Manchester United shirt-stirring over De Jong as transfer hope reportedly grows

Editor F365
Frenkie de Jong

Manchester United seem to be fighting a losing battle over Frenkie De Jong, but it turns out the move is back on because of Lisandro Martinez.


Toon up
‘GEORDIE POOR!’ reads a particularly gleeful back-page headline in The Sun, who curiously consider Thomas Tuchel’s love life to be earth-shattering news worthy of a (dreadful) front-page splash – TUCHEL TAPS UP A BRAZILIAN – but not good enough to lead their sports coverage.

‘MEGA-RICH Newcastle have taken out a £140million loan to fund Eddie Howe’s transfer warchest,’ reads the first paragraph to Oscar Paul’s story.

‘The Saudi-owned Magpies have reserves totalling £492billion, making them the wealthiest owners in world football,’ he adds. And that is an important distinction to make because the headline to the online version of the story is false: Newcastle are not the ‘world’s richest club’. They do have the richest owners but that is a very different thing. And it means that ‘the moneybags Tynesiders’ have ‘opened up a credit facility with HSBC to pocket cash due from next season up front,’ thus allowing them to invest more in the playing squad this summer while perfectly legally circumventing FFP restrictions.

Is this at all rare in the Premier League? Well…

‘This means they are able to borrow over £140m from HSBC, in an agreement increasingly used by Prem clubs.

‘Southampton, Everton, West Ham and Fulham have also raised cash in recent years by pledging future TV and matchday money in return.’

The actual Manchester United did the same in May 2020. And it wasn’t even the only example of a club using such methods on Thursday morning:

This despite Aston Villa owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens being worth a reported combined £10.7bn. At least that’s Friday’s back page sorted. Unless The Sun suddenly decided it’s actually a perfectly normal thing for a Premier League club to do in the modern day.


All a loan
The best part of the above story is that the following change was made to the website headline at around 10.42:

‘MEGA-RICH Newcastle have taken out a £75million loan to fund Eddie Howe’s transfer warchest.’

Give it a few more hours and they’ll have just borrowed a couple of quid to get by before payday.


Ballon awe
Away from the quite ordinary financial practices of Premier League clubs, the favourite subject of the national media is examining pre-season friendlies with a fine-tooth comb. And a Liverpool defeat to Salzburg provides plenty to go at.

The Sun website chooses to focus on goalscorer Benjamin Sesko, whose recent transfer links with Manchester United offer the ideal talking point.

‘He left Ibrahima Konate for dust after a smart one-two with Okafor and smashed it past Adrian,’ reads one paragraph on the teenager.

‘And he then produced an outrageous piece of skill on the stroke of half-time as he showed he wouldn’t be over-awed by his illustrious opponents.’

Mediawatch should think he wasn’t ‘over-awed’ by the ‘illustrious’ nature of a Liverpool line-up featuring Isaac Mabaya, James Milner at left-back, a midfield of Curtis Jones, Stefan Bajcetic and Naby Keita, and two teenagers in attack.


Size matters
It is not all bad news for the Reds, as the Daily Mirror website points out that they are ‘among those set to test Lisandro Martinez’s biggest Man Utd weakness’.

You can indeed accurately guess what this pertains to but still, let’s play the game.

‘While his technical ability and good physical traits such as his pace have been well celebrated, there are legitimate concerns about his size. The Argentina international stands at just 5ft10, which is small compared to many other top central defenders from across Europe. In fact, he actually ranks among the smallest 10 per cent of central defenders across the division.’

Jannik Vestergaard, Tyrone Mings, Harry Maguire and William Troost-Ekong were among the tallest 10 per cent of central defenders across the division last season. Take them over Fabio Cannavaro and Franco Baresi, wouldn’t you?

‘Both Brentford and Liverpool boast players with towering physical profiles, with Ivan Toney, Pontus Jansson, Darwin Nunez, Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate and Joel Matip just some of the potential threats that lie ahead for Martinez and United.’

Some clubs do indeed have tall players. Even Manchester United. Crazy, isn’t it?

‘Despite his size, Martinez did surprisingly have the fourth-best aerial duel success rate for centre-backs who played over 1000 minutes last season. Yet the Premier League is much more physical than the Eredivisie, meaning we’re sure to get a proper idea of just how good he actually is in this department in those opening weeks of the campaign.’

Oh, so Martinez’s weakness is actually literally anything but. And perhaps the level of physicality is different but a) if you are 5ft 10ins in Holland, you are 5ft 10ins in England, and b) ‘The Butcher of Amsterdam’ will probably manage.


Martinez’s biggest actual weakness, of course, is shirt numbers. The Daily Mirror website has positively revelled in such numerical drama at Manchester United this summer and they have spotted a Frenkie De Jong update in the smallprint:

‘Man Utd drop Frenkie de Jong transfer hint with shirt number announcement’

That ‘transfer hint’? A completely different player has taken the number 6 shirt – being a centre-half and all – despite having worn the number 21 at his previous club. And as everyone knows, De Jong will absolutely refuse to play in anything other than the number 21.

Put all of that together and ‘Manchester United appear confident they can still land top target Frenkie De Jong this summer’. The deal is pretty much done.


Frost in translation
But it goes from worse to worse for Manchester United as the Daily Mirror brings us this exclusive:

‘Frenkie de Jong faces frosty Man Utd dressing room reception due to true transfer feelings’

That’s pretty huge news. Have they got the inside scoop from a disgruntled player? Does someone want to swap shirt numbers to 21? Or have they got some quotes from Louis Saha, speaking to bet365?

The latter it is. Shame.