Manchester City football club news, Manchester City transfers, Premier League
Iain S.P. Reid’s brilliant photographs of football fans in Manchester in the late 1970s are being shared. People are coming forward to say ‘That’s me in the picture’. And that’s great. A book of Iain’s pictures will feature your names and your stories. So please spread the word. We really want to hear if you or someone you know is in Iain’s pictures of Manchester United and Manchester City fans enjoying the carnival of match day.
As part of the project we’ve also got prints of many of the photos at the Flashbak Art Prints Shop.
See lots more of Ian’s photos on Facebook.
The Dutch have cancelled their domestic football season. And it’s bad news for Liverpool and very good news for Norwich and other teams facing relegation from the Premier League. There will no champion of the Eredivisie, the Netherlands’ top league. There will be no relegations. One option was to take an average of points scored so far and add them to games still to play. But that would have made no difference to the teams qualifying for the Champions League and Europa league, respectively. In the Premier League, it would – and it means Arsenal (currently in 9th spot) qualifying for the Europa League ahead of Spurs (8th).
Manchester City’s (2nd) ban from the European competition means Manchester United (5th) take their place in the Champions League, where they will be in the mix with Leicester City (3rd) and Chelsea (4th).
It is the most likely scenario. Already all football in England below the three divisions that make up the National League has ended and all results expunged.
It’s time for the upper tiers to follow suit and present a clear path ahead. The Dutch have set the agenda – and it’s the right one.
“I want to take this opportunity to issue a public apology for the choices I made last week,” says Manchester City and England footballer Kyle Walker. “I understand that my position as a professional footballer brings the responsibility of being a role model.” No, Kyle, it really doesn’t. Your responsibility is to your employer and maybe your children, more of whom later.
Walker guffed out that apology after the Sun reported he’d allegedly hired two prostitutes to service him and a pal in his rented home a day before telling others how to fight the coronavirus. “Stay indoors, keep washing your hands, keep following the protocols and just protect the NHS,” said Walker. “It’s been tough, but first and foremost, we have to think about other people’s health and protecting the elderly and family members that can spread it.”
If Kyle is the role model he claims to be, right now thousands of his fans are pulling on gold-coloured Shine condoms and paying £2,200 in cash for on-the-clock sex with “classy” escort Louise McNamara, 21, and “a 24-year-old Brazilian call girl”. Although prices for both might have increased now they have scored a celebrity endorsement, men who wash their hands like Kyle and look to him for moral and medical guidance will be cracking open their piggybanks and gilding their knobs. Says Louise: “I didn’t know who he was at the time. But I took a few photos of him.” Thoughtfully, she shares them in the Sun.
Other things you can do to be like “role model” Kyle Walker, are, as the Sun also reports, to “split from long-term girlfriend Annie Kilner” after getting “model Lauryn Goodman pregnant”. Kyle is father to Annie’s three sons. He’s their role model.
Now that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for coronavirus, surely the football season is over. Arsenal have closed their training ground and Arteta and all members of the first team squad have gone into isolation. Chances are that Arteta caught the virus when Arsenal played Olympiakos two weeks ago – Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis, who has coronavirus, met a number of Arsenal players and staff after the match. Since then Arsenal have played West Ham and Portsmouth. What price their staff have also contacted the illness? On top of that, Leicester City players have gone into isolation, Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy is self-isolating as a precaution after a member of his family was admitted to hospital displaying symptoms of coronavirus and Arsenal’s training ground is adjacent to Watford’s practice pitches. And what of all the media who cover the matches, attend press conferences and post-match interviews? The Premier League season must be cancelled. Hard luck on Liverpool, who lead the table, and sides vying for promotion in the Championship, but needs must.
Manchester United and Spurs fans excited by news that injury-prone, 33-year-old Edinson Cavani is thinking go leaving Paris St Germain before his contract runs out in the summer can know that he’s already signed for any number of clubs over the past few seasons. According to media, the striker has agreed to join or has been linked with the following:
Atletico Madrid – Cavani agree three-year deal – Daily Mail, December 2019 (also Daily Star, 90 Minutes)
Inter Milan – Cavani agrees three-year-deal – Sports Mole, August 2019
Chelsea – “Edinson Cavani to Chelsea latest” – Football London, January 19, 2020
Arsenal & Manchester United – “Arsenal and Man Utd submit offers to sign Edinson Cavani” – The Metro, January 2020
Barcelona – “Barcelona are looking at the free agent market with PSG’s Edinson Cavani joining Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham players on their transfer radar” – Daily Express, December 2019
Juventus – “GLASS OF CAVA Cavani lined up for stunning Juventus free” – The Sun, October 2019
Manchester City – “PSG star Edinson Cavani wants to join Manchester City” – Daily Mail, October 2017
Manchester United, Juventus, Real Madrid – “Edinson Cavani may join Manchester United, Juventus or Real Madrid as PSG give up on him” – Daily Mail, February 2016
Such are the facts…
Congratulations to Chelsea on being the beneficiaries of the FA’s decision to ban Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva from playing when the club’s next meet on November 23. For a joke in tweet form aimed at teammate Benjamin Mendy, who found it funny, Silva will also give the FA £50,000 and attend a retraining course.
Silva compared Mendy, with whom he also played at Monaco, to the character on a packet of Conguitos – a chocolate brand available in Spain and Portugal. Silva removed the post within an hour of its publication before tweeting: “Can’t even joke with a friend these days.”
The FA was aghast. “Many persons would have taken offence to the content,” it ruled. “The player did not himself intend the post to be insulting or in any way racist. It is clear that the tweet was intended to be no more than a joke between close friends. However, this was not a private communication between two friends. The post was on a social media platform exposed to the 600,000 followers of a high-profile and well-respected professional footballer. Many persons viewing the imagery depicted in the tweet would have taken offence to the content as being insulting by reference to race, colour and ethnic origin in a way that unquestionably brings the game of football into disrepute.”
In this frenzied climate of offence seeking, context matter not a jot. In this frenzied climate of offence seeking, context matter not a jot. When did Silva become a role model for the rest of us and football get recast from a pleasant leisure activity into the sports wing of The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Bad Thoughts? Why do the great and good think we need re-educating?
PS: Number of black men on the FA management committee, managing clubs in the Premier League, hosting live matches on the telly, and editing sports pages for national newspapers: nil.
The BBC’s report on the FA Cup final hype between Manchester City and Watford at Wembley makes for odd reading. The BBC’s voracious website tells us that City’s England striker Raheem Sterling scored a hat trick and didn’t score a hat-trick. Phil McNulty was there:
Raheem Sterling scored the first FA Cup final hat-trick since 1953 as Manchester City rounded off an outstanding season by crushing Watford at Wembley to clinch a historic domestic treble.
Two goals is not a hat-trick. Three is.
City’s second goal in the 38th minute was scored by Gabriel Jesus. The Football Association says Sterling is NOT the first scorer of an FA Cup final hat-trick since 1953. He did, however, make sure Gabriel Jesus’s strike hit the net.
And before Sterling is hammered in the Press:
Raheem never did claim the second goal. He was just joyously ramming it home. He responded to media chat about his hat-trick: ‘You’re bantering me. That’s sh*t from me then… poor from me! I didn’t mean to do it. I’m sorry.” He did not “steal” a goal.
In a tribute to Jadon Sancho, the England and Borussia Dortmund winger, the Sun’s Martin Blackburn says Raheem Sterling might be “something of a role model” to the tyro. Writing in the Times, Henry Winter calls Sterling “a role model in a divided land crying out for them”. Watford’s Troy Deeney has no truck with footballers being pitched as role models to strangers, arguing that he’s a role model only to his kids. But this isn’t about Sterling’s talents, which are considerable, but how the press portrays him. And the Sun has changed tact.
Winter has called out the media’s bias towards Sterling, an intelligent, driven young black athlete on the receiving end of some monocular reporting. And the Sun has been accused of treating Sterling unfairly.
Today the BBC reports the words of Spurs and England full-back Danny Rose, who says players were “over the moon” to see Raheem Sterling criticise the media’s portrayal of black players and says the winger was “spot on”. Sterling opined that newspapers helped “fuel racism” by the way they portray young black footballers.
“Raheem was only saying what we all say in the dressing room,” said Rose, 28.”It’s sad really but he’s 100% spot on with what he said… The stick he used to get from the media was bang out of order. When he put the [Instagram] post up about the media we were all over the moon with that because we all agree. Fair play to Raheem… One of the few positive things about social media now is you have a voice and you can influence people. Now it’s not just boys in the dressing room talking about the media targeting Raheem, the general public have now seen it. We hope it changes but it doesn’t affect Raheem in any way, which we are all grateful for.”
I’ve no interest in a footballer being a role model. I just want them to be brilliant and give their all when playing for my team and rubbish in a rival club’s shirt. Does what Wayne Rooney or Raheem Sterling do in their downtime fill a gap in your parenting skills? Simon Barnes summed it up well in The Times: “Football itself is neither disgusting nor admirable. It’s just a game, it doesn’t have any pretensions to be a moral force, for good or evil. That’s not its job.” Stop holding footballers up as an example to the slack-jawed masses, and stop making examples of them.
Next week: why aren’t MPs role models?
Former Manchester City youth coach Barry Bennell abused children at the club and at Crewe Alexandra between 1979 and 1990. He is serving a 31-year prison sentence.
To date, City are aware of 40 men who could take up the club’s decision to offer them compensation and a face-to-face apology.
But how much cash is enough? City say any claims will be dealt with within seven weeks. That’s faster than the civil courts. And how would City defend the indefensible?
The BBC says there are also allegations against a second man from the club’s youth set-up in the 1960s – John Broome. He was involved at City from 1964-71. He’s dead. He’s accused of raping children.
Gary Cliffe, one of Bennell’s victims, goes on the record: “They [City] let us down, they didn’t challenge him. They knew who he was and they allowed it to continue because he was producing results.”
How much is the right amount of compensation for being raped and abused as a child? And should the payment be linked to the club’s extraordinary wealth? The BBC says victim can apply for general damages, “potential loss of earnings if their careers have been affected, therapy fees and legal costs. The list had me up to “if”. Everything is affected. No ifs. No buts.
The talk if of six-figure sums. Enough? The Guardian:
…Bennell, who was convicted last year of 50 specimen charges relating to 12 boys, aged eight to 14, from 1979-91, and has been described by the police as one of the worst paedophiles in UK criminal history, numbers-wise, with potentially hundreds of victims – in one case, even taking one of City’s youngsters on to the pitch at Maine Road, the club’s former ground, to abuse him behind the goal…
Police documents from the 1990s question City’s stance during the criminal investigation, with one detective suggesting the club’s priority was to avoid damaging publicity. The now-deceased Len Davies, a scout who worked alongside Bennell, admitted that one of England’s major football clubs was “beguiled and hoodwinked” by the man, now 65, who liked to be known as “the star-maker.”
Of course that was then. Nothing of the sort happens now, does it?
Watching Chelsea implode is giving genuine pleasure to millions of football fans. The club a Russian oligarch bought and then used to buy all the cups is facing a transfer ban for breaking FIFA rules. Chelsea is managed by an ex-banker who has never won anything. They are blessed with the world’s costliest goalkeeper, one Kepa Arrizabalaga, who in the Carabao Cup final, which Chelsea lost, refused to be substituted.
A club owned by a man who gets good press in Pravda responds on Twitter in the manner of the Russian State’s PR office. Chelsea tweets: “Maurizio Sarri says the Kepa substitution confusion was ‘a big misunderstanding‘ because he thought the player had cramp. However he says Kepa was right that he could continue although the way he went about it was wrong. Sarri says he needs to talk to Kepa now.”
And: “Sarri says the players played exactly the game he prepared, so he is in full control of the situation. He adds that today we decided not to press high in every situation, and we conceded nothing to the best team in Europe.”
Nothing to see here. Move along:
Here’s that controlled misunderstanding in full:
What says the Chelsea website? This:
There was high drama at the end when the substitution board went up to replace Kepa Arrizabalaga, who was back from injury and had needed treatment on the pitch, with Willy Caballero. It was shaping up to be a penalty shoot-out against Caballero’s former club but Kepa appeared to go against his manager’s wishes [that would be when he yelled ‘NO!’ at Sarri and refused to leave the pitch] and stayed on. He ultimately saved one of the penalties, but it was not enough…
Caballero stripped and the numbers were shown for the change, but Kepa was convinced he could continue and did so. Maurizio Sarri looked furious.
And the Manchester City website?
It felt like the last chance to win the game had passed – though it wasn’t the last talking point as Chelsea keeper Kepa refused to be subbed with cramp as Willy Caballero waited to replace him. Given Willy’s penalty saving record, City fans weren’t too disappointed he didn’t come on!
And what says Raheem Sterling, a player allegedly racially abused by Chelsea fans? He rather enjoyed it:
Chelsea are in the mire. Manchester City are buoyant.
There will be singing of only acceptable chants at the football. The Premier League is no place for spontaneity. Goals will reviewed by a panel in a studio before being awarded. Soccer will be part of the “football family” to be played the world over, including in Qatar. Songs will be policed. The PA will be taken from this place and… Man City have formally apologised to Chelsea for blasting out One Step Beyond by Madness – which is, it says here, ‘Chelsea’s victory song’ – over the public address system at the Etihad after dishing out a 6-0 thrashing.
According to the Evening Standard, “senior City officials” ordered the song be cut short and offered their immediate apologies to their Chelsea counterparts for “what could be interpreted as an act of gloating”.
If you can’t gloat after annihilating a rival team and petro-chemical dynasty’s vanity project in an enjoyable and distracting leisure pursuit, when can you gloat? As they say in the City boardroom: don’t mention the score!
Stan Collymore’s Daily Mirror column continues to demand that we light the torches and march on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Trouble is that the glare from those burning fires has blinded Collymore to facts and the tiniest muon of circumspection and reason. Compare and contrast what the former Liverpool striker said about Mauricio Pochettino and then about Guardiola.
Collymore on Pochettino’s desperate statement that finishing in the Premier League’s top four is better than winning any cup:
One of the greatest managers in recent history who we’ve given a lot of stick to was Jose Mourinho. At Chelsea, what did he target? The League Cup. Coming so early in the season it is a trophy that can get you off and running…
Managers, said Collymore, should be chasing “every single trophy”. Because they all matter. Unless you’re Pep Guardiola.
Here’s Collymore on Pep being unsuccessful by, er, winning a cup:
The one thing the Premier League will do is test every single thing about you. If you don’t believe me, look at Pep Guardiola. Recognised as one of the top three or four managers in the world over the last decade, he could go into this fourth season at Manchester City having won one English title and no Champions Leagues. And that’s with the biggest budget in English football.
Guardiola joined Manchester City at the start of the 2016-2017 season. He’s in his third full season at the club. Guardiola finished his first season at City with no trophies – the only time he’s finished a season without a trophy. The next season – 2017-18 – City beat Arsenal 0–3 to win the Carabao Cup. They won the Premier League with a record-breaking 100 points. Right now City are top of the PL table, still in the Champions League and FA Cup, and will contest the Carabao Cup final with Chelsea. And they play some fabulous football.
Collymore thinks the Carabao Cup doesn’t matter when Guadiola wins it and matters greatly when Pochettino doesn’t? Can the Mirror get this man a sub-editor?
Handball it was, then. The third goal scored by Sergio Aguero as his Manchester City beat Arsenal 3-1 in the Premier League went in off his forearm. The ball was travelling away from the Arsenal goal when Aguero tapped it in with his arm. What say the players and clubs?
Sergio Aguero: “I thought it came off my chest but now I see on TV it was handball.” Hats off to Aguero for that utter twaddle.
The Sun: “The ball was diverted into the net by Aguero’s elbow”.
Arsenal FC: “Sterling beats his marker and crosses to Aguero, who looks to have scored with his arm… Despite our protests, the goal stands.”
Manchester City FC: “Sterling ran into the box and with no challenge, continued on before sliding another fine cross into the middle that Leno pushed onto the upper half of the sliding-in Aguero’s body and the ball trickled over the line.”
Ha. The upper half of his body – you know, where your arms and hands are. Or what Aguero calls “my chest”.
The City website adds: “It was a bizarre way to complete yet another Aguero hat-trick, but nobody was complaining!”
Well, aside from the Arsenal players and fans who had seen their team cheated, no-one was complaining at all.
The story of Gonzalo Higuain’s transfer to Arsenal as told by the Sun continues to top our list of Transfer Balls, our look at dire reporting presented as fact. But coming up hard on the rails is the tabloid story of Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong’s move to Manchester City. The player has just singed a five-year contract with Barcelona, which should be a shock to any fans who get their news in the Sun, the Daily Mirror and the BBC:
The 21-year-old Holland international was interesting Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. But yesterday Barcelona’s Twitter account oozed: “A new artist is coming next summer.” The fee: €75m.
“With the arrival of Frenkie De Jong we add talent, youth and Barça style [aka Akax redux] to our sporting project,” said the club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu. “We are convinced that he will be a key part of our team for years to come.” Comment from Manchester City comes there none.
To say that the Daily Mirror’s transfer reporting on Manchester City’s pursuit of Ajax’s Netherlands midfielder Frenkie De Jong is sourced at bullshit.com is to give it too much credit. Today’s news in the “intelligent tabloid” is that the 21-year-old dreams of playing for Pep Guardiola. So City it is. But Frenkie’s a pragmatic sort so he’s willing to join PSG because they’re the only club willing to meet Ajax’s £66m asking price.
This would all be less interesting were it not for the fact that the Mirror has previously told us De Jong agreed to joined City for £61m:
In other Manchester City transfer balls, AS says Pep likes Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen, although Real Madrid remain favourites to sign the 26-year-old. City also like Crystal Palsce’s 21-year-old right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka. And a deal has been agreed to recruit Hajduk Split’s Ante Palaversa for an initial £7m.
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
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:
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.
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:
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.
You do what you can to upset the opposition, right? Raheem Sterling was collecting a ball at Stamford Bridge when a group of Chelsea fans of a type that used to constitute a large chunk of the club’s fans before Roman’s billions bought success shouted at him. What was said is the subject of much heated debate. According to the Daily Mail, one of the fans opined: “I’m deeply ashamed by my own behaviour and I feel really bad. But I didn’t call him a black cunt, I called him a Manc cunt. I’ve been going to Chelsea for 50 years now and, because of where I sit, I’m picked up on the camera most weeks. If I had a history of saying this sort of thing I would’ve been caught by now.”
Police are investigating. No arrests have been made. Chelsea have suspended four people from attending their matches, pending further investigations into allegations of racial abuse directed at the London-raised England player.
The fan adds: “I offer him an unreserved apology. Even if it wasn’t racist, it’s not right what I said.” You can argue amongst yourselves if this Chelsea fan is deserving of an epithet before expressing in four-letters what he might or might not be.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan police adds: “Officers continue to review footage and CCTV to determine whether any offences have been committed. Officers are in possession of the details of those reportedly involved – there have been no arrests at this time. The Met continues to work with both clubs and a number of inquiries are ongoing.”
Why don’t they just ask Raheem Sterling what he heard?
PS: More on Chelsea and what they did and didn’t say, here.
England and Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling says media bias does “fuel racism”. Sterling was allegedly racially abused by Chelsea fans at the weekend. We’ve long pointed out how ‘Obscene Raheem” (source: The Sun) is treated differently in the media to other players – also here, here and here. And it appears Sterling has noticed. “I just want to say, I am not normally the person to talk a lot but when I think I need my point heard I will speak up,” he posted on his Instagram page. “Regarding what was said at the Chelsea game, as you can see by my reaction I just had to laugh because I don’t expect no better.”
Sterling invited us to compare and contrast two Mail articles. One shows Tosin Adarabioyo under the headline: ‘Young Manchester City footballer, 20, on £25,000 a week splashes out on mansion on market for £2.25m despite having never started a Premier League match’; the other shows another City teenage midfielder, Phil Foden, and the headline “Foden buys new £2m home for his mum.” Tosin is black. Phil is white. Tosin is a lucky swine. Phil is a loving son.
“You have two young players starting out their careers – both play for the same team, both have done the right thing, which is buy a new house for their mothers who have put in a lot of time and love into helping them get where they are,” wrote Sterling. “But look at how the newspapers get their message across for the young black player and then for the young white player. I think this is unacceptable, both innocent, have not done a thing wrong but just by the way it has been worded.
“The young black kid is looked at in a bad light. Which helps fuel racism an[d] aggressive behaviour. So for all the newspapers that don’t understand why people are racist in this day and age all I have to say is have a second thought about fair publicity an[d] give all players an equal chance.”
Is Raheem Sterling black? Let’s see some other Raheem news:
Here’s more on Foden and the new home he bought this mum and dad. The Mail said:
The 18-year-old’s parents, Phil and Claire, are thought to have been involved in choosing the house and he is determined to keep the close-knit family together despite his emergence as one of England’s outstanding talents.
We never were told if Raheem’s mum, who raised him in less than salubrious surrounds, helped chose the bricks and furnishings for her “obscene” home (price: £3.5m), nor how the new home kept the pair together. But for Phil it’s all terrific:
The move is likely to change little for the player who has always lived at home, doesn’t drink and doesn’t yet drive. He takes cash, rather than cards, on nights out and is thought to have taken out a substantial mortgage on the new house.
That really takes the cake.
As for Sterling’s point about the media fuelling racism, is he right?
Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong, 21, wants to play for PSG. He prefers the French champions elect over Manchester City. So he’ll head to France this summer sats the BBC. This is same BBC that told us Manchester City had agreed a £61m transfer, pipping Barcelona to his signature. The Sun says it’s his “dream” to play for Barcelona. Confusion reigns, then over the player who is talking about as being every bit as good as – get this – Johan Cruyff, and in a single Guardian article: Franz Beckenbauer, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard. Yeah, he’s that good.
And he’s off to play for Manchester City (if you read the BBC and the Mirror; the Sun said the deal was done) and PSG (if you read the BBC and Dutch newspaper De Telegraph). The Dutch paper says PSG will pay 75m euros (£67m) to sign the Netherlands international. It’s almost a done deal. That tells us how much the great Cruyff would be worth in today’s transfer market. He’s a bargain.
So he’s off, then? No. “No official decision has been taken and while there is no transfer, my main focus is on Ajax,” says De Jong. “There are five games to go until the winter break, I only want to think about the game against PEC this weekend and the next Champions League match against Bayern Munich. I can’t be worried about saying ‘I’m going here or there’. That wouldn’t show any respect on my part for Ajax or my team-mates.”
In other news, the Mirror today says Spurs want him. No word on Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid wanting De Jong, but give it time…
Transfer Balls: Following the Mirror’s news that Frenkie de Jong had agreed to join Manchester City for £60m comes news in the, er, Daily Mirror that he hasn’t. But he might. The paper of record (surely clickbait factory – ed) says City will have to pay a club record £75m for the Ajax and Netherlands midfielder.
It’s been three days since the Sun said Frenkie de Jong to City was done deal – three days since the Mirror told its readers City “have beaten Barcelona” to the signing. Manchester City “have blown the competition out of the water”.
That was all tosh. But worry not because the Mirror has more news:
The paper reports in an “exclusive”:
Manchester City will have to pay a club-record £75million in the upcoming bidding war with Barcelona for the new Johan Cruyff…
However, Spanish champions Barca are also very keen on De Jong, and several other top clubs are monitoring the rapid progress he’s making this season.
Why is £75m the fee in a “bidding war”? It’s more than the £60m it cost city to sing Frenkie three days ago.
“Spurs set to beat Barcelona to Dutch wonderkid Frenkie de Jong,” screamed EuroSport on November 16. Two days later, the BBC tells us Frenkie de Jong is on his way to Manchester City.
The Mirror says Manchester City “have beaten Barcelona” to the signing of the Ajax and Netherlands midfielder. Manchester City “have blown the competition out of the water”. The Express agrees: “Barcelona and Tottenham STUNNED as Manchester City win £61m Frenkie De Jong race.” The Sun also agrees: “Man City win race to sign Ajax ace Frenkie de Jong and will pay £61m for long-term Fernandinho replacement.” We’re told Barcelona and Manchester United were both ready to bid fo the player. They just never got round to it.
And then you realise it’s all utter tosh. The Sun admits as much: “De Jong is believed to be keen to work with Guardiola and would favour a move to join the Spaniard rather than across town at Old Trafford.” So nothing is agreed. It’s rumour. There will be “a potential summer bidding war for the midfielder”.
Why the BBC, which runs fact-checking news segments, features this utter balls as fact is lamentable. It doesn’t need to compete commercially with the tabloids in a time of falling newspapers circulation, so why does it bother?
Transfer Balls: So desperate is Alexis Sanchez to leave Manchester United that he’s going to demand a reduction in his £500,000-a-week wage to make him more affordable to, well, anyone who’ll let him play either football, the piano or both at once. Either that or he’ll just sulk and wait until Jose Mourinho is sacked and the next manager realise what a top talent he is.
Racing Sanchez out the door are Marcus Rojo and Eric Bailly. They will replaced by – deep breath – Nathan Aké, Jérôme Boateng and / or Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar.
Higher up the Premier League table, rumours abound that Liverpool will bid over £85m for Ousmane Dembélé, who cost Barcelona £105m when he moved from Borussia Dortmund in 2017. The German side have a knack of developing players and selling them on for top money. Barcelona made them an offer they could not refuse for the Frenchman who has failed to shine in Spain. But will they take a £20m hit on him? Or is £85m for a flop good money? That question to Paul Pogba.
Arsenal have woken to the fact their centre backs are slower than a Granit Xhaka tackle. The Gunners are looking at Atalanta’s Gianluca Mancini.
And Tottenham are readying a £35m bid for Cagliari’s 21-year-old Italian midfielder Nicolo Barella. But Man United and Liverpool also want him. So watch the price rocket.
Manchester City attacker Raheem Sterling has a dog. The Daily Mirror presents this as news. Having priced the player’s home, the Mirror then delivers one of the most asinine lines ever to find its way into print. This, ladies and gentleman, is an “exclusive” from the self-styled ‘intelligent tabloid’. Go: “He follows a number of Premiership stars to buy dogs…”
How much is his home worth?
Raheem Sterling – is he ever not newsworthy?
When Raheem Sterling was awarded a penalty for falling over in the box during Manchester City’s 6-0 hammering of Shakhtar it was clear to everyone but the referee the wrong decision had been made. Sterling never thought to tell the referee he’d got it wrong. He never offered to take the penalty and deliberately miss. Sportsmanship was not the winner. But if Sterling’s looking for ways to improve his conduct, the former Liverpool player can read the Liverpool Echo’s story headline: “Raheem Sterling Man City penalty row – and the Liverpool example he SHOULD have followed.”
Which Liverpool example is that, then? This one?
No. It’s this one – when Robbie Fowler went to ground easily at Arsenal:
Fowler and Liverpool celebrated the egregious refereeing error by scoring the penalty and celebrating wildly. If only Sterling had stayed at Liverpool he could have learned what you “should” do when a penalty is awarded wrongly. But he plays in Manchester, having left Liverpool to earn more money and win trophies, so he’s a cheating sod.
Happy 43rd birthday Stephane Henchoz 👊
League Cups 🏆🏆
FA Cups 🏆
UEFA Cups 🏆
Saves in cup finals 👐 pic.twitter.com/UZXWamUG9U
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) 7 September 2017
And sometimes you get away with it:
Happy 43rd birthday Stephane Henchoz 👊
League Cups 🏆🏆
FA Cups 🏆
UEFA Cups 🏆
Saves in cup finals 👐 pic.twitter.com/UZXWamUG9U
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) 7 September 2017
Happy 43rd birthday Stephane Henchoz 👊
League Cups 🏆🏆
FA Cups 🏆
UEFA Cups 🏆
Saves in cup finals 👐 pic.twitter.com/UZXWamUG9U
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) 7 September 2017