Super Mario bothers
Euro 2016 is in full flow, but Alec Shilton is kind enough to remind us that the summer transfer window is still a thing. He provides us with news of a ‘sensational move’ on The Sun‘s website. ‘Sensational’, eh? That is the first ingredient to the perfect transfer rumour.
The first paragraph reads:
‘Arsenal are lining up a sensational £27million move for Bayern Munich outcast Mario Gotze according to reports in Germany.’
Wow. That’s huge news. After being supposedly rejected by Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Arsenal will now target Gotze, says Shilton.
Well, according to those ‘reports in Germany’, anyway. Unfortunately, The Sun do not link to said ‘reports’, nor can Mediawatch find a single mention of Arsenal’s supposed Gotze interest in the German media. How strange. But the second ingredient to a perfect transfer rumour is added.
‘Gotze has reportedly been identified as a key part in Wenger’s jigsaw,’ Shilton writes, ‘with the player under threat of being axed from Bayern’s Champions League squad for the upcoming season’. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge will presumably not be too happy with that claim; nor will The Sun’s legal team.
The final two ingredients to the perfect transfer rumour are sprinkled near the bottom of the story. First, a possible Arsenal starting XI for next season. Gotze features. Granit Xhaka features. Jamie Vardy features. Poor Santi Cazorla does not. Aaron Ramsey is a lucky boy.
The best is undeniably saved until last: a Photoshop of Gotze in an Arsenal shirt.
Fortunately enough, Mario Gotze has the exact same tattoos as Mesut Ozil. Right? pic.twitter.com/tS4sQA6CRG
— Football365 (@F365) June 16, 2016
Because lovably chubby, 5ft 9ins Gotze with no tattoos, and lean, 6ft Mesut Ozil with tattoos are the perfect match in this scenario. Was the latter chosen simply because he is also German?
Somehow, the story does not make the newspaper edition of The Sun, nor did it do so yesterday. ‘Sensational’.
‘There seems to be a common perception that today’s game against Wales will be a very difficult one for England to win,’ writes David Platt in The Sun. ‘Granted, the gap between all nations has shrunk in recent years but I doubt France, Germany or Spain would see this as a potential problem.’
How about the second-best team in the world, according to FIFA’s latest rankings? Belgium may not be the most cohesive units of late, but Marc Wilmots’ side came into the European Championship having won 11 of their previous 15 games. Two of the occasions on which they failed to win came against Wales. They’re quite good.
Killer Wales 2
The following is an actual, real-life EXCLUSIVE. The headline to Graeme Bryce’s piece for The Sun reads:
‘Aaron Ramsey eases fears of celebrities everywhere by insisting: I’m not a death curse’
Thanks for clearing that one up.
It’s a kind of magic
Writes Paul Merson in the Daily Star:
‘I can’t see anything but a win against Wales. Gareth Bale would walk into the England team but he is the only Wales player who would get anywhere near it.’
Says Paul Merson to Sky Sports:
“I don’t see anything but an England win! If you look at the teams Gareth Bale would get in the England team but not one of the other Welsh players would get into Roy Hodgson’s side.”
In fairness to the Magic Man, why have a different opinion if two outlets will pay you twice for having the exact same one?
Moan out of proportion
The Sun are trying to create an issue with regards to the Premier League fixtures release. They do not go all David Moyes on us and intimate that it is a fix, but they cannot resist a dig at Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
‘Next season, the Gunners have four matches at home, Manchester City have three and Tottenham only two after Euro away days,’ it reads. ‘But Wenger will probably still moan when he compares how Manchester United and Chelsea have been treated in the past.’
A couple of inches below that story and to the left, reads the following:
‘Arsenal can feel a little hard-done-by. Over a ten-year period, only 40 per cent of their games following a Champions League tie have been at home. Compare that with Man Utd (54%) and Chelsea (60%).’
Moaning French b*stard.
Derek McGovern paragraphs of the day
From the Daily Mirror: ‘Ukraine tonight take on Northern Ireland – one country scarred by nuclear catastrophe, the other just looking like it was.
‘I have a soft spot for Ukraine because my grandfather was posted there during the war – you should have seen the size of the envelope.
‘They are playing in the Euros 30 years after their worst-ever disaster – Chernobyl. To some Chernobyl is a crime against mankind, to others it’s the full name of Cher (also a crime against mankind).’
Because nothing is quite as funny as a catastrophic nuclear disaster.
Damning with faint praise
Gunners at #EURO2016 today:
🏅 Man of the match for Xhaka
⛔ Clean sheet for Koscielny
🔛 Appearance for Giroud pic.twitter.com/EbYLFHMTJn
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) June 15, 2016
Credit to Robbie Savage, who, in picking a combined England and Wales XI for the Daily Mirror, manages to pick Gareth Bale in central midfield, with Wayne Rooney deployed on the right wing.
‘Out of interest, if I was able to pick a composite team from all the players in Wales and England’s squads this is how it would shape up,’ Savage writes.
‘I would go for a diamond formation, with full-backs providing the width, and two strikers, one of whom was mysteriously left on the England bench in Marseille,’ Savage adds, regarding one Jamie Vardy. ‘This team could do a LOT of damage…’
‘My fantasy team is a real diamond,’ reads the headline. With the most-expensive footballer in the world – a player who has scored 21 goals and assisted 12 playing as a forward this season – in central midfield, and a recently converted central midfielder as a right winger, it is difficult to disagree.
Somebody stop me
Wayne Rooney on England’s game against Russia:
“If we perform the way we did, it will be difficult not just for Wales, but for any team to stop us.”
You drew, Wayne. You drew. Russia did ‘stop us’.
‘England trained with Ross Barkley running at their defence full pelt to replicate Gareth Bale’ – Neil Ashton, The Sun.
Ross Barkley. Gareth Bale. Roy Hodgson has officially lost it.
Recommended reading of the day
Steven Pye on Wales’ last victory over England.
Gabriele Marcotti on Germany’s full-back and centre-forward conundrum.
Fernando Duarte on Brazil’s rebuilding job.