Clickbait is everywhere you look these days, nowhere more so than in the ruthless, fact-dodging world of sporting journalism. A perfect example of this arrived last night, courtesy of The Daily Mirror, who’ve put together a dreadful piece involving Everton, Palace and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
(If you want to read the piece for yourself, type “Loftus-Cheek Everton” into Google, as I won’t be hyperlinking it.)
It’s no secret that the Eagles are desperate to bring the 22-year-old back to Selhurst Park next season following his successful loan spell last term. Understandably, other clubs, namely Everton, are keen to throw their hat into the ring too but that doesn’t give the Mirror the right to make things up regarding a potential deal, just for the sake of a few thousand clicks.
The headline on yesterday’s piece reads “Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Michy Batshuayi targeted by Everton as Chelsea prepare to loan out duo” a sentence that they go on to directly contradict later in the article they themselves have titled. At no point have Chelsea indicated that they are “preparing” to loan out either one of the two players mentioned, in fact, the smart money seems to be on Sarri using Loftus-Cheek as part of the Blues first-team next season, given his known dislike for the transfer market.
The Mirror write themselves that Marco Silva is “planning to ask” Chelsea about the possibility of a loan as he “wants to know if either are in Sarri’s plans” which proves that no one is sure of what the Blues intend to do with Loftus-Cheek next season. Headlines have been used to entice and excite readers for as long as newspapers have existed but to blatantly lie about a club’s stance in a headline, only to directly contradict yourself in the main body of the story is poor on every level.
As a south London native who had an extremely successful spell with Palace last season, you’d assume Ruben would be happy to return to Selhurst Park next season, if Chelsea saw a loan move as the best option. Sadly for us, all the noises emanating from Stamford Bridge since May have suggested otherwise, making this piece from the Mirror all the more frustrating.
In the short-term it will generate a few quid but gradually, articles like this are damaging the image and integrity of established media outlets. Trust will always play a part in journalism and slowly but surely, the Mirror’s sport department are eroding the relationship they once had with their readers.