No way, Jose
Each of the below are headlines from the Daily Mail:
‘Jose Mourinho closing in on Manchester United deal as former Chelsea boss expected to get job in summer’ – February 6.
‘Jose Mourinho tells friends that his summer move to Manchester United is a ‘done deal’ – February 10.
‘Jose Mourinho confirms he WILL be in a new job from July, as sacked Chelsea boss adds to the pressure on Louis van Gaal at Manchester United’ – March 11.
‘Manchester United agree preliminary contract with Jose Mourinho to take over from Louis van Gaal, according to reports’ – March 20.
‘Manchester United remain Jose Mourinho’s first choice but ex-Chelsea boss is keeping close eye on Real Madrid developments’ – April 8
‘Jose Mourinho could be tempted by PSG’s riches if Laurent Blanc leaves the club’ – April 14
Ever get the feeling your source has an ulterior motive?
It’s a Vard knock life
Riyad Mahrez. Jamie Vardy. N’Golo Kante. Harry Kane. Dimitri Payet. Mesut Ozil. One of these six men will be crowned PFA Premier League Player of the Year later this month. They will almost certainly play for Leicester. Zany Mike Walters is just unsure which of Leicester’s heroes deserve the award.
‘If Kante was a bargain, what does that make Riyad Mahrez at one tenth of the cost – and with 17 goals this season to boot?’ he asks in the Daily Mirror. ‘Mahrez’s twinkling feet around the box have illuminated Leicester’s title charge. No complaints if he walks away with the gong, either.’
Walters’ difficulty in separating the two is palpable. The goals, assists and creativity of Mahrez have launched Leicester to the Premier League summit. The sheer work ethic and excellence of Kante has provided the platform. Both would be worthy winners.
So who does Walters go for in this Mahrez or Kante conundrum?
‘On the basis that I can’t really separate them, and that patriotism is the last refuge of a sporting hack, my vote goes to football’s ultimate rags-to-riches story, the boy who’s made you believe anything is possible… Jamie Vardy.’
Glad that’s clear. At least he admits he picked him because he’s English.
Steven Howard is markedly less grumpy after announcing that he is to retire as Chief Sports Writer at The Sun later this month. ‘The man at the heart of The Sun’ was impressed with Manchester City on Tuesday.
‘Call it the Guardiola effect,’ writes Howard, after City advanced to their first Champions League semi-final by beating Paris Saint-Germain.
‘As soon as it was known young Pep was joining Bayern Munich in early 2013, the players responded to manager Jupp Heynckes by landing the Treble,’ Howard continues. ‘City players, in turn, have taken the club through to their first ever Champions League semi-final.’
The piece is headlined: ‘Pep’s got City firing.’
Manchester City announced that Guardiola would replace Manuel Pellegrini as manager in the summer on February 1. From then until the end of March, City played 11 games. They won three, drew three and lost five. They exited the FA Cup, and dropped from second in the Premier League, three points behind leaders Leicester, to fourth, 15 points behind the Foxes. Do we call that the ‘Guardiola effect’ too?
Howard’s praise is also particularly strange as he dubbed City ‘a team disintegrating in front of everyone’s eyes’ on March 17, in an article which said Pep was ‘walking into a nightmare’ at the Etihad Stadium.
‘When he was voted into French football’s ‘worst team of the year’ days before arriving at Anfield, fans wondered exactly what they were getting with Divock Origi,’ writes David Maddock for the Daily Mirror.
‘And when Brendan Rodgers, the manager who paid an eye-opening £10million for a largely unknown teenager, then studiously ignored the striker, those same Reds supporters feared the worst.’
Few things, David:
– ‘A largely unknown teenager’? Origi had nearly 50 senior club appearances to his name when Liverpool signed him, was a Belgian senior international and had started – and scored – for a quarter-finalist at the 2014 World Cup. Manchester United reportedly wanted him.
– Can a man ‘studiously ignore’ a striker he paid £10million for?
– Was Origi even ‘studiously ignored’? Or was Rodgers more keen to play the other striker he bought? You know, the one that cost him £32.5m, and had vast Premier League experience. Rodgers handed Origi his league debut, and started him three times before he was sacked in October.
Remember when Manchester United signed Sergio Ramos last summer? Of course you don’t, because, despite widespread reports at the time, the move did not happen. But Ramos has returned to the Premier League wishlists ahead of the next transfer window.
‘Rumour: Chelsea bid record £63.5million to seal Sergio Ramos transfer,’ the Metro website tells us. Mark Brus claims that Chelsea have ‘taken the plunge’ (for a multiple La Liga and Champions League-winning captain, as well as a World and European champion) with an offer for the Real Madrid defender.
Brus adds that Ramos is being targeted ‘with a view to the 30-year-old replacing current right-back Branislav Ivanovic or captain John Terry’. Mediawatch suspects the latter.
They attribute their claim to Spanish outlet Don Balon, and even include a handy hyperlink. Slightly less handy is the fact that it leads to another story on the Metro’s website which tells us essentially the exact same thing. Time to do some actual work and follow the trail ourselves then.
‘Real Madrid contemplates an offer of 80 million by Sergio Ramos,’ reads the headline on the Don Balon website. They claim that Chelsea have made their interest ‘public’, and have offered €80m, which translates to around £63million. All of this is ‘according to the English newspaper The Sun’. So off we go again.
‘Sergio Ramos emerges as Chelsea target as Antonio Conte gets ready to show Branislav Ivanovic the exit,’ reads the headline on The Sun from a story published three days ago. They do mention Chelsea’s interest, but there is no mention of an offer or even a potential fee.
What’s more, The Sun’s claims are ‘according to reports in Italy’, which go unidentified. Sigh.
Fellaini's in, no need to worry
— Neil Custis (@ncustisTheSun) April 13, 2016
Two minutes later…
'We will stick to the philosophy and then, when we are losing, bang it up to the big man'
— Neil Custis (@ncustisTheSun) April 13, 2016
Two hours (and a winning goal in a fine performance) later…
Never doubted it
— Neil Custis (@ncustisTheSun) April 13, 2016
How many pounds must be shed if United win the FA Cup?
To the Metro website we go:
* ‘Arsenal ready to exploit contract loophole to sign title rivals’ best player’
Is a ‘release clause’ known as a ‘contract loophole’ now?
* ‘Revealed: Man Utd legend betrayed club by helping Arsenal boss Wenger sign star’
Sir Alex Ferguson told Arsene Wenger that Danny Welbeck ‘only needs to be told something once in training’. According to reports.
* ‘Man United clear to seal signing of attacking genius after major revelation’
Sofiane Boufal may be very good, but 14 players have scored more Ligue Un goals this season, and 25 players have more assists than the ‘attacking genius’.
Thankfully, the Daily Mirror were busy learning on Wednesday evening. Their latest lesson was that ‘Michael Carrick is worth a new deal’. ‘He is still in contention to go to the Euros,’ writes Steve Stammers.
The same Michael Carrick who received a match rating of six? Only one player across both sides scored lower.
The same Michael Carrick whose glorious write-up is simply ‘Booked Payet drew the foul and got Carrick in the ref’s book’?
The same Michael Carrick who does not receive a single mention in John Cross’ match report, not even in passing?
Also, Carrick has started one competitive England match since October 2013. Is he really in contention?
Mediawatch finally has confirmation that Jurgen Klopp is a magician. The German said that the injury suffered by captain Jordan Henderson in the first leg of Liverpool’s Europa League quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund was “serious”. His chances of making the England squad for Euro 2016 were in doubt.
Yet the Daily Mirror name the midfielder in their predicted Reds line-up for the second leg at Anfield. It’s a miracle.
Four other headlines from other far more successful websites
* ‘Divock Origi makes surprising admission: This Liverpool star is my big inspiration’ – Daily Express.
Mediawatch is stunned that Origi is learning from Daniel Sturridge.
* ‘Burn! Pep Guardiola takes aim at Cristiano Ronaldo as Bayern Munich beat Benfica to reach Champions League semi-finals’ – Daily Mirror.
“I know that Ronaldo wanted Benfica in the semis,” said Guardiola. “I’m sorry for him.”
Better run that under lukewarm water as soon as possible, Cristiano.
* ‘How and why did Manchester United beat West Ham and what does it mean for Louis van Gaal?’ – Daily Telegraph.
‘Why’ did United beat West Ham? ‘Why’?
* ‘De Bruyne isn’t satisfied with a semi after helping City overcome PSG’ – MailOnline.
Recommended reading of the day
Dion Fanning on Jurgen Klopp.
Jessie Losch on Uruguay and Diego Forlan.
Neil Atkinson on 3pm kick-offs.
With thanks to Darragh G and Lee Waymont. If you see anything that belongs on this page, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, with ‘Mediawatch’ as the subject line.