By Sir Hardly Anyone
Roll up roll up roll up. Take a deep breath, pause, prepare a tumbler full of your favourite tipple, swallow hard and settle yourself down for another cart load of gibberish, fresh (well freshish) from the keyboards of those not yet disinfected.
For it is 9am in the Toppled Bollard, drinking venue of the rumour elite. For perhaps the split part of a second, nothing happens, as if all Nature awaits the new day, breathless. But then it is as if the Book of Revelations has opened up and Judgement Day is announced.
Men tumble over each other in an effort to reach the bar, each with a stomach heavily charged from the morning’s kippers with Guiness. A great wind seems to blow through the Scribblers Lounge (the public bar with a coat of pain 20 years back), and each of those entering is aware of what appears to be a steam hammer banging about in his head. To a man they have told their psychiatrist that at this time of day ears ring loudly, the eyeballs rotate and there is a tingling about the brow. The shrink says, well, yes, that’s normal for a journalist.
And then, just as each is feeling that he (or perhaps it) ought to ring a lawyer and see that one’s affairs are in order before it is too late, the whole situation seems to clarify. The wind drops. The ears cease to ring. Birds twitter. Brass bands start playing. The sun comes up over the horizon with a jerk – who turns out to be the football correspondent of the Daily Bonk.
And thus we have the rumoids including…
Arsenal are the “bookies’ favourites” to get Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez this summer, but only if he ends up leaving the club. (Work that one out – what are the odds of our getting him if he DOES NOT leave the club??? These newspaper eh?) He’s never made it at Man City so the logic seems to be he ought to be ok at Arsenal. (Caught Offside)
Signing of Ajax man would push Carl Jenkinson “closer to Arsenal exit” according to those who watch exists and Noussair Mazraoui is “set to be” a “wanted man “. (TBR football)
We’ve mentioned him before but it seems Arsenal are so confident Gabriel Martinelli will be a success at the club that “they will set a date for the 17-year-old to make his debut for the club.” Does that sound likely – oh, no, look, it is what “reports say”. But still, “Unai Emery is on the verge of completing his first summer transfer signing having agreed a fee with Martinelli’s club, Ituano”. (Metro although FootLond go further claiming the fee is exactly £5.1m.
Another one doing the rounds for some time and now back on the list “former Juventus target” who “nearly moved to Turin in 2018.” He could cost around €20m and Milan asked about him in the last window. He’s with Sampdoria. (Il Corriere dello Sport)
Nick Pope and James Tarkowski
Taking a lead from betting firms is always a dubious thing to do, but some journos are so far gone they are now writing their copy down the bookies, which is how they find that Arsenal are favourites to sign both Nick Pope and James Tarkowski “in order to bolster their defence”.
And where are these master defenders now you may ask. Burnley is the answer (Lancs Live)
And now finally: The Daily Mail list
Never one to do things by quarters where it can do them by tenths, the Mail is these days presenting whole lists of players who are coming to Arsenal. Currently including…
SAMUEL UMTITI: £65m from Barcelona. Previously with Lyon, 25 years old and was in the French World Cup-winning in Russia last summer.
JEAN-PHILIPPE GBAMIN – a £35m centre half buy from Mainz. 23 years old he has “youth on his side.” (Where do these journos get these phrases from?) “and could continue to develop at the Emirates Stadium”. It’s like the bland leading the bland.
MARIO HERMOSO – £35m (Espanyol).
He’s only 23, and played 30 times for Espanyol with a contract running out in a year. £35m is the price but might be available for half that, although the reasons for this cut price are not made clear.
WALTER KANNEMANN – £12m (Gremio)
“The 28-year-old is a naturally left-sided centre back”. So what is an unnaturally left-sided centre back? He plays for Argentina, which makes his alleged nickname of ‘the Viking’, seem odd. Atletico Madrid want him.
11. MICHAEL KEANE – £50m (Everton)
Are we goint to give Everton £50m for a player? Even in the drunken state of these journalists at the Bollard that seems unlikely. But apparently we are going to battle it out with the Tiny Tots to get him!
12. LLOYD KELLY – £10m (Bristol City)
He’s 20, plays at left back, can double up in central defence. Well, you never know.
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