Paul Pogba and Man United were ‘over’ in March. Now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ‘wants to pair’ him with Bruno Fernandes in midfield.
The back page of the Daily Mirror carries a wonderful exclusive interview with Troy Deeney by Darren Lewis. This is the same newspaper that has also undeniably led the way in terms of bringing us updates with regards to the Premier League’s plans to return. God bless John Cross.
But what story sits atop their website at Thursday lunchtime? Some banal Andy Robertson quotes circulated by Liverpool’s official channels.
‘”Hopefully we can win the games we need”: Liverpool star Robertson makes Premier League title vow as season set for green light’
Come back to us when a Liverpool player hopes they can’t win the games they need, then you’ll have a story.
When Manchester United announced their latest financial results, The Sun led the way in scaremongering. The club themselves stated in no uncertain terms they had more than £90.3m of cash balances, as well as access to a £150m credit facility, yet that was given no mention whatsoever amid the explainable losses and debt.
This, after all, was a ‘chilling warning’.
So when United utilise that credit facility to take out a £140m loan less than a week later, it obviously suddenly becomes something the nation’s best-selling newspaper is interested in. So much so that ‘RAID THE POGGY BANK’ is scrawled on their back page.
Except that, in itself, is not quite salacious enough. So by his second paragraph, Martin Blackburn has to crowbar in some transfer speculation.
‘And it should go some way to ensuring Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can still bring in stars like Jadon Sancho when the transfer window re-opens.’
Then, buried in the 11th paragraph:
‘United sources say the loan will be used mainly to safeguard the club through this tough period.’
That definitely sounds like they’re planning to spend £100m of it on one player.
Blackburn’s other claim is that ‘United could raise further funds’ by selling Paul Pogba.
Now this is interesting, mainly with regards to just how much selling Pogba could raise in ‘further funds’. Blackburn’s Sun colleague Neil Custis never could settle on a particular fee, floating numbers from £180m all the way down to around £100m.
Custis also told us in September 2018 that ‘the exit door that was creaking open’ for Pogba at United ‘is now hanging off its hinges’.
He then informed us in July 2018 that “Pogba and his agent have engineered a situation where it simply just can’t go on”.
By January 2020: ‘Paul Pogba’s Manchester United career is over with both player and club desperate for a parting of the ways.’
Later that same month: ‘Manchester United will let Paul Pogba leave in a cut-price deal after finally signing Bruno Fernandes.’
February brought us news that ‘Paul Pogba has been given the green light to leave Manchester United’.
Then, on March 19: ‘Paul Pogba’s Manchester United career is over. Despite suggestions that a peace deal is being made, both sides want a splitting of the ways.’
Make no mistake: Pogba is as ‘desperate’ to leave as United are to sell him, particularly as they now have a replacement in Fernandes. That much is clear.
And now back to May 28 and Blackburn, who says United ‘maintain £89m record buy Pogba is not for sale,’ while ‘sources say Solskjaer wants to pair Pogba with January arrival Fernandes’.
Thanks for coming, Neil.
The Sun website do the usual: mock up a ridiculous ‘predicted line-up’ based on such silly speculation.
The Sun's PREDICTED LINE-UP for Man United is asking an awful lot of that defence. pic.twitter.com/xRkc29jemV
— Football365 (@F365) May 28, 2020
United will obviously take out a £140m loan so they can sign both Jadon Sancho and Kalidou Koulibaly in the midst of a global pandemic, while swapping Pogba for Martin Odegaard and James Rodriguez and starting both alongside Fernandes in the most attacking central midfield possible.
Also on The Sun‘s website:
‘Neymar’s mum gets back with toyboy lover despite 30-year age difference’
A completely random reminder that Rupert Murdoch is currently married to someone 26 years younger than him, having only recently divorced his third wife, 38 years his junior.
Over at The Metro, they are spending their days much the same as any decent football website writer worth their salt: by frantically transcribing the spoken word of Jamie Carragher or Gary Neville on Sky Sports‘ Football Show.
The result is this enticing little headline:
‘Jamie Carragher warns Mikel Arteta about letting David Luiz leave’
Oh wow. This sounds excellent. Is Carragher simply imploring Arteta to ensure Luiz stays at home and alert? Or is this a caution that Matteo Guendouzi won’t be able to function properly without his long-lost brother? Just what is this ‘warning’?
“At times we know he can lack concentration, make poor decisions and that’s cost certain teams. I think that’s why he’s always moved on in his career.”
“To be honest it’s no surprise to me that they won’t be renewing David Luiz’s contract.”
Ooft. Consider yourselves alerted, Arsenal.
Taking the Mik
Football.London go in entirely the opposite direction with the exact same quotes.
‘Jamie Carragher issues damning verdict on David Luiz’s career and makes William Saliba claim’
How can Carragher both ‘warn’ Arteta about letting Luiz go but give a ‘damning verdict’ on the centre-half himself?
He even points out that “he has had success in his career, he went for big money, he has got some great qualities,” and that “we really saw the best of him” as a title winner at Chelsea.
The only ‘damning’ thing here is that a pundit cannot deliver nuanced analysis without risking certain outlets – sites not a million miles from Mediawatch included – ignoring it for something more clicky.
‘Champions-elect Liverpool now look virtually certain to do no transfer spending this summer.
‘With a much deflated transfer market virtually every Premier League club will try to offload players where possible, and reign in their spending to meet gloomy budget forecasts.
‘For Liverpool, that will mean withdrawing their interest in Werner, and waiting to see if he becomes available at a much smaller sum, possibly next summer’ – David Maddock, Daily Mirror, May 1.
‘Liverpool have refused to pay Timo Werner’s release clause – even if it means losing out.
‘With his RB Leipzig club insisting they will not negotiate a price tag below their £50million valuation for the striker, the Reds have withdrawn completely from talks and will not pursue his signature’ – David Maddock, Daily Mirror, May 28.
Does recycling your own stories almost a month later really qualify as an exclusive?
No way, Jose
‘While his hair may be greyer and his eyeslight a little poorer, the Specs-ial One was as sharp and as charming as ever in an interview for Sky’s Football Show’ – Paul Jiggins, The Sun.
That’s enough internet for one day.
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