Category Archives: Tabloid Lying

The Daily Mail prematurely promising Eden Hazard to Chelsea

Too soon, too soon. Beware the validity of any sentences beginning with ‘Sportsmail understands’ or ‘Sportsmail can exclusively reveal’, as lies tend to follow pretty quickly.

The Daily Mail has Eden Hazard ‘provisionally agreeing terms with Chelsea’ according to ‘sources at Lille’. Right, ok.

So, just to recap, one of the hottest properties in European football – wanted by every major club excluding Barcelona – doesn’t wait for the bidding war over his talents, and instead makes an early agreement based on the first offer that comes his way. Probably not.

Apparently also, Chelsea ‘have been forced to move quickly’ in their pursuit of the Belgian. I have no doubt that Andre Villas-Boas is interested in the twenty-one-year-old, but since when has ‘moving quickly’ ever won anybody a transfer war. Is the Mail’s logic that Chelsea could potentially sign Hazard without anybody noticing? For £24m? Have you met football agents – the tend to like to talk a little bit about who wants their players. And sometimes, just sometimes, they play affluent clubs off against each other to manufacture more favourable personal terms for their clients.

Chelsea probably aren’t printing his shirt just yet…

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Tabloids can’t resist linking Tottenham’s Bale to Barcelona. Again.

This was inevitable after the performance Gareth Bale turned in against Norwich on Tuesday night. It’s as if, in tabloid world, the Sporting Directors of Europe’s elite clubs tune in to games and suddenly decide – ‘oh, he’s a bit good isn’t he’.

It doesn’t work like that.

Still, according to the Mirror:

Barcelona have made Gareth Bale their No.1 target next summer – but set a £25m price limit.

Coach Pep Guardiola thrashed out a hitlist with director Andoni Zubizarreta for new left-sided players, which also includes Valencia’s Spain international Jordi Alba and AC Milan’s Thiago Silva.

But Bale, 22, is the top priority and it is Guardiola who insisted the Spurs flier is the player he most wants.

Barcelona are also preparing a player plus cash deal with £20m and a range of younger players on offer to Spurs.

No quotes from anyone, not even the old ‘reports in the Spanish media’ chestnut? And not to be pedantic, but Thiago Silva is actually a centre-back – so he probably doesn’t appear on this fictitious list of ‘left-sided’ players.

It’s not the best bit of journalism is it? If you’re going to create stories for the sake of inducing internet traffic, at least make the figures believable – given how stubborn Daniel Levy proved to be over Luka Modric, I don’t think he would entertain anything less than £50m for Bale.

Unless that ‘range of young players’ includes Andres Iniesta, Leo Messi and Gerard Pique, of course.

British media still linking Neymar with Chelsea

It’s not going to happen. The tabloids can write as many stories about Neymar coming to England as they want, but the bizarrely-coiffured Brazilian is coming nowhere near the Premier League.

From The Mirror this morning:

Andre Villas-Boas has put Brazil wonderboy Neymar at the top of his Christmas wish list.

The Chelsea manager has been asked by owner Roman Abramovich to oversee a major overhaul of the Stamford Bridge playing resources.

The 19-year-old striker will not come cheaply, but he is the star name that the Blues want to recruit as they prepare for a new golden era.

What’s this based on? Or is it just the usual ‘World Class player must be linked with rich English clubs’ tabloid trick?

Whether Chelsea want him or not, it’s really irrelevant – Neymar is being pursued by both Barcelona and Real Madrid, and no amount of money will stop him signing for one of those two. He doesn’t want to play in England, let’s let this go and move on.

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Predictable ‘Man City interest in Arsenal’s Van Persie’ rumours start to surface

Who didn’t see this coming? It’s a new rule in British football; any player performing well over a sustained period of time must automatically be subject to interest from Manchester City.

It’s of little surprise then that The Sun have breathlessly splashed some nonsense about Robin Van Persie being the subject of £30m bid from the Champions-elect in the Summer.

Naturally, there’s no quotes, evidence, or anything else that gives this any credibility – it’s just 300 words of suggestive prose. Still, the dirty little tabloid can’t resist slapping an ‘EXCLUSIVE’ tag all over it.

“City are comfortable that Van Persie will not sign a new contract at the Emirates and follow Gunners Samir Nasri, Kolo Toure and Gael Clichy to the Etihad.”

I think they probably mean that City are ‘confident’ there – easy mistake to make though. Regardless, it’s all bollocks – it was written by Neil Custis, which almost guarantees that it’s completely without foundation. Could you not have even made-up some quotes from ‘an insider’ Neil, or at least a ‘source close to Robin Van Persie’. If you’re going to print lies, at least put some effort into it.

On a slightly more humourous note, have a look at the caption under the photograph of Van Persie. Aside from the obligatory play-on-words that has to, by contract, appear in every article written by all journalists employed at the paper, we also get the deeply insightful:

“RVP could get big wage rise if he joins City”

Oh really, now I’m sold – you’ve convinced me. I’ll bet the Dutchman is already looking at property in Cheshire.

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Speculative rumours linking Kaka to Tottenham

You have to admire the Daily Express sometimes, they just don’t care what you think of them – not even slightly bothered.

Rumour of the day? Apparently Tottenham are going to pursue Real Madrid’s Kaka in the January transfer window – the basis for the story being that Harry Redknapp wants ‘another creative player to add to his stable of ball players’.

What, because Spurs don’t have enough of those kind of players – Rafael Van der Vaart, Steven Pienaar, Niko Kranjcar, Luka Modric? Really, can anyone see Tottenham forking out the extravagant outlay that would be needed to cover the Brazilian’s wages?

Obviously, like every transfer story involving the North London club, it has to involve Gareth Bale in some way – and The Express do a fine job of crow-baring the Welshman into the article:

‘Real want to recoup about £30million for the former AC Milan player but their long-standing interest in Tottenham’s Gareth Bale could lead them to do a deal if there is some encouragement that the Welshman may be available.’

Yes, it ‘could lead them to do a deal’ but on the other hand it almost definitely will have no relevance to a proposed and entirely fictitious loan agreement.

Good work though.

Some silly rumours about Tottenham’s Kyle Walker

TalkSport isn’t the best for transfer rumours is it?

It follows the age old logic of ‘English player makes good performances, must then be linked with big Premier League and European clubs.’

Forgive the cynicism, but their record isn’t quite 100%.

Today Tottenham’s Kyle Walker, and the revelation that ‘Roma have joined Real Madrid in the race to sign’ the Spurs right-back.

‘Reports last week linked Real Madrid with a shock move to sign Walker as Jose Mourinho has been impressed with his displays for Tottenham.

But Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport claims that Roma are now showing a big interest in the Tottenham star and have been monitoring his progress over the past few weeks.’

Okay, a couple of issues…

Firstly, Roma may be an exotic name of the past, but this is a team running eighth in a diminished league – and one who are now a selling club, not a ‘bid exorbitant fees for English right-backs’ club. Real Madrid? Well, any move for Walker is going to be news to Sergio Ramos isn’t it? I’m not sure that position is really a priority for Jose Mourinho.

So, according to the papers, the next two transfer windows are due to see Tottenham lose Walker, Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Rafael Van der Vaart, Jermain Defoe, Tom Huddlestone, and Younes Kaboul.

Or… another way of looking at it is that the press are watching a team playing extremely well, and are just lazily creating foundationless rumours involving players that are becoming nationally prominent.

Lazy press talk about Man United, Chelsea, and Liverpool targeting River Plate starlet

What’s the easiest transfer story you can possibly create?

Answer – find a 17-year-old Argentine attacking midfielder and claim that three of the biggest clubs in the country are ‘tracking’ him.

This is The Metro’s story on Lucas Ocampos of River Plate – great name that. Anyway, London’s giveaway paper make all the tired claims about United, Liverpool and Chelsea, while also lazily describing him as the ‘new Ronaldo’. Really? Has there been a decent youngster coming out of South America in the last decade who hasn’t had that tag?

Best moment of the article? This:

‘However, Liverpool are thought to be leading the race to sign the 6ft 2ins star as they have good links in South America after signing Sebastian Coates in the summer.’

Really? So better links than Manchester United with the Da Silva twins and Anderson, and Chelsea with David Luiz, Alex, and Ramires – come on now, don’t just make things up.

Anyway, just so that you can bore your friends with knowledge of obscure young players, here’s some video:

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Arsenal transfer rumours – fact and fiction

Not quite sure how much ‘fact’ really has to do with any of this, so apologies for the slightly misleading headline.

There are a couple of stories about the North London club doing the rounds today, so I thought I’d wrap them into the same post.

TalkSport seems to determined to hold onto the Mario Gotze story – speculating that Borussia Dortmund have told the Gunners that the player is not for sale for ‘anything less than £30m.’

The premise of the story seems to be that Arsene Wenger is looking to ‘head off interest from Manchester United, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich’ by making an early bid for the player. Since when was that a credible transfer market tactic? Or is TalkSport really trying to claim that Arsenal hope to sign the player without three of Europe’s clubs noticing?

Dortmund will likely tumble out of the Champions League at the group stage, but I still can’t see them selling their prized asset before the end of the season – if you’re the Germans, you clearly wait until the Summer and take advantage of the bidding war that will surely kick-off.

Poor rumour.

Not content with that, TalkSport are also trying to claim Arsene Wenger is pursuing sometime German international Lukas Podolski. Right, so a notoriously prudent club is about to spend £20m on another very left-footed centre-forward – and then accommodate him where in the team?

Barely worth mocking.

…and to the Mirror, who have used their tried-and-tested formula of ‘no quotations, no facts’ to claim that Arsenal are also interested in Internacional’s Leandro Damio.

‘Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has now expressed an interest in signing the 22-year-old in the looming January window.’

Has he? When?

With all due respect to Arsenal, Damio is being courted by just about every top club on the continent at the moment – so any interest is probably based on wishful thinking.

Not a strong morning for the papers, not exactly 100%.

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‘David Villa to Liverpool’ rumour makes another unwanted apprearance


This first appeared on the Caught Offside website a few weeks ago, which should give you an indication as to its reliability.

Next to peddle this flagrant lie? Friend to the bored commuter, The Metro:

‘However, he has recently found he is no longer an automatic pick by coach Pep Guardiola and could look elsewhere for more first-team opportunities.

The Sunday People has suggested that will mean a reconsideration of the Anfield club, now managed by Kenny Dalglish, who would like to add the forward to their attacking options.

Villa will only move to a club in the Champions League, so any signing will depend on Liverpool securing a top four spot during the current campaign.

It is thought the Reds will have to find approximately £40 million to tempt Barcelona into selling a player who has been a regular goalscorer for club and country in the last two seasons.

I can’t believe they actually used The People as a source – who in turn had just made it up in their newsroom.

Given that this will probably resurface somewhere else at some point, maybe it’s best to nip it in the bud now.

£40m for a player who’ll be thirty next week, who is still by all accounts an important first team player at Camp Nou, and whose wage demands would far exceed what Liverpool would be able to offer – and that’s leaving out the issue of whether he’d want to play for a side that isn’t a title-challenger.

But other than that I’m sure he’s checking his passport, looking at property on Merseyside, and buying his Useful English Phrase book as we speak.

Lots of new content in the video section…

Tottenham’s Younes Kaboul the subject of some unfounded Juventus rumours

There must have been a tipping point in sports journalism where it was decided that fabricating transfer stories would from that point on be acceptable. Got an extra 9 inches to fill this morning? Yup, put in that 300 words about Ronaldinho moving to Preston.

…and so it continues.

The Daily Mail are linking Tottenham’s resurgent defender Younes Kaboul with a move to Juventus, claiming him to be the Turin club’s top transfer target – although rather confusingly the second paragraph of the story then claims that Zenit’s Bruno Alves is their ‘prime target’ instead. Ah, the perils of slapping a headline on an article before actually reading it.

Anyway, the sum total of the ‘rumour’ is this:

‘Tottenham centre half Younes Kaboul is on Juventus’s shortlist of January targets to bolster their defence.’

No seriously, that’s it – that’s the only mention of Kaboul within the article. The remaining 400 words is just some rhetoric about who else does or does not appear on that fictional Juventus list.

It’s not wholly deserving of the dramatic headline and the large picture of Younes Kaboul, is it?

Whose phone did you hack to get that story?

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