Good day to you, and welcome along to Transfèr, the rumour restaurant that has taken London’s dining scene by storm. Allow me to take your hat and scarf. And please, pull up a chair at my table in the corner. The name’s Jean-Pierre Gossipe – I run this humble eatery.
Let me tell you something right out; I like you. I find you so…phisticated. And you know we’ve got sole, if we didn’t you wouldn’t be in here. Cherry-picked from the best importers and wholesalers in London I’ve got tittle-tattle tidbits for your delight and delectation. But now, here’s a pack of stale pork scratchings compliments of Mr Daily Star who’s making eyes at you from table five:
Well, they reckon Arsenal are interested in both Cabaye and Tiote of Newcastle, but Pardew thinks he can persuade them to stay.
As you enjoy the ambience, why not scan the big news of the day in the Telegraph:
Churning a story I think was broken by The Times (why don’t you pay for it!), Arsenal are about to cash in on Theo Walcott, who walked away from contract negotiations with only three days of the window left to run. Arsenal need to sell now or teams will pay nothing later. Oh Theo we thought you were cool! Telegraph writer Jeremy Wilson said on Twitter that promising German youngster Serge Gnabry could be promoted to the first team as a replacement.
Tune your ear to the room; let it be caressed by the breeze shot by football’s great and good discussing transfers. In these last days, as we await an end to the excess of the window I slash my alcohol markup to clear out my stock. Happily this coincides with an influx of sports journalists. Look, here comes John Cross now:
He says Nicklas Bendtner is currently negotiating a move with AC Milan. Arsenal are after a £5 million fee, but Milan prefer a loan. He tells us elsewhere that Walcott has been given a warning – sign for us in the next 48 hours, or else, er, get paid considerably more at Man City. Take that Theo!
Bitter aftertaste? Then please try this aperitif. It’s a melon juice and clove fermentation crowned with the steam-frothed colostrum of a cold-hearted doe called Clarissa. As you sip this beverage the soused ramblings of our journalist friends may rumble into earshot. I’ve an idea – I’ll top up their glasses and eavesdrop on their secrets:
In The Guardian, 75k was our final offer, eva. David Ornstein says Walcott wants to stay at the club, and the contract talks are ongoing. He’s normally reliable, isn’t he? But pity poor Sami Mokbel of the Daily Heil, who arrived a little late to the Walcott party, excitedly shouting the same damn thing that most of the others had already said. Undeterred, he rummaged around in his pockets and pulled out some news about Arsenal’s deadline transfer targets. We want a versatile defender and a defensive midfielder, with Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Àngel Rangel, Etienne Capoue and, you guessed it, Yann M’Vila all being watched.
The next course is a solitary slice of white bread, lightly toasted. But first I’ll place a blindfold over your eyes. Over your ears let me slip these headphones playing on repeat the chorus from Boston’s “More than a Feeling”. With one sense overwhelmed and the other impaired, to you the bread will take on new, hitherto inconceivable flavours. So transcendent will they be that you may lose touch with the real world. And what better parting gift for a trip to fantasyland than Ian Wright’s column in The Sun:
I’m a little late with this one, but Wrighty thinks Arsenal should make an audacious (I can think of a better adjective) bid for Jermain Defoe, who’d be the perfect replacement for RvP. Ian Wright – great player, forever loved, but as a pundit he’s more Greenwich Borough than Arsenal.
But wait, where is the bread? And where has the restaurant gone? For now you find yourself in a hillside meadow on a crisp morning. A flaxen-haired maiden approaches on horseback. As your vision adjusts to the pale light you notice her eyes are soft with tears, and she imparts this tale of woe:
Henri Lansbury has scarpered, joining Nottingham Forest for £1 million fee, although we all assume there’s some kind of sell-on clause. I have to say, at 17 he looked a spectacular prospect, but that lengthy illness a few seasons ago and patchy form on recent loans might have done for his chances.
On reawakening you remove the blindfold to find, surprised, that a blank business card for has been placed in your hand. But as you the hold the card to the table candle’s flame a message takes shape:
Arsenal have missed out on teen sensation, Football Manager star and former trialist M’Baye Niang. He’s signed from relegated Caen for an AC Milan team that’s absolutely flying at the moment. He’ll soon be joined by Nicklas Bendtner as well, as John Cross said earlier, but actually later, because the Italian report was published yesterday afternoon.
Oh dear, once again Sandy the avaricious squirrel has hoarded more acorns than he could possibly hope to eat this winter. We find that the acorns he gathers between the 27th and 29th of August are perfect for grinding down to a fine powder, which we then cut with the residue of evaporated Potcheen and inhale via rolls of imported Japanese rice paper. As you inhale, chase Sandy the squirrel to see what other goodies he may relinquish:
Catalan effluence conduit, MD, reported yesterday that Arsenal are tracking Ibrahim Afellay, who’s slipped down the pecking order at Barcelona since his injury, and is being lined up by top European clubs – and Tottenham, Liverpool and Newcastle. Somewhere around I read that Schalke’s the likeliest destination.
And now your palate has been cleaned ready for the sole I promised when you arrived. But oh dear, I think you’ve got to run now – the acorn dust and out of body experience have cost you five hours. Quick, I’ll put a doggy bag together. And here, take an after dinner coffee in this plastic cup. Sorry, we’ve only got Nescafé.