Erling Haaland! Transfer! Manchester United! Liverpool! But actually none of those things!

Erling Haaland being all frustrated Credit: Alamy
Erling Haaland being all frustrated Credit: Alamy

Transfer news about Erling Haaland and Manchester United and Liverpool that isn’t actually about Erling Haaland. Or Liverpool. Football journalism in 2022 right there. Meanwhile, Thomas Tuchel issues a warning from history for Graham Potter…

 

URL of the day
Beautiful mischief from the Mirror with a headline that you know is obviously wildly misleading in some way or other but that it is literally impossible to resist clicking on.

“Man Utd rival Liverpool to sign Erling Haaland’s ‘biggest talent in the world’”

Now we don’t know exactly what we’re going to get here, but you, dear reader, like Mediawatch, already know that the one thing we can absolutely guarantee it isn’t going to be about is Manchester United or Liverpool signing Erling Haaland. We know this game by now. But we are nonetheless intrigued.

“Manchester United are mounting a push to sign Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Youssoufa Moukoko”

Right. Okay. That’s still pretty interesting because he’s a very exciting young player, but how are the Mirror going to attempt to justify that obviously extremely naughty headline?

With some quotes from two years ago, of course, after Moukoko made his debut. At the time Haaland said: “I think he’s one of the biggest talents in the world right now. He’s only 16 years and one day old, and he’s playing fantastically. He has a great career ahead of him.”

So he didn’t even call him the “biggest talent in the world”. Just one of the biggest talents. So even naively assuming the headline had honest intentions it doesn’t quite work. Haaland also went on to say Moukoko should stay at Dortmund, but never mind that.

Not when you can package the whole thing up under that headline and with a URL slug containing “man-utd-erling-haaland-transfer”. Click-clickety-click.

 

Squad game
And that’s not the only bit of you-know-exactly-what-you’re-doing chicanery at Mirror Towers today, with another headline catching the eye on the day Gareth Southgate names his 26-man squad for the 2022 World Cup.

“Gareth Southgate’s brutal World Cup squad decision proved England boss has mean streak”

Bloody hell this sounds big. Who’s he left out? Harry Maguire? Raheem Sterling? Kalvin Phillips? Whatever it is, it sounds like huge news this.

So who precisely has Southgate ruthlessly left out of his World Cup squad?

Er… Wayne Rooney. From World Cup qualifying. In 2017. As told via quotes from Danny Rose. In 2018. We hate ourselves for clicking, we really, really do.

 

Shock and or
The Sun, meanwhile, remain the nation’s most easily alarmed news outlet, because it takes some doing to find the news that Harry Kane, having played 22 games for club and country this season and 12 of them since the start of October is “really, really tired” a “shock admission”.

We await further “shock admission” about the religious beliefs of the Pope or toilet arrangements of bears.

England manager Gareth Southgate before the Nations League defeat to Italy. Credit: Alamy
England manager Gareth Southgate before the Nations League defeat to Italy. Credit: Alamy

The joy of text
The Sun’s story about how England’s World Cup players will receive a text confirming their call-up two hours before the squad is formally announced is a pretty standard something-and-nothing placeholder really. It’s no great surprise that players won’t literally find out the same time as the rest of us, but it’s a story that gives a bit of fresh-ish info to hang the rest of the will-they won’t-they Kyle Walker/James Maddison/Callum Wilson fluff on. It’s all fair enough.

We do, though, have a slight quibble with the mocked-up text The Sun have helpfully provided for those unable to picture in their minds what a text message from Gareth Southgate might look like. “Pack ur bags… I need u in Qatar” it reads, followed by emojis of a football, the World Cup trophy and a thumbs up. They’ve captured the very essence of Gareth there.

 

Warning shot
“Thomas Tuchel fires word of warning to successor Graham Potter after back-to-back defeats for Chelsea as German insists ‘NOBODY will trust the process’ if poor form continues – with axed German adamant the club is ‘about the results'” trumps the Daily Mail breathlessly in one of its trademark pithy headlines.

Regular Mediawatch readers will already know how many times Tuchel makes any mention of Potter when very clearly talking on a podcast about his own experiences at all the clubs he’s managed.

And the real Mediawatch heads out there will also already have a pretty good idea when said podcast was released in relation to those back-to-back defeats.

And you’re all correct on both counts, obviously. Have a biscuit.

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