Paul Pogba’s £31m valuation and more nonsense…

Sarah Winterburn

Naked ambition
We’re not saying that nobody has a clue what the hell is going on but…

The Sun back page, March 31: ‘ANXIOUS Premier League chiefs face having to sacrifice this season OR next term if the lockdown remains until October.’

Daily Mail back page, March 31: ‘THE Premier League are working on an ambitious plan to restart the season behind closed doors on the first weekend of May with a scheduled finish date of Sunday July 12.’

Simultaneously ambitious and anxious. Like Mediawatch going on its daily ‘run’.


By the way, a version of only one of those stories can be found prominent on The Sun‘s football homepage at 11am on Tuesday.

Clue: It’s not the one written by the people they actually employ.


We are the champions, my friend…
Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror brings us the latest in its ‘who really gives a sh*t?’ back-page exclusives as they tell us that ‘JURGEN KLOPP was close to lifting the Premier League trophy as part of a secret plan to crown Liverpool champions earlier than normal’.

We learn that ‘top-level talks took place to try to bring forward the presentation as the coronavirus crisis worsened’.

So they wouldn’t actually be declared champions any earlier at all? They needed two wins and they would have been given the trophy had they got those two wins. All that was actually discussed in this ‘secret plan’ was an early trophy presentation.

As you were.


Money, money, money
Thankfully the CIES Football Observatory come along every Monday with their nonsensical algorithms to provide a ‘story’, and The Sun have gratefully lapped up that story as they tell us that ‘MANCHESTER CITY face £366million being wiped off their squad’s value if their season is KO’d – the biggest loss in Europe’.

There are so many things wrong with this story – the fact that ‘value’ means nothing if a club is not intending to sell, the fact that in this case ‘value’ is just an educated guess – but the whole thing falls down somewhat when we are told in the seventh paragraph that ‘Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba would see his value almost halved from £58m to £31m’.

Pandemic or no pandemic, we wish the best of luck to anybody offering Manchester United just £31m for Paul Pogba this summer.

Still, that hasn’t stopped the headlines…

‘Paul Pogba worth just £31m but Man City squad worst hit as transfer values plummet in coronavirus shutdown’ – The Sun online.

‘Man United star Paul Pogba’s transfer value drops dramatically amid coronavirus outbreak, claims report’ – Caught Offside

‘Manchester United star Paul Pogba’s transfer value could almost halve due to coronavirus’ – Manchester Evening News.

Odd how they have all chosen to ignore the obvious – a) that Pogba was never really available for £58m and b) that the only reason the algorithms ‘almost halve’ his value is because they are bizarrely assuming that United will somehow neglect to trigger the one-year contract extension that will automatically protect his ‘value’.

But sod that because Pogba, Pogba, Pogba.


On the same page
David McDonnell on Jack Grealish, Daily Mirror, p51: ‘On the cusp of an England call-up and with Manchester United ready to bid £60million for him this summer, few players have more going for them. But the 24-year-old’s actions on Sunday morning may have jeopardised both of those ambitions and caused significant damage to his burgeoning career.’

Andy Dunn on Jack Grealish, Daily Mirror, p51: ‘The Aston Villa player has form for mischief off the pitch. It is not the sort of form that will stop elite clubs wanting to sign him whenever normality returns to life and football.’

One or the other.


Thankfully, the Manchester Evening News have an ‘exclusive’ story that ‘Manchester United still working on transfers amid Jack Grealish interest’.

Yes, they can ‘exclusively’ tell us this mind-blowing information:

‘Manchester United are still working on prospective deals ahead of the transfer window opening in just over two months.

‘Despite the indefinite hiatus of European football due to the coronavirus pandemic, the MEN understands United are continuing negotiations with clubs and representatives of potential signings.’

And there we were thinking that one of the biggest clubs in the world would just stop working while there is no actual football.

Thank f*** for their inside track.


Over at the Daily Mail, they have opted for a back-page headline of ‘FLAP JACK’ and standfirst of ‘Grealish issues grovelling apology but left sweating over £80m United move’.

Ignoring the £20m disparity between newspapers, we are happy to see a clear message: Grealish has been ‘left sweating’ over a transfer. Crime and punishment indeed.

Chris Wheeler’s opening paragraph is equally clear: ‘JACK GREALISH has jeopardised his dream move to Manchester United after allegedly crashing his car following a late-night party.’

Right. So the move is definitely in doubt. What now?

Second paragraph: ‘United are clear favourites to sign the 24-year-old from Aston Villa, and a deal worth up to £80million is still expected to happen.’

Oh. No sweat.


Special agent
But while Jack Grealish is still likely to join Manchester United, one unlikely move is Jadon Sancho to Liverpool. And how do we know it is unlikely, barring the £100m price tag of course?

‘Man Utd in Jadon Sancho transfer boost as agent shuts down Chelsea and Liverpool moves’ – Express.

‘Agent shuts down Liverpool, Chelsea talk as Man Utd close on €130m star’ – TEAMtalk.

‘Good news for Man United as agent rules Liverpool & Chelsea out of transfer race for €130m-rated star’ – CaughtOffside.

‘Liverpool news and transfers LIVE – Agent ‘shuts down’ Jadon Sancho Anfield move, Reds Philippe Coutinho stance outlined, May return plan’ – Liverpool Echo.

Sounds pretty unequivocal…until you realise it’s not Jadon Sancho’s agent. Just an agent.