It’s not unusual, actually…
‘RB Salzburg chief sends unusual Takumi Minamino message amid Liverpool transfer interest’ – Mirror.
And what is this ‘unusual Takumi Minamino message’.
“He is an outstanding player with an outstanding personality. The big clubs have been watching him and if I was them, I’d have no hesitation to sign him. Takumi is ready to make the next step in January.”
It seems an apt day to realise that ‘saying nice things’ now counts as ‘unusual’.
Don’t want to go to Chelsea…
On Wednesday, we looked at The Sun’s attempt to crowbar Manchester United transfer news into a story about Frank Lampard’s comments about wanting a creative player in January and today it’s the Mirror’s turn as they go for the triple whammy of getting Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea into a headline about Jadon Sancho:
‘Jadon Sancho ‘more likely to join Liverpool’ than transfer rivals Man Utd and Chelsea’
First question: Says who?
Liverpool fan and journalist Simon Hughes, that’s who.
So what was his insight about why Sancho – a London-born childhood Chelsea fan – is ‘more likely to join Liverpool’ than Manchester United or the Blues.
“If he wanted to move back to England and Liverpool wanted him, Liverpool are going to be ahead of Manchester United in the pecking order.
“There’s no doubt about that. Liverpool are a much better team at the moment, more attractive.”
And what about Chelsea? No mention of Chelsea? Not even in passing? Nope.
So what we basically have is a Liverpool fan saying that European champions and Premier League champions-elect Liverpool are better than fifth-placed Europa League club Manchester United.
And that’s NEWS.
Liverpool: Still brilliant
Over at propaganda specialists Liverpool.com, they tell us that ‘Neymar won’t make Liverpool transfer, but Reds have a new power they were missing for decades’.
Quite why they needed 631 words to explain that Liverpool are now a big club again is unclear. Except it’s not really unclear because it boasts the dream combination of Neymar clickiness and ‘Aren’t Liverpool brilliant?’ giddiness. Ker-ching.
‘But what, if anything, can we actually take out of this latest flight of fancy? Apart from the obvious, and that Neymar’s desire to leave means he’s going to be linked with more of Europe’s top clubs in an effort to get Barca or Madrid cough up a bit more cash, the Reds’ link to the world’s most expensive player does offer a reflection on the current share of power on the continent.’
Snore. Wake us up when the European champions and Premier League champions-elect – who also happen to be one of the richest football clubs in the world – are NOT linked with one of the world’s best players. Now that would be news.
When did ‘REVEALED’ come to mean ‘we have shamelessly copied this from somewhere else and presented it as our own’?
The Sun website are embracing the ‘revelations’ on Thursday morning as they claim ‘Chelsea set to face Barca and Spurs to get Valencia, say CL draw calculations’. Champions League draw calculations done by somebody else of course.
‘CHELSEA are most likely to face Barcelona in the Champions League last 16, according to the calculations.’
We will stop you there because Chelsea are actually most likely NOT to face Barcelona in the Champions League last 16. The likelihood of them facing Barcelona is actually only 23.28%, which is a less than one-in-four chance. They also have a 21.67% chance of facing Juventus and the difference between those two scenarios is pretty much infinitesimal.
‘The calculations say Chelsea have a 23.28 per cent shot of landing the La Liga champions – the highest chance of any team to face any other team in the entire draw.’
It’s basically nailed on. As long as you do the draw four-and-a-bit times.
‘Along with Barcelona, they could face Juventus (21.67 per cent), Bayern Munich (18.9 per cent), Paris Saint-Germain (18.18 per cent) or Red Bull Salzburg (17.98 per cent) – ensuring they have a tricky route to the quarter-finals.’
We’re pretty sure they have a 0% chance of facing Red Bull Salzburg; no energy drink gives you the wings to fly back into the Champions League from the Europa League.
‘Meanwhile, Tottenham are most likely to land Valencia in the upcoming draw with a 22.61 per cent shot.
‘Barcelona (22 per cent), Juventus (20.72 per cent), RB Salzburg (17.34 per cent) and PSG (17.33 per cent) complete their list.’
We will stop you there because Tottenham are actually most likely NOT to Valencia in the Champions League last 16. The likelihood of them facing Valencia is actually only…
…ah f*** it, let’s just pretend we have REVEALED the biggest story in football.
Over at MailOnline, they are also ‘REVEALING’ the most likely ties – with ever so slightly different percentages, which does rather suggest that this is not an exact science.
‘Chelsea could well find themselves on a collision course with Barcelona in the last-16 of the Champions League with that the most likely outcome from Monday’s draw.’
Now, according to Wikipedia, ‘collision course refers to one opposing object or philosophy moving towards another expecting to collide’.
Does that sound like a 23.38% chance?
‘IT’S A MINI CARLO BATTLE’ say The Sun, married to their ‘THE ITALIAN JOB’ headline as they try to convince us – with the aid of ‘sources close to Ancelotti’ – that actually, Arsenal had better get moving because ‘Everton have a great idea…nick Ancelotti from under Arsenal’s nose’.
Duncan Wright tells us that ‘the Gunners need to make their move quickly’ and that ‘the Toffees have stolen a march’ but don’t you worry, Arsenal, because he ‘would prefer a job in London’.
Basically, my friend fancies you.
But then, now more than ever, we know that the ‘news’ is really just what somebody wants you to believe.
Cryptic Cross words
Football journalism in 2019 is a curious beast. The Daily Mirror employ John Cross, traditionally one of the most well-connected Arsenal correspondents, who wrote his own back-page story on the Gunners’ management situation and Carlo Ancelotti on Thursday.
And yet by 7.33am on the very same day, his newspaper’s website had relegated his story in favour of a re-write of that Sun back page.
Why keep dogs if you can just mimic the bark of next door’s pet?
Recommended reading of the day
Stuart James learns how to be a referee (£)
Simon Burnton and his Anti-Sports Personality of the Year awards
Sid Lowe talks to Roberto Soldado