Alexis Sanchez ‘true cost’ up by £58m in six days…

Date published: Thursday 18th January 2018 11:59

You may remember (you should, it was only Friday; if you don’t, see a doctor) that Mediawatch was amused by the Daily Mirror describing Manchester United’s move for Alexis Sanchez as a ‘£124m hijack’ after they had added together the money owed to Arsenal, the wages promised to Sanchez and a signing-on fee. It was both an ‘exclusive’ and quite clearly a ‘guess’; the two things are far from mutually exclusive in the world of football journalism.


Inflation is mental.


Tiny prancer
Embarrassing stuff from the Daily Mail on Thursday, who claim that the Sanchez deal ‘could cost United around £170m’. Do they not know the rule about making the numbers BIGGER?


Assist king
‘Paul Pogba is in a league of his own in terms of assists this season – no one has made more than the Manchester United star across the major European leagues,’ began the MailOnline on Tuesday, making us wonder a) what the f*** the world was coming to when this was worthy of a story and b) how anybody moving onto the same assist total as six other players could be ‘in a league of his own’.

That Pogba moved onto the exact same number of assists as Neymar in one fewer game was apparently both noteworthy and indicative of his status as ‘the assist king of Europe’. Crown him.

They had not made the first move though; that was down to The Sun online, who had REVEALED in the early hours of the same day that ‘PAUL POGBA is more creative than assist king Kevin De Bruyne, statistics reveal’.

Well, that’s not true, is it? Because the statistics actually ‘reveal’ that there are ten Premier League players who create more chances per game than Pogba (a list which is topped by Mesut Ozil), but that’s not why we are here.

So why are we here? Because this nonsense has seen us arrive on Thursday at a ‘story’ on The Sun online about Pogba playing pool. Which includes this infuriating sub-headline:

‘Frenchman has proven he has no problems in slotting them in himself after setting up record nine Premier League goals’

There are so many things wrong with this sentence but let’s start (and actually end, because we are shaking now) with this one: IT IS NOT A SODDING RECORD.

The piece begins: ‘ASSIST king Paul Pogba gets some shooting practice in – on his personalised pool table.’

Note that he is no longer the ‘European assist king’; Neymar pretty much d***ed him on that front on Wednesday night.

Oh and by the way, here are some of Pogba’s assists…

Which makes us laugh only slightly less than this caption on a picture of Pogba playing pool…

‘Paul Pogba looks relaxed as he plays billiards in his Cheshire mansion.’

They’re not the same, guys.


Paul Pogba: An update
Wondering what Paul Pogba has been doing since he stopped being relaxed and playing pool? Let MailOnline tell you on Thursday…

‘Manchester United ace Paul Pogba is about to be usurped by Alexis Sanchez as the club’s top earner, but that has not stopped him from flashing his cash with a new £250,000 Rolls Royce Wraith.’

And there we were thinking he would take the bus into work, all the while muttering about that greedy bugger Alexis Sanchez.


Compare and contrast
Neil Ashton, The Sun, November 2016:

‘He is dragging the good name of Manchester United through the gutter. Mindless. Needless. Shameless. Nobody is surprised, not anymore.

‘Mourinho is a menace: out of control, centre stage for all the wrong reasons. This angry, snarling, growling man cannot be stopped. He is at war. With himself. With the world.

‘What are Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton to think of this behaviour? Like the FA, they must be pig sick of him by now. Everyone else is.

‘Mourinho was once the face of the world football, the main man after winning the Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan.

‘Everybody – Real Madrid, Chelsea, you name it – wanted a piece of this charismatic super-coach.

‘Now he is just a petulant, spoilt brat.

‘Players would rather play for Arsene Wenger, Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte or Jurgen Klopp these days and he just cannot handle it.

‘They are the main men. Mourinho is just another United manager passing through.

‘He is disrupting them, bringing the club into disrepute with his baffling, psychotic behaviour on the touchline.’

Neil Ashton, The Sun, January 2018:

‘Manchester United is his home, his football club, his passion.

‘The Portuguese is putting down a marker, making it clear his work at Old Trafford will not be done until they are top of the pile again.

‘United know the Premier League title is beyond them this season, trailing 12 points behind Pep Guardiola’s lot.

‘This contract is clearly about committing to the long haul.

‘Mourinho’s endless quest for honours, the thirst that turned him into the greatest trophy-hunting coach in the history of the sport, is undiminished.

‘There is nobody out there, nobody better placed, or better-suited to meet the challenge of knocking Pep off his perch.

‘Mourinho is the only coach out there with the experience, the mastery of English football and tactical wizardry to outperform Manchester City’s feted manager over time.

‘Mourinho will never change, with his reflex actions and spontaneous, cutting remarks something English football has become accustomed to.

‘It be can be wearying — but the Premier League would not be as much fun without him in it.’

It can be wearying? It really bloody was until it dawned that he wasn’t ‘just another United manager passing through’ and you had to start licking the boots of a ‘petulant, spoilt brat’ again.

After all, if you’re not welcome in Liverpool, you absolutely have to keep them sweet down the road.


A right Charlie
That the Daily Mail still makes space for Charlie Sale and his Sports Agenda in 2018 never ceases to be a reason for Mediawatch mirth. But if you want to know what an old, posh man considers incredibly important in sport, then it is essential reading. This Thursday:

‘Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil is one of the most unlikely Premier League footballers to be invited to speak to the Oxford Union.

‘Ozil is listed on the Union’s calendar as addressing the prestigious chamber on Tuesday February 20 at 5pm during a Europa League week, giving him plenty of time to travel to Oxford after training.

‘The 29-year-old is a surprising choice bearing in mind that he has virtually shunned the media during the five years since his £42million transfer from Real Madrid, rarely showing any desire to speak to TV, radio or press.’

How very odd that a man reluctant to speak to one section of society (the media) would choose to speak to another (an Oxford students’ debating society).

Note: Salman Rushdie wasn’t too keen on speaking to the press either.


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Recommended reading of the day
John Ashdown on Diego Maradona signing for Dundee
Adam Bate on what has gone wrong at Southampton
Richard Jolly on Arsenal and the need for a statement signing

Read more from Planet Sport: How do Emre Can’s stats compare to Juventus’ midfielders? (Planet Football)

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