Mediawatch: Pogba is only official when…

Date published: Tuesday 9th August 2016 12:09

The Paul Pogba story we were born to read

‘Paul Pogba celebrates Manchester United return by ordering in Chinese delivery from Wings restaurant’ – Daily Mirror.

It’s only official when the doorbell rings…


Fee fi fo fum

‘A world-record fee of £110m for a player that United sold for £800,000’ – Daily Mirror.

Somewhere between £17m and £21m out.

‘Pogba jetted into Manchester from Nice yesterday on a private jet to finalise his sensational £112m return’ – Daily Star.

Somewhere between £19m and £23m out.

‘The two clubs agreed a £92m fee. However, it has emerged United could pay the Italian giants another £4.25m if the Frenchman signs a new deal in future’ – The Sun.

Close, but still a few million out.

‘Pogba jets in for £89m deal’ – Daily Express.

So the Express got it right? Mediawatch is going for a long walk in the woods.


That escalated quickly

‘Pep Guardiola is considering a fresh move for John Stones’ – The Sun’s back page, Tuesday morning.

‘We are delighted to announce the signing of John Stones’ – Manchester City, 10.55am, Tuesday.

We reckon he was doing more than considering it, especially as the move was reportedly completed before midnight.


Wage against the machine

So it’s Benteke and Balotelli’s wage demands holding up their moves? Stupid boys.

Actual quotes from Besiktas chairman Fikret Orman:

“Benteke is a good player that we would want to see come to Besiktas but he is valued at a very high price. It does not look like an easy deal.

“Balotelli is a major star but a troubled player. He has got an image. We are interested in other players as well. Ideally we want to sign a striker on loan.”

Mentions of wage demands, demands or wages: None.



Exclusives, with The Sun
‘John Stones to Manchester City: Pep Guardiola’s club complete £42million capture of John Stones as Uefa let slip transfer’ – The Sun website.

Toby Gannon’s story was labelled as an ‘exclusive’, and was published at 9.11am on Tuesday.

Mediawatch is wondering which part of the story was exclusive, given that the UEFA website story broke on Twitter before 9.11am. A website not far from here even published their version six minutes before The Sun did, non-exclusively. Perhaps it was the £42m fee (that was only £5.5m out)?


Research, with The Sun
Mediawatch is frequently reminded that mistrust in transfer rumours is unfair and unfounded. Nobody just makes up rumours, merely trusts sources that are, understandably, occasionally wrong.

We’d love to believe that, but occasionally lose faith. Today is one of those days.

You see, The Sun’s website has a story on Middlesbrough headlined ‘Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka hunts for new centre-back after Daniel Ayala ruled out’ – nothing odd there.

‘Aitor Karanka will step up his hunt for a centre-back this week after Daniel Ayala was ruled out of Middlesbrough’s final pre-season game at the Riverside today,’ the story by Fred Nathan begins.

‘The Boro boss has already had bids for Hull’s Harry Maguire and West Brom’s James Chester rejected this summer but he is determined to land at least one of them and will make improved offers for both before next weekend’s Premier League kick-off.

‘Former Ajax captain Ekstra Bladet, who is now a free agent, is another target as Karanka looks for cover at left-back.’

The issue here is that supposed ‘Ajax captain’ Ekstra Bladet is actually the name of a Danish newspaper, not a footballer. Mediawatch suspects that Nathan means Nicolai Boilesen, released by Ajax and now available on a free transfer. But that’s not what he wrote.

Unfortunately, Nathan’s story doesn’t mention Boilesen’s name, or credit any other source – it is written as if quoting fact.

First rule of ‘new’ journalism: If you’re going to copy a story from another source without giving any credit or even passing mention to them, at least learn how to use Google Translate properly.


Knowledge, with The Sun
‘HOW MUCH?! How will big spenders Manchester United will (sic) line up on the Premier league opening day?’ – The Sun.

The answer to the ‘How much?’ is £209m, according to The Sun. Which is probably about the same as Liverpool. But why would you do a feature like this and not include Paul Pogba?

However, Mediawatch mostly enjoyed the following sentence:

‘More new faces in Defence with Ivory Coast Centre-back Eric Bailey who carries a £30m price tag, sizeable for a relatively unproven player.’

Capital letters everywhere and Bailly’s name spelled incorrectly, an error that is also repeated in the graphic.

Top work.


Good value

The first question here is how on earth the Daily Telegraph’s chief sports writer has come to that £50m figure? Burnley have reportedly rejected bids of £30m for Andre Gray and £20m for Michael Keane; perhaps rather than bemoan the state of Manchester United’s decision, it’s worth altering our own concepts of value and expected transfer fees.

United are getting a global superstar, potentially the best midfielder in the world (and already in the top five), have the disposable funds and the gap in their squad. Juventus did not need to sell. Pogba is not ‘over-priced’, because his price directly correlates with all those factors. Anyone who thinks Pogba is only ‘worth’ £43.2m has at best wilfully ignored them.


Stats entertainment

‘Pogba’s assists deserves further praise given that they came from just 54 chances created, which is nearly 100 fewer than Ozil’s 146’ – Daily Telegraph.

Creating more chances is bad. Naughty Mesut.


Nailed it
While city neighbours Manchester United were completing their world-record deal for Paul Pogba (you might have heard), Manchester City were ballsing up their own big-money summer move.

On Tuesday morning, some observant individual spotted that City’s squad list on UEFA’s website contained one John Stones.

Now these things happen quite frequently, and are generally dismissed as either tomfoolery or mistake; not this time. UEFA subsequently confirmed that: ‘The squad had to be submitted before midnight last night, and that was the squad we received from City.’

A source at City then confirmed to Sky Sports News that the incident was a “huge embarrassment” and a “right royal mess”. Too right.

Not yet signed a player but running low on fit defenders? Just push through the deal by picking him in a squad anyway.


Recommended reading of the day
Jack Pitt-Brooke on the relationship between Mourinho and Pogba.

Louise Taylor on the ten Premier League signings to watch.

Tom Kundert on Portugal’s in-demand Euro 2016 stars.

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