There are no more shadows: your guide to the ways in which journalists predict transfers

by Tony Attwood

Rumour mongering used to be a world of shadows – suggestions, ideas, half-hidden notions.  But now, not only is everything out in the open but also we have a hierarchy of rumours.

All the journalists and bloggetta scribblers know how this works, but they like to keep it quiet from their readership so that each new silly story comes as a surprise.

But that hierarchy exists, and as I’ve always been a fun spoiler as your Boxing Day guide to how the weird world of the wacky wonderfulness that is the transfer market (or as the purveyors of such stuff like to call it “the sheep market”, since that is how the players are moved – in the minds of the purveyors of positive positional purloinment) here is the one to ten of player transfer likelihood:

1: Club eyeing move

Not so much the club actually upping sticks and moving to Epping Forest (or come to that Aberdeen) but rather that someone who has no control over transfers woke up this morning and saw the name of a player in a paper.  It’s circular – a paper mentions it, and so another paper mentions it.

2: Player reported to. 

This is, of course, also utterly circular.  The bloggetta is the object that is doing the reporting and it is reporting that what ever it is, is being done.  The report is the report which is reported.  Which is, when you think about it, pretty weird.

3: According to reports.

Now here we do get into the world of the surreal.  A bloggetta or a newspaper reports that there are reports that report that something is being reported.  By the end of this we are all in such a tangle that it is doubtful if reality exists any more.

4: The player is set to discuss.

So what does this mean?  Indeed what does the whole “set to” thing mean?   Have you ever been set to have breakfast for example?  If so, hold that thought and then apply it to a footballer getting ready to discuss a transfer.  One may imagine his mouth open with half a word half emerged but it isn’t quite there.  I guess the writer’s equivalent is “I… I… I…. errr”

5: Player told he can leave. 


In the end of course anyone can leave, because if the player doesn’t perform well, or disrupts the other players, then he will be moved on.

6:  Agent spotted at airport

But where was he going and who was he going to see?

This one became rather discredited after we had a whole plethora of agents spotted at Heathrow.  There was a valiant effort (which has returned of late) to change airports (Gatwick is now a popular location for agent spotting apparently) but the credibility of agents at airports was blown about five years ago, and only utter desperation would lead a blog to use it these days.

Today for example we have had “Giroud’s agent has been spotted at the airport”.   He was probably coming back from seeing his in-laws for Christmas day.

7: Player spotted at airport

Of course players could be going on holiday, meeting friends or (in the case of Leicester players visiting Thailand) going to buy some duty free alcohol.   We did our bit to put the nail into this one when we had a young player joining the club being spotted on the M25 trying to find the right exit.  Still the Sun uses it regularly, as with “N’zonzi spotted at airport” this week.  And yet it was Gatwick.

8:  Agent spotted at training ground

With training ground pictures now available after every training session this one is harder to pull off simply because the pictures are not there.  He was probably hiding.

9: Player spotted at training ground

Total and utter desperation can come into play with pictures of a person who might or might not be a player appearing with a bag over his head.  It has been done!

10: Arsenal told “you can have him”

This has been growing in popularity as with the recent “Gunners told they can have Julian Draxler – for £40million”.  Good to know.  Sad it’s not true.

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12 Replies to “There are no more shadows: your guide to the ways in which journalists predict transfers”

  1. I really don’t think anybody believes all the transfer rumors even man city fans don’t believe all the rumors associated with their clubs. Sometimes some of the reactions from fans based on the rumors is
    1. Wishing the rumors were true
    2. Agreement that the club would benefit by getting that player
    3. Knowledge that arsenal have unsuccessfully tried to get many players in the past.

    Anyways the transfer season is what it is, the blogs and papers will write their 100 rumors, untold arsenal Will say they’re all lies, eventually 3 will happen, the blogs and papers Will not apologize for 97 failures, untold arsenal Will not apologize for 3 successes, because at the end of the day nobody cared or wholly believed them, After all they all need to write something to keep their audience

  2. Ridiculous score line happenig at the London Stadium to my disgust. Tottenham 4-0 Southampton with 61 minutes into the PL match. King Harry Kane with 2 already in the back of the net is on for another hat trick in this Boxing day match

  3. I’d say that ‘Arsenal target Draxler’ is a pretty safe bet for the Sanchez replacement.

  4. When you think that both Kane and Dele Ali should have received a ban for 3 matches after their violent conduct that was unpunished by the ref at the time it is rather sour that Kane now has 3 hattricks that brought them 6 points.
    In some other countries there is a ruling that if there is no video ref a review committee can review any yellow card and turn it in to a red one and order the just ban.
    One could say the PL is supporting violent conduct with their rules. Maybe the victim of the next broken leg or ankle should bring the FA and the PL to court for guilty negligence or complicity?

  5. Man United 2 -2 draw at home against the stubborn Burnley team today translates to Man U dropping 4 valuable points in 2 consecutives PL matches. But Arsenal should at least this time around capitalise on this Ma U latest dropped points by beating Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace team at Selhurst Park on Thursday night to soothe the pains of dropping 2 points at the Ems against Liverpool last Friday night in the PL which was due to Petr Cech’s carelessness in helping the ball into his own net instead of him to punch it away if he can’t catch it. Or at least make sure he parries it over. What a poor goalkeeping job done by him for Arsenal at that moment in the game in that match which cost us dropping 2 points after the goal he conceded became the last goal in the match. But is Arsenal defending not culpable in not blocking Coutinho’s effort leading up to the Liverpool equaliser which was cheaply allowed the Reds on a platter by the Gunners poor marking and defending?

  6. Annoying finish to the ManU Burnley match. Burnley was holding on but every call was going against them. Just before the tying goal, a ManU defender bowled over a Burnley defender and won a free kick from Atkinson…Old Traffordish calls indeed.

  7. Well Boorinho just stated that spending 300 million pounds is not enough to compete….
    Funny how him finding sorry excuses, like ‘too many games at Christmas’ and now ‘too little cash to spend’ are accepted.

    Can’t say we witnessed the same leniency towards Mr Wenger in the past 14 years….

  8. Now days , you don’t really have to too much legwork in following/ spying on people/players involved in transfers .

    Just check out their or their wives/ children’s , Facebook , Twitter or Instagram posts and photos . Every shopping outing , internet purchases or house hinting posts will give you clues of their alleged future destinations.

    So from the comfort of your home you can now predict with certainty where your player/manager of interest is going or coming.

    So lets say if Moaninin’ho has just bought a camel , or is taking Mandarin classes , you could say with accuracy that he is off to China .

    Or then again , he may be just learning how to prepare Schezwan kebabs !

  9. These frothing lunatics are again trying to compare Kane to Messi.
    Yep. He certainly showed such quality against Iceland. Ghent or was it Gent…
    (Danny Welbeck has a better record for England, and in the CL, and he rarely plays as a CF!)

    Protecting Scudamore’s Brand.

    At all costs.

    You see what happens upon the pitch. The “Theatre”. For all the luvvies out there especially the those who know all about the Sweet FA, like Master or is it Lord Dyke?

    The heirs of Don Revie have no shame or self respect.
    And, more importantly, they’re not very good at this Football malarky either
    (which is why they couldn’t stand Clough).

  10. People are only comparing Kane to Messi now because Kane has just beaten Messi to the highest number of goals scored for club and country in 2017. This stat has been dominated by Messi and Ronaldo for the past 7 years, so it is no mean feat. What’s more, Kane’s 56 goals were achieved in 52 games – 11 fewer games than Messi’s 54.

    Nevertheless, no one is saying that Kane is as good as Messi. So no need for you to go all “frothing lunatic” about it. Comparing Kane to Messi is about as sensible as comparing Kane to……..oh, I dunno…..Danny Welbeck? And just for the sake of accuracy, no, Welbeck does not have a better record than Kane either for England or in the Champions League. Welbeck has 15 in 36 for England. Kane has 12 in 23. Welbeck has a career total of 7 goals in 29 European games (of which the vast majority, if not all, will have been in the Champions League) while Kane has 8 goals from 8 games in the CL.

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