Anorak

Sports | Anorak - Part 17

Sports Category

Sports news, commentary and scores with wit and added value. We compare and contrast the best and worst sports reporting in the mainstream press, blogs, TV and online. We love the English Premier League (Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, Manchester United and Manchester City) and all things football but we cover cricket, rugby, the Olympics, tennis, golf, F1 and highlights of the sporting year.

Arsenal buy fighting French midfielder

Transfer balls: every so often a player the media experts know nothing of makes a move. And so it is with Arsenal’s hiring of Lorient’s 19-year-old France Under-20 footballer Matteo Guendouzi. At the Daily Mirror’s clickbait factory, journalists scratch around for information. And they come up with this:

 

Matteo Guendouzi Arsenal

Matteo Guendouzi: midfielder and defender par excellence

 

Guendouzi plays in midfield.

News of Guendouzi’s arrival at Arsenal is rooted in a report by RMC Sport, who brand him the “French nugget”.  Another French site reports that Guendouzi’s contract at Lorient ends in June 2019, and he’s been agitating for the move away from the club for some months. Adding:

The contacts were broken in the autumn, irreversibly, before Mattéo Guendouzi was removed from the first team for three months, following an incident in the locker room at the half-time match against Valenciennes, November 24 .

What happened was bad enough for manager Mickaël Landreau not to select Guendouzi for 1st team action for 10 matches, as reported by Ouest-France. Sounds like Arsenal are buying players with a bit of pluck.

Posted: 9th, July 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Wilshere confirm move to West Ham AND Fenerbahce on Monday

Former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere is “set to finalise” his transfer to West Ham, says the BBC. Wilshere’s move from Arsenal to West Ham is “set to be confirmed on Monday” says the Mirror.  It is? The story of where Wilshere will resume his career is confusing.

On June 15, the BBC said West Ham were only willing to offer Wilshere a one-year contract. Today’s Mirror says he will sign a three-year-deal worth £100,000 a week.

On May 9, the Mirror’s John Cross told readers: “Jack Wilshere is set to stay at Arsenal.”

 

jack wilshere Fenerbahce west ham

 

On June 25, the Sun told us that Wilshere was in Turkey “finalising a move to Fenerbahce”. He wasn’t. But on July 2, talksport said Wilshere was heading to Turkey – “according to Turkish journalist Volkan Demir, Wilshere has signed the contract and his switch will be announced on Monday“.

The Express agreed: “JACK WILSHERE is set to join Fenerbahce after leaving Arsenal, according to transfer expert Volkan Demir.” Who is Demir?

 

jack wilshere Fenerbahce west ham

 

Demir’s not quite as big on Instagram

 

On twitter Demir has an incredible 49million followers. Disappointingly given his gargantuan following on twitter – he’s far less popular on Instagram – his tweets are not viral monsters. But if he says Wilshere is off to Fenerbahce, then the British Press are not ones to argue.

 

Posted: 8th, July 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Chelsea buy Higuain who joins Arsenal and waits for Ronaldo

The Daily Mail says that Chelsea are to sign Juventus and Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain for £53m. Just as soon as Chelsea tell Antonio Conte to vet thee hence, they will recruit Maurizio Sarri from Napoli as their new manager and get Higuain. Or not.

Sky Sports hears Higuain’s agent say that nothing has been agreed and his man has not spoken to Chelsea. And the Times says Conte is not going quietly. The paper says someone on Chelsea’s technical staff emailed players not involved at the World Cup to tell them to report to the club’s training ground this weekend for fitness tests. Conte saw the missive and told everyone that the manager – him – doesn’t want to see any players until the following Monday.

As Chelsea’s pre-season implodes, it’s worth noting that Higuain plays for Arsenal. The Sun told us he does:

 

higuain arsenal sign

 

That was 2013. And the story is still on the Sun’s website, having been updated in 2016 – when Higuain still wasn’t playing for Arsenal.

Says the Sun:

ARSENAL last night smashed their transfer record when they agreed a £23million fee for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain….

The Argentine will undergo a Gunners medical today…

The deal, which has been confirmed by the player’s father Jorge…

Now Wenger wants to build on Higuain’s imminent arrival by pressing ahead with negotiations for Wayne Rooney and Julio Cesar.

 

higuain arsenal

 

Now the Sun has more to say about Higuain:

 

chelsea higuain

 

Higuain to Chelsea is a done deal. Fact.

Or as, er, the Sun says one day later:

 

chelsea higuain

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 5th, July 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Torreira is the only thing missing from his Arsenal move

Arsenal will sign Lucas Torreira, 22, for a transfer fee of around €30 million just as soon his his Uruguay side get knocked out of the World Cup (or win it). “Arsenal offered to do the medical in Russia,” says Lucas’s father Ricardo on Fox Sports, “but we decided against it because we felt it was inconvenient. It is as good as a fact that Lucas will join Arsenal. There are many clubs who contacted us but we have given our word to Arsenal. We are very satisfied with what they offered. The deal is virtually done and only Lucas’ arrival is remaining.”

The only thing missing from the transfer is the player. But Torreira and his people are coming. “There will be people that will accompany him,” says Ricardo. “He won’t be alone. It’s a big change [going to England] and we don’t want to think about it yet because we’re scared. The truth is it’s tough to manage the language, adapt to the [London] society and customs and at the same time not lose ours. But there’s a whole programme getting readied for Lucas.”

Of course, we at Anorak not only bring you the latest Arsenal transfer news but also the clickbait that might be termed ‘fake news’. The Daily Express heard the words of Ricardo Torreira and mangled them into:

 

torreira clickbait fake news

 

To recap: Torreira’s dad says the deal is done; the ‘big worry’ is about the player learning the language; and Torreira is not a ‘target’ because the player has given his word. The rest is clickbait.

Posted: 5th, July 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


England’s win over Colombia as celebrated by a ‘naked’ Ross Kemp

TV soap actors aren’t really acting. They’re just cast to play themselves in a studio setting. This is why Shane Richie gets to be Red Coat on EastEnders, Hollyoaks is about middling students learning to get a job, Emmerdale is no longer called Emmerdale Farm – how many actors know the right end of a sheep? – and Ross Kemp can play a bullet-headed, muscular meat sock on EastEnders with genuine empathy.

So here’s Kemp reacting to England beating Colombia in the World Cup:

This sums it up well:

Posted: 5th, July 2018 | In: Celebrities, Sports | Comment


Maradona condones Colombia cheating; England love it

You know you’re doing something right when you get up Diego Maradona’s nose. The Argentine operating as a FIFA ambassador, says England’s penalty shoot-out victory over Colombia is tantamount to theft. Maradona, who watched the match dressed in a Colombia shirt in a tribute to, well, it’s anyone’s guess, told TeleSUR: “I saw a monumental theft. I apologise to all the Colombian people, but they must know the players are not to blame. With all due respect, Pierluigi Collina, as the man who designates the referees, he is very bad. He must apologise to the Colombian people. It is the man who decides who the referee is who is to blame. A man like that [Geiger] should not be put in charge of a game of that magnitude.”

What should Mark Geiger, the American referee, be doing? Maradona has career advice: “The referee will know a lot about baseball, but he has no idea about football. The Colombian players asked for VAR and he did not give it to them. Twice, the English threw themselves to the ground and he did not admonish them. This was theft.”
 

THEM:

US:

 

He’s right about that. Harry Maguire dived in the box and Jordan Henderson went down hard holding his eyes when he was caught on the chin by Wílmar Barrios who should have been sent off. Maguire made the VAR sign, to draw attention to the Colombians’ physical approach as Henderson writhed in agony. No VAR was forthcoming, which was lucky for the Colombians. And as for England making a meal of things, well, isn’t that what every other team does? England is a team replete with divers.

But none of that matches the Colombians, who were a lesson in gamesmanship. Hulking Yerry Mina made out he’s been hit by little Raheem Sterling, Santiago Arias shoved his elbow into Kane’s shoulders. Colombians surrounded the ref when he rightly gave England a free kick. They roughed up the penalty spot and made Kane wait an age to take his spot kick given for a blatant foul on him – one Kane made the most of; just look at how he rolls his man:

 

 

England manager Gareth Southgate had a word: “Maybe we are getting a bit smarter, and maybe playing our game by the rules the rest of the world are playing. But we kept our dignity and our sportsmanship and if we were down it was because we were fouled. I am proud of the discipline. We kept our composure in a really difficult environment.” “We should not only look to Colombia but also England’s players,” said José Pékerman, the Colombia coach. “We were on the receiving end [too]. It’s been so obvious, too obvious.” Like that nastiness from John Stones on Radamel Falcao that more monocular sections of the British Press chose to ignore.

FIFA says Maradona’s comments are rubbish, stating: “Fifa strongly rebukes the criticism of the performance of the match officials which it considers to have been positive in a tough and highly emotional match.”

 

Good stuff. England roll on and the even better news is that Maradona is upset.

 

Posted: 5th, July 2018 | In: Sports | Comment


World Cup Watch: Stones, Maguire and Henderson might be cheating Colombians

stones falcao
 

Last night as England beat Colombia in the World Cup John Stones “rose above the nastiness, the skulduggery, the crying, the whingeing, the play acting, the pulling, the pinching, the pushing” – “none set a better example than Stones”. So says the Mirror’s Andy Dunn. Or as the Daily Mail’s Riath Al-Sammaria puts it: “John Stones looked as though he might have left a little boot on Radamel Falcao”. And as for the moaning, cheating Colombians, “Henderson held his eye when Barrios’ contact was with his chin” and “Harry Maguire dived for a penalty”.

Former referee Graham Poll says Stones was “no angel and “caught Rademal Falcao in the head.

 

 
Good old England rising above those cheating foreigners:
 

 

Your chin bone’s connected to your eye bone…
 

Posted: 4th, July 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports | Comment


World Cup Watch: Daily Mail singles out Sterling for criticism

Raheem sterling england colombia

Raheem Sterling is rubbish in the Daily Mail

 

Did you know Manchester City and England striker Raheem Sterling has not scored for England in 1000 days? It’s a fact Matt ‘Statto’ Lawton wants to share with his Daily Mail readers. Sterling could have scored last night as England defeated Colombia on penalties to progress to the World Cup quarter-final but he was “hooked” off after 88 minutes. Sterling was replaced by Jamie Vardy, who in the Mail’s all-important “Jamie Redknapp’s Big Match Ratings” scores 6.5 – the same as Sterling gets. Sterling was not the worst England player on the pitch according to Redknob. He scored higher than Kyle Walker (6), Deli Alli (6) and Ashley Young (6). But why does Sterling feel the hatchet between his shoulder blades and the rest do not?

And what of Eric Dier’s scoring a 7? He had a “pass completion rate of less than 25 per cent in his first 24 minutes on the pitch” (source: Martin Samuel, Daily Mail) and was “ordinary” against Belgium. He did score in the penalty shoot-out, a shot that was a “bit scuffed and [David] Ospina got a hand to it”. But there he is on the Mail’s back page “The Coolest Man in Moscow”.

 

Raheem sterling england colombia

Sterling was “dangerous” in the Daily Mirror

 

He was cool? No. In the Mirror, Dier says he was “nervous”. Andy Dunn says “Sterling at least remains one who can dash past a defender, take a risk, create splash of chaos”, factors described as “rarities” in a game big on “chaos”. The Mirror gives Sterling a 7 – the same as Pickford, Trippier, Henderson and Kane. Only John Stones with 8 scores higher. Sterling was “dangerous”.

 

Raheem sterling england colombia

The Sun

Raheem sterling england colombia

The Sun says Sterling was “lively”

 

Over in the Sun, Sterling gets a 6. That’s a higher mark than Lingard and Henderson, and the same as Pickford, Walker, Young and Dele. The Sun says Sterling was “slippery and lively” and “darting”.

 

Raheem sterling england colombia

Sterling is “lively” in the Daily Express

 

In the Express, “lively” Sterling who “caused  Colombia all kinds of problems” scores a 7 – that’s more than Pickford, Stones, Maguire, Henderson, Dele and Young. Only Harry Kane (8) scores higher.

So why is Sterling derided in the Mail? Has the Mail got a problem with Sterling?

It’s been while since Sterling scored in an England shirt, his last goal coming on 9th October 2015. But only Sterling gets compared to a “mascot” and a “jockey” in the Mail. No other player is so diminished.

Posted: 4th, July 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Manchester City, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


World Cup: Gareth Southgate meets with triumph and disaster

You might have heard that England won a penalty shoot-out – their first at the World Cup – and saw off a feisty, underhand Colombia team. England manager Gareth Southgate had been there before, as a player, of course. At Euro 96 in front of a partisan and packed Wembley, Southgate took a penalty against the Germans. It was the semi-final. And he missed. His penalty CV was short: one missed effort for Crystal Palace three seasons previously. When Terry Venables, the England manager, asked him to take one, it hit him like “a bolt from the blue”.

“It will never be off my back, sadly,” says Southgate. “That’s something that will live with me for ever but today is a special moment for this team. It’ll hopefully give belief to the generations of players that will follow. We always have to believe in what is possible in life and not be hindered by history or expectations. I think these young players are showing that. They’re enjoying the tournament, and we’re looking forward now to the quarter-finals.”

Sometimes the nice bloke wins:

 

 

Can England win the World Cup? Yes.

This was England’s second win on penalties at a major tournament in eight attempts, the only previous success being against Spain at Euro 96. Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle missed penalties at the semi-final of Italia 90 (Germany again won); Paul Ince and David Batty missed at France 98; David Beckham and Darius Vassell missed at Euro 2004; Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher missed at the 2006 World Cup; Ashley Young and Ashley Cole missed ay Euro 2012. Souhgate has watched them all. “There was a different movement about his [Cole’s] hips if you watch his last stride — he almost fell away,” says Southgate.

Are the players better prepared now for the walk “into the darkness”? “Absolutely, no question. I’ve had a couple of decades thinking it through. In defence of the staff there at the time, penalty shoot-outs weren’t as regular then,” he says. “The depth of knowledge and understanding, we didn’t have as much information as we do now. FA Cup ties went to two, three replays so we weren’t in those situations as often as we are now.

“Definitely it’s not about luck. It’s not about chance. It’s about performing a skill under pressure. There are individual things you can work on within that. We have studied it. There is lots we can do to own the process and not be controlled by it.”

A win and confidence becomes contagious.

 

Posted: 4th, July 2018 | In: Key Posts, Sports | Comment


World Cup: Liverpool congratulate Mingolet on a clean sheet for Belgium against Japan

Simon Mignolet was congratulated by his employer’s at Liverpool for Belgium’s victory over Japan in the World Cup. Well done “Simon Mingolet’s Belgium” for keeping a clean sheet:

 

mingolet liverpool world cup

 

The pesky fact is that Mingolet was more fan than player in the match, appearing for not a single second of action.  He didn’t even play when Belgium dropped nine first team players for their match with England, the Belgians preferring to stick with Thibaut Courtois.

Courtois is not as good as Mingolet, of course, because whereas the Liverpool man kept a clean sheet and has yet to be beaten in the World Cup, Courtois – the useless lunk – has let in a hatful. Why Real Madrid are said to be after Courtois and not the brilliant Mingolet is beyond reason…

In other news: Loris Karius is the Liveepool Number 1.

 

 

Posted: 3rd, July 2018 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Ronaldo to Juventus but Manchester United lead

All that talk of Cristiano Ronaldo heading ‘home’ to Manchester United is trumped by news that he’s been talking with Juventus. The BBC says the Italians have “opened talks” with Ronaldo, 33, to Italy. They have? Well, Marca agrees with the Beeb that Juventus want Ronaldo:

 

ronaldo juventus

 

Over on Marca, however, news is that Italian media are only “speculating” that Ronaldo could be on his way to Juventus. Slap the scoop through Google Translate and we learn:

  • “Italian media speculating that Juventus could be his next destination.”
  • Ronaldo was “incredibly flattered when some Juve fans gave him a “standing ovation after his stunning overhead kick in the Champions League”. Although some others called him a *****.
  • It’s an option that can now be discussed given that Ronaldo is out of the World Cup. “It’s not the time to talk about the future,” the player said after losing to Uruguay. Er…
  • Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes, is the “Tom Cruise of agents.” He a Scientologist?

Over in Italy, the headline is:

 

ronaldo italy

 

TuttoSport is the source of the BBC’s scoop and Marca story. Once again we look at he news through the prism of Google Translate:

Any reasoning deserves a premise: the chances of seeing Cristiano Ronaldo with the Juventus shirt in the next season are few. But being the strongest player on the planet, even the few make noise, especially if there is Jorge Mendes , his agent, who will now start a glowing phase of his summer: on one hand waiting for the relaunch of Real Madrid for a consistent retouching of the engagement, on the other the search for alternatives for his client, now on vacation.

In short: Ronaldo and his agent want more cash from Real. Will they get it at Juventus?

To avoid mistakes, CR7 greeted Real Madrid in Kiev , where he said: “It was nice to play in this club” , just a few minutes after raising the third consecutive Champions League . Now you look around. What are you looking for? First of all, more money: a folly for those who earn 21 million a season, but in the logic of his infinite (and partly irrational) long-distance challenge with Messi wants to take more of him, set new records, get ahead of everyone even at the economic level so he wants at least 40 million net per season, even if they say that to Florentino Perez, president of Real, he asked for 50.

And this for Juventus would be the main problem. Almost insurmountable, because the top salary is now 7.5 million net per season (received by Dybala and Higuain) and to give 40 to CR7 would mean putting 80 gross into the budget. Too many. This is why a complex commercial operation would be necessary, in which the FCA of the Juventus shareholder John Elkann could enter , which, through advertising contracts, could contribute substantially to the achievement of the quota.

To conclude: Ronaldo to Juventus would be nice for Juventus but Juventus don’t have the money to get him. Or as the BBC outs it: “Juventus have opened talks with Real Madrid to take Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo, 33, to Italy.” And in the Sun: “Juventus begin negotiations to sign Real Madrid star Ronaldo.” And in the Express: “Ronaldo could leave Real Madrid with Manchester United spearheading the list of teams aiming to snap him up.”

Fake news or just utter balls? Read all about it…

 

Posted: 3rd, July 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Lyon ‘trick’ Liverpool with Fekir to Manchester United talk

This summer’s transfer saga centres on Nabil Fakir’s move from Lyon to Liverpool. The transfer was so far progressed that Fakir was filmed wearing a new Liverpool shirt. But the £52m transfer (£48m plus extras) collapsed amid Liverpool’s concerns over the state of Fakir’s knee – the player suffered a bad injury to his knee in 2015.

And  then it all got a bit weird. Lyon president Jean-Michael Aulus told us: “I was with Jose Mourinho the other day. We had long discussions. Personally, I am no longer in discussions with Liverpool. At the moment, we are waiting for France and Nabil to have a fantastic World Cup.”

Can it be that Fakir, who has had a very ordinary World Cup on the France bench, is now off to Manchester United? In “Man Utd transfer news” the Express reads Aulus’s words and conjures the story: “Why Nabil Fekir is likely to snub Liverpool for Manchester United.” As the Express reads Fakir’s mind, the Mirror goes with: “Nabil Fekir could be forced to choose between Manchester United and Liverpool if he leaves Lyon.” Eurosport goes further. “United pounce for Liverpool target Fakir,” it yells.

 

fakir transfer

 

And then the Manchester Evening News tells us; “Nabil Fekir receives Manchester United transfer offer.” Well, that’s the headline. The truth is something very different. Deep into the MEN clickbait, the paper wonders why United want Fekir when they already have Fred, Fellaini, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Paul Pogba as attacking midfielders. It adds:

The Fekir tales are probably just that and there is no concrete evidence United want him. He only has two years left on his contract, so Lyon would prefer to sell the 24-year-old this summer while he is coveted by a big Premier League club, rather than in a year’s time when his value will have dwindled.

Clubs have previously fabricated United’s interest in a player to smoke out a bidder and the biggest sucker for the ruse tends to be Liverpool.

It’s all a trick?

If it is, it’s hard luck on all you readers who have followed the story of Fakir to Manchester United, like those told over and over in the, er, MEN:

 

 

But will Liverpool resurrect the deal? Well, yesterday the Sun said Liverpool had ‘resumed” talks with Lyon:

 

 

fekir liverpool

 

They have? No, says the Times. They have not:

 

fekir liverpool

 

 

Such are the facts.

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


Liverpool stick with Karius as concussion vanishes

Hard cheese on any Liverpool fans hoping for an upgrade on goalkeeper Loris Karius, whose errors cost the reds so dear in the Champions’ League final. The Sun says Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has given up on signing Roma’s Alisson Becker and wants Karius to remain as his number one. Karius “made two horrendous mistakes” as Liverpool lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League final, says the Sun.  It was “his calamitous Champions League final where he gifted Real Madrid two goals”. At no point does the Sun mention the claim that Karius was suffering from concussion.

Is that an oversight? The Mirror adds: “Karius’s errors in the Champions League final had appeared to highlight the Reds’ need for a new man between the sticks.” Again no word on any concussion. Why is it that something so serious as concussion is now dismissed?

 

karius concussion the sun liverpool

 

The Sun once thought it serious enough to explain Karius’ injury in full and advise its readers to go to hospital if the’ve suffered a bang to the head. “The effects usually only lasts up to a few days or weeks,” said the paper, “although in severe cases sufferers will need emergency treatment and can be left with longer-lasting symptoms.

It’s all balls, anyhow. Because Sky Sports notes: “Liverpool’s may see long-term target Alisson pinched from under their noses, with Chelsea planning a £65m offer for the Roma goalkeeper.” Can you pinch something the victim never owned and doesn’t want, according to the Sun and Mirror?

Posted: 1st, July 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal Transfer balls: Wilshere out to Turkey, Sokratis, Torrerira and Golovin in

Departing Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, 26, is off to Turkish club Fenerbahce. There’s been much chatter about Wilshere wanting to stay close to London. And, in truth, you can reach Istanbul from London in just under four hours flying time. If he makes the move, Wilshere will follow in the footsteps of other British footballers to have played for Fenerbahce, like Horace Armitage and Dalian Atkinson. 

As Wilshere leaves for the mayhem of Turkish league football, and the shops – does anyone think he won’t be injured? –  Arsenal will parade Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 30, in a XXL shirt and then buy a much smaller shirt to fit Sampdoria and Uruguay midfielder Lucas Torreira, 22.

Not that anything is done until the money is in the bank. “I have spoken to the boss and he says he will speak to me – I’m sure it will get done,” said Wilshere about a new Arsenal deal last season. The Gunners offered him one, which Wilshere rejected. But not regrets, Jack. Right?

Arsenal are also looking to sign Aleksandr Golovin of CSKA Moscow and Russia, but Chelsea are after him, too. the Gunners also fancy Real Madrid midfielder Lucas Vázquez.

 

Posted: 29th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Chelsea and Belgium’s Michy Batshuayi celebrates by kicking ball into his own face

Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi celebrated Adnan Januzaj’s winning strike for Belgium in their 1-0 win over a palsied England by slamming the ball against the post. The post responded by firing the ball at Batshuayi’s face.

 

 

In other news: England are still England.

PS: Adnan Januzaj used to be English:

Posted: 28th, June 2018 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Bale to Manchester United is more if than when

The Week magazine’s news on Manchester United transfers begins: “If Gareth Bale leaves Real Madrid…” And if he doesn’t? Well, then we will repeat the line next year, and the next and keep on repeating it until Gareth Bale is too old even for a desperate United to recruit. (See Anorak passim).

The Express says United manager Jose Mourinho “is intent” on recruiting the 28-year-old. Intent enough to lend United a few million of his own cash to bolster what would be a huge transfer fee? Or is intent measured in how many times Mourinho can moan about not being able to pick a side made up of  the world’s costliest first XI? The Times says Mourinho has told the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward that Operation Get Bale is of paramount importance to his plans.

The nadir of this hopeless balls is found in the Star, wherein we learn that Bale’s agent “breaks his silence” over Bale to United – because if there is one thing agents are known for it is their decorum. Jonathan Barnett, chairman of the player agency Stellar Group,  says: “I think we need to talk to Real Madrid to see what’s going on, he wants to play more, that’s top priority for him. He’s one of the top three or four players in the world. So he has to play, it’s not about money.”

Mentions of Manchester United: nil.

Oh, and here’s what Barnett had to say in April: “Gareth is a Real Madrid player and loves Real Madrid and Real Madrid love Gareth. All this talk about leaving is written by reporters who have no idea what is going on and who need to write something and don’t care if it is true or not.”

More Bale to United to follow…

Posted: 28th, June 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Asensio ‘agrees’ to Chelsea, secretly wants Manchester United and courts Arsenal and Liverpool

Transfer balls round-up now, readers, as Liverpool are linked with a £158m move for Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio. The Guardian says Asensio, 22, has “refused” to rule out any move. This usually means the player said nothing on the matter. But the player who signed a six-year contract with Real last September – it has a £442m buyout clause – did speak. When asked at a press conference if he was heading to Liverpool, Asensio looked perplexed and replied: “When the World Cup is over, we’ll talk about that sort of thing.” But according to Metro, Asensio is to hold  “crunch talks” with Real Madrid.

Should it not go to plan, Liverpool will splurge a massive wedge of cash on the midfielder who played a full minute in the Champion’s League final.

As the Daily Star tells British reader that Liverpool are “preparing” to buy Asensio, AS (Spain) rubbishes any link. “Asensio only has eyes for Real,” says the paper. “The forward is determined to fulfil his lifelong dream and be a success at the Santiago Bernabéu and, as things stand, no offer – no matter how enticing – will change his mind.” In a world where Neymar can leave Barcelona and then agitate for a move to their great rivals, Real, Asensio has a price. The trick for his agent is to find it. Good idea, then, to see his name being linked to the world’s richest clubs:

 

asensio transfer

 

The guff about Asensio leaving the glory for Real to play for Arsenal worked. He scored a great new longterm contract.

So why not see if that can be improved upon? Liverpool want shim. And so too do:

 

 

asensio transfer

 

asensio arsenal

 

asensio transfer

Asensio agrees’ — nothing

 

So that’s Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United all in for Asensio. Yeah – what about moneybags Man City? The Express has that covered:

asensio transfer

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 27th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Are Arsenal launching a top-shelf adult magazine?

The latest edition of the official Arsenal magazine is very much a top-shelf affair. Unless it’s all a terrible misunderstanding? Spurs fan Iain Aitch thinks it might be, tweeting: “Good to see Arsenal have abandoned sub-editing and proofing.”

 

Arsenal magazine fail
 

As the Arsenal magazine sells well in certain niche ‘communities’, we recall the 2011 Scunthorpe FC calendar (yours for just £12.99). It included an unusual entry for September. The slogan ‘Scunthorpe United No1 Fan’ had been cropped – the ‘S’ was missing. Fan Jamie Muir told us his mum had bought him the ‘cunthorpe’ calendar “I had to rub my eyes. I thought I was seeing things. Initially, I thought the publishers had made a mistake with mine. But then I got a letter and a sticker. They asked us to put it over the mistake, but I reckon I’ll keep it as it is.”

* No-one from Peru’s Deportivo Wanka was available for interview.

Posted: 27th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


Gareth Southgate is a living god

Gareth Southgate is a living god. The England manager is rightly venerated. There will be statues and churches. And then they will be smashed. He will be ordered to get three hence. We will see him again on a World Cup magazine show, in which he will provide a great anecdote about how waistcoats gave him purpose. The Times sums up:

 

gareth southgate god gareth southgate god

 

Elsewhere in the Times, Southgate is called “awkward and ordinary”, “the most timid of Englishmen”, “an International Man of Non-Mystery” and and his side a “secret order of style-conscious executive pillocks with flat caps and art chat”.

Amen.

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


Transfer balls: Bale and Ronaldo to Manchester United (again)

Transfer Balls likes how every summer a player is the primary focus of all the chatter. Remember when Marco Reus was leaving Borussia Dortmund for the Premier League. The Telegraph told its readers it was a sure thing, reporting that “Arsenal planning to hijack Liverpool’s £50 million bid”. He never came. He never even left Borussia.

 

reus agrees arsenal

 

And then there are the transfers that crop up every year, like Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United. The Guardian says that – yep – this summer the move is on:

Having proved beyond sane dispute that he is the GOHG, Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly heading back to where it all started. No, not his mother’s womb; we mean Old Trafford!

Not even his mother’s womb. Ronaldo out at started Sporting Clube de Portugal – in the B team. Manchester United did not hatch the world;’s greatest player. They bought him for £12.24 million, outbidding all rivals. “We have been negotiating for Cristiano for quite some time, but the interest in him from other clubs accelerated in the last few weeks so we had to move quickly to get him,” said United manager Alex Ferguson at the time. “It was only through our official association with Sporting that they honoured our agreement.”

ronaldo manchester united the sun newspapers

 

The money was the key factor in Ronaldo choosing to join Man United. At the time, it was widely reported that Sporting received just two-thirds of the transfer fee. The rest went to Ronaldo’s advisers. And now the talk is that he wants to return. He wants United over Sporting because:

a) His heart is in Manchester

b) United are desperate and would pay a shedload of money to get him

c) He misses the weather back ‘home’

bale manchester united

 

In other Ronaldo news, the Manchester Evening News thunders: “Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo odds to join Manchester United – Manchester United are favourites to land Real Madrid star Gareth Bale”.

Quick! Place your bets. And tell the bookmaker to place the same bet every summer. You can’t lose.

Posted: 23rd, June 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Gareth Bale’s agent over the moon to join Arsenal

Is former Spurs forward Gareth Bale heading to Arsenal? Is Bale going to swap glory in Real Madrid for the Europa League with the Gunners? When Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett was invited to respond to the notion of his client joining Arsenal, he replied: “I’d love him to play there but it’s got as much chance as me going to the moon.”

Slap it through the mincer and it’s a sensation:

gareth bale arsenal

 

“Arsenal transfer news: Shock Bale claim, third Emery signing today, Argentina star wanted” – Daily Star

“Is Gareth Bale moving to Unai Emery’s Arsenal? –  former Tottenham star turning out for north London rivals Arsenal are very slim” – Evening Standard

“Bale’s agent provides update on Real Madrid future – and possible Arsenal move” – Daily Mirror

Gareth Bale’s agent has admitted the Welshman will look to leave Real Madrid if the club cannot offer him assurances over regular game time.

But the chances of the former Tottenham star turning out for north London rivals Arsenal are very slim.

“Bale’s agent discusses chances of Arsenal move” – Standard

Chance of the agent heading to the moon: “very slim.” But there is a chance he will.

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


Spurs striker Kane in heartbreaker horror

harry kane daily mail

 

The Daily Mail is not alone is praising Harry Kane, the Spurs and England footballer. His bare chest fills the Sun’s back page. “Everybody loves Harry,” says the Mirror on its. But only in the Mail is there a focus on Kane’s looks. Over pages 10 and 11, David Jones and Sarah Rainey gells readers that Kane is -“Shock horror!” – a footballer “England can be proud of”.  His list of accomplishments are headlined:

  • no tattoos
  • polite
  • patriotic
  • engaged to his child his sweetheart

And handsome. “What a heartbreaker cooed one devoted fan on twitter.”

 

harry kane daily mail

 

They did? Sort of. A search on twitter delivers this:

 

 

 

No-one called Kane a heartbreaker on twitter.

Posted: 20th, June 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal balls: Jack Wilshere leaves the Gunners

Jack Wilshere is leaving Arsenal.

 

Says Wilshere on Instagram:

 

jack wilshere arsenal

 

Will Arsenal fans miss him? Not much. Not if a player arrives who can do more than run from the centre circle to the edge of the opposition box before being fouled.

Wilshere’s terrific technique enabled him to shows the ball to opponents and pull it away. But then he slowed and the opponent too often nicked the ball and clattered him. Injury robbed Wilshere of many games; and under Wenger he never improved.  He was good enough to make the England World Cup squad. It’d have been a punt to take him to Russia, of course. Wilshere’s fitness makes picking him a risk. But what other English player can make the team tick to a rhythm?

One thing is for sure: the Press didn’t have a clue the talented Englishman was leaving the club where he’s been since age 9:

 

wilshere arteta

The Sun says

 

See yer, Jack. Best of luck.

Posted: 19th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Lehmann leaves and forgets Ljungberg

Arsenal’s new broom Unai Emery has retained Steve Bould as assistant head coach (a job he will share with Juan Carlos Carcedo), but booted out Jens Lehmann as goalkeeping coach, The German, a former Gooner (2003-2008), lasted just one year in the role. He took the news well. “Dear Arsenal fans…

 

lehmann-arsenal-coach

 

Poor Jens is victim of ageism?

In other news: 2004 veteran Freddie Ljungberg (1998 -2007) is the news head coach of the Arsenal Under-23 side.

Also departing: First team coaches Neil Banfield, Tony Colbert, Gerry Peyton and Boro Primorac; Head of Medical Services, Colin Lewin; Physiotherapists Andy Rolls and Ben Ashworth; Osteopath Dr Philippe Boixel and Travel Manager Paul Johnson. When Wenger left, lots of other people’s jobs were affected. That’s a tough call.

Posted: 19th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal sign Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno

Arsenal have agreed to spend 22m euros (£19.3m) on Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno. The 26-year-old German’s arrival will hasten the departure of Petr Cech and / or David Ospina.

Arsenal are also hoping to parade 22-year-old Sampdoria midfielder Lucas Torreira before his next match for Uruguay at the World Cup. The midfielder has been offered a 5-year-contract.

Exciting times at the Emirates.

Posted: 19th, June 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment