The big story in the sports pages today is that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will be given £70 million and a new contract until 2016.
The Sun and Telegraph both report that the Frenchman will be at the Emirates for at least another three years, while the Telegraph goes on to claim that the extra dosh will partly come from a new, front-loaded shirt sponsorship deal with Emirates, and a new kit deal with either Nike or Adidas.
Wenger has today refuted the claims and said: “That is the wrong information.
“I’ve worked for 16 years in England and I think I deserve a bit more credit than wrong information with only one intention - to harm.
“If it’s good information that comes from nowhere, it’s alright. But this is the wrong information that comes from nowhere. It’s completely wrong.”
If, indeed, Wenger IS being given a vast transfer kitty by the suits at the club, he could be likely to replace slightly-dodgy Wojciech Szczesny with Barca’s slightly-dodgy Victor Valdes, and will pay £10 million for the privilege – at least if you believe what The Sun is coming out with this morning. The Daily Mail has gone even further, claiming that Liverpool’s slightly-dodgy Pepe Reina will replace Szczesny, while Simon Mignolet, Asmir Begovic and Michel Vorm have also been scouted. Wowee.
Stoke look to be masterfully alienating the entire Premier League with their hefty £15 million asking-price for Asmir Begovic – particularly since their £5 million purchase of England goalie Jack Butland suggests the Potters have set their phasers to “sell”.
Liverpool have turned their attentions to Wigan’s Ali Al-Habsi, who could be available for much less, as Wigan normally get far too excited when £9 million if offered up for a star-player. (Daily Mail)
Speaking of Wigan, Roberto Martinez – who must be growing tired of his annual relegation-battle armed only with a sling-shot, half a box of eggs and Gary Caldwell – may be on his way to Goodison.
If David Moyes leaves Everton in the summer, the Daily Mail seems to think that Martinez will become his successor.
Spain starlet Isco, who is said to be courted by Chelsea and Manchester City has said that he will leave cash-strapped Malaga if it helped the club.
The 20-year-old told Spanish paper AS: “I’m not worried as I’m only thinking about being here,” he told AS.
“If a team does come to pay a lot of money for me, it will definitely be a big club. Then, if it helps Malaga, I would have no problem in leaving if it was good for both of us.”
Bradford City chief of operations David Baldwin’s claim that the club could conceivably have sold 100,000 tickets for Sunday’s League Cup final is not looking so foolish now.
The club put its remaining tickets (about 2,500) on general sale for the final last week, and sold out within two days – fully selling out the club’s 33,000 allocation.
Although the side lost 2-1 to an injury time winner at Wimbledon at the weekend, Phil Parkinson’s Bantams completely bossed the game, and Parky will take positives into this Sunday’s final.
He said: “The dressing room was a very quiet place because I couldn’t really have faulted the way we played and to come away with nothing is really hard to take.
“This defeat is hurting because it was an unjust one.”
It’s an open secret that Neil Warnock probably won’t be Leeds manager next season, and the man himself has said this week that he fears his time will be up soon.
After watching his team get tanked 4-0 at Man City on Sunday, the former Scarborough, Huddersfield and Notts County manager said he would stand aside if it were good for the club.
“If we don’t go up, I think everyone knows I am not going to be here next season,” said Warnock, who took charge of United a year ago today.
“The fans have known that all along, I think. And we are eight points off now. It isn’t rocket science. The club will be sensible, as I don’t want to leave them in the lurch.
“If (GFH) think it will help them then I am not against that. Whatever is best for Leeds United.
“I am a bit too old in the tooth. I have come here at a difficult time. With what has gone on behind the scenes over the last 12 months, I deserve a medal if I am honest.
“We have changed most of the squad in 12 months and they are all genuine lads now. We just need someone like Robert Snodgrass to provide the icing on the cake.”
New Huddersfield Town boss Mark Robins was full of praise for the opposition after his side were outgunned 4-1 by Premier League Wigan in yesterday’s FA Cup 5th round tie.
Robins had few complaints about the outcome, with the serious business beginning in earnest tomorrow evening with his relegation-threatened side, just three points above the Championship drop zone, resuming league business at Nottingham Forest.
Admitting that his side were handed a lesson by Roberto Martinez’s Latics, he said: “The performance gave me some food for thought. There were some good areas and some which need a lot of work on.
“It is a learning curve and we have to learn from the experience of Sunday.
“I thought they caused us a lot of problems with their movement and their quality. It was tough, although it was always going to be a difficult game.
“But I still think we were the architects of our own downfall because our problem-solving wasn’t quick enough. Their movement was exceptional.