The two men who keep stringing Liverpool and Man Utd along

Date published: Wednesday 9th September 2020 12:45

'Nothing has changed. To tell fans otherwise is not correct.' Yet you've been spouting for three months...

‘Nothing has changed. To tell fans otherwise is not correct.’ But two journalists keep stringing Liverpool and Man Utd along.


Piece of ache
England were a bit rubbish on Tuesday. The Daily Mail‘s Sami Mokbel thought as much:

‘As England toiled here in Copenhagen, you couldn’t help but wonder what Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden were thinking back home in Manchester.’

Mediawatch managed that just fine.

‘The team they had left in disgrace just 24 hours prior were labouring, desperately in need of inspiration.’

The sort that Foden provided from the start or Greenwood from the bench against Iceland, you mean?

Southgate, as Mokbel points out, has ‘faced enough crises during his tenure to know the drill.

‘Winning football matches will help diminish whatever anxieties Southgate may suffer over how he navigates the headaches that lie ahead.

‘Judging by this performance, however, Southgate can add winning football matches to his list of headaches.’

He had won his previous four games before Tuesday evening by an aggregate score of 18-0. He has won 13 of his last 17 games since the 2018 World Cup. This has not been the finest international break for a variety of reasons but that’s nonsense.


Coad of conduct
Andy Dunn is full of praise for Conor Coady in the Daily Mirror but does suggest that ‘in keeping with his team-mates – and that is without exception – he gave the ball away far too ­frequently’.

He had the highest passing accuracy of any England starter. It seems strange to tar him (87.7%) with the same brush as Trent Alexander-Arnold (57.6%), for example.


Spill the Thi
But international football is boring. Everyone can finally get back to the important stuff now of worrying about transfers. Yay.

Christian Falk of German newspaper Bild needs no excuse to carry on where he left off: teasing Liverpool fans on Twitter.

‘It is a special pleasure for me to announce to you that the the new contract of Thiago and FC Bayern is fixed! the club wants to announce the new contract term this week’ – May 5.

‘The contracts were made, the deal fixed – but then Thiago hesitated. But now the signature should follow soon’ – May 29.

‘The contract of Thiago and Bayern was fixed, everything was negotiated. But: at the appointment with the bosses Thiago hesitated to sign. he said he couldn’t explain it to himself. in the club they now believe that he wants to leave’ – June 24.

‘Bayern has no offer for Thiago yet. But: in the dressing room of Bayern there are rumors about a interest of Liverpool in Thiago. Thiago said his collegues already goodbye’ – July 3.

‘Jürgen Klopp has informed the Board of Liverpool that he wants Thiago for the upcoming season’ – July 17.

‘Because of many request: there is still no bid for Thiago from Liverpool. So Bayern couldn’t accept a 30m bid’ – July 23.

‘The bosses of Bayern have decided that Thiago will be allowed to leave with an offer of at least 30 Mio Euros. TRUE: there is no offer yet’ – July 29.

‘The idea of Bayern of a fair fee for Thiago is 30 Mio Euros’ – August 11.

‘Our Story: Liverpool contacted Bayern because of Thiago’ – August 13.

‘True: negotiations between Liverpool and Bayern because of Thiago will start after the Champions League tournament’ – August 16.

‘Because Jan Aage Fjortoft asked me about the future of Thiago: Thiago didn’t change his mind last night. So his future will still be in Liverpool if the club pays the transfer fee to Bayern’ – August 24.

‘Update Thiago: Liverpool are still in talks with Bayern. Manchester United have not yet submitted an offer’ – September 1.

‘Update Thiago: His club has agreed that Thiago can go on vacation until next week. There is still time for secret negotiations…’ – September 9.

And for you to flog a horse that died about two months ago. When your last three updates are ‘there is still time’, ‘Liverpool are still in talks’ and ‘his future will still be in Liverpool’ if they pay the fee – sorry, is it €30m Bayern want? – it might be time to admit nothing is happening. And when the previous two updates were to say Liverpool ‘contacted’ Bayern before claiming ‘negotiations’ were to commence three days later, you have to ask yourself whether this is really worth all the retweets.


All Fjor one
The funny thing is, Mediawatch only bothered to collate those tweets after Jan Aage Fjortoft posted the following:

That’s clear enough. He and his colleagues are not prepared to string supporters along. As he says, ‘nothing has changed’ and ‘to tell fans otherwise is not correct’.

It is just a shame that he was hacked on each of the following dates:

‘Sancho – offer of 98 mill Euro rejected! Manchester United have offered Dortmund 98 mill Euro for Sancho. Dortmund have said NO!!! (Source Bild) I do expect this to go through’ – July 27.

‘No agreement YET. Total amount 120 mill euro. Negotiations around how high initial fee/how many installments/ over how many years But I understand that: VERY likely that Sancho will leave Dortmund. VERY likely that his next club is Manchester United’ – July 31.

‘Sancho and Manchester United getting very close in terms of personal terms’ – August 3.

‘I understand Sancho is the main and only target for Manchester United this window. If they get Sancho no other big profile will be signed. Sancho is seen as the key-factor to take them to the next level’ – August 7.

‘The talks will continue and if Man UTD will come up with the money I am sure a deal will be done’ – August 10.

‘Clear message from an insider at Dortmund: – There is NO chance that Sancho will leave the club. It’s carved in stone: He will stay’ – August 14.

‘As for 14th of August, Manchester United haven’t made any offer’ – August 14.

‘I don’t know what Man UTD’s strategy is. And I know some Man UTD – fans in here will save my last tweets if Sancho should end up at Old Trafford. But I don’t see Dortmund actions as a “strategy to get 120 mill” – I see it as a strategy to “keep the player”’ – August 14.

‘Man UTD want the player. And if the player comes out and says: – I want to leave Dortmund The game will change. But there is nothing so far showing that player will “do a Dembele/Aubameyang”’ – August 14.

‘In Sancho-case nothing will happen before Man UTD make a BIG offer. For Dortmund the case is closed’ – August 21.

‘Nothing new in terms of leaving. Can’t see any new “update” before / if Manchester United makes a bid’ – August 22.

‘Dortmund say “he will stay” Man UTD haven’t made a bid’ – August 23.

‘It’s gone quiet. I’m reading the German – media 24/7 and talk to a lot of people in and around Dortmund/ German football. And there hasn’t been one mentioning of “Sancho leaving” The rumored bid: No one in Germany who can confirm any bid. And Dortmund denies any bid’ – August 28.

‘Dortmund don’t want to sell him. That’s 100% There may be very secret talks that none of the good journalists know about, but the only “game changer”could be a massive bid from Man UTD. And so far that has NOT been put on the table’ – August 28.

‘Well connected Norwegian journalist writes that Solskjær has talked to Sancho many times. That Sancho wants to leave. That Solskjær has told Woodward: Fix it!!’ – September 5.

‘Dortmund very clear. Don’t want to sell him. Put a 10th of August deadline for any bid. Interesting that Man UTD still haven’t given up’ – September 5.

‘Sancho is still the main priority of Man UTD. As I see it: Only game changer is a BIG bid’ – September 7.

That is an awful lot of nothing changing but fans being told otherwise. You can’t lament the constant demand for ‘good news’ while feeding the transfer frenzy by trying to have your cake and eat it all summer.


Simon says
For someone who was late paying the salaries of Crystal Palace players and staff for two consecutive months in October and November 2009, taking the club into administration by the following January, Simon Jordan has an awful lot of opinions about how money should be spent in football.

He airs them for The Sun, taking aim at a sport that ‘carries on with ambivalence and dismissiveness’.

‘Given the required recession in football, surely there would be some respite in wage demands from understanding players?’ Jordan writes.

‘No chance. Look at Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang moving nonchalantly into a £15million annual salary.’

Let’s indeed look at a man who has nonchalantly scored 71 goals in 110 Arsenal games, including all four in the FA Cup semi-final and final that nonchalantly secured the club Europa League qualification and the many nonchalant millions that nonchalantly come with it.

You might say he’s earned that wage, that whatever Arsenal decide to offer him is representative of his obvious value and worth to the team. He is probably one of the worst possible examples of football’s general financial frivolity in a global pandemic. That is money well spent.

In fairness, that is the only line that mentions Aubameyang. Yet the headline and URL display his name ever so proudly.

As Jordan adds: ‘It never disappoints in its crass ignorance of the current climate.’ Alanis Morissette wants a word.


Silva lining
The most read story on the Daily Mirror website, meanwhile, is this:

‘Bernardo Silva’s controversial claim about ‘unfair Liverpool bias’ comes back to bite him’

Did he use the words ‘unfair’ or ‘bias’ at any point during an interview in April? Nope.

Does Manchester City teammate Kevin de Bruyne being named the Player of the Year ‘come back to bite’ Silva, who predicted someone from Liverpool would win the award, in any way? Nah.

Was it particularly controversial either at the time or now? Not really.

Is Jake Polden the king of online journalism? You bloody well bet.


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