Manchester United, Ronaldo and Mason Greenwood dominate the football media. But first…
‘So now we know the truth about Football Association chairman Greg Clarke.
‘He really wasn’t that smart.
‘Racist, sexist, probably not. He used some very outdated language wrapped up in crudely stereotypical attitudes before a committee of politicians on Tuesday and paid a high price.
‘Clarke rightly apologised when corrected but, in the current climate, it was never going to be enough.’
Spot the four words that are entirely irrelevant in Martin Samuel’s opening paragraphs to his Daily Mail piece on outgoing FA Chairman Greg Clarke.
This international break needed a narrative and while Greg Clarke is on the back pages for one day, the story of this fortnight so far has been Mason Greenwood, prompted initially by a piece in The Athletic that was first published on Sunday night.
The very last paragraph of that piece reads:
‘A new contract was on the agenda in the summer but there is no rush from United after this start to the season. Greenwood’s deal, signed last September, runs until 2024 and contained inbuilt increases based on appearances that see him well-remunerated for an established first-team player.’
By Wednesday in the Daily Mirror and Daily Star…
— Daily Star Sport (@DailyStar_Sport) November 10, 2020
‘No rush’ to reward a player just a year after his latest contract has magically become ‘stalling on talks’.
Oh Mason, welcome to a world where ‘liking’ an Instagram post has become news.
The most wonderful thing about ‘how xxxxx could line-up’ stories is not that errant hyphen but the way that new arrivals almost always mask utterly bizarre decisions elsewhere on the pitch. So when The Sun promise this…
‘How Man Utd could line-up with Cristiano Ronaldo returning in attack and Dayot Upamecano improving leaky defence’
…we are not in the slightest bit surprised to find that Mason Greenwood is on the right side of attack despite being in rotten form (with United openly chasing a right-winger) while Donny van de Beek magically becomes a first-choice central midfielder despite failing to start a single Premier League game for Manchester United.
But there is an explanation:
‘With Rashford and Greenwood – with another year of experience under their belts – flanking Ronaldo, United would boast a fearsome front three.
‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could be convinced to ditch his current 4-2-3-1 formation – with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink claiming United will NEVER win the title with two defensive midfielders.
‘With Paul Pogba almost certain to finally leave the club at some stage in 2021, Donny van de Beek could be given an extended run in a 4-3-3 formation.
‘The Dutchman would likely partner Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes in a nicely-balanced midfield.’
‘Would likely’? So why the f*** isn’t that happening now? Will it change when Ronaldo signs or will it change because former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink outrageously claimed that a team in 14th might struggle to win the title? We are left with more questions than answers.
Meanwhile, it was only yesterday that The Sun were telling us how PSG would line up with Ronaldo.
Offload of old bollocks
The Ronaldo news itself suggests that Sun man Dave Fraser has a favourite new word…
‘Man Utd ‘in talks over sensational Cristiano Ronaldo transfer return next season as Juventus look to offload superstar”
‘MANCHESTER UNITED are in talks to sign Cristiano Ronaldo next summer with Juventus looking to offload their star player, according to sensational reports.’
‘The Serie A champions are believed to be keen to offload the former Real Madrid star next summer.’
‘Juventus are keen to cash in before his contract expires at the end of the 2021-22 season and offload his £540,000-a-week wages.’
All of which comes from this tweet…
ULTIMO MOMENTO: nuestras fuentes en Manchester y en Oporto nos confirman que Manchester United tentó a Cristiano Ronaldo con un regreso al club para la próxima temporada. El portugués lo analiza. Juventus lo negociaria si él lo pide. pic.twitter.com/NDTVkAYCcF
— Christian Martin (@askomartin) November 10, 2020
…which never uses anything close to the word ‘offload’ in Spanish or any other language. But ‘willing to negotiate’ would make a particularly shit headline.
Old news is good news
And if your first thought on seeing Cristiano Ronaldo linked with Manchester United is to make news out of old quotes them congratulations, for you are Jake Polden and you are the Mirror football traffic king…
‘Cristiano Ronaldo dropped huge hint about returning to Manchester United’
And Polden was already way ahead of the game on Tuesday with yet another hint dredged from the past…
‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have already dropped Cristiano Ronaldo transfer hint’
Yes because when asked in the summer about which of his former United teammates he would like to have in his team, he named Paul Scholes and Roy Keane but added that he “wouldn’t mind” having Ronaldo in his team too.
Extraordinary. He basically told us that he was about to sign one of the best footballers in the world and we barely even noticed.
It’s absolutely nailed on.
The Sun’s Jake Lambourne is allegedly a sports reporter.
‘Georgina Rodriguez works out in tight yoga pants showing peachy bum as Cristiano Ronaldo’s partner trains on yacht’
The University of Brighton must be so proud.
Mediawatch is very amused by the angle taken by the Daily Mirror after talking to Andrew ‘new book’ Cole…
‘ANDREW COLE has warned it could take two years before Manchester United get back to the top.’
They’re 14th. We’re pretty sure Manchester United fans would be ecstatic if they thought United could challenge within the next two years. Replace ‘warned’ with ‘dreamed’ for a more accurate opening line.
How the Manchester Evening News report those quotes:
‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer backed by Manchester United legend after Pochettino approach’
Does it matter that Andrew Cole never actually mentions Mauricio Pochettino? Does it balls. Apparently.
Recommended reading of the day
Marvin Sordell on Greg Clarke
Jamie Carragher on the nonsense of Pep v Klopp