Maybe one day, we shall be offering Alan Nixon of the Daily Mirror the same sort of “full, free, and absolute pardon” for Gyangate that his part namesake, Richard Milhous Nixon, received 37 years ago over Watergate.
For now, however, he must remain liable to impeachment.
Hot on the heels of his much-denied exclusive from yesterday, claiming an agent close to Sunderland AFC had circulated Asamoah Gyan’s name to other clubs as a player available for transfer, Alan N tells us Stoke City are – stand by for some hardcore footballspeak – “lining up a £10m raid … to test Sunderland’s resolve to keep Gyan”.
Elsewhere on the Mirror website, a report quotes the flat Niall Quinn denial of any SAFC intention to sell Gyan, and any such use of an agent, coyly mentioning “a report” but not admitting this was the Mirror’s own report.
But our Alan is sticking to his guns, claiming:
Stoke have been alerted by an e-mail from a North East agent that big-money Gyan was available and they will make an offer to see how much he will cost.
Leaving aside the lunacy of expecting Sunderland to take seriously a cutprice offer for a man who cost us £13m+ only a year ago and made a decent impression in his first Premier League season, what does this tell us?
That Nixon has top-rate contacts and must be seen as a formidably well-informed football writer who knows an awful lot more about what is going on in the game than Niall Quinn? Or that he is floating absurd tales that have no substance? Take your pick without necessarily excluding the possibility that some spivvish source is feeding him lines designed to unsettle the player.
Nixon states this:
“Quinn tried to distance himself from the e-mail, pointing the finger at the agent involved and claiming that he was working without the club’s permission. MirrorSport has confirmed with several clubs that the e-mail was sent and includes Gyan’s name among a dozen or more others, many of these ‘for sale’ without their knowledge. As one respected official said: ‘Clubs often do this, using agents to test the water. It gives them deniability. But it is very unusual when it comes to us in writing’.”
This, in my view, gets very close to accusing Niall Quinn of, at the very least, being economical with the truth. Possibly not close enough to be actionable, which may be more the pity. At some stage, Nixon is either going to be proved spectacularly right, which would be extremely bad news on more than one level for SAFC supporters, or he is going to have to eat a huge porton of humble pie.
In today’s artiicle, he further asserts that Stoke are “giving boss Tony Pulis cash for a top-class signing and can offer the Ghanaian goalscorer big wages and a crack at European football next season”.
But at least we can relax on one point.
Gyan has shown himself to be a man who gets a little excited when such clubs as Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are mentioned.
We can surely rely on him not to be prompted by alleged interested from Stoke City – a club that merits respect but is hardly one to turn players’ heads – to offer a variation of his Spurs quote to run something like this: “I am not aware of any contact from Stoke. I have a contract with Sunderland … but Stoke are a fantastic club and any player would be flattered by their interest, so I am, but there is nothing I can do if Sunderland want to keep me.”