Mediawatch: Neymar to Arsenal? Not quite

Date published: Tuesday 1st March 2016 1:02

Warchest, huh? What is it good for?
You can tell that Arsenal had a really bad result at the weekend, because by Tuesday we have a predictable PR response from the club. You’ll never guess what, but Arsene Wenger has lots of money to spend. Just like he had last year.

‘Arsene Wenger has made the central spine of his team the summer priority when he will have a £75 million budget to spend on new players,’ writes Jeremy Wilson in a Daily Telegraph ‘exclusive’.

‘Club scouts have already been told that central midfield and central defence will be the priorities, as well as Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell and potentially a striker,’ Wilson continues. ‘Kieran Gibbs, Mathieu Debuchy, Mathieu Flamini, Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky are all likely to leave.

‘[Wenger] is also still interested in Ryan Sessegnon at Fulham… In central midfield, N’Golo Kante, Victor Wanyama and William Carvalho are being watched and there is also interest in Watford striker Odion Ighalo. Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is another being monitored.’

It’s weird that Wenger would suddenly need a new spine, given that last summer everything was so rosy.

“We have a good level of cohesion and at the moment what is very important to our squad and myself is to see how we can move forward again. It’s much more important about the team now rather than finding the right player. I believe we have the quality and it’s now how much we can be stronger together,” Wenger said lasy July. “At the moment our squad is well-balanced quality-wise and numbers-wise.”

It’s *almost* as if the club are desperately trying to keep angry supporters on side. Shame that most of them are not that stupid.


The most Arsenal contradiction ever
‘Exclusive: Priority in overhaul will be to strengthen the central spine of the Gunners team’ – Wilson’s Daily Telegraph introduction.

Seventh paragraph of the piece: ‘Wenger regards this as his best squad since the ‘Invincible’ era and, although his thinking will certainly be shaped by the next three months, he does not currently plan a major summer overhaul.’

So why did you just mention five players leaving and six rumoured with moves into the club, Jeremy?


The new ‘new Neymar’
‘Gabriel Jesus: Meet the ‘new Neymar’ wanted by Arsenal and Juventus’ – The Sun, February 29.

That phrase rang an alarm in Mediawatch’s mind. Wonder why.

‘The new Neymar? Santos have already moved on from Brazil star with dead ringer for Barca’s latest signing’ – MailOnline, July 2013. That was Neilton.

‘’New Neymar’ is Brazil’s latest boy wonder with 14 goals for Santos aged 17’ – MailOnline, June 2014. That was Gabriel Barbosa.

‘The ‘new Neymar’ who could be on his way to Manchester United’ – Talksport, March 2015. That was Kenedy.

‘The Gunners signed Wellington, who has been dubbed the ‘new Neymar’, in 2011 from Brazilian club Fluminense’ – Metro, March 2015. That was Wellington Silva.

‘’New Neymar’ being tracked by Real Madrid?’ – Daily Mirror, November 2015. That was Luan.

No pressure, lads.


Go forth and multiply
‘Man United prepared to offer striker 900 per cent pay rise to sign Old Trafford deal’ – Daily Star.

‘Man United set to reward Marcus Rashford with 3000% pay rise’ – The Sun.

Incidentally, someone at The Sun needs to redo their GCSE maths. A rise from £500 to £15,000 is not 3000%.


Summary: Some people don’t have a clue
‘Rashford is on just £500 a week at the moment’ – The Sun.

‘Rashford is on just £1,000 a week and is one of the lowest-paid members of Louis van Gaal’s squad’ – Daily Star.

‘Rashford is currently on £1,500 a week’ – Daily Mirror.

Do we see £2,000? Going once, going twice…


It’s ok to accept that Ranieri was s**t before
‘Ranieri is the perpetrator of the greatest managerial con trick of the Premier League era – by persuading a significant majority that he is merely an eccentric, lovable old uncle, when he has been an elite Italian football coach for 30 years’ – Dave Kidd, Daily Mirror.

Ranieri certainly did fool most people, including Kidd himself. He picked Leicester to finish bottom of the Premier League in August, and tweeted his distaste for Ranieri’s appointment in pre-season. That tweet can no longer be found.

However, Mediawatch must take issue with this revisionism over Ranieri. There is no doubting the wonderful job he has done at Leicester, but ‘he has been an elite Italian football coach for 30 years’ is a bit rich.

Since leaving Chelsea in 2004, Ranieri was sacked after failing at Valencia, sacked after failing at Juventus, sacked after failing at Roma, sacked after failing with Inter and sacked after failing with Greece. It’s ok to admit that we all got it wrong without papering over some gaping cracks in a man’s career.


Flying without Wing’s
The latest instalment of a very modern love story:

‘Louis van Gaal reveals favourite Manchester restaurant’ – Daily Telegraph, December 2014. It was Wing’s.

‘What’s so special about Louis van Gaal’s favourite restaurant?’ – Irish Examiner, January 2015.

‘Louis van Gaal celebrates Manchester derby win with Wings Chinese meal as Mata, Blind and Herrera hit the town’ – Daily Mirror, April 2015.

‘Louis van Gaal visits favourite restaurant to celebrate Liverpool victory and wife’s birthday’ – Daily Mirror, September 2015.

‘Man United boss Louis van Gaal brings 2015 to an end with New Year’s Eve trip to favourite eatery Wing’s’ – Daily Mirror, December 2015.

‘Louis van Gaal visits Wing’s restaurant as under pressure Manchester United boss revels in recent upturn in form’ – MailOnline, February 2016.


Set the wheels in emotion
“I want that fan to wake up in the morning and say, Arsenal are playing today, I’m going to have a good time. That guy starts his day off by thinking that something good is going to happen to him. And to do that, big clubs have to have the ambition to play spectacularly. Of shared happiness” – Arsene Wenger, November 2015.

“I think people have been a bit too emotional. We’ve had a bad week, then two wins and we have a very good week” – Wenger, March 2016.

Remember, Arsenal fans: You’re allowed strong emotions, but only when they’re positive.


A traffic jam when you’re already late
‘The Wembley final was not enough to tempt City owner Sheik Mansour over from Abu Dhabi. He has only been at one match, ironically against Liverpool, since buying City in 2008’ – Charlie Sale, Daily Mail.




In an age when getting access to players is more difficult than ever, you’d think that you would pick your battles when it comes to calling out press officers. Curse them for trying to help.


Inaccurate statement of the day
‘Crystal Palace’s slide from European contention to a precarious position above the relegation scrap has gone almost unnoticed to all apart from those scarred by this club’s ability to conjure catastrophe from rare opportunity’ – Dom Fifield, Guardian.

Well, those and 50,000 Geordies mouthing ‘I told you so’ while many others around the country delight in the travails of Alan ‘schadenfreude’ Pardew.


One to keep on file
“It’s no good me telling my staff to pull their finger out if I’m not doing it myself, so I’ll do what I need to do. There are no excuses going forward” – Alan Pardew, February 29.


Recommended reading of the day
Daniel Taylor on Tottenham and Arsenal.

Iain Macintosh with Tony Pulis

Jason Burt on clubs using kids

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