Paper News and Gossip: Fergie's Ronaldo Regret, Mourinho Rant and More

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2014

Paper News and Gossip: Fergie's Ronaldo Regret, Mourinho Rant and More

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    The first piece of silverware of the season has been handed out, but Manchester City are in no mood to bask in the glory.

    In stark contrast, their city rivals Manchester United are looking at a barren campaign. That does not mean they have slipped off the radar, with a host of articles about the Old Trafford giants.

    Alan Pardew was the talk of the media on Sunday, and he remains headline news following that headbutt.

    All this and more feature in Monday's edition of the Paper News and Gossip Roundup.

United 20 Years Behind the Times

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    Manchester United's troubles on the pitch now are a result of Sir Alex Ferguson being so successful for so long. That's the line to take from Martin Samuel's column in the Mail.

    Samuel's column focuses on a meeting he had with United chief executive Ed Woodward in the days before Juan Mata joined the club from Chelsea at the end of the January transfer window.

    The Mail writer recalls a moment Woodward accidentally put his phone on loud speaker before leaving the room at a rate of knots. A nice little anecdote before adding that even the best businessmen like Bill Gates must make mistakes from time to time.

    To sum up, Samuel states that no matter how good Woodward is at his job, he cannot fix overnight a club that is 20 years behind the times.

    Samuel takes up the story from here:

    Woodward knows United the commercial enterprise, but what about the needs of a football club? The two sides have operated as separate entities at United for too long. And it has caught up with them this season.

    The terrace song is incorrect. There is not only one United. There are two. There is the brand, which is the envy of the European elite - innovative, astute, impressively exploited and monetised until its pips squeak—and there is the football club, which is 20 years behind the times.

    This is nobody’s fault; not even that of Woodward or David Moyes. What were Manchester United supposed to do when the greatest manager in the modern game was delivering trophy after trophy, across the best part of three decades, using an antiquated model of dictatorial control? Tell him to stop? Ask him to change? Order him to adopt a more collegiate approach so that his departure did not leave football’s equivalent of a sinkhole in the middle of its operation?

    Manchester United, the business, are modern, modern, modern. They have a growing network of partners across every field of commerce, and in every country.

    United the football club, meanwhile, belong to another time. For all their smart facilities, record-breaking contracts and stable of internationals they are, at heart, almost a Sunday league team: one guy did it all.

    Over at the park at weekends it might be a determined old boy who gets the game on. At Manchester United, in a more professional manner, that old boy was Sir Alex Ferguson. He picked the team, he bought the players, he knew the whole family by name - academy kids, too.

Ferguson Wanted £150 Million for Ronaldo

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    Manchester United undersold Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid, according to Ferguson.

    Ronaldo left United for Real Madrid in 2009, with the Spanish giants shelling out £80 million for the Portuguese superstar.

    Ferguson consented to let Ronaldo leave, but he has revealed in an interview with Spanish daily AS (H/T Ben Jefferson of the Express) that he wanted £150 million.

    I told David Gill to ask for £150m. (Real president Florentino) Perez would have paid. The only thing that hurt me, and I said this repeatedly to David Gill, was that we didn't demand enough.

    I told David, 'Ask for £150m'.

    He said, 'Don't be silly. They'll never pay £150m'.

    I said, 'Ask for it because he's worth it'.

    We signed the deal. I think it cost £80m or so but I'll always wonder what Mr Perez would have said if we'd asked for £150m.

    Considering the fact that they signed Gareth Bale for £85m, I think he would have agreed to pay between £80m and £150m.

'It's Your S**t, so Sort It Out'

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    Jose Mourinho inspired his side to victory over Fulham by saying nothing. That was what came out of Mourinho’s press conference, but that may not be entirely true.

    Hat-trick hero Andre Schurrle cast doubt on that in an interview with Alex Kalinauckas of the Evening Standard: “The manager was there for 10 or 15 seconds, said something, but I don’t want to say it here [again], then he left.”

    So what were the words Schurrle was not prepared to repeat?

    The Star’s Adrian Kajumba feels he has the inside word, as in his piece he claims “Mourinho was so unimpressed with Chelsea’s lethargic first-half display his only words to his team were understood to be along the lines of ‘it’s your s***, so sort it out.’”

No Letting Up from Quad-Chasing Pellegrini

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    Capital One Cup victory over Sunderland secured Manuel Pellegrini his first piece of silverware as Manchester City boss, but he has no intention of resting on his laurels.

    City have three other trophies open to them and Pellegrini has warned his rivals that there will be no easing up from his side.

    The Mirror’s David McDonnell picked up the quotes from the City manager:

    We’re the only club that still has the chance to continue trying to win all the competitions and this will give us a lot of confidence.

    So it’s important to win the first one for such a big club like Manchester City. We will try.

    We know it’s not easy but we’re going to try to do it.

Axe Still Hangs over Pardew's Head

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    The Alan Pardew saga rumbles on, with Mail writers Colin Young and Matt Lawton claiming the Newcastle manager could still face the sack.

    Pardew was hit with a £100,000 club fine for the incident that saw him catch Hull player David Meyler with his head during the game between the two clubs on Saturday.

    A likely FA sanction awaits, which Young and Lawton suggest could still have an impact on Pardew's position at the club.

    In the piece, Young and Lawton wrote:

    Alan Pardew could yet lose his job as Newcastle manager if the FA hit him with a lengthy stadium ban for headbutting Hull’s David Meyler.

    Newcastle’s immediate response on Saturday night was to publicly condemn Pardew for his astonishing touchline attack at the KC Stadium and issue him with a formal warning and a £100,000 fine.

    It was enough to convince those close to Pardew that his employers will take no further action—but the club’s position could change depending on the severity of the punishment.

Kroos Brother Talks Up Manchester Move

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    Toni Kroos has been a hot topic of debate on English shores since his match-winning display for Bayern Munich against Arsenal.

    In truth, he was regularly talked about before—his display in the win at the Emirates only added fuel to the fire.

    There have been links with Manchester United, and the player’s brother has made observers sit up and take note by revealing his sibling fancies a move to England.

    The Mail’s Craig Hope has picked up on an interview Felix Kroos gave to Sky Germany:

    We have already talked about it. Manchester has been the team of my dreams since I was a child.

    However, I don’t give him any advice. He will take a good decision for himself. There are worse situations than having to decide something like that.

Lescott Lined Up for Besiktas Move

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    Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott is a summer transfer target for Turkish side Besiktas, according to John Cross of the Mirror.

    Lescott's deal is winding down at City and there is no sign of a fresh agreement being struck; he was an unused substitute in the Capital One Cup final win over Sunderland.

    Cross suggests Besiktas are well down the line on a deal with Lescott, as he claims they are pushing for him to sign a pre-contract agreement.

    The money on offer would be impressive if Cross is to be believed, as he claims "Besiktas are thought to be offering about £100,000 a week for up to three years."

Reds in Hunt for Vertonghen

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    Liverpool are ready to step in for Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen in the summer, according to the Mail’s Rob Shepherd.

    Vertonghen said last week that he would have to consider his future at Tottenham if the club failed to secure a spot in next season’s Champions League.

    Shepherd suggests Vertonghen’s quotes have put Brendan Rodgers on alert, with the Liverpool boss keen to keep the Reds progressing by bringing in fresh talent.


Bits and Pieces: Napoli Eye Williams, Saints in for Silva and More

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    Swansea defender Ashley Williams is a transfer target for Serie A side Napoli, according to David McDonnell of the Mirror.

    Southampton are in the hunt with Sevilla and Bayer Leverkusen for Sporting Braga forward Rafa Silva, according to the Mirror.

    Newcastle United are keen on Red Bull Salzburg forward Sadio Mane, according to Alan Nixon of the Mirror.