By Sir Hardly Anyone, our man with a pint at the Toppled Bollard
Football Talk has a piece which claims that In an interview with Wettfreunde, “reliable journalist Gianluca Di Marzio has said that Manchester United and Arsenal could be possible contenders to sign PSV Eindhoven star Cody Gakpo in January.” He’s a forward.
But the interesting here is that this takes the journalist’s tip a stage further. The journo on this occasion is not saying he has heard from within the club or agent that this is on, but just he thinks it’s a good fit. Hmmm. Let’s move on.
“In what will come as a major blow to Arsenal, Chelsea are preparing to offer their star man Bukayo Saka a ‘better contract’ than what the Gooners are currently negotiating.”
Now there is a major grammatical issue here with “than what”. That is not English, not in any meaningful use of the word. It should be “than that which”. Really!
But let’s try this through. How does Chelsea know what Arsenal’s offer is? And if they do, are they likely to let slip this inside information to Arsenal, since if it were real, surely Arsenal would go to Saka and say, “We’ll do better than Chelsea” or words to that effect? As well as find the mole and throw it in the pond.
But then the piece continues, “It is expected that the 21-year-old will sign a £200,000-per-week contract with the north London club.”
So now let’s consider how it is a major blow if it is expected that he will sign with AFC. Chelsea as we know have a presentational problem at the moment in that the owners have not been established for long and they have a small stadium, and some of their supporters openly supported a Russian billionaire whose country was and is pounding the hell out of Ukraine. It is also six years since they last won the league, and although that is a lot less time than for Arsenal they were third last season, and rather than build on that achievement have slipped back a little this year, And that after spending £248m in the summer.
Mind you the Mirror tells us that “Gary Neville and Roy Keane played down the chances of Arsenal lifting the Premier League trophy in May despite the Gunners moving four points ahead of closest-rivals Manchester City on Sunday.”
I like the use of “despite” as if the fact that we won at the weekend and Manchester C didn’t would suddenly make a difference. These are the people, remember, who said we would finish fifth in the league this season, so it would be worth asking them what they think now.
Mind you a separate Mirror article (and really it is not even worth giving the link to this one) has as its main feature the fact that Arteta “punched the air and hugged his technical staff like they had just won the league because he knew this was a big, big victory.” Jolly good.
Piers Morgan, of whom it has been said, and if it hasn’t it should have been, did actually bring a smile to our corner in the Toppled Bollard where a team of dedicated journalist baiters drink Guinness and bemoan the state of the nation’s economy. He said, “The Leeds/Arsenal game is currently suspended because the referee has lost tech comms contact with an automated system that always gets it wrong anyway.” What made us giggle was the fact that VAR did actually get it right. Poor Piers. When he’s wrong he’s wrong, and when he’s right he’s wrong.
Staying with the Mirror “Ray Parlour is urging Arsenal to tie the club’s top youngsters to new contracts to avoid running into a very familiar problem.”
What is so amusing about this is that these pieces always start from the point that the pundit knows something but the club doesn’t, and if only the club would listen to the pundit things would be ok. What a funny world these journalists and pundits live in.
The Telegraph has a long piece telling us that Howard Webb takes control at PGMO on 1 December. Now this otherwise innocuous piece of window dressing would not be worth mentioning if it were not for one little snippet, which says, “Webb, 51, is expected to be a more public-facing leader of the organisation than his predecessors.”
Blimey. The PGMO is going to issue press releases? The PGMO is going to have someone on TV facing the interviewer? The fact that those two possibilities sound so unlikely shows just how deep the depths of the problems within the PGMO are. I wonder if he will come out and address the home/away nonsense that we’ve been highlighting. (See for example How it was proven that PL referees are unreliable, and this season’s figures)
Last one: Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun drops major hint on future amid impressive Reims loan
The story is “he appears to be a man transformed in France, where he sits fifth in the scoring charts after 11 games. His six goals have helped Reims steer clear of the relegation zone for the time being and it is easy to see the French side looking to bring him back permanently.”
Wow! I am of course pleased to read this because it is a tough call being the centre forward at Reims, and they were in quite a state last time I looked. And the Mirror’s piece doesn’t actually tell me how Reims have been doing. In fact, in the last six it is four draws and two defeats and they still have only won one game this season. And that means the really interesting story is that for a club that has scored just 12 goals in 11 games, our boy got six of them. Now that is quite something.
What a shame no one at the Mirror noticed.
- After the first 10 games, Arsenal are doing better than the unbeaten season (This story is popping up in several newspapers today but I thought you might like to read the original source).