Mediawatch: Fabregas eyed Arsenal return?

Date published: Thursday 18th August 2016 12:11

When The Sun goes down

The above is Neil Custis defending his newspaper, The Sun, and the rest of ‘the press’ for their coverage of Raheem Sterling over the summer. Mediawatch would like to remind you of the ‘analysis’ The Sun felt necessary to undertake.

– Ran a front-page exclusive with the headline ‘OBSCENE RAHEEM’. The ‘England flop’ had ‘enraged fans’ by ‘showing off blinging house and fleet of supercars’. It was a house he had bought for his mum. He received no apology for the reporting.

– Published an article titled ‘The life and times of footie idiot Raheem Sterling’ on June 30.

– Used a picture of Sterling in an article about ‘a semi-professional footballer who turned to drug dealing’. The article itself never mentioned Sterling, and was published on June 30.

– Claimed Sterling was ‘laughing all the way to the bank’ after his company posted an annual profit on July 3.

– Wrote that the ‘footie flop’ had ‘blown thousands’ while ‘chasing glamorous teen’. ‘YOU DIRTY RAT-HEEM’ was the headline on July 30.

Funnily enough, no TV channels criticised a 21-year-old man for buying his mum a house. Indeed, no other members of ‘the press’ did.

‘Analysis’ is the kindest of words possible that can be used to describe The Sun’s reporting.


‘Raheem Sterling only needed a bit of TLC from the right person,’ writes Ken Lawrence. That it is in an article for The Sun is an irony not lost on anyone.

Lawrence goes on to document Manchester City’s struggles last season, and how Sterling was perhaps the biggest victim. The England international even sought help from psychologist Dr Steve Peters in order to overcome his critics. Lawrence’s piece includes the following line.

‘During that decline, nobody suffered more than Sterling…’

Just three City players scored more than Sterling (11) in all competitions last season. But ‘nobody suffered more than Sterling’.

‘His performance levels had sunk so low for club and country, and the abuse he was getting online and off booing fans was so bad, he took to signing his Twitter feed as ‘The Hated One’.’

Mediawatch would like to insert ‘and The Sun’ directly after ‘the abuse he was getting online and off booing fans’ line. Their ‘analysis’ cannot have helped.

‘After England’s disappointing opening clash with Russia, he posted a picture of the Stade Velodorome with the message ‘#TheHatedOne.

‘At other times he would use #HatedTalent.

‘Now, after his sterling performance in the 5-0 slaughter of Steaua, he can surely drop all of that.

‘Now, he has in Guardiola a man who can elevate him to the exciting, pacy, inventive attacker his potential always pointed towards.

‘His problems before Guardiola arrived appeared so intense there were even suggestions the in-coming [sic] coach might ditch him.

‘After all, the stats registering the downturn of his form after he moved from Merseyside made him look like he had become a broken man.’

Considering the standard of the ‘reporting’ documented above, is there any wonder?


Boob man
Mediawatch awoke on Thursday morning to the rather surprising news that Mario Balotelli could join Wolves this summer. Not only that, but Port Vale are interested. Port bloody Vale?!

The Daily Mirror informed us of this ‘shock’ news via the following headline: ‘Liverpool transfer news and rumours: Mario Balotelli considering shock move to Wolves or Port Vale?’ Interests are piqued; let’s take a look.

‘Mario Balotelli could drop into the Football League to end his Liverpool nightmare, according to The Sun.

‘Wolves and Port Vale are reportedly options for Balotelli, who has been told that he will be playing no part in Jurgen Klopp’s plans this season.

‘He is reportedly considering dropping down the divisions in a bid to prove himself as a top quality striker once again.

‘It is thought that the lower league clubs, should they be willing to pay his wages, would be willing to take a gamble on the former Italian international.’

Handily, a hyperlink to The Sun’s story is included. Well, a hyperlink is included, and yes, it does lead to The Sun’s website. But it doesn’t exactly lead to their Balotelli story…

No. Instead, the link leads us to an article from August 11, 2015, titled:

‘Big boobs are back: A moving tribute.’

The link has since been amended to take us to the Balotelli article, but we see you, Aaron Flanagan. Time to delete that internet history.


Odd Mario
The actual Sun story on Balotelli includes the clumsiest of sentences:

‘However, a lower league club would be happy to take on the oddball, as long as they don’t have to stump his wages that Liverpool would have to cover just to get him away from their Melwood base where he could provide a distraction.’

‘Oddball’ is a particular favourite.

Also, the rumour surrounding Port Vale’s interest is quite something. Wally Downes Jr adds:

‘And, if the Special One really does have Balotelli’s ear, he could ask him to link up with his ‘brother’ Bruno Ribeiro at Port Vale.’

So, to clarify, this is ‘Liverpool striker could move to Port Vale because their manager is mates with Manchester United’s’?




Now, ignore the b*nterous section of the tweet involving Robin van Persie. What Mediawatch is more interested in is the headline to this story from The Metro. Well, part of the headline anyway; we have no idea whether Cesc Fabregas ever ‘wanted Ars…’ nor whether he still does.

The actual headline to the article is ‘Did Arsene Wenger just confirm Cesc Fabregas wanted Arsenal return?’

This sounds like an absolutely huge story. The fact that no other outlet has it and The Metro does raises alarm bells, but still. Perhaps this is their biggest scoop yet? Ha, perhaps not.

‘Amid renewed criticism of his transfer policy, Arsene Wenger claims almost every player who has left Arsenal under his stewardship has asked to return to the club,’ the piece begins. Already, Cesc Fabregas has become ‘almost every player who has left Arsenal’.

We even have quotes from the manager. He said:

“We have plenty of players who want to join us, 99.5% of players who left us have asked to come back.”

Ah. So the story could just as easily be ‘Did Arsene Wenger just confirm Kim Kallstrom wanted Arsenal return?’ Or ‘Did Arsene Wenger just confirm Julio Baptista wanted Arsenal return?’

Top work, as ever.


‘Live’ blog?
In their never-ending search for online debate, the Daily Telegraph are reaching new levels of excellence, particularly in the field of transfer bullsh*t. On Wednesday, they claimed that Liverpool were interested in Joe Hart. Their claim on Thursday, that the Reds want Shkodran Mustafi, is equally questionable.

What a twist this would be,’ begins the latest update to their ‘Liverpool transfer rumours and news’ live blog.

‘The news was broken by Cadena SER, who claim that Liverpool have opened talks with the representatives of Arsenal’s number one transfer target.

‘Cue a meltdown epic proportions if Jurgen Klopp stole him from under the nose of Arsene Wenger…’

The story broke 22 hours ago, but sure. That would not be a problem – it is unfair to expect every rumour to be reported on instantly – if not for the fact that there have been updates on Liverpool’s supposed Mustafi interest since.

In fact, around an hour after the initial rumour broke, Liverpool club sources dismissed the report. ‘Meanwhile, Liverpool have distanced themselves from reports in Spain that they have opened negotiations with Valencia for German defender Shkodran Mustafi, and ruled out a move for Inter Milan’s Gary Medel,’ Chris Wheeler wrote for the Daily Mail.

Selective hearing, is it?


Where the Hart is

‘Joe Hart wants to fight to save his Manchester City career’ – Daily Star, August 15.

‘Joe Hart is determined to leave Manchester City in the next two weeks and has no wish to fight for his place under Pep Guardiola’ – Daily Mail, August 18.


Slight difference of opinion

‘Chelsea have made their move for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly – for what could be a club-record fee of £60 million – in an emphatic effort by manager Antonio Conte to strengthen his team’ – Jason Burt, Daily Telegraph.

‘Chelsea have made a determined move to sign Napoli’s £40million-rated centre-half Kalidou Koulibaly’ – John Cross, Daily Mirror.

What’s £20million between friends?


That went well

‘Riyad Mahrez drops biggest hint yet he’s ready to join Arsenal’ – The Sun Football’s Twitter account, 9:17 am on Wednesday morning. ‘Leicester star Riyad Mahrez would only leave Premier League champions for two or three select clubs,’ was the headline.

Eleven hours later…

‘Riyad Mahrez signs new Leicester deal until June 2020’ – The Sun Football’s Twitter account, 8:29pm on Wednesday evening. ‘Riyad Mahrez signs new Leicester deal as Player of the Year agrees £25million contract until June 2020,’ was the headline.

Whatever happened to the ‘biggest hint yet’, guys?


Child’s play


Old McDonald’s
Jake Humphrey, presenter for BT Sport, has some advice for you all, especially for those of you receiving your A-level results on Thursday.

‘In 2001 I was sacked by @McDonalds for ‘poor communication skills’. 6 months after getting E, N, U for my A-Levels. Funny old world…’ – Jake Humphrey, August 10, 2016.

At the age of 22? (Humphrey was born in October 1978)

‘Good luck to all getting A-Level results today. In 1999 I got E, N, U for mine & got fired from McDonald’s. These results won’t define you’ – Humprey, August 15, 2013.

At the age of 19?

‘When I was 18 I got fired from Mcdonald’s for ‘poor communication skills’’ – Humphrey, May 15, 2016.

At the age of 18?

“At 16, I got fired from McDonald’s for having no communication skills. Can you bloody believe that? I remember my dad writing to McDonald’s manager telling him how absolutely crestfallen and heartbroken I was” – Humphrey, July 2012.

At the age of 16?

Humphrey remembers his Dad writing in, just not when in a six-year period it happened. Mediawatch is struggling to keep count.


Recommended reading of the day
David Hytner interviews Nani.

Colin Udoh on John Obi Mikel.

Sam Tighe on Mason Holgate.

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