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By Sir Hardly Anyone
According to the reports doing the rounds, Arsenal have only signed one player so far and that is Kai Havertz, the forward brought in from Chelsea for £65m. Everything else seems to be a rumour. Although in some quarters even that Havertz deal is denied as with Sky Sports website this morning under the headline Arsenal transfers done deals, there is nothing.
As ever no one is admitting that they are the source of the story, but rather that it is being reported elsewhere, which usually means that we are at the lower end of the 3% accuracy level that these stories reached last year. But how low have things sunk in the world of journalism? Certainly no one is now “spotted at the airport” as everyone was about four years ago. It has all got a lot more bland than that now.
Yet the stories run on and on so here’s a quick review of who is being talked about.
Jurrien Timber certainly is at the centre of many of these rumours with a lot of commentators asserting he will “complete a £45million move to Arsenal this week” from Ajax – despite a warning from Marco van Basten that he could become stuck on the bench.
On the way out, according to almost everyone writing on the subject is Thomas Partey. Four Four Two says he has asked to leave. GiveMeSport says there is a lot of interest.
Meanwhile the Declan Rice transfer appears to have been on the edge of being completed for a week or more.
In an unusual move HITC has dedicated a whole article to a transfer rumour it says it not happening: Ben Rice the West Ham full back coming to Arsenal. Too much Rice perhaps.
But it is a sign of the current desperation among transfer reporters (or fantasists as they are sometimes known) that TBR are now making headlines out of stories that they say are untrue. “Rio Ferdinand makes claim about Arsenal or Man United signing Kylian Mbappe” is the headline under which is the paragraph “Rio Ferdinand has claimed that neither Arsenal nor Manchester United will be able to sign Kylian Mbappe from PSG.”
There are also stories about who else to sell. “Kevin Campbell has said that Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal should ask for £50 million for striker Folarin Balogun,” says HITC. Campbell appears to have run a bodyguard company, and a record label, but doesn’t now.
Football.London, always keen to have a story or three, has announced that “Arsenal have opened talks with the management of Bundesliga star Benjamin Henrichs over a potential move to the club this summer, according to Sky Sports Germany. The 26-year-old RB Leipzig player is versatile, able to play as both a right-back, a wing-back and in midfield.”
Meanwhile, there is the inevitable “spotted” story – but no longer at the airport. Now it is “Arsenal wonderkid Lino Sousa has been spotted training with the first-team following the players’ return to London Colney.” That’s from Sports Bible.
Of course the long-running tale about Xhaka leaving is still doing the rounds. “Report: Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka on brink of Bayer Leverkusen move” are in
Four Four Two has a different name on the horizon however, saying that the club is after defender Aymeric Laporte. He is 28, and “is said to have grown frustrated at Man City, after falling down Pep Guardiola’s pecking order towards the end of last season.”
The Star is however now reduced to quoting the Sky Sports News, to the effect that Nicolas Pepe, Folarin Balogun, Albert Sambi-Lokonga, Nuno Tavares and Cedric Soares “have all been deemed surplus to requirements by the Emirates hierarchy.”
TBR tell us that “Arsenal are now pressing on with their bid to sign Southampton midfielder, Romeo Lavia,” but here the story is different. Because their source is The Times who don’t normally mess with such things. They also tell us that “Balogun, 22, has already hinted at an imminent departure on his social media channels. The American international posted an egg-timer emoji on Twitter last week alongside the three-word caption “it is time”.” Well, if the egg-timer says so, it must be true.
So there we have it: it is all a bit confusing but a quick check on the numbers suggests something like seven players leaving and seven players arriving, which at least balances out the numbers and stops us worrying that either
a) we won’t have enough players to make up a team if all those leavers actually leave, or
b) we won’t be able to fit everyone into the 25-man squad if all those incomers actually come in.
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