‘Lucas Torreira, the Mighty Insect, embodies Arsenal’s new grit’ – Guardian.

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


Arsenal: Nicklas Bendtner jailed for being the prat he always was

As we salute former Arsenal player Santi Cazorla for his reliance, another ex-Arsenal player catches the eye: Nicklas Bendtner has been sentenced to 50 days in jail in Denmark for assaulting a taxi driver.

Now playing for Rosenborg, Bendtner admitted hitting the taxi driver but said it was because “he felt threatened”.

The BBC:

Bendtner said the driver threw a bottle or a can towards him and his girlfriend when they left without paying.

“We think that it’s not good for the club and not good for Nicklas, but he remains a player in the club. We are keeping him,” said Tove Moe Dyrhaug, the chief executive of Bendtner’s Norwegian club Rosenborg.

The Sun puts it well:

Bendtner started his pro career at Arsenal, scoring his first goal for the club when still a teenager. But despite much promise, Bendtner failed to ever live up to the hype (which was often generated by himself).

Such are the facts.

Posted: 2nd, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal: brilliant Santi Cazorla scores a pearler

As Arsenal fans look forward to a bright future under Unai Emrey, they can think about the man who got away: the brilliant Santi Cazorla. Last night, smiling Santi scored for Villarreal in a Copa del Rey mach against Almeria. It was his first goal for years. Cazorla was the victim of ten surgeries in 18 months (including a dose of gangrene) after an achilles injury that cost him so much. He didn’t play for 636 days. His Arsenal contract ran out and he was let go.

In September, Santi told the Guardian: “Mikel Sánchez, the surgeon, puts me in his talks, a case study. He and the physios say they’ve never seen such an extreme case.”

And then he rejoined Villarreal:

“I have to pinch myself when I think: ‘I’m playing Saturday.’ I appreciate it all, every moment. I understand players thinking it’s a pain to be stuck in a hotel the night before but I’ve been in hotels alone, hospitals too. I’ve fought for this.”

Villarreal used an actual magician (and a glass tube full of dry ice) to unveil Cazorla when he re-signed for the club.

Posted: 2nd, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Aaron Ramsey to Manchester United as Liverpool rule out move and Arsenal progress

Aaron Ramsey says he’s no idea why Arsenal withdrew their contract offer. For months and months the club’s offer of £170,000-a-week for four years reportedly sat on the table. Ramsey never signed. Why not? We can only suppose he wanted more money, as much as £250,000-a-week to deliver one Premier League goal a season, as he did last season, and spend a large chunk of time sat in the treatment room. As Ramsey dithered and his Mr 15% thought they held all the cards, Arsenal moved on. First Arsene Wenger was sacked, then Ivan Gazidis, the ineffectual chief executive, went to work for AC Milan, a once great club now operated by a US hedge fund. The new Arsenal hierarchy looked at Ramsey, considered his value and thought him not worth the money.

Gazidis’ successor Raul Sanllehi can only be an improvement. “I don’t think I am inventing the wheel,” he told the Sunday Telegraph of the club’s new decision not to let key players enter the final year of a contract. “Anybody could agree on that.”

There’s a lot of chatter about where Ramsey might go next. The Star says Chelsea don’t want him because Ross Barkley, 24, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 22, are playing well. Sky says Liverpool have ruled out making a move for Ramsey. The Welshman could join Manchester United in January with Juan Mata moving the other way, says the Sun. Why United would want a slowing midfielder is moot.

The Telegraph says Arsenal “have embarrassed themselves again” by letting a £50m player leave for free. To which the question must be: which club was ever going to pay £50m for Ramsey, plus around £200,000-a-week in wages? And why is it embarrassing to get rid of players who rate themselves too highly and bring on hungry, fresh talent, as Arsenal have, notably in the shape of Emile Smith Rowe, Matteo Guendouzi and a vastly improved Alex Iwobi?

Arsenal called Ramsey’s bluff. Everton beckons him. He’ll leave behind an Arsenal side possessed of a new sense of direction.

 

Posted: 2nd, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Spurs fear, Dembele to Liverpool, Newcastle wait and Sanchez plots Manchester United escape

Tottenham players “fear” Mauricio Pochettino is to leave the club for Real Madrid or Manchester United. Which Spurs players are in dread of the Argentine leaving, and maybe taking them along for the ride and the huge hike on wages that would come with it, is unsaid by the BBC. Over in the Telegraph that “fear” is reduced to a mere “feeling”. The Sun tell us that Real Madrid will double Pochettino’s wages to £17m a year. How it knows that is moot. It just does. It feels it.

But why would Pochettinho want a job with a shorter shelf life than a Halloween pumpkin? AS tells us that former Real Madrid star Michael Laudrup has rejected down the chance to become the club’s new manager. Fair enough. After all, Marca told us former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte would be appointed as soon as Real sacked Julen Lopetegui as manager. He wasn’t. Meanwhile, the Mail says Belgium manager and former Everton and Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is the white-hot favourite to become the next Real Madrid chief. Or as the Guardian puts it: “Mauricio Pochettino has emerged as Real Madrid’s No 1 choice.”

To recap: they don’t know.

In other news, Alexis Sanchez is off to play at PSG, says the BBC. Manchester Untied will replace their striker by digging huge hole in the ground and pouring £600,000-a-week into it.

And then some bigger news in Spain’s Sport. Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembélé is to be shunted out of the club this January. He turned up late for a game, we read, and Barcelona “have decided to act strongly on the issue”. Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea all want the Frenchman. Will it happen? Dunno. Back in August the Express told its readers: “Arsenal transfer news: Gunners make £90MILLION bid for Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele.” They didn’t.

And finally, get this from the BBC: “Newcastle are understood to be ready to offer Rafa Benitez the contract extension he wants – providing he is prepared to wait for certain requests.” Such as his discount voucher for Sports Direct and a chance to win the Championship.

 

Posted: 31st, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal vow never to let player contracts run down to final year

Arsenal’s ‘head of football’ – what a great title that is; as if Arsenal’s purpose his anything but football – Raul Sanllehi promises everyone that the club will no longer allow the contracts of key players to enter the final year. Right now Aaron Ramsey is nearing the end of their current deals, so too Danny Welbeck.

In recent seasons, Arsenal have allowed the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to enter the final six months of their contracts. This foolish negotiating tactic overseen by the not-in-the-least-bit-lamanted chief executive Ivan Gazidis, now at AC Milan, resulted in Ozil getting a whopping £350,000-a-week on a new deal and Sanchez heading to Manchester United last January. Jack Wilshere’s contract expired. He ended up getting a free transfer to West Ham.

“In general, I do believe that a player’s contract should never go to the last year, as a policy,” Sanllehi told the Sunday Telegraph. “But I don’t think I am inventing the wheel. Anybody could agree on that.” It appears that Gazidis did not agree. “Normally, the contracts of the players are for five years. You need to have a clear idea of what you want to do with that player when he is in the third year, at the latest.”

“We don’t take decisions overnight, on a quick reflection. We really go through not only a long period of thinking but also a lot of people are involved. People in which we have a high trust. In general I would like to make that point clear. There are no decisions that are left to the last minute. When we reach a decision, it is for a reason.”

To further illustrate how slack things got at Arsenal under Gazidis and Arsene Wenger, Per Mertesacker and Huss Fahmy, have been promoted to the club’s “executive team” as the club look to increase the “football representation” at decision-making levels. It’s the school of the bleeding’ obvious. Ignore the actual football, focus too much on marking and branding, and watch the club turn into, well the current Manchester United mess.

But it’s not all about the footy. Mertesacker, Fahey,  Sanllehi and Sven Mislintat are the only “footballing representatives” on the 15-man executive team, which “encompasses everything that we do as an organisation”. Eleven people do what exactly? As Sonny put it so succinctly on the night of the big dance-off in the hit movie Grease, ‘Let’s hear it for the toilet paper.”

Posted: 28th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Martial wants to stay at Manchester United

Do Manchester United buy players to fit the team or advance the global brand? Rumours abound that Manchester United want to sell Paul Pogba but any exit would blow a big hole in the club’s marketing scheme. The trick for United is less who wants Pogba, but which mega-star replaces him and why they’d want to? The Mail says the marketeers who run United are stuck on who could match Pogba’s commercial value. Think less of the overrated player and more of how much merchandise he shifts.

The media is full of stories about how Pogba would leap at the chance to join Barcelona – he’d leap higher than he did when he lost Antonio Rüdiger at a corner for Chelsea’s opening goal last weekend. The bigger question is: why would Barcelona want the hype-powered France footballer whose shown few signs of being worth a fraction of his £90m fee that took him from Juventus to United? The still bigger question is: why would Barcelona spend £200m for the privilege?

Another Frenchman less than chuffed with life at Manchester United is French forward Anthony Martial, 22. Last week he was all set to see out his contract and leave on a free. Today the BBC says he’s ready to to stay at the club. First Jose Mourinho heaps prise on Luke Shaw, a man he once branded a brainless plodder, seeing to it that the asset nearing the end of his contract was awarded a new contract; now Jose starts praising and picking Martial just as he looked all set to leave for nought. Who picks the side at United: Mourinho or the moneymen who run the club?

The Sun says LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks set to rejoin Manchester United on loan during the MLS off-season. He’s one for the future.

Across town, Manchester City fancy Juventus’ Brazilian full-back Alex Sandro, 27, and Japan midfielder Ritsu Doan. Down south, a resurgent Arsenal are monitoring Ajax’s Argentina left-back Nicolas Tagliafico, 26. Chelsea are closing in on 18-year-old Italian midfielder Sandro Tonali. And Crystal Palace like Inter striker Gabriel Barbosa, whose on loan at Santos having failed to command a place with the Italians. Barbosa tells Marca his “intention is to go to a place where I can be as happy as I am here [at Santos]”. Palace it is, then.

And Wolves – they’re after Inter Milan’s 25-year-old Portuguese midfielder Joao Mario and a striker. Maria is also liked by Leicester and Southampton.

Posted: 25th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Reasons to love Emery: Arsenal got rid of Wilshere

Reasons for Arsenal fans to love Unai Emery mass by the day. After last night’s Wenger-esque victory over Leicester City, a performance illuminated by three synchronised team goals of rare beauty, what one writer compared to “watching a tribute band play better than the act they are paying homage to”, comes news that were it not for Emery Jack Wilshere would still be at the club.

Well, so says Wilshere, who tells the Islington Gazette:

“If Arsene had stayed I would have stayed, because of the influence he had in my career and the trust he had in me. He gave me the armband and respected me a lot. So, I had pretty much agreed to stay. And then he left and that changed things. Arsene had said to me previously ‘stay and fight your way back into the team’. Because I knew Arsene and knew he had trust in me, I knew I could do that and fight my way into the team.”

Wilshere was a hugely promising talent who rarely delivered. Arenal fans will wish him well at West Ham, but would he really get into the current side, who play such a high-tempo game? No. And if he did, when the ball reached Wilshere, the move would slow.

Emery is now working his magic on Aaron Ramsey, who having seen his demands for £250,000 a week in wages and a four-year deal rebuffed is seeking pastures new when his contract expires in the summer. As Ramsey’s agent whines on twitter about there being “no other option” for their low-scoringinjury prone midfielder of a client to leave because he can’t get £1m a month wages (plus loyalty bonuses?), Emery’s stock rises.

 

Posted: 23rd, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United chase Koulibaly, Arsenal take Malcolm on loan from Arsenal and Chelsea underpay Hazard

Cancel the trip to Jose Mourinho’s hotel room in Manchester and the one-way ticket to Real Madrid, Eden Hazard will stay at Chelsea. The BBC says Chelsea will offer their best player £350,000-a-week to stay at the club. This, says the Express, will make Hazard “the highest-paid player in the Premier League”. Which is odd because the Express says Alexis Sanchez is the league’s number one earner on £500,000-a-week.

 

daily express sanchez

Daily Express facts by Dany Wilson October 2 2018

 

As the Express delivers the facts and then fact that counter those facts in a SEO blizzard of utter balls, the Express also says struggling Real Madrid want to hire Raheem Sterling to bolster a forward line missing Cristiano Ronaldo’s 50-odd goals a season. There are no facts to support the claim. The Mirror says Sterling wants more money to stay at Manchester City, who will of course find it down the back of the sofa.

Finally, the Star says Arsenal fancy taking Barcelona’s Brazilian winger Malcom, 21, on loan in January. That’s be the same Malcolm the press told us had agreed to join Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester United before he went to Spain.

More facts from the twilight zone of football reporting every day…

Posted: 21st, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal fans lament the loss of their shares to a heartless Kroenke

When Arsenal fans watching their side thrash Fulham 5-1 began to sing “We’ve got our Arsenal back”, billionaire Stan Kroenke must have smirked. It’s not the fans who have Arsenal, it’s him. And he’s got the lot.

Not too long ago, the list of Arsenal owners with clout read like a Damon Runyon play: Peter Hill-Wood, Sir Chips Keswick, Lord Harris of Peckham, Danny Fiszman and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith. But they cashed in. The old school stability that had defined Arsenal for decades vanished when David Dein, the hymned vice-chairman, sold his shares to Alisher Usmanov, an Usbek billionaire, in 2011 for £75m – each share valued at £11,750. Fiszman wasn’t keen on Usmanov, so sold his stake to Kroenke for £159.5m. The Bracewell-Smiths got £116m for theirs. The so-called Establishment Club was no longer a rich man’s chattel; it was a brand to exploit.

It’s Stan’s Arsenal now. He’ll let you know his plans for Arsenal when he thinks you need to know.

To take full ownership of the club, Kroenke was required to buy all the shares, including those owned by fans. He ordered those fans to relinquish their little bit of the club they loved and felt part of. Not everyone has signed the forms and taken the £29,000 per share. But they will.

Rory Smith spoke to a few of them:

“Owning a share made me feel as though Arsenal was actually my club: It was a closer, more emotional bond,” says Martha Silcott.” That sense of custodianship is very important to me; it is right that fans, the lifeblood of a team, own a part of that team… I don’t like the idea of it being owned by someone whose only interest in it is money, buying up the shares of people who bought them for reasons that had nothing to do with money.”

“I have been a member of the family called the Arsenal for 75 years,” says Jeffrey Freeman. “..It upsets me that one man can decide the destiny of the Arsenal, can accrue all the benefits of ownership himself, especially given that he does not regularly attend games. Does he have the interests of the Arsenal at heart?..  By taking them, Kroenke has bought the body of the club. The heart, though, will always evade him. The heart will always belong to the fans.”

Arsenal fans will get their Arsenal back one day – but for now it’s the property of Mr Walmart.

Posted: 19th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Aaron Ramsey transfer balls: Everton ready to trump Liverpool and Man United for Arsenal player

Does the BBC need to clickbait Arsenal fans with news of Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey? The BBC says Ramsey is “set to leave Arsenal for Everton on a free transfer in the summer”. Wasn’t he heading to Manchester United, Spurs, Liverpool, Manchester City or Chelsea? Earlier this week, the BBC told its reader that Ramsey was “open to joining one of Arsenal’s top six rivals if he leaves Emirates Stadium on a free transfer in the summer”. Everton are not a top six side. And that was “if” not “when”.

The BBC also told us that Real Madrid want Ramsey; and Liverpool and Man United were looking to get Ramsey in a “cut-price” deal this January.

Now we’re told, Everton are “ready to offer the 27-year-old a £15m signing-on fee”. Says who? Says the Sun, which actually says nothing of the sort. The BBC cites the tabloid as the source of its news, but when you head to the Sun, it tells us Ramsey “can command a stunning £15million signing-on fee.” He can. But will he? Everton could also pay the injury-prone player £150,000 a week to be “the main man in Silva’s midfield”.

 

ITV News also broadcast a rumour based on nothing but guesswork

 

Ramsey wants £250,000-a-week to stay at Arsenal on a four-year contract, working out at £52m. The Gunners rejected that option to nearly double Ramsey’s current salary. And now Everton will offer him £15m plus £31m in wages – that’s £46m over four-years. Although the Sun doesn’t say how long any contract offer will be for – just as it doesn’t says Everton are going to offer the player a £15m signing-on fee.

What next for Ramsey? The BBC hasn’t got the foggiest idea. He might yet stay at the Gunners. Look out for that theory on the BBC…

 

Posted: 17th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester City’s Foden to Dortmund, Hazard’s Chelsea dream and Manchester United want Ake

Borussia Dortmund are keen to hire Manchester City’s cake-loving reserve Phil Foden to keep Jadon Sancho company. All the noises from those with vested interests in young Foden earning loads money at City say he’s very happy at the club. But he hardly plays for the first team, and if a big name in his position became available, City would surely swoop and push Foden further down the hierarchy. RB Leipzig and PSG also want Foden, but Dortmund with their reputation for developing young talent must be the pick.

Bournemouth’s Nathan Aké is talking about a rumoured move to Manchester United. “I’ve seen it pass by but of course it’s rumours,” says the former Chelsea loanee. “At the moment I play at Bournemouth and that is going well, so I focus on that. This does not say much about my status yet. They are rumours on the internet and as long as I do not hear anything myself, I will not go into that.” No comment is still a comment, Nathan. But he’s not heard anything himself about the things he’s chatting about to Dutch journalists so let’s just leave him alone.

Still at Chelsea is Eden Hazard, who having stated it his childhood “dream” to play for Real Madrid, no says he won’t head to Spain in January. He also says he won’t ever force a move to Madrid. Instead, he’ll just keep on talking about his ambitions in Spain, batting his eyelashes and seemingly talking abut Madrid every single day.

Heading back to Chelsea is midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, 24. Reports are that AC Milan have “threatened” to cancel his loan deal because of “defects in his game”.

Arsenal are looking at cheaper options than Hazard, like Rennes’s Ismaila Sarr and Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz. They’re said to be promising, young, athletic, skilful and cheap. You know the story. Some things at Arsenal never change.

At the other end of the pay scale, Manchester United are all ready to offer Spain goalkeeper David de Gea a new deal that would make the 27-year-old the club’s highest earner – m re than the £600,000-a-week they pay Alexis Sanchez to kiss the badge.

As for Spurs, well, Madrid captain Ramos says Harry Kane would be great in La Liga, and Mousa Dembélé will quit the cub at the season’s end to live out his own fantasy at Beijing Sinobo Guoan in the Chinese (Not So) Super League.

Posted: 15th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal balls: maths say Gunners will be champions and Ramsey will score 20 goals

We do all love the hyberbolic rantings of football pundits. Right now they’re raving about Arsenal. Stan Collymore uses his tired Daily Mirror column to tell readers Arsenal “will win 90 per cent of their games and lose the other fixtures they’re expected to lose, that means no titles”. It does? Since when have Arsenal ever won 90% of their matches over a season? Since Stan Collymore made it up.

If Arsenal win 90 of their Premiere League matches, they most likely win the title. Last season, Manchester City scored  records number of points by winning a mere 84% of their PL matches. In the Europa League, you can win the trophy by winning just 8 of 15 matches – that’s 53%.

Over on Sky Sports, Ian Wright is backing Arenal in their stance over Aaron Ramsey. Say Wright: “We’ve seen him [Ramsey] in the Euros dominating when he was absolutely fantastic, we’ve seen the season [2013-14] he has with Arsenal scoring 20-plus goals and was amazing, we’ve seen he can score in big games, winning cup finals.” Ramey has never scored 20-plus goals in a season. In the Mirror, John Cross also thinks Ramsey can be relived upon to score, noting:

It will be a massive blow to lose one of Europe’s top goal-scoring midfielders on a free, and once again the north Londoners’ dealings in the market and over contracts will come under the spotlight.

Ramsey has scored once season. He did score 7 PL goals last season – the same number as: Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford), Pascal Groß (Brighton) and Marcos Alonso (Chelsea). In season 2016-17, Ramsey scored – get this – 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? Does he get 20 goals season? No. In season 2013-14, Ramsey scored 13 goals.

But let’s spare some sympathy for the pundits. It’s not as though there’s an easy resource you tap into to access a myriad facts in seconds. And until there is, guesswork will triumph over homework.

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


Transer balls: Liverpool and Manchester United fight for Arsenal’s Ramsey

Having scored his regulation one goal of the season, low-scoringinjury prone midfielder Aaron Ramsey is hot property. The BBC says that with the Arsenal player’s contract coming to an end this summer, Liverpool, Juventus and Manchester United are thinking about buying him in the January transfer window.

Ramsey can’t stay at Arsenal, of course. His agent explained all in a now deleted tweet: “There is nothing we can do, the club made a decision. Life goes on. It’s right [the grass] isn’t always greener and he [Aaron] didn’t want to leave but now there’s no other option.” Reports suggest the poor, suffering agent thinks his client is worth £250,000-a-week in wages for the next four years. Arsenal don’t.

The Indy reports that Ramsey’s rep was talking to foreign clubs last January about his client leaving leaving Arsenal on a free. So he can go.

Arsenal don’t seem too fussed about what the Press term ‘losing’ Ramsey. They’ve already lined up his replacement, a hard working tacking midfielder called Miguel Almiron.

All good, then. The Gunners will get some cash for a player who though skilful and capable, is slower than most, doesn’t score as many goals as pundits think he does and spends chunks of the season in the treatment room; Ramsey cashes in; a young Arsenal player gets the chance to move up the pecking order in Unai Emery’s energetic team; and desperate Manchester United sign a player who will surely make Alexis Sanchez shine…

 

 

Posted: 11th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal to replace Ramsey with Almiron

Transfer news: Arsenal are all set to sign Paraguay “striker” (BBC) or “midfielder” (Sky) Miguel Almiron, 24, for £15m (Mirror) or £11m (Sun) in the January transfer window.

Almiron plays for MLS side Atlanta United. And you kind of wonder how 12 goals this season in the US soccer league makes him a candidate for Arsenal in the Premier League. And then you wonder if Arsenal know more about him than the British media, who can’t even agree what position he plays in.

The story is rooted in Atlanta president Darren Eales, who told one and all: “Almiron’s future is already decided and he will go to England in the European winter market.”

Atlanta United head coach Gerardo Martinez says Almiron has a “commitment to winning the ball back, pressing, he’s a player that’s always working.” He’s a player very much in the Unai Emery mould, then. “He’s an atypical No 10. Because he gives you everything that a No 10 gives you and he probably dispossesses players like a defensive midfielder.”

Adios, Ramsey?

 

Posted: 8th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Aaron Ramsey’s massive wage demands are not his fault

It’s Aaron Ramsey and Avid Sports & Entertainment Group versus the forces of nature. Responding to news that Ramsey will be leaving Arsenal at the season’s end when his current deal expires, Avid reportedly tweeted: “There is nothing we can do, the club made a decision. Life goes on. It’s right [the grass] isn’t always greener and he [Aaron] didn’t want to leave but now there’s no other option.” We can’t find the tweet. It appears to have been deleted. But if true it’s refreshing to realise that football is not the agent-drive football market in greed we’ve held it to be, but an exercise in existential laissez-faire.

Arsenal’s decision was not to offer the low-scoring, injury prone midfielder Ramsey a four-year contract worth up to £250,000 a week.  His agent’s decision was to lower their client’s fee and realise that the £140,000-a-week Arsenal were reportedly prepared to invest in Ramsey was absurdly good money. No. Of course not.

 

 

Fans comments are not all pro Ramsey:

I know his agent is making it sound like Aaron has been totally shafted by the club but if you’re going to run down your contract for big money you run a risk…

Exactly what I was thinking as I was reading that “we had no choice” crap. They had plenty of chance for a long time to sign a contract and show some loyalty but it wasn’t enough and now Arsenal is like the Ex who doesn’t want to put up with your shit anymore.

Life goes on and I’m sure Ramsey will be looking at how life has gone on for Alexis Sanchez elsewhere. You don’t realise what you have at Arsenal until you’re 10 months into it and haven’t scored more than twice.

Life goes on, her, for the poor, selfless, sainted agents, who looked on helplessly as their player lost track of time and forgot to tell them his contract was running out and then asked for £13m a year to live his dream.

In other agent news, humble, down-to-earth Ramsey is an “ambassador” for a company that rents out private jets:

 

 

Oh, and here’s the chance to win one of Ramsey’s old shirts – no doubt with pre-kissed badge:

 

Modern footballers. They really are above the rest of us…

Posted: 3rd, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: £52m Ramsey bid but his replacement comes cheap

Dust off the piano, Arsenal, Alexis Sanchez is being linked with a return to the Gunners. Having been told by Manchester United’s negative and draining manager Jose Mourinho that he could never play for United again, Sanchez is considering his options. The Daily Star reasons that this includes the £600,000-a-week man taking a huge wage cut to rejoin Arsenal and seize the dream of coming fourth and winning the Europa League.

The Manchester Evening News says “Manchester United fans think Arsenal robbed them with Alexis Sanchez deal”. Nothing but desperation impelled United to give Sanchez a fortune. Clubs should be careful what they wish for.

Meanwhile, the Gunners are looking to replace Aaron Ramsey, who was seeking about £250,000-a-week to sign a new Arsenal deal. Ramsey told the fans it wasn’t about the money. Right. And Sanchez joined United to shop at the Arndale Centre. It’s all about the money.

Arsenal reasoned that paying a fading player £52m in wages over a four-year contract was too much – and that might not include loyalty payments. Ramsey turns 28 in December. Last season he missed 11 games though injury. The seasons before that he missed: 22 matches, 11 matches, 15 matches and 21 matches, respectively. Ramsey leaving Arsenal is being talked of as a disaster. The Daily Mirror called Ramsey one of the best goal-scoring midfielder in Europe. Last season Ramsey scored how many goals for Arsenal in the Premier League? Fifteen? Ten? No. One. He scored one goal.

Factor in any resale value in the transfer market and giving Ramsey a shedload of cash to stay looks nuts. So he leaves for the Liverpool treatment room or Real Madrid’s reserves, and the Gunners can look at getting a replacement, like Napoli’s Poland midfielder Piotr Zielinski. He’s 24. He’s no history of injuries. He’d have a resale value. And he’d a command a transfer fee of around £25m plus up to £100,000-a-week wages.

It’s not all about player power.

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


Arsenal balls: Aaron Ramsey takes his one goal a season and heads to Italy

Yesterday Arsenal fans learned something that had escaped them. The Mirror’s John Cross told them and readers of his Daily Mirror “exclusive” that Aaron Ramsey is “one of Europe’s top goal-scoring midfielders”. Last season, Ramsey scored one goal in the Premier League. Are goals from midfield so hard to come by that one represents the apogee? That question to David Silva, Mo Salah, Deli Alli, Kevin de Bruyne, James Maddison, Bernardo Silva, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Pascal Groß. We could go round Europe looking at goalscoring midfielders, but the point is made: Ramsey is not as effective as his PR says he is.

But the impression that he hits the net pervades. Last night, former Arsenal star Ian Wright told Sky Sports: “…Aaron Ramsey is captain material… It should have been done ages ago. Ivan Gazidis [the Arsenal chief executive who left for AC Milan] has got a lot to answer for for this to happen because Ramsey should be a focal point in the team… He’s somebody that I’d like to see stay because I think he is that player who is never afraid. He scores goals.”

He scores very few goals. And another player on the big money Ramsey’s after might score more goals than him. Arsenal’s habit in recent years of sticking with players on the drift has seen them not challenge for the title and slip out of the Champions League slots. Unai Emery is building his own team. Why does he need Wenger’s journeymen?

So Ramsey’s off in search of vast riches and loyalty payments elsewhere. As soon as Arsenal agreed to pay £350,000 a week to Mesut Ozil, every other player; on Arsenal’s books thought themselves worth more. But they’re not. So Arsenal withdrew their contract offer to Ramsey – the one he hadn’t agreed to sign.

The Standard says he’s booking a one-way flight this January to Juventus or AC Milan. Or maybe it’ll be Chelsea or Manchester United? Anyone in the market for a skilful but slowing midfielder who scores one goal a season knows his agent’s number.

Posted: 28th, September 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal prepare to sell overrated Aaron Ramsey

Transfer Balls spots this gem of an “exclusive” on the Daily Mirror’s back page: “Aaron Ramsey to leave Arsenal next summer.” The midfielder’s current deal runs until the end of this season. He’ll then be free to pick up a huge wad of cash at another club.  But after the original statement, the facts become , well, less factual.  We read that the Mirror “understands there is now NO new contract offer on the table”. Is understanding the same as knowing? No. Or ‘NO’, as the Mirror might put it.

 

ramsey arsenal leaves tranfer

Fact!

 

And then we pick up the powder and dust the story down for the agent’s fingerprints:

Midfielder Ramsey had been ready to stay and commit himself to a new contract, with the club confident of reaching agreement with the past few weeks. But there has been a sudden change and talks have completely broken down — to the point that there is now nothing for the 27-year-old Wales international to sign.

A sudden change from which side? The inference is that it’s not from fiercely loyal and not-in-the-least-bit greedy Ramsey who is holding his pen with “nothing” to sign. “Ramsey appears likely to play just one season under new boss Unai Emery,” we’re told. Appears. Likely. Not all that factual. This is less than 50 words after readers were told, “Aaron Ramsey will leave Arsenal at the end of the season”. Now it “is not known whether the Spaniard [Arsenal manger Unai Emery] wants to keep him.”

Arsenal’s wage bill has been escalating out of control with Mesut Ozil now on £350,000-a-week, but Ramsey has been keen to stay and this breakdown is not because he has turned down a new deal.

Maybe Arsenal think he’s not all that good?

It will be a massive blow to lose one of Europe’s top goal-scoring midfielders on a free, and once again the north Londoners’ dealings in the market and over contracts will come under the spotlight.

One of Europe’s top-scoring midfielders is, according to the Premier League’s stats-based Fantasy Football game, the joint 19th best midfielder in the PL. According to Wales Onlinewhich like the Mirror is owned by Reach – Ramsey isn’t one of the best midfielders in the PL. As for goals scored, Ramsey hasn’t scored this season. He did score 7 PL goals last season – the same number as: Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford), Pascal Groß (Brighton) and Marcos Alonso (Chelsea). In season 2016-17, Ramsey scored – get this – 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. But is he now? No.

Ramsey’s a good player. But Arsenal would be nuts to break the bank to keep him. And if he wants to go now, surely they’ll cut him loose in January. But the Mirror says:

They allowed both Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to get into the final year of their deals, and now they face an even more embarrassing own goal over Ramsey.

Ozil stayed. Sanchez went to Manchester United on a £600,000-a-week deal and Arsenal got the less difficult Henrikh Mkhitaryan in return. Arsenal are currently above United in the league. Sanchez has been poor. Embarrassing?

The tin lid on this balls comes in the next line:

Meanwhile, former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has turned down offers from China, Japan and France because he is enjoying his new-found freedom after leaving the club last summer.

Oh, him – the bloke who didn’t leave when the Mirror told us he would be:

 

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

2017?

 

See yer, Ramsey. First went fading Theo Walcott, then oft-injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the ordinary Kieran Gibbs. They were followed out the door by the pace-free Jack Wilshere and now Ramsey is set to leave. Arsenal fans, listen up, things are getting better. Tough players with presence can get in touch with Emery at the usual address…

Posted: 27th, September 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal banned Low from speaking to Ozil

“NO PRONUNCIATION IN LONDON,” declares the headline on Bild, the German tabloid. The headline is viewed through the Google Translate mangle. But the next part is clear: “Löw locked out at Özil training.” News is that Germany coach Joachim Low, on a mission to see Mesut Ozil, rocked up uninvited to the Arsenal training ground and wasn’t let in. The story goes that Low wanted to make up with Ozil, who retired from the German national team after feeling the victim of “racism and disrespect” over his Turkish roots. So he flew to London for a chat.

You can picture Low stood with a few autograph hunters by Arsenal’s London Colney training ground, picking his nose, eating his bogies, scratching his arse and sniffing his fingers. And there’s Ozil in the security guard’ cabin watching the live CT footage and vowing never again to shake Low’s hand.

 

low germany bogie low germany bogie low germany bogie

 

Shake!

But it’s not quite true. The Standard says the trip to Arsenal was “pre-planned”. Low was invited to London Colney by Per Mertesacker, the Arsenal coach and former German international. It’s just that Ozil wasn’t there that day.

Posted: 26th, September 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Abramovich wants $3billion for Chelsea and Manchester United offload Pogba

“We’re the biggest sports team in the world,” declared Ed Woodward, the Manchester United chief executive. A few hours after that boast, Derby County arrived at Old Trafford and booted United out of the Carabao Cup. That was preceded by Jose Mourinho, United’s miserabilist manager telling the club’s most expensive recruit, the well-marketed Paul Pogba, he’ll never captain the club again. Pogba wants to play for Barcelona, just as he wanted to leave United to play for Juventus, which he did, before coming “home” for £89m and earning the chance to fulfil his dream. The Mirror says Pogba will cost Barcelona £200m – which would give money-mad United a massive profit on a player who, if style and putting bums on seat, should outlast Mourinho at the club.

In other news, Cristiano Ronaldo is to return to Real Madrid after he’s used up the Touche Eclat at Juventus. “He is one of those that one day will come back,” said Real Madrid president, Florentino Pérez. “I think that he is one of those players who will be in the hearts of the Madrid fans and will be remembered from generation to generation.” But when will return? Who knows but expect lots of stories on ifs and whens.

To finish: Arsenal like the look of Rennes’ 20-year-old Senegal winger Ismaila Sarr, who, says the Mirror, has been “likened” to Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele. In what way the cheap young blade is like the very pricey Barcelona star we’re not told. Maybe he just looks like him and the Arsenal board will sign the lad, print ‘Dembele’ on his shirt.

But the biggest transfer news of all is that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich wants at least £3bn to sell the club, according to Bloomberg.

Abramovich bought Chelsea out of near-bankruptcy in 2003 for £140 million (about $223 million at the time) and has since loaned the club more than £1.1 billion. Until he came along, Chelsea hadn’t won the top domestic trophy, the Premier League title, since 1955. His big spending changed all that and set off a kind of arms race in English football. In some ways, it was similar to the U.S. model: Buy talent, buy titles, and sell merchandise and media rights. But unlike owners of American sports teams, Abramovich didn’t seem bothered by racking up huge losses. (And he didn’t have to contend with caps on spending, until new rules came into force in 2010.) At the Arsenal game, Chelsea supporters taunted their rivals with the chant “We’ve won it all!” to which Arsenal fans sang in response, “You’ve bought it all!”

Chelsea fans still love their high-rolling owner, even as the U.K. government hits back at the Kremlin. Now Abramovich is mulling a sale of Chelsea, frustrated by his British visa problems and concerned about the potential fallout should the U.S. expand sanctions against wealthy Russians and target him. He’s already rejected bids for the club in excess of $2.3 billion—which would be a world-record price for a sports team—according to people familiar with the talks. Earlier this year, Abramovich hired Raine Group LLC, a merchant bank in New York, to advise on the possibility of a full or partial sale of the club. A person familiar with the discussions says Abramovich wants £3 billion. Abramovich’s representatives declined multiple requests for comment for this story and insisted all communication go through his lawyers, who also declined to comment.

If Chelsea is worth that much, imagine what the world’s biggest sports brand, Manchester United, are worth? And then try to work out the motives of the person who’d buy it…

Posted: 26th, September 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment