Prepare for all the Frenkie de Jong nonsense to start again in earnest in a quest for Manchester United transfer news, especially as they are in a ‘title race’.
To be fair to Neil Custis (a phrase we rarely find ourselves writing), he does not mention Manchester United being in a title race. Because even he realises that being seven points behind a team with two games in hand means that Manchester United are not actually in a title race.
The odds of them winning said title are around 25/1 and that seems fairly accurate.
But somebody at The Sun wanted some sweet, sweet clicks so…
‘Man Utd 2 Leeds 2: Jadon Sancho the hero off the bench as United fight from two down to snatch vital point in title race’
Nope. That’s not a thing.
Saying it exactly how it is
As seen on MailOnline:
‘Manchester United are ‘nowhere NEAR Arsenal and Manchester City’ after their 2-2 draw against Leeds, claims Jason Cundy, who says the result is ‘two points dropped against a side who don’t have a manager’
Well, they’re quite NEAR Manchester City (two points) but yes, it was ‘two points dropped against a side who don’t have a manager’. Literally. Now can somebody tell us why that is a story?
When is a like not a like?
What is a thing is pretending that somebody ‘liking’ a post on Twitter is a story, even if they very quickly unlike it, suggesting that actually, it was probably a mistake. Again, we go to The Sun:
‘‘Doing it for motivation’ – Alejandro Garnacho likes post saying he should not start for Man Utd after Leeds draw’
First, let’s address that ‘doing it for motivation’ quote. It doesn’t appear in the story. It doesn’t appear on a tweet. It doesn’t appear anywhere at all other than in the headline to this story. Is it just Sun man Dylan Terry’s guess? Is it unadulterated bollocks?
‘ALEJANDRO GARNACHO liked a social media post that said he is not ready to start games for Man Utd following his display in the 2-2 draw with Leeds.’
And then he un-liked it; this seems important.
Make that ‘doing it for clicks’ and we’re closer to the truth.
Black, white and Fred all over
Over at the Mirror, ‘Erik ten Hag makes his feelings extremely clear to Fred’s poor Man Utd display’. Firstly, that makes literally zero sense as a headline but we are willing to overlook that with hard evidence of Ten Hag making his feelings ‘extremely clear’. Not just clear but ‘extremely clear’.
‘Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag was spotted throwing his chewing gum to the floor in frustration at Fred’s performance against Leeds on Wednesday.’
Now that’s how you make your feelings ‘extremely clear’.
But it’s actually this paragraph that has amused Mediawatch…
‘Fred has faced criticism in recent seasons and many pundits believe United’s midfield has significantly improved this campaign due to the arrivals of Casemiro and Eriksen. Fred’s performance against Leeds on Wednesday failed to dispel that damning theory.’
‘Many pundits believe’? We think this might have gone past ‘many pundits believe’ now, fella. And it’s not a ‘damning theory’ if it’s an indisputable truth. We think even Fred would ‘like’ that tweet.
De Jong trousers
But the big story that dominates MailOnline is ‘Barcelona ‘are ordered to slash £177m from their wage bill before next season’ as LaLiga get tough… with Man United targets Frenkie de Jong and Ansu Fati among those who could be sold to free up cash’.
First, where are the CAPITALS? Surely SOLD or CASH are prime candidates for the usual Mail shoutiness?
Second, why is this a Manchester United story? Well, because Manchester United = clicks obviously.
‘Barcelona have been ordered to slash their wage bill by £177million in the summer – offering hope to Manchester United and others in the pursuit of their star names.
‘LaLiga are insisting the Nou Camp club will have to make further financial sacrifices if they are to comply with league rules and that could result in high-profile players being sold.
‘Frenkie de Jong and Ansu Fati, who have both been linked with Manchester United, are reportedly two of those who may have to be shown the door to reduce the wage bill.’
But what’s this?
‘Mundo Deportivo say Barcelona will insist Netherlands midfielder De Jong isn’t for sale but their financial predicament could persuade Erik ten Hag to sanction another chase for a player he greatly admires.’
So De Jong is ‘reportedly’ one of those who may have to be shown the door, but the report being cited explicitly says that De Jong is not for sale? Let’s go to the source (via Google Translate):
After detailing who could exit the club, Mundo Deportivo (who obviously never mention Manchester United) say:
‘On the other hand, the one who has been left out of the equation is De Jong after consolidating himself in the team.’
Right. So the story is actually that Barcelona might offload some fringe players and those out of contract this summer. And explicitly not Frenkie de Jong. It’s almost like this is not a Manchester United story.
But the Mail are not the only ones, with this headline appearing in the Mirror: ‘Man Utd handed double Barcelona transfer boost as La Liga chief lays down £177m demand’.
Which in turn leads to this on the Manchester Evening News United transfer blog:
‘It looks like we could be in for another summer of Frenkie de Jong chat.
‘United remain interested in signing the Dutch midfielder and now they have reportedly been handed a boost in their possible pursuit of him.
‘The Mirror says United have been given encouragement in their pursuits of both De Jong and Ansu Fati with La Liga demanding that the Catalan giants dramatically reduce their wage bill.’
And yet the original source gave Manchester United no encouragement at all on De Jong, what with him being their best central midfielder and all.
It already feels like a long f***ing summer.