V for Victor (and very, very odd)
The last time we featured Ray Wilkins in Mediawatch he was watching the Europa League final, concluding that Paul Pogba was Manchester United’s worst player and then remarking of Wayne Rooney, who came on in the final minute and touched the ball once:
‘I was delighted that Rooney got on because he is Manchester United. It was great to see him lift the trophy. He’s still only 31 and we still keep writing this guy off. I’m sure with a bit of rest and a bit of enthusiasm coming back next season he can return to the level of performance we all know he can reach. He may get that rest now if he’s not in the England squad and it will do him the world of good. I’d be very surprised if United let him go this summer.’
So it’s a warm welcome back to the great man, who with a bit of rest and a bit of enthusiasm has returned to the level of pundit performance we knew he could reach: Utter bollocks.
He was on Sky Sports on Monday night and had the following to say about Manchester United’s expected purchase of Victor Lindelof:
“We’ve got young Keane has done exceptionally well at Burnley, we’re looking to bring him back at Manchester United for £28m, all of a sudden Lindelof is 30 (million).
“Now, when we bring someone in from Europe, it always starts with a three.
“This guy has done nothing. Absolutely nothing. Yet Keane has played a season exceptionally well in the Premier League, but we’re talking £25m. This guy’s coming in at £32m, £33m. Can he do it? We know Keane can, yet we’re prepared to spend…
“It always starts with a three, or a four, or a five. No one gets anything cheap from Europe because it’s the Premier League.”
There’s so much to love about this – the seemingly random number generator in Ray Wilkins’ head, the wonderful “it always starts with a three” – but this is Mediawatch so we have to pick up on the inaccuracies.
Firstly, Michael Keane has just a year left on his contract; this is undoubtedly having an effect on his value.
Secondly, this guy who has “done nothing” – or “absolutely nothing” to be clear – has won back-to-back Portuguese titles (including the double this season), 12 full Swedish caps and the European U-21 Championship two years ago. That’s not bad for 22.
Michael Keane, impressive though his one season in the Premier League has been, has won the Championship. And two full England caps.
And as for the endearingly childish “now, when we bring someone in from Europe, it always starts with a three”, we can confirm that the last ten purchases Manchester United have made ‘from Europe’ have ‘started’ with a 3, 2, 8, 2, 1, 6, 3, 2, 1 and 5.
The Lemonheads were right. Or at least a whole lot more right than Ray Wilkins.
Any media outlet that reported the findings of the CIES Football Observatory on Monday afternoon without the slightest hint of cynicism should have the plug pulled on their internet supply (that’s the right technical term, yes?). So we’re looking at you Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph, but you are by no means the only ones.
Because ‘based on performance, employer clubs, international status, contract, age, position and marketability’ and after ‘deep analysis and consultation’ (Daily Mail), they have concluded that Eric Dier is worth £74.8m. Clearly, this ‘deep analysis and consultation’ did not involve watching him play against Scotland on Saturday.
The Daily Telegraph, never one to eschew an easy gallery, even go so far as to say that ‘good defenders are hard to come by but Dier is equally adept in midfield – this versatility certainly contributes to his worth’.
They’re right, of course; his versatility does contribute to his worth. Of roughly half the amount that they pulled out of their arse for this ‘research’.
Other Mediawatch favourite valuations thrown up by this ‘exclusive CIES Football Observatory algorithm’ include…
* Raheem Sterling being worth £87m. That’s £5m more than Kylian Mbappe.
* Paul Pogba adding £30m to his value during an underwhelming season for Manchester United.
* Bernardo Silva being worth £71m; Manchester City sure did get a £43m bargain.
* Marcus Rashford being valued at £62m, just £1m less than Philippe Coutinho but £3m more than Gareth Bale.
* A total of 13 players currently being valued over the world-record fee of £89m but none of them being the player the Telegraph unashamedly describe as ‘very probably the next player to break the world transfer record’.
Does CIES stand for Conmen Imagining Extravagant Sums?
The real measure
From The Sun: ‘Alli and Kane came in second and third, valued at £137m and £135m respectively. It speaks volumes for what Mauricio Pochettino has achieved with his young Spurs stars that they both feature above Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the standings.’
Silly Mediawatch. We thought that finishing second ahead of both Manchester clubs did that.
No ifs, some Buts
John Cross, back page of the Daily Mirror, June 12: ‘Joe Hart is facing the England axe after his career was left in limbo. England boss Gareth Southgate is ready to bring in Jack Butland for Tuesday’s friendly with France in Paris, and the 24-year-old Stoke keeper is seen as his potential long-term No1.’
John Cross, Daily Mirror, June 13, undeterred by Gareth Southgate deciding to start Tom Heaton against France: ‘GARETH SOUTHGATE says Jack Butland is being lined up to be England’s new No.1 keeper.’
Cross then quotes Southgate saying: “Jack is coming back off a long lay off and was No2 before that. He hasn’t had the amount of game time up to now, but we think he could also challenge for the No1 slot moving forward.”
What Cross does not quote Southgate saying: “Joe is the No1. But next season we don’t know who will be playing at which club, who will be in form. Tom has had an outstanding season and we’ve got to maintain the squad environment and make sure people feel involved.”
It’s almost like he’s saying he has three goalkeepers.
Well, actually, he then went on to say: “We’ve got these four guys, Jordan Pickford, and a couple of others who come into the equation when they come up [from the Championship].”
But yes, he has definitely made his mind up about Jack Butland being his No. 1 and you should not be fooled by the fact that he is giving him just 45 minutes of football. Treat ’em mean…
‘CAN we please stop using the term ‘Golden Generation’?’ asks Stan Collymore in the Daily Mirror.
The greatest caption ever?
Obviously, The Sun’s take on the World Cup success of the England Under-20 side is a ‘story’ about goalscorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s girlfriend, which begins ‘ENGLAND youth footie hero Dominic Calvert-Lewin might be an up and coming star – but his girlfriend Meg Lilley is clearly already the full package’.
So far, so blindingly predictable. But there’s something special coming…
One particular image on the ‘story’ features Calvert-Lewin with his hand on the rear of his girlfriend.
Cue the caption: ‘Dom’s not usually allowed to touch round objects with his hand.’
Wow. Just wow.