Knowing me, knowing you…
Oddly no sign of a repeat of this back-page headline…

…now that it has been revealed that Everton have made an offer for Wilfried Zaha but ‘would prefer to stagger it over a five-year period, meaning a less significant impact on the annual balance sheet’.

Question: Are perfectly normal things only funny when Arsenal do them?


Quite remarkable
Still, miserable Mark Irwin remains flummoxed by the whole business in the inside pages of The Sun, writing of Arsenal’s move for Nicolas Pepe:

‘Remarkable as it may seem, Lille appear happy to settle for a £20m down payment and have the remaining £52m paid over the next four years.

‘Arsenal have reached a similar agreement with Saint-Etienne for teenage centre-half William Saliba, who will eventually cost them £27m but only around £6m this year.’

It’s almost like that’s how a significant proportion of transfer payments are structured. Remarkable as it may seem, those selling clubs might know more than Mark Irwin about football finances.


There is nothing we can do…
Back to that Everton bid for Wilfried Zaha. Either…

a) ‘EVERTON have been told Wilfried Zaha is not for sale at ANY price’ after Crystal Palace ‘rejected a £55m offer’ (The Sun) or…

b) ‘EVERTON face a race to beat the transfer deadline and sign Crystal Palace after having a £50m bid rejected’ which ‘fell £10m short of their valuation’ (Daily Mirror) or…

c) ‘CRYSTAL PALACE will turn down a £52million offer from Everton’ (Daily Mail).

One of those is at least partly true. Ish.


Cryptic cross word
If you see this post on Twitter…

…and think ‘oooh, Wilfried Zaha posts cryptic social media message amid Arsenal and Everton transfer links’, then congratulations, for you work for the Daily Express website.


Quote, unquote
It had long been forgotten that quote marks are generally to be used to signify actual, you know, quotes.

As an example, here’s a headline on The Sun website:

‘Arsenal target Nicolas Pepe spotted at Miami airport ‘heading to London’ as Gunners fans get excited over transfer’

Who says he is ‘heading to London’? Nobody at all.

The whole ‘story’ is that Pepe was seen at Miami airport at the end of his holiday in Miami. How the f*** else was he supposed to get home?


Rowe, rowe, rowe your boat…
Silly us, though. Clearly Nicolas Pepe is ‘heading to London’ because we can see this on the Daily Mirror website:

‘Arsenal duo appear to confirm Nicolas Pepe transfer deal.’

You know a deal is done when Emile Smith Rowe likes a post on Instagram.


Hijack the lad
Liverpool are not buying Nicolas Pepe. We know that, you know that and the Liverpool Echo absolutely know that.

As they write on their live blog on Monday morning:

‘One thing I do know is he won’t become a Liverpool player. The ECHO understands etc etc, you’ve heard it all before.’

But obviously they do not allow that absolute certainty to get in the way of this headline:

‘Liverpool transfer news LIVE – Reds ‘prepare move’ for Francois Kamano, Nicolas Pepe deal ‘hijacked’, Rayhaan Tulloch linked’

Why? Because clicks.

The Echo blames ‘the pesky French media’. Or should we say that they thank the ‘pesky French media’ for giving them a clickable headline?

Here’s what they say:

‘Foot Mercato report the Reds will make a late bid to hijack Arsenal’s deal for Pepe.’

So off we go to Foot Mercato, who do not mention any ‘hijack’ (or ‘détourner’) but instead report that – via Google Translate – ‘While Arsenal would now hold the rope on the record, the Times reports that Liverpool, winner of the last Champions League, would have contacted the agent of Lille.’

That will be the ‘pesky French media’, reporting the most English of media in the form of The Times. Or rather the Sunday Times, where Duncan Castles writes that ‘Arsenal have agreed a club-record fee of £72m with Lille for Nicolas Pepe and have been granted permission to conclude a deal with the free-scoring Ivory Coast international’.

Sounds like a done deal. But what of Liverpool and their ‘hijack’? Well in the fifth paragraph, Castles writes this sentence:

‘Liverpool had contacted the player’s agent.’

Six words. Including two that indicate the past tense.

And over 24 hours later, the Echo are happy to report that the Nicolas Pepe deal is being ‘hijacked’.

One word: Shameless.


How soon is how?
Coverage of any potential transfer is not complete without this from talkSPORT:

‘POTENTIAL XI? Arsenal transfer news: How Unai Emery’s side could line-up with Kieran Tierney and Nicolas Pepe… but without Mesut Ozil’

Is it the usual Arsenal XI but with Kieran Tierney at left-back, Nicolas Pepe on the right and no Mesut Ozil?

Yes. Yes, it is.


Life and death
When a dead body is an opportunity…

‘Arsenal star shocked after ‘dead body is discovered at his home” – The Daily Mirror website.

The ‘Arsenal star’ is Mo Elneny, and the ‘home’ is actually a ‘house in Egypt’.

Shall we just start calling it dickbait?


I could be so good for you…
Manchester United ‘kept safe by 140 tour minders’ sounds mental…

…because it’s a right load of bollocks.

As Mike Keegan actually writes: ‘An incredible 140 members of backroom staff took part at one stage or another – more than twice as many as some of their rivals – with a burly, 20-strong security team keeping a close eye on things.’

So they were actually ‘kept safe by 20 tour minders’. But what’s 120 minders between friends?


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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League