Mediawatch: Of course Arsenal should sign John Terry…

Daniel Storey

Cool waters
‘Manchester United have cooled their interest in Antoine Griezmann as Jose Mourinho steps up his efforts to buy a new target man this summer. United have prioritised signing a No 9 ahead of pursuing an £86million deal for Atletico Madrid forward Griezmann’ – Chris Wheeler, Daily Mail.

‘Manchester United have done a dramatic U-turn – and shelved plans to sign Antoine Griezmann. Boss Jose Mourinho has decided Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s injury means that a No. 9 now has to be his priority this summer’ – Martin Blackburn, The Sun.

‘Manchester United… after cooling interest in Antoine Griezmann. Jose Mourinho’s summer transfer priorities have changed with the news that Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s knee injury is likely to keep him out until the new year’ – Richard Tanner, Daily Express.

‘Manchester United’s transfer plans have taken a twist with the club cooling their long-standing interest in France striker Antoine Griezmann in order to focus their efforts on signing a target man to replace the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic’ – James Ducker, Daily Telegraph.

Quite the coincidence that Mourinho only found out about Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s injury on the day that Atletico Madrid’s transfer ban was announced and Griezmann reportedly decided to stay put. All together now: Didn’t fancy her anyway.


No really, I didn’t fancy her
It’s Richard Tanner in the Daily Express that goes the furthest on the Griezmann deal. Not content with simply repeating Manchester United’s timely ‘cooled their interest’ leak, Tanner follows that up with an opinion piece under the header ‘Mourinho’s new strategy’. Is that strategy finding out that a player doesn’t want to join?

‘JOSE MOURINHO’S summer transfer strategy changed the moment the full extent of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s knee injury was confirmed.

‘With the Swede out of action until at least the New Year, Mourinho decided Manchester United’s priority was a direct replacement, and long-term target Antoine Griezmann didn’t fit that profile.

‘For months he had wanted the diminutive and pacy France forward to play off Ibrahimovic, but now his striker is out of the equation until New Year – should he stay – he is understood to have cooled his interest.’

If Mourinho’s mind changed the moment he learned about the full extent of Ibrahimovic’s injury, it might have been nice for Tanner to tell him. The Daily Express reported that Ibrahimovic would be out until January as early as April 24. And if Mourinho also knew in April, as we can reasonably assume he did, why was everyone still reporting United’s chase of Griezmann a month later?

It’s all a little bit transparent, guys.


The faintest idea
Do you know what advice to Arsene Wenger Mediawatch didn’t expect to read in June 2017? ‘Sign John Terry,’ that’s what. We underestimated The Sun’s Neil Ashton. Or should that be overestimated?

‘Arsene Wenger should mark his re-appointment as Arsenal boss by signing John Terry on a free. Although Terry’s best years are behind him, his wealth of experience at the highest level would raise the standards in Arsenal’s nervy defence.’

Saying that Terry’s best years ‘are behind him’ is like saying Donald Trump is ‘a slightly controversial President’. He started six Premier League matches last season, and two of those when the title had already been won. He is 36.

‘He does not have to play every week but his presence around the training ground and in the dressing room would raise the level of Gabriel, Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding.’

Ah, ok. So you’re not paying John Terry at least £100,000 a week to play – silly us – but to impart his wisdom. Mediawatch can just about see the logic with Rob Holding, but 26-year-old Gabriel Paulista? A reminder that Arsenal do have two World Cup-winning central defenders, so experiencing success away from Arsenal might not be the only missing ingredient.

There’s also the small matter that Terry might not want the move. He announced he was leaving Chelsea because, in Antonio Conte’s words, “he wanted to continue playing regularly, playing every game”. Even Ashton admits that isn’t going to happen at Arsenal.

‘With a bit more ambition about the place, Arsenal could do with a man of his stature in and around the camp,’ is Ashton’s final flourish.

Because what better way could there be to improve morale than by signing a 36-year-old creaking player who supporters have spent 20 years calling a c***?


Breaking Manchester United news…
When the first line of your article is ‘Jesse Lingard has been showing off his fluffy side in a recent social media post’, it’s probably time to question whether your heart is still in it.

The Daily Mirror article is of course based on a single Instagram post by Lingard, which means Mediawatch gets to enjoy the glorious padding out of an article based on nothing but guff.

First comes the laboured pun:

‘Jesse Lingard has been showing off his fluffy side in a recent social media post.’

Then comes the detailed description of what our eyes have already seen:

‘Lingard can be seen with the cub sat on his lap while he holds a milk bottle to its mouth with one hand and scratches the back of its head with the other.’

Finally comes the p*ss-weak attempt to make it relevant to actual football:

‘Lingard scored in the Red Devils’ League Cup final win in February and signed a £100,000 a week new deal in April.

‘The midfielder will return to England soon as he has been selected for Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions’ squad.

‘England face Scotland in a World Cup qualifier on June 10 before jetting to France for a friendly three days later.’

This developing story is, naturally, given a full-page panel on the Daily Mirror’s football homepage. It’s all just absolutely rotten.


Peak Telegraph
‘Transfer rumours: The top 100 targets in the summer transfer window 2017’ shouts out the headline on the top of the Daily Telegraph’s football homepage. Forget Oliver Brown’s excellent piece on Wolves and Jorge Mendes or Jason Burt’s tremendous piece on Monaco. This is a kingdom where galleries rule.

A 100-page gallery, each page with its own separate URL, is top work even for the Telegraph’s new strategy, but Mediawatch did enjoy that the publication date appears below the headline as ‘03 Mar 2016, 6:38pm’. Not that this is a hasty re-hash, you understand. Oh no.

We’re also definitely not saying that the Telegraph were struggling for names for a list composed in a rush, but Adama Traore is No. 13 of the 100, Fabio Borini No. 35 and Sam Gallagher No. 82; Mathieu bloody Debuchy and Marcus Bettinelli are in there.

So too are Gareth Bale, Neymar, Dele Alli, Isco, Sergio Aguero and Philippe Coutinho, just in case you thought some of these might happen.


And just in case you thought that was it
‘Arsenal squad referendum results: Your votes on who should stay and who should go’ – 33-page gallery.

‘20 outstanding moments from the 2016/17 Champions League you’ve probably already forgotten about’ – 21-page gallery.

‘£200 million down the drain: last summer’s signings you have already forgotten’ – 17-page gallery.

We’re just surprised that the Daily Telegraph homepage hasn’t got ‘Traitor: 20 reasons why Jeremy Corbyn hates the UK’ as the top story.


Still going, Tone?
Said Tony Adams to talkSPORT, in his latest interview about Arsene Wenger:

“I think it will be very sad if it crumbles around him. He has been so successful, he is such a great man, and I want everyone to remember Arsene Wenger as the best. He is at the moment, without doubt.”

Maybe if people didn’t say Wenger was “essentially not coach”, suggest he couldn’t deal with coaches who could challenge him, constantly discuss his decline and accuse him of treating them like “a f**king disgrace” all in the last fortnight while promoting their new book, it might be easier to remember him as the best? Just a thought.


Done deal
‘Victor Lindelof confident Manchester United move is done deal’ – Manchester Evening News, December 21, 2016.

MANCHESTER UNITED have completed the signing of Victor Lindelof and are on the verge of sealing a deal for Nelson Semedo’ – Daily Express, December 27, 2016

‘Manchester United finally strike deal with European club for in-demand defender’ – Daily Star, February 28, 2017.

‘Manchester United finally set to sign Benfica defender Lindelof in £35m deal after long-running transfer saga’ – Daily Mail, June 2, 2017.

Please God let it be true this time…


Optimistic assessment of the day
‘Dael Fry aiming to show next Middlesbrough boss he’s ready for action by stopping the planet’s best in South Korea’ – The Sun.

An accurate version: ‘Dael Fry aiming to show next Middlesbrough boss he’s ready for action by stopping the planet’s best players who qualify to play in an Under-20 World Cup and have not been called up by their senior or Under-21 sides in South Korea’.


Surprise of the day
‘Arsenal fear missing out on Monaco sensation Mbappe to Real Madrid amid £87m battle for hitman’ – MailOnline.

Who could have predicted that?


Recommended reading of the day
Jason Burt on Monaco.

Jack Pitt-Brooke on Juventus’ controversial European Cup past.

Marcus Christensen on Juventus.