Media Muppets: The Wes Hoolahan Transfer Media Circus – Somebody Has Been Lying!

Wes Hoolahan Transfer to Aston Villa – Fact or Fiction?

‘The Hoolahan transfer saga seems to be a media circus without an obvious ringmaster of truth’

Has Wes Hoolahan had his five seconds of fame, or will he be an Aston Villa player come the end of the January Transfer window? To be honest, we’re not that fussed, although judging by Twitter, some supporters like to get all frothy over any transfer rumour. However, in this case, they can’t be blamed here as there seems to be a lot of inconsistency in what has been reported to the extent that by comparing and contrasting stories, definite lies have been told.

While this is not a typical name and shame ‘Media Muppet’ column, we thought it would be interesting to see how the Hoolahan transfer saga seems to be a media circus without an obvious ringmaster of truth.

So what’s the fuss all about? Is Hoolahan the holy grail in terms of a much-needed attacking midfield at Aston Villa? Not really. Would he do in the short term? Yes, he’d improve what Villa already have (which isn’t much). The Irish midfielder used to play for Lambert at Norwich, which is half the reason the rumour mill on him has been so heated.

The thing is, with so many conflicting stories, who do you believe?  Journalists have been updating their online stories on Hoolahan more frequently than checking their emails.

What seems not to have been considered by the media is at 31-years-old and with 18 months left on his contract, could the midfielder realistically get an extended contract (with either club)? Rumours have suggested that Villa were pitching up with a three-year contract, yet Hoolahan will be 32 -years-old in May. Would he still have the legs to play for Villa in the final couple of years? He also has 18 months left on his Norwich contract, so realistically he’s not going to extend it, by much,  beyond that with Villa.

At the moment, both clubs are officially saying ‘nothing to see here’. Of course, this doesn’t actually mean a thing, as negotiations are rarely straight-forward and the true business is done out of media earshot. At the moment, I’d rather follow the club’s official line than a bunch of seemingly confused journalists.

The Hoolahan Media Trail

John Percy @ The Daily Telegraph

Headline: Wes Hoolahan keen to join former manager Paul Lambert at Aston Villa after handing in transfer request

Spiel: Wes Hoolahan has handed in a transfer request at Norwich City and is keen to join up with former manager Paul Lambert.

Hoolahan is determined to force through a £1.5 million move to Aston Villa and has told Chris Hughton that he wants to leave Carrow Road after more than five years.

Lambert tabled an offer for the Republic of Ireland international late last week and wants to make the playmaker his first signing of the January transfer window as he attempts to ease the growing pressure by recruiting experience.

John Cross @ Daily Mirror

Headline: Norwich’s Aston Villa transfer target Wes Hoolahan hands in transfer request following £1.5m bid

Speil: Norwich midfielder Wes Hoolahan has put in a transfer request in an attempt to join Aston Villa.We revealed on Friday that the 31-year-old had been the subject of a £1.5million offer by the Villans.Norwich have yet to give that bid a firm answer, but Hoolahan has made it clear he wants to rejoin his former boss Paul Lambert in the West Midlands.Hoolahan is not a guaranteed starter at Norwich under Chris Hughton, and sees a switch to the former European champions as a good step for his career.

Mat Kendrick @ Birmingham Mail

Aston Villa target Wes Hoolahan hands in Norwich transfer request

But Hoolahan took matters into his own hands on Tuesday by submitting a transfer request and telling his team-mates he never wants to play for Norwich again.

In actual fact, if a bid had been made by Villa, other journalists started to put forward it was a figure that was half of the initially mooted amount…

Nick Mashiter @ the Express & Star was putting forward on Twitter that according to his contacts in Norwich there had been a £750,000 bid placed.

Meanwhile,  Mick Denis @ Daily Express, who also claimed on Twitter to have contacts in Norwich, echoed the £750,000 figure, but basically said the transfer wasn’t going to happen.

Headline: EXCLUSIVE: Norwich set to reject Wes Hoolahan bid from Aston Villa

Spiel: NORWICH will reject a “derisory” offer from Aston Villa for Wes Hoolahan – and if the Republic of Ireland international makes a transfer request, it will be rejected.
Villa manager Paul Lambert was Hoolahan’s boss at Norwich and wants him again, but Villa offered only £750,000 in immediate cash for the 31-year-old playmaker or £1million in installments.

Norwich responded by telling Villa officials they won’t even talk to them until after next week’s transfer tribunal for another of their players who rejoined Lambert – reserve goalkeeper Jed Steer.

Denis’s report seemed to be backed-up the next day when the official Norwich City website featured a short and sharp statement by the club’s Chief Executive David McNally.
Headline: No transfer requests received this season – McNally

Spiel: “As we’ve always said, no players will be sold against our will. We’ve received no transfer requests this season and have no intention of releasing any of our senior players.“Our focus this January, as with every transfer window, is very much on improving the squad.”

Sky Sports also then reported this stance under the following headline:

Transfer news: Norwich say Wes Hoolahan has not asked to leave and will not be sold


The club’s statement presents an interesting scenario, that someone is obviously lying. Is it the journalists at the Daily Telegraph, Mirror and Birmingham Mail or the clubs, that are telling porkie pies?

As this column has always maintained, transfer rumours are very good for the online newspaper business, offering up perfect link-bait to snag the desperate football fan. That goes without saying, but contrasting reports is a fairly novel occurrence.

So at the moment, a Hoolahan transfer to Villa isn’t going to happen. Whether it’s a prospect that is dead in the water, we’ll have to wait and see.

If talks are indeed ongoing, when considering the players age and existing contract, a lot will will depend on whether Hoolahan will be offered considerably more wages at Villa (unlikely) and by how much Villa would extend his contract, beyond the existing 18 months that he already has at Norwich. At a push, the player has perhaps two seasons in his prime left, so anything beyond that would be a risk for Villa.

If you’ve spotted an article that is just lazy journalism, or worse, and perfect for Media Muppets then leave the link in the comments below or send it to us via twitter @oldmansaid.