Jim White

  • The summer’s most significant signing

    During the protracted tale of Samir Nasri's sale by Arsenal, as both Manchester clubs bickered for his signature, the football finance blogger Andy Green put out a mischievous comment on Twitter. "Samir Nasri: title-winning talent or over-priced lightweight? Depends in which side of Manchester he ends up", was the gist of his 140-character analysis. Given that Green's pen-name is Andersred, we have an idea where he now stands about the Frenchman.

    Because now we know: it is City who have persuaded Nasri to join in the fun of speedily redistributing Arab oil money among the estate agencies of

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  • United still the team to beat

    Just as the country has put away its broom, pinned the last bit of chipboard to its shop front and thrown away the key on some hyperactive 13-year-old found in possession of a looted pair of Nike, so the real world returns.

    The Premier League begins this weekend. Or at least that part of it that isn't in Tottenham. And for the next nine months we will all have something really important to take our minds off the minutiae like thieving bankers, fiddling politicians, corrupt cops, amoral media men and young hoods mugging defenceless foreign guests.

    As it begins, it is incumbent on us all at

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  • Why United might not sign a midfielder

    Ashley Young, David de Gea and Phil Jones have already arrived. While on the way out are John O'Shea, Darron Gibson, Wes Brown, Edwin van der Sar, Paul Scholes and - if the rumours are to be believed - Nani, expected to relocate his ego to a more accommodating dressing room before the start of the season. It is changing times indeed at Manchester United.

    The 19th title seems to have been the signal for the most significant overhaul of his squad by Sir Alex Ferguson since the You'll Win Nothing With Kids summer of 1996. And the summer of '96 might well have a bearing on the manager's thinking.

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  • Only beginning for ominous Barca

    In the bowels of Wembley Stadium, his bid to emulate Bob Paisley as a three-times winner of the European Cup in tatters, Sir Alex Ferguson was dignified in defeat on Saturday night.

    His Manchester United side had lost to the best football team he had ever seen in his life (and he was there in 1960 when Real Madrid had enraptured Glasgow). Barcelona deserved to win, he added, they played football the proper way as well as he had ever seen it done. It was well said.

    Mind, he had had time to compose himself, prepare the few words of congratulation to his opponent. From the moment Lionel Messi

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  • The show must go on

    Bernie Ecclestone is convinced: if the Premier League fixtures are postponed this weekend because of the disorder in our cities, it will send out a disastrous message to the rest of the world.

    The newest arrival in the Premier League with his Queen's Park Rangers, the Formula One supremo is well used to sending messages around the world. And what his messages usually say is this: the only thing that matters in any negotiation or dilemma is that which enriches me.

    But on this, you can't help feeling Ecclestone has a point. Sure, news footage of looting and arson and vandalism spun around the

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  • Going for football gold

    You probably missed it (the papers barely seemed to notice and the BBC could only rustle up 230 member of staff to go along and cover it) but the London Olympics opens in just a year's time.

    In 52 weeks from now, Steve Redgrave or Daley Thompson or Kelly Holmes will light the flame and the country's sportswriters will become instant experts on Greco-Roman wrestling, pistol shooting and the scoring system of synchronised swimming.

    New stars will emerge dripping from the swimming pool, world records will be shattered in the velodrome, Jessica Ennis will take a moment from her commercial

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  • The world’s most desperate league

    What a difference relegation makes. Last year's breath of fresh air seems to have transformed into this season's dark cloud of deepening depression.

    Ian Holloway, Blackpool's manager, looked yesterday at his club's pre-season media day like a man who had popped into the doctor's expecting to have an injection ahead of his holiday next week, only to be told he is unlikely to live that long.

    Talk about down, the erstwhile joker of the Premier League found himself suddenly without a gag. Everything was wrong: his players were unhappy with the pay cuts imposed on them post-relegation, his stars

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  • Will the real Wayne stand up?

    Before the World Cup there was a widespread consensus about England's chances: without Wayne Rooney, they were minimal. Which is roughly how things transpired. Rooney wasn't absent through injury, but his mojo was.

    In one of the most inexplicable declines in form since the release of the woeful Godfather Part Three, Rooney, as we all know, had a dire time in South Africa. It wasn't just that the double footballer of the year, the man who had spent the winter terrifying opposing defences with his strength, power and skill, was off the pace. It wasn't just that the form that had been so

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  • Joey and Twitter: the perfect match

    When a colleague returned early last season from interviewing Joey Barton with the news that the Newcastle midfielder was the most interesting, most intelligent footballer he had met in a long time, there was widespread scepticism in the office.

    This was Joey Barton, whose roll-call of dishonour included stubbing a cigar out in someone's eye, kicking the living daylights out of a youth in an early morning street brawl and not only rearranging the face of a colleague, but later calling him a "pussy" for complaining about it. Not forgetting the sly punch he administered on an opponent long

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