Top nine non-stories of the international break so far…

Flamini Warm Up

Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea feature.

It’s international break again this week, the same as it was last week and we all know what that means…

Do not fear football fans and football writers alike, ordinary football scheduling will return soon but in the meantime here are nine ridiculous non-stories for you to laugh at…

1) Mathieu Flamini v the Kit Man

Breaking News: Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini had an argument with the Gunners’ kit man over his sleeves. Not since the days of Wayne Rooney’s headband have we seen such a commotion over an item of clothing.

What was most concerning was that nobody noticed the Frenchman had cut his own sleeves off in an act of savage rebellion until the match at Old Trafford was nearly over. It’s almost as if it made no difference whatsoever and had no relevance to anything at all.

2) Nicklas Bendtner’s crystal ball

Meanwhile, Arsenal striker (I use that term loosely) Nicklas Bendtner sees his future at Real Madrid or Barcelona. Despite the fact most people with eyes see his future on a reality TV show in Denmark, the self-proclaimed best striker in the world is still eyeing his dream move and I like that. Think big Bendtner and best of luck to you.

I see my future in a remote mountain village in Tibet where I will undertake a spiritual journey to discover the meaning of life and death through the practice and philosophy of yoga as a means to finding the Dharma presence that exists within all matter. So there.

3) Manchester United planning ‘swoop’ for ‘Scottish Messi’

The usual fallback plan for journalists in the international break is to think of an amazing world class player and then find a teenager who’s performing well for the last couple of weeks, stick the word ‘new’ in front of the world class player’s name and then link the teenager to a well-known club.

It works every time. Especially when the verbs like ‘swoop’ or ‘raid’ or ‘fight’ give the story that gravitas and jeopardy you get in the movies. It’s kind of like saying my Nan is the ‘new Mother Teresa’ and then linking her with a move to Milton Keynes where she’s going to nurse and heal the sick even though she’s probably going to remain in Sheppard’s Bush watching Countdown. It’s very disappointing for the people of Milton Keynes.

4) Sergio Aguero to Barcelona (via 2009)

Here’s another good one – time travel. Taking a comment from the past and projecting it into the future without any remote rationality or relevance to the present. Player X said in 2009 that he wouldn’t mind playing for club A in the future when he was playing at club B but has since moved to club C and is doing very well and has not mentioned club A since in any capacity whatsoever.

Nonetheless, he could maybe possibly theoretically still be longing for his move to club A. Even though they haven’t ever said they want him and club C have not declared any interest in selling him.

5) The ‘new Coutinho’ Rodgers should buy in January

Or, how about a form of biochemical cloning – Brendan Rodgers already has a very very good player who is still very young and has only just arrived this year and he is called Coutinho but, despite the fact he already has the actual Coutinho, he should think about stocking up on some new Coutinho’s just in case he wears out the one he’s got. Forget buying players for cover, you might as well go the distance and buy an exact replica. That way you really are covering all your bases. The only thing better than one Coutinho is two.

6) Arsenal and Tottenham ponder £25m January move

This type of story is very crafty – it involves two rival teams who dislike each other both thinking the same thing at the same time despite saying nothing. Journalists are, of course, mind readers and know exactly what football clubs are thinking, considering, planning, plotting, and pondering – sometimes even before they have the thought themselves. It strange how they always seem to be having the exact same thoughts as their closest and most bitter rivals – I think it may be related to the time travel mystery personally like some kind of scouting telepathy. Or maybe the work of spies.

7) Tottenham remain in the running to sign ‘new Neymar’

This is an amalgamation of point three and point six – the ‘new’ player factor and the fighty swoopy battle to sign someone few people have heard of. The story paints a picture of battle lines being drawn and hands clasping outstretched with one final push to reach the 16-year-old ‘wonderkid’ ahead of all the other rival clubs in the fictitious race/battle/fight to sign someone from Brazil whose name is really cool because he’s a footballer but otherwise would be the kind of name you’d expect to be for a pensioner. Like Mildred or Percy or Gladys. So cool. Totally retro. Vintage even.

8) Oscar nearly signed for Real Madrid (but didn’t)

If in doubt, there’s always the one where a player nearly signed for another club ages ago but didn’t. I nearly signed for some post that wasn’t mine yesterday but just at the last minute I realized that wasn’t my name on the package and I stopped with the pen in my hand, had a change of heart, and directed the postman next door to number 22 – in my morning daze I misread the second two for a 3 and I almost took the wrong post. Very nearly. But I didn’t. Phew. Close shave.

9) All London clubs are ‘targeting’ Pirlo

Then there’s the amazing hero/legend/master/veteran whose contract is running out at the end of the season and, subsequently, everyone on planet Earth is targeting him. This said ‘targeting’ is in no way related to the player’s continued contract negotiations with the club he’s been at for the last million years where he’ll probably stay because he doesn’t want to go and is just trying to ensure he gets the right figure on the deal.

No, it’s because every club in London desperately needs a 34-year-old midfielder when every single one of them has at least three young and gifted talents or players in their prime in his position. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story – especially over the international break.

image: © wonker

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