The Sun shines on the righteous
Given Neil Custis’ uneasy relationship with Louis van Gaal, The Sun are desperate to find any way to pour scorn on Manchester United. Their latest example is so batsh*t mental that it just ends up being really, really funny.
The story is that Manchester United scouts were sent to watch Bayer Leverkusen’s Hakan Calhanoglu on Friday evening. By Wednesday morning, a full five days later, The Sun have worked out the perfect angle.
‘Manchester United embarrassed again after Javier Hernandez upstages summer transfer target in front of scouts,’ the headline shouts.
Firstly, Calhanoglu is not a striker, as the piece claims. Hopefully the scouts worked that out.
Secondly, Mediawatch presumes that United – and their scouts – did not give a shuddering f*ck about Hernandez’s goal. It came after Calhanoglu had been substituted after assisting Leverkusen’s opening goal in a 3-0 win and generally playing well. That’s also not how scouting works. Presumably United wouldn’t want to sign Neymar or Lionel Messi because Gerard Pique once played better than them in a match for Barcelona?
“Did he play well?”
“Should we sign him?”
“It’s a bit embarrassing, actually. Hernandez scored in the same game.”
What happens the day after a new manager is announced
‘Chelsea targeting double signing of Gonzalo Higuain and Edinson Cavani’ – Metro.
‘Antonio Conte has told Chelsea to re-sign Romelu Lukaku’ – Daily Star.
‘Miralem Pjanic on flight to London amid Chelsea transfer speculation’ – Metro.
‘Antonio Conte to persuade Roman Abramovich to meet Gonzalo Higuain’s £75million release clause. New Blues boss also wants Juventus pair Paul Pogba and Leonardo Bonucci’ – The Sun.
‘Radja Nainggolan, Edinson Cavani and Romelu Lukaku favourites to join Antonio Conte at Chelsea’ – Evening Standard.
‘Antonio Conte will bring an ‘earthquake’ to Chelsea bench as he targets Paul Pogba, Gonzalo Higuain and Radja Nainggolan’ – Daily Mail.
‘Antonio Conte wants Arturo Vidal… to join him at Chelsea’ – The Times.
‘Conte is ready to jettison goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and replace him with Southampton’s Fraser Forster’ – Daily Mirror.
‘Antonio Conte has been confirmed as Chelsea’s new manager – and wants to bring Radja Nainggolan and Kostas Manolas with him to England’ – Daily Express.
‘Conte wants Italy international central defender Leonardo Bonucci to join him at Chelsea’ – Daily Telegraph.
‘Conte is also pushing for…further experienced defensive cover. Leonardo Bonucci, Kostas Manolas, Kalidou Koulibaly and Antonio Rüdiger have been scouted at Juventus’ – Guardian.
Twelve different players. That is some seriously quick work.
Read all about it (eight weeks later)
The Daily Mail are being typically self-congratulatory regarding Chelsea’s appointment of Conte.
‘Read all about it: Sportsmail’s Kieran Gill revealed Chelsea interest on January 29,’ they point out smugly.
Weirdly, the Mail don’t offer their congratulations to The Independent’s Mark Ogden, who reported that ‘Antonio Conte heads Chelsea’s hit list should club sack Jose Mourinho’ on December 7.
They don’t congratulate Jeremy Cross of the Daily Star, either, who wrote on December 8 that ‘Italy boss Antonio Conte lined up to replace Jose Mourinho at Chelsea’.
Probably just an oversight.
Lukaku ‘exclusive’: An update
Exclusive in The Sun, March 5: ‘CHELSEA are to join the battle for Everton striker Romelu Lukaku in a summer move.’
Exclusive in The Sun, March 26: ‘ANTONIO CONTE has moved Romelu Lukaku to the top of Chelsea’s summer transfer plans.’
Exclusive on The Independent, April 4: ‘Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea: Antonio Conte targets Everton striker for summer rebuild.’
Exclusive in the Daily Star, April 5: ‘Antonio Conte has told Chelsea to re-sign Romelu Lukaku’
Changed your tune
‘Antonio Conte has moved Romelu Lukaku to the top of Chelsea’s summer transfer plans.’ – The Sun ‘exclusive’, March 26.
‘Antonio Conte to persuade Roman Abramovich and meet Gonzalo Higuain’s £75million release clause’ – The Sun, April 5.
Or do they want both?
Coulda, woulda, shoulda
In the world of online debate, the word ‘could’ is king. It’s the perfect get-out clause, you see, enabling a bold, bold claim to be made in the headline.
Let us explain:
‘How could #cfc lineup next season with Antonio Conte in charge?’ – @TeleFootball.
And that’s how you get Bonucci, Manolas, Nainggolan, Cavani, Juan Cuadrado and Kenedy into the same Chelsea first team.
‘Wayne Rooney could make surprise #MUFC return at Spurs on Sunday’ – @TeleFootball.
In the actual article: ‘It still seems more likely at this stage that Rooney will play for the Under-21s at home to Middlesbrough on Monday, as opposed to Spurs, and then return to the first team against either West Ham United in a FA Cup quarter-final replay a week on Wednesday or Aston Villa in the Premier League three days later.’
‘Saturday’s El Clasico could be Cristiano Ronaldo’s last Real hurrah’ – @TeleFootball.
Or, he could stay put. The latest odds on Ronaldo’s club after the summer transfer window have Real Madrid leading the way at 1/10.
Brentwood quipped and mused…
‘West Ham United are set to make a sensational move for Manchester United defender Chris Smalling’ – Brentwood Gazette.
‘West Ham transfer news: Hammers battle Liverpool and bitter rivals Spurs for £15m Crystal Palace winger Yannick Bolasie’ – Brentwood Gazette.
‘West Ham United could make a shock £45m double swoop for Liverpool strikers Daniel Sturridge and Christian Benteke’ – Brentwood Gazette.
England and Arsenal frontman Theo Walcott is rumoured to be the target of an audacious £26 million bid from West Ham this summer’ – Brentwood Gazette.
‘West Ham could make a move for Arsenal and England star Jack Wilshere’ – Brentwood Gazette.
‘West Ham United are set to test Liverpool’s resolve by tabling a £25 million summer bid for midfielder Jordan Henderson’ – Brentwood Gazette.
‘West Ham United are set to make an ambitious £20 million move for Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure’ – Brentwood Gazette.
‘West Ham United are set to battle with Man City, Chelsea and Man United in the race to sign PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic’ – Brentwood Gazette.
That’s a lot of players IN THE SPACE OF ONE WEEK. At what point can they be stopped from just making sh*t up?
Like to see you try
“It’s true they have a big team, but I do not think they are above the others in England. I’d like to see Paris play a Monday night at Stoke, West Ham or at the Emirates against Arsenal” – Samir Nasri.
Two things, Samir:
1) PSG wouldn’t have to do much to beat City’s record in those three games: two defeats and a 2-2 draw.
2) They did just beat Chelsea home and away.
Recommended reading of the day
David Squires on doping
Miguel Delaney on the Champions League quarter-finals
James Horncastle on Antonio Conte