By Tony Attwood
In one sense it is fairly obvious why the media in all its forms run the endless transfer rumours during the summer: there is not too much else to write about.
We’re in a situation during the season where the fact that games are either being played or have just been played or are about the be played every day of the week. So by using the notion that the entire well being of a club and its players and manager can be ascertained from the simple expedient of looking at the last match, or half the last match or even the last five minutes of the last match we’re all on the edge all the time.
Also we are in a constant dumbing down process, where detail, evidence, background and analysis are irrelevant. Thus when a correspondent on Untold wrote in and said that Giroud had to go because of the goals he missed last season, there was no analysis, comparison or anything. Giroud had missed the chances and that was enough. The writer didn’t say “FACT” but he could well have done.
In such a world the papers and the blogs have to survive. Untold survives perfectly ok because we have so many topics we can touch on – referees, analyses, youth players, FFP, economics, corruption etc etc – and that is all before we get to the team and the game.
But many newspapers and blogs that dumb down to the lowest level get a bit stuck. So they run the transfer gibberish.
However hidden behind this reasoning is something else. They are not just filling up space for people with nothing better to read. They are also building up their store of blame and attacks for the season. Wenger bought x and we told him to buy y – that’s why Arsenal let in that goal. Wenger didn’t buy z because he is slow and won’t spend money – Arsenal should have bought him, Wenger to blame.
Reality, and the real chance of a player moving to us is tiny, compared to the vast number of rumours that circulate and then are quietly forgotten. Indeed it would be fun to publish in September a list of all the transfer rumours that each paper has run.
But they even have a defence to this ploy – it isn’t our rumour they would say. Look we said it appeared in the Metro (who then quote some Spanish paper no one has ever heard of).
Some of the stories indeed are really quite odd. Eduardo Vargas who played on loan with QPR last season? Well, maybe Wenger sees something tucked away therein which Napoli and QPR couldn’t discern, and which has emerged while he plays for Chile – but Wenger rarely works in this way.
But The Metro, for it is they, says Vargas to Arsenal for a whopping £11.3 million. And The Daily Star bastion of intellectualism and firm judgement says is William Carvalho from Sporting Lisbon. But Man U are interested, so we are set for an “Arsenal have missed out” story – although it is quite likely Wenger never saw him fitting into the team.
Never mind here is another one to beat the boss with: “Arsenal are ready to beat Roma to the signing of Egyptian striker Ramadan Sobhy, reveals” – oh my goodness its The Metro.
The Telegraph says he’s been dubbed “the best young player in Africa” but interestingly, while they tell us which paper is saying he will move, they are not telling us who called him “the best young player”. Maybe they made it up.
And then we come to yesterday’s rumours repeated today because, well, they want to cover every possibility, and there is no end to the number of times one can hit Arsene Wenger for being slow and thrifty. “Arsenal are also reportedly lining up a double swoop for German brothers Lars and Sven Bender as they turn their attentions away from Arturo Vidal and Morgan Schneiderlin.”
Now the Vidal / Schneiderlin story is being presented in several quarters as Arsenal being interested but then losing interest. The notion that Wenger is undecided, weak, unsure, unable to act. If you believe it, well fair enough, but I think it is more than likely that along with all other managers he draws up a list of players who could fit into the team and enhance what we have, and he stays with it. The transfer window is not a time for chopping and changing, unless, suddenly, unexpectedly, a player who should not become available does.
This was the case with Patrick Vieira all those years ago. Wenger wasn’t even in England, but apparently phoned the club and said, “Buy him now” and they did. But mostly, no.
No one has been spotted at the airport today as far as I know, so attention turns to non-UK airspace. Lukas Podolski has been pictured in Turkey ahead of a reported move to Galatasaray.
In case you are interested if you are out and about in Northamptonshire this afternoon Tony Attwood could be spotted near the Grand Union Canal. I’m not sure that will actually mean I am going to play for Long Buckby Wharf FC however.
Transfer rumours are a space filler and a preparation of the garbage to be thrown later, that’s all.