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Thinking Outside The Box
Owen Hargreaves has clearly been paying attention to the transfer market this summer as he picks five players to watch in the new season for BT Sport.

The little-known names in question? Get Wikipedia ready...

Wayne Rooney, Cesc Fabregas - that's FAB-RE-GAS - Yaya Toure, Robin van Persie (a Dutch international, apparently), and Mesut Ozil.

Boy, we can't wait to see this lot in action!

One To Keep On File
Said Brendan Rodgers on losing world-class 31-goal striker Luis Suarez: "I think we will be stronger again this year, no doubt."

Sure, Brendan. Sure.

Mediawatch rarely turns to the Daily Record due to its unashamed sensationalising of every minor story but, on a day dominated by the start of The Open, we've been forced to head north of the border.

Much to our relief, we weren't disappointed, as David McCarthy treats us to the biggest overreaction to a pre-season friendly in the history of meaningless pre-season friendlies.

'Dundee defeat showed that Manchester City's millionaires are nothing more than a shower of shameless slackers,' blasts the Record's headline following City's 2-0 defeat to the Scottish minnows.

It gets better as an outraged McCarthy writes: 'I don't know how many Manchester City fans turned up at Dens Park on Sunday for their team's first pre-season friendly but every single one of them is due an apology...

'By my reckoning, that lot who were beaten 2-0 by Dundee cost more than £141m. That is utterly mind-boggling and for that kind of outlay, the least you'd expect is a bit of effort.

'Instead, the Man City fans in the crowd witnessed an exercise in going through the motions. Their attitude stank the place out. They treated it like a training session and they couldn't give a toss.'

Perhaps that's because it essentially was a training session, David? Perhaps City's only responsibility in such a meaningless friendly - their first of pre-season - was to work on their fitness and avoid pushing themselves too hard. If you take a quick look around, you'll see plenty of similar results at this time of year.

But of course, you're right - sack the lot of them. They're a disgrace.

Finders Keepers
Said Nicky Butt on Manchester United's transfer business: "You can all talk about Pogba or Kroos but these kind of players are not easy to get. So you have to widen your net and Herrera is a bonus."

They might not be easy to get, but it wouldn't have been too hard to keep one of them.

Headline in The Sun: 'BRUNO'S LVG KO.'

'Porto have slapped a £31.5million buy-out clause on Bruno Martins Indi after the Manchester United target snubbed the Premier League,' writes Mike McGrath.

'The Dutch defender, 22, worked with United boss Louis van Gaal at the World Cup - but he opted for a move to the Portuguese club despite huge interest in England.'

Two things:

1) It's standard practice for Portuguese clubs to insert huge release clauses into players' contracts.

2) We doubt Van Gaal will be 'KO'd' by Martins Indi's choice. If he'd wanted the defender, he surely would have just, you know, signed him.

Mediawatch is tired - actually, make that bloody knackered - of reading the same tedious stories of Louis van Gaal's proposed overhaul at Manchester United. This line has been on repeat since May - please oh please can someone change the record?

The Daily Mirror are the latest to bring us the 'news' of Van Gaal's plans, as 'HATCHET VAN' prepares to 'axe 10 stars'. They're not really 'stars' if they're going to be axed, surely?

'As many as TEN players are facing the axe under Van Gaal, who is determined to overhaul the squad that fared so disastrously under sacked boss David Moyes last season,' writes David McDonnell.

'Those players to be shown the door include Wilfried Zaha, Marouane Fellaini, Ashley Young, Tom Cleverley, Nani, Anderson, Bebe and Nick Powell.

'With Patrice Evra leaving for Juventus and striker Javier Hernandez open to a move away, Van Gaal's reign will begin with a big shake-up.'

Except we all know that won't happen. If Van Gaal were to get rid of those ten players, United would be left with a squad of just 14 who had played more than a single Premier League game last season plus Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera. That would leave Van Gaal either relying on youngsters to a ridiculous degree or needing six to eight signings to bring the squad up to the 25-man allowance.

Considering the team jet off to the US for the International Champions Cup in a week's time, begin the Premier League campaign in only a month, and that there are only six weeks until the close of the transfer window, Mediawatch would say the chances of ten players leaving are incredibly slim.

But don't let that get in the way of a good story.

How Did That Go?
Said Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer in February: "Toni (Kroos) has a contract until the summer of 2015 and he will not be going anywhere before then."

Credit Where Credit's Due
A big thank you to Mario Gotze, on behalf of the Daily Mail, for holidaying in Ibiza with his 'lingerie model girlfriend' after winning the World Cup.

They say a picture says a thousand words - presumably that's why there are 11 of them and only six sentences.

Worryingly Relaxed
Amid reports that Blackpool boss Jose Riga is set to quit the shambles at Blackpool, this is is what club chairman Karl Oyston had to say: "We're finding it difficult to land some of the players we've been chasing. That's always the case, but unfortunately it's with a backdrop of not having many players, so it focuses things a little more than normal."

Karl, it's 23 days until the start of the season and you only have eight players and no goalkeeper. To have an 18-man squad in time for kick-off, you need to sign a player every 55 hours. It might be time to panic.

Worst. Ultimatum. Ever.
Writes Graeme Bryce in The Sun: 'Bojan has been given until tomorrow to decide whether to swap Barcelona for Stoke.'

Can he just retire?

Football in 2014
'If we don't sign Reus before next game I'm going to stab my dog,' tweeted a young Liverpool fan who attached a menacing picture of him holding a kitchen knife. The police were called.

Worst Headline Of The Day
'No Khedding' - The Sun.

Worst Headline Of The Millennium
'LOUIS VAN GAAL'S 10 COMMANUMENTS' - The Sun. Warning - avoid this article at all costs, it's left Mediawatch with a b*stard of a migraine.

Non-Football Headline Of The Day
'Pig farmer mocked for being uncircumcised' -

Non-Football Story Of The Day
'Johannesburg - Limpopo police could not confirm a report on Wednesday that initiation school teachers stole 20 pigs from a Limpopo farmer because he was not circumcised.

'The New Age newspaper reported on Wednesday, that Mafole Machika, 57, said his pigs were stolen by a group of people from a local cultural initiation camp in a village in Jane Furse.

'"The mob, armed with sticks, knobkerries, axes and pangas, stormed my yard undressed to their waists," Machika was quoted as saying.

'"They took my 20 pigs while shouting that I was a worthless man who had not been culturally circumcised... All I want is justice. Every year during cultural initiation rituals, gangs of boys and men insult me about my private parts."

'He told the newspaper the Nebo police station commander told him it was the traditional law of the land that he be treated like that because he was uncircumcised' -

Thanks to today's Mediawatch spotter Andries Combrinck. If you spot something that belongs on this page, mail us at, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.

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Readers' Comments


S I've always envisioned him as a Pirlo or a Scholes, though he needs some of Andy Murray's conditioning and shiny, ankle supports to keep his own from buckling under the tackles that will (inevitably) come his way. He's got the physique and low centre of gravity to flourish, but needs to make himself more resilient.

Time For Another Wenger U-Turn On Wilshere?


s a United fan I fell I can say this without accusation of bias, Sergio Aguero is for me the only player close to Ronaldo or Messi, what goes against him is his injury record, Hazard is good in fits but doesn't give enough end product in my eyes, Tevez would be 4th for me

Suarez (Not Hazard) Is The World's Third Best


uite funny because it's true. Remember when rodgers and stevie me came this close to winning the league though?

Wenger: Arsenal Came *This* Close

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