Mediawatch assumed that Manchester United releasing the full footage of Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard’s supposed ‘public spat’ on the pre-season tour of Perth would bring an end to this tiresome line of reporting.
After all, does this really look like the furious bust-up it was framed as?
— utdreport (@utdreport) July 9, 2019
There they are, at each other’s throats, smiling, laughing and generally being unable to stand one another’s company.
Mediawatch is, of course, stupid. Why would The Sun see the above and admit they made about 427 mountains out of a single molehill when they can duly double down on this emergency?
‘Land Down Blunders’ is the headline to a double-page spread on Wednesday, with the tagline of ‘UNITED OZ TOUR SHAMBLES’. Have we missed something?
The sub-headlines offer yet more misery:
‘JESSE TRIES TO SHRUG OFF POGBA ROW’ – because there wasn’t one.
‘LINDELOF’S READY TO GO, CLAIMS AGENT’ – who says nothing of the sort.
All of this accompanies an article from Neil Custis which gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘artistic license’.
‘Just as one player tried to make peace, another was throwing a spanner in the works,’ he begins.
‘In fact, there are so many spanners being tossed around at Manchester United right now,’ he continues, resisting the obvious gag, ‘it is a wonder the big red machine is moving at all.’
‘Well, it has been moving – but unfortunately in the wrong direction. And the build-up to the new season does not suggest that is going to be reversed.’
Yep, they’re absolutely sh*te. Although Custis did say ‘United have been made into a team to be feared again’ in February. Still, carry on.
‘Shortly after the team landed here in Perth on Monday and went for a walk to stretch their legs following the 16-hour flight, the video of Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard arguing and being separated by Victor Lindelof emerged.’
It did not ’emerge’; it was literally posted by Manchester United’s official Twitter account. And it was not a video of them arguing; it was a video of the squad walking around that potentially showed a couple of seconds of two players having a heated discussion – a theory which has since been disproved.
Oh, and the claim that Lindelof ‘separated’ them is a load of b*llocks and you know it. They weren’t squaring up outside Wetherspoons in Manchester city centre at 2am on Saturday morning.
‘Twenty four hours later, United did not feel they needed to delete the footage from their social media accounts.’
Because that would have been the most stupid idea possible, giving rise to suggestions that there had been some sort of altercation. They ‘did not feel they needed to delete the footage from their social media accounts’ because they released an extended version that proved there was no problem.
‘Lingard was quick to post a picture on Twitter yesterday of him training next to Pogba, as if to say they were still pals.’
It’s almost as if they’re still…ah, forget it. There are two pictures on this article alone showing them both next to each other. Pogba is doing kick-ups as Lingard watches on in one, and we are told that ‘Pog shows off’. The flashy get.
‘Soon there was more trouble as peacemaker Lindelof’s agent Hasan Cetinkaya said: “Lindelof is on the radar of a great European club, but leaving United depends on the English club.”
‘It could be pointed out that he is already at a great European club but the agent is clearly stoking the fire of rumours that Barcelona are interested in signing the Swede, who moved to Old Trafford from Benfica in 2017.’
Can a pot tell a kettle that they’re ‘stoking the fire’?
But enough about Lindelof, who is ‘just another unwanted distraction’. This is about Pogba, whose ‘demeanour’ before the tour ‘suggested he was less than keen’ on heading to Australia to get annoyed by Jesse Lingard.
‘Indeed, it was reported he had told team-mates last week that he was not coming at all.’
That’s nice. You do realise he’s there though, don’t you?
‘Coaching staff were holding their breath on Sunday as to whether the club’s record £89m signing would turn up. That is some way to treat a club that pays you £290,000 a week.’
Neil, he’s there. He’s on the tour. He’s with the club. What are you on about?
Of course, the Frenchman ‘does not seem to be alone in wanting out of United’. David de Gea ‘has still not signed a new contract’, Romelu Lukaku ‘is looking to move to Italy’, Ander Herrera ‘has already gone to Paris Saint-Germain’ and ‘the club are keeping their fingers crossed on’ someone coming along to pay Alexis Sanchez’s ridiculous wages.
So that’s one player United want to keep, two players United want to sell and one player United did not show enough intent to keep before he left. Along with Pogba, who is apparently staying, this is clearly a ‘mass exodus’.
The problems really do ‘just seem to mount up’. Particularly when you invent at least half of them, Neil.
Let Chris Wheeler show Custis how it’s done (in the Daily Mail‘s solitary page of football coverage).
‘There was uncertainty that Pogba would even show up for the tour but he reported for duty on Sunday.’
Making it clear Pogba has not actually done anything wrong. Lovely.
‘He was then involved in a supposed spat with team-mate Jesse Lingard that transpired to be nothing more than friendly banter when the United players went on a walkabout following their arrival.’
Pointing out that the ‘supposed spat’ actually ‘transpired to be nothing more than friendly banter’. Delightful.
‘Victor Lindelof was the third player involved in the video clip and the Sweden defender’s own future at United was called into question when his agent confirmed interest from a top European club – believed to Barcelona if they lose out to Juventus over Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt.’
But ‘LINDELOF’S READY TO GO’, yeah?
‘”Lindelof is in the orbit of a great European club, but leaving United depends on the English club,” said agent Hasan Cetinkaya, presumably a reference to United’s pursuit of Leicester’s Harry Maguire.’
Suggesting that the quote is likely more to do with United signing someone else than Lindelof wanting to leave? Wonderful.
Three huge issues worthy of a double-page spread in one desperate newspaper, and clarified as absolutely nothing by another happy to simply report on other sports instead of pretending something is happening. Textbook.
But here is David McDonnell of the Daily Mirror to prove that more than one newspaper is willing to completely ignore context and fact to pretend that Manchester United are in crisis.
‘Victor Lindelof has piled more misery on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after his agent claimed he is being targeted by Barcelona.’
‘Agent says really big club wants to sign a player he represents’ really is a miserable state of affairs.
‘With Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku already trying to quit Old Trafford this summer, and David de Gea so far refusing to sign a new deal, the Manchester United boss is fighting to hold his squad together.’
Losing three players from a 28-man squad – and receiving plenty of money to reinvest in replacements – really would be cataclysmic.
‘The Sweden star’s agent, Hassan Cetinkaya, claimed Lindelof could move on this summer, suggesting the 24-year-old is keen to make the switch.’
He suggested no such thing.
‘A spat between Pogba and Jesse Lingard – filmed and posted on the club’s official social media feeds – hinted at further tensions.’
Stay with me
Pogba even makes The Sun‘s back page because, well, obviously.
‘STAY!’ is the headline as we are told that ‘Paul Pogba will be asked to wait a year before quitting Manchester United.’
Fair enough. It worked with Cristiano Ronaldo a decade ago and with countless other players. It will show that they’re in control of the situation as they get another year out of a clearly talented player, whose ambition to leave will be realised eventually. There have been worse ideas.
‘Right now the midfielder, who is unhappy at being on United’s summer tour to Australia, is going nowhere.’
Yep, he’s miserable. So very, very miserable. And nice one. This is United’s and Solskjaer’s decision, then?
‘Italian giants Juve do not have the cash to fund a deal for the player they sold back to United three years ago.
‘Real boss Zinedine Zidane is also on record as being an admirer of his fellow Frenchman. But he has already blown most of his £300m transfer budget since returning to the Bernabeu.
‘And United have not had an approach from either Real or Juventus for Pogba – who was filmed having a spat with team-mate Jesse Lingard after they landed in Perth (No he f***ing wasn’t).’
So United are deciding to keep a player for one year…because they’ve had no offers for him and his two potential suitors can’t afford it? A rare victory for this absolute SHAMBLES of a club.
The efforts of the MailOnline in not pretending Manchester United are about to fold is appreciated. Their definition of ‘kids’ needs some work, mind.
‘The 25-goal hot-shot, a rampaging right-back, classy midfielders and a dreadlocked defender – meet the kids looking to break into Chelsea’s first team as Lampard plans his assault on the Premier League’ is the rather wordy headline to an article that puts forward the cases of Ian Maatsen (17), Ethan Ampadu (18), Marc Guehi (18), Billy Gilmour (18), Dujon Sterling (19), Jamie Cumming (19) and Conor Gallagher (19), among many others. They are hardly ‘kids’ in a traditional sense, but football logic dictates that any teenager is basically still a child.
Mediawatch can even let Mason Mount (20), Ike Ugbo (20) and Trevoh Chalobah (20) go; they are certainly young. But a line surely has to be drawn at Lewis Baker, the 24-year-old ‘kid’ who made his debut five and a half years ago.
Roll the Dyche
The following is presented to you entirely without comment. Good lord:
“Everybody thinks he’s just about 442.”
“Give him a team with City’s players & he’d have them playing like Man City.”
Dean Saunders told @SportsBreakfast today that Sean Dyche could do the same job as Pep if given the City job. 👀
It’s not the first time he’s said this… pic.twitter.com/KuodIYGZ4c
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) July 10, 2019
Recommended reading of the day
Caitlin Murray on Jill Ellis.
Melissa Reddy on Tottenham.