Mediawatch: Sanchez, Man United, clickety-click…

Date published: Monday 17th July 2017 6:09

A headline for our times
‘Manchester United stars meet Game of Thrones actors before they are put through their paces by Jose Mourinho’ – MailOnline.


Manchester United Mourinho Alexis Sanchez Arsenal transfer
Sanchez? Did you say Sanchez? Now that’s a headline. This headline in the Manchester Evening News actually…

‘Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho talks Alexis Sanchez Arsenal transfer’

Juicy. The story by Samuel Luckhurst begins:

‘Jose Mourinho has admitted it is a ‘shame’ Manchester United did not sign Alvaro Morata and appeared to dismiss any chance of a move for Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.’

‘Appeared to’? Now we’re starting to wonder whether Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho really has ‘talked Alexis Sanchez Arsenal transfer’ (because that makes absolute sense). The story continues…

‘When Mourinho was asked by a Spanish journalist if United were attempting to sign Morata, he replied in Spanish: “It is a question for Florentino [Perez, the Real president]. I don’t know the first thing about Sanchez.”‘

So not ‘Alexis Sanchez’ but just Sanchez. Which is odd because, as Luckhurst points out, ‘the Spanish journalist did not mention Sanchez, who has entered the last year of his Arsenal contract, in his question’. Odd then that he just lobbed in the name of Sanchez. What a dick move.

Unless of course you are aware that Real Madrid’s director general is called Jose Angel Sanchez, as The Independent were when they wrote ‘Mourinho said: “I think this is a question for [Real Madrid president] Florentino Perez and [director general] Jose Angel Sanchez. I can only repeat what I said yesterday.’

If only there were footage on Twitter of Mourinho clearly saying the words ‘Jose Angel Sanchez’.

Oh. There is…

The real ‘shame’ is that many people on Twitter pointed out Luckhurst’s mistake on Twitter on Sunday, including this fella…

…and yet the story remains the same. Because, well, clicks.


Loan ranger
The headline is certainly intriguing…

‘£54m Walker fee is crazy, but at least City didn’t play the loan system.’

Sorry, what? Come again. We are now praising Manchester City for buying Kyle Walker outright rather than borrowing him, like all those other elite Premier League clubs who are borrowing players both willy and nilly?

Except, well they’re not, are they? Last season, the only incoming loan to a top-six club was Tottenham’s third-choice goalkeeper Pau Lopez.


But the Daily Mail’s Martin Samuel is not one to be deterred from riling against something that almost never happens, encouraging us to ‘look at the size and wealth of some of the clubs in the loan market’. Well, we’ve looked and well, it’s mostly clubs in the bottom half of the Premier League. Manchester City trying to borrow a first-team player from Tottenham basically has no precedence and yet…

‘As ludicrous as Walker’s fee may be, at least City paid it. At least the owners pulled out a chequebook and made Walker their player, permanently. They didn’t baulk at the transfer outlay, the wages, the signing-on fee or the agent’s dues.’

Yes, well done City, for signing Walker in the absolutely only possible way a large, rich club could buy a player from a slightly less rich club. A round of applause is due for Manchester City not ‘baulking’ at wages they could comfortably – and did comfortably – double.

Even for Samuel, this is utter nonsense.

Of course, the point Samuel (eventually) tried to make is that West Ham should have just stumped up the money for Joe Hart instead of borrowing him. Never mind that his £20m price tag (not mentioned by Samuel) made him a very expensive 30-year-old goalkeeper. Never mind that his £130,000-a-week wages (not mentioned by Samuel) would shatter their wage structure; they should have just paid.

‘When West Ham went to Manchester City to negotiate a deal for Joe Hart, they did not want permanence. They wanted a loan. A year or so, and then see. And Hart is not a young player whose career path could go either way.

‘He’s a 30-year-old with 71 England caps. There is nothing about Hart that a buyer cannot know. So, as West Ham want a goalkeeper and City want to sell, why a temporary move? Doing it this way takes Hart out of West Ham’s team for two matches, minimum, this season.

‘Why would any ambitious club suffer that? Because it’s cheap. West Ham want City to pick up some of Hart’s salary, and they don’t want to pay a loan fee.’

So Manchester City want £20m for a player that is not part of their plans and yet it is West Ham who are in the wrong for trying to find another solution? It is West Ham who are in the wrong for trying to operate within their means?

And you want us to believe that City themselves should be patted on the back for not asking for a similar deal for a player in completely different circumstances? The mind really does boggle.

Samuel continues…

‘Not that it is greatly better in Europe. Moussa Sissoko, previously Walker’s team-mate at Tottenham, is in limbo because Daniel Levy wants him off the books – having paid Newcastle £30m last season – but Marseille want a loan deal.

‘This is a big club, or certainly a club that considers itself big. And they can’t afford a Tottenham reserve?’

It would break their transfer record, Martin. It’s almost like all clubs are not created the same. Nor all players. Nor all columnists.


Wonder Wal
Wonderful stuff in The Sun, who insinuate that Theo Walcott’s words about Crystal Palace “wanting it more” than Arsenal in their April defeat might have turned around their season.

Mike McGrath writes:

‘Losing at Palace was a turning point in the Gunners’ season and they lost only once more in the rest of the campaign – with Walcott’s words clearly hitting a nerve.’

Yes. That will be it.  That’s what changed their season. Not the switch in formation (that largely relegated Walcott to the bench). It was all Theo; well done, fella. Have a pay rise.


Honest, guv
Of course, we have to feel sorry for poor Theo; he paid a hefty price for his honesty. Or at least that’s what it says in the Daily Mirror

‘THEO WALCOTT discovered the hard way last season that honesty is not always the best policy.

‘Winger Walcott lost his place in Arsenal ’s starting XI at the end of last season, starting just once after making outspoken remarks in a TV interview following an early April defeat at Crystal Palace.

‘The England international admitted Palace “wanted it more” as they won 3-0 at Selhurst Park, which brought a stinging attack from Sky pundit Jamie Carragher, who accused Walcott of “looking after himself”.

‘There also seemed to be a backlash as manager Arsene Wenger – who labelled the remarks “not acceptable” – dropped him for a run-in that saw Arsenal go on an impressive winning run after that Palace disaster which culminated in FA Cup final victory over newly-crowned champions Chelsea.’

Poor Theo. He really did pay the ultimate price for just being honest.

Except, well, a couple of things spring to mind…

1) Theo Walcott himself was taken off in that 3-0 defeat to Palace and was given a 5/10 rating by the Daily Mirror after what they described as a ‘bad night’ for the erstwhile England winger.

2) Arsene Wenger made six changes after that Palace defeat; they didn’t all make ‘outspoken remarks’, they were largely dropped because they had been sh*te.

3) Walcott was actually recalled little more than a week later for a clash with Leicester. He was substituted and given a 5/10 rating by the Daily Mirror, who said ‘he struggled to get in game’.

You might say that Theo Walcott discovered the hard way that not being very good is not always the best policy.


Cross words
It is worth noting that the Daily Mirror’s John Cross – for it was he, of course – wrote in January of last year that ‘Theo Walcott must go down as one of Arsene Wenger’s greatest signings – and his best is yet to come’.

The wait continues.


Easy, easy, easy
From the MailOnline’s live blog of Manchester United’s 5-2 win over LA Galaxy:

‘Lukaku making an impact straight away. Hustle and bustle from him and the LA Galaxy defenders aren’t liking it. He’s just had an effort saved by Kempl.’

From the Daily Mail on Monday morning:

‘AFTER the Hollywood-style introduction in Los Angeles, Romelu Lukaku’s debut for Manchester United did not go quite according to the script as the £75million signing misfired in the opening game on tour.

‘Lukaku’s failure to convert an easy chance just four minutes after coming on as a half-time substitute was all the more awkward because the man he replaced, Marcus Rashford, had scored twice in the opening 20 minutes.’

Odd how it becomes an ‘easy chance’ when you need a headline.


Recommended reading of the day
Simon Burnton on Chalobah and Bakayoko
Rob Dawson on Man United’s 3-5-2 formation
Mino Rzouki on Leonardo Bonucci

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