Anorak

Sports | Anorak - Part 8

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.

Chelsea and Manchester City rethink business as FIFA gets tough over loan players

Fifa wants to stop big clubs stockpiling talent. From the start of the 2020-21 season, clubs will be able to loan out 6-8 players; the exact figure has yet to be agreed. This is will hit Chelsea hardest. The Blues have a whopping 39 players out on loan. Fifa want to create “the loans of players for the purpose of youth development as opposed to commercial exploitation”. 

These are the top Premier League clubs with players on loan:

Chelsea 39
Man City 28
Wolves 27
Brighton 16
Watford 14
Everton 14

Easy to sneer at Chelsea, who have turned a tidy profit from recruiting young players and selling them on. But none of the young brood had to sign for the club. And maybe having Chelsea on their CVs helps their careers? The worry is that the young player won’t improve at lesser clubs, where they train and play with less talented players. Stay at Chelsea or Manchester City and you play with Eden Hazard or David Silva, respectively. Chelsea have three players on loan at Vitesse Arnhem. Will they improve as quickly at the fourth best side in Holland? 

Oliver Kay has a tale from June 2018:

Matej Delac and even fewer would recognise him. He is the Croatian who signed for Chelsea in September 2009, four weeks after his 17th birthday, as one of the most promising young goalkeepers in Europe. He left last month without making a first-team appearance, without even having qualified for a work permit to play in the United Kingdom.

He was the club’s longest serving player. Chelsea loaned him out nine times. He’s now at Horsens in the Danish Superliga. He recalls:

“They [Chelsea] said to me: ‘We are buying you for the future. You will go on loan, gaining experience at a better level than the Croatian league. Then you will come back, maybe as No 2 goalkeeper. Then after that, anything is possible.'”

They might even make a profit on you. 

Posted: 30th, November 2018 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: David Gea should thank Alexis Sanchez for Manchester United wage hike

Transfer Balls: The BBC leads with news that Spain international De Gea wants Manchester United to offer him a five-year contract worth about £350,000 a week. Why so little? The wage will, says the Beeb, match what Alexis Sanchez earns. Odd, no. Doesn’t Sanchez earn £500,000-a-week? BBC journalist Simon Stone told us Sanchez was costing Manchester United half a million quid every week:

 

 

The numbers are utter tosh, then. But the media loves to guess. The Sun says: “De Gea will then be offered a new £400,000-a-week, five-year deal.” The Mail agrees with the BBC that it’s £350,000 a week. And the Standard says the deal “could be worth up to £300,000-a-week”.

And just a few days ago Joe Bernstein told Mail readers: 

 

de gea manchester united

daily mail de gea

 

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 29th, November 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer Balls: Liverpool want shot of Fabinho and Manchester United target Militao

Let’s kick off today’s Transfer Balls with news of Ousmane Dembele’s desire to leave Barcelona and play for Arsenal, Liverpool or any other side that can afford* a £100m transfer fee for a player who enjoyed one decent season at Borussia Dortmund before being flogged for an eye-watering sum to the Spanish giants. The BBC has news: “France forward Ousmane Dembele, 21, has told Barcelona he does not want to leave in January.” That’s according to an unnamed source talking to ESPN. It might be the same source who gave the Mail the story just two days ago: “Ousmane Dembele asks Barcelona if he can leave in January.”

Google News updates the breaking non-story:

 

transfer balls dembele

Two non stories = two exclusives and Liverpool ‘news’

 

In other transfer gossip, former England, Chelsea and Arsenal left-back Ashley Cole, 37, has been offered a new deal by LA Galaxy – just days after being released by the club. But he fancies swapping LA for life in Birmingham. Aston Villa want him. Why is uncertain. Experience counts – but if he can’t make the LA Galaxy side, why would an ambitious Championship club seek his services? 

At Liverpool, missing midfielder Fabinho is to be the subject of a post-match chat with Paris St-Germain when the sides meet in the Champions League. PSG will offer a lot of money for the Brazilian. And Liverpool will wonder who they’re talking about. Fabinho joined Liverpool for around £40 million in July. He’s been less than spectacular. But that’s what £40m buys you these days: a squad player who can afford a well-paid agent.

In the obligatory news on Manchester United’s search for a defender, Jose Mourinho wants to sign Porto defender Éder Militao. He’ll be great – right up until Mourinho calls him rubbish, unfit, fat and useless. 

* Not Arsenal.
 

Posted: 28th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Manchester United cheat and win: blatant Fellaini handball secures Champions League win

manchester united cheating

 

Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Young Boys sees them progress in the Champions League. Their winning goal scored in stoppage time by Marouane Fellaini should have been ruled out for handball. When will VAR be used in big games? It cannot come soon enough.

Here’s Fellaini using his hand to control the ball, which is against the rules of the game:

 

 

But did the media see the cheating? Marca, the Spanish newspaper, says Fellaini’s handball was blatant. His goal not only put United through to the next round but knocked Spain’s Valencia out.

The Manchester Evening News: “Belgian international Fellaini touched the ball with his hand before he unleashed a ferocious effort into the net, however the player insists there was no intent behind the action.”

He’s got a twitch that makes his hand control the ball involuntarily? And “ferocious”? The MEN continues:

“No,” he [Fellaini] told BT Sport when asked if he had handled the ball. “For me it was not a handball, I controlled the ball. If it touched my hand it was not on purpose. I think it was the right moment to score a goal in the end.”

The Valencia coach, Marcelino, is quoted by Marca as saying: “If the goal of Manchester United featured a handball then you become even angrier. The little details matter. What is strange is that VAR isn’t present in such a big competition. It’s no consolation to us. But this is football.”

Manchester United march on. Valencia go into the Europa League. And Fellaini, well, he’s no Raheem Sterling.

 

 

 

Posted: 28th, November 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Ozil victim of tabloid copy and paste factories

The Daily Express’ report on Arsenal’s 1-2 win at Bournemouth is the same report you can read in the Daily Mirror. Both are written by Neil McLeman. The Express and Mirror are both owned by Reach. Surely this sharing spells the end for one of the titles. A clue to which tabloid is getting sidelined comes on the Express‘ back page. In a story about Spurs player Dele Alli, the paper tells readers the article continues on page 55, column 3. But page 55 doesn’t mention Alli once. In fact, it doesn’t mention football at all, preferring to focus on England’s win over Australia in the rugby union. There is news of Alli on page 53, column 2. 

 

daily express

DailyExpress: Dele Alli story is continued on Page 55

 

daily express football

Page 55 contains not a single word on Dele Alli

 

As for the Ozil story so good it’s repeated in two daily tabloids, well, it’s some balls about Mesut Ozil being left in the “cold”. The German was an unused substitute in Arsenal’s win. Asked why Ozil didn’t play, Emery replied: “It depends how the match is going, what the result is. I decided for other options.” He added: “The match was very demanding…with physicality and intensity.” Put that though the tabloidese machine and you get: “Unai Emery admitted he needed players who could cope with the physicality and intensity of Bournemouth.” Can anyone think of a Premier League game that isn’t intense and physical? Answers to the Mirror and Express. Two cover prices – but one second-class stamp should cover it. 

Posted: 26th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer Balls: De Gea Manchester United leaves for PSG and signs new deal

Transfer Balls: Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea “will join Paris St-Germain in the summer” says the BBC. He will? The Spain international’s current deal at Old Trafford runs out at the season’s end, we’re told. You’d suppose Man Untied would do their utmost to keep hold of their best player – and use that one-year extension. But the BBC says his leaving is a done deal.

The Mail on Sunday agrees. It says David De Gea is set for a “sensational move” to Paris Saint Germain. He’ll earn “£60million” on a four-year deal in Paris. He is “poised to join Paris Saint Germain when his current contract expires”, says the Mail. “Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is resigned to losing his star goalkeeper.” 

But after the facts, we get to the truth: no deal has been signed. Three paragraphs into the Mail’s story, we’re told David de Gea “could be set to earn around £15.5m a year in wages with the French giants… if he were to sign a four-year deal in Paris.” Could. If.

All utter tosh, then. But enough for the Daily Express to tells its readers: “Man Utd news LIVE: Jose Mourinho agrees to January transfer, £60m David de Gea deal.” Nope. No deal.

 

manchester united david de gea

The gospel according to the Sport Bible website

 

Manchester United fans need not worry. Indeed, on June 15, the Manchester Evening News declared: “Manchester United agree new contract with David de Gea.” The paper told us: “David de Gea has agreed a new five-year deal with Manchester United.” talkSport told us, also in June 2018: “DE MAN Manchester United agree new contract with goalkeeper David De Gea.” Did no-one tell the BBC, Express and the Mail that de Gea was not heading to PSG?

Such are the facts.

Posted: 25th, November 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Media bias: Chelsea denied clear penalty, Hazard tumbles and lucky Spurs

Spurs tonked Chelsea 3-1 in the Premier League. At 1-0 to Spurs, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard was felled in the Tottenham box. Penalty! No. None given. But should one have been? Let’s look for any signs of bias in the media: 

BBC: “Chelsea will be furious at a soft free-kick for Spurs’ first goal and a failure from Martin Atkinson to give them a penalty when it was only 1-0 when Juan Foyth appeared to foul Eden Hazard in the 18-yard box.”

Chelsea website: “We had our moments in the first half, with Eden Hazard denied what looked like two clear penalties”

And again:

Chelsea website: “The Blues had what looked like a legitimate penalty appeal turned away when Hazard was bundled over in the box by Juan Foyth”

Former referee Peter Walton was in the studio for BT Sport: “…when you re-run it there’s a knee-on-knee and the foul comes when Foyth’s knee touches Hazard and that’s enough to put him over. For me that was a penalty.”

Guardian: ” Eden Hazard ought to have had a penalty on 14 minutes when Juan Foyth went into him from behind ”

Chelsea blog We Aint Got No History: “An early goal from a dubious foul, then a clear penalty uncalled on Hazard, then an unlucky second goal.”

And on the Spurs website? Only this: “13 mins – Hazard over in the box, appeals waved away.” No word on how he went over. 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 24th, November 2018 | In: Back pages, Chelsea, Spurs | Comment


Manchester United sell kit that does not actually exist

man-utd-fourth-kit-leopard

 

Dreaming up news to market the band is hard graft. But Manchester United are very good at it. The Brand are selling a replica kit that does not exist in the real world. The kit is a “digital concept” within the world of FIFA 19. The “Adidas x EA Sports Manchester United” kit has been designated as the club’s fourth kit. But it only exits in the the computer game. The horror show continues as Adidas announce that only “limited quantities” of the hideous neon leopard skin shirt will be produced and put on sale. So if you want to dress like a video game avatar pretending to an actual footballer, get in there fast. Yours for €90.

Bayern Munich, Juventus and Real Madrid are also prepping to flog digital kits to the slack-jawed masses. 

 

Posted: 23rd, November 2018 | In: Fashion, manchester united, News, Sports, Technology, The Consumer | Comment


Transfer Balls: Rashford makes Manchester United an offer they can refuse and a Liverpool move is back on

Good news for Chelsea fans: N’Golo Kante has signed a new five-year deal. “It has been two beautiful years and I wish for more to come,” he said after signing the news contact. “Since I came, I have completely improved as a player, challenged myself and got some awards I never thought about. I like the city, I like the club and I am happy to be here for more time.” Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia hails him for his “tireless and unselfish displays”. Kante is the player every other side wants in their team. 

Liverpool, however, are still chasing Nabil Fekir. Jurgen Klopp is said to be keen to rekindle a move for the France midfielder. Fekir was on his way to Liverpool in the summer. He never arrived. But Liverpool still want him. They also fancy Dortmund’s Julian Weigl. Arsenal like him, too, chiefly because they like pretty much anyone that plays for Dortmund with a hard to spell name. If he comes to the Emirates, Weigl will join fellow ex-Dortmund players: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and head of recruitment Sven Mislintat. 

Over at Old Trafford, news is that Marcus Rashford would find it hard to refuse a move to Real Madrid. He would also find it hard turn down the job of Prime Minster, the manager for Victor Secrets On Tour, £1bn in spun gold and the French throne. The odds of Rashford playing for Real are slim. But with two years to go on his current deal, rumours abound that United must do more to keep him happy or else another huge club will. So Real Madrid it is. Or Wolves. Or maybe Everton. Or, well, anywhere that will give him a game. “Manchester United’s England striker Marcus Rashford, 21, is ready to talk to Real Madrid if he fails to win a regular first-team place at Old Trafford,” says the BBC. To which the obvious answer from United is: “Let us know how it goes.”

Finally, Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez wants to sign Atlanta United’s attacking midfielder Miguel Almiron. Arsenal, West Ham and Everton also like the Paraguay international. Magpies owner Mike Ashley will surely swoop to get his man, sealing the deal with a 10% discount is one of his Debenhams stores (not applicable with any other promotion) and a Saturday job for any of Almiron’s loved ones in Sports Direct.  

Posted: 23rd, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Spurs balls: Eriksen contract countdown and stadium move in January

The inability to finish a stadium on time is costing Spurs money and stress. The new White Hart Lane won’t be completed until “January or February”, says Spurs manger Mauricio Pochettino. For £1bn, you’d expect a firm answer on a moving in date. Wasn’t Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman, supposed to be a master negotiator, the smartest man in the room?

Just in cast the ground’s not ready, Spurs have taken out an option to play at Wembley until the end of the season. “We are so disappointed because we expected to play in 2018 at the new stadium and it should have been ready to play before the end of the year but that is not going to be possible and we need to wish and hope that in January or February we can move there,” says Pochettino.

“Yesterday afternoon we were there, checking the facilities, the changing rooms, everything, and we are so excited, we cannot wait to move there. We understand that it is a fantastic project for the future of the club that will be for ever. To wait maybe one or two months more – we need to have patience.”

Spurs play Chelsea at Wembley this weekend. They’ve lost their last three home fixture to Top 6 rivals – it’s four matches if the FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester United is included. Are they going to win the title? No. 

And will the players stay at a club that isn’t winning cups? Christian Eriksen is out of contract in June 2020. “When Christian signed, he was a prospect, a very good player but still young and Tottenham provided a very good platform to develop his quality,” says Pochettino. “Eriksen and Tottenham, and Tottenham and Eriksen, was a very good mix. Good for Tottenham and good for Christian Eriksen. That’s why I hope Christian continues to develop his career with Tottenham.” Eriksen is 26. He’s one big transfer left in his career. Spurs need to start winning. 

 

Posted: 22nd, November 2018 | In: Sports, Spurs | Comment


Liverpool Balls: Salah to Barcelona for €100m and some loose change

If the absurd, greedy, money-soaked world of football, Liverpool and Barcelona have struck a bizarre deal: the Spaniards must pay a 100m euro (£89m) surcharge on top of any transfer fee if they want to sign a Liverpool player before 2020. The BBC says the deal was agreed when Barcelona signed Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho for £142m in January.

The Times says the extra charge was brokered by Liverpool’s sporting director Michael Edwards. And you wonder what the point of it is? Did Barcelona agree to the deal because they don’t want any of the current Liverpool side? Or is it to ensure that if the Spaniards go for, say, Mo Salah, they must pay at least €100m plus 1 euro – an echo of the £40m plus £1 Arsenal bid for Liverpool’s Luis Suarez before he also joined Barcelona for £75m? 

If for some reason this deal works, will other clubs follow suit? Perhaps Southampton, Liverpool’s feeder club, can slap a £100m surcharge on any sales to the Reds? It’s all such such huge sums of money that you wonder where it’s all heading and if the fans will tire of watching their money making the very rich ever richer?

 

Posted: 21st, November 2018 | In: Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Nicolas Pepe tops the wish list

Nicolas Pepe

 

Transfer balls: Arsenal are looking to sign a forward in the January transfer window. Danny Welbeck’s ankle injury has ruled him out for a few months at least. Arsenal a little light up front. News is that top of the wanted list is Nicolas Pepe. The Lille winger will cost the Gunners around £27 million, says the Times. The Star, however, has picked up a different brochure. It says Pepe is worth £43m. The Sun says Pepe is on a “three-man shortlist” to replace Luis Suarez at Barcelona. The Mirror says, Lyon, Sevilla and Real Betis all wants Pepe. The Sun says Bayern Munich are keen. Goal says he’s good enough to play for Real Madrid. And the Times says Spurs also want him. 

Anyhow, Arenal need him most. So will they get him?  “If there is a very good opportunity we are definitely going to consider, we will see,” Raul Sanllehi, the Arsenal director of football, told media. “Danny Welbeck’s injury alters, in a way, the views. It’s a good time to start analysing what options we have in the market. We are not closing the door but it’s still not the preferred one. I am not saying that’s a green light to go to the market but we have good players in the house also that may get further opportunities, like Eddie Nketiah for example.”

Closing the door. Green light. In the house. Did Sanllehi learn England from The Big Boom of Cliches? He’s pretty managed to say nothing.  Once upon a time, a hot French talent would have been a shoo-in to play for Arsenal. But now… Well, can they really compete in the transfer market? In 2017, Arsenal bid £92m to sign Thomas Lemar from Monaco, said Sky Sports. They never got him. The France winger joined Atletico Madrid one year laster for €60 million.

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


Bullshit.com: Frenkie de Jong to Manchester City is a ‘done deal’

Transfer Balls: Following the Mirror’s news that Frenkie de Jong had agreed to join Manchester City for £60m comes news in the, er, Daily Mirror that he hasn’t. But he might. The paper of record (surely clickbait factory – ed) says City will have to pay a club record £75m for the Ajax and Netherlands midfielder.

It’s been three days since the Sun said Frenkie de Jong to City was done deal – three days since the Mirror told its readers City “have beaten Barcelona” to the signing. Manchester City “have blown the competition out of the water”. 

 

Frenkie de Jon

Frenkie de Jon signs for Manchester City – 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

 

 

That was all tosh. But worry not because the Mirror has more news: 

 

Frankiede Jong

A day is a long time at bullshit.com

 

The paper reports in an “exclusive”:

Manchester City will have to pay a club-record £75million in the upcoming bidding war with Barcelona for the new Johan Cruyff…

However, Spanish champions Barca are also very keen on De Jong, and several other top clubs are monitoring the rapid progress he’s making this season.

Why is £75m the fee in a “bidding war”? It’s more than the £60m it cost city to sing Frenkie three days ago. 

Posted: 21st, November 2018 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal balls: Ramsey could stay

Being a pundit is easy. You speak. And then move on to the next bit of mindless chatter. Which brings us to former Arsenal striker Ian Wright who is waxing lyrical about Aaron Ramsey, the midfielder who delayed signing a new deal for so long ever Arsene Wenger left the club. Arsenal offered Ramsey an eye-wateringly expensive long-term deal and then withdrew it. Ramsey is now free to leave at the season’s end. Says Wright:

“I think it might be the perfect time for us (Arsenal) and for him to move on. I think the boss should be given now the time, especially the money, to try and find maybe one or two replacements for someone like Aaron Ramsey, rather than giving Aaron Ramsey the kind of money he was asking for…  It isn’t something I’m too disappointed about, I’m pleased for him and I’m pleased for the new ruthless Arsenal in respects of the way they are saying ‘if that’s the way it is going to be then that’s the way it is going to be’.

This the same Ian Wright who opined in September:

“Ivan Gazidis has got a lot to answer for for this to happen because Ramsey should be a focal point in the team… I’m desperate for him to stay.”

In other news, Arsenal have found a replacement for the very replaceable one-goal-a-season Aaron Ramsey. It’s Villarreal midfielder Pablo Fornals. The Sun says the the 22-year-old has a €20m release clause. If not him then the Mirror says it could be one of five – yeah, just five – players Arsenal could sign to replace Ramsey. The Express says they could replace him by picking another player already at Arsenal. Oh, and in the Standard, Arsene Wenger says Ramsey might yet stay at Arsenal. 

Such are the facts.

 

 

Posted: 20th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Pogba wants to leave Manchester United to go ‘home’

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, 25, says he wants to leave Manchester United. He’s missing life at Juventus. Corriere dello Sport has the scoop. But the Daily Mirror does its own translation. “Pogba says yes to Juve,” says the paper. But he hasn’t because Juventus haven’t asked him any questions. This is just about Pogba wishing for a return ‘home’ – you know, just as he waned to go ‘home’ to Manchester United, the club he left to join Juventus.

The Mirror says Pogba became a “marquee signing” when he joined United for £89.3 million. A marquee is a big tent. The Mirror merely means he was expensive. And he’s proven to be over-priced. What fee would Juventus pay for the player keen to move away from them and now keen to return? The Mirror says Juve could “steal a march” on Barcelona, who for some obscure season apparently also want Pogba. Why do they? He’s a good player but £100m good? 

In the interest of fairness to the Mirror, here’s the Corrier dello Sport story pushed through the prism of Google Translate:

«Pogba says yes to Juve». Boom. The summary of the English Sunday press gives an indiscretion that could change the course of the market and the history of this season in the coming weeks. And he follows other gossip related to the future of the French midfielder who would want him more and more convinced to return to Juventus. Paul’s official statements, of course, tell of his great happiness of being back at Manchester United and wearing the Red Devils shirt. But the drafts that come from Old Trafford reiterate a general coldness in relations with José Mourinho and a strong temptation of the world champion midfielder to be a part of that “family” (a term that Paul has used several times to define Juventus) . “Who knows …” has in fact thrown there to a specific question about his new life Juventus, a few weeks ago when he returned to the Stadium as an opponent for the Champions League match. A return enriched by a warm welcome from the Juventus fans, for him who has been able to exalt himself over the years in Serie A as he has not yet managed to do in Premier.  

That’s right. The Mirror’s top story is founded in the dello Sport’s reporting on the British tabloid press. It’s a human caterpillar of utter tosh. 

Posted: 20th, November 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Real Madrid in for Harry Kane at Spurs and Liverpool want Demirbay

Transfer Balls: undaunted by their apparent failure to recruit Aaron Ramsey from Arenal – he’s on his way to Bayern Munich, reportedly – AC Milan have begun talks with another player with ‘Arsenal captain’ on his CV, this time former Gooner and Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas. The 31-year-old has had enough of warming the bench at Chelsea and Italy beckons. 

Manchester United are ready to offer Roma’s 22-year-old Italy midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini twice his weekly wage. We’ve no idea what that amount to but estimates put it shy of Alexis Sanchez’s £500,000-a-week but north of what Marcus Rashford pockets by way of a monthly goal bonus. We are told, however, that Pellegrini will cost United £26m in transfer fees.

You can expect to hear lots about Harry Kane or Eden Hazard heading to Real Madrid because the Spaniards are desperate for a goalscorer, having worked out that Cristiano’s Ronaldo’s 50 goals a season were hard to replace. Gareth Bale, 29, and France’s Karim Benzema, 30, are not quite up the task. so Kane it is. A huge money offer will surely tempt Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman. 

Finally, Hoffenheim central midfielder Kerem Demirbay is wanted by Liverpool. Another centre back for the Reds? Why not? 

Posted: 19th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester City have not signed Frenkie de Jong but Spurs or Manchester United might

“Spurs set to beat Barcelona to Dutch wonderkid Frenkie de Jong,” screamed EuroSport on November 16. Two days later, the BBC tells us Frenkie de Jong is on his way to Manchester City.

 

Frenkie de Jon

Frenkie de Jon signs for Manchester City – BBC

 

The Mirror says Manchester City “have beaten Barcelona” to the signing of the Ajax and Netherlands midfielder. Manchester City “have blown the competition out of the water”. The Express agrees: “Barcelona and Tottenham STUNNED as Manchester City win £61m Frenkie De Jong race.” The Sun also agrees: “Man City win race to sign Ajax ace Frenkie de Jong and will pay £61m for long-term Fernandinho replacement.” We’re told Barcelona and Manchester United were both ready to bid fo the player.  They just never got round to it. 

 

Frenkie de Jon signs for Manchester City -

Frenkie de Jon signs for Manchester City – The Sun

 

And then you realise it’s all utter tosh. The Sun admits as much: “De Jong is believed to be keen to work with Guardiola and would favour a move to join the Spaniard rather than across town at Old Trafford.” So nothing is agreed. It’s rumour. There will be “a potential summer bidding war for the midfielder”. 

Why the BBC, which runs fact-checking news segments, features this utter balls as fact is lamentable. It doesn’t need to compete commercially with the tabloids in a time of falling newspapers circulation, so why does it bother?

 

Posted: 18th, November 2018 | In: Back pages, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal bid for Demeble and Liverpool will trigger his £369.6m release clause

Ousmane_Dembélé_

 

A coup for the Premier League, then, should Ousmane Dembélé move from Barcelona to Arsenal or Liverpool. The 21-year-old Frenchman remains a prized and coveted talent. He could be great. He might even prove to be worth the huge fee Barcelona paid Borussia Dortmund for his services. But there are problems. Marca reports the player is being sued for leaving a rented house in a mess. AS, another Spanish news outlet, talks of Dembélé’s having a “gaming disorder”. A Barcelona teammate says he is “always late for training”. You wonder if anyone is looking out for Dembélé or just his money. His career is one shaped by one thing: greed, says Barney Ronay. He writes:

It is 15 months now since Dembélé was plucked out and beamed down at the Camp Nou for a fee close to £100m. Since when he has played 90 minutes just four times and scored 10 goals. Information from Football Leaks tells us Dembélé has been paid £15m in basic wages in this time, with £9m siphoned off to “intermediates”, transformed in not much more than a year from promising Rennes teenager to one-man sporting mega-industry.

So is he heading to Arsenal or Liverpool? The Gunners have made an offer to take him on loan with a right to buy. Liverpool are very interested. Barca say Dembele’s contract has a release clause of 400m euros (£369.6m). Seems fair. Chuck in a Playstation and it’s a deal. 

 

Posted: 17th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Broadsheets, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Clickbait Watch: how to BAFFLE an Arsenal fan

baffled footballWriting clickbait for football fans is hard graft. All those budding hacks who dream of talking truth to power are reduced to spinning for clicks at sister newspapers the Daily Express, Daily Star and Daily Mirror.

Language is mangled. Simple facts are “revealed”. “Five things” are learned from watching paint dry. Rumours are mutated into ‘fact’. But every so often, clickbait talent emerges to connive a new meme for the SEO gurus running websites to applaud. Right now everyone at Arsenal – fans, players, Gunnersaurus – is “baffled”.

“Arsenal fans left baffled by Graeme Souness’ comments about Mesut Ozil” – Daily Mirror, October 23

“Lucas Torreira baffles Arsenal fans with what he did in training”  – Daily Mirror, October 10

“Arsenal fans left BAFFLED at staggering claim: ‘Are you mad? He can’t be serious'” – Daily Express, November 14

But it’s not just Arsenal being “baffled”:

“Jurgen Klopp baffled by remarkable Liverpool statistic” – Daily Mirror, Oct 19

“Graeme Souness leaves Manchester United fans baffled” – Daily Mirror, Oct 22

“Mohamed Salah leaves Liverpool fans baffled with social media post” – Daily Mirror, Oct 24

“Matteo Darmian leaves Manchester United fans baffled” – Daily Mirror, October 25

“Cesar Azpilicueta baffled by inconsistent Chelsea’s struggles” – Daily Mirror, Oct 26

“Celebrity Gogglebox: Fans baffled by Dele Alli’s composer comment” – Irish Mirror, Oct 26

“Man Utd news: David De Gea baffled by what Jose Mourinho said” – Daily Express, October 31

“Chelsea news: Sky Sports pundit baffled by one Maurizio Sarri” – Daily Star, Nov 4

“Manchester United fans left baffled by Paul Pogba’s ‘heartbreak’ haircut” – Manchester Evening News* Nov 4

* The MEN is sister title to the Star, Express and Mirror. It’s true? Unless you’re a football fan, in which case it’s baffling!

Posted: 16th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Key Posts, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer Balls: Spurs and Arsenal in for Bailly as Manchester United get a new defence

Transfer Balls: José Mourinho will change Manchester United’s defence early next year. From “When we win it’s all down to me; when we lose it was everyone else”, the new defence will feature new defenders. United plan to bring Toby Alderweireld and Diego Godin to Old Trafford in January, and get rid of Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo. Spurs and Arsenal both like Bailly; Everton fancy Rojo; and Smalling could return to Fulham. Godin, 32, could cost £53m. 

In London, Arsenal will be waving a none-too-teary adieu to Aaron Ramsey, the midfield who resisted signing a new contract for so long that even Arsene Wenger left. He’s off to play for Bayern Munich. Either than or Ramey will be a sub at Chelsea or Liverpool. Arsenal and Chelsea are both looking at spry Atlético Mineiro right-back Emerson. And reports from Italy says AC Milan want to sign Liverpool’s Brazil midfielder Fabinho, 25, (who he?) in January. 

Over at West Ham, Marko Arnautovic, 29, wants a weekly living wage of £200,000 to continue working at the London Stadium. If he does;t get it then he could be off, possibly to Manchester United. 

Posted: 16th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Liverpool, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Fulham balls: Wenger ‘snub’ but Ranieri was the ‘obvious’ choice

Fulham only appointed Claudio Ranieri as their new manager because former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger “snubbed” them. So says the Daily Mirror: “Arsene Wenger turned down sensational return to management with Fulham before Claudio Ranieri was appointed yesterday.”

 

Ranieri the mirror fulham

Wenger snubbed Fulham says Daily Mirror.

 

But over in the Sun, Wenger never was offered the job:

 

Ranieri the sun fulham

The Sun says Ranieri as the “mutual and obvious choice”

 

But Wenger was one of the “number” of candidates considered, right? 

He was. The Week reports:

The Daily Telegraph reports that former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has turned down the chance to take over at Fulham… The Frenchman, however, “politely declined the opportunity to speak to Fulham”, the Telegraph says.

Alysson Rudd tells her Times readers: 

The Times understands he [Fulham owner Shahid Khan] met Claudio Ranieri two days before Fulham’s trip to Anfield but, still hopeful of a miracle so that he could stick by a man he had become very fond of working with, Khan travelled to Liverpool hoping for evidence he could offer Jokanovic a reprieve.

The website Football365 says Rudd also wrote: “Ranieri was the outstanding candidate from a shortlist that did not, as speculated, include the former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.” We can’t find that quote on the Times website. Can anyone?

Posted: 15th, November 2018 | In: Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Manchester United want Milan’s Milan and Liverpool dog deep for Dembélé

Transfer Balls: So desperate is Alexis Sanchez to leave Manchester United that he’s going to demand a reduction in his £500,000-a-week wage to make him more affordable to, well, anyone who’ll let him play either football, the piano or both at once. Either that or he’ll just sulk and wait until Jose Mourinho is sacked and the next manager realise what a top talent he is.

Racing Sanchez out the door are Marcus Rojo and Eric Bailly. They will replaced by – deep breath – Nathan Aké, Jérôme Boateng and / or Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar.

Higher up the Premier League table, rumours abound that Liverpool will bid over £85m for Ousmane Dembélé, who cost Barcelona £105m when he moved from Borussia Dortmund in 2017. The German side have a knack of developing players and selling them on for top money. Barcelona made them an offer they could not refuse for the Frenchman who has failed to shine in Spain. But will they take a £20m hit on him? Or is £85m for a flop good money? That question to Paul Pogba.

Arsenal have woken to the fact their centre backs are slower than a Granit Xhaka tackle. The Gunners are looking at Atalanta’s Gianluca Mancini.

And Tottenham are readying a £35m bid for Cagliari’s 21-year-old Italian midfielder Nicolo Barella. But Man United and Liverpool also want him. So watch the price rocket.

 

Posted: 14th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Liverpool, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Manchester United balls: Mourinho sacked (again), Pochettino waits, Spurs nowhere

Manchester United will sack Jose Mourinho if the club fails to achieve Champions League qualification this season. So says the BBC. And so says the Sun. The paper offers no fact to support its back-page story. Not that the Express needs more to echo the news as an exclusive. “Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho to be SACKED unless he does one thing,” says the clickbait farm. That one thing he must do is to be successful. Who knew?

Not the Daily Mirror. Its readers out think Mourinho has been sacked, his role replaced by a stunt double:

 

mourinho sacked

Daily Mirror knows

 

 

Back in the Sun, we’re told United still fancy recruiting Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino. Well, they should do. He’s been great at Spurs. But he’ll win nothing but plaudits there, so surely the Argentine wold fancy managing United with all that extra money to spend on top players? Real Madrid want Poch, too. But the Sun says his contract at Spurs is “almost impossible” to break. Which is utter balls, of course. Everyone has their price. If United can spunk £31m on Victor Lindelof, surely they can get their manager for around that fee?

The pressure at United would be different to what Poch feels at Spurs. In today’s Mirror, there are three pages on Manchester United losing and one mention of Spurs – columnist Stan Collymore says Pochettino is very good. Spurs are not mentioned once in the Sun – but there are four pages on Man United.

In other united news, the Times reports that Mourinho’s faith in Nemanja Matic is upsetting some of this team-mates. And in the Mirror former United “guv’nor” Paul Ince says United are “scared” of Manchester City. Surely, City just have better players. It’s not fear. Its ability. It’s better recruitment. Nonetheless, seven Mirror hacks respond to the poser, “What on earth can United do to narrow the gap?” Darren Lewis advises “attack from the outset”. Away to Manchester City, United should attack form the outset? Tom Hopkinson says – I kid you not – “It’s simple: new manger, new team.” Andy Dunn says United must stop being “archaic”. And David McDonnell suggests a “radical overhaul”.

The biggest question is: where were the fans who can remember when United didn’t win the title for 26 years? When did titles become entitlement?

Posted: 13th, November 2018 | In: Back pages, manchester united, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Gareth Bale to Arsenal and ex Gooner becomes a Prophet

clickbait arsenal gareth bale transfer

 

Clickbait Balls: a look at newspapers tricking readers . Today, as ever, it’s the Daily Express, which thunders: “Arsenal news: Gareth Bale transfer EXCLUSIVE, Unai Emery revelation, Wolves team news.”

It’s the first bit that bites, right? Can it be that Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale – formerly of Spurs – is on his way to Arsenal? Surely not? Or maybe… So you click. Your click triggers – get this – 32 adverts and sponsored links. But the news will be worth it.  James Walters has the “exclusive”. Just get a load of that URL: “Arsenal-news Gareth Bale transfer exclusive”:

 

clickbait arsenal gareth bale transfer

 

Reading on:

Gareth Bale EXCLUSIVE

Yes! Yes…

Arsenal must go in for the best players on the planet – the likes of Gareth Bale – if they are to challenge for the Premier League, John Hartson says…

Hartson exclusively told Express Sport: “No disrespect to Arsenal, if say for arguments sake, a Gareth Bale becomes available [they won’t go in]. I know he’s ex-Spurs and it may not happen.

“But if a top player like that became available and he’s £95m with £40m wages over the next four years, will they go in for him? They might not.”

May. Might not. What a scoop!

Treating your readers like mugs is anti-journalism. But let’s give the Express a chance. How about part two of the sensational headline, the part about an “Unai Emery revelation”:

Arsenal are a more solid under Unai Emery compared to when Arsene Wenger was in charge, Matthew Upson claims.

And..? And nothing. That’s it. When ex-Gooner Upson speaks to the BBC it’s a “revelation”. The man’s a prophet. finally, how about that “Wolves team news”? It’s that Danny Welbeck, the bloke with the broken ankle, won’t be playing. More on him here.

 

Posted: 12th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal Balls: Daily Express feasts on Danny Welbeck’s pain

danny welbeck

 

The ghouls have been out fo Arsenal striker Danny Welbck. Last night, Arsenal manger Unai Emery told media that Welbeck had surgery on his badly injured ankle on Friday – the day after he was injured playing in the Europa League match against Sporting Lisbon. “He won’t be back with us for a long time,” the Arsenal manager said. Will he play again this season? “The doctor can answer that better than me,” replied Emery.

No need to ask the doctors. The Express knows it all. Since Welbeck got hurt, the “World’s Greatest Newspaper” has published 10 Danny Welbeck articles. It began by labelling the incident a “horror injury“, as many tabloids did. Today the paper downgraded things to a “nasty” injury. The facts keep on coming in the Express eVulture news service:

November 9:

Danny Welbeck prediction made by injury expert after horror Arsenal scenes. DANNY WELBECK is facing around four months on the sidelines after badly hurting his ankle, says injury expert Ben Dinnery.

November 9 – article 2:

Arsenal news: Welbeck ‘may never play again’

November 10: 

 

arsenal danny welbeck bt daily express

Journalism: it’s not all speaking truth to power.

 

Danny Welbeck in Arsenal injury horror… pics BT Sport didn’t want YOU to see – WARNING.
WARNING – these are the pictures BT Sport didn’t want you to see of Arsenal star Danny Welbeck’s horror injury.

Achtung! Achtung! Gather round to see something horrible. Bring a knife and fork to feast on Danny Welbeck’s remains. (The photos are pretty much the same as those carried by every newspaper, although one is cropped to show Welbeck’s ankle twisting.)

November 10: fact 2

Danny Welbeck injury: Arsenal fear forward will miss the rest of the season

November 10: fact 3:

“Welbeck is in hospital and will undergo surgery after breaking his right ankle, which will rule him out for the remainder of the season.”

November 10: fact 4:

“Welbeck’s latest injury setback is expected to keep him on the sidelines for at least four months.”

November 10: fact 5

Danny Welbeck: New Arsenal contract demand made after horror ankle injury

No, not by Danny Welbeck. This is the opinion of Perry Groves, the former Arsenal player. It’s not a demand. It’s just Perry filling in space on one of his media stints.

November 10: fact 6:

“Unai Emery readying £45 move for Danny Welbeck replacement”

It’s Lille’s Nicholas Pepe. Sorry, Danny, you’re finished. Get well soon, mate. Chin up!

November 12:

Arsenal news: Unai Emery admits Danny Welbeck uncertainty with fresh injury update

Not quote RIP Danny Welbeck, then.

Posted: 12th, November 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports, Tabloids | Comment