Mediawatch: Pep to City. Or United. Or…

Date published: Thursday 7th January 2016 12:55

Cech this out
Footballers are humans. This may come as a surprise to you, but such a revelation is worthy of a news story. In 2016.

‘Petr Cech spotted on rush-hour train,’ crows the MailOnline (of course it’s them). ‘Spotted’? One would suggest that he wasn’t exactly hiding.

The first paragraph reads: ‘Without his trademark helmet and huge gloves, footy fans may have done a double take when they spotted a famous footballer on the rush-hour commute earlier this week.’

Are you telling Mediawatch that Petr Cech doesn’t wear a protective helmet or a pair of goalkeeper gloves in everyday life? Not when cooking? Or sleeping? Or even using public transport?!

The Daily Mirror, the MetroESPN and Eurosport all run the same story. As do the Daily Telegraph, whose man Callum Davis claims that this proves the Arsenal shot-stopper ‘is the nicest man in football’.

He got on a f**king train, people.


Laying down the Law
Be it Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale or Emmanuel Adebayor, it is more or less an accepted wisdom that Manchester United will sign at least one world-class player in the summer. They only need three or four to win the Premier League, after all. It’s why we’re treated to a Ronaldo or Bale story at least once every 427 seconds.

Today’s serving is provided by Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph. He confirms that Ronaldo is expected to leave Real Madrid in the summer, despite the appointment of Zinedine Zidane as manager. ‘United currently stand a far better chance of re-signing Ronaldo than capturing Bale,’ Law writes.

It’s a strange claim, considering the Telegraph’s own ’11 reasons’ the Bale transfer could happen. Among them are:

* ‘Manchester United are willing to spend big to restore past glories’
* ‘Joining United would mean Bale was closer to his family’
* ‘Bale knows he would be the main man at Old Trafford’
* ‘A move to Manchester would provide the chance to team up with Ryan Giggs’

Expect an ’11 reasons Cristiano Ronaldo might return to Old Trafford’ by Monday.


A Messi affair
Big claim from The Sun on Thursday morning; Pep Guardiola is joining Manchester City in the summer. And he is targeting four players.

In a Shaun Custis exclusive, Guardiola will take up ‘the challenge of a lifetime’ in making City the best team in Europe. To do so, he will try and sign Gerard Pique, David Alaba, Paul Pogba and Lionel Messi. Arbitrary prices are added to each player, with Pique valued at £40million, Alaba at £45m, Pogba at £75m and Messi at £125m. So a cool £285m. Remember when FFP was a thing?

The claims regarding Messi are backed up by Martin Lipton in the same edition. ‘Lionel Messi can expect a reunion with Pep Guardiola — if he quits Barcelona for Manchester City,’ he writes.

Custis and Lipton should perhaps have consulted their colleague, the esteemed Antony Kastrinakis. Less than a month ago, Kastrinakis wrote how Guardiola and Messi had a ‘famous rift’, one which precipitated his departure in 2012. Such a ‘rift’ even saw Messi’s form take a ‘noticeable dip’, according to Kastrinakis. So it’s a no-go, then?

In Lipton’s story, he writes that the pair ‘patched up their friendship and Pep has told City that Messi, 28, would be central to his plans’. How delightfully convenient.


Pep talk
All the following have been published on The Sun‘s website since December:

* ‘Pep Guardiola will wait if Manchester United won’t ditch Louis van Gaal’ – Neil Custis, December 7.

* ‘Manchester United step up chase for Pep Guardiola’ – Antony Kastrinakis, December 13.

* ‘Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City all want Pep Guardiola to be their next manager’ – a Martin Lipton and Shaun Custis exclusive, December 16.

* ‘Roman Abramovich has told Pep Guardiola he will give him anything he wants to take over at Chelsea – a Martin Lipton exclusive, December 22.

* ‘Pep Guardiola agrees Man City deal but tells Man Utd and Chelsea he is STILL open to offers’ – Duncan Wright, December 23.

* ‘Pep Guardiola feels loyal to Man City – but wants to see what United offer’ – Antony Kastrinakis, January 5.

* ‘Pep Guardiola tells Manchester United, City, Chelsea and Arsenal: Come and get me’ – Toby Gannon, January 5.

* ‘Pep Guardiola looks destined for Manchester City…unless United make their move quickly’ – an Antony Kastrinakis exclusive, January 5.

* ‘Could Arsenal pull off a miracle and land Pep Guardiola at end of the season?’ – Antony Kastrinakis, January 6.

He’s going to United. Or City. Or maybe Chelsea. Or even Arsenal. Busy boy.


Stones throw
‘Stones displays welcome arrogance and hints of a young Bobby Moore’ – the headline to Tim Rich’s piece in The Independent.

‘Stones showed he has all the traits to be an England captain’ – the headline to Dominic King’s piece in the Daily Mail.

‘Value is rising for diamond Stones’ – the headline to David Maddock’s piece in the Daily Mirror.

‘John Stones is a real diamond who deserves the chance to sparkle on the biggest stage’ – the headline to Jeremy Cross’s piece in the Daily Star.

All praise Stones for helping Everton keep Sergio Aguero silent. The Argentinean has failed to score in 12 games altogether this season. By Stones’s side, Ramiro Funes Mori made the same amount of tackles, made more clearances, made more interceptions, gained possession more times, had more touches, and made one fewer pass in 90 minutes. Oh, and he scored.

Stones is good; perhaps very good. But ‘a young Bobby Moore’ on Wednesday night? Wow.


Five headlines from a far more successful website
Time for our daily look at the Metro‘s website. The January transfer window is wide open, people.

* ‘Man United looking to seal £40m transfer deal for Spanish midfielder – report’.

It’s Ander Herrera.

* ‘Deal agreed: Bundesliga star heading to Man Utd after transfer agreement’.

It’s Adnan Januzaj.

* ‘Double deal: Arsenal reach agreement for two quality stars in January’.

Tafari Moore and Tolaji Bola. Both are Arsenal youth players.

* ‘Man United close to agreeing deal with iconic club for midfielder – report’. 

How to make ‘Nick Powell to Nottingham Forest’ sound sexy.

* ‘Exclusive: Euro title-chasers ready to seal transfer of Aston Villa star’. AEK Athens want Charles N’Zogbia.

The Greek side are 18 points behind Olympiakos in the Super League. They’re not doing the best of jobs at chasing that title.

And since when did the Metro start doing exclusives? What a time to be alive.


Within reason
‘7 reasons why Arsenal should re-sign Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas’ is a Metro headline Mediawatch simply could not resist. Again, we’re saving you the click. Here are the best bits.

* He’s ‘an upgrade on existing midfielders,’ says Will Giles. He will be if you compare him to Mathieu Flamini, Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta. No sign of Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla or Francis Coquelin…

* He could be ‘Cazorla’s heir’. He’s three years younger and excels in a different position. Fine aside from that.

* ‘Goal threat’. Two words. Simple.

Cesc Fabregas goals since 2014/15: Six
Mesut Ozil goals since 2014/15: Ten
Aaron Ramsey goals since 2014/15: 13

They’ve probably got that covered, lads. Same goes for ‘assist overload’, which is point number four.

Point number five is that ‘it would annoy Chelsea fans’.

Right, we’re getting off here. Ooooh good, it’s Petr Cech’s stop too. What are you doing on a train, nicest man in football?


I am legend
After the MailOnline‘s memorable story at the top of their website at Wednesday lunchtime, they continue their excellent form into Thursday.

‘Gerrard pulls on the Liverpool shirt again as legends team beat Aussies thanks to goals from Garcia, Rush and Aldridge in Sydney,’ is their main football story at around noon. ‘Old players beat other old players in kickabout’ is an admittedly slightly less catchy headline.


Worst headline of the day
‘Peperami’ – The Sun. Just because it has ‘Pep’ in it, it doesn’t mean you have to use it.


Recommended reading of the day
Barney Ronay on the interpretation of foreign managers.

James Scowcroft on life as a fan.

James Olley on Petr Cech.


Thanks to Ed Taylor and Oliver Cowan. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at, putting ‘Mediawatch’ in the subject field.

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