Mediawatch: He’s joining Man Utd. Or is he?

Date published: Thursday 29th October 2015 1:01

What’s in a Neym?
‘Manchester United have been boosted in their bid to land Neymar,’ reads the opening paragraph of Vic Holly’s article for The Sun. Sounds interesting…

The piece contains quotes from former Barcelona president Joan Laporta, who says: “To balance the club financially the president has to sell players or assets. The easy solution is to sell a player.”

What Laporta truly knows about Manchester United’s interest in Neymar is negligible, considering he hasn’t worked for the Catalans since 2010. But wait, Mediawatch has more.

‘United blow as Neymar set for double-yer-money deal,’ reads the headline on a piece by Antony Kastrinakis on The Sun’s website. ‘BARCELONA are set to DOUBLE Neymar’s wages to £500,000 a week and derail Manchester United’s hopes of signing him,’ it reads. ‘The Brazil striker will become the world’s third-highest paid player behind team-mate Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

‘Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu said: “This is the season we will sort out a new deal with Neymar. But we will try not to talk about the negotiations and to work discreetly until we can announce it.”

From United being ‘boosted in their bid to land Neymar’ to suffering a ‘blow’ in their chase within the space of a few hours. At least they’ll be right one way or another.


Dreams can come true
It’s safe to say The Sun‘s Phil Thomas was impressed with Liverpool’s three debutants against Bournemouth on Wednesday. Connor Randall, Cameron Brannagan and Joao Carlos Teixeira were all handed their first starts for the Reds, and all performed admirably. As Thomas wrote in his match report:

‘Brannagan and Teixeira certainly showed enough composure, savvy and style in midfield to suggest we will be seeing plenty more of them under the German. And at full-back local boy Randall’s performance suggested Joe Gomez’s absence with a smashed cruciate suddenly does not look the massive headache of a month or so ago.’

Said match report is handily accompanied by The Sun’s dream team ratings. Among them, Brannagan was given a five out of 10, with Randall and Teixeira receiving sixes; the only other starter to score worse was Kolo Toure, who was handed a six out of 10 after being subsituted on the half-hour mark.


What are the odds?
When Mediawatch saw the headline ‘Brendan Rodgers in line to replace Jose Mourinho at Chelsea – report’ on the Metro website, we simply couldn’t resist offering them another delicious click.

‘Brendan Rodgers is in the frame to become the next Chelsea manager as pressure grows on Jose Mourinho,’ reads the opening paragraph from our old friend Jamie Sanderson. It attributes a piece on the Belfast Telegraph‘s website, with both claiming that Rodgers has emerged as a ‘shock’ candidate to replace under-fire Mourinho after his odds were slashed from 20/1 to 7/1 to become Chelsea’s next permanent manager.

A quick check shows the shortest odds you can find for such a ridiculous scenario are 14/1, while it remains as long as a 33/1 shot with most.

Still, what a lovely thought.


Every day’s a school day
Ross Gregory was a busy boy for The Sun last night at Anfield, leaning lessons and all sorts. He learned, for one, that ‘Liverpool do not have a fit striker’.

1) They do. His name is Divock Origi. He literally started the game.
2) At what stage did you learn Christian Benteke (injured on Sunday against Southampton), Daniel Sturridge (has missed four games through injury) and Danny Ings (out for most of the season) were not fit?

But Gregory is not done there. His apparent ignorance of Origi’s strikerness is, at least in part, explained in lessons 2 and 3:

‘Origi could prove the man capable of filling Raheem Sterling’s boots. Left Sylvain Distin for dead in the build-up to Nathaniel Clyne’s goal and has pace to burn. But needs to improve defensively.’

‘If Origi does not come good for Klopp, Jordon Ibe could be the man,’ begins the next point. So Origi (no longer a striker) will either a) replace a £44million player or he’ll be rubbish. Cover all bases and all that.


Tony award
While Ross Gregory believes Ibe will (or won’t) be the man to replace Sterling, Tony Cascarino in The Times has other ideas.

‘There are plenty of players at Liverpool who are not quite reaching their full potential but Jordan (sic) Ibe is the one who could become integral at the club…His passing needs to improve but he reminds me of the way Daniel Sturridge performed at Manchester City and Chelsea. Perhaps, like Sturridge, he will become a central striker.’

Sturridge didn’t ‘become’ a central striker, Tony, he always was one. That the majority of his games for Chelsea and some for Manchester City saw him play on the wing doesn’t change that.

And Ibe is either set to replace Sterling or Sturridge. Ibe of zero goals in 28 Liverpool games fame. The 19-year-old is good – he may even turn out to be excellent – but let’s slow down, eh?


Do the maths
‘UNITED LEAVE ALMOST £200M ON THE BENCH!’ cries a piece accompanying the Daily Mail‘s match report on Manchester United’s defeat to Middlesbrough. They tally up the costs of David de Gea (£18.9m), Juan Mata (£37.1m), Anthony Martial (£58m), Wayne Rooney (£27m), Ashley Young (£12.6m), Ander Herrera (£28.4m) and Bastian Schweinsteiger (£6.3m) to conclude that United’s substitutes comprised a talent pool of £196.5m.

A couple of things:

  • Those valuations tally up to £188.3m, not £196.5m.
  • The Mail themselves claimed Young joined United for £16m in 2011, not £12.6m
  • Anthony Martial cost £36.7m, not £58m
  • The actual valuations of those seven players adds up to around £170.4m, not £196.5m

£170.4m doesn’t sound quite as sexy as ‘almost £200m’, does it?


Dirty Harry
‘Writes’ Harry Redknapp in his column for the London Evening Standard:

‘There is a trait in this country that a lot of people love to see others fail. When you are on the floor, they like to put the boot in. That is the way of life here. Jose Mourinho was at the top of his profession a few months ago but now he is suddenly having a bad time. Everybody wants to kick him when he’s down. Negative stories are appearing about him every day and he is obviously worried that the “rats”, as he called them, in the camp are leaking things in an effort to destabilise him.’

Said Redknapp on October 7: “Maybe some players don’t like him. It’s quite possible. I think everybody loved him the first time he came. Maybe now, some of the new players aren’t happy with the way they’re being treated or don’t like the way he talks to them.

“There’s something not right within the club at the moment, that’s for sure. Suddenly he’s getting beaten and beaten. He’s never had to cope with that before. It must be very strange for him.

“It’s not easy, I’m sure he’s finding it very difficult. But they are not good, they’re not playing well.”

‘Wrote’ Harry Redknapp in his column for the London Evening Standard on October 8:

‘He can’t complain about his team. They are nearly all world-class players. He has to get on with it. But, then again, he’s not used to losing. Now he knows how the rest of us feel. Even Arsene Wenger has times when he has been under pressure and getting grief.’

Sounds an awful lot like someone ‘putting the boot in’, both just three weeks ago. Would Redknapp describe those as ‘negative stories’?


Headline of the day
‘Reds missed’ – Lovely work from The Independent


Worst headline of the day
‘NEW KIDS ON THE KLOPP’ – Daily Mirror


Can’t decide if it’s good or bad headline of the day


Recommended reading of the day
Jermaine Jenas on the subject of footballers coming out as gay

Michael Yokhin on the legend that is Dirk Kuyt

Melissa Reddy on Liverpool new boy Allan

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