Transfer rumours: Giroud, Torres, Ferrari, Schuurs, Eriksen, Alaba

Inter Milan want to bring in Chelsea’s France forward Olivier Giroud, 34, on a six-month loan deal in January, with an option to buy. (Tuttosport via Mail)external-link

Chelsea will open talks with Bayern Munich defender David Alaba, 28, in January as they aim to sign the Austrian on a free transfer when his contract expires next summer. (AS via Sun)external-link

Manchester United are hoping Villarreal could be tempted to take back their former player, 26-year-old Ivorian defender Eric Bailly, as part of their £60m pursuit of the Spanish side’s Spain centre-back Pau Torres, 23. (Team Talk)external-link

Liverpool will be able to sign Ajax defender Perr Schuurs if they offer £27m for the 21-year-old. (De Telegraaf via Liverpool Echo)external-link

Tottenham are monitoring Sassuolo centre-back Gian Marco Ferrari, 28, ahead of a possible move for the Italian in January. (90min)external-link

Manchester United could move for Inter Milan midfielder Christian Eriksen, 28, if the Denmark international is not wanted by former club Tottenham. (Football Insider)external-link

Barcelona rejected a 250m euro (£224m) bid from Inter Milan for Argentina forward Lionel Messi, 33, in 2006, according to former president Joan Laporta. (Football Italia)external-link

France and Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, 27, says he turned down a number of other clubs including Real Madrid and Paris St-Germain in favour of the Premier League club. (Canal+ via Football London)external-link

Rangers winger Ryan Kent’s decision to change agents in the summer could lead to the 24-year-old – who was linked to Leeds last summer – moving on from Ibrox, according to former Gers boss Alex McLeish. (Glasgow Evening Times)external-link

Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martinez, 32, has hinted he will leave the German champions when his contract ends next June, saying he would like to “try something new”. (Reuters via Eurosport)external-link

AZ Alkmaar’s midfielder Mohamed Taabouni, 18, is set for a move to Italy or Spain in January, with a number of clubs interested in the Netherlands youth international. (Voetbal International – in Dutch)external-link

Newcastle are keen to sign the Eintracht Frankfurt’s Jetro Willems, 26, on a permanent deal after the Netherlands defender was forced to cut his loan spell at St James’ Park in January because of a serious knee injury. (Shields Gazette)external-link

The Magpies have decided not to offer non-league Hebburn Town striker Cedwyn Scott, 21, a professional contract following a trial. (Newcastle Chronicle)external-link

Tuesday's Mirror back page
Tuesday’s Mirror back page

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Transfer rumours: Mbappe, Ronaldo, Sancho, Dybala, Wilson, Torres

Juventus are planning a £360m move for Paris St-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe, 21, and the Serie A side could send Cristiano Ronaldo the other way. (Mirror)external-link

German club Borussia Dortmund are not prepared to sell 20-year-old England winger Jadon Sancho, who was linked with Manchester United during the summer, in the January transfer window. (Sport Bild, via Mail)external-link

Chelsea have identified Juventus and Argentina forward Paulo Dybala, 22, as a potential transfer target. (Tutto Mercato Web, via Star)external-link

And Chelsea were apparently willing to pay Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, 33, £1m a week in a £225m transfer in 2014. (Sky Sports)external-link

Cardiff City have agreed a deal to sign Liverpool winger Harry Wilson on loan, with Derby County and Nottingham Forest also chasing the 23-year-old. (Football Insider)external-link

Arsenal want to beat Manchester United to the £35m signing of 23-year-old Villarreal defender Pau Torres in January. (Express)external-link

Middlesbrough are attempting to complete a deal to sign winger Yannick Bolasie, 31, on loan from Everton. (Sky Sports)external-link

Championship side Swansea City want £18m from Tottenham for 22-year-old Wales centre-back Joe Rodon. (Telegraph – subscription required)external-link

Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes, 26, has denied criticising manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his team-mates when they were thrashed 6-1 by Tottenham prior to the international break. (Sport TV, via Metro)external-link

Derby County owner Mel Morris says manager Phillip Cocu will not be sacked if the Rams lose to Watford on Friday as he also denied reports linking ex-England striker Wayne Rooney, 34, with replacing the Dutchman. (Talksport)external-link

Friday's Express back page with the headline 'This is Madness' and a picture of Gary Neville
Friday’s Express back page

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‘Not acceptable’ that competition has only one Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander player

Netball Australia boss Marne Fechner has apologised to the Queensland Firebirds’ first Aboriginal player Helena Higgins for her “negative experiences” in the sport and says it’s unacceptable that Super Netball has only one current Indigenous player in Jemma Mi Mi.

Higgins, known as Helena Saunders during her playing career, on Tuesday called for Super Netball’s Indigenous round to be scrapped unless the sport truly embraced the Indigenous community.

Higgins – whose comments came after Mi Mi received no court time for the Firebirds in the club’s Indigenous round weekend win over the Vixens in Cairns despite being used heavily in promoting the event – said she had also been used for “just media purposes” during her career.

“In 1998, Queensland Netball decided that I was going to be the face of netball in the state,” Higgins wrote on the IndigenousX website.

“I was required to attend different functions with the then CEO Michelle Buck. We went to the 1998 Gold Coast Indy, but I honestly felt like I was the token Indigenous girl at these events.

“I feel for this young player (Mi Mi). All of us previous Indigenous players have been there and it seems like the sport has not changed and this is the reason I will not participate in netball.”

Fechner said racism was unacceptable and that everyone in netball deserved the chance to “reach their potential on and off the court”.

“Netball apologises sincerely to Helena for her negative experiences within the netball system,” Fechner said.

“Netball Australia acknowledges that strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation rates and talent within our grassroots and state competitions is not translating into our elite pathway and that there are systemic barriers in place that need to be addressed.

“It’s not acceptable that Jemma Mi Mi is the only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander player within the Suncorp Super Netball league and Netball Australia acknowledges that the next generation of players, coaches and umpires can’t be what they can’t see.”

Super Netball CEO Chris Symington understood Higgins’ call for the Indigenous round to be scrapped but said it would continue.

“Currently the Suncorp Super Netball Indigenous Round provides an opportunity to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and acknowledge the contribution that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders play across the entire netball system and we plan for this round to continue in future years,” Symington said.

Fechner said a “State of the Game” review was helping Netball Australia address the lack of opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to “reach their full potential in our game”.

“This starts in community and goes through to the Diamonds,” she said.

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Ferran Torres: Comparisons with Ronaldo, love of dogs & wanting to be the best

Ferran Torres’ signing for Manchester City from Valencia, which will be made official soon, puts an end to the rumours over the past few months linking him to just about every major club in all of the biggest leagues.

He has had offers from Juventus, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund – and got calls from Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester United – but it is City about to finalise a deal estimated at about 25m euros (£22.6m) plus 12m euros (£10.9m) in extras.

The time has come for the 20-year-old – a prodigiously talented, lightning fast winger – to seek his fortune elsewhere in the footballing world.

A bargain for Man City?

Valencia wanted much more for the youngster but were conscious that he could have left for free in a year’s time – Manchester City have got themselves a bargain.

When I met up with him last week in Valencia, I asked him whether he was learning languages.

“Yes, you have always got to be learning languages because you never know where football will take you tomorrow…. but above all I am learning English, because English is essential whatever part of the world you are in,” he said.

So highly is Torres rated that many at the club thought a new Valencia side could be built around him. But, as always seems to happen at Valencia, politics and finance intervened.

With contract negotiations dragging on, the club decided not to take a chance – and have accepted a transfer fee instead.

Yet Torres retains a loyalty both to the club and his home town of Foios, around six miles to the north of Valencia’s Mestalla home.

Just as he will have no criticism of Foios – “I was raised there, have all my friends there and the truth is I feel very much at home there” – neither will he hear a word said against the club he joined as a seven-year-old.

He recalls the first time he put on the Valencia kit just before going to training as a kid.

“I remember putting on the shirt then going into the bathroom looking at myself almost in a daze,” he said.

“I was just wearing the shirt and my underpants and I was just staring at the shirt and saying to myself: ‘What am I doing here? How did I get here?’ It was a special moment.

“At the end of the day, it is the team from my land and the team that has given me everything.”

But now Torres knows the time has come to leave the club he has supported all his life.

He said: “As a player, I consider myself to be ambitious, someone that wants to win, win win, and… as time passes and you feel you are better prepared, then you want to take on greater challenges, experience a change of environment. Yes, I think I am ready to do so.

“Inside I always think that I am the best, and that I want to be the best and I work to try to be the best. If you don’t believe yourself that you are the best, then no-one is ever going to believe that you are.”

Ferran Torres became the youngest player to make 50 appearances for Valencia

How did Torres get here?

His skill and speed were obvious to everyone from the moment he joined the club as a boy.

He made his way through the ranks and, much like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo had done before him, spent most of his time playing in sides and leagues featuring youngsters much bigger – and almost always at least two years older than him.

“I did suffer because of the big physical differences that existed,” he said. “I was tiny in comparison to some of the people that I could see were fully formed and I struggled to the point that I would leave crying.

“To go into challenges as a 14 or 15-year-old against strong 17 and 18-year-old men was hard for me. That feeling of not being able to win, not being able to do what I wanted to was something I found hard to take in.”

He received news of his inclusion in Valencia’s first-team squad when playing for Spain at the 2017 Under-17 World Cup in India. On 16 December that year, he became the first person born in the 2000s to play in La Liga as he made his league debut against Eibar.

What are his major strengths?

Torres’ game is based on blistering speed, superb close control and unpredictability in attack. A modern day winger – he can also play inside – he has a great change of pace, is very powerful, steady with the ball at his feet and strong in the air.

Comparisons are already being made to a young Cristiano Ronaldo, a player who he cites as his main reference, “not just because of the way he plays his football but also because of the way he carries himself away from football”. He added: “It is worthy of admiration and I would like to follow his steps.”

He is not yet the finished article but is as close as is possible for one so young and has been described by Valencia academy director of recruitment, Jose Gimenez, as “the complete player”.

Perhaps his greatest asset is his football instinct. “More than a conscious understanding, what I do I do instinctively,” he said. “If by that you mean understanding then I guess it is, although I never really think that I have known what I am going to do, but rather just done in at that moment.”

What is he like off the pitch?

Torres will be sorely missed at Valencia not just by the team but also the fans who adore him as one of their own.

“For many of the fans you are a reference and they are also spending their time having their photo taken with you and that should also be respected and so I spend whatever time is necessary to be with them,” he said.

Until recently, Torres was still living with his father in Foios, although he has since bought himself an apartment in Valencia. The winger recalls a childhood tilling the soil in his grandfather’s orchard, something he now realises was another part of his education.

“At the end of the day, these are the small details that we must never lose, because although it has nothing to do directly with football, it has helped, me at least, to become the type of person that I am,” he said.

His closest friends call him Ferri; Torres said of them: “I have above all four friends that I have had all my life and with who I do practically everything, and the fact is we always stay in contact with one another.

“When I do things badly, they tell me, and when I do well, they are there to congratulate me, but more than anything else I am most grateful to them when they tell me about the things that I have done wrong.”

He is also extremely fond of his two dogs, an 11-year-old Podenco Andaluz called Minnie and a 12-year-old Czechoslovakian Wolfdog called Lluna.

“For my sister and me they are everything. In fact we couldn’t live without them. They have lived it all with me. Everything we have talked about they have lived with me,” he added.

There is currently no talk of romance for Torres. The main woman in his life at present is his sister Arantxa, six years his senior.

Torres said: “With my sister it’s true that I am much more open. With her I express much more what I am thinking at that particular moment. She is my confidante.

“She’s been through some very difficult and complex times and she has confronted them and come through them. She has her own career, her master’s degree and that has a great merit. She has always been super-protective of me.

“I think that the reason I get on so well with her is because she knows how to stay on the margins, not to smother me, and I know that if I want something, I can go to her.

“She will never ask me, but when I have any doubts about anything or any type of problem, the first person I always go to is her.

“We have a tattoo on our ankles – an anchor – in which are the words ‘I refuse to sink’. That’s because we have gone through difficult times together and we have always come through them and moved forward.”

I asked him: why is the tattoo in English?

“I don’t know,” he answered. “I think it looks better in English.”

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Very different Mabo Day for Torres Strait’s Mer Island due to coronavirus safety restrictions

Mabo Day, celebrated June 3 each year, is usually marked with feasts, dancing and singing on Mer Island, home to the late Indigenous land rights campaigner Eddie Koiki Mabo.

Mer, also known as Murray Island, was the subject of the High Court’s landmark 1992 Mabo decision.

WARNING: This article contains images of a deceased Indigenous person.

The case recognised the traditional land rights of the Meriam people and paved the way for native title recognition across Australia.

Local councillor Aven Noah said in an ordinary year there would be a week of cultural activities culminating in a big celebration paying tribute to “Grandad Koiki” and other plaintiffs in the case.

“It’s all one big festival that we celebrate to remember those who fought long and hard in recognition of the land where we all come from, our inheritance.”

But today’s celebrations will be very different due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Just 20 people, predominantly senior elders, will take part in official proceedings.

“Twenty people will meet, we’ll have a flag-raising ceremony, we’ll have a prayer to give us a blessing for the day, we’ll have wreath-laying, we’ll have speeches,” Cr Noah said.

“We’ll be dressed in our colourful traditional dresses and lava lava and flowery shirts.”

Eddie Mabo
Eddie Mabo died in January 1992, five months before the High Court handed down its historic decision.(Supplied: Gail Mabo)

The group will visit Mr Mabo’s grave and those of other plaintiffs in the case.

“Then we’ll just go to our own homes and celebrate ourselves with our families.

“I’m sure [people will] put the music on and even get the drum out and they’ll be singing to celebrate.”

Tony Abbott at the grave of Eddie Mabo
Tony Abbott was the first Prime Minister to visit Eddie Mabo’s grave in 2015.(AAP: Tracey Nearmy)

Daughter urges people to celebrate online

A virtual Mabo Day ceremony has been organised in Townsville, home to many Torres Strait Islanders including Eddie Mabo’s daughter Gail Mabo.

“For me it’s sad that as a community we can’t be together to celebrate,” she said.

“But via phone, via Facebook, via all of those devices, we can be together and united to actually celebrate this day which for me is the most special day.

“For me it feels like yesterday and for my family it’s a little bit harder this year because of mum not being here to celebrate it with us. But we celebrate both of them now.”

She hoped all Australians, not just First Nations people, would celebrate Mabo Day.

“Just do a little clip with your house, with your family, celebrating Mabo Day and just send it out there.

“Just say ‘Happy Mabo Day’ and share it with everybody. Being viral can be viral.”

Smiling Torres Strait Islander woman with art backdrop
Gail Mabo hopes all Australians recognise the importance of the Mabo decision.(Supplied: James Cook University)

James Cook University (JCU) today released a 1982 video recording of Eddie Mabo giving a guest lecture about the Torres Strait Islander community.

JCU Library special collections manager Bronwyn McBurnie said the 52-minute clip had not been publicly released before and was of national significance.

“This lecture is a historical moment when Koiki Mabo was at the beginning of his decade-long land rights court battle,” she said.

“This recording is an intimate connection to the High Court of Australia’s decision to overturn the concept of ‘terra nullius’ in 1992 through the Mabo case.”

Walking Together is taking a look at our nation’s reconciliation journey and where we’ve been and asks the question — where do we go next?

Join us as we listen, learn and share stories from across the country that unpack the truth-telling of our history and embrace the rich culture and language of Australia’s First People.

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Erub Arts in Torres Strait dispatches DIY ghost net kits far and wide after exhibitions cancelled due to COVID-19

A Torres Strait art centre, internationally renowned for its sprawling installations using ghost nets, has found itself with a shed full of returned artwork after all its exhibitions were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists based on Erub (also known as Darnley Island), 60 kilometres south of Papua New Guinea, have been repurposing marine debris into sculptures inspired by the sea for more than a decade.

As Erub Arts contemplates how it will survive the pandemic, it has made DIY kits for people to make their own ghost net creations at home.

Artistic director Lynnette Griffiths said the kits sold out in half a day and have been dispatched across Australia and overseas.

“The response was just massive,” she said.

“We’ve been collecting names for a waiting list and we’ve got over 200 on that list.

Women from Erub Arts sort nets and ropes for the ‘At Home Together’ kits.(Supplied: Erub Arts)

Beauty from something deadly

The kits contain an assortment of fishing nets and ropes recovered from the ocean and beaches around Cape York Peninsula and the Gulf of Carpentaria.

They include debris from a clean-up at Chilli Beach by the Tangaroa Blue Foundation and an Indonesian drift net that was picked up by the Australian Navy off Darwin.

The kits contain instructions for making sea creatures — rays, turtles and fish — as well as a weaving technique.

“It is about working together and the fact we can make something beautiful out of something that’s pretty deadly is awe-inspiring,” Ms Griffiths said.

“Hopefully then we can exhibit that work as a big collaboration.”

A fish, turtle and stingray made nets on top of a pile of assorted ropes.
People can make ghost net critters for pleasure or send some back to Erub Arts for a collaborative art piece.(Supplied: Erub Arts)

The foundation carefully sorts and disposes of rubbish from its beach clean-ups, but sells some of the debris collected from remote locations.

Managing director, Heidi Taylor, said it was great pollution could be put to good use and have a new life.

“Artists might buy a bag of toothbrushes or a bag of ghost net or net scraps that we’ve picked up at a beach.

“And they turn them into beautiful art pieces to spread that message and reach another audience about marine debris and its impacts.”

‘I don’t know how long it’s going to take us to recover’

Erub Arts said the kits were a way to connect with the community and continue raising awareness about pollution at a time when the arts sector was in crisis.

“Having those large installations — they’re big, they’re showy, they’re flashy — and they are collected by big institutions.

“When you wipe that off, our method of selling is gone.”

Lots of Torres Strait Islanders in front of a wharf carrying large sea creatures made of ghost nets
The arts centre is an important economic and cultural asset for the Erub community.(Supplied: Erub Arts)

Ms Griffiths said art organisations everywhere were scrambling to figure out how to take their offerings online, but it was particularly challenging for Erub Arts.

“Art is something you have to look at, ghost net is something you almost want to touch — it is tactile. I don’t think you get the same response to it online,” she said.

“At the moment we’ve got a shed full of returned work and getting that back out and back into circulation is going to take a massive amount of work.”

Walking Together is taking a look at our nation’s reconciliation journey, where we’ve been and asks the question — where do we go next?

Join us as we listen, learn and share stories from across the country, that unpack the truth telling of our history and embrace the rich culture and language of Australia’s First People.

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