Fresh from his piping hot exclusive on Wednesday morning that Crystal Palace were favourites to sign Jack Wilshere on a season-long loan, Neil Ashton is back on Thursday, licking his wounds.
‘They are two of English football’s favourite sons,’ Ashton writes in The Sun. ‘David Luiz, with the crazy haircuts and cavalier playing style, completed a remarkable return to Chelsea last night.
‘Then there is Jack Wilshere, the cheeky scamp with that magic wand of a left boot.
‘Both have so much to prove to the paying punters.
‘Luiz, 29, will do it in the bosom of his Chelsea family after a second coming was granted by owner Roman Abramovich in a £32million move.
‘Wilshere, 24, will melt hearts on the South Coast, where 11,000 dreamy Bournemouth supporters will marvel at his silky skills.
‘The Arsenal midfielder, who has signed for Eddie Howe on a season loan, knocked back the advances of Crystal Palace and Roma in favour of the Cherries.’
But we thought Wilshere was exclusively ‘set to choose’ Palace? You claimed they were ‘his preferred choice’ on Wednesday morning; what happened?
Reade all about it
Brian Reade has some choice words for Daniel Sturridge in his Daily Mirror column. He does not pull his punches.
‘Daniel Sturridge looked at his manager with disgust bordering on homicidal intent when he sent Divock Origi on instead of him at Spurs last weekend.’
Sorry to stop you, Brian, but don’t you think you’re making a big deal out of nothing. Sturridge himself has reacted to said pictures with humour and good grace, after all. Oh, you’re not done? Please, continue.
‘It was a look that said, ‘Don’t you know who I am? When I tell a manager that I am fit, I play. Because my God-given genius cannot be ignored.’ But Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp’s been staring with intent, too.’
Or, you know, no. And well played, referring to his ‘God-given genius’. He is a devout Christian, after all.
‘At a player who believes he decides when he is physically and mentally ready to play and who, in the past and a bit seasons, has played a mere 28 Premier League games and scored 12 goals. For England in that time, he’s scored once.
‘Sturridge would claim those poor stats are down to a bad run of injuries. But critics would point out that in the season before that run – when he scored 21 goals in 29 Premier League matches – he had Luis Suarez in the form of his life creating havoc and space alongside him. Which was a bit of a help.’
Hold on, what poor stats? Twelve goals in 28 Premier League games? That isn’t a bad record at all. Or are you referring to the fact he has only played 28 Premier League games in ‘two and a bit seasons’? Considering you go on to reference Luis Suarez, obviously not. So you are indeed claiming that 12 goals from 28 games is poor. Very well.
Oh, and reducing Sturridge’s 21 goals from 29 games in the 2013/14 season is a little disingenuous. Suarez was indeed incredible that season, but Sturridge did chip in with seven assists himself.
‘The truth is, for more than two years, Sturridge has given a poor return for someone with so much talent earning so much money (£150,000 a week).
‘Rather than staring at the back of Klopp’s head, he should be staring in the mirror or across at his team-mate James Milner, to realise what he has to do to get in the starting line-up.’
Yeah, Daniel. Learn from that central midfielder who has been shoved into a role as auxiliary left-back. Learn from him, you wastrel.
Mediawatch cannot help but feel that Martin Keown has been slightly stitched up by the Daily Mail.
The former Arsenal defender has provided his invaluable insight on Chelsea’s signing of David Luiz. His quotes sit under the bold headline: ‘HE CAN BE THE NEXT TERRY’
Here is what Keown actually said:
‘It looks as though David Luiz has been brought in as the long-term successor to John Terry at Chelsea, and I think it’s a very good signing.
‘If he is indeed set to replace Terry, his composure at the back must improve. He can be erratic and impatient, and tries to pinch the ball off the striker’s toe too often.
‘He was all over the place against Germany (2014 World Cup semi-final) without the suspended Thiago Silva by his side, but he is older and, hopefully, wiser now and decision-making usually improves with age.’
Read the following from Paul Merson, giving his transfer window verdicts to Sky Sports, and guess what grade he awards Chelsea:
‘I don’t think Marcos Alonso is good enough for Chelsea. Michy Batshuayi looks lively so far, and N’Golo Kante makes Chelsea the team to beat this season. David Luiz? No, no, no, no, no. Did you watch him play against Monaco last week? He gave away the silliest penalty I’ve ever seen and Paris Saint-Germain probably dropped him off.’
It’s a kind of Magic
The Magic Man is in wonderful form. Here he is on Leicester:
‘There are a lot of question marks when you look at their incomings. There is nothing there you could hang your hat on as a guaranteed success. It could turn out to be a B+ transfer window or expelled from school. You just don’t know with these signings.’
That sounds almost exactly like Leicester’s transfers last summer. They won the Premier League signing players from Schalke and Caen, so they might as well try the same thing again. But no, they receive a C.
‘They haven’t done much.’
Except break their transfer record and sign eight players – more than 13 other Premier League clubs.
‘There was a bit of panic towards the end but I’ll give them a B+ because they did one thing they needed to and that’s sign a centre-half. They would have got an A if they had signed a top forward because I’m not sure about Lucas Perez.’
So they get a B+ because ‘they did one thing they needed to’, which was sign a centre-half. But they would have got an A if they had signed a top forward? So are you saying they needed a top forward or not?
Who knows? Not us.
More Merson now. You know how it is.
On giving Crystal Palace a B+: ‘This could be a D in six months, or an A+.’
On giving Leicester a C: ‘ It could turn out to be a B+ transfer window or expelled from school.’
On giving Middlesbrough a B-: ‘I’ve gone B- but that could easily turn into a D because there are a few big gambles.’
On giving Watford a C: ‘If they stay up, this is an A.’
Just pick a bloody letter and stick with it, (Magic) man.
Mediawatch would like to genuinely commend Merson for one thing, however.
When asked to discuss Sunderland’s dealings, he comes to Didier Ndong, their new record signing. One would expect only avid watchers of Ligue Un to have watched enough of the midfielder to build an opinion on him. Of course, pundits often pretend to know something about every player that has every existed, and most would offer a throwaway cliche. Perhaps “he’s a tough-tackling midfielder”, or ” he’s great on the ball”.
But not Merson. And again, we would like to stress that we are actually happy he has said this.
“I’m not familiar with Didier Ndong.”
Join the bloody crew, Merse. Sometimes it’s nice to simply be oblivious.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) September 1, 2016
Sign of The Times
Alas, Merson does not have a monopoly over judging each Premier League club’s summer transfer window.
Tony Cascarino does the honours for The Times, and his thoughts are, well, they’re something.
‘I cannot get my head around the return of David Luiz,’ he begins on Chelsea, who he awards a seven out of ten. ‘To balance that, they got Michy Batshuayi on the cheap.’
Wait. Michy Batshuayi cost £33million. He was the fifth-most expensive signing of the whole window. ‘Cheap’ is generous, however good he may be.
On Stoke – a 5/10 – he adds: ‘Wasted so long chasing Saido Berahino. Joe Allen will do well, but Wilfried Bony won’t be match fit.’
What, ever? Will Wilfried Bony always only be 80%? Will he never recover? Poor bloke.
Writes Harry Redknapp in the London Evening Standard:
‘Bournemouth are a great club and they deserve huge credit for securing a major signing but it would have been a great experience for Jack had he moved to one of the Italian clubs that were interested in him. Roma, AC Milan or Juventus would have given him an insight into a different lifestyle.
‘How the Italian clubs prepare for matches and the culture over there is different and it might have got him away from the off-field problems where he’s been pictured smoking or had trouble outside a nightclub.’
Because Italians don’t drink or smoke, obviously. But Mediawatch being a d*ck aside, we actually agree with Redknapp here. A move abroad really could have benefited Wilshere, possibly more than staying in the Premier League at a club in the lower half of the table.
Harry is not done, of course.
‘That said, Joe Hart has gone on loan to Torino and I think that’s a bad move for him.’
Ah. Go on…
‘It is perfect for Pep Guardiola. The majority of Manchester City fans won’t care what happens at Torino and he won’t face the same scrutiny out there. If Joe had been pushed out to Stoke, Everton or somewhere else in England, every time he played well, it would put pressure on Guardiola, especially because he’s England’s No1.
‘But Torino haven’t won Serie A since 1976. The reports yesterday suggested a lot of the locals didn’t even know who Joe is and he will be playing for a team with a small profile which will make it difficult for him to produce the performances needed to get a move to another top club or come back strong at City.’
So ‘the locals didn’t even know who Joe is’ in Italy? They must be chanting, ‘Go, go, go, go’ in this video, then.
— Adam Digby (@Adz77) August 30, 2016
Also, how is the fact that Torino haven’t won Serie A since 1976 going to impact on Hart’s time in Italy? Him playing for a team ‘with a small profile’ will not affect his performances.
Mediawatch is genuinely stunned that The Metro is still standing after what was actually a rather enjoyable and eventual transfer Deadline Day.
It’s safe to say they had their fun, of course. The following three headlines are all found on their website from Wednesday:
‘Jose Mourinho DID make a deadline day signing for Manchester United after all’
Employing a new scout is not a ‘signing’.
‘Striker sends Arsenal fans into meldown by saying he’s on his way to the Emirates’
Victor Anichebe making a joke on Twitter did not ‘send Arsenal fans into meltdown’.
‘Injured and inconsistent – Football Manager predicts how Jack Wilshere would do at Crystal Palace’
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) September 1, 2016
One out of two ain’t bad
‘Burnley finally landed Jeff Hendrick in a club-record £10.5million deal and Poland international Kamil Grosicki for £6.8m’ – Daily Mirror.
Recommended reading of the day
Sid Lowe on Spain’s talent drain.
Taha Hashim on Sporting Bengal.