What A Difference Two Days Make
Jamie Jackson, May 20, The Guardian, on Toni Kroos being the third name on Manchester United's list of summer targets: 'The 24-year-old can operate in box-to-box mode, as a No10, or in more metronomic style, prompting the attack from deep: all of which is why Van Gaal and United have identified him as a solution to the perennial issue of the club's central midfield deficit.'
Jamie Jackson, May 22, The Guardian: 'Louis van Gaal has ended Manchester United's interest in Toni Kroos, in what represents the new manager's first major decision regarding the rebuilding of his squad this summer. The Bayern Munich midfielder had been pursued by David Moyes, Van Gaal's predecessor, with the 24-year-old identified as being able to help solve the deficit in United's central midfield department...yet despite his ability to also play in the No10 role or as box-to-box midfielder, Van Gaal, who is aware of Kroos's abilities from his own time managing Bayern, has decided he should not be a target for the club this close season.'
He's a fickle bugger, that Louis van Gaal.
Agree To Disagree
ESPN, May 21: 'Manchester United believe they have made significant advancements in their pursuit of Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos, sources close to Old Trafford have told ESPN. After two months of negotiations, the United hierarchy is now confident the principles of an agreement are in place for the 24-year-old to become the first of potentially six high-profile signings.'
We suspected 'principles of agreement' was vague tosh on Wednesday; by Thursday we absolutely knew it was vague tosh.
Speculate To Accumulate
"I am expecting to play for Bayern Munich next season," said the humbled Toni Kroos in a statement to BILD after discovering that Munich had withdrawn their offer of a new contract. "There was a lot of speculation, but Manchester is and was not an issue."
There was indeed a lot of speculation, Toni. And where did all this 'speculation' come from?
Here's his brother Felix speaking on March 3: "We've already talked about (Toni's potential move to Manchester United)."
And here's Kroos himself from March 10: "Nothing has been decided about my future. It's no secret the Premier League is an option for me. I think that anything is possible for me if I leave. I have to think about this for myself, and make the right decision."
Nope. Still can't work out where all that speculation came from. Can anybody help?
The Numbers Game (Part One)
On Thursday, England announced their shirt numbers for the World Cup and on Friday, the Daily Mail asks: 'Could the No 7 shirt mean a starting place for Jack Wilshere?'
We don't know. Did the No. 16, 17, 20 and 22 shirts mean starting spots for James Milner, Scott Parker, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck two years ago at Euro 2012?
The Numbers Game (Part Two)
Writes Martin Lipton in the Daily Mirror: 'Hodgson seems to have deliberately allocated higher numbers to the least-experienced players.'
Alternatively, Hodgson has given Adam Lallana (20) and Luke Shaw (23) the numbers they wear for Southampton.
Embarrassment Of Richest
Yaya Toure's mouthpiece's mouthpiece has another 'exclusive' in The Sun, where
Dimitry Seluk Antony Kastrinakis claims that 'Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarek has moved personally to ensure Yaya Toure stays at the club'.
Apparently, their earlier exclusive that Toure wanted to leave the Premier League champions 'heaped embarrassment on the club's top brass'.
Dimitry Antony, the only person who should be embarrassed by this week's events is a grown man - earning £220k a week - who is upset that he did not get the bumps on his birthday. Oh and anybody who refers to this ridiculous episode as Toure's 'Etihad hell'.
Green, Green Grass
Elsewhere in The Sun, Steven Howard warns Toure against following Patrick Vieira (also a 'muscular, mobile, midfield giant') out of a club where he is a hero on the grounds that 'the grass is not always greener'.
League titles won by Vieira at Arsenal: Three.
League titles won by Vieira after leaving Arsenal: Four.
Don't do it, Yaya. You could end up in the same sorry mess as poor Patrick.
Nausea-Inducing Intro Of The Day
From Steven Howard in The Sun on Sun columnist Harry Redknapp: 'THE rain was bucketing down and Harry Redknapp was soaked to the bone. But the QPR boss did not feel a thing.'
What. A. Hero.
Fanboy Sentence Of The Week
John Cross on Cesc Fabregas in the Daily Mirror: 'Other players wouldn't be forgiven by fans. But Arsenal's supporters, in the main at least, have never questioned him and would welcome him back in a heartbeat.'
Just be honest and say 'I would forgive him', Crossy.
Quit Playing Games
Excuse Mediawatch for a second while we draw attention to something that probably seems inconsequential to you but lodges like an irritating peanut in our petty little mind. It is perfectly illustrated by a throw-away sentence in Friday's Sun, which claims of Demba Ba that he 'threatened to quit in anger at his fringe role this season'.
Dear tabloid media...unless a footballer wants to be in breach of contract and face a massive legal bill, he cannot simply 'quit'. In anger or otherwise. Thanks.
We told you it was petty.
Quote Of The Day
"Jose Mourinho has asked me to stay next season and he assumed me my situation would change. I see this as my reward from God" - Demba Ba.
Headline Of The Day
'JORDANS TOO COOL FOR QATS' - The Sun. Clever.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'An angry Sloane Street director messaged 50 staff to ban nookie in the workplace - who would have guessed someone would leak it? Disgruntled director Richard Gutteridge crafted the message after Pimlico Plumbers spent seven hours at the Sloane Street offices this week fixing a blockage in the ladies' loo. The culprit was eventually fished out - in the form of a tangled clump of used condoms that had been blocking the pipes. After the issue was rectified at great cost, the branch boss bashed out an all-agency email asking his 50-strong staff to refrain from 'such activity' in the office' - The Daily Mirror.