By Tony Attwood
I reported last week in the Index update how surprised I had been throughout this first ever effort to chart the transfer rumours week by week, how quickly the rumours dry up.
The first Arsenal Transfer Index was run on 20 April, ten weeks before the transfer window opened (and of course it still hasn’t opened let alone slammed shut as the saying goes, by which time we had 29 players lined up to be signed.
Over the next few weeks the numbers rushed upwards until suddenly around 7 June it all stopped. Not because the transfer rumour manufacturers were all asleep (although many undoubtedly were, after a solid night’s inventing), but rather because they had by and large run out of players.
Instead what we then had was, “following Arsenal’s failure to get x” (where x was last week’s invented target for whom Arsenal had no interest) “Arsenal are now turning their attention to y” (where y was a player mentioned several weeks before by the same outlet, but now conveniently forgotten.
It is a clever trick, in that in one flip of the fingers on the keyboard the writer
- Writes a new story,
- Suggests that Arsenal are too slow while all other clubs are safely securing the players they want.
- Suggests that Arsenal have no strategy and are just dreaming up names and going after them,
- Doesn’t have to do any new work, because the “now turn attention to” player is one they wrote about five weeks before,
- Denigrates Arsenal throughout, because in the end around 98% of the players who will be listed obviously won’t go to Arsenal since Arsenal never were bidding for them anyway.
You can see this at the moment with the headline in the Telegraph this morning to the effect that “Mkhitaryan seeks Old Trafford move despite Dortmund’s refusal to sell”. For weeks the story has been that the player is coming to Arsenal, then Dortmund weren’t selling, and now he’s going to Man U even though they are still not selling.
It doesn’t reflect well on Arsenal, but that of course is the idea.
I have always thought that writing transfer rumours as if they are true (rather than taking the piss out of them in a Sir Hardly type way) is a laziest and most dishonest way of filling up space. But now it seems it is doubly so, because once the first list of transfers is created, it is just recycled, week after week, with the occasional knocking copy variant.
You will see a story in the Daily Express which quotes the Sun as saying x, and a story in the Sun that quotes the Mail, saying y, which if you go to look at it quotes a source in Spain as saying x which if you run it through the translator quotes the Express as saying x, and so on. No one takes responsibility, and when the transfer doesn’t happen everyone says, “well as we pointed out at the time, it came from ….” and then fill in the name of another newspaper.
It is the ultimate way of treating one’s readers with contempt – and indeed it was the obvious fact that only about 2% of transfers actually happen as predicted, that Untold started the Sir Hardly Anyone reviews of transfer rumours.
But now it seems it is more underhand than ever. And that is one more thing we’ve learned about the transfer invention industry – there is a limit to the inventiveness of journalists engaged in this rubbish so they go back round in circles.
It is the complete and absolute con trick.
Here is the current Index of Players Cited as being involved in an Arsenal transfer. At least this year no one has had the nerve to suggest that we are after Ballotelli, which is what they were running last year.
Arsenal transfer rumours: £15.8million Mario Balotelli fee and personal terms agreed ready for move?
Daily Mirror, July 2014
The Index Part One: Players coming in. New entries in bold
|Player||Position||From||Current status||Also interested|
|1||Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang||Forward||B. Dortmund||Being urged to leave||Man U|
|2||Carlos Bacca||Forward||Juventus||49 goal striker||Real Mad buy back clause|
|3||Michy Batshuayi||Striker||Marseille||£22m asking price||Chelsea|
|4||Riechedly Bazoer||Cen mid.||Ajax||Barcelona, Chelsea, Man U, Tottenham|
|5||Medhi Benatia||Centre back||Bayern||29 years old prone to injury|
|6||Christian Benteke||Striker||Liverpool?||Only done one year at Liverpool?|
|7||Rodrigo Bentancur||Midfield||Boca Juniors||Real Mad, Juve|
|8||Karim Benzema||Striker||Real Mad||Involved in court case|
|9||William Carvalho||Def mid||Sporting Lisbon|
|10||Edinson Cavani||Striker||PSG||He’d like to come|
|11||Ben Chilwell||Left-back||Leicester||“Arsenal monitoring”|
|12||Troy Deeney||Striker||Watford||WFC captain|
|13||Mario Götze||Attack midfield||Bayern Munich||Flopped after Dortmund||Liverpool|
|14||Goncalo Guedas||Wing||Benfica||Next C Ronaldo||Chelsea|
|16||Alen Halilovic.||Attack midfield||Barcelona||Last season loan to Sporting Gijon,|
|17||Rico Henry||Full back||Walsall||Next Ashley Cole|
|18||Gonzalo Higuain||Striker||Napoli||Man U, Liverpool?|
|19||Rob Holding||Winger||Bolton||£1.5m already signed|
|20||Zlatan Ibrahimovic||Striker||PSG||Self proclaimed God||Man U|
|21||Mauro Icardi||Striker||Inter||Man C Man U|
|23||Chiori Johnson||Defender||Aged 18, Now signed|
|24||N’Golo Kante||Midfield||Leicester||Won the most tackles|
|25||Naby Keita||Central mid||Red Bull Salzburg|
|26||Toni Kroos||No 10||Real Madrid||£45m|
|27||Grzegorz Krychowiak||Midfield destroyer||Sevilla|
|28||Kalidou Koulibaly||Napoli||Signed and Sealed (Metro) but…||Dependent on Chambers going (Metro)|
|29||Alexandre Lacazette||Forward||Lyon||French League top scorer 2014.15||Supposedly going to WHU|
|30||Robert Lewandowski||Striker||Bayern||About to break the bank|
|31||Romelu Lukaku||Striker||Everton||Broke Everton’s PL scoring record|
|32||Marquinhos||Defen||PSG||Man U Man C Chelsea and Bayern Munich|
|33||Riyad Mahrez||Wing||Leicester||£25m Considered him while at Le Havre|
|34||Kostas Mitroglou||Striker||Benfica||“Happy in Portugal”|
|36||Henrikh Mkhitaryan||Midfield||B Dortmund||Liverpool! Chelsea, Tottenham|
|37||Alvaro Morata||Striker||Juventus (loan) Real Mad||Said to be the next one to happen||AFC talking to Real Mad direct|
|38||Ruben Neves||Defend midfield||Porto|
|39||Kelechi Nwakali||Midfield||Diamond Academy||Already joined for £3m||WHU, Bayern, Chelsea, Man U Liverpool?|
|41||Adrien Rabiot||Midfield||PSG||Asked for a move, not liked by fans||Chelsea, Man U|
|42||Rafinha||RB||Bayern Munich||Metro utterly certain|
|43||Jese Rodriguez||Forward||Real Mad||Surplus to requirements|
|44||Maxi Romero||Forward||All Boys, Argentina||The new Messi||We were going to sign him last year but he got injured|
|45||Daniele Rugani||Centre back||Juventus||Can’t get a game.||Man U|
|46||Riccardo Saponara||Attack midfield||Empoli||Liverpool?|
|48||Islam Slimani||£23.25m Sporting Lisbon||£23.25m||Tottenham, Leicester|
|49||Dominic Solanke||Chelsea||Chelsea want to keep him|
|51||Daniel Sturridge||Striker||Liverpool?||“Will reportedly…”||“Tried last year”|
|52||W. Szczesny||Goal||Loaned to Roma||Returning||AFC & Roma can’t agree on loan arrangements so coming back.|
|53||Jon Toral||Attack midf.||Arsenal (loaned to Brum)|
|54||Yaya Toure||C Mid||Man City|
|55||Arda Turan||Attack midfield||Barcelona||Struggled at Barca|
|56||Jamie Vardy||Forward||Leicester||£20m||Signed but kept it a secret or he’s off to Liverpool or just wasting everyone’s time.|
|57||Victor Wanyama||Def. midf.||Southampton|
|58||Julian Weigl||Midf.||Borussia Dortmund||£20 million|
|59||Granit Xhaka||Defend/ midfield||Monchengladbach||“Deal done” He signed.||Chelsea.|
|60||Andriy Yarmolenko||Winger||Dynamo Kiev||Tottenham Liverpool|
|62||Karl Zouma||Keeper||Chelsea||(Unlikely if we have Cech, Szcz and Ospina already).|
|Part Two Departures|
|1||Alexis||Forward||Asking for transfer|
|2||Arteta||End of career|
|3||Bellerin||Full back||Barcelona||Must be the DNA||But also denied|
|4||Chambers||Centre back||Southampton or Watford?||1 year loan|
|5||Debuchy||Been on loan|
|Mat Flamini||midfield||End of contract||The last “Highbury” player to leave AFC|
|7||Per Mertesacker||Defend||Considering his future|
|8||David Ospina||Goal||Besiktas||Having a brilliant Copa America|
|9||Rosicky||End of contract||Injured during Euros|
|10||Santi Cazorla||Mid/For||Back to Villareal|
|11||Mesut Ozil||Midfield||Delayed talks|
|12||W. Szczesny||Goal||Roma||Now said to be returning|
|13||Walcott||Wing||State Aid Utd or Liverpool?||£20m||On the verge; or maybe not going|
|14||Jack Wilshere||Midfield||Man U||They will build the team around him|
|Part Three: Coaching|
|Thierry Henry||Under 18||Accepted post|
|Part Four: Up from the youth|
|1||Jon Toral||Attack midf.||Arsenal||Loaned to Birmingham||Their player of the year|
|2||Gedion Zelalem||Attack mid||Arsenal||Loaned to Rangers|
|3||Chris Willock||Attack midf.||Arsenal||Played in U21s.|
|4||Jeff Reine-Adélaïde||Wing||Arsenal||Kept at Arsenal and not loaned|
|Players going on loan|
|Ilias Chatzitheodoridis||U-18 no new contract|
|Players signing pro forms|
- It’s time to stop the ‘scum’ songs; it’s time to grow up; its time to stop the hatred.
- Watch David Ospina; man of the match and making an unbelievable penalty save
- France, Rio, Russia, corruption, strikes, cheating, implosion, health risks, terror. Just a coincidence really.
Untold Arsenal has published five books on Arsenal – all are available as paperback and three are now available on Kindle. The books are
- The Arsenal Yankee by Danny Karbassiyoon with a foreword by Arsene Wenger.
- Arsenal: the long sleep 1953 – 1970; a view from the terrace. By John Sowman with an introduction by Bob Wilson.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football. By Tony Attwood, Andy Kelly and Mark Andrews.
- Making the Arsenal: a novel by Tony Attwood.
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal by Mark Andrews.
You can find details of all five on our new Arsenal Books page