It is ‘a bigger rebuilding job’ than that which Alex Ferguson faced at Man Utd and so Erik ten Hag has a constantly multiplying budget.
It is safe to say that the official confirmation of Erik ten Hag’s appointment as Manchester United manager would have caught the Daily Mirror off guard.
‘United’s players were informed Ajax boss Ten Hag will become the club’s new permanent manager, with a formal announcement expected after Saturday’s Premier League trip to Arsenal,’ David McDonnell exclusively wrote on Thursday morning.
‘United’s players have already been informed of Ten Hag’s impending arrival with an official announcement expected to be made after Saturday’s clash with Arsenal,’ Simon Mullock exclusively wrote on Thursday morning.
‘As Ten Hag cannot take the reins until the end of the season, it has been reported that Manchester United will hold off making an official announcement until then,’ Jake Polden wrote on April 6.
It is quite impressive to purposely be so vague and unspecific, yet still so very, very wrong.
Another aspect of apparent journalistic confusion at Manchester United concerns their summer transfer budget. McDonnell explicitly states that there will be ‘around £200million available for Ten Hag to spend on strengthening in key areas’. It is a claim Mullock echoes, adding that ‘United’s owners are prepared to bankroll a summer spending spree to the tune of £200m’.
And that is fine. Except anyone who read the back page of the Daily Mirror literally 13 days might be a little perplexed.
The £20m budget that Ten Hag ‘will have to haggle on’ appears to have been multiplied by ten in less than a fortnight. Going by that rate, it should be £2bn by next month.
Bigger isn’t always better
‘Erik ten Hag is arguably facing a bigger rebuilding job at Manchester United than Sir Alex Ferguson almost 40 years ago’ – David McDonnell, Daily Mirror.
Ferguson finished his first season at Old Trafford in 11th after taking over in November 1986. They had been relegated 12 years earlier and not won the First Division title since 1967. Manchester United are a bit of a mess right now but perspective is important. Plus Ferguson didn’t have £200m (or £20m) to spend.
Misery loves company
And the bad news just keeps rolling in for Manchester United, courtesy of The Sun website:
‘SADIO MANE broke Manchester United fans’ hearts when he scored in Liverpool’s 4-0 rout against the Red Devils on Tuesday night. And now he’s heaped even more misery on the United faithful by matching club icon Ryan Giggs’ goalscoring record – in 374 games LESS than the Welshman, an Opta analyst has tweeted.’
Supporters thought things were bad when they lost 4-0 to Liverpool. That was before Sadio Mane ‘heaped even more misery’ onto them by scoring more goals in far fewer games than Ryan Giggs. Will the humiliation never end?
On the subject of Liverpool, David Maddock of the Daily Mirror has unearthed the real reason behind Manchester City’s primary transfer target:
‘Perhaps goaded by Liverpool, perhaps fearful of the challenge they have faced on all fronts this season, the Manchester club have gone all in on signing goal machine Erling Haaland.’
Reckon it might have something more to do with Haaland being really good at scoring goals, being 21, being available and being one of the best players in the world in a position Manchester City need to fill, rather than Pep Guardiola bricking it because Liverpool are good.
Still with Manchester City, still with the Daily Mirror and back to McDonnell we go for the first paragraph of his match report from the Etihad:
‘Pep Guardiola is clearly not one for sentiment.
‘Kevin De Bruyne chalked up his 300th game for Manchester City last night, but the milestone was not enough for Guardiola to hand him the captain’s armband. That went to vice-captain Ilkay Gundogan, who takes the armband when club captain Fernandinho – who is leaving at the end of the season – is not playing.’
Is randomly making someone captain on their 300th appearance an actual thing? Guardiola not doing it makes him not weird rather than ‘not one for sentiment’.
‘While they may have an FA Cup final to look forward to next month, you can be assured that opponents Liverpool will fancy their chances of ripping into this rabble’ – Dave Kidd, The Sun.
A ‘rabble’ that Liverpool have drawn against twice in the Premier League this season and only beat on penalties in the League Cup final, of course.
Music to the Magpies
‘SO just why can’t Newcastle bloody the noses of the big boys next season?’
Why indeed, Oscar Paul of The Sun?
‘With five games remaining, Howe’s Mags are onto 40 points and bang in the mix to finish ninth.’
Well sh*t, if they’re ‘bang in the mix’ to finish above Brighton then why can’t they beat Manchester City and Liverpool?
Howe do you do?
David Coverdale of the Daily Mail has similarly been bit by the ‘Newcastle are amazing now’ bug. He was on duty at St James’ Park to watch the Magpies win a sixth straight Premier League home game for the first time since 2004, which plants a seed Mediawatch promises you won’t see coming:
‘It was an evening when Newcastle’s white knight emulated the club’s knight of the realm. If Eddie Howe keeps this up, Sir Bobby Robson’s statue could one day have company at St James’ Park.’
Oh good lord. They are in great form but that run of home wins came against Everton, Aston Villa, Brighton, Wolves, Leicester and Crystal Palace. Newcastle lost a third successive league game earlier this month when Tottenham ripped them apart 5-1. Howe has been manager for 164 days, they are 7th in a table since his appointment and Cambridge United beat them at St James’ Park in January. He’s done a fantastic job but it will need slightly more than Howe ‘keeping this up’ for the statue.
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