Damned if you do…
On June 25, Martin Samuel wrote a Daily Mail column in which he criticised Chelsea for spending money rather than giving young players a chance. For those who don’t remember:
‘Good player, Tiemoue Bakayoko. Broke into the Rennes team at 19; sold to Monaco before his 20th birthday. Hasn’t looked back since. That’s what they do in France. They give young players a chance. For that reason, Bakayoko may go straight into the Chelsea team, at 22, if his transfer is completed.
‘Who else will be 22 when the season starts? Nathaniel Chalobah. No chance of him walking into the team any time soon, though. For a start Bakayoko plays in his position and costs £35.2million.
‘Chelsea appear almost to have given up on the final, vital stage of youth development. Nathan Ake returned from his loan at Bournemouth with high hopes but is likely to return there this summer, permanently. Each year a knot of young players are on the brink of breaking through but never do. John Terry needed to be the greatest defender of the Premier League era to get his chance from the Chelsea academy.’
So, Chelsea are bad b*stards for buying a new midfielder when they had academy graduate options. Fine – it’s a viewpoint shared by some Chelsea supporters.
Except that on July 24, Martin Samuel has written a Daily Mail column in which he criticises Tottenham for not spending money during this transfer window:
‘Christian Eriksen encapsulated it at the weekend. ‘When I came here there were seven new players at the same time, and you saw how that ended,’ he said. ‘It’s an English thing where you have to spend money to win something, apparently.’ No, it isn’t. It’s a successful club thing.’
A successful club like Chelsea, Martin? They’ll be delighted to be off the hook now.
‘Yet while their rivals have invested hugely again this summer, Tottenham have only sold. Daniel Levy has brought in around £70million from the sales of Kyle Walker, Nabil Bentaleb and Federico Fazio and bought no one.’
Yes, because Bentaleb and Fazio were already out on loan last season, and Pochettino believes that Kieran Trippier can step up into Walker’s position. The money was too good to turn down.
‘Cue swooning. We love to beat up our own league, to re-imagine a success story as a colossal failure, and we love the negative idea of stupid English money, clubs wasting fortunes on colossal acquisitions. But it isn’t quite like that.’
You love to beat up our own league, Martin. You literally did that to Chelsea less than a month ago. And now you are beating up a club for doing what you told Chelsea to do.
‘Manchester City had a lousy goalkeeper, ageing full-backs and a central midfield that required strengthening. So they fixed it. Manchester United had one top-level goalscorer and needed an upgrade at centre back. They threw over £100m at these problems.
‘Despite being champions, Chelsea thought the striker was a pain in the neck, Nemanja Matic wasn’t the player he used to be and the defence needed strengthening. They didn’t sit polishing their trophy. They did something about it.’
Right. So now it fits the ‘Tottenham are struggling’ opinion, Chelsea are being praised for not ‘sitting around polishing their trophy’ and buying Tiemoue Bakayoko. Didn’t take long to forget about poor Nathaniel Chalobah, did it?
Mediawatch is looking forward to Samuel scolding Tottenham on August 23 for not giving Josh Onomah or Harry Winks enough minutes.
Do as I say, not as I did
Roy Hodgson has been speaking about Ross Barkley. Isn’t that lovely.
“If Ross can find a club where people believe in him as much as we did in the England set-up, he’ll do well,” Hodgson said. “Players with special talent are players who will divide opinion. He’s a risky passer. He’s a midfielder who will turn with the ball.
“He will take players on and go past them. He will attempt a shot from 20 yards. As a result, some of the 20-yard shots will fly over the crossbar and people will say he should’ve passed it and some of the turns in midfield will be dispossessed and some of the risky passes will be cut out. But there are lots of players who can’t produce that level of ability.”
Now Mediawatch doesn’t want to interrupt, but Barkley might want to aim a little higher than a club that believes in Barkley exactly like Uncle Roy did as England boss. Barkley started four competitive games during Hodgson’s four-year reign, against Costa Rica (a dead rubber), San Marino, Estonia and Lithuania, and didn’t play a minute at Euro 2016.
Can you feel the love tonight?
A p*sstake, in more ways than one
See the following tweet:
Concerning news for Manchester United fans https://t.co/UbxlmM2bch
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOE_UK) July 22, 2017
All very clever, writing a fake transfer rumour about Barcelona wanting Jesse Lingard as a piece of delicious banter. Because banter is the best, and it’s at its best when served lukewarm.
‘Although entirely fabricated, it is thought that this report of such a move will prompt incredibly angry tweets and facebook comments from people not bothering to read more than the headline,’ the final paragraph reads. How very droll.
But we see you, Sports Joe. We see you selling the story in your tweet ‘Concerning news for Manchester United fans’, with no hint that it’s a parody, in order to generate clicks on social media. We see your 12,400 shares on the story. We know what you’re doing. And we know it stinks.
Nothing Compares 2 U
‘Frank de Boer believes Wilfried Zaha is as good as Neymar,’ reads the first paragraph of Graeme Bryce’s piece in The Sun, and it’s a line that made Mediawatch double take. Neymar is being linked with a £196m move to Paris St Germain, while Zaha moved to Crystal Palace from Manchester United for a fee of around £4m in 2015. Optimism from De Boer?
Well, no. Here’s what he actually said:
“What he has in his skills I think he is a lot like, if we have to give an example, for me it’s Neymar.”
Do you know why De Boer said “if we have to give an example”? It’s because he didn’t want people making false claims based on the names given. Comparing two players is not the same as equating their abilities (and Bryce knows that only too well).
Ever think that getting sent around the world to watch preseason tours is a pretty wonderful gig? Well, David McDonnell of the Daily Mirror is here to tell you that it isn’t all fun, sun and hot dogs, for he’s also been doing some top investigating to bring you the inside scoop on Manchester United’s time in the US of goddamn A.
“They may be United legends, given their illustrious playing careers for the Reds, but that wasn’t enough for Bryan Robson and Denis Irwin, out in the US as club ambassadors, to gain entry to a crowded lift after the final whistle at the Levi’s Stadium,” McDonnell’s latest diary reads.
“Irwin and Robson were given short shrift by a lift operator at the stadium, who told the pair there was not enough room and they had to wait for the next one.”
Forced to wait for another lift because the first was full. And you’re wasting these anecdotes on us? Look out Samuel Pepys, there’s a new diarist in town.
Mediawatch has long been a fan of tabloid newspapers adding wages and various other sums to a transfer fee to make it seem even more ridiculous that it already is, but the Daily Mirror produce a sumptuous example on Monday morning. ‘£500m Neymar’ reads their headline. Oh wow.
£196m is the transfer fee, widely reported. A further £180m is Neymar’s wages over six years, because he’s definitely confirmed as staying for the length of his contract on that £576,000-a-week deal. The agent commission is listed as £67m, with little further explanation, while signing-on fees and loyalty payments are listed as a further £52m. And so you have £495m, not quite £500m but close enough to make that the headline anyway.
Straight to the Daily Mail, who also have a similar story: ‘£450m! That’s the Neymar cost to PSG’. What’s £50m between friends, eh?
Gerard Pique’s announcement that Neymar will be staying came at an inopportune time, didn’t it?
The final nail
“We have to be realistic. Our clubs can buy any player if they wanted to. They can scout the world. The idea that a local boy born and raised two miles from the club is going to get into that first team on a sustained basis at our very top clubs — it will happen but it won’t happen every week or year. It’s going to happen every few years because it’s a global game.” Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore.
Nobody was asking for every week, that is nothing but a straw man argument. But hinting that things will get worse, not better, should be enough persuasion for domestic players to leave their elite academies and seek opportunity elsewhere. What’s more, it doesn’t sound like Scudamore is too bothered.
Slight difference of opinion
‘Liverpool are planning a third bid of £75m, with £40m to be paid up front, for RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita, in what is likely to be a final offer’ – Independent, July 22.
‘After seeing successive bids rejected for the 22-year-old Keita, Liverpool do not intend to increase their last offer of £66 million’ – Daily Telegraph, July 23.
Choose which one you prefer, Liverpool fans.
Superb patronising of the day
‘An off switch. That can be pushed the minute the final whistle blows, at which point they’re in their own little bed, in their own little home, nice and warm and tucked up and ready to surf the net’ – The Daily Mail’s Martin Samuel on the subject of foreign football supporters. And we’re being generous with ‘patronising’.
Recommended reading of the day
Charlie Eccleshare on Javier Hernandez.
John Brewin on football clubs and social media.
David Conn on the birth of the Premier League.