Mediawatch: You can buy this England team for £124m!

Date published: Friday 18th August 2017 8:40

Home Groan
Neil Ashton of The Sun has come up with half a good idea in putting together an uncapped England XI who have moved for considerable sums this summer. We know a lot of money has been spent on average English players and we can all agree it is a ‘MAD MARKET’.

It is a shame then that Neil Ashton of The Sun has taken that half a good idea and made an absolutely ludicrous cock-up of the execution. To such an extent that Mediawatch is now wondering if a lot of money has not been spent on average English players at all. Maybe they are actually bargains.

Strap in because this is a long and bumpy ride.

Let’s start with the team itself…

Now we don’t know about you, but when we saw that Curtis Davies had gone to Derby for £1m (or £500,000 as reported elsewhere), we thought two words: MAD MARKET.

Now when we heard that Britt Assombalonga had gone to Middlesbrough for £15m, we did think this was indeed a MAD MARKET but what we also thought was that Assombalonga is Congolese and not English. Because he is Congolese and not English.

After all, Assombalonga himself said in May: “I was born in Congo so that’s where I want to play. I am African and I want to show people that they can pick to go and play for a team in Africa and that’s what I have done, that’s what I have chosen. It’s good for me because I am proud to say I am African, I am proud to say I am from Congo and that’s the team I would like to play for.”

It sounds awfully like he does not want to play either for England or for Ashton’s HOME-GROAN XI.

But having decided on this idea, Ashton is running with it. Straight into the Berlin wall.

‘This list – along with the bloated budgets that were used to buy them – is nothing for the Premier League to be proud of.’

Quite why Middlesbrough spending £15m on the Congolese Assombalonga should embarrass the Premier League is not clear, nor why they should have a problem with Derby spending a combined £5.5m (or £2.5m if we insist on using the actual fees) on Andre Wisdom and Davies.

But it is when Ashton decides to look at the German national side that he really loses his way and the plot.

‘For another £20m on top, you could buy the under-strength Germany team that won the Confederations Cup this summer.’

Could you? Surely the Chief Football Reporter of The Sun has not just added up the transfer fees of that Germany side and not taken into account how much they would actually cost to buy in 2017.

Oh yes, the Chief Football Reporter of The Sun has just added up the transfer fees of that Germany side and not taken into account how much they would actually cost to buy in 2017.

‘With the exceptions of Shkodran Mustafi (signed by Arsenal for £35m), Julian Draxler (Paris Saint-Germain £30m) and Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea £31m), the rest were bought on the cheap.

‘Joshua Kimmich (£8.5m), Lars Stindl (£2.7m) and Leon Goretzka (£2.5m) are among the bargains who started the 1-0 final victory over Chile.’

Right, so ‘you could buy the under-strength Germany team that won the Confederations Cup this summer’, so long as Bayern Munich want no more for Kimmich than they paid two years ago when he was an uncapped 20-year-old, Stindl’s price has not gone up in the same timeframe and Goretzka’s price has not changed since 2013.

Also, good luck in trying to get Timo Werner for £9m, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen for £10m and Jonas Hector for absolutely nothing.

Taking Ashton’s logic to the next step, how much would it cost to buy the England team who started their last qualifier against Scotland?

Well, you get your goalkeeper Joe Hart for anything between £100,000 and £800,000 depending on who you believe, so let’s round it up to £1m as that seems to be Ashton’s preferred method.

The team is completed by Kyle Walker (£50m), Chris Smalling (£12m), Gary Cahill (£7m), Ryan Bertrand (£10m), Eric Dier (£4m), Jake Livermore (£10m), Marcus Rashford (free), Dele Alli (£5m), Adam Lallana (£25m) and Harry Kane (free).

So you could buy the pretty much full-strength England team that started their last qualifier for £124m. Which is £30m less than that Germany side.

The only logical conclusion: England players are under-priced.


After writing all that nonsense, Ashton clearly had no time or energy remaining for a back-page story so he has gone for this ‘exclusive’…

Altogether now: When the exact opposite is a better story…


Sour sixteen
We keep being told that Chelsea have offloaded 17 players and now the Daily Mirror claim that Manchester City have ‘already recouped £71m in the transfer market by offloading 16 players no longer wanted by Pep Guardiola’. They call it City’s ‘huge clear-out of misfits’.

If you are struggling to think of 16 City ‘misfits’, then you have obviously forgotten Aaron Mooy (never played a game for City), Enes Unal (never played a game for City), Olivier Ntcham (never played a game for City), James Horsfield (never played a game for City), Ruben Sorino (never played a game for City), Bruno Zuculini (played 30 Community Shield minutes in 2014) and Ellis Plummer (never played a game for City).

Can you be ‘no longer wanted by Pep Guardiola’ if you were never actually wanted in the first place?


The big Jese
Mediawatch feels sympathy for the Daily Mail’s informed and sensible Spanish correspondent Pete Jenson. Given considerable space in the newspaper to write about new Stoke signing Jese Rodriguez and his career from Real Madrid to PSG and then Las Palmas, he even writes in the very last paragraph that ‘it’s easy to dismiss him as an airhead wasting his talents’ but says that ‘behind the rap videos and glamorous girlfriend he has shown that as well as being a character, he does have a character’.

The headline accompanying his lengthy article largely about football?

‘Stoke’s new signing…a rapper once rated Real Madrid’s next big thing (WITH A VERY GLAMOROUS GIRLFRIEND)’

And in case you were wondering…four pictures; Jese himself features in just two.


Ian Wright-Herbert
It was seen as quite the coup when the Daily Mail took Ian Herbert from The Independent, with the Sports Journalists Association reporting that ‘The Liverpool-based journalist, and former deputy editor of the Liverpool Daily Post, has carved a reputation for his investigative journalism since making the switch from news to sport in 2007’.

A reputation wholly deserved, judging by his piece in Thursday’s Mail asking ‘why so many sports stars are giving it both barrels’.

Apparently, ‘double-barrelled names now proliferate in sport because of the changing patterns of domestic life in the general population’.

We will spare you the other 794 words.

Important work.


Taunt of the day
Oddly, Ian Herbert’s thorough investigation into why there are more double-barrelled names than ever before in sport is not the biggest story in football according to his website MailOnline at 11.30am on Thursday. Clearly the biggest story in football is…

‘Now you’re Really taunting them! Ronaldo joins celebrating team-mates (and his son) for pictures with Super Cup after beating Barca’

Man who helps team win trophy celebrates winning said trophy with his team-mates! The d*ck.


Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda…
The Sun website have some juicy gossip:

‘Man United could move for Arjen Robben with the Bayern winger tempted by reunion with Jose Mourinho.’


‘JOSE MOURINHO could turn to Arjen Robben as his hunt for a winger continues.

‘The Manchester United boss wants one more signing before the deadline shuts at the end of the month.

‘And according to the Daily Mail, the Portuguese manager could turn his attentions to the Bayern Munich forward after turning his back on Ivan Perisic.’

That’s an awful lot of coulds.

Off we go to the Daily Mail

‘Jose Mourinho has left the door open for Manchester United to sign one more player before the window closes.

‘The Portuguese wants a wide player who can cut inside and interchange with his attack and midfield.

‘Here Sportsmail examines some of United’s potential targets.’


Can we have our click back please?


Recommended reading of the day
John Percy on Jonny Evans
Adam Bate on Gylfi Sigurdsson
Iain Macintosh on not trusting Liverpool

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