Where transfers are concerned, it’s important to realise every club has a different way of doing things. Manchester United, for instance, has a model that involves whipping up a fan frenzy by spilling the beans on the latest moves and targets to the press.
With the Glazers at the helm, sponsorship is king at Old Trafford – and everyone can see it. The biggest example was the Paul Pogba deal. FootballTransfers heard that the move was in place ‘weeks’ before being briefed to reporters. The Pogba emoji was forged, the #Pogback hashtag conceptualised – before what was then the world’s most expensive took place. That ethos still continues at the club today, only to a lesser extent.
Ownership and sometimes even managers can change how clubs handle the media. At Rangers, things have drastically altered since Michael Beale has come in: the mantra is now very much ‘loose lips sink ships’, much to the frustration of some reporters out in Glasgow.
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Newcastle have taken it one step further. Those who know me will be totally aware of my affection for the club but please know this is not entangled in any sort of bias: my belief is, having spoken to lots of reporters and intermediaries and the like, there is not a shrewder club in the world when it comes to dealing with the media right now.
It’s been just over a year of the PIF ownership and you can barely see much of the ‘world’s richest club’ label anymore. It’s still there, but it’s more of an afterthought. There is a reason why not as many players have been linked to the club where at one point it would be easier to list those who were not apparently destined for a move to the northeast.
We heard from someone quite reliable this time last year claim that Neymar was a St James’ Park possibility, that the owners were planning a move ‘to change the landscape.’ Safe to say we did not publish it. Agents know much better now – such stories of elite signings would frankly sound ridiculous and reporters won’t go near them.
Newcastle – the world’s shrewdest club
Newcastle’s deals are always done with a huge amount of diligence. The purchase of Chris Wood of Burnley, meeting his release clause, was not so much as to bring in his quality, but rather weaken a relegation candidate. Alexander Isak was approached in the summer but they were put off by the price and turned it down, not willing to rupture the wage structure. Weeks later they got their main man but for about 40% saved off the fee and wage. A masterstroke.
The James Maddison bids came as a piece of breaking news – interest was not reported on before – and the club were quite happy to walk away and not put in a third. They now may get their target at a cheaper rate this summer.
Newcastle understand that it’s not just fans who read the news, it’s agents and other clubs too. They all have their eye on the latest updates and links as well. They have done well in quietening the storm, making it a lockdown of news and stories, slowly ridding themselves as the new cash splashers on the block.
There has been a quite brilliant story today that FootballTransfers looked into. Speaking to the various people we have come away knowing not only are Newcastle some sort of conquerors of the PR game by the likes we have never seen, but they have a number of aces up their sleeve. But it may be a couple of windows yet before the game is up for them.