Now then, what’s that phrase the kids of today use when something tickles their ribs? Oh yes, ‘laugh out loud’…only they abbreviate it to LOL. Well, you’ll be lolling you pantts this morning whe I bring you news of a News of the World exclusive story telling us that Manchester City are preparing to break the British transfer record with a sensational bid for Cesc Fabregas.
Is it an exclusive because it is made up, you have to ask yourself. A kind of Fabregas, er, fabrication if you like. But they persist with it and add: “City’s move for the Arsenal midfielder was authorised by owner Sheikh Mansour during a meeting with key personnel this week. Although their swoop for Fabregas is dependent on a top-four finish, they plan to start the bidding at £50m in an attempt to see off Barcelona.”
The same paper reports that we face a battle with Manchester United over Fiorentina keeper Sebastien Frey. They say AW admitted he needs to strengthen his squad this summer in the wake of last week’s Champions League thrashing in Barcelona. And add that a replacement for under-fire number one Manuel Almunia will be a top priority – but AW could find himself in a bidding war with Sir Alex Ferguson for Frenchman Frey, 30. Apparently AW wanted the the £8million-rated keeper in 2006.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Mirror says Sol Campbell is ready and ­willing to face the intense atmosphere of the north London derby at White Hart Lane on Wednesday. Campbell said: “If the ­manager wants me to play, that is not a problem for me. Whenever he needs me, whenever he picks me, I’m there. I ain’t got time for that sentimental stuff. There are five games to go, and you have just got to be ruthless.”
Campbell admitted: “There needs to be one more twist in it in favour of us. We have got to have great mental strength and be ruthless – it is the ­business end of the season. There’s a lot of hard work to be done and we have to get Barca out of our ­system. You have got to recover and learn that this is the level you have to get to. This is a big time for us — we’ve got to re-group and re-think. It’ll be a great game at Spurs and I think it’ll do us the world of good.”
And Campbell has his say in the Mail too, with the paper saying the league remains a legitimate aspiration but, by Campbell’s reckoning, the players in this current team need to challenge themselves and their attitudes in order to raise their standards to become a trophy-winning team.
‘Everyone has to look at himself after the Barcelona match and say, “This is the level you have to get to”,’ said Campbell. ‘The more games like these in which you are involved, the more experience you have. But you have to be a quick learner. You can’t think you’re OK when you’re not. This is the level you have to be at. You have to take your football really seriously and forget what the crowd are saying, what the papers are saying.
‘People have to realise that you have to keep on moving, to keep on stretching yourself. It means stretching yourself in training every day. We have to look back at this game and say, “This is the benchmark. This is where we have to get to”.We need to take on board lessons from this game, be honest about it and ask, “Where do I want my career to be going?”
‘You have to say, “This is the level I want to get to and surpass”. You have to be honest with yourself and say, “I have to work harder, I have to understand the game better” and realise that it’s a big world out there and that there are a lot of good players at big clubs.
‘Hopefully [the younger players] would listen [to me]. They are all learning. The Barcelona game will have taught us a hell of a lot about the team and about the level we are at just now. We’ve got to handle this and it’s also about how we go on from here. You cannot go away and take nothing from this game.’

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