Manchester United’s demise continues, could Neymar be off to Newcastle (SPOILER: No) and a Sun headline that made us laugh involuntarily…
Down the pub
The race to make the most outlandish newspaper claim about Crisis Club Manchester United continues apace, with the already unthinkable ‘bottom-half team’ now looking like heady days indeed for a club that Andrew Dillon of The Sun has confirmed are now ‘a pub team’.
As with all current Manchester United content, it combines entirely fair and correct concerns about the direction of travel at the club with some astonishing nonsense.
‘The sight of Old Trafford’s new transfer guru sitting in a boozer hosting a strategy meeting with the Red Army confirms what many already suspect.
Manchester United are now a pub team.’
Richard Arnold’s pub trip may have been ill-advised and he should probably have been more alert to the possibility of being filmed, but it was also well-intentioned and a shift from the previous regime’s policy of avoiding actual fans at all costs. It was also, of course, in absolutely no way ‘a strategy meeting’.
‘If Arnold’s contacts in the transfer market were anywhere near as good as his hoolie spotting mates, then things wouldn’t seem so bad.’
Genuinely no idea what this bit means. All football fans are hooligans?
‘When Christian Eriksen, 30, a man who suffered cardiac arrest on a pitch, is torn between signing for a club with a 75,000-seater stadium or tiny Brentford, then something is wrong.’
Let’s just pretend that Tottenham don’t exist or that Eriksen’s feelings for ‘tiny Brentford’ might be slightly influenced by the chance they took on him in January.
‘Incoming manager Erik ten Hag has, so far, shown only limited imagination in how he wants to rebuild a squad in need of urgent renovation.
As the hipster’s choice, we were expecting a lengthy list of cultivated playmakers, ballers, and little-known stars in the making, known only to the Dutchman and his intricate network of contacts.’
We’re just assuming that ‘hipster’s choice’ here means a foreign coach who hasn’t managed a Premier League team before.
‘Instead, United seem to be limiting themselves to chasing after former Ajax players who, like Eriksen, don’t appear keen to play for a club that is wallowing in past glories having not won the league since 2013 with no end to that in sight.
‘Frenkie de Jong, Antony, Lisandro Martinez, Jurrien Timber. All either still playing for, or former players of, Ten Hag’s old club.’
Antony not being keen to play for wallowing Manchester United is presumably news to Dillon’s colleague Dave Fraser, who wrote just two days earlier that ‘Antony is desperate to quit Ajax and be reunited with Erik ten Hag at Manchester United’.
There are so, so many legitimate angles of attack about what has happened at United in recent years and indeed so far this summer – including Ten Hag’s seeming reliance on familiar faces. Is there any chance we could stick to those, though, rather than exaggerating everything to an absurd degree or pretend that meeting fans for a beer shows ‘how low United have sunk’?
Sorry, silly question. Don’t know what we were thinking.
News of Neymar’s potential availability from PSG this summer was always sure to provoke a calm and composed reaction from the fourth estate. Absolutely no nonsense to generate clicks from this information. First we must head to the Daily Star.
‘Neymar’s stance on sensational Newcastle transfer as race heats up for PSG star,’ shouts the headline.
‘Following a huge upturn in form at the end of the 2021/22 season, Eddie Howe’s Tyneside revolution is in full swing with Newcastle now eyeing a shock move for one of football’s best talents,’ adds the standfirst as excitement grows.
‘Neymar is reportedly dead against joining Newcastle United in the summer transfer window,’ chortles the intro as it p*sses all over those Toon Army chips.
‘Tottenham could sign their own Zlatan Ibrahimovic for bargain transfer fee’ is a headline to catch the eye from football.london, but seems a bit of a stretch as a description of a player who scored six goals in 15 Bundesliga games last season. Sasa Kalajdzic is the Next Zlatan in question here, and it turns out this is something of a self-dubbing, the worst of all ways to be saddled with a dubbing.
“I’ve heard a comparison with [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, Peter Crouch, anything from ‘tall and lanky’ to ‘tall’ and an ‘Ibrahimovic-Machine’! I’ve heard a lot of things.” You certainly have.
Weird choice to pick Zlatan over Crouchy for the headline, guys.
We slightly hate ourselves for it but have to admit to emitting an involuntary chuckle at The Sun headlining some tish and fipsy about Pep Guardiola looking in good nick for 51 while frolicking on the beach in Barbados with ‘DIET PEP SEA’. Doesn’t even really work, but it’s great isn’t it? For all their many, many faults, they remain the undisputed masters of headlines we can’t help enjoying despite ourselves.