A headline for our times
‘Mohamed Salah enjoys breakfast with his new team-mates as Liverpool set off for pre-season tour of Hong Kong’ – Daily Mail.
‘Man eats meal’.
Que Salah, Salah
Few things in football media are quite as lucrative as one Premier League manager criticising another. If Arsene Wenger were to say he is not a fan of tall centre-halves, that would be framed as ‘a thinly-veiled dig’ at Tony Pulis. If Mark Hughes were to question the works of England’s most famous playwright, he would be ‘hitting out’ at Craig Shakespeare.
So each time Jurgen Klopp is asked about Mohamed Salah, the German is never far from ‘blasting’ Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese managed Salah at Chelsea, where the winger struggled to break through before being sold.
Now he is at Liverpool, Salah is ‘yet another superstar he has let slip through his fingers,’ according to the Daily Star.
‘Jurgen Klopp: Mohamed Salah is yet another superstar Jose Mourinho failed’ reads the headline to that story, which at the very least implies that Mourinho was at fault for Salah’s failure to impress at Stamford Bridge.
But what was it that Klopp actually said? Surely he is not naive enough to taunt one of his direct managerial rivals so openly?
“A lot of players have shown it is quite easy to struggle at Chelsea, De Bruyne is one.
“The only thing that we really ignored was what he (Salah) did at Chelsea.
“We played with Dortmund against him at Basel. We didn’t know him and it was, ‘What the f**k’. It was unbelievable.
“The moment I said, ‘Let’s go for him’ he was already at Chelsea. Then he struggled at Chelsea because it was too early.”
“He struggled because it was too early” must translate directly to “he struggled because of Jose Mourinho” in German. Or when put through the Daily Star’s bullsh*t machine.
Cech this out
Of course, the Star could not stop there. They have kindly compiled a feature to sit snugly alongside the story: ‘A Chelsea reject XI’.
They offer us those 11 players and those 11 players only, with no descriptions or nothing to back up their claim that they were ‘sold too early’ by the Blues.
Bear that in mind when you get as far as the goalkeeper. Who else agrees that Chelsea sold Petr Cech ‘too early’? And keep those hands up, because Roman Abramovich must still be sore after seeing Jeffrey Bruma depart in 2013. How could they not have foreseen he would be a middling Eredivisie and Bundesliga centre-half?
Give it Giggsy
Ryan Giggs wants you to know that the perception he wants to start his managerial career in the Premier League is wrong.
Said Giggs on April 8, 2017: “I’d rather go into a decent League One or Championship team, who’ve got the right ideas and the right aspirations, than a Premier League team who haven’t.”
Says Giggs on July 18, 2017: “I would rather coach a League Two team in which philosophy and ambitions match mine rather than going in to the Premier League and firefighting and the owners don’t give you a chance.”
Mediawatch awaits his declaration in October that he would rather manage a Sunday League team who shares his “philosophy” than a top-flight side.
Britain’s got talent
The recent comments from Giggs, given in an interview with talkSPORT, are particularly intriguing when juxtaposed with what he told the BBC back in February:
“I don’t think there’s enough (British managers) at the moment.
“I think it is (important British coaches get a chance). There’s a lot of top quality foreign coaches in the Premier League, but there’s also a lot of quality British coaches and managers out there.
“If you don’t get the chance, you don’t get the chance to prove what you can do and see what you can do with a talented team.
“As I say, there are quality foreign coaches as well. I just think on the balance, there’s too many foreigners at the moment and British coaches probably just don’t get the chances.”
Perhaps British coaches, say, one with four games of interim experience, have mythical philosophies that clubs cannot afford to take a risk on?
The Wright stuff
Writes John Cross in the Daily Mirror:
‘Alexandre Lacazette is the “ice-cold” assassin who can turn Arsenal into champions.
‘The £52million club-record signing has been given a massive seal of approval by Emirates midfielder Francis Coquelin, who says his French compatriot will have Gunners fans recalling the glory days of Ian Wright.’
It takes time for Coquelin to actually mention Wright at all. In fact, the first time he even references him is when prompted.
“It is difficult to compare him with others,” said the midfielder. “He is 26 now and I think he is done with comparisons.
“He has shown he is Alex Lacazette and he can score goals. He can make a name for himself.
“Given the way he plays, people have said he reminds them of Ian Wright but he has his own style and hopefully he can show that this season.”
As Cross himself writes: ‘But Coquelin was reluctant to make comparisons with previous Arsenal strikers like Wright because Lacazette will make a name for himself in his own right.’
So Coquelin does not exactly say that Lacazette will have Arsenal fans ‘recalling the glory days of Ian Wright’. But then ‘he has shown he is Alex Lacazette’ is perhaps not the eye-catching, revelatory line Cross wanted.
Check your facts
Elsewhere in that Coquelin interview:
“His record for Lyon is incredible. He scored 140 goals for them so he’s shown that in front of goal he doesn’t mess around.’
Lacazette scored 129 goals for Lyon actually. Come on, Francis.
Andrew Dillon has written a column for The Sun on Diego Costa’s recent antics. The Chelsea striker was pictured celebrating in an Atletico Madrid shirt earlier this week, in what Dillon describes as ‘the final insult’.
‘He is not joining his comrades on the plane today,’ Dillon writes of Costa, who has been omitted from Chelsea’s 12-day tour of Singapore and China.
‘He is in Brazil, supposedly sorting a move back to Atletico in Spain, though the countries are 5,000 miles apart.’
To be fair, Mediawatch suggests that Costa is probably not in charge of negotiations over his own move.
Costa lot more
The Daily Mail have also written an article on Costa, or namely who Chelsea could sign to replace him.
‘Who will start the season as Chelsea’s No 1 striker? The key men on Conte’s radar in desperate race to replace outcast Costa,’ reads the headline.
That there are just four options underlines the paucity of options facing the Blues. That Diego Costa is one of those options suggests that the Daily Mail are perhaps being a little optimistic.
Worst headline of the day
‘Pulis strong-Ahmed’ – Daily Mirror.
‘GET OUT THE FERRERO ROOCHER’ – The Sun.
Recommended reading of the day
Paul Tomkins on the top 100 signings after inflation.
David Squires on Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich era.
Jay McKenna on Safe Standing.