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Transfer Balls: Manchester United sign Mario Mandzukic and keep Pogba; Liverpool in for Adrian

Manchester United will pay £6.2m-a-year for Mario Mandzukic, 33, says the Mail. Juventus want a fee of £15m for the Croatia international – which may be included in a bigger swap deal involving United’s 26-year-old Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku. Napoli also want the striker. Sources for the Mail’s story: none. It sounds like bunkum. Why would united want the ageing Croat?

Better news for United is that Real Madrid have finally made a decision on Pogba: they don’t want him. Spanish papers say to get the ambulatory marketing machine they would need to sell Bale, James and Mariano. They can’t. Real did offer James plus a lot of cash for Pogba. United rejected the deal. So Real will move for Ajax’s 22-year-old Dutch midfielder Donny van de Beek.

Liverpool are to replace Simon Mingolet with former West Ham goalkeeper Adrian. Mingolet joined Club Bruges for £6m.

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Posted: 5th, August 2019 | In: Liverpool, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer News: Liverpool sign Elliott, Arsenal sell winger, Dybala doesn’t want Spurs move

Liverpool have signed Harvey Elliott from Fulham. He’s 16, wears his hair in a bun and boasts the record of becoming the youngest player to feature in the Premier League when at at the age of 16 years and 30 days old he played against Wolves.

Big clubs are chasing youth.

Xavier Amaechi has left Arsenal for £2.25m. The 18-year-old has joined Hamburg on a four-year contract. The hope is that these young players go on to command very high transfer fees. If Harry Maguire can be worth £80m to Manchester United – the fee his current club Leicester City are asking for the defender – the sky’s the limit.

Manchester United are spending big and have agreed a £65m deal for Sporting Lisbon’s Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes, 24. And money is scheduled to come in: noises from Spain indicate that Real Madrid or Juventus are to offer £150m move for Manchester United and France midfielder Paul Pogba, 26. United also fancy Lyon’s Moussa Dembélé if Romelu Lukaku joins Internazionale and view Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic as replacement for Pogba.

Even Spurs have £80m for Argentina forward Paulo Dybala, 25. But he wants to stay at Juventus.

Posted: 28th, July 2019 | In: Arsenal, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Media bias: Lloris ‘saves’ Spurs as Liverpool strike

Liverpool beat Spurs 2-1 in today’s Premier League match, the winning goal coming in the 90th minute courtesy of a Tottenham player. Lucky? Let’s see what the club’s respective websites say:

Spurs see a “save” from their ‘keeper and a Mo Salah “strike”:

…in the last minute of normal time, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris saved but couldn’t hold Mo Salah’s back-post strike from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross and the ball trickled in off the legs of defender Toby Alderweireld, consigning us to a 2-1 defeat.

Liverpool, on the other hand, see Mo Salah head tamely in the general direction of the Spurs goal and a rubbish bit of goalkeeping:

The contest looked to be heading for stalemate until Hugo Lloris pushed Mohamed Salah’s header against the shins of Toby Alderweireld and over the line to give Liverpool what could prove a crucial victory in the race to be crowned champions.

Adding:

Robertson hoisted a half-cleared corner back into the area, picking out Salah. His header across goal was fumbled by Loris, with the ball edging over the line off the shins of Alderweireld

For reasons of balance, this is how the Guardian saw it: “The more you see the winning goal, the more it looks like a bad mistake by Hugo Lloris, who should have caught Salah’s header. Instead he dropped it onto Alderweireld’s shin and it rebounded into the net.”

And the BBC: “Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris failed to hold Mohamed Salah’s routine far-post header and the ball ricocheted into the net off Alderweireld.” But to Spurs fans it was a Lloris “save”.

Posted: 31st, March 2019 | In: Liverpool, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Spurs and Liverpool fans: Klopp, Pochettino and Mourinho ‘almost 100%’ certain to get Real Madrid job

Mourinho madrid

The BBC says former Chelsea and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is “almost 100% certain” to rejoin Real Madrid this summer. In 2013, Mourinho left Real to return to Chelsea. The Daily Telegraph agrees that the Portugueses is heading to Spain. But neither broadcaster nor newspaper can cite a source for their story. The roots of the story are unnamed “sources”.

Mourinho is currently taking time out from coaching to work on his insults having been sacked by United and replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjær. He’s looking for work. And his agent could use a few quid. Maybe the ‘sources’ are pretty close to the subject?

Mourinho Klopp Madrid
Klopp liverpool madrid

And then talkSport pops up to say “Jurgen Klopp is reportedly Real Madrid’s No.1 target”. Reported by whom? talkSport links to the Independent. It declares: “Next Real Madrid manager: Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp made No 1 target in wake of Champions League exit.” The website cites not a single source for its news, only that:

Jose Mourinho has not been completely ruled out, and still has a good relationship with president Florentino Perez and director general Jose Angel Sanchez, but there is a view at the top level of the club that the Portuguese is “finished”.

The Sun

Whatever the facts, Klopp or Mourinho to Real is good news for Spurs fans because back in June, Mauricio Pochettino suggested that “when Real Madrid call you, you have to listen”. He later responded to interest from Spain: “It is like you are with your wife and you are holding hands, walking down the street,” he told the Guardian. But because you are so handsome, another woman is looking at you. But your wife is so proud and, rather than worrying, she is so happy to be with you and falls more in love with you.”

The Argentine earns £8.2m a year at Spurs. He’d earn a lot more at Madrid and maybe even win something. “Jorge Griffa [his former coach] told me once that I have to let football take me wherever,” Poch opined “to not get bogged down in trying to change my own destiny.”

Clear as mud, then. And the media hasn’t a clue. So they’re guessing. Which can men only one thing: Unai Emery to Madrid.

Posted: 7th, March 2019 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Maxi Gomes to Liverpool; agent Luis Suarez on the phone; Timo Werner waits

Liverpool are willing to spend £35m on Celta Vigo and Uruguay striker Maxi Gomez. The BBC says Liverpool will spend all that money after the club’s former player Luis Suarez recommended his compatriot. And what better pat-time job for ‘Honest Luis’ Suarez than being a respectful football agent? You can imagine how his first foray into recruitment went down:

A phone rings at Fenway Sports Group.

Luis Suarez: “It’s me…” Receptionist: “Fernando!” LS: “No. It’s me Luis.. Luis Suarez.” R: “Who?” LS: “The guy who nearly won you the title…” R: “Oh, the biter. The guy who hand-balled at the World Cup, admitted to diving and called…? LS: “Yes. Tell Mr Henry to buy my friend Maxi Gomez.” R: “OK. Will do!”

The Sun says Chelsea also want Gomez – a player who back in January was said to be on his way to West Ham. The Guardian reported that the Hammers were prepared to trigger the striker’s £43.5m release clause.

If not Gomez, then Liverpool will move for RB Leipzig and Germany striker Timo Werner, 22. Luis Suarez’s views on him are not revealed. But the Liverpool board will be doubtless hoping for his call.

Posted: 4th, March 2019 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Liverpool: Robben’s miss; Garcia’s ghost goal; the Anfield roar

Ahead of Bayern Munich’s Champions League tie with Liverpool, the German’s club’s Arjen Robben is talking to the Sunday Times.

“If you ask the worst stadium for me, it’s probably Liverpool,” says Robben. “You always have your favourite opponent and there always has to be a negative one. There is only one [exception],” Robben says, his eyes widening: “Anfield.”

Anfield is where the diving Dutchman’s Real Madrid side lost 4-0. It’s where he lost two Champions League semi-finals with Chelsea. In one, Robben missed the first penalty in a shoot-out. In another, Chelsea were undone by a goal that wasn’t, the col-called ‘ghost goal’.

“The atmosphere at Anfield is probably one of the best you can imagine in Europe,” he adds. “It’s always like a big boost to them [Liverpool]. But we’re used to playing in big stadiums, so we just have to focus on ourselves.” about the little details.”

He calls Liverpool a cup-fighting team. And they’re a lucky one.

Luis García is still asked about the “ghost goal” and José Mourinho is still moaning about it. The Spaniard’s fourth-minute finish for Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League semi-final second leg against Chelsea was the strike that took Rafael Benítez’s team to Istanbul, where they came back from a 3-0 half-time deficit against Milan to be crowned European champions.

It didn’t go in, right? But that comeback in the final was worth the referee’s error…

Posted: 17th, February 2019 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Liverpool balls: Mane offside for ‘lovely goal’; Howe wants VAR; Bournemouth and West Ham robbed

Liverpool

Sadio Mane was “offside” (BBC) when he opened the scoring in Liverpool’s 3-0 win at Bournemouth. Mane has scored in four successive Premier League games for the first time in his career. The first goal should not have stood. What says the media – is it biased?

The AFC Bournemouth website says, “the Senegalese frontman was offside as James Milner’s delivery was swung into the box”. Bournemouth manger Eddie Howe added: “VAR will help us in those situations, I think that will benefit everybody, it was tight but offside was the right decision.”

The Liverpool FC website makes no mention of VAR, noting, “Sadio Mane set them on their way to victory with a header midway through the first half.” The offside goal was not one of the site’s ‘Talking Points”. This is how the LFC liveblog saw the goal:

GOALLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!! MANE!!!
Breakthrough for Liverpool and yet again it’s Mane.
The Senegal international meets Milner’s delivery from the right with a firm downward header beyond Boruc. A lovely goal.
Get in!
Liverpool 1-0 Bournemouth

Offside! Not on Liverpool where it was a “lovely goal”. Liverpool scored their first goal during a 1-1 draw at West Ham from a blatant offside position. The LFC website reported that egregious error thus: “Sadio Mane’s swift spin and finish put the away team ahead midway through the first half at the London Stadium.”

Lallana’s immaculate control and quick feet on the right touchline freed Milner to roll a pass to the front post and Mane. The No.10 artfully rolled around Issa Diop and planted a confident left-foot finish beyond Lukasz Fabianski.

Or as the official West Ham United site put it:

West Ham looked to have valid protests that Milner was in an offside position, but the linesman’s flag stayed down.

They say luck and bad decisions even out over a season. Liverpool will be hoping that’s not the case. If it is, they’re in big trouble.

Posted: 9th, February 2019 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Liverpool move for Chelsea winger Hudson-Odoi

The less he plays the better he gets. News is that Liverpool have joined Bayern Munich in the chase for Chelsea and England youth winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, 18.

Bild says Hudson-Odoi’s brother and advisor has met with Liverpool representatives. The club’s manager, Jürgen Klopp, likes the player whose Chelsea contract expires in 2020. The German paper adds that Chelsea are moving heaven and earth to keep their man, offering him more money and playing him for a whole ten minutes as they went down 2-0 at Arsenal. It might not be enough.

Having introduced a player apparently worth over £30m to Chelsea fans in dribs and drabs, the Blues are keen to insert a buy-back clause in any deal. Chelsea want to avoid making the kind of mistakes that saw them miss out on Romelu Lukaku when their former striker joined Manchester United. Although how big of a miss that was is debatable.


Posted: 24th, January 2019 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Liverpool £61m for Felix; Martial stays at Manchester United; Everton in for Chelsea striker; Higuain jets in for Spurs

Arsenal Emery newspapers

A round-up of today’s transfer rumours and other fluff and nonsense in the Press. Let’s kick off with Liverpool, who’ve bid £61m bid for Portugal Under-21 attacking midfielder Joao Felix, 19. Correio da Manha says Benfica, his current club, think the teenager is worth more. Someone arguably worth less is Philippe Coutinho. The Liverpool Echo in a no-news special says Liverpool won’t be resigning the Brazil midfielder, 26, they flogged to Barcelona for a whopping £142m just 12 months ago. Many other clubs also won’t be buying Coutinho.

One player who could be finally on his way to the Premier League is Juventus and Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain. Chelsea want to sign the 31-year-old before week’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Tottenham, says the Sun. That’s the same paper that told us Higuain played for Arsenal. That story remains live on the paper’s website. Chelsea fans shouldn’t buy those Higuain replica shirts just yet.

higuain-arsenal the sun transfer
qhen

In the sunny uplands of Manchester United, Anthony Martial, 23, is all set to agreeing a new five-year contract, says Sky Sports. And Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (aka Fergie Mark 2) wants to leave his rooms at the Lowry Hotel in Salford and find a permanent address in Manchester.

Everton have £40m for Chelsea and Belgium forward Michy Batshuayi. Everton are determined to catch the so-called Big 6. That means gaining ground on Arsenal, a club seemingly determined to return to a state of mid-80s torpor. News is that James Rodriguez, 27, will remain at Bayern Munich for the rest of season. The Express says Arsenal have as much chance of signing him as they have of keeping a clean sheet.

And finally Barcelona have had enough fo Malcom, 21. ESPN says that any club offering the £35.2m they paid Bordeaux for the player last July can have him. Spurs are interested.

Posted: 19th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer Balls: Liverpool old boy Coutinho to Manchester United and maybe Man City

The Manchester Evening News rivals the Daily Express for Transfer Balls – that strain of football reporting that treats readers as mugs. The latest tosh is that former Liverpool players Phillipe Coutinho will leave Barcelona for Manchester United. This would be quite some transfer given that Coutinho played for United’s rivals and became the world’s this most expensive player when he moved to Barcelona in 2018 for £106m. But news and no news is coming thick and thicker in the MEN:

“Manchester United ‘open talks’ to sign former Liverpool FC midfielder Philippe Coutinho and more transfer rumours” – January 7, 11.20am.

“Manchester United fans are saying the same thing about Philippe Coutinho transfer rumour” – January 7, 14.17pm.

“Why Manchester United won’t move for Philippe Coutinho in the January transfer window” – January 8, 5am.

“Manchester United favourites to sign Philippe Coutinho in the January transfer window” – January 8, 11.21am.

“Philippe Coutinho, Toby Alderweireld and the 30 players bookies are linking with a transfer move to Manchester United” – January 9, 6:30pm

Manchester United transfers

Any Manchester United fans dreaming or dreading Coutinho joining the club can read another story by Aidan McCartney. This one was also published on Jan 9:

Manchester City

The choices cut of the tosh linking Coutinho to Manchester City being: “Pep Guardiola’s side have been handed odds on signing some of the biggest names in world football.” Pep had no idea which players he was going to sign until Paddy Power and the mugs who make them rich told him.

Posted: 9th, January 2019 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Liverpool balls: Virgil Van Dijk kills the Reds

Football journalism is a tricky affair. The need to create sensation from dust is testing. Before Manchester City and Liverpool’s big Premier League title decider last night (there are 18 games to go! – ed), the Sun’s Neil Ashton told us that Liverpool are on the up: “Recent history is with them. The night they shook the Kop in last season’s Champions League quarter-final and the stirring 2-1 victory at the Etihad in the return leg are in their favour.” Indeed. And last night Liverpool could easily have drawn a tight encounter that ended 2-1 in the host’s favour. Ashton continues: “The 5-0, when City ripped apart Liverpool’s defence in September 2017, is a distant memory. Notably, that scoreline was also prior to the arrival of the Dutch colossus, Virgil van Dijk.”

Van Dijk has been terrific. But you’d expect little less from the world’s costliest defender. “At £75million, Van Dijk is starting to feel like a snip,” says Ashton. Or as he put it previously:

 

liverpool

 

Ashton told us: “…the Reds blew their brains out to sign the Dutchman.” It was suicide. No worries, though – Liverpool fans don’t read the Sun.

 

Posted: 4th, January 2019 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Manchester City, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Liverpool cheat against Bournemouth – and we love it

More on how football is all better for the mistakes and the cheating. Liverpool scored the opening goal of their match at Bournemouth – but goalscorer Mo Salah was offside. Sure he “reacted first” as the Liverpool twitter line says, but he had the extra yard on the Bournemouth defence because he was offside.There will be calls for VAR – but they should be ignored. It’s not a computer game organised by maths.

 

 

What says Bournemouth manger Eddie Howe? “many complaints. He [Mo Salah] was offside [for the first goal]. It has a huge bearing on the match. We were fine until that moment. It changes the game.”

And the Liverpool twitter page says…

 


 
Words on his being offside: nil. Mistakes and cheating are never a problem when you’re the beneficiary. And because we all like the emotion and the theatre, we all win. Don’t let VAR spoil football. It’s not a leisure activity not risk analysis.

Posted: 8th, December 2018 | In: Liverpool, Sports | 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


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


Liverpool Balls: Salah to Barcelona for €100m and some loose change

If the absurd, greedy, money-soaked world of football, Liverpool and Barcelona have struck a bizarre deal: the Spaniards must pay a 100m euro (£89m) surcharge on top of any transfer fee if they want to sign a Liverpool player before 2020. The BBC says the deal was agreed when Barcelona signed Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho for £142m in January.

The Times says the extra charge was brokered by Liverpool’s sporting director Michael Edwards. And you wonder what the point of it is? Did Barcelona agree to the deal because they don’t want any of the current Liverpool side? Or is it to ensure that if the Spaniards go for, say, Mo Salah, they must pay at least €100m plus 1 euro – an echo of the £40m plus £1 Arsenal bid for Liverpool’s Luis Suarez before he also joined Barcelona for £75m? 

If for some reason this deal works, will other clubs follow suit? Perhaps Southampton, Liverpool’s feeder club, can slap a £100m surcharge on any sales to the Reds? It’s all such such huge sums of money that you wonder where it’s all heading and if the fans will tire of watching their money making the very rich ever richer?

 

Posted: 21st, November 2018 | In: Liverpool, 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


Liverpool teach Manchester City’s Sterling the correct way to cheat

When Raheem Sterling was awarded a penalty for falling over in the box during Manchester City’s 6-0 hammering of Shakhtar it was clear to everyone but the referee the wrong decision had been made. Sterling never thought to tell the referee he’d got it wrong. He never offered to take the penalty and deliberately miss. Sportsmanship was not the winner. But if Sterling’s looking for ways to improve his conduct, the former Liverpool player can read the Liverpool Echo’s story headline: “Raheem Sterling Man City penalty row – and the Liverpool example he SHOULD have followed.”

Which Liverpool example is that, then? This one?

 

 

This one?

 

This one?

 

 

This one?

 

 

No. It’s this one – when Robbie Fowler went to ground easily at Arsenal:

 

Fowler and Liverpool celebrated the egregious refereeing error by scoring the penalty and celebrating wildly. If only Sterling had stayed at Liverpool he could have learned what you “should” do when a penalty is awarded wrongly. But he plays in Manchester, having left Liverpool to earn more money and win trophies, so he’s a cheating sod.

And sometimes you get away with it:

Posted: 9th, November 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Liverpool, Manchester City, Sports | 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


BBC trolls Everton fans over donation to Liverpool fan Sean Cox

seamus coleman

 

Clickbait Balls courtesy of the BBC, which spots Everton player Seamus Coleman contributing to the fund set up to help Sean Cox, the Liverpool fan set upon by Roma fans before a Champions League match. The BBC says Coleman is “worried Everton fans would question him for donating money to Liverpool fan Sean Cox.” Sheesh! Coleman must think Everton fans are real numbskulls. Are they so loyal to Everton that they’ll condemn a player for helping a fellow countryman – both Coleman and cox are Irish.

Clicking on the link we’re told:

Everton defender Seamus Coleman worried fans would question him for making a donation to help an injured fan of city rivals Liverpool.

Maybe rabid Liverpool fans don’t want his money? Or maybe the BBC’s heading is total clickbait balls:

“You think ‘Do you put your name towards it or not?'” Coleman said. “You might get people saying ‘he might have put more money in’ or whatever,” he added… “I wanted to put my name to it because sometimes that raises more publicity. That’s what the Liverpool manager did.”

Mentions of Everton fans? Nil.

 

More BBC clickbait soon…

Posted: 7th, November 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment


Everton and Liverpool United for Sean Cox

cox liverpool roma

Sean Cox

 

Nice one, Everton defender Seamus Coleman. He’s donated €5,000 (£4,300) donation to Sean Cox, his fellow Irishman. Mr Cox was attacked by Roma supporters before their Champions League semi-final against Liverpool at Anfield in April. Says Coleman:

“We have to be together. I think football is great for sticking together. Rivalries go out the window with stuff like that; you don’t see a crest or a jersey, you see a man who came to support his team and unfortunately it didn’t end too well for him that night.

“Thankfully there is a fundraising page and I don’t know the ins and outs of how he is but hopefully they can raise some money for him.

“I saw on social media the Liverpool manager had donated some money and saw there was a link to a GoFundMe page. I wanted to put my name to it because sometimes that raises more publicity. That’s what the Liverpool manager did.

“You think ‘Do you put your name towards it or not?’ because you might get people saying ‘He might have put more money in’ or whatever.

“It’s not about Liverpool and Everton, this is about a man who unfortunately was part of something he did not intend to be. I’ve had people in the street, Liverpool fans, stop me and say ‘Thanks very much’.”

You can go here to donate to Sean Cox.

Posted: 6th, November 2018 | In: Liverpool, Money, News, Sports | Comment


Liverpool: Gonk denies Mo Salah statue looks like her

salah statue

Mo Salah: football’s ‘Leo Sayer’

 

Egyptian sculptor Mia Abdel Allah’s work is the subject of much appraisal after her statue of Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah was unveiled in the Liverpool player’s home country. On view in Sharm el-Sheikh, the statue is part gonk part Leo Sayer – and yes, they are not one and the same.

 

 

Abdel Allah says she found the pose “distinguished and executable”, according to the Egyptian Independent.

 

Mo Salah statue

Mo Salah

 

 

Distinguished? Maybe. Executable? Off with his head!

Posted: 5th, November 2018 | In: Key Posts, Liverpool, Sports | Comment