Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “I reacted stupidly. I did not go out to attack a horse. I love animals – I’ve got three dogs, a fish pond out the back and I feed foxes across the road. For some reason people are more upset about the fact that I hit a horse than a policewoman getting hurt. But I would like to apologise to the horse, to all the mounted section, to people of the North East. I am on medication and had been drinking, but that does not excuse what happened.” – Newcastle fan Barry Rogerson.
Runner-up: “It’s a huge challenge. We are going into one of the best leagues in the world. But I’ve got good staff and people here.We will go up and prepare properly, but the planning has started already. We’ll now put that into action. I’ll make sure that the departments we have opened up in the last two years and structure at the football club to keep striving forward and keep adding because change is constant. If you don’t go with it, you are left behind. We’ve been changing and adapting for two years and pushing the evenlope trying to get the best practice in every avenue we’ve gone down. We will continue that to try and give ourselves the best chance possible we can in the Premier League.We’ll try and be competitive – it’s something we have done in the Championship. Our fans will accept mistakes, but they won’t accept a lack of effort. That won’t change.” – Cardiff manager Malky Mackay.
The Squirt: Mirallas v Wilshere
You squirt! Mirallas sprays Wilshere with water at half-time of Arsenal v Everton (Sami Mokbel, Mail) Arsenal and Everton were involved in a halftime tunnel brawl last night after Kevin Mirallas squirted water in Jack Wilshere’s face… Arsenal felt Everton midfielder Darron Gibson should have been shown a second yellow card for a clumsy challenge on Theo Walcott and manager Arsene Wenger said: ‘Should Gibson have seen a red card? Yes.
You squirty rat! (Shaun Custis, Sun) As the players went off at half-time, Mirallas gave Wilshere a cheeky squirt of water. Wilshere responded by grabbing the Everton winger round the neck. As they moved into the tunnel, the fired-up Gunner had to be restrained by Everton skipper Phil Jagielka and Seamus Coleman.
Gunners Want Mignolet
Arsenal to make Sunderland offer for £10m Simon Mignolet at end of the season (Martin Hardy, Independent) Arsenal will make a formal offer to Sunderland to sign their goalkeeper Simon Mignolet at the end of the season… Wenger wants to sign Mignolet and install him as his No 1 as he looks to rebuild his squad in the summer. He may have to be prepared to pay up to £10m for Mignolet, who has caught the attention of the leading sides after an excellent season… This has been Mignolet’s standout campaign, keeping 10 clean sheets in a Sunderland side fighting relegation.
The Premier League’s Newest Member: Cardiff
Cardiff win £100m point (Charlie Wyett, Sun) A goalless draw with Charlton was enough to secure promotion to the Premier League — and a £100m bonanza — after three successive seasons of play-off heartache.
Bluebirds hit the big league… Promotion jackpot means City’s cash problems are over (Riath Al-Samarrai) The gamble paid off. After years of spending, striving, crying and a trip to the High Court, Cardiff City finally secured their return to the top flight after a 51-year absence. Ultimately, it wasn’t pretty, a goalless draw securing the promotion that looked in recent years like it might never materialise. But when you’ve had a season like Cardiff have had, that can probably be forgiven.
PSG’s French Summer Signings
Now PSG want Cabaye and Nasri (Martin Blackburn, Sun) Samir Nasri and Yohan Cabaye are the latest Prem stars being chased by Paris Saint-Germain. The French giants have already put Manchester United stars Wayne Rooney and Nani top of their want list. Now PSG sporting director Leonardo has confirmed City star Nasri and Newcastle midfielder Cabaye are targets. He said: “I like the idea of seeing great French players come back home. “Not Karim Benzema, but maybe Nasri, Cabaye or or Franck Ribery. I don’t know if those deals can be done. I’ve had no contact with those players. But French players do well when they go abroad — Moussa Sissoko, who I wanted to sign before he went to Newcastle, and Cabaye, who is someone I appreciate a great deal. We could well do our shopping in England.”
Tottenham’s Asian Target
Come on my Son! Spurs close on £10m South Korean pulling up trees at Hamburg (Simon Jones, Mail) Son is valued at around £10million by his club, with his versatility proving a major asset in Germany. Tall and strong, his physical presence means he can play anywhere across the forward line and is a danger from set-pieces.
Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas reignites interest in Porto winger Atsu (Darren Lewis, Mirror) Andre Villas-Boas has reignited his interest in Porto winger Christian Atsu. Everton and Sunderland are also keen on the 20-year-old winger who will have just a year left on his contract by the summer. But Spurs boss Villas-Boas could have the edge as he gave talented Atsu – who has an £8million buyout clause – his debut during his time in charge of Porto.
Andy Carroll’s Future
So, will anybody show their hand and land Carroll? Get ready for a £17m game of poker (Martin Samuel, Mail) The fee for Andy Carroll is £17million. It is not the sort of money that might be termed a cheeky punt… Carroll looked handy, but raw, at Newcastle, yet the price indicated certainty of outcome. The same could still be said of £17m in a market soon to be depressed by financial fair play. It remains steep. Tottenham’s valuation of Carroll is believed to be less than half Liverpool’s £17m. Newcastle’s not greatly more. The hope that West Ham will therefore be coerced into an escalating bidding war may prove fanciful. If Tottenham open negotiations at £8m, there is a long way to go before the magic figure is reached. Some even believe Carroll will start next season back at Anfield, as the interested parties wait for each other, or Liverpool, to blink.
Newcastle interested in Andy Carroll.. but only for £25m LESS than Liverpool bought him for (Simon Bird, Mirror) Andy Carroll is on Newcastle’s radar for a summer transfer – but only at a knockdown £10million price… ewcastle’s No1 target in the summer is an extra striker having lost Demba Ba in January, and powerful Carroll would allow them to mix up their tactics. Chief scout Graham Carr has also watched St Etienne striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with owner Mike Ashley with a view to a £10 million swoop. The Geordies are ready to play hard ball with Liverpool who themselves tried to nick Hatem Ben Arfa on the cheap in Jaunary. Rodgers is expected to call again in the summer for the French winger.
Monaco Make Mourinho Move
Monaco out to gazump Chelsea and make The Special One football’s best-paid boss (John Cross, Mirror) Jose Mourinho has received an offer from mega-rich Monaco to make him the highest-paid football manager in the world… Mourinho is demanding £12million-a-year to go back to Chelsea, and Rybolovlev wants to gazump his countryman Roman Abramovich in a major battle of wills.
Turkish giants Galatasaray consider making summer swoop for Fulham starlet Frei (Mail) Fulham winger Kerim Frei is wanted by Galatasaray. The Turkish club’s sporting director Bulent Tulun has been in England on a scouting trip and is ready to bid for the 19-year-old this summer.
It’s cash ‘n Barry (Sun) Gareth Barry is in line for a contract extension — but faces a pay cut to stay at Manchester City… Barry will be offered a basic wage of £70,000 a week.
Porto look so Andy (Sun) Porto are lining up a summer move to re-sign Manchester United midfielder Anderson… Fergie is known to be an admirer of Porto’s attacking midfielder James Rodriguez and could be interested in trying to thrash out a swap deal.
PSV eye Gomes (Sun) PSV director Marcel Brands said: “Two years ago Tottenham wanted £8million. Maybe that’s changed.”
Swansea line up £5m bid for Tottenham winger Andros Townsend following impressive displays for QPR (Independent) The Tottenham winger is currently on loan with the Hoops and his performances since moving to Loftus Road in January in their fight for Premier League survival have caught the eye.