Headline you never thought you’d read
‘Girl in a coffin holds up Lukaku cut-out as Man Utd striker parties at bizarre LA club including air hostess swinging on mini private jet’ – The Sun.
‘HARRY MAGUIRE could be left in Leicester limbo as the Manchester giants battle to sign him,’ writes Neil Custis on the back page of The Sun.
Mediawatch did think that sounded a little too dramatic (after all, he seems quite happy in Leicester) but then we checked on Wikipedia, which tells us that ‘limbo’ is ‘a doctrine concerning the afterlife condition of those who die in original sin without being assigned to the Hell of the Damned’.
A pretty fair description of Manchester United.
As you were.
Lot of rubbish 🤷♂️ https://t.co/TYlzTNyA7o
— Andrew Robertson (@andrewrobertso5) June 24, 2019
It’s at this juncture that Ian McGarry needed to back off. After all, the horse has just told you that nothing came out of his mouth. But no, he came back:
So you wouldn’t recommend playing in the PL as a positive career move Andy?
— Ian McGarry (@garbosj) June 24, 2019
He probably would. But he didn’t. And that is surely the bloody point.
Mo Salah, Salah…
Well played, Transfer Window Podcast, mind. Just by discussing the possibility of Mo Salah joining Real Madrid for £200m next summer, they prompted this tsunami of Liverpool transfer gossip in an otherwise quiet summer…
‘Liverpool would consider selling Mo Salah to land Nicolas Pepe’ – Daily Star.
‘Real Madrid splashing £200m on Liverpool star Mo Salah could prompt this response’ – Daily Star.
‘Transfer news LIVE: £200m Salah claim, Man Utd eye £58m star, Newcastle ‘close to deal” – Daily Star.
‘Liverpool transfer news LIVE – Nicolas Pepe to ‘replace Mohamed Salah’, Sepp van den Berg linked, Simon Mignolet latest’ – Liverpool Echo.
And most ridiculously of all, an 889-word opinion piece in the Liverpool Echo, headlined ‘Nicolas Pepe in, Mohamed Salah out? The transfer that wouldn’t make sense for Liverpool’. These are clearly desperate times.
To be fair, that is the sweetest of pieces from Chris Beesley, who tries to earnestly argue that there are no clubs in world football that could possibly tempt Salah away from Liverpool.
‘While the sale of Coutinho is cited as an example of Liverpool selling to buy, the reality is that some 18 months on from the Brazilian’s defection to Barcelona, the transfer landscape has shifted considerably at Anfield.
‘The Reds are of course now not only European champions for the first time in 14 years but a team who have displayed the incredible consistency to accumulate 97 points over a Premier League season and defeat the likes of Bayern Munich and Barcelona en route to their victory over Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid.
‘In short, the desire of manager Jurgen Klopp and owners FSG to turn Anfield into a final destination appears to be taking root.’
In short though, Liverpool are still almost 30 years away from winning the Premier League title. The idea that all Liverpool’s players would turn down approaches from all other clubs is incredibly naive. If Manchester United could not keep hold of Ronaldo after winning three consecutive Premier League titles and a Champions League trophy, then what are the chances of Liverpool keeping all their players after 30 title-less seasons? Is this all because ‘it means more’ at Liverpool?
‘While the likes of Salah and team-mate Sadio Mane, who joined Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in a three-way tie for the Premier League’s Golden Boot last season will inevitably attract admiring glances and the inevitable transfer speculation from the game’s traditional powerhouses, the lustre of the Bernabeu or Camp Nou is no longer as bright as it once was.’
Is it not? We are pretty sure that 13-times European champions Real Madrid – the richest club in the world, according to Deloitte – have just signed Eden Hazard and are chasing Paul Pogba despite spending over £270m already this summer, while La Liga champions Barcelona – the second richest club in the world – have just bought the most exciting young midfielder in world football. Still, carry on…
‘Figures this month from respected football analysts, transfermarkt, value Liverpool’s squad at a billion pounds (second only in world football to Manchester City at £1.05billion) and eclipsing the likes of Barcelona (third, £958.95million) and Real Madrid (eighth, £784.28m) so it remains curious at to where Salah might go.’
Sorry, but, erm what? In attempting to explain why Liverpool can keep hold of their stars, the Liverpool Echo have seemingly stumbled on exactly the opposite.
According to Deloitte, Liverpool are the seventh richest club in world football; if their squad is ‘worth’ more than financially more powerful clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and PSG, that makes them vulnerable rather than strong. It’s a reason why Salah might leave, not a reason why not.
Chelsea are above Real Madrid in that list from ‘respected football analysts, transfermarkt’, but that did not prevent Eden Hazard from leaving the former for the latter. And the same applies to Lucas Hernandez, Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich.
‘As well as being the poster boy for Liverpool’s considerable global fanbase, he is also an iconic figure beyond the boundaries of Egypt across the whole Arab world.
‘Not only do the Reds not need to sell Salah but it now remains highly questionable why a player of his talents would even want to go anywhere else to further his career.’
‘Highly questionable’ to Liverpool fans, yes. But to pretty much everybody else in the western world? Watch this space.
Mediawatch is not sure which part of this Daily Express digital story…
‘None of us have forgotten’ – Jurgen Klopp told to make Philippe Coutinho Liverpool call’
…aggravates us the most.
a) That Jurgen Klopp has been ‘told’ by one John Aldridge.
b) That the ‘Philippe Coutinho Liverpool call’ he is being ‘told’ to make is not a ‘call’ at all but merely a decision not to sign him.
Still, we clicked, so we guess that makes us the idiots here.
Phil yer boots
Mediawatch agrees with The Sun’s Chief Sports Writer Dave Kidd that Aidy Boothroyd should pay for the ‘smart-alec decision’ he made to rest Phil Foden at the European Under-21 Championship, but quite how he gets here is another matter…
‘Foden is 19 now and has started just three Premier League matches (while winning two title medals) – so the brilliant midfielder needs more football, not less.
‘It is unlikely, but would be beneficial, if Pep Guardiola could find a club he’d trust to take Foden on loan for a season.’
Well that’s a little misleading because those three Premier League starts came in the final seven games of last season when City were chasing the title, so there is little doubt that Guardiola trusts Foden. Indeed, he trusted him to the tune of over 1000 minutes in all competitions last season, and only three other English teenagers could match that at top-flight clubs last season: Ryan Sessegnon, Jadon Sancho and Dwight McNeil.
It’s worth remembering – because people like Kidd forget – that Paul Scholes did not play any first-team football until he was two months off his 20th birthday and it really did not seem to do him any harm.
Recommended reading of the day
David Squires on women’s football and VAR
Richard Williams on Mino Raiola
Jack Lang on Alexis Sanchez at Copa America