Cesc Fabregas has thrown his toys out of the pram after being denied special treatment by Antonio Conte at Chelsea and is pushing for a move to Real Madrid. Meanwhile, Joe Hart faces losing his England place and 'beast' Yannick Bolasie looks set to make an impression at Everton. It's Tuesday's Paper Round.
Cesc Fabregas wants La Liga return
Antonio Conte's decision to leave Cesc Fabregas out of his first Premier League starting XI was another indication of the Spaniard's dwindling reputation at Stamford Bridge, and Fabregas is not happy about his predicament - according to the Express. Fabregas' agent has reportedly approached Real Madrid over a move before the end of the summer, although Los Blancos are not keen on paying Chelsea's asking price for the Spanish international.
Paper Round's view: Fabregas' career has been on the wane for some time, but this latest development is yet another indication that Cesc's attitude has also deteriorated to damagingly low levels. To force a move so early into a new manager's tenure is not the behaviour of a player that you would want in your team.
And for Fabregas to think he's at Real Madrid's level right now is frankly laughable.
He's not in the same league as Luka Modric and Toni Kroos as a deep-lying central midfielder, plus he just doesn't provide enough end product of late to be any consistent use in a Real squad jam-packed with match winners.
Is this the beginning of the end for a player who has achieved so much yet never got close to fulfilling his potential?
Joe Hart's year will go from bad to worse when the next England team is announced, with Sam Allardyce set to drop the Man City keeper in favour of Fraser Forster - according to the Telegraph. Joe Hart endured a hugely disappointing Euro 2016 with the national team before being dropped as City's first-choice keeper by Pep Guardiola for the start of the new Premier League season. And Big Sam agrees that Hart shouldn't be top dog, with Southampton's impressive Forster expected to come in ahead of Hart and Jack Butland also likely to leapfrog him in the pecking order.
England goalkeeper Joe Hart is under pressure for both club and country
Image credit: AFP
Paper Round's view: This has been a long time coming, but Hart is finally being judged on his quality rather than his reputation... although admittedly the latter has also taken a bit of a hammering of late.
The City stopper is not a world-class keeper, not by any means, and it was remarkable that he managed to keep Forster, Butland and Willy Caballero below him for so long given his tendency to make poor positional decisions.
Brave point-blank saves and cringe-worthy penalty mind-games could only work for so long. The emperor has no clothes...
Everton's new signing has the physicality to give the Toffees an edge - reports the Guardian. "From beanpole to beast" reads the headline as Crystal Palace's former wide man completed his big-money move to Merseyside on Monday. The player's speed and strong physique has given him an edge over most opponents by complementing his unpredictable ball skills.
Paper Round's view: The sentiment of this article is fine. Bolasie looks like he should be a great signing for the Toffees and is developing into a really exciting player to watch, albeit one who still needs to produce more end product.
It's some of the language in the article that's the problem.
"Beast", "powerful physique", "unpredictable". These are all words that are regularly used to describe certain players, usually those of African descent... and it's uncomfortable.
This isn't the fault of the writer of the feature, or even the over-stretched sub-editors at the Guardian. Such language has become so widely accepted in football parlance that these words have become almost default descriptions for black attacking players (and it should also be noted that the "beast" term has been taken from previous comments about Bolasie rather than being a unique description from the article).
No, the problem here is that Bolasie's £25m talent is his skill, vision and technical brilliance rather than any supposed "beast" qualities. This is the same language that has been used to describe the wonderfully creative Paul Pogba over the last few weeks, and the same language that has been used many times previously (with Yaya Toure, Wilfried Bony and Didier Drogba springing to mind).
This sort of description needs to be fazed out. It's lazy, it's stereotyped, and it reflects an underlying attitude towards black sportsmen that doesn't have a place in any society that considers itself to be progressive.