Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool, transfer deadline day, etc…

Date published: Thursday 8th August 2019 12:06

Statue of David
Credit to the Daily Mail and Martin Keown for reacting to one of the biggest, most interesting and most surprising stories of transfer deadline day so quickly. The news that David Luiz could be joining Arsenal only broke on Wednesday evening, so to get such in-depth analysis of it ready for a quick turnaround on Thursday morning is commendable.

The credit stops about as soon as Keown’s actual opinions hit the page.

‘If I was at Arsenal and had the ear of Unai Emery, I would be advising my manager not to sign David Luiz.’

“Don’t sign this Premier League-winning former European champion for no more than £8m as a viable short-term solution to an infernal problem,” really is sage advice.

‘Walk away from this deal. This is not the defender for you. It’s too high risk.’

Purely for argument’s sake, a defender who is ‘too high risk’ is precisely the defender for Arsenal.

‘Yes, Arsenal want a centre back, but is Luiz the answer to their prayers? I don’t think so. The way the 32-year-old plays, he would be exposed in that Arsenal defence.’

Like he was when playing all but five games for Chelsea when they won the title with the third-best defensive record in the league literally two years ago? Like that, you mean?

Or when he played through injury for the full 120 minutes of the 2012 Champions League final, converting in the shoot-out victory?

It sounds an awful lot like David Luiz, as with many players, excels in certain systems and flatters to deceive in others. A team who passes out from the back and requires experience in defence seems like a natural fit.

‘He would not get the same protection he enjoys at Chelsea, where N’Golo Kante patrols in front of the back line. In possession, Luiz is a wonderful passer, but he makes mistakes when playing as part of a back four. He has a tendency to lose his marker and is one of those all-or-nothing players – if he doesn’t win the ball in a challenge, then congratulations because you’re in.’

Good job his tackle success rate in last season’s Premier League was 85.4% then.

But Luiz ‘missing first-team training with Chelsea yesterday is a red flag’. Arsenal ‘have just been forced to sell a player to Bordeaux who did this to them. Laurent Koscielny was club captain and a good egg, but he still made sure he got his move. He refused to take part in their pre-season tour of the United States.’

And Luiz has not ‘refused’ to do anything. The Mail’s own back page suggests it was a ‘mutual’ decision that he miss training. Matt Barlow points out that ‘he did not miss a single training session’ in all of last season on the opposite page.

Disruptive b*stard.

Whether Arsenal should – or indeed could – have signed a better centre-half this summer is besides the point. The transfer deadline is mere hours away, their budget is restricted and Luiz represents an affordable and attainable upgrade on their current options.

It would be ‘too high risk’ to start the season with Shkodran Mustafi as a starter, not to sign a Premier League winner to replace him.


Long shot
But everyone knows the true deadline day currency is a Manchester United story with a number in the headline. over to you, Daily Mirror.

‘Man Utd could pay £70m for Sean Longstaff transfer after ‘Ed Woodward blunder”

Oh wow. This rumour had gone completely quiet as United pursued other targets. Now they’re turning their attentions back to him and he’ll cost a bit more?

‘Manchester United could end up paying a huge £70million to sign Sean Longstaff next summer after Ed Woodward dithered over the deal.’

Right, so they ‘could pay £70m’ in 12 months. This is the deadline day content we all deserve.

Who says ‘they could’ do that, then?

‘That’s according to the Mail Online , who claim that Red Devils were confident of signing the NewcastleUnited youngster for around £20million this summer, only for the club to stutter over the deal in negotiations led by executive vice-chairman Woodward.’

Mediawatch has to doff a cap to the Mirror at this point. The line in question is buried in a longform piece from Ian Herbert on Ed Woodward. It includes this paragrapg:

‘Newcastle United’s Sean Longstaff could have been signed for £20m this summer but now United are likely to end up paying £70m next summer instead.’

When could United have signed Longstaff for £20m? Pretty much the only valuation given all summer has been around £50m.

And United most certainly are ‘likely to end up paying £70m next summer instead’. Either that or they’ll reconsider their targets because a hell of a lot can change within a year. And if they do end up paying £70m for Longstaff, it is only ‘likely’ that he will be more worth it with a full season of Premier League football to his name.

Still, the Mirror can get ‘Man Utd’, ‘£70m’, ‘transfer’, ‘Ed Woodward blunder’ and a player’s name in a headline, packaged up neatly for those frantic clicks, while palming the blame off elsewhere. Well played.


Echo chamber

Mediawatch, as ever, does not blame the author assigned to the story – or, in this case, the poor sap in charge of running a live blog on one club. The issue is with the Liverpool Echo and its many sister sites engendering such a tribalistic and one-eyed viewership that a long-term injury to a rival player can only ever be seen as a ‘boost’.


Captain’s blog
Said Liverpool Echo live blog is a genuinely sad read. Everyone realises that Liverpool won’t be making any signings on deadline day, yet regular updates need to be provided.

The first comes at 6.50, with the claim that Philippe Coutinho turned down Tottenham ‘because he prefers a switch back to Liverpool’. Spanish newspaper Sport are accredited; they say no such thing.

Then, at 7am, news of a youth defender moving to Feyenoord filters through. News that Liverpool themselves confirmed on Wednesday afternoon.

At 7.15, Scott Carson is headed to Manchester City. Used to play for Liverpool, him.

At 7.35 is a reminder that Jurgen Klopp’s press conference will be held later on. You can taste the desperation for some actual news.

At 7.46, another Philippe Coutinho update. One that doesn’t mention Liverpool.

Hurrah! 8.05 is here and we are told that talks between Leeds and Liverpool over Ryan Kent are at ‘an advanced stage’. The link is to a story from Leeds Live that is…two days old.

At 8.28, an update on Paulo Dybala joining Tottenham. They have officially given up.

From 8.35 to lunchtime, there are 13 different updates. Three of them are about Coutinho, who Liverpool absolutely are not signing.

The rest include: Dejan Lovren possibly leaving, Leroy Sane being injured, Robbie Fowler winning a game as manager, quotes from Norwich boss Daniel Farke, Taiwo Awoniyi definitely leaving, a video on Liverpool’s ‘transfer deadline day latest’ that somehow lasts longer than five seconds, the latest on Ryan Kent, a picture of a mural of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Carroll joining Newcastle, Virgil van Dijk being named in loads of Fantasy Premier League teams and ‘former reported Liverpool target’ Ryan Sessegnon going to Tottenham.

The funny thing is that sticking it top of the website all day with a picture of Coutinho and a headline of ‘Liverpool transfer deadline day LIVE – Philippe Coutinho loan latest, Dejan Lovren, Ryan Kent news,’ means it will probably generate roughly 427 times the traffic of any and all websites not a million miles from here. What an industry.


Fear factor
Jermaine Jenas has joined the Daily Mirror in some sort of punditry capacity. Congratulations to him. The load has been spaffed already with four huge takes on Manchester United…

‘Jermaine Jenas fears Harry Maguire’s record £80million move to Manchester United is doomed to end in more title race disappointment at Old Trafford.’

…Manchester City and Liverpool…

‘Former England midfielder Jermaine Jenas expects last season’s top two to occupy the Premier League summit again in 2019-20 – but he fears Anfield messiah Klopp has not supplemented his squad enough in the transfer window to change the pecking order.’

…and Tottenham…

‘Tottenham may not be able to keep Mauricio Pochettino out of Real Madrid’s clutches much longer – and he fears he may be next cab [sic] off the rank at the Santiago Bernabeu.’

Why is Tottenham’s manager the next cab off the Santiago Bernabeu rank?

Oh, Jermaine also has some insight on Arsenal:

‘Arsenal’s capture of £72million Nicolas Pepe was a big statement – but Jermaine Jenas says the Gunners have refurbished the roof without shoring up the foundations.’

Surely the man crippled with phobias ‘fears’ that Arsenal ‘have refurbished the roof without shoring up the foundations’?

Poor fella.


WAG reflex
‘Premier League Wags 2019-20 include teacher, dentist & champ kickboxer’ – The Sun.

‘F*** off’ –


It gets worse
The following lines are included in that absolute sham of an article:

‘This season’s new arrivals are super-bright and hard as nails… so fans better be careful if they try to catch a sneaky peak in the stands.’

Yeah, the ‘fans’ are the questionable ones here.

‘Not much is known about Daniela, because she keeps her Instagram account private.’

How bloody dare she?

‘Arsenal’s Spanish loan-signing Dani Ceballos scored off the pitch last year with a stunning trainee teacher called Maria. From Seville, the 24-year-old beauty used to teach at a kindergarten before she became the Real Madrid ace’s Wag.’

Congratulations to Maria on her new job as someone’s girlfriend.

‘Jas goes straight to social shopping app Depop and flogs their clobber for a bit of pocket money. Smart girl.’

How remarkably condescending.


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