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manchester united | Anorak - Part 3

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Manchester United football club news, Manchester United transfers, Premier League

Transfer balls: Manchester United to lose de Gea and Real want Pochettino from Spurs

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino is on his way to Real Madrid after all, then. The Sun says Pochettino will replace Julen Lopetegui, should Real sack him, which they will in 10…9…  The Mail says Real headhunter Florentino Perez wanted to sack the one-time Spain coach last week. You might have watched Perez during Real’s Champions League match against Viktoria Plzen “storming away from his balcony”. It was only other club officials who prevented an on-the-spot sacking, says the paper.

If Lopetgui goes, so do all the players thundered the overrated Isco to media. To which Real fans say in one voice “adios”.

Real finished 17 points behind Barcelona in La Liga last season. Ronaldo left, taking his 50 goals a season with him to Juventus. Real look leaderless on the pitch. So Pochettino it is. The Sun says Real prefer him to Antonio Conte. Well, who wouldn’t. The big shock is that Manchester United haven’t already offered Spurs £40m for Poch. Why don’t clubs trade managers as they do players?

But Real also admire current Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese would do well to take the hint and leave Old Trafford. If David de Gea leaves on a free transfer to Juventus when his contract expires next summer, as the Times says he might, United will look even more hapless. Ubiquitous Spanish journalist Guillem Balague told BBC Radio 5 live listeners that the Real kingmakers love Jose. Why? Haven’t they been watching…

Posted: 26th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | 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


Manchester United balls: De Gea flowers amongst the rubble of Mourinho’s collapsing house

Manchester United were comprehensively outplayed in their home Champions league tie with Juventus. Stodgy, defensive and possessed by nary a muon of the swashbuckling style that made the club great. After the dull match and the performative nature of Jose Mourinho’s snipes, snarks and adherence to the belief that the boredom is not of his making, Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport reviewed United’s pampered posers:

Romelu Lukaku scored a 4/10 – the lowest of anybody on the pitch

(He is) a symbol of the torments of the United season: when the striker does not score, it becomes hard for everyone.

At this moment the Belgian is almost a deadweight, lost and confused in opposing defences, but Mourinho has no alternative.

Anthony Martial (5.5/10)

Another step backwards.

Marcus Rashford (4.5)

Never really dangerous. Half a disaster.

Luke Shaw (5)

Targeted as the weak link. Dazed. Stunned.

Chris Smalling (5)

His performance was as mediocre as his haircut.

David De Gea (lauded as United’s best player by a distance)

Like a flower amongst the rubble.

A delicate flower or a weed?

MARCA was tops, though, awarding Lukaku, Rashford, Smalling and Nemanja Matic a combined score of zero.

On the look out for bias, let’s see what the Manchester Evening News said about United:

David de Gea – United’s best player by a country mile:

Kept United in it with a few saves as United struggled to contain Cristiano Ronaldo, Juan Cuadrado and Paulo Dybala. 7

Victor Lindelof – who was every bit as good as De Gea. Yeah, really:

One of his more impressive displays for United, despite Juventus’ firepower. Read the game well and timed his challenges impressively. 7

Nemanja ‘nil points’ Matic:

Was disciplined and tried to get things going but the fleet-footed Blaise Matuidi and Miralem Pjanic outfoxed him. 5

And Romelu Lukaku, the big bloke up front who was good at Everton:

When United supporters screamed ‘move’ Lukaku rarely did. Bossed by Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci and too static. 2

Such are the facts.

Posted: 24th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, 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


Talking balls: Manchester United sale to Saudi Arabia is on-ish

The sale of Manchester United is on! Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a man riding high on the news cycle for exercising an attitude to journalists that even Sir Alex Ferguson would consider a bit much, is “hoping” to meet Manchester United owners the Glazer family and buy the club for £4bn (Mirror) or £3bn (Sun). The Mirror confirms the story punched out by the trusty Daily Star last week. That scoop was based on“web football forums and Twitter”. So it’s a dead cert to be true.

 

Crown_Prince_Mohammad_bin_Salman_Al_Saud manchester united

‘Only Man United – no Women United’

 

Now the no less trusty Mirror takes up the news cudgel. If it’s facts you want, the paper says Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is worth £850bn. Sorry, fact. That’s the only one, and even it’s a guess. The Mirror says the Prince is “hoping” to meet United owners Joel and Avram Glazer in the ­Middle East in the next couple of weeks. Progress, eh. A few years ago, Saudi Arabia banned Jews from entering the country. Now they let them in. If they they let then out again in one piece, we’ll see.

Indeed, as the Mirror notes: “United’s co-owners know that they will have to tread carefully as the Crown Prince is embroiled in a tense diplomatic row over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.” The Saudis say Mr Khashoggi – a critic of the Saudi government – was killed in a fight at the Saudi consulate in Turkey. It’s unlikely the row was about United’s decision to offer Luke Shaw a new contract, but nothing is being ruled out.

But will the Saudis really buy United? On the back of this rumour, which the Mirror can’t substantiate with a single quote or fact, shares in the club traded on the New York Stock Exchange rose by over 5% to $27.65. Such is the power of the red-tops that when they spread a baseless rumour, City traders go ballistic.

Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, local journalists deliver the scores from last weekend’s matches: Chelsea 0, Manchester United 27.

Posted: 21st, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United feared losing Luke Shaw on a free

Now Luke Shaw is a committed Manchester United player for the next five seasons, what the experts said and now make of it is news. Shaw signed a deal that gives him £160,000 a week until 2023.

It all looked unlikely when his manager Jose Mourinho was belittling him in public. The Times says Mourinho “pulverised Shaw’s confidence with a series of put-downs”. Even when Shaw played well, he was little more than a video game avatar or brainless robot. “He [Shaw] had a good performance, but it was his body with my brain,” Mourinho said. “He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him.”

But as Shaw’s current deal ran down – it was due to finish at this season’s end –  Mourinho softened. He sent Shaw a text in the summer saying: “I know what you can do. You can be the best but you’ve just got to work on a couple of things.” Was Mourinho just protecting a company asset?

Last week, the Mail “understood the England defender has no intention of signing a new one if Mourinho is still in charge”. Shaw added: “If you look at my situation in the last year and a bit, you’d have thought this could have been impossible. ”

And having mocked the player in public, Mourinho now tells us:

“Luke fully deserves this contract. He understood his development process, he has worked really hard at every level and he always believes in himself which is a great attribute to have.

“Luke is still young and is improving all the time and he must feel very proud of himself. I am delighted that we are keeping such a talented young English player with a bright future ahead of him.”

To say nothing of resale value for a player who was once the most expensive teenager in world football – a title taken by Anthony Martial when he joined Manchester United. Martial’s contract expires at the season’s end. He wants to leave the club on a free. He should expect a supportive text message from Mourinho very soon…

Posted: 20th, October 2018 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Hazard to Manchester United because he loves Chelsea

Is Eden Hazard leaving Chelsea for Manchester United? Surely not. But the Manchester Evening News implies that United is on the brilliant Belgian’s radar. The Twitter feed for the Manchester Evening News dedicated to Manchester United news – “Manchester United Football Club news from the Manchester Evening News” – tweets a photo of Hazard and a link to a story on the paper’s site. In anyone still can’t understand the story that Hazard is looking at his “future plans” which seem to included a move to Manchester United, the paper includes the tag ‘#mufc”.

 

eden hazard manchester united

hazard mufc

 

Taking the bait, we click the link and are told:

 

hazard cheslea

 

Words form Hazard on playing for Manchester United: nil. In fact, the MEN merely ping readers a post by Sky Sports, in which Hazard says he loves Chelsea and could end his playing days there:

 

hazard chelsea

 

So what is the story on Hazard that will be of interest to Manchester United fans? Oh:

Eden Hazard reveals his future plans
The Chelsea superstar previously revealed he would love to work with Jose Mourinho again, but that’s not going to happen unless the United boss ends up back at Stamford Bridge for a THIRD spell it seems:

Total tosh from the trusty MEN.

Posted: 19th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Saudi Arabia to buy Manchester United – good press guaranteed

Interesting news that Manchester United is to be bought by Saudi Arabia boss crown prince Mohammad bin Salman. Not only will the purchase turn Manchester into a proxy Middle East war zone, what with Saudi Arabia’s enemies owning Manchester City, but it should pave the way for an end to that irritating habit footballers have to talking into their hands. Disappoint the prince and – et voila! – no hands!

 

Crown_Prince_Mohammad_bin_Salman_Al_Saud manchester united

‘Only Man United – no Women United’

 

Journalists should also take care, perhaps take to travelling to press conferences in twos and politely declining the offer of tea and electrodes at the embassy. Look out for lots of favourable match reports, with heavy focus on the prince’s dashing looks and support for his brave decision to permit women to speak in public, albeit after first raising a hand and submitting their words for official review a week in advance.

No deal to buy the club is agreed, of course. Manchester United have rejected suggestions the Glazer family are ready to put the club up for sale even if Saudi Arabia offer, say, $4bn… $5bn…$5 and a bit billion and a province in Yemen?

 

Posted: 16th, October 2018 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United, Spurs and Chelsea in a ‘bidding war’ for Ake

Manchester United, Spurs and Chelsea are all in for Netherlands international Nathan Ake, 23. Well, so says the BBC. And United and Spurs “will have to wait” to see if Chelsea want to re-sign the player they sold to Bournemouth. So that’s three top clubs who all want Ake in a story that has taken on a life of its own.

Over in the Telegraph we learn that as part of Ake’s £20 million transfer to Bournemouth, Chelsea negotiated “a gentleman’s agreement that would allow them to re-sign him for a fee of around £40m”. What utter tosh. Football club’s do not employ lawyers on multi-million pound deals to work with a handshake. And then this:

There has not yet been any sign that Chelsea are ready to try to take Ake back to Stamford Bridge and any move to re-sign him would have to be agreed by the player. But a summer bid from either Spurs or United would force Bournemouth to offer Chelsea the opportunity to make a move and leave the other two clubs sweating.

This transfer news is tosh. But that doesn’t top the Express from milking the balls to produce the gem: “Man Utd news: Nathan Ake transfer battle takes fresh twist, Chelsea hold the key.”

When asked if he’d read the story of his transfer to Spurs, Ake told Football Oranje: “I’ve also seen it pass by, but of course it’s rumours. At the moment I play everything at Bournemouth and that goes well, so I focus on that. If I’ve already signed in London? No, certainly not. This does not say much about my status yet, they are rumours that come on the internet and as long as I do not hear anything myself, I will not go into that.” The story on the Dutch website was titled: “Ake to Tottenham: its only rumours.”

Mentions of Manchester United: nil. The story is about interest from Spurs. But the Daily Star hears the same words and manages to report:”NATHAN AKE has addressed the rumours surrounding his future amid reported interest from Manchester United.” In The Metro it’s: “Nathan Ake speaks out on Manchester United transfer speculation.” “Nathan Ake breaks silence on Manchester United speculation as Bournemouth defender addresses future,” chimes the Mirror.

All newspapers connive to omit the part where Ake says he’s not signed “in London“. Worse still, the Metro thunders: “Man Utd transfer news: Nathan Ake responds to Jose Mourinho interest.” Words from Mourinho: zero. But as the Mail says in a story about a “bidding war” for Ake, “Jose Mourinho, who worked with Ake at Chelsea, wants to revamp his defence with Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof failing to impress the Portuguese tactician.”

Ake did play for Chelsea nine times. But he was loaned out to Reading, Watford and Bournemouth. Aké made his Premier League debut on 26 December 2012 – when Rafa Benitez was Chelsea manager. Under Mourinho, Ake only made one league appearance, as a substitute in a 3–0 loss at West Bromwich Albion on 18 May.

Such are the facts.

 

 

Posted: 16th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | 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


Manchester United balls: Pogba saves sacked Mourinho

Can the Daily Mirror reassess the quality of its “Manchester United” insiders” who were “convinced” Jose Mourinho was going to be sacked last weekend? The paper leads with United’s 3-2 win over an average Newcastle side lacking in top talent, hailing it as a “stay of execution”.  The comeback from 0-2 down “papered over the cracks”.

 

mourinho manchester united

 

David McDonnell saw United play for 70 minutes “without spark or purpose”. They were “abject”. But “from somewhere deep within themselves”, the players stirred for a “staggering Fergie-like 20-minute comeback”. It was a “miracle”. No word on Mourinho’s role in the resurgence. Not a peep about what the manager might have done at half-time to reform his side trialing by two goals. And nothing said on the Mirror’s story, as told by one David McDonell, that Mourinho is today looking for a new job.

 

mourinho sacked

Daily Mirror knows

 

As the Mirror memory holes the words “Mourinho Jose Mourinho set to be sacked this WEEKEND whatever Manchester United’s result vs Newcastle”, the Sun has its own exclusive. The Sun is the paper that has cheered longest and loudest for Mourinho. The team might be dull, but to the Sun it’s all part of the “RED-OLUTION”.

 

Jose Mourinho the sun Manchester United

The Sun loves Jose

 

And so to the day’s scoop: “HOW POGBA SAVED JOSE”. The want-away midfielder saved Mourinho, how? “He told boss best way to spark fightback.” Pogba Tip 1: Tell Juan Mata to score direct from a free kick. Mata scores! The trust is less poetic. We hear that Mourinho listened to his players at half time. Pogba suggested a “deeper role for himself and brining on Fellaini”. Genius. Bring on the hairy elbow and lob it up into the mixer.

 

mourinho manchester united

 

Mourinho tells everyone that he and the team chatted for 10 minutes about this and that at half time.  To seasoned Mourinho watchers this might look like the manager trying to exculpate himself from the mess. But to the Sun’s it’s honest Jose binding the team and securing victory. It “showed how they could all work together”. It also showed that Newcastle United – six defeats from eight played; two draws – can’t hang on to a two goal lead.

But as Jose and Pog hug in the Sun, the Mail says Pogba wants to leave regardless of Mourinho’s future. Looks like the miracle will only last if plucky minnows United can play huge-spending Newcastle at home every week…

Posted: 8th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United balls: Mourinho ‘sacked today’ as board back their man

Manchester United will sack Jose Mourinho today. As the Mirror told readers yesterday: “Jose Mourinho set to be sacked this WEEKEND whatever Manchester United’s result vs Newcastle.” So much for the thrilling comeback from 0-2 down against Newcastle. Indeed, the Mirror’s match report calls the match thrilling. It cocks an ear as “Old Trafford erupted and Mourinho’s name rang out once again”. But today he gets the sack.

 

mourinho sacked

Daily Mirror knows

 

The Mirror even had a live blog. As Alexis Sanchez scored the winner, it piped:

GOOOALLLL!!!! Young whipped the ball into Martial, who had drawn the attention of the defenders, but it makes it past them and Sanchez heads it in at the back post! Has that goal saved Jose Mourinho’s job?! Manchester United 3-2 Newcastle.

Has it saved his job? No. Because the Mirror said he’s getting sacked today.

Elsewhere in today’s  in-the-know Mirror, we read that Manchester United bosses have “urged Zinedine Zidane not to consider any other managerial vacancies” because they are deciding on the future of manager Jose Mourinho. We also learn that Manchester United “could have to pay £29m to Mourinho if they sack the Portuguese”. But if United fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League, the bill is £10m.

Meanwhile, the Times tells us the Manchester United board texted Mourinho their support before yesterday’s match. Which, as the Mirror know, means he’s getting sacked…

 

Posted: 7th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United Balls: Mourinho sacked today, tomorrow or the next day

After the the ‘ifs’ and ‘coulds’, news is that  Manchester United will sack Jose Mourinho will be sacked after today’s match with Newcastle. the BBC has the scoop, although it’s one founded in the Mirror’s story: “Jose Mourinho set to be sacked this WEEKEND whatever Manchester United’s result vs Newcastle.” Win 19-0 in a match that will reverberate through time and Mourinho will be sacked. Play out a thrilling encounter, as Mourinho unleashes Sanchez, Pogba and Martial with the command ‘express yourselves’ and still be sacked. How can the Mirror be certain? After all, this is the paper that told us Arsenal Wenger had ‘set the date’ to leave Arsenal on June 30 2017. He was sacked a year later.

 

mourinho sacked

 

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

2017?

 

 

David McDonnell writes: “Jose Mourinho has lost the confidence of the Manchester United board and is set to be sacked this weekend.” And replaced by? Dunno. We also don’t know the identities of the “senior United sources” who gave the Mirror its story.  We’re told Mourinho has “alienated players, fans and staff at Old Trafford”. And Mourinho “appeared resigned to his fate” in the pre-match press conference.

We’re then told that Man United chief executive Ed Woodward “is believed to have lost his patience in Mourinho”. Since when ie believing something a fact? We do know that those “senior” United insiders don’t include the most senior, nor the Glazers, who own the club. It’s all very woolly. And as for the all-important bottom line, Bloomberg notes:

Even though the club’s shares have slumped 17 percent since reaching a record high on the last day of August, they’re up 27 percent since the Portuguese manager took over in May 2016.

Mourinho the manager is damaged goods; but Mourinho the brand is doing ok.

And then we get more hunches: “Ex-Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is the favourite to succeed Mourinho, who is set to receive compensation of around £20million. Michael Carrick could be put in temporary charge.” United fans want Carrick as manager? And sd a £20m goodbye a reason for Mourinho to look “sullen”? Yes, he’s rich but you could always use a few million more, right.

 

Mourinho newspapers Manchester United

The Mirror says Jose will be at United for a decade

 

the sun mourinho jose Manchester United Neil Curtis

The Sun loves Jose – and all the access loving him might gt to other of Jorge Menze’z starry clients

 

 

 

Meanwhile, talkSport hears “United sources” say Mourinho won’t be sacked. The Indy agrees. Woodward is “keen to give the manager more time”. The Guardian says: “Manchester United have no plans to remove Mourinho.” And that’s how journalism works – one source makes a bold claim based on nameless sources; and the rest either repeat it or get their scoop by screaming”Nothing Will Happen!”

But it might happen one day. Mourinho will be sacked! You read it everywhere first…

Posted: 6th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Manchester United balls: Mourinho sacked when noodle deal goes cold

That the Press have no idea what Manchester United’s moneymen will do about Jose Mourinho is no clearer than in the BBC’s news that the club “could” sack the draining Portuguese “if his side lose to Newcastle United on Saturday”. Could and if are not news. But the Sun goes further. It says senior boardroom figures have lost faith in Mourinho. No names are revealed. No boardroom suit has given the rumours of top-level discord a face.

Are they upset by Mourinho’s dire man-management of Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial, Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones, Marcus Rashford and Eric Bailly? Before he criticised those current members of the United squad in public, Mourinho sniped at Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Bastian Schweinsteiger, although of the later he did say, “He’s in the category of players that I feel sorry for something I did to him.”

Or are the suits voicing dissent over the dull style of play and poor results? Most likely they’re fretting about sponsors. Under the Glazers, United are a brand for hire. Mourinho, like Pogba, was recruited for his market appeal. Mourinho’s the man with a range of perfumes, whose name was licensed for Jose Mourinho briefcases and umbrellas. Jaguar and Hublot have paid big money for Mourinho to advertise their stuff. As one Times writer notes, the Glazers’ yes man, Ed Woodward, “can nail a noodle deal but not provide any heavyweight footballing guidance or astute succession planning.”

If Mourinho is deemed to have lost his cache in the luxury goods arena, he’s toast. If it’s all abut football, why did United ever hire the man whose teams are set out to pinch a goal and hang on? Sack the suits, right, for neglecting Manchester United’s footballing history.

 

spurs

 

But who if not Mourinho?

The BBC says Mauricio Pochettino is “Manchester United owner Ed Woodward’s preferred candidate”. The reporting is shockingly bad.

And over in the Manchester Evening News, we learn that when Zinedine Zidane was at Real Madrid, he was an admirer of David De Gea, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial. So much did he admire them that moneybags Real never recruited any of the trio. But they all play for United and Zidane’s between jobs, so the story must be that the great Frenchman wants to take over at United – noodle deal permitting.

 

Posted: 5th, October 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United captain apologises for calling for Mourinho to be sacked

Antonio Valencia, the Manchester United captain, liked an Instagram post declaring “time for Mourinho to go”. Valencia, one of the many United players said to have fallen out with the draining Portuguese manager, liked a photo of himself which carried the caption: “It’s time for Mourinho to go”.

 

Valencia sack Mourinho

 

When others noticed, Valencia backtracked. “These are not my views and I apologise for this,” said Valencia on Twitter. “I am fully supportive of the manager and my team-mates. We are all giving our everything to improve the results.”

Put it down to narcissism. At least Valencia and his manager share something in common.

 

Posted: 3rd, October 2018 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: Pogba and Sanchez out

The Manchester Evening News is in Team Mourinho in the draining, negative Manchester manager’s row with, well, most of this side, not least of all star turns Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba. The paper tells readers “more damage would be done if Zinedine Zidane is appointed”. You might wonder why the Frenchman’s name is being linked with a job at United at all.

The Sun says Zidane has heard the rumours and called Mourinho to say he’s not after his job. This has led Mourinho to deduce that United are doing the courting. Are Manchester United’s kingmakers that sly? In July, Mourinho’s predecessor, Louis Van Gaal, spoke about his time at United. Words are through Google Translate from the original Dutch:

“I find the way in which Manchester has dealt with me horrible. And false…

“All those old footballers from Manchester suddenly came to tell me that I played boring football. So that was remarkable; that was directed. After a while I started thinking: how can I still be the authority for the players?”

He then talked about getting the sack and with a big cash settlement from United. Van Gaal was so bitter about his treatment at United, he turned down the Belgium job because taking it would have meant United could stop paying him:

“But the first year I could not go into anything because of the conditions that Manchester imposed on my lump sum. That is why I have run Belgium for example. While I thought that was a great challenge… I was so vindictive that I let it go. Actually stupid, because the sporting consideration is the most important. But that’s how I stood back then… It was more about revenge for me: that they had to pay for everything.”

How much blame can be apportioned to United’s board in making such a mess of things? David Moyes lasted just 10 months, Van Gaal was sacked for coaching dull football only to be replaced with the stultifying Mourinho? Not much blame at all, according to the MEN, which explains:

There is no panacea for Woodward [United chairman Ed Woodward]. Zinedine Zidane inherited such a superb squad at Real Madrid in 2015 that the XI in his third and last Champions League final in May comprised completely of players he inherited. United have one world-class player and the post-Ferguson task has broken two managers of different repute already, with a third likely.

Which world-class player is that? David de Gea? Paul Pogba? Alexis Sanchez? “We have world-class players in every position and I think that’s very important to have, ” said Victor Lindelof in March, the United defender Mourinho recruited. As for Zidane inheriting a team of Champions’ League winners, doesn’t he take credit for taking player who weren’t his choice and making them serial champions?

Posted: 2nd, October 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: Barcelona don’t want whinging Pogba

Don’t panic, Paul Pogba. Sure, you’re a destabilising present at Manchester United who criticised the team in public after a 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers, in which you set up United’s goal and then were easily dispossessed in the build up to the equaliser. You could still be on your way to Barcelona. Although a word of caution: Barcelona’s board are not unanimous in their desire to recruit you, says ESPN. Some suits might think a huge fee of well over £100m for a over-hyped player who went “home” to United to finish the job and has succeeded in all but finishing Jose Mourinho, not worth the effort.

And Mourinho had best leave, or else. The Sun hears Pogba say he will leave United in January if Jose Mourinho stays as manager. Did he really say that? And how does the Sun know it – the Sun being the paper that has cheered longest and hardest for Mourinho at United?

 

the sun mourinho jose Manchester United Neil Curtis

The Sun loves Jose – and all the access loving him might get to other of agent Jorge Mendes’s starry clients

 

 

The Sun says Pogba told team-mates “he cannot be bothered to argue with the manager any more”. So he told them and they told the Press. And then he told them that it’s not his fault: “He is embarrassed at being played in formations and with tactics that none of the team can get to grips with.” None of them can work out how to play? Or just one of them? As the Sun continues: “Pogba had a wretched game and was hooked after 70 minutes to a chorus of jeers from home supporters.”

Those home supporters were West Ham fans, not United fans, who are told: “The Hammers’ first goal was offside while there was a ­possible foul in the build-up to their third.” So United were unlucky? Or as the Sun put it on Sunday after the match, West Ham were “inspired” and United were “dismal”. As for Pogba, “the whinging France midfielder put on another abysmal display in a United shirt before he was subbed in the 70th minute.”

The Sun is gunning for Pogba. But Mourinho, a draining presence, is the man who looks like he’s got nowhere left to go…

 

Posted: 2nd, October 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United players betrayed Mourinho – it’s Chelsea 2015 all over again

mourinho betrayed manchester united

 

Is Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho looking to be sacked? Asked how his team are responding to a poor run of results, he told media “some [players] care more than others”. Which players are actors only pretending to care? He won’t say. Does he think his job’s on the line? “No.”

“Every player is different, no player is the same,” said Mourinho apropos of something self-serving. “I see different actions but what you see is not really inside. I see upset people, some people that don’t look like they lost a game. I see so-so but in the little two sessions of training we had [since Saturday] everything was normal, desire to work and play.”

 

mourinho betrayed manchester united

 

Can anything be done? Yes, says Mourinho: “What I can do to improve things I do, and I will improve the things that depend on me and my work.” Got that? Now hark back to his departure from Chelsea – the second time he was sacked by the Blues – when he told media in December 2015 following defeat to Leicester City:

“The only thing I can say is that I want to be. I have no doubts and I think you know me well enough, three years this time, plus three years another time, that I am not afraid of a big challenge, and in this moment this is a real big challenge. I want to stay, I hope Mr Abramovich and the board want me to stay.”

See a pattern? What about now:

“My board, my club I don’t think it’s right that I go to them and say these players are not good, we need to spend £50m or £100m or whatever, I don’t think it’s fair. We have these players and it’s with these players we have to go. The players that are not performing well, they must feel attacked in their pride and their self-esteem and they have to do everything to get results in a humble way.”

And his main point:

“I feel my work is betrayed. I worked four days in training for this match. I identified four movements where Leicester score a lot of their goals and in two of the four situations I identified they scored their goals. I went through it all with the players, you can ask them.”

Don’t blame Mourinho. He’s not changed. He’s certainly not improved. Just wonder what the Manchester United board who recruited him thought they were getting.

Posted: 1st, October 2018 | In: Key Posts, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: Sanchez beats Mourinho to the exit and Pogba stays

Is Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho lacking in self-awareness? Odd to ask, I know, given his crushing narcissism.  But when he said before United’s defeat at West Ham the club is bigger than anyone, he wasn’t referring to himself was he. We’re pretty sure Mourinho thinks he is bigger than Manchester United, or at least the club’s human equal. His words were answer aimed at Paul Pogba, the World Cup winner and United’s priciest asset he’s fallen out with.

The problem for Mourinho is that on the all-important United balance sheets Pogba is worth more to United than he is. Pressured by the marketeers and debt managers who control United, Mourinho cosets the player, making him captain, letting him take the penalties and telling media the Frenchman is the best in training. Pogba understands his value. Mourinho appears weak – all the more so when he then told Pogba he’d never captain the team again, and was met with belligerence when he schemed to broadcast his authority by admonishing Pogba in front of the cameras.

None of this is aided by Mourinho pragmatic tactics, anathema to United’s traditions of free-flowing, attack-minded football – but, then, United’s owners should have done their homework and realised what they were getting with Mourinho, a man whose success is built on nicking a lead and hanging on to it with grim determination.

And so it’s no surprise to read in the Sun that the Manchester United manager is worried about his future at Old Trafford. He’s “convinced” club officials have sounded out former Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane. But Italian press says Zidane is to be the new chief executive at Juventus. ESPN hears United deny reports they have approached Zidane to replace. United says it’s “nonsense”.

The Star says one figure on his way out is Alex Sanchez, the ball-hogging attacker United were at pains to recruit from Arsenal. Having watched Sanchez, who never made it at Barcelona, shine in a team of journeymen at Arsenal, Mourinho thought the Chilean was the man to get United firing. He wasn’t. Indulged at Arsenal, where Arsene Wenger allowed Sanchez to wander all over the pitch, often picking the ball up in front of the defenders, waving his hands about at the rest of the team before trying to score on his own, Sanchez was given a more fixed role at Old Trafford. You can pay Sanchez £600,000-a-week, as United do, but Mourinho can’t get him to play like he did for the Gunners.

But maybe even he’ll outlast Mourinho, who is surely nearing the end of his time at United.

Posted: 1st, October 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: United ready to part with Pogba or Mourinho

Former Real Madrid manager and French legend Zinedine Zidane is learning to speak English so he can get the Manchester United job when job Jose Mourinho gets the chop, says the Sun. There is much talk of player unrest under Mourinho’s stultifying and divisive regime. So the Portuguese is to be thanked for his time and shown the door.

The Sun says Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic have adopted the roles of peacemakers in the Old Trafford dressing room. But pressure is building on Mourinho, who used his press conference before United’s trip to West Ham to remind Paul Pogba that “no player is bigger than the club”. He then added: “Manchester United is bigger than anyone. I have to defend that.” It’s bigger than Mourinho, who went on: “After weeks of analysing and changing opinions with my coaching staff, we made the decision that from now Paul is just a player and not a captain.”

Just a player. You see how language matters. Mourinho’s public words come too often loaded with negativity and snark. Zidane will do well to stick to plain English and leave his attacking for the match.

And what of that row between Mourinho and Pogba, filmed at United’s training ground last week? Did Mourinho need to admonish the World Cup winner in front of the cameras? “I don’t care about the cameras,” said Mourinho, who knew they were there. He was surely playing to them, seeing the chance to reassert his authority. Pogba’s reaction undermined Mourinho’s plan. “What confrontation? It’s not a confrontation,” says Mourinho. Adding: “Nobody trained better than Paul on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Some trained as well as, nobody better.” Well, no-one will pay a huge premium for a difficult player. Mourinho seems to be talking to the club’s owners and asset managers. He won’t devalue a player who cost United £89m and could fetch much more if sold.

But why not keep Pogba and get shot of Mourinho? Pogba is hardly cowed by Mourinho’s public criticism of him. He recognises his presence and value to United. And Mourinho, master of deflecting blame away from himself, can leave with his head held high. The fans might pick Mourinho ahead of Pogba, but would the players? And in the drive to market Manchester United, who is worth more, Pogba or Mourinho? How about this: which clubs want Pogba? PSG, Manchester City, Barcelona. And which clubs would want to spend £15m in wages a year on Mourinho?

Posted: 29th, September 2018 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: Pogba laughs at Mourinho as players prepare mass exodus

It’s the Daily Paul Pogba, a look at news on the likeable, over-hyped French midfielder, who told the United board before the World Cup that he wanted to leave Old Trafford. He wasn’t allowed to go, of course. And now Pogba’s a World Cup winner with France, United are cherishing their biggest name, realising that in their ultimate desire to be Marketing Week’s Brand of the Year, Pogba is a route to new markets. Not quite. Because Jose Mourinho has just told Pogba he will never again captain the team. It won’t be him lifting the Premier League trophy when Mourinho’s masterplan to nick a lead and then defend it pays off.

And it’s worse. The Sun says Pogba and Mourinho “clashed” at training yesterday because the irritating Portuguese manager thought the France international had posted a video of him laughing after Manchester United’s defeat by Derby County in the League Cup. The result is, according to ESPN, that senior Manchester United players think Mourinho’s a bit of a pillock and his man-management techniques to blame the players and pick on individuals in public are neither helpful nor pleasant.

But here’s the good news for United fans: the owners are backing the charismatic Pogba over the stultifying Mourinho. No. Sorry. Remove the bunting. It’s the other way around.  Manchester United vice-chairman Ed Woodward has backed Mourinho, says the Star. But, apparently, a “number” of players want to leave if Mourinho stays. But neither Pogba nor Mourinho is going anywhere, says the Times. Unless a club offers over £200m for Pogba, in which case, United will call him a taxi.

Back in the Sun, we hear that Mourinho wants the Manchester United board to support him as they once supported Sir Alex Ferguson. And just as soon as Mourinho produces a coherent side of dash and swagger that wins things, they most probably will.

Posted: 27th, September 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, 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


Manchester United: Pogba shunts Mourinho closer to the exit

Anyone in any doubt that Paul Pogba’s words were all about Jose Mourinho is obviously not Jose Mourinho, a man for whom everything is always and essentially about him. Responding to Pogba’s comments post a 1-1 with the mighty Wolves that United should “attack, attack. attack” at home, Mourinho has told the club’s most expensive player ever he will never captain the team again.

In his programme notes for Tuesday’s Carabao Cup game with Derby County, Mourinho sniped: “[The game against Wolves was] an important lesson; a lesson that I repeat week after week after week, a lesson that some boys are not learning. Every team that play Manchester United are playing the game of their lives, and we need to match that level of aggression, motivation and desire – 95% isn’t enough when others give 101%.”

Joyous, no, to see United imploding, the manager blaming the players for his side’s dullness and inability to win every match. Either Pogba or Mourinho will surely leave the club soon. But which one? Who would the fans miss most: the charismatic young, over-hyped blade who offers promise or the chippy former Chelsea boss surfing a tsunami of braggadocio who masterminds a tired, pragmatic style of football that seeks to nick a lead and hold it; the manager who having told Mo Salah and Kevin de Bruyne they were not good enough for The Blues is doing his best to make World Cup winner Pogba feel inferior?

But who cares, right? Aside from United supporters, fans of all other teams are hardwired to enjoy the country’s biggest team failing. We used to enjoy and envy Fergie’s swashbuckling sides, but now United have invested vast sums in a team coached into stultifying plodders by a man who has always favoured negative tactics. Mourinho is the man who bought Pogba, Alexis Sanchez et al and invited them to play like the ambulatory elbow that is Marouane Fellaini. What was once viewed as hauteur and charisma been stripped back to reveal nothing more than Mourinho’s petulance, sarcasm and insults.

Who do you want to stay, United fans? The rest of us want Mourinho to…

Posted: 25th, September 2018 | In: Key Posts, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United balls: Ronaldo banned, unbanned and never banned for Champions League match

When Ronaldo was sent off on his debut for Juventus in the Champions League, not only did he weep like a child being told off by his mum in front of his mates (source: @BeadedGenius), but he was sure to miss the games at Manchester United. The Daily Mirror announced: “Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off in tears as his Champions League debut for Juventus turned sour. The Portuguese superstar will miss the chance to tackle his former club Manchester United at Old Trafford.”

Problem was that the Mirror doesn’t know the rules. The Premier League’s dishes out an automatic three-game ban for violent conduct. Uefa gives only a one-game automatic ban, with no right of appeal. Uefa regulation 50.01 says “in case of serious offences, the Uefa control, ethics and disciplinary body is entitled to augment this punishment”.

 

Uefa rules red card ronaldo manchester united

 

Ronaldo’s red card-worthy offence was softer than Jordan Henderson’s bikini line. So an earl bath and a one-match ban is most likely the sum of his punishment. One day on and the Mirror has picked up the story, reporting today: “Ronnie is clear to face Reds. Cristiano Ronaldo can play against former club Manchester United in the Champions League despite his midweek red card.”

ronaldo manchester united

 

The Mirror makes no mention of its earlier error, nor does it identify the source of its new-found knowledge. Compare and contrast the following:

BBC – September 20:  “The Portugal forward appeared to pull Valencia defender Jeison Murillo’s hair…”
Mirror – September 21: “[Ronaldo was sent off] after appearing to pull Valencia defender Jeison Murillo’s hair…”

BBC: “But former Red Devils midfielder Darren Fletcher expects the Champions League’s all-time top scorer to play both games against his old side. It was a soft sending-off for Ronaldo, but the letter of the law says you probably cannot do that, so I think the one-match ban will probably stick,” the Stoke player told BBC Radio 5 live. “He will feel like he was letting his team-mates down in that moment, but I expect him to play in both games against Manchester United.”
Daily Mirror: The exact same quote but with no source attributed.

 

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


Arsenal 2, Newcastle United 4 and Manchester United beat Watford on paper

mark lawrenson bbc pundit prediction premier league

 

In his weekly predict the scores for the BBC, ‘football expert’ Mark Lawrenson says Newcastle United with beat Arsenal. He reasons:

I just have a feeling it might work this time. Arsenal’s players are not the only ones who have been away on international duty of course, but this might be a good time for Newcastle to play them.

How many Arsenal played an international fixture in the last week? Five. They were: Granit Xhaka, Stephan Lichtsteiner (both Switzerland) Danny Welbeck (England), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Greece) and Takuma Asano (Japan). Two of those were in the Arsenal first XI for their last Premier League match at Cardiff City.

Two.

On the other side, Salomon Rondon played for Venezuela in the early hours of Wednesday (BST), Fabian Schär played for  Switzerland on Tuesday evening, Ki Sung-yueng played for South Korea, and DeAndre Yedlin appeared as an 85th minute substitute for the USA in Nashville. Ciaran Clark was an unused substitute as Republic of Ireland drew 1-1 in Poland.

Five players. Of those, Rondon, Sungg-yueng, Yedlin and Clark played for Newcastle in their last PL match.

Four.

But Lawrenson says it’s a good time to play Arsenal because their players have been away.

Total balls.

The other odd prediction is Watford’s home match with Manchester United. Watford – powerful and full of confidence – have won four in four. United – dull and functional – have lost two in four, winning the last match against a Burnley side feeling the effects of defeat a few days earlier in the Europe League. Here’s Lawrenson:

Watford are flying, and much has been made of the part in that played by Troy Deeney’s partnership with Andre Gray up front.

This will be a real test for Manchester United’s defence, but it is one I think they will pass.

United’s win at Burnley last time out was a big result for them, not just because they needed the three points after losing two games in a row, but because they needed to stop all the chatter around Jose Mourinho’s future.

I am going to go for another United win here, although I think it will be close.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Watford have scored 9 and conceded 3; United have scored 6 and conceded 7. Any football experts want to back the smaller club..?

Posted: 14th, September 2018 | In: Arsenal, manchester united, Sports | Comment