Backtrack and sack?
‘LVG QUIT – Louis van Gaal offered to leave Manchester United on Saturday, but was talked into staying’ – The Sun’s back page, January 26.
‘Van Gaal considered walking away after the Southampton defeat…but took advantage of a scheduled break. It seems to have done him the power of good, as United sources said he seemed refreshed and ready to go again’ – The Sun’s page 57, January 27.
Mediawatch suspects that Martin Blackburn has a different United source to Neil Custis.
‘Considered walking away’. It’s the Craig David remix we didn’t need.
‘Kevin De Bruyne desperate to dethrone Mesut Ozil as King of the Prem assists,’ reads the headline on The Sun website above a story by Martin Blackburn.
That surprised Mediawatch. We thought De Bruyne was a quiet, shy boy. Yet he’s so focused on personal accolades rather than team succe… actually, we should check the quotes first.
“I know Ozil is leading. Last year I had 21. You can quickly get ten or 11 assists in half a season. You can sometimes have six and then seven matches with nothing, then a run. For me personally it does not matter.”
“It does not matter.” If De Bruyne is ‘desperate’, he’s playing it pretty f*cking cool.
‘10 strikers Arsene Wenger should consider signing before the January window shuts,’ is the latest offering from the Daily Telegraph’s website.
‘It’s the question Arsenal fans ask themselves every seven months or so: will Arsene Wenger sign a striker,’ the piece begins.
No, they won’t. There are six days left in the window, and Wenger has said he won’t sign anyone else.
‘Sitting just two points behind leaders Leicester City, Arsenal have the best chance of breaking their title duck in years.’
They’re three points behind.
‘But will the North London club’s promising mid-season position inspire Arsene Wenger to break a habit of a lifetime and spend big on a marque (sic) striker?’
No, they won’t. Happy to help.
Interestingly, the Telegraph also wrote a list in July 2015 entitled: ‘Arsenal transfers: 10 strikers Arsene Wenger could sign’. Want to play a game of spot the difference? Good.
– On Zlatan Ibrahimovic:
‘Famously turned down the chance to trial for Arsenal aged 19, he would love to end up being paid huge wages at the Emirates. However, at 33 years old and nearing the end of his career, Wenger might only want to offer him a year’s contract, which Zlatan would surely turn down’ – July 2015.
‘The elusive hero of every single transfer window. Famously turned down the chance to trial for Arsenal aged 19, he would love to end up being paid huge wages at the Emirates. However, at 33 years old and nearing the end of his career, Wenger might only want to offer him a year’s contract, which Zlatan would surely turn down’ – January 2016.
– On Mario Gotze:
‘True, he’s not a forward, but he has plenty of experience playing as a ‘false 9’ for Bayern Munich, and another technical player in attack would not be totally against Wenger’s principals. He would provide even more creativity but he simply is not a natural goalscorer’ – July 2015.
‘He might not be an out-and-out striker, but he has plenty of experience playing as a ‘false 9’ for Bayern Munich. A wonderfuly technical player in attack would not be totally against Wenger’s principals. He would provide even more creativity but he simply is not a natural goalscorer’ – January 2016.
– On Loic Remy:
‘Remy could be one of the more intriguing possibilities for Wenger as the transfer window winds down. Does not have the stardust boasted by some of the players on this list, but has a good record in the Premier League and would surely thrive on the kind of service being provided to him by Arsenal’s playmakers’ – July 2015.
‘Remy could be one of the more intriguing possibilities for Wenger as the transfer window winds down. Does not have the stardust boasted by some of the players on this list, but has a good record in the Premier League and would surely thrive on the kind of service being provided to him by Arsenal’s playmakers’ – January 2016.
Take out Papiss Cisse (yes, really) and Olivier Giroud – as in ‘stick with Giroud’ – and add in Jamie Vardy and Romelu Lukaku, and you have your ‘new’ list.
Still, bathe in the delicious clicks. Twice.
Don’t be thinking that the Telegraph re-hashed all of that top ten list, however. Oh no.
They wrote a completely new entry for Gonzalo Higuain, for example:
‘Despite a quiet season by his lofty standards, the Argentine remains one of premier finishers in European football. Arsene Wenger was rumoured to have had a £43 million bid for the former Real Madrid man turned down by napoli in the summer.’
Higuain has scored 21 times in 21 Serie A games. Not only is he the top scorer in Italy, but across of all of Europe’s top five leagues. Those are some ‘lofty standards’.
There is also some blurb on new entry Romelu Lukaku:
‘Somehow immune for the usual transfer rumour-mongering, but we don’t see why. The Belgian became the youngest player to score 50 Premier League goals earlier this season. Everton made him their record signing at the start of the season, but the lure of Champions League football could persuade the 22-year-old to return to London’
1) Firstly, Lukaku has been linked to Manchester United approximately 1,500 times by the Telegraph this month alone. Mediawatch would say that comes under ‘transfer rumour-mongering’.
2) Everton didn’t make him their record signing at the start of the season. They did it before the start of last season.
Embrace the Telegraph’s new era.
‘Alexandre Pato pictured in London ahead of Chelsea transfer,’ reads the headline on Metro, a piece by churnalist-in-chief Jamie Sanderson.
Can’t see much wrong with this story. Apart from the fact that the photo of Pato is taken of him in Brazil, as the story in Globo Esporte (to which the Metro refer), clearly explains.
Just a number
‘Wayne Rooney knew Fabio Capello was past his sell-by date and now history is repeating itself with Louis van Gaal,’ reads the headline on MailOnline.
In the piece, written by Joe Bernstein, the comparison is made between Fabio Capello and Louis van Gaal, who have both failed in England. Mediawatch can’t help but feel that it’s slightly grasping for the narrative.
‘Van Gaal is damaged goods, like Capello was. A senior man increasingly bewildered at how the world has moved on. A younger overseas manager like Roberto Mancini or Arsene Wenger has the energy to learn new ways. An older figure like Claudio Ranieri with past Premier League experience knows to impose his philosophy in instalments.’
So we have the crux of the issue. You can be older, but only if you have past Premier League experience. You can be inexperienced in England, but only if you are young. Having it any other way just doesn’t work. Unfortunately for Bernstein, there are very few examples of older managers coming to England late in their career at a club towards the top of the league, hence him settling on Fabio Capello and England.
Well, apart from Manuel Pellegrini, who won the Premier League in his first season. And Guus Hiddink, who arrived at Chelsea in 2009, immediately improved their form and won the FA Cup. And Carlo Ancelotti, who won the double in his first season at Chelsea. Or is 50 young enough?
Hot take: Maybe some managers just do well, and others do a bit sh*t.
Like a young Burt Reynolds
‘Man United and Jose Mourinho shake hands on deal that will stun the Premier League’ – Daily Star.
It’s been talked about non-stop for weeks. Anyone left ‘stunned’ by Mourinho joining Manchester United needs more excitement in their lives.
On the same page #1
From the player ratings on Liverpool vs Stoke:
‘Jon Flanagan – Good early challenges on Pieters and Arnautovic reminded us what he’s about and always looked for good, simple pass. Stood up far better than most physically and almost got on the end of Moreno cross for a goal which would have brought house down’ – Daily Mirror.
‘Jon Flanagan: His first start for 19 months and the lack of sharpness was evident with some slack passing’ – Daily Telegraph.
On the same page #2
From the player ratings on Liverpool vs Stoke:
‘Adam Lallana: As likely as anyone to find a route to goal. Showed the usual attractive touches, but largely 40 yards from goal. On those occasions a shot was on he chose to pass’ – Daily Telegraph. Lallana was awarded a 7/10, Liverpool’s joint highest-rated player.
‘Adam Lallana: A frustrating game for Lallana that lacked openings despite him playing in an advanced position’ – Independent. Lallana was awarded a 4/10, Liverpool’s joint lowest-rated player.
Metr-Oh dear me
‘Everton enter talks with European giants over striker transfer’ – Metro.
Those ‘European giants’ are Sporting Clube de Portugal, who last won the Portuguese league in 2001/02. Their only European honour was the 1963/64 European Cup Winners’ Cup. They did beat MTK Budapest in the final.
‘Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo closing in on 1000 goals combined’ – Skysports.com
Exactly the type of story you need to push when you’re ‘the home of
the Premier League La Liga’
Modern media headline of the day
‘Puppy Love! Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez finds comfort with his golden retriever puppies after Chelsea defeat’ – MailOnline.
This country has gone to the dogs.
Recommended reading of the day
Paul Hayward on boycotting Russian and Qatari World Cups
Michael Cox on Barcelona and Atletico Madrid
James Bhamra on Philipp Lahm