By Sir Hardly Anyone
There has been a major shift in the transfer rumours this past week. Suddenly we have stopped seeing the wild and wacky tales of signing a reserve keeper from Leeds when we’ve already got too many of our own. Likewise reports about Bellerin’s transfer request and his new house in Barcelona have all but vanished.
And this is odd for it is not at all like last summer where the new tales just kept on coming right up to the final day of the window, and then some. So what’s happened? Have Arsenal really found their focus? Have their got their team ready? Has Wenger stopped dithering?
Well, for the last question, the answer is no, because he never dithered – it was all makebelieve from the media.
In fact the change hasn’t been with Arsenal but with the Commentariat itself. Seeing their newspaper and TV audiences haemorrhaging last summer the main stream media empires that run the national papers started to set up bloggettas of their own – and not just one each, but in some cases a dozen such sites, each recycling the wild and unsubstantiated rumours of each other, each quoting the other as the source.
Thus it can now look as if player X is certainly coming to Arsenal or Bellerin is leaving because suddenly 50 different sites are all talking about the same issue. But in fact these sites are owned by just five national newspapers and are simply circulating the same old same old. The aim being to keep the stories running and make a spot of cash out of the vast number of adverts that each site runs.
So we are now down to a little group of stories hyped over and over by hundreds of sites, owned by just a handful of organisations. And this is what they invented in the last few days.
Arsenal have made a big offer for Nice left-back Dalbert although quite why is hard to say. Indeed even some of the bloggettas owned by rival papers are saying this is nonsense. He played 33 games for Nice last season.
2: Virgil van Dijk
On the other hand “Southampton star Virgil van Dijk a prime target for Arsenal this summer.” Allegedly. He’s a centre back and we have a defensive crisis apparently (because of our players being in the summer international tournaments at various levels.) OK that crisis will only last two games and we actually do have enough players but still it is a CRISIS, and if there is a CRISIS then it must be at Arsenal.
“With Arsenal’s backline as fragile as Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League campaign, it appears that Arsene Wenger may be looking at reinforcements for his injury prone defence.” And the analysis that we get more injuries than anyone else? Sorry, I couldn’t find that.
3: Thomas Lemar
Apparently he is “pushing for Arsenal move” and Monaco will sell for £53m – or maybe that is £45m. These numbers are so confusing.
Indeed “Arsene Wenger is convinced Thomas Lemar wants to join Arsenal this summer and is ready to sanction “a third bid for” the player according to the Metro. And a THIRD BID means it must be SERIOUS.
But wait, what is this? An “Insider” says Arsenal will have to pay €60m to sign exciting 21-year-old attacker, but then when we do the sums that is indeed the same as the £53m – just another case of one newspaper having a load of little bloggy things and running the same story through all of them.
Yes, the Inter Milan star Marcelo Brozovic is ‘next on Arsene Wenger’s wish list’ and this according to ESPN. But don’t get too overwhelmed as the club is doing its slow-slow-slow thing and “weighing up a move for the Croatian midfielder” in order “revamp” the squad. A squad, which as we finally agreed yesterday, was still two men over the allowed 25.
And here is one I liked: “Arsenal scouts allegedly watched him in international action on numerous occasions during last season.” The new verb: to allegedly watch. What ever happened to the law against split infinitives? Inter are said to be prepared to listen to offers for the 24-year-old.
Wenger is a long-term admirer of Brozovic and had “scouts watch the Croatian international in action on several occasions last season.” But on 7 December last year, Brozović extended his contract with Inter Milan until 2021, with the new deal including a significant wage rise. So it all seems a trifle odd.
He’s 24 and played 23 times for the club in the league last season.
And here’s a nice little quote from a bloggetta: “Wenger – speaking to Football.London during Arsenal’s tour of Australia, has now admitted that he has been trying to persuade the teenager to make the move to the Emirates.”
Did the boss actually give an interview to a little bloggy thing? Did he “admit” what he previously hid? No of course not. He gave a press conference, and the Daily Mirror’s man was there, and he just ran what Mr W said, which was
“Nobody can say they are not interested in a player of that calibre. He is such an immense quality at 18 years of age. All clubs are interested in him. He is a player who when he gets up in the morning can choose what he wants to do, where he wants to go.”
“There are not many players who have that kind of luck. He’s 18 years of age and all of Europe has the red carpet out for him.”
Apparently Monaco, who we must remember did beat PSG last season to the title with an average league attendance of 9,499 – the lowest in the top division in France – want to keep him. That crowd figure was below the average league attendance for League One in England last season. Lower than Milton Keynes Dons. Just a little above Millwall.
Monaco have offered the player a 900% pay rise to stay on at the Stade Louis II and play home games in front of under 10,000.
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