Real Madrid source: Gareth Bale acquisition is happening. Says he doubts Fábio Coentrão will end up being part of it.
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) August 21, 2013
The Bale deal will confirmed in the next few hours
— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) August 21, 2013
Is Gareth Bale a Real Madrid player yet as of 5:21 AM EST, 11:21 GMT? No. That has not prevented some preparatory Tweets and reports, including from the Guardian on Spurs’ sporting director Franco Baldini’s trip to Real Madrid, who will tack on a player (like Coentrao) to Bale’s already considerable reported transfer fee of £93 million. But most of the broadsheets were admirably restrained. Perhaps they no longer want to billow smoke with no fire…
…but of course they do, which is why the Mail felt it necessary to paint Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert’s reasonable anger at some of the decisions that awarded Chelsea a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League last night, and Mourinho’s subsequent response, as some sort of clash of the titans.
Mourinho engaged in classic deflection, ignoring the Ivanovic elbow to Christian Benteke’s head which Lambert felt should have been a red card and instead focusing on Villa’s alleged failure to play football (which means the football Chelsea felt they could have more easily dealt with). And Lambert for his part took it in a stride. Just polite, slightly barbed pantomime while pointing out John Terry handled the ball in the box in extra time. One dreams of sending the entire English football press corps to the US and Canada to witness post-match pressers in the NHL to compare and contrast.
And actually to the Mail’s credit, they printed the full transcripts! It’s all there in its banality to see: a lot of smoke.
Here’s Bobby Charlton playing football with his mum:
— Mike Philpott (@mikephilpott) August 22, 2013
Andy Brassell puts Arsenal’s 0-3 first leg win over Fenerbahce in their Champions League qualifier in context of the difficult transfer window: “Maybe the mania of Istanbul provided Arsenal’s players with the stimulus a quiet transfer window has thus far failed to. On social media, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey were actually enthusing about the presence of the flare-wielding supporters making merry outside the visitors’ hotel on the night before the game, seeking to disrupt the players.” [ESPNFC].
Arsenal of course don’t seem to surrendering yet in the transfer market, with the BBC reporting that Wenger is snooping around for Karim Benzema and Angel Di Maria. I mean…what? [BBC].
Here’s David Villa’s insane volley against Barcelona in the first leg of the Supercup, which finished 1-1 after Neymar scored the equalizer and his first official Barca goal:
And must-read from yesterday by Sachin Nakrani on the world’s obsession with Football Manager: ‘”Fans of Football Manager are like members of a cult,” Jacobson says. “But it’s a very big cult and one that is growing all the time. Dads who played the original games are introducing it to their children while big brothers are doing the same with their siblings. Football Manager 2013, our most recent game, has been our most successful to date – 1.2 million copies sold on PC and Mac and over 10 million illegal downloads in the past year. The interest is growing, which for a game that’s been around for over 20 years is remarkable.”‘ [the Guardian].