Mediawatch: A busy deadline day for Manchester United

Matt Stead

Reade all about it
Brian Reade does not have a bone to pick with Twitter on Thursday; he has a whole bloody skeleton to work with.

In his column for the Daily Mirror, Reade offers ‘further evidence of the mental-health crisis afflicting the nation’. Because that is a subject that needs to have its importance diminished.

Reade’s issue is with social media. ‘Certain Liverpool fans weren’t the only ones having meltdown [sic] as we approached deadline day,’ he writes.

‘Spurs and Chelsea followers berated their clubs’ inactivity and the rage from many Gooners made the most neurotic ArsenalFanTV clips look tame.

‘There are plenty of reasons why summer-transfer hysteria now flies off the scale: Fans able to check their phones every five seconds for updates, rogue websites peddling fiction to click-bait junkies…’

Could we just stop you there, Brian? Is *this* what you mean by ‘rogue websites peddling fiction to click-bait junkies’?

‘Arsenal to make ‘late bid for Jonny Evans’ to steady crisis after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain heads for exit’

‘Liverpool ‘set for incredible £175m final day spree’ as Jurgen Klopp eyes title-winning squad’

‘Manchester United ‘submit £50m offer for Real Madrid sensation Marco Asensio’

And our absolute favourite…

‘How Perrie Edwards and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will deal with his transfer to Liverpool’

All of the above headlines are from the Daily Mirror, and all have been published on deadline day. There is a reason three of them include inverted commas; those ‘click-bait junkies’ need their fix.


Dirty Sanchez
With Reade’s comments in mind, consider this next story.

‘Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez ‘drops transfer hint on social media’ as Manchester City prepare improved bid,’ reads the headline on the Daily Mirror website. They seem to think that if you put anything in inverted commas, you can pretty much write what you like.

The story is that Sanchez ‘has apparently dropped a transfer hint on social media’. According to who?

It is not until the seventh paragraph that the Mirror decide to treat us with the actual ‘news’ (see, we can put things in inverted commas too): he has ‘liked’ a picture of himself on Instagram.

‘The image, which appeared on the futbol_akademi page, shows the Chilean’s face superimposed on top of Neymar’s in a picture Gerard Pique posted online.

‘The original, now infamous photo, uploaded by the Barcelona centre-back, was captioned “Se queda,” which translates as “stays,” in reference to speculation surrounding Neymar.

‘Fans on social media are surmising that Sanchez’s acknowledgment of the picture could be him suggesting he is set to do something similar to Neymar.’

The thing with social media is that you can see what people are discussing, guys. And they certainly aren’t ‘surmising that Sanchez’s acknowledgment of the picture could be him suggesting he is set to do something similar to Neymar’.


United we fall
It must be a devastating blow to almost every football outlet in existence that Manchester United are blatantly not going to do any business on transfer deadline day. Jose Mourinho has said as much; the club has leaked as much to every relevant mouthpiece. There will be no incomings at Old Trafford on the final day, and only minor loans out. Nothing more.

Of course, that will not wash with many websites, who are not about to miss out on precious clicks due to a simple thing called ‘accuracy’. No siree.

The Daily axis of terror – Mirror, Star and Express – are the culprits here, as each report that Manchester United have made a £50million bid for Real Madrid attacker Marco Asensio.

‘Manchester United ‘submit £50m offer for Real Madrid sensation Marco Asensio,’ report the Mirror – there are those trustworthy inverted commas again – while the Star claim that United made a ‘cheeky’ bid.

All three attribute the claim to reports in Spain, namely the eminently reliable Diario Gol. But the story actually came from Mundo Deportivo. On August 28. Three days ago.

The original Mundo Deportivo article includes another fairly important piece of information: that United made the offer for Asensio when they were in negotiations with the Spanish club over Alvaro Morata. So well over a month ago. Or, to put it another way, certainly not on deadline day.

To be fair to both the Star and the Express, they do clarify that United’s offer for Asensio was made earlier this summer, even if the story itself is still old.

The same cannot be said for the Mirror. ‘Manchester United were thought to have done their business this summer, but Jose Mourinho may still pull a rabbit out the hat,’ they write. And we say ‘they’ because no author has put their name to the story. Wonder why.

‘That’s because the Red Devils have reportedly tabled a £50m offer for Marco Asensio with Diario Gol claiming the Real Madrid youngster and Gareth Bale are of great interest to United.’

So that’s an old story, misattributed, and omitting a key piece of information. What was Reade saying about ‘rogue websites peddling fiction to click-bait junkies’ again?


Phoning it in
In another update on a potential United signing:

‘Man Utd transfer news: Jose Mourinho spotted on the phone in London ahead of deadline day’



Express delivery
In the madness of the window, one might have missed a huge ‘transfer row’ on Wednesday evening.

Nothing gets past the Daily Express though. ‘Sky Sports pundits in Liverpool transfer row: Le Tissier accuses Carragher of ‘tapping up’,’ reads their headline.

And what a blazing ‘transfer row’ it was. Carragher started it by tweeting: ‘Tried to persuade AOC to join @LFC when he was a kid, obviously Klopp is more persuasive! Interested how he gets him into CM after Sunday!!’

Le Tissier then ‘hit straight back’, according to the Express, by replying: ‘More illegal tapping up.’ He followed the message with two emojis, but the Express must have forgot to include them.

Mediawatch can only hope the situation has been diffused by now.


A load of b*llOx
With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s move from Arsenal to Liverpool imminent, many a newspaper column inch has been dedicated to the wantaway England international.

Neil Ashton is chief among those applying their thoughts to print. He writes, for The Sun:

‘He has spurned Chelsea, turning his nose up at the champions because he feels the momentum is all with Liverpool.

‘There is an excitement about Anfield, a buzz of anticipation after securing their place in the Champions League group phase.’

There you all were thinking that he’d turned them down because he didn’t want to play at wing-back, and because one of his idols used to play for Liverpool, who are reportedly willing to offer more central playing opportunities.


Crossed wires
John Cross has penned a column for the Daily Mirror on Arsenal’s ‘shambles’ of a transfer window, overseen by ‘ailing boss’ Arsene Wenger.

In it, he obviously discusses the situation surrounding Sanchez. Cross makes no mention of the Chilean ‘liking’ any Instagram posts for some reason, but does get his point across.

‘Without Sanchez, Arsenal look bang average,’ he writes.

It seems they looked pretty bang average with him just four months ago.



Worst headline of the day
‘Grz is the word for ‘ambitious’ Baggies’ – Daily Mirror.

Congratulations to West Brom on their signing of Greasegorz Krychowiak.


Strangest headline of the day
‘What is a football medical and why do Premier League players sometimes fail them?’ – The Sun.

Erm…because they aren’t fit?


Keys to the castle


Recommended reading of the day
Ed Aarons on Premier League starlets heading overseas.

Craig Hope interviews Peter Crouch.

Richard Jolly on the four different types of transfers.