We’ve had a look recently at how the media deal with transfers relating to Tottenham and Manchester United to see if there is a difference in style and tone from the way they report possible transfers relating to Arsenal.
This isn’t meant to be a definitive approach; just a quick resume of what the media does to pass the time of day. Of course if you are waiting for the World Cup you can of course go to NetBet Sport and take a look at the odds. Meanwhile, what I have done is waited for a major story surrounding a different club emerges so we can get a view as to how the media deal with them. And inevitably, this being the season of transfer make-believe, one popped up with the issue of Liverpool and Nabil Fekir.
At first there was general agreement that Liverpool had signed Nabil Fekir for £53m. And that was interesting given that at the same time Lyon issued a statement saying, “Olympique Lyonnais categorically denies the false information disseminated by many media about the transfer of Nabil Fekir to Liverpool. In this period of transfers where the slightest rumour is often presented as a reality, Olympique Lyonnais reminds that only the information disseminated by the club on its website is authentic.”
In short, the media gave near universal disregard of what the funny foreigners were saying – after all what did they know, what with them being foreign and all that? The attitude seems to have been, this is Liverpool and they talk straight and deal straight. After all they have already spent more on two big signings than everyone else in the league put together.
And indeed the story was not only presented as news now, but also given its place in history as the Liverpool Echo ran the headline, “As the Nabil Fekir deal gets over the line – can you name the 15 other Frenchmen to play for Liverpool?”
Even when the media did catch up with the story that the deal wasn’t on, they generally would not accept the Lyon statement, even though the media’s own contrary approach made no sense. Here’s the Guardian:
“The deal was so far advanced that Fekir had not only undergone a Liverpool medical in Paris and agreed personal terms on a five-year contract but conducted an introductory interview with LFCTV, the club’s in-house television channel.”
So, to be clear the player had had a medical, passed it, done an interview with the club’s TV channel, and then…
“An issue with the Lyon captain’s fitness, however, delayed the announcement and placed the transfer in doubt.”
The Guardian then mentioned an injury from 2015, which doesn’t make sense, in that Liverpool would have known about that before they started (all serious injuries are public knowledge) as they would have done about a “knee problem” last season. So a valid question might be, how come after all the “due process” it all ground to a halt.
Has Liverpool really gone through the whole process of doing the deal, doing the medical, and doing the interview for what would be the second most expensive transfer in their history, and then said “oooops – no not really”? Or is this the media getting utterly carried away, believing that Liverpool are the club that do the deal and do it fast, and ignoring any information to the contrary.
The Mirror, in its coverage, blamed the Lyon manager who they suddenly discovered is notorious for his last minute change of tactics. It was a shame they didn’t mention that earlier. Indeed one presumes that if indeed the Lyon manager is notorious for mucking about, Liverpool knew this and would not have interviewed the player and let it be announced that he was coming to Liverpool without getting the contract signed.
But it was the Liverpool Echo who had the toughest ride, for having claimed it was all done and dusted they suddenly dropped the whole thing – although not before their site crashed. Well, at least I couldn’t get on it for a while, and when I next did, all the headlines had changed completely.
Meanwhile headlines like “Fears Nabil Fekir failed his Liverpool medical” in 101 Great Goals don’t really do justice to the story as a whole.
Of course it isn’t an Arsenal story so I can’t say what the media would have done had it been had it been us, but I suspect there would have been tales of incompetence and embarrassment, of which we would have been reminded had the deal finally been pulled back together.
The Guardian, without blaming Liverpool one bit for not getting things sorted, says, “There would be greater consequences for Klopp’s summer transfer strategy should the issue remain unresolved. Liverpool’s manager views Fekir as a replacement for Philippe Coutinho and a perfect fit for a squad already strengthened by the acquisitions of the midfielders Fabinho and Naby Keita this summer. The club has also registered an interest in Xherdan Shaqiri, available for a release clause of between £12m-£13.5m following Stoke City’s relegation from the Premier League.”
This reflects the common thread I perceive in the Liverpool related stories these days that they know what they are doing. Even the notion that maybe their medical staff might have realised something was wrong with their goal keeper and so intervened quickly in the Champs League final is swept aside without too much debate in many newspapers and blogs.
Just by way of contrast, while following this story I saw the headline, “Arsenal have such a surplus of attacking options that someone might have to give way.”
“Arsenal are an attacking team. You may not have gathered that from their goal tally (and goals surrendered), but it’s true. They have so many options that they might actually have too many elite attackers. Because, as it stands, they have four guys for three spots.”
There is a fair amount of nonsense packed into those four short sentences. First it might be helpful to recognise that Arsenal were the third highest scoring team in the League last season behind Liverpool and Man C, equal with Tottenham and above Man U and Chelsea.
Second, to go into a season with just three forward players in the team would be ludicrous given the rate at which injuries come around. As we have shown on Untold, at great length, Arsenal are far from being the club with the most injuries (one of the media’s favourite tales in days gone by) but injuries do happen and cover is needed.
What’s more we don’t actually know the formation the manager will use, and it is not impossible that he will adopt the approach suggested here, of a different set up away from home from the matches at Arsenal Stadium, in order to overcome last season’s very poor away record.
So I suspect there would have been multiple criticism of Arsenal if the situation concerning Fekir had come our way. Meanwhile on the Arsenal related sites the statements which may be (or most likely are not) true, continue as with Lucas Torreira. “Arsenal agree £21.9m deal over signing of 22-year-old,” says Red London. Hmmm. I must have missed that one.
5 Replies to “Continuing the contrasting styles of reporting Arsenal and other clubs. Today: Liverpool”
I notice that the furore over Rwanda has disappeared rather sharpish.
Looking for news about the quality of England’s referees, I ran across a list of 50 jokes about football.
This was among them:
> God and the devil were having an argument, and Satan proposed a football game between heaven and hell to resolve the dispute. God, in his eternal goodness, pointed out that it wouldn’t be a fair match because all the ‘good’ players go to heaven. The devil smiled, replying, “Yes, but we’ve got all the refs.”
With respect to reporting on Arsenal versus other clubs, a number of the jokes have [insert team here] in them, so are generic. There are a few that are specialised to a specific team.
To close things out, there are jokes about FIFA (on the Internet). Here is one:
> “Investigating #FIFA for corruption must be like searching Dunkin’ Donuts for donuts.”
Well well well
Olympique Lyonnais just announced they stopped all negotiations with Liverpool. Can’t wait to see how the media are going to try to spin it…
By the way, even though the OL statement doesn’t (as expected) give the reasons behind this decision, according to reliable sources, Liverpool tried to lower the transfer fee AFTER the medical took place.
Wow, just wow.. The people running Liverpool really are an utterly shameless, snake-like bunch. Can you even imagine the reaction in the media if Arsenal even attempted to pull some of things that Liverpool have done in the transfer market? We would never hear the end of it.
Of course the media wouldn’t report it, but I can only hope that Liverpool have/get a well-known reputation for conducting themselves in such an underhanded and slimey manner, making many clubs refuse to work with them.
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