Mediawatch: Harry Kane and the phantom £200,000 a week

Date published: Monday 8th January 2018 12:08

Caught in a Trapp
The Express website homepage Coutinho count as of 11am on Monday: A splendid 31.

The turnover of new Coutinho stories is so rapid that this one…

‘Philippe Coutinho replacement: Most likely Liverpool transfers in January’

…has already disappeared from the homepage.

Which is a shame because we were awfully excited about the prospect of PSG goalkeeper Kevin Trapp replacing Coutinho. He takes a mean free-kick.


Hold me close
But the Express is not all about the delicious Philippe Coutinho clicks; they have room in their heart for the delicious Man United transfer clicks too…

‘USAIN BOLT EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Sprinter reveals he’s held talks to SIGN for Man Utd’

You can use all the capital letters you want, fellas; having a chat with Sir Alex Ferguson – a man who makes no transfer decisions at Manchester United – is absolutely not the same as ‘holding talks’.

By the definitions of today’s online football media, Mediawatch may well have ‘held talks’ with Janet in the newsagents on Monday morning. Again. Things are reaching the ‘showdown’ stage now.


Swanning off
‘Liverpool’s decision to allow Philippe Coutinho to join Barcelona will not bring forward any possible move for Thomas Lemar, Sky Sports News understands,’ was the big story on Sky Sports on Sunday night, while the same report – clearly sourced by Sky Sports News chief news reporter Bryan Swanson – claimed that ‘Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez is also not a target for Jurgen Klopp’.

The clear message: Nothing to see here.

But obviously ‘nothing to see here’ really does not generate the same clicks as ‘Liverpool transfer news and rumours: Thomas Lemar, Riyad Mahrez and Naby Keita’. So it’s the latter story that is ‘trending’ on Sky Sports.

That delicious story begins:

‘Liverpool are interested in signing Thomas Lemar and Riyad Mahrez as they look to reinvest some of the fee from Barcelona for Phillipe Coutinho, report the Liverpool Echo.’

Mentions that their own chief news reporter has already dismissed both those stories: Absolutely zero. Of course.

Churnalism > Journalism = The 2018 equation that makes us all feel a tad nauseous.


How this sh*t works (part 427)
On December 27, Daily Mail journalists Sam Mokbel and Matt Barlow combine to write a story claiming that ‘Tottenham will smash through their wage ceiling to give themselves the best chance of keeping record-breaking striker Harry Kane’.

They claim that ‘Spurs are set to revisit Kane’s contract at the end of the season with a view to offering him a fourth pay increase since August 2014’. Which makes perfect sense. No figures are mentioned but we presume that to merit a ‘smash’, it would have to be far north of the £110,000 a week.

On January 3, the Mail’s Kieran Gill takes a stab at that figure, writing that ‘Tottenham will make Harry Kane the highest paid English star in the Premier League’ under a headline of ‘Tottenham ready to smash wage ceiling to make Harry Kane the highest paid English star in the Premier League on £200,000 a week’.

How bizarre that a less-connected journalist has managed to extract those exact details of Kane’s new contract, that is crucially yet to be offered.

By the second paragraph, Gill’s claim is already starting to look a little woolly: ‘With Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling the best paid English player on £180,000-a-week, Spurs face splashing out up to £200,000-a-week to keep their striker.’

It didn’t take very long for them to ‘face splashing out up to £200,000 a week’. It sounds very, very much like a guess based purely on a list of highest-earning players.

By the eighth and final paragraph:

‘Spurs have a history of rewarding their stars with regular pay rises based on performances, but Kane’s astonishing 56-goal haul in 2017 – and interest from mega-rich clubs like Real Madrid – will force the club to break their stringent wage structure and pay him around £200,000-a-week.’

The exact figure of the headline has become ‘up to’ which has become ‘around’; it is now very, very clear that this is a guess.

Of course, that stops nobody from copying that story – right down to the errant hyphens – and claiming it basically as fact. So The Sun online’s headline from January 4 reads ‘Tottenham ready Harry Kane contract worth £200,000-a-week to make him Premier League’s best-paid Englishman’.

And here we are now on January 8 and again on The Sun online, when Harry Kane has been asked about said contract offer that we already knew was not forthcoming until the summer because the Mail’s well-connected journalists told us as much in December…

‘Harry Kane reveals he’s NOT held contracts talks with Tottenham and none are planned over £200,000-a-week deal.’

You don’t sodding say.


Far East Anglia
Frank Lampard describes Chelsea’s problems in Siberia Norwich on BT Sport on Saturday: “When you come to somewhere like Norwich, it’s cold, the atmosphere’s different, it’s a new team, you have to state your case.”

Pesky fact: It was warmer in ‘somewhere like’ Norwich than London.


Ignorance is this
The key sentence in Joey Barton’s expert view – as espoused to talkSport – on Ross Barkley’s move to Chelsea is clearly this one:

 “I don’t know what is going on.”

But should you insist on listening further, that point is soon accentuated by this one:

“I can’t see Ross Barkley starting for that Chelsea side. Drinkwater has come in and done well and then it is kind of Hazard and Morata beyond that.”

Danny Drinkwater has started one Premier League game in a month.

You kind of don’t know what is going on, Joey.


The Winner Takes It All

Today’s challenge from Mediawatch: Try and stop watching this.


Recommended reading of the day
Sid Lowe on Barcelona.

Richard Edwards on Ross Barkley.

Sam Wallace on Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte.

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