Anorak

Sports | Anorak - Part 4

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 Transfer Balls: Carrasco and James Rodriguez in; Ozil and Mislintat out

Today’s round-up of Arsenal transfer news has no update on Aaron Ramsey’s departure to Juventus but does note that Mesut Ozil could also be bound for Italy. Rumours are that Unai Emery wants shot of the German and Inter Milan will take him if Arsenal pick up a chunk of that £350,000-a-week wage bill.

Arsenal need to get rid of Ozil in order to pay for Belgium winger Yannick Carrasco’s return to Europe from Chinese club Dalian Yifang.

Arsenal also rather like Colombia and Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez. He wants to cut short his two-year loan spell at Bayern Munich. With just six-months left to run, Rodriguez could cost Arsenal a mere £3m in wages – roughly what Ozil earns in two months.

It really is all change at Arsenal. Emery is part of a charge to revolutionise the club post Wenger. Chief executive Ivan Gazidis left; two club stalwarts, Ramsey and Ozil, are being shunted out; the club’s technical director / chief scout, Sven Mislintat, is set to leave; Petr Cech announced his retirement; and Danny Welbeck’s unlikely to get a new deal. Arsenal’s new director of football, Raul Sanllehi, and the managing director, Vinai Venkatesham, are catalysts for change. Former midfielder Edu, a coordinator for Brazil’s national team, could be on his way in.

Posted: 16th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Petr Cech retires

Farewell, Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech. He’s due to retire at the end of the season. “Having played 15 years in the Premier League and won every single trophy possible, I feel like I have achieved everything I set out to achieve,” says the former Chelsea ‘keeper.

“I will continue to work hard at Arsenal to hopefully win one more trophy this season… I am looking forward to seeing what life holds for me off the pitch.”

This is good news for the Gunners. Cech has been no more than a decent goalkeeper at Arsenal. His best days were behind him when he signed from Chelsea in June 2015. At his best he was formidable.

Cech’s career nearly ended in October 2006 when he required surgery for a skull fracture after a collision with Reading’s Stephen Hunt. The injury caused him to miss three months playing. He returned to the field wearing that now familiar scrum cap. As Giles Smith quipped in the Times, the cap contain a “lightweight electronics and incorporates a personal organiser and an entertainment system, enabling the.. custodian to access crucial match-play data in real time and also, during bored moments, book cinema tickets or download and listen to the latest Beyonce album.”

We can expect to see him sat on the BBC pundit sofas dwarfing lesser ex-players soon…

Posted: 15th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Gymnastics: UCLA’s Katelyn Ohashi scores a perfect 10 plus

Katelyn Ohashi

Sport can make you gasp. The floor performance by 21-year-old UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi is spectacular. Watch out for the eye-watering splits bounce at the 1:25 mark.

Uproxx has more:

Katelyn Ohashi is about to become a household name. The 21-year-old UCLA gymnast wowed spectators with an absolutely flawless routine at the Anaheim Arena over the weekend, which subsequently went viral when the UCLA Gymnastics ‏Twitter account tweeted video after her performance. Gymnastics ‏Twitter account tweeted video after her performance. “A 10 isn’t enough for this floor routine by Katelyn Ohashi,” the tweet correctly expressed.

Posted: 15th, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Ozil and the Hookah

The Mail has a pop at Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil. The paper says the player “was recently pictured on holiday in a hookah lounge as the Gunners lost to West Ham”. Arsenal lost 1-0 to West Ham on Saturday in the 12:30 kick off. The image reproduced by the Mail is of Ozil at Istanbul venue Lulu Hookah Lounge.

Ozil Turkey

Ozil is seen posing for a photo with a well wisher. The image was posted on an Instagram page belonging to @paletzengin on January 13. The same image can be seen on Palet Zengin’s Facebook page on the 12th at 11pm.

Istanbul is three hours ahead of London time. So was Ozil “chilling” at the same time as Arsenal were suffering defeat at West Ham? If he was, the paper provides no proof.

Posted: 14th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal Transfer Balls: Ramsey agrees to disagree with Juventus

Ramsey

The Sun told us that today Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey was taking his Juventus medical. He’d already agreed to join the Italian side in June on a free transfer. The BBC, Sky Sports and Guardian agreed. Ramsey to Juventus was a done deal. And so to today’s news – the day of the Ramsey’s MoT – and the Sun tells readers that nothing has been agreed. Cancel the knee tapper:

the sun ramsey juventus

The pick of today’s transfer balls being the inverted commas around his “medical today”. It was the Sun that told us: “The Wales international has already agreed a five-year deal to move to Juventus in the summer once his current contract expires, and will undergo a medical at the club today.”

the sun ramsey juventus

The Standard told us that no deal had been done:

Aaron Ramsey

So what is it? Has Ramsey signed a deal or not? He can’t have agreed to join for nothing in June, be keeping his options open and heading to a club other than Juventus in January?

Posted: 13th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Mesut Ozil look alike Daniel Kaye jailed for DoS attack on African internet

Ozil DAniel Kaye
Ozil Kaye

Daniel Kaye, 29, admitted attacking Lonestar, an African phone company, in 2016 – accidentally crashing Liberia’s internet. The Briton was this week jailed for 32 months. Anorak can’t help but notice that Kaye looks a lot like Arsenal FC’s Mesut Ozil. Can the pair be related?

According to court papers, Kaye was hired in 2015 to attack Lonestar, Liberia’s leading mobile phone and internet company, by an individual working for Cellcom, its competitor.There is no suggestion that Cellcom knew what the employee was doing – but the individual offered Kaye up to $10,000 (£7,800) a month to use his skills to do as much as possible to destroy Lonestar’s service and reputation.

BBC

Kaye harnessed the power of the Internet of Things to carry out a DOS attack:


How Kaye did it is of no little interest. It’s all about the Internet of things.
The weapon, known as “Mirai #14” worked by secretly hijacking a vast number of Chinese-made Dahua webcams, which are used for security in homes and businesses around the world. He identified that the cheap cameras and other similar equipment had a security flaw – and he exploited that to take over the devices without owners knowing. That meant he could turn them into what amounted to a “zombie” cyber army to attack his target. In November 2016, working secretly out of Cyprus and controlling the botnet via his mobile phone, Kaye ordered it to overwhelm Lonestar’s systems.

On his command, hundreds of thousands of the webcams began firing data requests at the west African company. The system began to struggle to manage the demands and parts of the infrastructure crashed.

Mesut Ozil is injured and has never hacked anything – indeed, he rarely tackles anything harder than a sponge.

Posted: 12th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, News | Comment


Spurs balls: Levy tells Manchester United his price for Pochettino

How much is Mauricio Pochettino worth to Spurs? The BBC says Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy will not let manager Pochettino join Manchester United, even if the Old Trafford club offer £50m for the Argentine. To put it another way: offer Spurs over £50m and see what happens.

The Sun has more. “DANIEL LEVY will not let Mauricio Pochettino join Manchester United — even for £50million,” chimes the paper. “The Tottenham chairman has made it clear to his board he plans to reject any Old Trafford approach at the end of the season.” He also made it clear what kind of transfer fee he puts on Pochettino’s head.

We then get more about the figure:

Poch has four years left on a deal worth £34m. And United are tempted to pay it in full, plus an additional £16m for the world’s most wanted football coach. But Levy, who convinced Poch to sign a new contract last May, fully expects his manager to honour his agreement. And he is even prepared to give Poch the last word on all transfers.


You can unpack that. What United are prepared to pay is known how? No quotes are offered. And Poch might have the last word on transfers if there are any. Spurs didn’t sign a single player over the summer. Had they have done would they now be in better shape to challenge for the title? And what of hanging on to the players they already have? Many of the club’s best performers know they can earn more at other clubs.

Take Christian Eriksen, the Spurs player whose contract expires in 2020. Eriksen earns about £70,000- a-week at Tottenham. He wants an improved deal. Chances are that he’d get a far bigger wage packet at Real Madrid, who are keen on the Dane. Factor in the bill for a £1bn new stadium and Spurs are unlikely to be buying at the top of the market. Poch has done well at Spurs. And if they do win something this season, Levy will hope United and Real both want him. If players can be transferred why not mangers? Let a bidding war begin…

Posted: 12th, January 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer Balls: £40m reasons for Arsenal to thank Aaron Ramsey

Having been told Aaron Ramsey has signed with Juventus but will remain on the Arsenal books until June (Sky), the media now says he’s signed nothing. Juventus are now mere “favourites” (Standard) to sign the Welshman. Other teams in the offing are: two from Spain, Inter Milan, PSG, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Liverpool. If Ramsey is as good as every pundit says he is, why hasn’t a team put their money where their mouth is and tried to take him this January?

The Standard says Arsenal want £40m for the player. Given Ramsey’s reputation and his being in the prime of his career, you’d suppose many teams would be in for him. Perhaps one will offer Ramsey the £250,000-a-week he was seeking at Arsenal and a chunk of any signing-on fee? Some of the world’s richest clubs have been linked with Ramsey. Will one make a move? Why are only Juventus offering hard cash?

Might it be that injury-prone Ramsey’s not that easy to deal with? The Standard says the deal Arsenal offered him was “left unsigned for several months”. Arsenal tired of the wait. The deal was withdrawn.

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


Arsenal: Aaron Ramsey takes the money and lingers

Aaron Ramey transfer

Arsenal can continue to pick and play Aaron Ramey until the season ends at which point he’ll head to Italy for five years, says Sky Sports. Ramsey will earn around £140,000-a-week at Juventus – around the same fee Arsenal will have to pay him until his contract expires. Arsenal will get no transfer fee for the Welshman. After ten years at Arsenal, Ramsey is now stinking out the place. The one issue is that Sky’s story has no quotes to support it. No word from Ramsey. No word from Arsenal. Just a fact floating in the internet ether. And good enough for the Guardian:

Transfer ramsey arsenal

We’ve been here before:

the sun ramsey juventus

Ramsey joined Arsenal from Cardiff for £4.8m. He played 252 Premier League matches for the Gunners. He scored 52 goals, including the winning goals in the 2014 and 2017 finals.

Arsenal should have secured a transfer fee for a decent player in the prime of his career. You wonder what the previous regime under the dire Ivan Gazidis was up to. But it’s not over. There is chance the Gunners will get some cash for the player they developed. I hear through the grapevine that Real Madrid are looking to pay some money to get Ramsey this month. Watch this space…

Posted: 10th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Manchester United transfers

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

Manchester City

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

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


Transfer Balls: Spurs are ready to sell Eriksen

Real Madrid like the look of Christian Eriksen, the Spurs player whose contract expires in 2020. Eriksen earns about £70,000- a-week at Tottenham. He wants an improved deal. Chances are that he’d get a bigger wage packet at Real. But Spurs stand in his path, asking – get this – £220m for the player they signed from Ajax for £11 million. If he’s worth that much to Spurs, why not pay him £300,000-a-week? Answer: because Spurs are a selling club.

The fee asked is huge and nuts, of course, but the fact Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman, put a number to the question ‘What’s he worth’ shows that he’s ready to sell an asset. Eriksen would be mad not to leave Spurs for Real. Levy knows that. The player realises his value and wants to play for one of Europe’s best sides. The bigger question is if Eriksen is part of a deal that will also take the club’s manager back to Spain? Reports in Spain say Real are prepared to offer £80m for Eriksen. Pick a number around £100m and they’ll get their man.

Which only makes you wonder what Harry Kane is worth – and what price Levy would place on his had?

Posted: 9th, January 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer Balls: Dembele quits Spurs and shames Arsenal

Arsenal fans watching their club get no transfer fee for Aaron Ramey will be doubtless pleased to note that Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele is costing Chinese Super League club Beijing Guoan £11m. Like Ramsey, Demeble is in the final throes of his current deal, which expires in the summer.

Unlike Ramsey, 28, Dembele, 31, will earn his club a few quid this month. The money sugars the pill for Spurs, who are losing one of their best players – a better player than the overrated Ramsey. As for the Gunners, well, according to the Sun, Ramsey has signed a contract with Juventus and will leave for free this summer. According to other new sources, he’s signed nothing.

But wait a moment. One source says Arsenal are looking to get £20m for the Welshman and get shot of him this January. Gazzetta.it says the Gunners have told Juventus that they can sign Ramsey this month for £20million. It’s all very confusing. We’d ask the player’s agent what’s occurring, but they’re still mowing the grass.

Posted: 8th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Spurs Balls: Pochettino gets ready to quit Invincible Spurs in 2034

Mauricio Pochettino has “cast doubt on his future” at Tottenham Hotspur, says the Times. Or as the BBC puts it: “Mauricio Pochettino says he hopes to be Tottenham boss for 20 years and perhaps finish his career with the club.” Two twist on the same interview. 

The Argentine is wanted by Manchester United and Real Madrid. He knows his value. “Daniel Levy [the Tottenham chairman] is creating a legacy that is going to be amazing for the club,” he said. “I can see in the future Tottenham winning trophies.” When will future Tottenham be ready?

“I don’t know if that will be with us, without us; in one year, in five years. But all the foundations are down for one day to start to win titles and be like other successful clubs.” One day…

Maybe Spurs can be like Arsenal. Pochettino wonders if he can be the next Arsene Wenger – not the one who won things; the one who stagnated.  “All that Arsène Wenger gave to Arsenal, to finish in the way it finished was a little bit unfair,” Pochettino said. “He deserves amazing recognition about his work.” He gets it. Not a week goes by without Wenger collecting some gong. Late last year he scored the Humane Order of African Redemption with the rank of Knight Grand Commander. He was pictured with a baby named after him – his namesake wrapped in a replica Arsenal shirt.  Pochettino has Chelsea in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup. He needs to win. To date, the affable manager has won nothing with Espanyol, Southampton and Tottenham in 2014. Not that any of those clubs have ever won all that much – Spurs haven’t lifted a pot since Juande Ramos’s team beat Chelsea in the League Cup final 11 years ago.

 “If you have money, like the other top six clubs, and you need [something], you buy it,” said Pochettino. “If we need, we build and we need time to build. There is Chelsea, Arsenal, City, Liverpool, United – and us. When people put us in the same level with expectations and everything, it’s unfair.”

Will he get the money? And will it be enough to out-spend Spurs’ more successful rivals? And lastly: if Pochettino is not the kind of manager who demands more money for big-name signings, when the new stadium is ready, should Spurs upgrade the coach and hire one who is? 

Posted: 8th, January 2019 | In: Back pages, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal fans support Spurs Yid Army

 

We’re back talking about the ‘Yid Army’ and Spurs fans right to sing what they want to. This week something called The World Jewish Congress – I’ve not been invited to attend – and the Board of Deputies of British Jews – not been invited to that shindig, either – politely requested that Tottenham Hotspur Football Club have a word with their fans. They must tell them to stop freely referring to themselves as ‘Yids’. And that goes for the club’s Jewish fans, too.

Robert Singer, the CEO of the World Jewish Congress, stood in the pulpit and opined: “[The use of the word ‘yid’] by fans in the stands, either as a self-designated nickname or as a slogan against rivals must not be tolerated in any way. We would also ask Tottenham Hotspur to take a stand against the use of ‘Yid Army’, ‘Yid’ and ‘Yiddos’ by their fans. Such a long overdue action is important to kick antisemitism off the pitch and create a welcoming environment for all.” To which the reply from this Arsenal fan is: “We’ll sing what we want to.” 

If Spurs fans want to self-identify as Yids, let them. It’s self-determination. The Yid Army is not the least bit anti-Semitic. What is bigoted and censorious is telling people what they can and cannot say about themselves. Singer and his ilk should spend more time calling out genuine acts of anti-Semitism than disabusing ‘Yids’ of their language. Most anti-Semites I’ve encountered are more subtle than to give full throat to the Yids. They speak of those “clever Jews”, those “rich Jews”, and those Jews who are loyal only to one another and don’t get “English irony”. 

Posted: 7th, January 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal wait to ‘welcome’ £8m Denis Suarez

Having welcomed Denis Suarez to Arsenal, the Daily Mirror now tells its readers: “Barcelona are determined not to sell Spanish midfielder Denis Suarez, 25, to Arsenal.” So which is it – the Mirror can’t be right both times? But this is Transfer Balls, where anything goes.

Over to the Sun, then, where the Mirror’s “£20million Arsenal target” is on his way to the Gunners for “over the £8m mark”. The Sun adds: “Emery knows Suarez well from their time together at Sevilla and is believed to have persuaded the star to reunite with him in the Premier League.” 

If you search ‘Denis Suarez’ on trusty Google, you don’t just get utter tosh from the mainstream Press – you also get utter tosh from new media video makers:

 

denis suarez

 

Meanwhile, the Sun does have one interesting aside about Suarez:

Mundo Deportivo report Barca paid an initial £1.5million fee — and agreed City will receive £700,000 instalments for every team games he plays for the club until he reaches his century.

It means price for the former Spain Under-21 international could rise to a total of £8.5m.

Barcelona signed Suarez from City in 2013 but he failed to make a first team appearance and was shipped out to Sevilla on loan after a season with the club’s B team — and then sold onto Villarreal.

However, the Catalans included a £2.85m buy-out clause, which they activated after 12 months.

Suarez is a Spanish-born makeweight at Barcelona. They don’t need him. He hardly plays for them. Suarez seems to be one name Arsenal can get. The bigger question is why they’d want him?

Posted: 7th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Arsenal bid £10m over asking price for Cengiz Under

Arsenal fans reading about the club’s moves for Roma’s Turkish forward Cengiz Under will be confused as to what the club has bid. The Press are guessing. So far we’ve been told that Arsenal have bid anything from £35m to £55m for the player Roma value at, er, £45m:

 

transfers arsenal under

 

“Arsenal have £55m bid for top transfer target Cengiz Under rejected” – The Sun Jan 2.

The paper adds that Arsenal are “battling Tottenham, Manchester United and City for Roma striker”. They are? 

“Arsenal AND Chelsea target £54m Roma star Cengiz Under for January transfer window” – Daily Express, Dec 19

The Express lobs Chelsea into the mix.

“ARSENAL TRANSFER EXCLUSIVE: Cengiz Under latest as Chelsea drop out of race for £45m star” – Daily Star Jan 6

“Arsenal hopes of landing £45m AS Roma ace Cengiz Under dashed” – Daily Mirror, Jan 5

 

under arsenal

The Mirror says Roma want £45m for the player the Sun says Arsenal bid £55m to sign.

 

“Arsenal are not expected to make an improved offer for Roma’s £45m-rated Cengiz Under, having failed with an initial £35m bid for the 21-year-old Turkey winger” – BBC, Jan 7

“UNDER THE HAMMER Arsenal bid £29million for Roma star Cengiz Under rejected with Tottenham monitoring situation” – The Sun, December 16

Such are the facts.

Posted: 7th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer Balls: Arsenal swoop for Barcelona sub Denis Suarez

More from the twilight world of football transfer reporting as the Mirror tells readers: “Welcome to Arsenal Denis Suarez.” One problem with the scoop is that Spaniard hasn’t left Barcelona. He’s not signed for Arsenal. The Mirror goes on to tell readers that Suarez is a Gooner because he was “pulled” from Barcelona’s team for their match with Getafe:

denis suarez

Suarez travelled with the Barcelona squad to take on Getafe but will not even get a seat on the bench as the Catalans seek to stretch their lead at the top of La Liga to five points.

Dropped because he’s off to Arsenal? Or maybe Suarez isn’t all that good? He’s played just twice for Barcelona in the league this season, coming on as an 82nd minute sub against Espanyol – Barca were 4-0 up at the time – and as an 81st minute sub against Levante – when Barca were 4-0 up and Levante were down to 10 men. But he was, you know, dropped for the Getafe game?

The Mirror then does the usual trick of blaming its tosh on “social media” – which is not nearly as trusty as that old media (see Anorak passim). “Fans on social media took the decision as a hint that a deal to take him to north London was close,” says the self-styled “intelligent tabloid”.  That’s Denis Suarez, the player the Sun calls “Barcelona outcast Denis Suarez”.

 

Posted: 6th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Toby Alderweireld halts new Spurs deal – yours for £25m

What to do with a player who think he’s made for better – and better paid – things? Arsenal showed Aaron Ramsey the door when he asked for a huge weekly wage. Tottenham have a similar issue with Toby Alderweireld. His contract was due to expire at the season’s end. But Spurs took up an option to extend his contract by a year until 2020. The downside is that the extension clause means he’s available for £25 million. That’s a whole lot better than seeing arguably their best defender leave for free in the summer, and £25m is good money for a player who cost the club £11.5m in July 2015. But it’s a matter of look what you could have got. Spurs have a new stadium to pay for, and selling players looks a likely source of income. Rumours of Alderweireld going for around £60m were high in the summer. But no approaches were made.

Surely now they will be? Arsenal need a defender. And Manchester United were looking. The Daily Star jumped the gun with some shameless clickbait:

 

Alderweireld

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 5th, January 2019 | In: Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Higuain to Chelsea, Morata to Milan and Arsenal’s ‘record signing’

The BBC tells us that Chelsea are signing Gonzalo Higuain, 31. Currently on loan from Juventus at AC Milan, Higuain would add some proven finishing ability to a side reliant on the unconvincing Alvaro Morata. The Sun adds that this is a swap deal and Morata will head to Milan on loan. Can the Sun be relied upon to deliver the facts? Not always, no:

 

higuain-arsenal the sun transfer

In 2013, the Sun told us: ‘Arsenal last night smashed their transfer record when they agreed a £23million fee for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain.’

 

Any deal hinging on Morata, who joined Chelsea from Real Madrid in 2017 for £60m, has to be problematic. Morata has scored seven goals this season but lacks confidence. Chelsea coach Gianfranco Zola wants the player to step up: 

“It should be a motivational thing. You are at Chelsea. You’re not playing for Southampton or Brighton, with all due respect for those clubs. People expect a lot from the No 9 of Chelsea. This is normal and Álvaro has to get used to it.

“If he goes to another big club, it’s going to be the same. There is no way you can avoid your responsibilities. It’s part of your job and the better you can handle those situations, the better you’re going to be.

“I know he feels he doesn’t score enough and he feels a lot of responsibility on that. He has to learn to leave everything behind because these are only burdens you take on the pitch and they won’t help you to perform better.”

Bet AC Milan can’t wait to rely on him for goals.

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


Transfer balls: £8m for Ramsey, Sami Khedira to Arsenal and Liverpool in the hunt

As regular readers know, I’ve been tracking the utter tosh written about Aaron Ramsey’s looming departure from Arsenal. Having told readers that Ramsey had signed a deal to join Juventus – a mere 12 hours after telling the same readers the player was still talking to PSG, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and the Italians – the Sun reports today: “CASHING IN Aaron Ramsey scoops £8m signing-on fee at Juventus plus huge appearance bonus after agreeing free transfer from Arsenal.”

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

Having told readers that the deal is done, the Sun tells them it ,er, it isn’t: “The Italians offered the Welshman a basic salary similar to his earnings at the Emirates, but included hefty incentives in the proposed contract.” The story then tells us a lot of ‘ifs’:

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

The source for this misleading tosh is La Gazzetta dello Sport. it does not ay a deal has been done. It says – and this through the mangle of Google Translate: Exit polls ensure that Ramsey’s entourage has cashed the proposal with great interest. So much so that the bianconeri are absolutely at the forefront in a challenge that sees Inter also very active, but especially the rich Psg of Sheikh Al Thani.” So PSG and Inter both want Ramsey. Nothing has been signed. 

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

The Mirror says: “…people are ‘jumping the gun’ over a deal being done. Juventus are Ramsey’s preferred choice, however, with discussions continuing at pace. The Bianconeri could even try to tempt Arsenal into doing business for Ramsey this month for a cut price fee, rather than waiting for the summer.”

In other news, the London Evening Standard says: “Juventus are in pole position ahead of Bayern Munich and Inter Milan in the race to sign the Wales international, with reports in Italy suggesting he is close to agreeing a five-year deal.” Reports in England says the deal is done. And it;s not all doom and gloom for the Gunners: “Juve are willing to offer Sami Khedira as part of a deal to land Ramsey this month, while Liverpool and Manchester United are reportedly monitoring the situation.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 4th, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Liverpool balls: Virgil Van Dijk kills the Reds

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

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

 

liverpool

 

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

 

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


Arsenal transfer balls: Ramsey signs for Juventus and stays at the Gunners

The Sun says Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey has signed a contract with Juventus. The headline is unequivocal: “GUNNERS NEWS 7pm Arsenal news: Ramsey signs Juventus contract.” News of Ramsey’s transfer is on the Sun’s website and primed for Google News:

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

The problem is that it’s not true. Ramsey hasn’t signed for Juve. He hasn’t signed for anyone. Deep into its story, the Sun says the move has been made “reportedly”. There’s a link to another Sun article. You click the link. The new story presents the done deal in inverted commas. The story’s URL however, says Ramsey’s moved is “confirmed”. So which is it?

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

Says the paper: “Now the Welsh star is preparing to head to Italy after penning a four-year deal with the Serie A giants, according to Sport Media Set.” Who? We head over there and discover that the Sun’s story is utter balls. Sport Media Set merely says Juventus want to get Ramsey before PSG bid for him:

 

the sun ramsey juventus

 

The site says: “The deal is almost done.” In other words: Ramsey has agreed nothing yet. And just yesterday the Sun told us: “The Welshman is in talks with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich over a summer move.” Such are the facts.

Posted: 3rd, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal Transfer balls: Navas in, Ozil stays, Pepe ready and Ramsey stinks

What do Arsenal need in the mid-season transfer sale? A defender below the age of 30 who can tackle and react in the box faster than a three-legged pony? A winger? How about a new goalkeeper? Rumours are that the Gunners have bid £14m for Real Madrid and Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas. He’s 32. What this means for current Arsenal number 1 Bernd Leno is uncertain. You might suppose that Arsenal’s  weak defence was allowing Leno the chance to showcase his talent. You’d be mistaken. Leno has made 45 saves in 15 matches this Premier League season. He’s been beaten 22 times. And you’d be hard pushed to recall a top-class save from the 26-year-old. So Navas it is, then. 

In other Arsenal news, the Gunners are intent on picking Aaron Ramsey until his contract expires in the summer. Juventus want him on a free. Arsenal should get rid now, of course. The idea of Ramsey playing for Arsenal when he’s already agreed to play in Italy is unsettling. Will the injury-prone midfielder tackle hard and run his heart out with a new life in Italy looming? “Yes, we are interested in Aaron Ramsey, he’s a great midfielder. But at the moment he’s an Arsenal player, we’ll see,” says Juventus director Fabio Paratici. Arsenal should move hard to get any fee they can for the player. 

Better news for Arsenal is that Mesut Ozil’s agent insists the 30-year-old midfielder’s future remains at Arsenal despite interest from Real Madrid and Inter Milan. Ozil is a terrific player. Sure, he can’t tackle but then nor can the club’s defenders. 

And finally Arsenal target Nicolas Pepe tells everyone: “For me, that’s for sure. As the president has already said, my desire is to finish the season at Lille. I am under contract until 2022. My idea is to end this season in Lille and then, why not, leave for somewhere in Europe. It would be beautiful.” How heartening for Lille fans to hear that their player wants to go. What price loyalty..?

Posted: 3rd, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: the Aaron Ramsey myth

aaron ramsey

 

Like cocktails, ITV dramas and Disney World, Aaron Ramsey gets a lot of hype but delivers little. The Mirror hails Ramsey as “one of Europe’s top goal-scoring midfielders”. Utter tosh. Last season Ramsey scored 7 Premier League goals – the same number as: Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford), Pascal Groß (Brighton) and Marcos Alonso (Chelsea). In season 2016-17, Ramsey scored one Premier League goal. In 2015-16 he scored 5; in 2014-15 he got 6; and in 2013-14 he scored 10. Is he one of the continent’s best goal-scoring midfielders? He was good and full of promise. But now he scores not all that often.

In today’s match, Ramsey came off the bench to score against Fulham – the side he scored his only other goal of the current season against. The Welshman converted a loose ball on the box after the dangerous Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit the post. A rare goal, then. (The strike puts Ramsey on 2 goals for the season – the same as:  Nathan Aké (Bournemouth), Marc Albrighton (Leicester City) and 35 others PL players.)

But not to BBC pundit Paul Parker. The ex-Fulham and Manchester United defender tells BBC Radio London listeners: “The fans were not happy when he came on but Aaron Ramsey does what he does best, scoring goals and he gets one coming off the bench.”

If scoring is what Ramsey does best, what does he do the rest of the time when he’s not not scoring?

 

 

 

Posted: 1st, January 2019 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal fans rejoice at new signing as Ramsey heads for Italy, Spain AND France

aaron ramsey

Bullshit.com reports

 

Arsenal’s one-goal-a-season man Aaron Ramsey is off to Juventus. In Italy the player who promised so much without ever quite nailing it will earn a decent £7m a season in Italy on a four year contract. The Press are spinning his departure. The Mirror thunders: “‘Good riddance, sign Banega!’ – Arsenal fans react to Aaron Ramsey’s reported Juventus agreement.” Banega is Ever Banega, the occasional onanist and attack-minded midfielder. Or as the Sports Bible website puts it: “Arsenal On The Verge Of Replacing Aaron Ramsey, Fans Are Fuming.”

Such is the nature of internet reporting that everything must have a hot take – and you can make it whatever you choose. So no sooner has the Mirror waved goodbye to Ramsey and stuck him in the black and white of Juve than it’s reporting: “Aaron Ramsey considered by PSG for January move with £9m offer prepared for Arsenal star.” What of Juventus? They are “monitoring” the situation. 

And here comes the BBC to tells us that Ramsey is in talks with – deep breath – Inter Milan, PSG, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Juventus. “Contrary to some reports, he has not yet made a decision,” says the Beeb. So he’s off to Spurs, right..?

 

Posted: 31st, December 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment