Exclusive Ronaldo shouting and the crucial Liverpool angle on Antony to Manchester United

·5-min read
Andy Robertson and Antony Credit: PA Images
Andy Robertson and Antony Credit: PA Images

Manchester United signing Antony might persuade the option-less Cristiano Ronaldo to stay, but how is the £84.8m deal relevant to Liverpool?

 

When you believe
Neil Custis is here with the latest Cristiano Ronaldo exclusive in The Sun:

‘Man Utd believe Cristiano Ronaldo will STAY in transfer U-turn after being impressed by Casemiro and Antony signings’

Reading that headline, Mediawatch reaches two conclusions: Manchester United are confident Cristiano Ronaldo will stay; and the Portuguese has been inspired by the additions of Casemiro and Antony.

By the first paragraph, those foundations already seem remarkably shaky.

‘MANCHESTER UNITED believe Cristiano Ronaldo could make a dramatic U-turn and buy into Erik ten Hag’s revolution after the club’s spending splurge.’

Ah. So now they don’t reckon he ‘will’ stay (sorry, STAY) at all, just that he ‘could’?

‘The club’s hierarchy are now hoping Ronaldo can see the ambition at United to get back to the top after a club-record window spend of £207m.’

Clarification there that this exclusive is based on literally nothing but vibes. The headline refers to a ‘transfer U-turn after being impressed by Casemiro and Antony signings’ but it is purely something Manchester United hope can happen.

Manchester United could break any and all transfer window spend records but it won’t buy them Champions League qualification this season and so Ronaldo will never be fully on board.

Also, Mediawatch believes Cristiano Ronaldo will STAY because there are two days left before the transfer deadline and no sod is daft enough to sign him on those wages, as the last few months have proven.

 

LOUD NOISES
But it is fun to look at a couple of old Ronaldo exclusives from Custis with this new development in mind.

‘Cristiano Ronaldo set to QUIT Man Utd in summer if they don’t qualify for Champions League after showdown transfer talks’ – January 19.

From shouting QUIT to bellowing STAY in seven months. That’s the real transfer U-turn here.

‘Man Utd WILL axe Cristiano Ronaldo after caving to wantaway star’s transfer demands after refusing to report to training’ – July 6.

The delicious first paragraph to that story was: ‘MANCHESTER UNITED accept they WILL lose Cristiano Ronaldo this summer.’ If they accepted it 56 days ago, why are they so chock-full of belief he will stay now?

 

Ant bites
Manchester United signing Antony for £84.8m is great fun but it lacks a certain something. Where is the Liverpool angle?

The Daily Mirror website are, as ever, on hand to right that perceived wrong.

‘Antony analysed using Liverpool transfer test as Man Utd confirm new record signing’ is the headline which allows them to use ‘man-utd-liverpool-antony-transfer’ as part of the URL and frankly that’s fair play.

Even before getting to the ‘Liverpool transfer test’ in question, the article starts pretty strong:

‘Sources say the club see him as a “significant” addition to United’s forward line…’

As the second-biggest signing in their entire history, you really would hope so. Great get from those sources.

But yeah, this ‘Liverpool transfer test’. It’s what we’re all here for, why they got the click.

It comes from Liverpool director of research Ian Graham’s words at last year’s StatsBomb conference, at which he presented ‘six reasons a transfer can often fail’. They range from the quite excellent ‘the player isn’t as good as you thought’, to ‘there’s a better player already on the roster’.

And therein lies the problem with analysing Antony using this Liverpool transfer test: who knows whether he is as good as they thought or if there’s a better player in the squad? He hasn’t played a sodding game yet.

It is impossible to say with any authority either way whether this is a ‘failed’ deal. But it is always possible to crowbar Liverpool into a Manchester United transfer story – and vice versa – regardless of relevance.

 

Irritable Boehl
Dan King was at St Mary’s to watch a disappointing and damning defeat for Chelsea. He reserves much of his Sun opprobrium for new owner Todd Boehly.

‘He’d be forgiven for thinking that he and the club are being taken advantage of in their unprecedented summer shopping spree,’ apparently.

The headline – for which King is presumably not responsible – goes even further and states that Boehly ‘might think he’s been ripped off as he watches expensive buys flop’.

Of course, the worst – or at least most culpable – Chelsea players against Southampton were Mason Mount, Cesar Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz. None of whom Boehly was even vaguely responsible for signing.

The Sun’s own player ratings give Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella and Raheem Sterling, the only summer additions involved in midweek, a 6/10 at worst.

So who is taking advantage of Chelsea? Who has ripped them off? Which of Boehly’s expensive buys flopped? And how on earth is this ‘unprecedented’ for a club once bankrolled by Roman Abramovich?

 

Gordon? Free man
Elsewhere on The Sun’s website:

‘Gordon, 21 has been the subject of several failed bids by Chelsea this month.

‘Thomas Tuchel and Todd Boehly have been snapping up talented youngsters including Carney Chukwuemeka and Gabriel Slonina with hopefully Wesley Fofana to follow.

‘But they won’t rest until Gordon also winds up at Stamford Bridge.’

Does anyone want to let them borrow their Athletic subscription? Chelsea are going to be knackered.

 

Pep talk
And this also comes from The Sun website:

‘Guardiola says he WILL drop Haaland after being ‘surprised’ how good Alvarez is’

Someone sort their bloody Caps Lock out. And then remind them that ‘drop’ is not a synonym for ‘rotate’.

 

Timo’s up
‘Werner nets first-half treble for RB Leipzig to show Chelsea what they’re missing’ – The Sun website.

Chelsea’s transfer needs, in order of importance: a decent centre-half; another forward option; someone capable of scoring a hat-trick against German fourth-tier opposition.

 

The boy who cried Wilf
‘Yoane Wissa steals a point for Brentford amid Wilfred Zaha transfer storm’ – The Guardian.

‘Storm’? It’s barely a breeze.

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