On the weekend, BeIN Sports FR claimed that Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez would sign for Liverpool last Sunday, with a deal agreed and a medical booked.
This proved to be complete fantasy, but its occurrence was a reminder of the manipulation of the media during the transfer window. As GFFN uncovered, the player was not even in the UK on Sunday when Mahrez was supposed to undergo this fictitious medical.
Individuals claiming to be part of Riyad Mahrez’s camp have been known to disseminate false information about the player to some of the most reputable French football transfer sources before. 18 months ago, lead RMC and SFR Sport reporter Mohamed Bouhafsi, who is renowned for never getting anything wrong, was duped by sources, strongly believed to be from Mahrez’s camp, claiming that both Arsenal & Chelsea were in negotiations for the player in summer 2016, something that turned out to be incorrect.
With these tactics, Mahrez’s name continues to be in the press. Some might even see it as a feeble attempt to put pressure on potentially interested parties to get a move on and make their bids. But it is an unfortunate practice for journalists who seek to see the good in their sources of information.
Riyad Mahrez is interested in moving to a top 6 Premier League club; that is undoubted. Whilst Liverpool had made contact last week unofficially through intermediaries with Riyad Mahrez’s camp as reported by L’Équipe, there has been no concrete movement from Liverpool.
As reported by our colleague at SFR Sport Loïc Tanzi yesterday, Liverpool’s priority is neither Riyad Mahrez nor Thomas Lemar at the time of writing, instead they are looking to replace Philippe Coutinho with Leon Goretzka of Schalke 04, despite the fact that the latter is close to finalising a pre-contract agreement with Bayern Munich.
Is this a ploy to aid Liverpool in negotiations for one of the two aforementioned individuals later on in this month’s window, or a simple reality, especially after spending £75m to get Virgil Van Djik in the door? That all remains to be seen.