Follow The Journey
Mediawatch is going to allow you the chance to see behind the curtain at the Daily Star's transfer gossip machine. We'll let you follow a story from start to finish through the medium of headlines, so you can gain a real insight into how things work. Or not.
8th October, 2013: 'Manchester United ready to move for Arsenal target Ilkay Gundogan in January'
11th November, 2013: 'Manchester United and Arsenal given hope of signing Ilkay Gundogan'
5th December, 2013: 'Dortmund open the door for £25m exit of Arsenal and Man Utd target Ilkay Gundogan'
15th January, 2014: 'Arsenal and Man Utd target Ilkay Gundogan keeping options open over potential move'
23d February, 2014: 'EXCLUSIVE: Manchester United close in on Borussia Dortmund star Ilkay Gundogan'
25th March, 2014: 'Manchester United on course to beat Arsenal and land £25m Dortmund ace Ilkay Gundogan'
3rd April, 2014: 'United given the okay for Ilkay! David Moyes handed Gundogan boost'
It's perhaps not a surprise that the Star are the only paper who haven't reported the news of Gundogan's new contract today, instead listing Marco Reus and William Carvalho as emerging targets for Manchester United.
You'll forgive us for waiting until both deals are done before getting excited.
A Changing Outlook
With an average age of 29 years and 188 days, Arsenal's team last night was their oldest since May 2003. Quite what that demonstrates (if anything) is unclear, but we can't help thinking that Sami Mokbel in the Daily Mail is reading a little too much into it.
'Arsenal's starting XI on Tuesday night was their oldest on average in the league since May 4, 2003, when they faced Leeds,' writes Mokbel.
'David Seaman, Martin Keown, Thierry Henry, Ray Parlour and Robert Pires played that day as the Gunners lost 3-2.
'Arsene Wenger's always been one for fielding youngsters but after nine trophyless years is his outlook changing?'
Firstly, Mokbel is surely aware that Wenger was also in charge in 2003 - so this would be less of a 'change' and more of a 'reversion', if we're being pedants.
However, the more pertinent fact is that Theo Walcott (25), Mesut Ozil (25), Kieran Gibbs (24) Serge Gnabry (18) and Jack Wilshere (22) are currently injured, while Aaron Ramsey (23) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (20) were on the bench in need of a rest. The ages of Arsenal's outfield substitutes last night read 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23.
So rather than a 'changing outlook' we'd instead say that necessity simply dictated a manager's team selection. Not exactly a punchy sell, we grant you.
Quick quiz question for you:
After attending Arsenal v West Ham at the Emirates last night, which aspect of Olivier Giroud's performance did Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph choose to focus on? Was it:
a) His continuous struggle to avoid becoming isolated in the absence of his ideal supporting players Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil?
b) His sublime touch for his goal, managing to out-muscle Andy Carroll before taking the ball down in breath-taking fashion?
c) His new haircut?
The answer to our fun quiz becomes apparent just by reading the headline to Law's piece, describing Giroud as 'a cut above'. This is going to get groany, so just count up the crowbarred follicle references.
'Olivier Giroud should have learnt from Marouane Chamakh and Nicklas Bendtner that it is never a good sign when an Arsenal striker's hairstyle becomes more entertaining than his football,' writes Law.
'Giroud's angled quiff has become steadily more spectacular as the season has progressed. Unfortunately for Arsenal fans, the Frenchman's performances have not always followed a similar upward curve.
'Giroud's feet gave his hair a run for its money as he scored a vital goal...
'Asked in a Twitter question and answer session how he maintains his look, Giroud answered: "It's down to a hairdryer. That's it, nothing more."
'Giroud may well have received the 'hairdryer treatment' from his manager over off-field allegations earlier in the season. But, unlike Chamakh and Bendtner, he can still recover from several bad hair days.'
Tune in next week for an update on Mathieu Flamini's waxing regime.
Strong work from Paul Merson in the Sky Sports studio prior to the game from the Emirates last night. We'll skip beyond the use of words such as "horriblest" and consistently pronouncing Arsenal's Spanish attacking midfielder as "Co-zola" and move straight to his logic on the relegation battle.
In the space of three sentences, Merson described Hull as "still being in trouble" on 36 points, but then claimed West Ham were "totally safe" on 37.
Is 36.5 points the new 40?
15th April, 1.18pm - Aston Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner calls for unity: "Now more than ever it's time for us all to pull together - fans, players, the manager, everyone at the club."
15th April, 3.08pm - Aston Villa suspend assistant manager Ian Culverhouse and head of football operations Gary Karsa pending an internal investigation.
Did someone do something very naughty at around 2pm?
Walk The Line
'I'll walk if I don't get full control' shouts the headline in The Sun, referring to Gustavo Poyet's continued employment at Sunderland. It's also given the slightly chilling tagline of 'Poyet's warning'.
Actual quotes from Poyet: "I don't want to get the sack. If they sack you it looks like you have done something bad. There is really no risk because I want the same as the other people at the club.
"There are things that need to change and when I talk about change, people panic. At the moment I'm the head coach and not the manager so it's not my responsibility.
"It doesn't need to be my way or nothing, but we are talking about solutions for the club."
Mentions of Poyet 'walking' - 0
Mentions of Poyet demanding 'full control' - 0
Dan King writes a column for The Sun called 'Sport Uncovered', in which he rivals Antony Kastrinakis' 'World Football Uncovered' column for juicy revelations.
So, what mysteries and dark secrets have been 'uncovered' on Tuesday? Well, one man called another man "jealous" in a court case (a public forum), and the FA Cup final clashes with a rugby league match. Both have been scheduled for that date since November 18th last year. That's some top scooping.
Transfers With Manchester United
December 2014 - United linked to Bayern Munich midfielder Toni Kroos.
January 2014 - David Moyes reportedly meets Kroos' agent with talk of a move progressing.
January 2014 - Kroos himself states that he is "unable to rule anything out" regarding his future.
February 2014 - Pep Guardiola admits Kroos could leave Bayern Munich: "He is an important player, but it can go fast in football. Here today, there tomorrow."
March 2014 - Kroos again flirts with the possibility of moving to United: "It is no secret that the Premier League is a possibility for me. No-one has come to any agreement with me and it will stay like this until the summer and, some time, a decision will be made. It is also no secret that the Premier League is not a bad league. I think I am a person where a lot is possible for me. But I have to think about this for myself to reach a complete decision. There will be a decision in the future but one without giving you (the media) any time frame."
April 2014 - Kroos' agent Volker Struth confirms that the player will be staying at Bayern: "There has not been any official contract offer (from Manchester United). There is absolutely no need to table an official bid either because Toni will stay with Bayern Munich at least until 2015."
It's the hope that kills you.
Optimistic Thought Of The Day
'Kim Kallstrom made his first start for Arsenal last night, two-and-a-half months after signing on transfer deadline day despite a back injury. Last night the Swede rejuvenated a tired midfield and could yet become another cult hero, following fellow Swedes Freddie Ljungberg and Anders Limpar.'
Woah there, Sami Mokbel in the Daily Mail. Kallstrom is only at the club on loan until the end of May, has played 108 minutes since his move and looked fairly rusty last night. The next Freddie Ljungberg may be pushing it.
Headline Of The Day
'The Fourth Is With Us' - The Daily Express bring out Mediawatch's best Chris Eubank impression.
Historically Inaccurate Headline Of The Day
'Top four is Wenger's Holy Grail' - The Daily Express perhaps need to read up on their Arthurian literature. We're not sure that the myths and tales of the search (or even existence) for the Holy Grail would have been quite so legendary if it had been found in each of the past 16 years.
Non-Football Story Of The Day
'It's time, once again, to make the little things count.
'The "Smallest Penis Contest," a nutty competition which debuted last year, will return to Brooklyn's Kings County Bar on June 14.
'Per a media release, contestants will be judged in multiple categories, including "poise in both evening wear and bathing wear." In addition to a cash prize (which can optionally be donated to charity), a "wee crown and scepter" will be awarded to the less-endowed man best exhibiting "extraordinary heart, talent, and chutzpa."
'Last year's winner, Nicholas Gilronan, described the competition as "laid back, fun, casual," comparing it to just another "fun time on a Saturday afternoon"' - Huffington Post
Thanks to today's spotters Terry Hall and Ed Goodman. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at email@example.com, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.