“Are you looking closely? »Christian Bale sings at the beginning of Prestige. Transfer windows are teeming with illusions and Manchester United are often part of the act against their will. Only two weeks ago it was reported by RTP in Portugal, Raul Jimenez “is on his way to Manchester United” and the Wolves striker quickly started to follow the trend on Twitter.
United made it clear that there was “nothing” in the report and, in this case, even the most gullible fans should know better. In the five paragraph story, Jimenez “is on his way to Manchester United” was not mentioned until the end of the fourth paragraph and that was the only reference to the player or United. The story could not be found on the RTP sports landing page, either. You didn’t have to be Edward R Murrow to say something was going on.
A friend on vacation in Portugal once bought one of the sports dailies and said Benfica was linked with 16 players. A MEN colleague wrote an opinion piece on Porto full-back Alex Telles last week and the next day The ball Telles wrote was a target for United to replace Luke Shaw.
Journalists and others in the industry call it the ‘circle of s – e’ and sections of the UK media are not immune to fueling the desperation and hope of the circle. Opinions are broadcast as news, gossip treated as fact, and aspiring football journalists who hate football journalists depend on the scuttlebut.
Jadon Sancho’s situation is getting tedious and press releases to Borussia Dortmund’s Comical Ali will do little to discourage United, frustrated by the slow pace of talks with Marco Lichtsteiner, the intermediary acting on behalf of Dortmund. Sancho is represented by Emeka Obasi.
United have described Dortmund as “unusual” to have hired Lichtsteiner, brother of former Arsenal defender Stephan, when United negotiated the club’s record deal for Juan Mata without any of their representatives looking after of Chelsea face to face. An agency has reportedly overseen the sale of Alexis Sanchez so United can focus on Sancho.
Sancho’s salaries and finder’s fees are proving to be a “hindrance” and senior United sources have stressed they will not be making the “mistakes of the past”; references to Sanchez and the £ 41million Mino Raiola pocketed from Paul Pogba’s transfer four years ago.
In a desperate and full of reservations explanation for their failure to sign a center-half in 2018, United expressed their horror of the agent’s commission if they had kicked Yerry Mina, peddled to Europe after a reasonable World Cup with Colombia. Before Everton made a deadline deal for Mina, a senior United official expressed hope that Everton would give Mina a gap as they felt the market could be distorted by the agent’s cut.
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The agent blame excuse has been ridiculed by an intermediary who works for one of football’s most prominent agencies and has a client at United. It was also rich at United to seek that excuse without acknowledging the precedent set by Raiola’s commission, although saving face was paramount after Jose Mourinho backed them into a corner.
Liverpool paid agents the most (£ 30.3million) for the second season in a row and United finished third (£ 27.56million), up from £ 20.75million in 2018-19 due to four major additions and Odion Ighalo’s loan agreement. Even during this period, United blamed the “extraordinary” requests for the collapse of their fleeting interest in Paulo Dybala. Dybala agent Jorge Antun said “the stories about the commission weren’t true”.
Raiola was keen to secure a slice of Erling Haaland’s future sales that United did not want to meet, sources describing the terms as “bad for the industry”. United have signed four Raiola clients over the course of two summers, but have cooled their relationship since the £ 75million signing of Romelu Lukaku, who is no longer a Raiola client, in 2017. Haaland’s fallout sparked off Raiola on Twitter, although he has shown his “solidarity” with Woodward over the disturbing attack on his house and Woodward is believed to enjoy Raiola’s company.
Ed Woodward arranged for Jorge Mendes ‘daughter to intern at the club and, without Mendes’ influence, a move for Bruno Fernandes would not have materialized. Fernandes’ agent Miguel Pinho has reportedly been so disappointed in responding to inquiries this summer that intermediaries have gone directly to the player to find out what Sporting Lisbon demand of him. Tottenham had sent two intermediaries to Lisbon to no avail and Mendes then touched the base with the promise of a transfer in 2020.
Woodward and Matt Judge frequently speak to top agency figures and three of United’s substitutes in Cologne on Monday night are clients of the Stellar group, co-founded by Jonathan Barnett. Sergio Romero, Dean Henderson, Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo are supported by Stellar, as is Jack Grealish.
Even though United leaders are undermined by their past relationship, they have the right to change, as does Jurgen Klopp after deriding the deal with Pogba two years before breaking world record fees for a defender and goalkeeper goal. United have prioritized players who are mostly delighted to play with the club, hence the reason they are ready to switch to an alternative to Sancho.
People are watching closely.