Anorak

Sports | Anorak - Part 80

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.

John Stones: Everton’s ‘new Rio Fedinand’ will be a Chelsea great

John Stones is football’s player in demand. The Everton and England defender is being stalked by Chelsea. The Londoners say Stones is worth £30m. Everton rejected an offer for that sum. They want more. He’s that good.

The Times‘ Jonathan Northcroft has bene speaking with David Moyes, the then Everton manger who signed Stones from Barnsley.

The scouts picked Stones. They told Moyes: “That young defender at Barnsley you’ve had us tracking — go and get him. He has a real chance.”

What did Moyes see?

“He looked this young, thin boy, but he had a natural comfort on the ball, a comfort that didn’t look coached or taught but was just something he’d got. You could see he’d need to get stronger and work on his speed, but his ability to take the ball was special. It’s something you don’t see a lot in British defenders and that’s what made him stand out. He’s the most comfortable English central defender on the ball I’ve seen since Rio Ferdinand. He reads the game and he’s calm in possession, a natural footballer. He has an ability to not look under any pressure.”

Moyes says Stones was bought for £1.25m.

Says Moyes:

“I have to give credit to my recruitment department at Everton. They were always looking exhaustively in the lower leagues. We always looked for British players, English talent, because that formed such a huge part of the identity of the club and the teams I built.

“We had John watched from the start of that season and the reports always came back positively and, because the deal was at the lower end of the financial scale, I was trusting my scouts anyway. But when I saw John for myself I didn’t take much convincing.”

 

 

Moyes reminds us that Stones is just 21.

“As a young boy, John took some risks, but his decision making got better and better and we played him at right-back for experience. He will need time and, at his age, he’ll make mistakes. There’ll be days he does things that he will learn from, so people need to be patient. But England could have a top, top centre-back if he’s allowed to develop.

“The way football is getting played now, the centre-backs have more touches than midfielders do. It’s often their job to start the moves and John’s attributes are perfect for that. And he’s got a good personality. He’s calm in himself and gets good support from his family. The first day he came in and said to our fitness guys ‘Whatever I have to do to get into the first team, I’ll do it’. He immediately impressed you as a likeable boy with a great aptitude for learning. Self-development is a vital quality in a young player.”

Stones is ambitious. He can’t stay at Everton. Chelsea look favourites to sign him. But surely we can expect others, chiefly Manchester United, to compete for his signature.

Posted: 23rd, August 2015 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Neymar uses Manchester United to get a better deal at Barcelona

neymar manchester united

 

The Daily Express says Brazil’s superstar footballer Neymar has agreed a new contract to remain at Barcelona. He hasn’t. His sucrrent deal expires in the summer of 2018 – but he does want a better deal. And he’ll get one. In June, the Mail told us:

Josep Maria Bartomeu will offer Neymar a new deal if he wins the election

Bartomeu won.

The Barcelona president who has ended up in court over the club’s signing of Neymar is ready to throw even more money at him to keep the 23-year-old happy at the Nou Camp.

This follows the Sun’s wafer-thin news that Manchester United had made a “discreet” enquity about signing the player.

Seemingly unduanted by fact, the Sun leads its report on Man United 0-0 draw with Newcastle by declaring:

Neymar agent jets in Manchester United 0 Newcastle 0

Shaun Curtis, the writer who broke the news of the discreet approach that wasn’t all that discrete, now says:

NEYMAR’S international agent Pini Zahavi was at Old Trafford — on the day SunSport revealed Manchester United want the Barcelona superstar.

Do we know why Pini was there?

The Israeli super-agent told us: “I have nothing to say about this but it is normal such a giant club as Manchester United would wish to win the services of Neymar, the best player in the world. It would be astonishing if United pulled off such a coup, but they are making a play for him.”

Has Neymar sorted out his new pay deal as part of his enw contract with Barcelona. Ealier this summer, Sergio Ramos used Manchester United to engineer a better wage packet at Real Madrid. Might it be that Neymar is trying the same ploy?

Curtis then tells readers what Neymar would cost:

 

While his buyout clause is said to be £130million, SunSport has learned it could be up to £165m with add-ons.

Any word from United

Van Gaal remained tight-lipped after the Newcastle shut-out. He said: “You can mention every player but I cannot answer those questions.“I would like to make the squad stronger but not for any price and only for the right player.”

In other words: agent watches football match. Read all about it.

Posted: 23rd, August 2015 | In: manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Chelsea buy Paul Pogba without agreeing a deal with Juventus

pogba transfer chelsea

 

Transfer Balls: The Sun says “Chelsea in £69m Pogba deal.”

Chelsea have bought the Juventus and France star?

CHELSEA have agreed a stunning £69million deal to sign Juventus’ Paul Pogba. The champions made the Italian giants an offer they cannot refuse for the French midfield powerhouse.

But have they refused?

Sources say Oscar, Willian and Juan Cuadrado could be involved in a move in the other direction.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 22nd, August 2015 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Chelsea: Mourinho reveals the secret of beating Manchester United and Tottenham to players

When Pedro picked Chelsea over Manchester United he underlined a point: the Blues always get their man. Manchester United wanted Fàbregas;  Tottenham wanted Willian; Manchester City wanted Eden Hazard. Chelsea signed them.

Talking about nipping in for Pedro, Jose Mourino recalls the phone call that made the Barcelona winger head to Stamford Bridge.

“It was one minute. “I asked if it was true he wanted to leave. ‘Yes, it’s true. It is my home, but it is time for me to leave.’ ‘Did you already sign for another club?’ ‘Almost, but not yet’. ‘Do you want to come here?’ ‘Yes, I want.’ For me, it was one minute.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 22nd, August 2015 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Manchester United can make Neymar ‘World Player of The Year’

Transfer Balls: Manchester United Want Neymar

Hold the phone! Manchester United are in “secret talks” to buy 23-year-old Brazil and Barcelona forward Neymar, says the Sun. In a trice the secret talks are no longer secret. 

Shaun Curtis writes: “a top Barcelona source has told SunSport the Red Devils have made a discreet approach to the La Liga champions.”

Not that discreet was it. After all, the approach only made it into the country’s largest-selling tabloid. A cynic might see it as a load of PR balls, a story rooted not in a bid for Neymar, rather in a desire to assure Manchester United fans that the team are thinking big.

Aree there any fact to support the anonymous source who says Man United have have made a secret approach to buy one of world footballer’s star names. Any facts?

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has been to Barca three times in the last two months with all the talk being about United’s chase for Pedro. But, under the radar, Woodward has made an audacious bid for Neymar.

Man United never did buy Pedro, losing out to Chelsea for the winger’s signature, although the official Old Trafford line is that Van Gaal dropped his interest in the Spaniard at the 11th hour. Van Gaal has ben splitting hairs, telling media:

 “When you ask me does Pedro fit into the profile, I cannot lie, then I say yes. I cannot deny that but I did not say I was interested — that’s the difference.”

Back to Neymar, of whom Curtis adds: “...the Brazilian superstar is well aware that if he moved to Old Trafford he would become the undisputed main man and a challenger for the title of World Player of the Year.”

Hispanic players dream of playing for Real Madrid and Barcelona. They do not dream of playing for Manchester United. But the Sun’s anonymous source has something to add: “United are one of the biggest clubs in the world so it is right they should be chasing a player who has the potential to be the best player on the planet.”

Chase away. You won’t catch him. But maybe the club’s shares will rise on the stock market and the fans will dream anew…

Posted: 22nd, August 2015 | In: manchester united, Reviews, Sports | Comment (1)


Transfer Balls: Manchester City buy Kevin de Bruyne for £50m, Chelsea hail the new Torres

Transfer Balls: Kevin De Bruyne, who “cried every day” when he was at Stamford Bridge, has agreed personal terms with Manchester City, says the Guardian.

The 24-year-old winger will earn – get this – £200,000-a-week at City. For that money he might even kiss the badge.

The Belgian is scheduled to become City’s fifth new major signing of the summer. City need just to agree a fee with Wolfsburg. The paper says City will have to go as high as £55m.

The Daily Mirror says the deal has been done for £50m.

Is he really that good?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 22nd, August 2015 | In: Manchester City, Reviews, Sports | Comment (1)


Manchester United won’t sell De Gea because the Real Madrid ‘virus’ have yet to make a bid

More news on Manchester United’s David De Gea, who is surely heading to Real Madrid. But having dropped the wantaway Spaniard, Man United manager Louis Van Gaal says he’s going to block any sale. The Dutchman told media:

“I think when Manchester United wants a player he shall come, besides when a club isn’t selling. It is the same with us. We are not selling De Gea.”

Van Gaal is pretty much the only Dutchman in top-flight football who speaks English worse than the English. But the end part of his tatement is clear: De Gea stays at Old Trafford.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 22nd, August 2015 | In: manchester united, Reviews, Sports | Comment


Chelsea: Mourinho is one game from the sack if you consider the West Brom factor

Chelsea manager has José Mourinho has attacked himself, says the Times. He told a press conference:

“I am not happy with my form. I used to get better results than I am getting now. This is the start of everything. I am not happy with Ivanovic’s form, Cahill’s form, John Terry’s form, Azpilicueta’s form, Fàbregas’s form, Nemanja Matic’s form. No, there is not one [I am happy with]. We have one point from two matches. I am not happy at all with anyone. I am either happy with everybody or not happy with anyone.”

The BBC says the Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho “named seven first-team players who have underperformed” in the club’s worst Premier League start in 17 years. Surely not naming them all was a matter of rhetoric rather than a deliberate policy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 22nd, August 2015 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment (1)


TV Blooper: West Ham says QPR’s Charlie Austin has ‘no ligaments in his right dick’

Why aren’t West Ham United bidding for QPR’s Charlie Austin?

 

More here.

 

Posted: 20th, August 2015 | In: Sports, TV & Radio | Comment


Transfer Balls: Arsenal signed Benzema and his mate last Friday

Transfer Balls brings you the mega news that Arsenal have signed Karim Benzzzzzzzzema.

Like you, we’re getting tired to the rumours that Karim Benzema is going Arsenal. Every summer since 2013, the France and Real Madrid striker has been heading to the Gunners.

2015…

1

 

Here’s the 2014 vintage…

2

And 2013…

4

 

Things have gotten a tad more interesting this year.

The Daily Telegraph reported on August 7th 2015 that Benzema to Arsenal was a done deal…

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 16.55.43

He never did arrive. Friday came and went. Comme ci, comme ca.

However, today Talksport says Real Madrid have accepted Arsenal’s £48million offer for Benzema. The source for this scoop is none other than former QPR forward Rodney Marsh.

Everyone else soon agrees that Rodney (or more accurately, a mate of Rodney’s) is a reliable source for Real Madrid and Arsenal news and the “story” gains traction across the internet.

The desperate Telegraph announces: “Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Real Madrid accept £48m offer for Karim Benzema.”

The paper quotes Marsh: 

I had a phone call from a mate of mine, and he’s been right on many things, and he said that he believes Real Madrid have accepted a bid somewhere in the region of £48million for Benzema from Arsenal.

In the past this guy has always been right, he’s never been wrong yet, so we’ll have to wait and see.

That’s good enough for the Daily Star to declare it a “DONE DEAL”…

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 16.59.56

Over in the Metro, the Benzema deal is off! The paper knows this because it’s read a tweet from talkSPORT journalist Ian Abrahams…

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 17.01.50

Editorial meetings at TalkSPORT must be fantastic.

Editor: “What do you have new and shouty?”

Marsh: “A mate of mine says Benzema has signed for Arsenal”

Ed: “Brilliant!”

Abrahams: “Someone told me Arsenal want Cavani and Benzema isn’t interested in Arsenal”

Ed: “Brilliant. It’s time for a heated debate!”

Posted: 20th, August 2015 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Arsenal Balls: Gunners buy Benzema and his diamond ball

benzema diamond ballThe news cycle whirls with what might be the most specious football story of the year. The Sydney Morning Herald tells us:
Arsenal target Karim Benzema spends a fortune on a diamond ball
To which you can only wonder what he plans to kick it with. Solid gold boots would be too soft. How about  goethite, a material found in the mouths of limpets? Sure millions of the creatures would have to die to enable Benzema to work on his ball skills but it’s surely what they would have wanted.
The story continues:
If Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema makes his much-speculated move to English Premier League giants Arsenal, he could bring with him his new prized possession, a $340,000 soccer ball. The 27-year-old French goal-scorer, who has been on the Gunners’ hit-list for months, reportedly purchased the 1,250 carat ball encrusted with 72,000 diamonds from a celebrity jeweller.
Fair enough. It’s his money. We only hope he writes his name on it lest it get muddled up with everyone else’s when he check into the Emirates.

Update: Every paper says Benzema has agreed to join Arsenal for £45m.

Posted: 20th, August 2015 | In: Arsenal, Reviews, Sports, The Consumer | Comment


Chelsea club statement on signing Pedro contains sly dig at Manchester United

pedro-signs-for-chelsea

 

Chelsea have hired Pedro. The Spaniard never did join Manchester United, preferring life in London to playing under Van Gaal at Old Trafford.

Chelsea Football Club is delighted to announce the signing of Pedro from Barcelona.

The Spaniard arrives as a highly coveted winger who can also play as a central striker. He is proven at the very highest level and already possesses an impressive medal haul.

The 28-year-old has accumulated three Champions Leagues and five La Liga titles, as well as being a world and European champion on the international stage.

He said: ‘I am very happy to be here. I am very excited to start my adventure at Chelsea and I am here to keep winning titles.

‘Thanks to the club and the supporters for giving me the opportunity to put the blue shirt on.’

Born in Tenerife, the diminutive Pedro, whose full name is Pedro Eliezer Rodríguez Ledesma, signed for Barςa’s academy in 2004 and made his first-team debut in January 2008 after catching the eye for their B team.

By 2009/10, the two-footed, fast and direct winger had become an important part of the Barcelona team. He was the first player ever to score in the Spanish league, Copa del Rey, Champions League, both the European and Spanish Super Cups as well as the World Club Cup.

His brilliant performances at club level saw him secure a place in the Spain squad for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Pedro started both the semi-final and final, and was a key figure in their victory over the Netherlands.

And out of all the game of hark back to, Chelsea pick this one:

A year later he scored the opening goal in the Champions League final at Wembley as Barςa beat Manchester United 3-1.

Zing!

He was a substitute alongside then Chelsea players Fernando Torres and Juan Mata in Spain’s Euro 2012 victory over Italy. The winger was also part of the squad which travelled to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup.

Pedro came on as a late substitute in Barcelona’s most recent major success – May’s Champions League final win over Juventus in Berlin. He concluded his time at the Catalan club in the most memorable manner, scoring the winning goal in their 5-4 UEFA Super Cup triumph over Sevilla.

 

Posted: 20th, August 2015 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment (1)


Manchester United fans in David De Gea horror chant

de gea chant

 

The Sun is shocked. It has heard that Manchester United fans have been singing nasty things about wantaway goalkeeper David De Gea. Presented as an “exclusive“, the paper writes:

De Gea, 24, had arrived close to kick-off, hoping to sneak in unnoticed. But he was spotted by a handful of fans and greeted with a chorus of “f*** off you penny-pinching b*****d” as security went to let him in.

A handful of fans shouted abuse at a footballer. That’s an exclusive news story. It would have been a world exclusive had fans shouted abuse at a tree in a wood and made it fall down.

Onlookers said De Gea, who has yet to feature for United this season, looked visibly shaken.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 20th, August 2015 | In: manchester united, Reviews, Sports | Comment


Chelsea Balls: tabloids say Mourinho put Eden Hazard’s life at risk

The Sun continues to hammer the spat between Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and club Doctor Eva Cerneiro. And today it gets deadly:

Muamba: Player could die Ex-Bolton star warns Jose over pitch docs

To recap: Eden Hazard, the player Dr Carneiro and Chelsea physio John Fearn dashed on to treat, had not passed out. He was not in his death throes. He was not in a dire state, as Muamba was when the then Bolton player’s heart stopped beating on the Tottenham pitch. The former England Under-21s midfielder suffered a cardiac arrest in March 2012. His heart stopped for 78 minutes.

Hazard was, to quote Mourinho, “tired”.

FABRICE MUAMBA has warned Jose Mourinho one of his players could die if he tries to stop a doctor going on the pitch.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 20th, August 2015 | In: Chelsea, Reviews, Sports | Comment


Manchester United: the incredible reason why Pedro joined Chelsea

van gaal pedroWhy did Spanish footballer Pedro join Chelsea and not Manchester United?

Chelsea gazumped United

The Times‘ says losing out on Pedro is a “blow” to United. Oliver Kay says Chelsea outbid United for the Barcelona player.

Manchester United’s desperation in the transfer market has grown after they were gazumped by Chelsea in a £21.1 million deal to sign Pedro from Barcelona.

The Fabregas Factor

The aforesaid Kay adds:

Chelsea’s pursuit of Pedro was helped by Cesc Fàbregas, who, along with his girlfriend, Daniella Semaan, helped to persuade his former Barcelona team-mate that he should move to London rather than Manchester.

 

Mourinho Nicked Him

The Daily Mail says Pedro ‘snubbed” United because Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho talked him into picking the Blues.

 

mourinho

 

The Other Woman

Another woman played a key part in the proposed deal. Marina Granovskaia, a long-time and trusted employee of Roman Abramovich, the Chelsea owner, was also instrumental in getting talks started.

 

Not Fancying Van Gaal 

The Daily Express says Van Gaal has a problem with Spaniards.

Louis Van Gaal’s brutal treatment of former Barca keeper Victor Valdes may have had an influence on Pedro’s decision while the presence at Chelsea of former Nou Camp star Cesc Fabregas is also likely to have been a factor.

Pedro is understood to have spoken to both players to help make up his mind.

And Van Gaal briefed the media against David De Gea?

 

Operation Pedro

The Telegraph says Chelsea performed a planned “hijack”:

While [Ed] Woodward was haggling with Barcelona, Chelsea were putting ‘Operation Pedro’ into practice with Granovskaia conducting discreet negotiations with the Spanish club and, with the permission of Barca, Mourinho and Fabregas both speaking with the forward directly.

 

But The Local Paper Knows What Really Happened

The Manchester Evening News says that Pedro did not “snub” Man United. Pedro was not seduced to London by Mourinho or any number of women. He was not “hijacked”. No. The local Manchester paper says Pedro is not playing for Manchester United because club manager Louis Van Gaal rejected him. Yeah, really.

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 07.48.27

 

We are supposed to believe that Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, flew to Barcelona to buy Pedro, only to be recalled at the 11th hour because Van Gaal realised the 28-year-old three-time Champions’ league winner was not wanted.

Oh, and in any case, Van Gaal has his heart set on Sadio Mané, the Southampton forward, who United bid for before they went to see Pedro in Barcelona.

 

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 20th, August 2015 | In: Chelsea, manchester united, Reviews, Sports | Comment


Newcastle United: £12m newboy Thauvin starts work as a Sports Direct model (photos)

 

Florian Thauvin has joined Newcastle United from Marseilles for £12m, with Rémy Cabella heading in the opposite direction on a season-long loan. In summer 2016 Cabella will join the French club for £5.6 million.

Magpies manager Steve McClaren is delighted:

He is a perfect signing for this club – someone who is young, with great potential and is one of the best young players in Europe. He is an exciting, creative talent who can score goals and make assists, and we believe he will have a very bright future at Newcastle.

And no sooner had Thauvin arrived than he was put to work. See if you can spot the subtle product placement in every image from his official photoshoot:

 

Anyone know where you can buy some cheap sports gear without having to take out a ridiculous loan?

Posted: 19th, August 2015 | In: Sports | Comment


Manchester United Let Pedro Joined Chelsea And Other Fairytales

pedro-chelsea-man-utd

 

Pedro was shoo-in to join Manchester United, said all the British Press. But the Barcelona winger has joined Chelsea for a fee of £21m.

Did the mainstream media see this one coming?  No.

On Augsut 13, the Indy stated:

Pedro to Manchester United: Barcelona winger verbally agrees to join United after late interest from rivals Manchester City

Sky Sports is so behind the news curve it reports today: “Pedro and Manchester United agree personal terms.”

Maybe Sky is right and Pedro did agree terms with Man United. Maybe Pedro told them ‘no’ and Manchester United agreed not to take it personally.

But the M.E.N. says we’re wrong because “Louis Van Gaal kills Pedro deal.”

 

 

The Manchester paper reports:

United were happy to pay Pedro’s buy out clause and it appeared to be a simple transfer to complete. But LVG has decided he no longer sees the forward as the man United need.

So Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice chairman and deal maker, went to Barcalona, met the club and player’s reps, and was then recalled by Van Gaal because he went cold on the player? It has nothing at all to do with the theory that Pedro preferred working with Jose Mourinho, playing for Chelsea, living in London and avoiding the hammer-headed, vain Van Gaal. When Chelsea came calling he dropped United like, well, Van Gaal dropped Robin Van Persie. The offical line is that Van Gaal called all the shots and dumped Pedro.

Poor old Chelsea get the sloppy seconds (surely Champions’ League winning Spain winger – ed) while Man United buy… Well, any ‘top’ player with no alternatives keen to get rich.

Posted: 19th, August 2015 | In: Chelsea, manchester united, Reviews, Sports | Comment (1)


Chelsea Sign Pedro For £21m, Manchester United Gutted

After all the talk of Pedro to Manchester United, the Barcelona winger has joined Chelsea for a fee of £21m.

The BBC says the 28-year-old is flying to London to finalise terms on the transfer.

Or as Sky Sports says in its news today:

Pedro and Manchester United agree personal terms

And as the Star stated just yesterday:

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 14.28.47

 

They really don’t have the foggiest, do they.

Posted: 19th, August 2015 | In: Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Chelsea break the bank for Everton’s John Stones

Chelsea are desperate to land Everton’s John Stones. Having failed to impress The Toffees with a John Terry-led charm offensive (and how could that have failed?!), and bids of £20, £26m and £30m the Blues will need to come again with an even bigger offer.

The Liveprool Echo says the winning bid will be £40m. That’s an absurd amount of money for a player with four England caps and less than 50 Premier League matches under his belt, but if Raheem Sterling is worth £49m who can argue?

The Guardian says Chelsea are “considering” that £40m. It notes that Stones, who has four years remaining on his Everton contract, “has not agitated for a move… his form for and commitment to Martínez’s side to date this term has been exemplary.”

His Everton teammates agree. Steven Naismith is quoted in the Indy:

“I think the club’s stance on it has been pretty straightforward and the manager is looking forward with Stonesey in the team. The manager has mentioned wanting to bring in three more players in to strengthen, and I don’t think anyone has ever thought about Stonesey moving on… John has gone about his business day-to-day in training in such a professional manner. He has then taken that into the games, because he has been one of the stronger performers in the team since the start of the season.”

Chelsea have noticed. Blues manger Jose Mourinho has called his defence “fragile” after their 3-0 defeat by Manchester City. He’s desperate. And Everton, who hold all the cards, know it…

Posted: 19th, August 2015 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Arsenal in for Ibramovich and Cavani in PSG clearance sale

 

Zlatan-IbrahimovichTransfer Balls: “Manchester United and Arsenal in for Zlatan Ibrahimovic?” asks the Guardian. To which the answer is: no idea. And reading on in the Guardian, we find out that they don’t know, either.  What Scott Murray does know, however, is that Paris Saint-Germain are keen to sell Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Arsenal and Manchester United are “already said to be vaguely interested”. Said by whom is something else we don’t know, but our bet would be someone at the Guardian.

The Daily Express says Chelsea want the Swedish legend and “have shown the greatest interest in the lanky goal machine”. Lanky? LANKY! He knows where you live, Daily Express. Be warned.

But The Blues won’t get Zlatan because AC Milan fancy him almost as much as she fancies himself, which is a lot.

Former Italian president Silvio Berlusconi says:  “I want him… if Ibra wants to come, we’re waiting for him with open arms. Let’s hope.”

Let’s hope Silvio washes his hands before coming in for one of his special ‘Bunga Bunga’ hugs.

 

The Metro says Zlatan will not be the only Paris Saint-Germain forward coming to Arsenal – Edinson Cavani “could” complete a transfer to the Gunners “within the coming days”. He could. And, then again, he could not.

Of course it was back in May that the Express told us: “Edinson Cavani agrees £22m contract transfer from PSG to Juventus.”

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 21.24.17

 

 

So it’s pretty clear the papers have no idea.

 

 

Posted: 18th, August 2015 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Chelsea chase Antoine Griezmann in a human centipede of tabloid news

Transfer Balls: The Daily Star has been talking about Chelsea FC. It has a scoop.

Chelsea Transfer News: £40m demand, flying in to seal deal, Griezmann approved

The £40m player is Everton’s John Stones. Have Everton placed a £40 price tag on the player’s head? No. It’s utter balls.

The other part of the headline – the bit about Griezmann – goes like this:

The Metro say that Abramovich has personally given the green light to the signing of Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 18th, August 2015 | In: Chelsea, Sports | Comment


Manchester United banter: German star Schweinsteiger recalls an English joke

One day when Bastian Schweinsteiger is on the after-dinner speaking circuit, he will surely hark back to his days at Manchester United. Speaking to German newspaper Bild, Schweinsteiger has given us all a hint of the kind of anecdotes we can expect from the German midfielder:

“The English have a special sense of humour. This I immediately experienced in the dressing room.

“As I walked with two plates while eating, suddenly a teammate asked me ‘Basti, what time is it?’ – Hoping I would automatically turn my hand to look at my watch.”

Funny? Or just special? But the actual funny part is Schweinsteiger’s review of the big English gag:

“That’s quite entertaining.”

He’s deadpan. He’s the German Jack Dee

Posted: 18th, August 2015 | In: manchester united, Reviews, Sports | Comment


Chelsea: Jose Mourinho says his side are even better this season – panic buys John Stones

The season so far has exposed Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. Defeated by Arsenal in the Community Shield – a cup that when he wins it counts as a major trophy and when he doesn’t is reduced to a bit of silver less valuable than the shiny tinfoil on his KitKat; seeking someone to blame for a 2-2 draw with Swansea and settling on the physio and club doctor; and telling Manchester City they won only by three lucky goals to nil – Jose Mourinho is wobbling.

It was only last May that the bitchy Portuguese was telling everyone he would be spending nothing major:

“Next season will be even better than this season and without big investments, because we don’t want to do that because we are happy with the players. Our group is top. The qualities are good. The most important thing in the market for us is not to lose players, I want to keep my players.”

Now he says Chelsea have a “moral right” to spend money. John Stones is the target. But Everton have knocked back Chelsea’s £30m bid for the player. At the weekend, John Terry was substituted by Mourinho for the first time in 177 Premier League games. The message is clear: Mourinho is ready to spend big again.

In the Times, Rory Smith writes on how Jose wins the titlte:

First, the foot goes to the floor, and then it goes to the throat… In years in which he has won the league, Mourinho’s record in the first third of the campaign is astonishing: he has never lost more than one of his first 13 games.

Adding:

The greatest worry of all is less tangible: it is that Mourinho’s success has always been built on the short term. He extracts the maximum from his players. Those coaches who have followed him have spoken of finding squads physically and psychologically exhausted, not just by success but by his demands.

Plenty of time to recover, of course. Chelsea remain a formidable obstacle. But Mourinho is looking desperate.

Posted: 18th, August 2015 | In: Chelsea, Reviews, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Pedro Loses His Mind And ‘Agrees’ To Join Manchester United From Barcelona

pedro-diving-barcelonaManchester United “hope” to sign Pedro from Barcelona this week, writes the Times. They are determined to get their man. Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, is in Barcelona, looking to sign the 28-year-old for a £22 million fee.

Mundo Deportivo says Woodward has met Albert Soler, Barça’s director of sporting institutional relations, and director Raul Sanllehí where they discussed Pedro.

 

Sky says the deal has been done. Sort of. Sky Sports’ Balague told Revista de La Liga.

“I understand a deal between the player and United is already in place and all that is left is for United to put the €30m on the table. They are just negotiating how they are going to pay it, with installments or an amount up-front. They are very close. I’m not sure whether Barcelona will try one last time with Pedro and say ‘don’t go’, but it seems his mind is already made up.”

The Daily Telegpah says Pedro to arrive on Tuesday. That’s the same DT that told us Arsenal signed Karim Benzema last week.

The Manchester Evening News says that Pedro is not the star player United fans dream of:

Louis van Gaal is believed to be somewhat hesitant about bringing in Pedro because of his pace, but the Dutchman is eager to increase the attacking options in his side.

And Marca reminds us that no deal is done until it’s done:

The striker wants a more prominent role at Barça. Luis Enrique wants him to stay at the Camp Nou, but competition for places is tough at the club.

Why would anyone leave Barcelona for Manchester United under Van Gaal? Does that medical include a test for mental competence?

Posted: 18th, August 2015 | In: manchester united, Reviews, Sports | Comment