When Harry met Andy
The theme of this (non) footballing summer has been Manchester United and their transfer business. With Liverpool basically bowing out of the whole dirty business, the only way to garner magic numbers of digital clicks is to write about Harry Maguire, Paulo Dybala, Bruno Fernandes or any other potential recruit to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s slightly befuddled army.
Which leads directly here:
‘DOMINO EFFECT Maguire to Man Utd ‘dominoes’ begin as Brighton agree £22m transfer deal for Webster to replace Dunk who can now join Leicester’ – The Sun.
Yes, that is a deal between Bristol City and Brighton…shamelessly sold as a Manchester United transfer story for all of the Google clicks.
And by God, it worked…
The Sun paid somebody actual money to spend part of their day superimposing the heads of various defenders onto dominoes. They even made them all blurry so it looks like they are moving… pic.twitter.com/DYhExvpfzV
— Football365 (@F365) August 2, 2019
So how much will Harry Maguire cost? The answer came on Thursday night via Sky Sports News‘ imaginatively conceived and titled The Transfer Show, which featured the channel’s Midlands correspondent Rob Dorsett bringing the latest on the deal:
“I’ve always been told throughout this process that £80m was the magic figure for Leicester to do business. It seems as though United are prepared to go there so this could happen quite quickly.”
Dorsett also describes that £80m fee as an “extraordinary amount” and says that “if that offer is slapped on the table, it’s difficult for Leicester to turn it down”.
Which makes it slightly bizarre that by Friday morning, we are informed that ‘United are prepared to pay £80m, but Sky Sports News has been told that Leicester want £85m, United do not want to spend that much on the centre-back’.
So United are ‘prepared to pay’ the ‘magic figure’ and that’s still not enough? Maybe Leicester are ‘opting for braggart brinkmanship’ after all.
Manchester United live transfer live
‘UNITED NEWS 10.30am Man Utd transfer news LIVE: Dybala talks resume TODAY, Maguire misses Leicester game after £80m offer, Mejbri deal close’ – The Sun.
For some reason, TODAY has really made us laugh. Are we supposed to be shocked that Manchester United have not decided that they really do have loads of time before next Thursday’s deadline so shall we just leave it until next week some time, yes?
Ctl F ‘Dybala’ on the Daily Express football homepage. Results? 61.
And it’s all basically sh*t.
When the MEP tell us that ‘United could have big advantage for Chelsea fixture’, we know we are in for a treat.
And why and how do United have a big advantage over a team that finished three places and six points ahead of them last season?
‘United will be looking to begin the Premier League season in style, and they could have a big advantage ahead of the opening fixture against Chelsea.
‘That is because six of Frank Lampard’s first-team squad are currently believed to be doubts for the match.’
Oh wow. That could be a major advantage. Give them the points now.
‘Antonio Rudiger, N’Golo Kante, Willian, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James are all reportedly at risk of missing the match.’
‘Reportedly at risk’? We’ll tell you now that Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi will not play against Manchester United, though that’s inconsequential when faced with the very real possibility that Chelsea will be without a player who has never played a single minute for the club. They will have to resort to playing a double Premier League winner at right-back in the absence of Reece James.
If anything, the MEP have not gone far enough with this excellent Manchester United news. Somebody tell them Marco van Ginkel and Jamal Blackman are currently believed to be doubts too. That’s EIGHT.
Slam of the day
Over at the Liverpool Echo, here is the bombastic headline on their live Liverpool transfer blog:
‘Liverpool transfer news LIVE – Timo Werner enquiries made, Man City bosses slam Jurgen Klopp, Nicolas Pepe ‘rejected’ Reds’
The word ‘slam’ leaps out. This is big.
By the time we get to the story, the ‘slam’ has been downgraded to both a ‘hit out’ and a ‘hit back’ at Klopp’s claim that City are one of four clubs who can spend “constantly”.
Which makes you wonder why Manchester City’s chief operating officer went to the trouble of saying “it’s not frustration or anger, we just find it curious that they’d be highlighting our spending” when some in Liverpool were more than happy to make him look like a c*** for clicks.
They say we’re young and we don’t know…
In his Daily Mail column, West Ham fan Martin Samuel does a very literal reading of Mauricio Pochettino’s recent press conference performances.
‘Again? Seriously? Again? Daniel Levy must survey the morning papers like Bill Murray roused by his 6am alarm call in Groundhog Day.’
Yes, because that’s all Pochettino ever does: moan, complain, and bitch about his employer. Every single day.
A quick point straight off the bat: Mediawatch sees the inside of Pochettino’s press conferences fairly often. In person, in the room. His reputation is actually as a company man, who – more often than not – almost antagonises the club’s supporters in how regularly he falls into line, endorsing whatever course Daniel Levy’s frugality has set him on.
‘This is advanced as Pochettino’s motivation. Yet when did it ever help negotiations to give the impression the manager is teetering on the edge half the time?’
Sorry, but that’s not an accurate reflection in any way at all and any journalist who covers Tottenham would agree. Martin Samuel presumably knows this. And yet, as per the very modern habit, is going to pretend otherwise for the sake of some clicky provocation.
‘Tottenham have responded coolly to the latest drama, saying Pochettino is part of the four-man recruitment team and, no, they will not be changing his title to coach. Maybe they just think he needs a cuddle. The fear, of course, is that he genuinely likes the sound of that train in the distance; and all of this so-called politicking merely lays the ground for the day he decides to catch it.’
And walk us through that metaphor – who is the train? Who’s catching it? And where are they going once they do? Oh and is it too late for Samuel to hop on too?
Intro of the day
‘HARRY WINKS is glad he picked up a TAN this summer.’
Is The Sun’s comedy Cockney trolling us now?
A new low?
— Football365 (@F365) August 1, 2019