Arsenal line up Martinez: Roberto Martinez has emerged as the leading candidate to succeed Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager, according to an exclusive in the Daily Star. The Everton manager has seen his stock rise after his work at Goodison Park this season while impressing the Gunners' hierarchy with his style of football and the way he handles himself off the pitch. The report claims that the dignified way in which he reacted to Everton's 4-1 defeat at the Emirates last weekend has only enhanced his credentials even further.
Paper Round's view: Hang on a minute, let's just get something straight first - Wenger is about to put pen to paper on a new two-year deal and any potential replacement for him will only arrive at the Emirates once that contract has run down. So Wenger is not about to be replaced any time soon; the club are just thinking about what will happen once he does indeed go. And in terms of candidates, Martinez is surely high up on any list that has already been drawn up - he plays the right kind of passing football that Arsenal fans have become accustomed to under Wenger, he encourages the development of youth and you can easily imagine him sipping a cappuccino in a North London cafe. It's a match made in heaven.
- - -
Bendtner's Arsenal career at an end: The Daily Mail claims that Nicklas Bendtner has played his last game for Arsenal after the club opened an internal investigation into bizarre allegations about his conduct on a night out in Copenhagen. Bendtner is reported to have threatened a taxi driver, unbuttoned his trousers, rubbed himself against the side of the cab and whipped the vehicle with his belt, all while his team-mates were getting knocked out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich on Tuesday night. The alleged incident is likely to hammer the final nail in the coffin of Bendtner’s career at the club, the report claims.
Paper Round's view: Perhaps now is a good time to recall a quote from Bendtner from earlier this month. "Of all the things that I have been associated with I have only done one thing wrong and that was in Copenhagen [he was arrested for drink driving in March last year]," he said. "Regardless of this I have, bit by bit in people’s eyes, been made into a psychopath." Just more spurious tabloid fare, or proof that he is indeed a bit of a psycho? Either way, the story can't have done his prospects of winning a permanent move away from the Emirates any good.
- - -
Cavani wants to stay in Paris: In-demand striker Edinson Cavani has poured cold water on suggestions he could move to the Premier League, saying he is happy at Paris Saint-Germain. The Daily Express reports quotes from the Uruguay international which are sure to disappoint the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United, who are all thought to be keen on the 27-year-old. Reports had previously surfaced that he was unhappy with life in France in the wake of a divorce from his wife.
Paper Round's view: If any further proof were needed that Cavani doesn't fancy a move across the Channel, he said of the French reports about his divorce: "The private life of a football player has to remain private." If he thinks it's bad in France, he'd be shocked by the situation over here where famous people and their lives are considered fair game by the British press. He's clearly better off staying put if he wants to fly under the radar.
- - -
Mel fears sack at the weekend: West Brom boss Pepe Mel has admitted he could be sacked if his side fail to win away at Swansea this weekend, most papers report. West Brom have not won in their last seven league games and are teetering on the brink of the relegation zone. The Daily Mirror's report points out that Mel has had no assurances about his position from chairman Jeremy Peace, who has already sacked his ally Dave McDonough.
Paper Round's view: Pepe, you're not in Spain any more, where managers spend their careers constantly in fear of trigger-happy, maverick club owners and chairmen, who are more than willing to fire coaches at the slightest hint of underachievement. We're in the Premier League, where managers... oh hang on. Right, yes, it's pretty much been the same this season, hasn't it? So far, eight managers have lost their jobs and Mel isn't wrong in thinking he could well become the next to go.
- - -
Yeung had conviction before Birmingham takeover: Carson Yeung, now serving a six-year prison sentence in Hong Kong for money-laundering, was convicted of two other criminal offences in the past decade, reports The Guardian. Yet despite his record, the Premier League still allowed him to take over Birmingham City in 2009 and remain chairman in 2010, while the Football League turned a blind eye until he stepped down from his role last month. The paper points out that both leagues have "owners and directors" tests – previously the "fit and proper persons" test – which prohibit people from becoming directors of a football club, or owners of a substantial stake, if they have "unspent convictions for offences of dishonesty".
Paper Round's view: How did this happen? Here's how, according to the report: "Birmingham did in fact inform the Premier League of Yeung's 2004 conviction in Hong Kong but he was still allowed to take over and become the club's chairman. This was because the same offence, of failing to disclose a significant shareholding in a Stock Exchange-listed company, had been decriminalised in the UK by the Labour government in 2000." So, while Yeung is clearly a dishonest person, he was not technically a criminal at the time, leaving the Premier League no choice but to give him the green light. Anyway, he's gone now and won't be passing any more fit and proper persons tests from his cell in China.
- - -
- Sports & Recreation
- Arsene Wenger
- Premier League
- Edinson Cavani
- Nicklas Bendtner