Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “Sneijder is such a talented player. He’s a great guy and I’m sure he’d fit right into a Manchester United team. He could do a job there, without a doubt. Scholesy is such a great talent and he will be missed. They’re going to have to get someone special.” – David Beckham.
Runner-up: “I’ve talked a lot with him [Samir Nasris]Â in the holidays and told him how great it is to play for Manchester United and how important it would be for him to become one of the biggest players in the world. I remember I made that little joke saying that he’s a prince now but if he wants to be the king then he has to join Man United. But that’s the reality – and I’ve told him that. I said, ‘If you want to win trophies, you have to come here’. In five years I’ve won 12 trophies and I don’t know if I’d have won more than that with another club. So I just told him the truth. I don’t know how negotiations are at the moment but he has a lot of clubs interested in him and he has to think. I just told him how good it would be for him coming here. He will have a nice welcome and I can help as well because I’m French. We’ve spoken a lot in the summer and also when we met up for friendly games with France at the end of the season. It was looking interesting but I don’t know, we’ll have to see. If he goes to City it’s his choice. But I know, as a player, if I have Manchester United and Manchester City, I’d go straight away for United. It can be for the money. But I’d prefer to go for the glory. He said it’s a privilege a club like United want him but he has to think about his future and talk with his agent.” – Patrice Evra.
Today’s overview: Wherever you stand on Mario Balotelliâ€™s Showboat FAIL in the LA Galaxy friendly, there is no doubt that the Italian striker has injected some interest into the papers this morning.
Besides Balotelli, there is a tired feel to the football coverage in the back pages who all lead with motor racing (Lewis Hamiltonâ€™s victory at the German Grand Prix), the culmination of the Tour de France and the fifth and final day of the England-India test at Lordsâ€™ today.
So, we are left with Andre Villas-Boas on his ageing Chelsea squad, Arsene Wenger claiming â€œtapping up,â€ a TelegraphÂ suggestion that Cesc Fabregasâ€™ future will be sorted this week and Jose Enrique slamming Newcastle.
Besides the transfer gossip there is also a fine interview in The Guardian with David Beckham (the first of many this week ahead of the MLS All-Star game) and more criticism of FIFA.
The Mario Balotelli Showboat FAIL: Martin Blackburn reports on Roberto Mancini’s post-match comments.Â “I hope this is a lesson for him. In football you always need to be professional, always serious, and he wasn’t. He needs to understand his behaviour has to be good in every game, not just in a semi-final or final.”
Ian Ladyman writes “Roberto Mancini finally lost his patience with Mario Balotelli as he hauled the wayward striker off after half an hour of Manchester City’s friendly with LA Galaxy. The City manager replaced Balotelli moments after the Italian striker wasted a one-on-one chance by attempting to score with an extravagant backheel. As soon as the ball flew wide, Mancini jumped angrily to his feet and instructed James Milner to warm up before taking Balotelli off minutes later.”
Daniel Taylor sums up the Balotelli-Mancini spat. “Mancini’s attitude towards the 20-year-old reinforces the sense of a manager who is not going to indulge anyone in his determination this season to have a side with genuine aspirations of challenging for the major honours. Balotelli scored 10 goals in 28 appearances after signing for Â£25m last summer, but he also picked up 11 yellow cards and two reds and will be suspended for the team’s first three Champions League games because of the sending-off against Dynamo Kiev that contributed to City’s elimination from the last 16 of the Europa League. Balotelli’s list of misdemeanours since joining the club has been long and extensive, including a training-ground fight with Jerome Boateng and an internal inquiry after he was seen throwing darts at youth-team players from the window of a training-ground building. Even after his red card against Kiev, Balotelli became embroiled in an argument with City’s supporters, getting out of his car as he left the ground to remonstrate with a group of fans in the street. Mancini still firmly believes the good outweighs the bad but their relationship has been fractious at times and, elsewhere in the club, there is little patience for a man whose final act last season was to fly back to Italy â€“ against the orders of his employers â€“ and miss the club’s player-of-the-season awards dinner as well as the FA Cup parade. For that, Balotelli received a heavy club fine and another lecture from Mancini about the importance of growing up, making the most of his undoubted talent and taking more responsibility.”
Chelsea: Tim Rich reports from Bangkok on how Andre Villas-Boas sees his squad. “Andre Villas-Boas has rejected suggestions from Sir Alex Ferguson that his inheritance of an ageing squad and his refusal to do quick transfer business will hamper his start as Chelsea’s manager. On tour in the United States, the Manchester United manager said that Chelsea had not renewed their team, which might be a problem for Villas-Boas as the season nears. ‘They are approaching an evolutionary stage and the new manager hasn’t signed anyone yet,” Ferguson said of Chelsea in Chicago. “So that might be a bit of a concern for their fans.’ The spine of the side Villas-Boas inherited from Carlo Ancelotti â€“ Petr Cech, John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba â€“ is unchanged since Jose Mourinho’s first season at Stamford Bridge in 2004-05. Nine of his squad are over 30. ‘Chelsea are maybe the second oldest team in the Premiership but look at the trophies these players have won and how successful they have been,’ he said, although it is telling that the two players Villas-Boas has signed â€“ Oriol Romeu and Thibault Courtois are both 19.”
Arsene Wenger claims “tapping up”: The Guardian:Â “ArsÃ¨ne Wenger says the rule covering the ‘tapping-up’ of players needs to be reviewed because so few clubs respect it… Wenger replied: ‘I would like to return the question to you â€“ what do you think? We live in a realistic world. I do not want to assess what I cannot prove. I know how things happen. It doesn’t necessarily go through the player or the agent but I think it is a rule that has to be reviewed. It’s not really respected.”
Jeremy Wilson claims the Cesc Fabregas saga will be wrapped up one way or the other this week. “Barcelona are approaching D-Day in this summerâ€™s pursuit of Cesc Fabregas, with Arsenal adamant that the situation must be resolved within a timescale that would allow them to replace their captain. ArsÃ¨ne Wenger would like the saga settled before Arsenal host the Emirates Cup this weekend and officials from the European champions are expected to remain in London over the coming days. Although Barcelona have been relentless in their public pursuit of Fabregas, the only actual offer this summer of Â£27 million fell well short of Arsenalâ€™s valuation of around Â£40 million.”
Jose Enrique slams the Newcastle board: Sam Wallace: “Jose Enrique last night launched a stinging attack on Mike Ashleyâ€™s Newcastle United regime, claiming via Twitter that the club was intent on selling their best players and suggesting that he too is leaving. Enrique, 25, who has been a summer transfer target for Liverpool , accused the board of selling key players like Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan and said that the club â€œlie all the timeâ€. Having originally gone on a no-holds-barred attack, he appeared to have second thoughts and deleted his account. He posted three critical tweets in Spanish culminating in two more in English, the last of which read: ‘They [the board] don’t want spend in [sic] the club and bring quality players that’s why everybody go.’ Enrique posted the tweets just after the team landed last night in Columbus, Ohio , ahead of their game against Columbus Crew tomorrow â€“ the third of their US tour. Earlier in the day, Joey Barton had also announced via Twitter that he would not be signing a new deal having been linked yesterday with a move to Manchester United.”
The Daily Mail predict Sergio Aguero is close to moving to Manchester City after missing Atletico Madrid training, Alberto Aquilani is set for a season long loan with Fiorentina, Sam Allardyce has warned Tottenham not to wait too long to sign Scott Parker and Newcastle have agreed a fee with PSG for Mevlut Erdinc.
David Beckham interview: Daniel Taylor speaks with Goldenballs in LA. “Apart from Ryan Giggs, Beckham is now the only member of Manchester United’s ‘Class of 1992’, the famous FA Youth Cup-winning side, still playing to a reasonably high standard. His gut feeling is that he will carry on. ‘One, maybe two more years. I’m still enjoying getting up in the morning to go training and, until that changes, I don’t see any reason to stop just yet. OK, I still have to play at a certain level, but I think I do that.’ Not in England, perhaps, but certainly here, in a league that wants more than to be patronised but which, nonetheless, is generous to a player whose reactions are not quite as fast as they once were â€“ even if that man can still pass and cross the ball as if there were a tracking device in his right boot.”
Bin Hammam and FIFA: Charles Sale writes of the scandal. “FA chairman David Bernstein is the only football administrator to emerge with any credit from the FIFA corruption saga, having abstained from supporting either undesirable Mohamed Bin Hammam or Sepp Blatter for the FIFA Presidency and objecting to Blatter’s unopposed election after the now banned-for-life Bin Hammam stood down. This contrasts with the Premier League, whose FA board representatives Sir Dave Richards and Phil Gartside were in favour of backing Bin Hammam. PL chief Richard Scudamore gets on well enough with the disgraced Qatari to have been his house guest in Doha at this year’s Asian Cup. Bin Hammam’s explanation on Sunday that his $40,000 bungs to 25 members of the Caribbean Football Union were ‘travel expenses and daily allowances’ is risible. But it demonstrates just how fraudulent FIFA has become that Bin Hammam believed handing out ‘gifts’ was the only way to compete with Blatter shoring up global support with discretionary spending of FIFA Goal project development funding.”