Mediawatch: How to randomly double a Chelsea transfer fee

Matt Stead

Coulda, woulda, shoulda
Are you under the impression that Chelsea have spent £71.6million to sign Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao? That is the fee reported by pretty much every outlet, and the fact that Chelsea activated his release clause to sign him suggests there is no real leeway there. A release clause is a fixed sum; there is no negotiation involved, nor can there be conflicting sources.

Mediawatch has some bad news: we are all wrong. Sure, Chelsea have *technically* spent £71.6m to sign Kepa Arrizabalaga, but the deal ‘could cost them £142m’.

That is the claim on the Daily Mirror‘s back page. Because Adrian Kajumba has obviously factored in a seven-year contract on £195,000 per week – or just over £10m a year. So an extra £70m. What happens if he gets a pay rise at any point?

Time to slap the Mirror on the wrist, because we have been through this before. Kepa already cost a world-record fee; there is no real need to try and make the deal sound even more expensive. Including wages in any fee is all sorts of stupid.

‘He replaces Thibaut Courtois as Chelsea’s No.1, with the Belgian due in Madrid today to complete his £35m switch to the Bernabeu.’

That sounds an awful lot like you haven’t factored his wages in, Adrian…

‘Liverpool’s purchase of Roma keeper Alisson for £66m was a world record for only two weeks, and makes the two keepers the highest-priced players bought this summer.’

What about his wages? His clean sheet bonus? His travel expenses? His lunch allowance? Surely the deal ‘could cost them about £1bn’ if he signs a life-long contract?

Don’t make up a frankly ludicrous rule for one player if you aren’t going to impose it on everyone else, guys. Or just don’t make up a frankly ludicrous rule in the first place.

Finders Kepas
Kepa is granted a double-page spread in the Daily Mirror, with Kajumba praising Chelsea’s ‘statement of intent’.

‘Spaniard Kepa was last night finalising his blockbuster £71.5million move, a record for a keeper, to Chelsea after they paid his release fee to prise him away from Athletic Bilbao.’

Don’t make up a frankly ludicrous rule for one player if you aren’t going to impose it on the exact same player on literally the next page. Or, y’know…


Back to the future
BBC Sport, July 19: ‘Alisson: Liverpool’s world-record signing from Roma is ‘goalkeeper of the future”

Daily Mirror, August 9: ‘Kepa will cost Chelsea a world record fee but Blues are getting “the goalkeeper of the future”‘

This just in: young, expensive goalkeepers will probably be quite good in a few years too.

Strained windows
Martin Blackburn has written an interesting and in-depth review of Manchester United’s summer for The Sun. He says that Jose Mourinho and Ed Woodward’s relationship will only be ‘increasingly strained’ by this transfer window. He writes:

‘The disconnect between the club’s boss and executive vice-chairman is obvious – just seven months after Woodward handed the Portuguese a new deal.

‘Mourinho has pretty much ‘outed’ him as the reason for his frustration twice in the past couple of weeks. It is a familiar tactic by the Special One.

‘In each of his two previous summers at United, he has indicated he would have ideally liked one more player but declared himself just about happy.’

Hey, Mediawatch has a little bit of spare time. We might as well take a look to see if that checks out, hadn’t we?

“I’m really happy [with my squad]. It’s the first time I’ve worked with such a number of players because I’m used to working with 20 plus the keepers, and we have in the squad 23 plus the keepers – and even so we had to make decisions and let some players go on loan, and try to sell others. But this group of 23 is a great group and I think in this moment – and I told them this – there is a little bit of frustration for the ones that I have not selected. The empathy between the guys is really good too, so I’m happy with the squad” – Jose Mourinho, August 9, 2016.

Must have been a different Jose Mourinho. Still, he was definitely more annoyed last summer. Right?

“That’s what I love most about this squad: the players always give everything. It makes me so happy to be manager of this club, working with these guys. As I told them all recently, during my long career, I have never worked with a group I like as much as I like them” – Jose Mourinho, August 14, 2017.

‘Just about happy’ = “really happy” or “I have never worked with a group I like as much as I like them”.


Jack the lad
The Birmingham Mail state he is ‘disappointed’ but ‘will not kick up a fuss’.

The Daily Mirror suggest he is ‘heartbroken’ and ‘dismayed’.

The Daily Mail believe he is ‘desperate’.

The Daily Telegraph say he is ‘gravely disappointed’.

Sky Sports claim he is ‘disappointed and disillusioned’.

The Guardian understand he is ‘frustrated’.

The Sun insist he is ‘fuming’.

So Jack Grealish ‘will not kick up a fuss’ but is ‘fuming’. Presumably silently. Which makes it difficult to inform a national newspaper.

The poor boy is trapped in a glass case of emotions.


Mail order
‘Explained: How Tottenham can land Jack Grealish from Aston Villa before the transfer deadline’ – Birmingham Mail.

By paying the price Aston Villa want. Revolutionary stuff.


Mino ailment
‘Mourinho dislikes working with Raiola…’ – Paul Hirst, The Times.

So much so that Manchester United have signed Raiola clients Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku since Mourinho’s appointment as manager.

Keep your friends close, and all that.


Wheeler dealer
Writes Chris Wheeler in the Daily Mail on Wednesday evening:

‘United were last night believed to be close to clinching their fourth transfer of the summer before the window closes at 5pm today.’

Says Jose Mourinho when asked about whether Manchester United were going to make any more signings on Thursday morning.

“The information I have is no.”


Banter of the day
“I can confirm he is going to Manchester. But only for two hours when we play there on Friday” – Claude Puel on Harry Maguire.


Recommended reading of the day
Ed Aarons on Kepa.

Dominic King with Richarlison.