Anorak

Sports | Anorak - Part 3

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.

Manchester United balls: David de Gea wants £500,000-a-week; or less

daily mail de gea
The Mail says De Gea is off to PSG

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, 28, is “insisting” (BBC) the club pay him £350,000-a-week if they want him to sign a new deal. The BBC says this would make him the club’s second highest earner “behind behind [sic] £400,000-a-week Alexis Sanchez, 30.”

Sanchez is criminally overpaid. De Gea wants something close to parity with the Chilean. Will one error of judgement by United lead to disharmony in the ranks?

Manchester United BBC
The BBC repeats the news, literally

The BBC links to a story in the Mirror. But the Mirror doesn’t really know what Sanchez earns. So far it’s provided the following figures for Sanchez’s United wage – the taxman may be interested:

£2m a month – Feb 9 2019

£400,000 a week – Sept 22 2018

£390,000 per week – May 11 2018

£25.5m a year – Jan 22 2018

£500,000 per week – Feb 8, 2018

£400,000-a-week – Jan 29 2018

In other transfer gossip, Manchester United fancy Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele and Norwich City defender Ben Godfrey, 21. Both should cost less than Sanchez or De Gea.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 10th, February 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


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

Liverpool

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or as the official West Ham United site put it:

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

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

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


Manchester City balls: Spurs win by losing but Pep’s pots count for nought

Stan Collymore’s Daily Mirror column continues to demand that we light the torches and march on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Trouble is that the glare from those burning fires has blinded Collymore to facts and the tiniest muon of circumspection and reason. Compare and contrast what the former Liverpool striker said about Mauricio Pochettino and then about Guardiola.

Collymore on Pochettino’s desperate statement that finishing in the Premier League’s top four is better than winning any cup:

One of the greatest managers in recent history who we’ve given a lot of stick to was Jose Mourinho. At Chelsea, what did he target? The League Cup. Coming so early in the season it is a trophy that can get you off and running…

Managers, said Collymore, should be chasing “every single trophy”. Because they all matter. Unless you’re Pep Guardiola.

Here’s Collymore on Pep being unsuccessful by, er, winning a cup:

The one thing the Premier League will do is test every single thing about you. If you don’t believe me, look at Pep Guardiola. Recognised as one of the top three or four managers in the world over the last decade, he could go into this fourth season at Manchester City having won one English title and no Champions Leagues. And that’s with the biggest budget in English football.

Guardiola joined Manchester City at the start of the 2016-2017 season. He’s in his third full season at the club. Guardiola finished his first season at City with no trophies – the only time he’s finished a season without a trophy. The next season – 2017-18 – City beat Arsenal 0–3 to win the Carabao Cup. They won the Premier League with a record-breaking 100 points. Right now City are top of the PL table, still in the Champions League and FA Cup, and will contest the Carabao Cup final with Chelsea. And they play some fabulous football.

Collymore thinks the Carabao Cup doesn’t matter when Guadiola wins it and matters greatly when Pochettino doesn’t? Can the Mirror get this man a sub-editor?

Posted: 7th, February 2019 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Chelsea balls: Willian off; Hazard decides; Luiz on a free; and a transfer ban

Chelsea ban transfer

Sports writing highlights in the London Evening Standard, which brings news of Chelsea FC’s Willian. On Page 57, we read a story continued from the “back page”. But the back page features only an advert for a movie called Alita Battle Angel – which Willian is not in (I checked). No word on him on page 59 either. But on page 58, we learn that Chelsea’s Eden Hazard has decided his future. The Belgian tells French radio station RMC: “I know what I am going to do. I have made decision.” How very subtle and elusive he is.

And on page 57 we get told that Willian is going to be a victim of “Chelsea’s strict over-30 policy”. So strict is this policy that the Blues just signed Gonzalo Higuain – the 31-year-old – with options to extend the loan or sign him permanently. The Standard says Chelsea “won’t change their contract policy regaling players over 30”, without telling readers what that policy is. I can tell you that Chelsea only offers one-year contract extensions to the over-30s. David Luiz and Gary Cahill are two over-30s whose contracts expire in the summer, when both can leave on a Bosman free transfer.

Chelsea Willian transfer

The Standard also fails to mention Chelsea’s problems of the field. Fifa has invested the club over potential rule breaches with regard to more than 100 foreign players under the age of 18.

Chelsea says they have “fully cooperated with Fifa and provided comprehensive evidence demonstrating its compliance with the applicable Fifa regulations”. but should they be found guilty and a transfer ban imposed, Willian won’t be going anywhere – and Luiz can write his own cheque.

Posted: 5th, February 2019 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Manchester United to double Rashford’s wages

How much is Marcus Rashford worth to Manchester United? Talk is of Real Madrid testing the water with a £100m bid for the striker. United pay Rashford around £75,000-a-week. They pay Anthony Martial £200,000-a-week. Clearly either Rashford is being underpaid or else Martial has just agree a five-year deal that overvalues his contributions to United.

Rashford has started all eight Premier League games since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over from Jose Mourinho, scoring six times. In that time, Martial has scored twice.

Meanwhile… over in Russia, Mourinho was tossing an ice puck to start an ice hockey match. There he was was stood on a roll of carpet between two players. On the way back to his seat Mourinho slipped. Lots of people noticed – but we’ve one question: what is it with Mourinho and red carpets?

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


Arsenal balls: Emery’s transfer budget

Arsenal transfer budget

Arsenal have a strange squad of players, a composite blend of the over-paid, over-hyped and under-performing. But worry not. New blood is on the way. The Sun says Arsenal are looking to recruit at least five new faces for next season. And they have a whopping £40m to get them. The transfer budget will go up should Arsenal qualify for the Champions League either by finishing in the top four or winning the Europa League. Can they do it? Can a club that paid over £30m for the lumpen Mustafi and let Aaron Ramsey leave for free do something right? If they do, then Emery will have £60m for spend on new faces – what Manchester City invest in a reserve full back.

The Sun, however, doesn’t tell readers who that figure was arrived at. why wold Arsenal go public with their budget? And why does the Mail tell its readers: “Emery’s Transfer budget is only £45m.” And in the Mail Arsenal needs “at least three players” to “join the elite”.

All utter tosh, of course. Arsenal are the elite:

Arsenal money

Arsenal do have the money. They also have an absentee owner uninterested in seeing his team win on the field.

Posted: 5th, February 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal Balls: 4 years since last away win over Big 6 team; greedy Stan Kroenke to blame; Emery needs 10 new players

Stan Kronke arsenal
Stan Kroenke – the man with one plan: milk the club and, er, that’s it

It is now four years and 21 matches since Arsenal last won away from home against a big-six rival — a 2-0 win against Manchester City in January 2015. Under Stan Kroenke’s ownership, Arsenal have dropped and dropped. Kroenke is the greedy, absentee owner the club never deserved. He puts no stock in the team winning on the pitch. There is no reflective glory. Arsenal fans would wager and win the bet that Kroenke doesn’t even know who Unai Emery is. It’s all just about dividends and cash. Kroenke doesn’t support Arsenal; Arsenal supports him and his avarice.

Arsenal’s way form against their so-called Premier League title rivals is dire. These are the points won in games away to the big six since that City victory:

Team
Man City Games 23, points 31
Liverpool 21, 24
Man Utd 21, 23
C Palace 24, 20
Southampton 24, 16
West Ham 24, 16
Chelsea 18, 16
Tottenham 19, 15
Leicester City 26, 14
West Brom 21, 12
Swansea City 20, 12
Burnley 19, 9
Everton 25, 8
Bournemouth 22, 8
Arsenal 21, 7
Newcastle 19, 5
Stoke City 19, 5
Watford 20, 4
Aston Villa 10, 3
Sunderland 15, 2
Huddersfield 10,2

Spotter: The Times

Posted: 4th, February 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Media Balls: Arenal robbed; Aguero cheats; Manchester City go full bizarro world

Aguero handball manchester city
An arse and his elbow

Handball it was, then. The third goal scored by Sergio Aguero as his Manchester City beat Arsenal 3-1 in the Premier League went in off his forearm. The ball was travelling away from the Arsenal goal when Aguero tapped it in with his arm. What say the players and clubs?

Sergio Aguero: “I thought it came off my chest but now I see on TV it was handball.” Hats off to Aguero for that utter twaddle.

The Sun: “The ball was diverted into the net by Aguero’s elbow”.

Arsenal FC: “Sterling beats his marker and crosses to Aguero, who looks to have scored with his arm… Despite our protests, the goal stands.”

Manchester City FC: “Sterling ran into the box and with no challenge, continued on before sliding another fine cross into the middle that Leno pushed onto the upper half of the sliding-in Aguero’s body and the ball trickled over the line.”

Ha. The upper half of his body – you know, where your arms and hands are. Or what Aguero calls “my chest”.

The City website adds: “It was a bizarre way to complete yet another Aguero hat-trick, but nobody was complaining!”

Well, aside from the Arsenal players and fans who had seen their team cheated, no-one was complaining at all.

Posted: 4th, February 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Newcastle sign Almiron from, er, Arsenal

Almiron NEwcastle
‘I am so happy to sign for Arsenal United’

Transfer Balls looks at dire football reporting. So news that Miguel Almiron has joined Newcastle United is interesting. On October 7 2018, the Daily Star told its readers:

Arsenal news: Miguel Almiron set for Emirates move after £11m Atlanta United deal agreed

Nothing was agreed. But the Star’s URL hammered home its scoop:

Almiron daily star arsenal
The robots spread the word: Almiron was a Gunner

The Daily Mirror had much the same news:

Almiron arsenal mirror
Arsenal fans waiting to meet the ‘sensation’ they were ‘introduced to will have to wait until their side plays Newcastle

Such are the facts.

Posted: 31st, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal Transfer Balls: Nkunku in; Perisic stalemate; Carrasco waits

Arsenal are still in the chase for PSG’s Christopher Nkunku. Having signed Denis Surez on a loan deal with an option to buy at the season’s end, the Gunners seem determined to buy a field a team of small, slight midfielders. Suarez, Knunku and Torreira add up in terms of weight and height to one Patrick Vieira.

In other news, moves to recruit the rather brilliant Ivan Perisic from Inter Milan have come to nought. The Italians want £35m for the Croatian now. Arsenal want to give them a set of Gunnersaurus shinpads and some gum until June when the bank will releases some funds. Inter won’t wait. Perisic has handed in a transfer request. Inter says he’s been “misled”. The deal looks dead unless someone blinks.

Yannick Carrasco could still arrive, however. Arsenal want him. Carrasco wants them. But the Belgian’s current club, Dalian Yifang, want more money than Arsenal are offering. See a theme developing?

Posted: 30th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Manchester United transfers: Felix in; Martial signs; Fellaini gone

Farewell, Marouane Fellaini, who has left Manchester Untied for Shandong Luneng on a three-year contract in a deal worth around £8million a year. We only pity whoever’s sat on the plan next to the jutting Belgian. Those elbows never did have enough room on a pitch. But he’s on decent money and can book three seats.

In place of the big lad in the middle and up front and in your face, Manchester United will look to buy Benfica and Portugal’s 19-year-old Joao Felix. In 2018, Fellaini calculated that it would cost Manchester United almost £44 million to replace him. Felix should cost less. The rest of us should wonder if Fellaini estimates his value by the square inch and not in terms of dribbling ability and other more traditional skillsets.

In other news, Anthony Martial has agreed a new fie-year contract. The burly Frenchman has scored 46 goals in 161 outings since joining the club for £36m in 2015. Back then he was the main man. Then came another teenage sensation, one Kylian Mbappe, and Martial looked lackadaisical and aloof. Still, a big money, long-term deal will surely enliven him – and give United a better chance of getting a decent return on their investment.

Posted: 30th, January 2019 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment


Arsenal sign Denis Suarez

denis suarez arsenal

Arsenal have signed Denis Suarez from Barcelona. The Spaniard will play for Arsenal until the end of the season. Before he decamped for London, Suarez signed a one-year extension on his Barcelona contract, which was due to expire in summer 2020. This means he won’t be able to able to leave on a free in June – and if Arsenal want him they’ll have to pay a transfer fee. The deal gives Arsenal first option to buy Suarez. What do Arsenal get for their money? A technically proficient, small-ish midfielder. With a bit of luck, he’ll be the new Santi Cazorla. With less luck, he’ll be the new Denilson.



Posted: 30th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal Transfer Round-Up: Gueye, Nkunku, Peresic, Tielemans and Peresic all in; Elneny out

Arsenal like Everton’s Idrissa Gueye. So do Manchester City. The Senegal player can either join the current champions and play in the Champions League for loadsa money, or aim to be a bit better than Elneny – the Gunners are keen to offload the Egyptian – and snatch the chance to work with Gunnersaurus. No contest. See you in London, Idrissa. Paris Saint-Germain also want him. But that club is more desperate than an adolescent on a foreign exchange trip, and they employ a mascot in the shape of a lynx. It’s called Germain. Why? Well, according to the people that invented this ambulatory plushy:

Our BAM Mascot team fabricated a Lynx mascot costume for the PSG club. We believe that mascots should represent the characteristics of your team. So why did PSG select a Lynx? In mythology, a Lynx is known for it’s supernatural abilities and strength, and in modern times, a Lynx is seen as a powerful hunter with excellent eyesight, attributes that translate to sports abilities – good vision, winning instinct, competitiveness.

In more modern time Lynx is the name of a cheap perfume for men marketed as an aid to scoring. It’s very Paris. In other countries Lynx is known as Axe, which given the nature of managerial appointments at PSG is also very apposite.

If PSG get Gueye, Arsenal could get the French club’s midfielder Christopher Nkunku. Or they could go for Monaco’s 21-year-old Youri Tielemans. And there’s Yannick Carrasco, the Belgian who wants to leave Chinese club Dalian Yifang. Arsenal could opt for him if they fail in a bid for Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic. Lots of maybes, then. Although one thing is certain: Arsenal aren’t getting anew central defender. Maybe Gunnersaurus will finally get a go?

Posted: 30th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Talking Balls: Spurs title win would better Leicester City’s 2016 effort

Line of the day comes from former Liverpool and Leicester City player Stan Collymore now working as a Daily Mirror columnist. The job of a columnist is to foment debate. So (MAGA) hats off to Collymore for this hot take on Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs:

In fact, if Pochettino this season wins the Premier League or Champions League either of them will be the singular biggest achievement of an English club manager since Brian Clough won back-to-back European Cups with Nottingham Forest. I’d consider it better than Leicester as their title win a few years ago was a true one-off while Spurs are expected to compete.’

Previously in the Tele:

Daily Telegraph – September 27 2000

As the Spurs fans sing, ‘If you know your history…’

Posted: 29th, January 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Denis Suarez in; Perisic agrees Manchester United but wants Arsenal

Arsenal fans have had a few weeks to find out who Denis Suarez is and what he does. And now the Barcelona substitute is on his way to the club. He’ll join Arsenal for the rest of the season for a fee of €2.5million (Standard). So good is Suarez that Barca wanted a permanent transfer but Arsenal insisted on a loan move. Really Betis and Sevilla, where Suarez was out on loan when Unai Emery was in charge, were happy to pay around £20m for the midfielder. But he only wanted to play in the Premier League. So that’s that.

The odd bit is that Suarez, who is out of contract in 2020, will join Arsenal after signing a new deal to remain for longer at Barcelona. The Spaniards will only let him leave if he stays.

One other on his way into the Gunners is Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic. The Indy says inviting in the talented Croatia is a huge mistake. But too late! Eurosport says a deal has been “agreed”. Perisic, says the broadcaster, will earn around €3m for the rest of the season at Arsenal and then after a hefty purchase price in June – a fee of around €30m is mooted – another €6m a season for the next three years. A dead cert then. Just as it was in 2017, when the Express announced: “Ivan Perisic agrees £6.2m-a-year deal with Manchester United.” And: “Man Utd agree £40m transfer fee with Inter Milan for Ivan Perisic.” He remained at Inter.



Posted: 29th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


It cost Arsenal £17m to get shot of Arsene Wenger

wenger

It took more than placards and hashtags to defenestrate Arsene Wenger from Arsenal. Sky says it took £17.1m. Not that he got the lot. The Times says the £17m was paid to Wenger and his staff on condition of them leaving pronto.

Wenger had a year left on his contract when he sacked after 22 years in charge – and a decade at the helm of a club resting on its laurels. Of Wenger’s key staff, Steve Bould remained as assistant manager. You may wonder what the stalwart defender of George Graham’s fabled Arenal back four, one of the key exponents of ‘If in doubt, kick it out’ defending, is coaching the current feeble backline. Maybe in his head Bouldy was beating two players, shimmying past the ‘keeper and scoring for fun, and seeks to live out his dream in the unlikely shape of the insufferable and wholly useless Shkodran Mustafi. Arsenal fans will settle for the practicality of defenders taking out a man and ball in no-nonsense challenges and flicking it on at near post corners routines.

What Bouldy earns is not revealed. But the club’s latest accounts show that revenue dropped from £422.8 million to £388.2 million. And that Ivan Gazidis – aka Ivan The Terrible – got a pay rise before she legged it to AC Milan.

Posted: 29th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Money, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: sex, Joe Willock and The Sun’s Ashley Cole rerun

When back in December the Sun told us about Arsenal players allegedly inhaling nitrous oxide – “hippy crack” – we were assured that the “images will horrify Arsenal fans and enrage no-nonsense Spanish team coach Unai Emery”. Fast forward to January and club’s teenage prospect Joe Willock is the subject of an alleged huff ‘n’ tell. And the Sun once more tells us: “His antics will horrify Arsenal fans and enrage the team’s no-nonsense Spanish coach Unai Emery.”

Arsenal hippy crack
The Sun – December 2018
The Sun – Janaury 2019

The fallout from the December story has been softer than an autumn leaf dropping from a woodland tree. So will the Willock ‘The Pillock’ story travel better? It has a chance because it features “French model Eglantine Flore Aguilar”. You may recall her from her time with former Arsenal player Ashley Cole? Yeah – like the quote, she too is a repeat. Says La Eggplant: “He certainly moved quickly. One minute he was messaging me on Instagram, the next he was buying me tickets to London. His conversation was very boring, possibly because he’s so young. The sex was also really weird. He wanted to try all different positions in the shortest possible time. I didn’t enjoy it.”

The unmarried lad’s a nippy utility player. And:

The Sun – with typo

The paper’s typo and repetition will surely horrify Sun fans and enrage the team’s no-nonsense editor.

Posted: 28th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Spurs boss Pochettino: winning is only good for players’ ego

Pochettino Spurs

“It’s true, this season has been tough,” said Spurs manger Mauricio Pochettino after defeat to the mighty Crystal Palace knocked them out of the FA Cup, their second cup exit in days (67 hours to be sure). “You feel disappointed. You can’t feel anything different.

“We are still in two competitions, in a good position in the Premier League and the Champions League is a massive motivation for the whole club. We have to be strong. People wish we could win some trophies. But being realistic, we are doing so well. To win a title here in England like the FA Cup or Carabao Cup is about being lucky, not only about quality in your squad.”

After defeat to Chelsea on penalties Pochettino saw them exit the Carabao Cup, he opined: “I’d prefer to lose on penalties.”

The manager bemoans his luck. He has a preference in how he likes Spurs to lose. And what of the damaging effect of victory? He adds: “We are going to create a debate that to win a trophy is going to help the club. I don’t agree with that. That only builds your ego. In reality, the most important thing is being consistently in the top four and playing Champions League. That is going to help the club to achieve the last step.”

How Spurs fans and the players could use an ego boost. Top four isn’t a Cup. If it were, Arsenal would need a new trophy cabinet. And with the diary less busty, Poch has plenty of time to think about what it is to win. But take care. A recent academic paper says people’s egos get bigger after meditation. Don’t over think it.

Posted: 28th, January 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal Transfer Balls: Perisic, Nkunku and Suarez in; Sokratis lives

Arsenal need a winger. No great news there. The team are narrower than a Guardian columnist’s politics. But who will the wide man be? The Sun says it’s Barcelona’s Brazilian forward Malcom, 21. He only joined the Spanish club from Bordeaux in July 2018, agreeing a five-year contract for a transfer fee of around €41million.

Scouted heavily by Liverpool and Spurs before he opted for Barca, Malcolm was described as a player with “no inflated ego, no excuses – just a burning desire to win at all cost”. He sounds a dream. But his time at Barcelona has been stop-start. And now Barcelona are very keen to offload him. Earlier this month, Chelsea rejected Barcelona’s bid of Malcom plus cash for Willian.

So it’s Malcom to Arsenal, then. Or maybe Arsenal will get Inter Milan’s Croatia attacker Ivan Perisic, 29? Arsenal want Perisic on loan with a £35m option to buy. He’s a cracking player. The BBC says he’s open to leaving the San Siro. Adding: “It is understood Inter would be prepared to do business for between £35m-£40m.” Maybe Arenal will entice Inter into a deal by lobbing them Mesut Ozil and subsiding some of the German’s gargantuan wages?

Also heading to the Gunners – maybe – are Barcelona’s Denis Suarez and Christopher Nkunku of Paris St-German.

As for a defender, well, Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin, Laurent Koscielny and Sokratis Papadopoulos are all injured. But now matter: Carl Jenkinson is available. The best form of defence at Arsenal is to attack.

Posted: 27th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Thierry Henry is available after Monaco let him go

Monaco have suspended their former player and the one-time Arsenal great Thierry Henry after just 20 games in charge. Reports from France are that he’ll be replaced by Leonardo Jardim – the coach Monaco fired three months ago.

Henry will doubtless end up back on the Sky Sports pundits sofa, sat alongside Gary Neville, another ex-player who flopped as a manager. Like Henry, Neville lasted just three months at Valencia. Neville has not worked as a coach since. Will there now be calls for Henry to manage Arsenal as there were when Arsene Wenger was finally being shuffled out the door? Nope. Henry was a better manager before he took the a managerial job.

Note: In 2016 Arsenal offered Henry the job of coaching their under-18 side. Arsene Wenger made it condition that Henry would have to give up working as a TV pundit. He could not be both critic and performer. “I would like to thank Andries Jonker for offering me the chance to coach the U18’s @arsenal, which I was honoured to accept,” Henry wrote on Twitter. “However I respect Arsène Wenger’s decision and I want to wish their manager Kwame Ampadu, the boys and everyone at the club all the best for the forthcoming season.” Would Arsenal now welcome him back?

Posted: 24th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Frenkie de Jong joins Manchester City and Barcelona

Frenkie de jong

The story of Gonzalo Higuain’s transfer to Arsenal as told by the Sun continues to top our list of Transfer Balls, our look at dire reporting presented as fact. But coming up hard on the rails is the tabloid story of Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong’s move to Manchester City. The player has just singed a five-year contract with Barcelona, which should be a shock to any fans who get their news in the Sun, the Daily Mirror and the BBC:

frenkie de jong
Daily Mirror says Frenkie to City is done
Frenkie de Jon signs for Manchester City -
Frenkie de Jon signs for Manchester City – The Sun
Frenkie de Jon
Frenkie de Jon signs for Manchester City – BBC

The 21-year-old Holland international was interesting Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. But yesterday Barcelona’s Twitter account oozed: “A new artist is coming next summer.” The fee: €75m.

“With the arrival of Frenkie De Jong we add talent, youth and Barça style [aka Akax redux] to our sporting project,” said the club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu. “We are convinced that he will be a key part of our team for years to come.” Comment from Manchester City comes there none.

Posted: 24th, January 2019 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Liverpool move for Chelsea winger Hudson-Odoi

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

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

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


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


Gonzalo Higuain: Chelsea sign Juventus striker who played for Arsenal

Chelsea have signed Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain. The 31-year-old Argentine will remain at Chelsea until the end of the season.

“When the opportunity to join Chelsea presented itself I had to take it,” said Higuain. It’s a team I’ve always liked that has a lot of history, a wonderful stadium and they play in the Premier League, a league I’ve always wanted to play in.”

Has he forgotten signing for Arsenal in 2013?! Surely not:

higuain transfer

Such are the facts.

Posted: 23rd, January 2019 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Arsenal Transfer Balls: Suarez and Rodriguez in; Ramsey out; Ozil shoots

You’d suppose Denis Suarez was lightning fast given how long Arsenal have been chasing him without landing a finger on the Spaniard’s shirt. The chase continues because Barcelona want Arsenal to buy their man at the season’s end. Arsenal would prefer to take the Suarez on loan and wait and see.

The Gunners are also keen on James Rodriguez, the Real Madrid player who wants to cut short his two-year loan spell at Bayern Munich. Absurd, no, that a player can be on loan for two seasons. Why no just sell him? Rodriguez joined Bayern because the German missed out on Alexis Sanchez, who opted to learn the piano at Old Trafford.

Rodriguez costs Bayern €15m a year – €5m to Real and €10m to the player. At the end of two years, Bayern have an option to buy him for another €35m. They don’t want to. And Real don’t need him. The Colombia forward signed a six-year deal at the Bernabeu in 2014.

Should the Gunners get both players, they will allow Aaron Ramsey, 28, to join Juventus this month for a peppercorn transfer fee.

One player not longer heading to the Emirates is Manchester United. Old Trafford have blocked any loan deal. Also not playing for Arsenal is goalkeeper Emi Martinez, who is to join Reading on loan.

In other news, Arsenal went paintballing. The Mail says: “He cannot get a look in for recent games but German midfielder Mesut Ozil was brought back in from the cold.” Or as the Sun puts it: “PAINTBAWL – Mesut Ozil can’t even get in Unai Emery’s paintball team… let alone Arsenal starting XI.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 23rd, January 2019 | In: Arsenal | Comment


Arsenal: Mislintat out; Overmars to bring Ajax talent to The Emirates

Finally some transfer news from Arsenal: head of recruitment Sven Mislintat will leave the club. He’s not leaving in the transfer window, which would be fitting. He’s leaving in February. The German arrived at Arsenal in December, 2017, at the behest of then chief executive Ivan Gazidis, aka ‘Ivan the Terrible’. Arsenal says Mislintat has “done a truly outstanding job in helping us recruit players who are making a big impact now and will do so even more in the future”. If he’s that good, why is he leaving?

“It’s been an amazing experience to work at a great club like Arsenal in what has been a big time of change,” says Mislintat. “I am excited about what the future holds for the club and am looking forward to new challenges for myself.”

During Mislinat’s tenure, Arsenal signed Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. All three not only delighted the Arsenal store manger who charges £2 a letter for players’ names on replica kits but also Borussia Dortmund, the club where all three used to play and – yep – Mislintat was head scout. You might suppose his job was to get them and once he’d got them, he was spent. You might also suppose that in looking to replace Mislintat with Ajax’s Marc Overmars, the Gunners are more than a bit interested in some of the Dutch club’s talent.

Posted: 21st, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment