Big challenge for sports journalists to keep content flowing and stories coming. And so far, not bad.
Out of all the attempts to keep sports fans onside Leganes in Spain deserve a prize for imagination when they live tweeted their game that wasn’t against Valladolid and newspaper AS did a match report on it, while Cadena Ser also broadcast commentary of the goal.
Match of the Day’s table talk brought to light the frictions between the French and English players in the early Wenger era, with Ian Wright being less than complementary on Patrick Vieira’s captaincy skills.
Meanwhile a trawl for statistics bring fresh angles. A look at CIES Football Observatory’s most valuable post-2000 born player sees Gabriel Martinelli outside the top twenty worldwide and only seventh amongst the Premier League’s youngsters. And only values him at £23m.
Bukayo Saka is outside the top 50 – casting more doubt on the algorithms. William Saliba is a place above Martinelli at 20 but is only valued at £25m – £2m less than the purchase price.
When you see players like Max Aarons, and Ryan Sessegnon at £37m and £36m respectively – it only casts more doubts.
Meanwhile the Athletic reports there are fears among some staff members at the Emirates that Hector Bellerin’s diet may not be giving him the best chance of returning to his best performance level. Bellerin is a vegan and has been since 2016 – firstly on health grounds and subsequently ethical reasons as well.
And the i reports that the Spanish right-back wants to be Arsenal’s first vegan captain: “Since I was young at Barcelona, I would always be one of the three captains in the team. For me, it’s a role I’m used to.
“Obviously it’s not the same when you’re 14 or 15 as it is now because the responsibility and what you represent is completely different.”
Bellerin added: “I enjoy positions of responsibility and I enjoy being the first one on that wall.
Ex Arsenal and England physio Gary Lewin has pointed out the mental toll that the coronavirus-enforced suspension of football could be having on footballers around the world.
“From a sports perspective, the adrenaline rush that they get two or three times a week, the competitive urge they get on a regular basis is now being withdrawn.
“That would come into some of the thinking of the support staff in clubs if they’re doing group fitness sessions with players from home – to make it competitive and give a competitive edge amongst the squad.”
In terms of potential transfers, football.london reports that Arsenal are looking for profile of players such as Gent forward Jonathan David and Feyenoord attacking midfielder Orkun Kokcu, who have been identified as targets.
That means the north London outfit are pursuing players who are largely under the radar and can be picked up for relatively low fees – it concludes.
But the Express thinks Arsenal are likely to go shopping in South America because they believe they have an “advantage” in that market, having previously plucked Gabriel Martinelli from obscurity and Mari, who impressed in his handful of appearances so far.
The Athletic’s James McNicholas wrote: “As far as I understand it Arsenal have paused their summer transfer plans as they seek to deal with the current coronavirus crisis.
“Last I heard they were considering returning to South America for summer signings, as they feel they have a slight advantage in that market.”
The Scottish Sun says Arsenal’s priority is to tie teen sensation Bukayo Saka to a new contract.
The wide man is already being tracked by clubs like Liverpool, Manchester United and Bayern Munich, with his £3,000-a-week first professional deal ending in 15 months.
Saka revealed over Christmas he has yet to confirm his international future. He also qualifies to play for Nigeria through his parents.
The Star reports Hammarby director Jesper Jansson says Arsenal have already held talks over a move for teenage striker Emil Roback and he has visited the club to discuss a transfer The 16-year-old forward, described as a “natural scorer” with “extreme speed” by club scout Mikael Hjelmberg.
He has only 15 months left on his current deal and is still on a deal worth around £7,000-a-week.
David Luiz tells the Evening Standard about the emotional pain of leaving Chelsea, but: “It was a top decision. Arsenal are a big club. I want to make this club improve and to shine again. The first days were difficult but after that I started to adapt. “Now I am so happy, and I want to do big, big things with Arsenal.”
The Telegraph reports of Tottenham’s financial results and why Daniel Levy is worried. They underline the importance to Tottenham of qualifying for European football next season, as almost a quarter of their revenues for the campaign came from their run to the final of the Champions League.
The club’s revenue rose from £381m to £461m last season, with the Champions League run providing £108.4m in gate receipts and prize money. They are currently eighth in the Premier League. Meanwhile, the impact of building the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium contributed to an overall drop in the club’s profits, from £113m to £69m, and a significant increase in net debt from £360m to £534m.
To confirm the current financial status – back to CEIS again, and their most valuable squad list. Tottenham are seventh at £715m; Arsenal are 15th.
Some of the more interesting articles during the moratorium come from ex-Arsenal player Adrian Clarke’s comments. In the The Chronicles of a Gooner podcast he advocates Pepe switching from the right to the left and says: “On the left-hand side, the left-footed Pepe’s primary motive would be to beat his man down the outside and get the ball into the box by cutting it back for his team-mates, as opposed to his current tendency to cut inside while deployed on the right – leaving the team lacking width down the flank.”
And finally, Spanish football expert Guillem Balague thinks there is a chance Santi Carzorla could return to Arsenal in the coaching line up.
He says on this YouTube channel: “Going back to Arsenal with Arteta is something that I think he will consider as a coach.
“I asked him about it, he said yes, he will consider as a coach when he retires but he wants to play for two more years.
“I tell you what, Mikel Arteta and Cazorla together, really good friends first of all but really good special minds of football.”