What exactly is a transfer hi-jack, and why is Arsenal so prone to them?

by Tony Attwood

Sportslens had an article up yesterday which tells us that “Inter Milan and Arsenal have been in talks for several days over a deal that would see Christian Eriksen head to the Emirates but Paris Saint-Germain could enter the race for the Denmark international, according to Italian media outlet Calciomercato.”

The piece has a familiar looking headline

  • Arsenal in talks over Eriksen but PSG could hijack the deal

But what exactly is a transfer hi-jack, why are there so many of them, and why do Arsenal suffer from being on the losing end of so many, rather than being the club that is able to nip in an hi-jack players from other clubs?

Helpfully, Planet Football recently did a piece in which they ran the headline “11 transfers that were dramatically hijacked by other clubs…” which actually included no transfers that Arsenal lost, but one in which Arsenal was the hi-jacker – which was Emmanuel Petit who was allegedly about to sign for Tottenham when Arsenal grabbed him.

Yet when we do our summer transfer tales the majority of the players that are listed (you might recall there were 134 last summer) are also listed as being of interest to other clubs as well.  Indeed the most famous of last summer’s deals (Martinelli) actually went for a trial to Man U, they turned him down and he came to us – which is hardly a hi-jack although still rather jolly.

What actually happens is that when Arsenal are allegedly planning to buy a player the media is full of stories that another club or indeed clubs are planning to hi-jack the deal, and thus when the deal doesn’t happen Arsenal are blamed for being slow, dim-witted, lackadaisical and generally too mean, even though in the last few transfer windows we have spent an all time record for Arsenal.

But despite the all time record, and the fact that it seems to have resulted in Arsenal cascading down the league (we are currently 15th, as you may have noticed), we have the headline running in the Sun of

  • Arsenal preparing to hijack £35m transfer swoop

“ARSENAL are preparing to hijack Manchester United’s £35million transfer swoop for Pau Torres in January, according to reports.”

And that is not the only one, for we also have in the Express
  • Arsenal news: Edu to hijack Man Utd £35m transfer plan as …

well, I don’t have to go on because it looks like the Sun copied from the Express or vice versa.  It doesn’t really matter which.

And just in case we didn’t actually get it the first time, the Excess ran it again as

  • Man Utd and Arsenal to hijack transfer for star who was set to …

which was rather clever as it suggested we were each about to hijack the other at the same time although that was clarified a bit later by suggesting that Manchester United and Arsenal are set to hijack Everton’s transfer plans.

But actually when it comes down to it, Arsenal don’t always get caught out like a bunch of doddering dodos as this tale from Football London revealed:

  • Manchester United told to hijack Arsenal £45m Thomas Partey …

 FoLo whose modus operandi is to publish a new Arsenal story every two hours, 24 hours a day then also told us that

  • Arsenal could hijack Atletico Madrid transfer move to land Thomas Partey
Although in return Lancs Live told us
  • Man United to hijack key Arsenal transfer, Southampton move …
and of course never being one to miss out
  • Jose Mourinho accuses Arsenal of trying to hijack transfer

That was in JustArsenal and it is alleged that Mourinho accused agent Kia Joorabchian of trying to encourage Arsenal to hijack Tottenham’s move for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

Indeed one party telling another party to hijack the party of the third part’s transfer of the player of the fourth part from the party of the fifth part seems now to be what the media are doing in order to cover up the fact that 97% of their transfer tales are mindless gibberish and unadulterated tripe.

But the theme of Arsenal dithering is always there, as with “Rio Ferdinand has urged Chelsea to take advantage of Arsenal’s indecision and make a move for Thomas Partey…” in the Metro.

And this really does make it clear.  Hi-jacking is a fantasy invented by the media to cover up the fact that they have no idea what is going on.  It goes like this:

ROUND ONE:  Every conceivable player is reported as going from wherever he is to somewhere else.

ROUND TWO: Every other club is said to be thinking of hi-jacking the transfer particularly if Arsenal are said to be the buying club, because Arsenal are always shown to be too slow.

ROUND THREE: The player doesn’t go to Arsenal 97% of the time.

So you see.  Being a journalist is incredibly easy.  You just make it up.

16 Replies to “What exactly is a transfer hi-jack, and why is Arsenal so prone to them?”

  1. So newspapers make stuff up. Get over it. Do you ever write about anything else? It’s really boring.

  2. Tony

    You may or may not be aware of a guy called Brian Eno. On his passport he calls himself a ‘non musician’ despite him being a massive ‘name’ in the music business having produced records for such artists as David Bowie and U2. He has just released a 25th anniversary edition of his Diary : A Year Of Swollen Appendices with a new forward. The reason I bring this to your attention is because within the forward is one of the best summaries of the current state of the media, regarding fake a recycled news etc. that I have read. It’s such a brilliant analysis I thought you may like to read it as it seems to very much concur with your (and mine) assessment of the diabolical state of the media.

    Anyway this is what he has to say:

    This era has been called post-truth because language is increasingly intended to be instrumental – that is, intended to bring about an effect – rather than be accurate. There’s a difference between shouting ‘FIRE’ in a crowded theatre that is on fire as opposed to doing so in one that isn’t. Increasingly the role of the media – particularly in England, Australia and America; the Murdoch constellation – has become to trigger volatile public response by shouting ‘FIRE’ almost all the time. When it’s all about clickbait – grabbing attention – it turns out you don’t actually need much news. Just a flood of red flags will do the job.

    This confusion – between language as the articulation of meaning and language as trigger – has now penetrated thoroughly in to public discourse. Twenty-four-hour rolling news and the Internet have created demand for content that apparently can’t be met by actual news and has to be augmented by ‘opinion columnists’, ‘shock jocks’, influencers and ‘twitterati’. ‘Churnalists’, freed of the need to actually conduct research and fact-checking, trade in recycled ‘news’ about as substantial as smoke. But if you are inclined to believe there’s no smoke without a fire, then all you have to do is keep producing smoke.


    I absolutely love that last line: “But if you are inclined to believe there’s no smoke without a fire, then all you have to do is keep producing smoke”.

    Which is exactly what they do, but sadly so many people just cant help breathing it in as fact.

    Moving on to your more specific point about ‘hijacking’ you say:

    “Indeed the most famous of last summer’s deals (Martinelli) actually went for a trial to Man U, they turned him down and he came to us”

    Didn’t something similar happen with Ramsey ?

  3. I think ever since Jacob has hijacked what would have been the superior blessings of Esau form their father – Isaac which he has reserved solely for him. But Jacob nevertheless stole-hijacked Esau’s superior blessings to leave him with an inferior blessings to console himself with them . Which he Jacob might have likely received from their father had he not theft hijacked Esau’s. Hijacking has since then come to stay. And has since been practiced by human beings all over the Earth Planet. More so, by those who considered doing it as having in him, her or them the superior skill to subtly out smart the opponent or rival.

    But in the actual sense of it, Esau actually sold his blessings to his junior twin brother Jacob by even swearing to it in exchange to have his brother Jacobs’ pot of porage to eat to subdue the strong hunger he was having. What kind of hunger is this? Let God shows His mercy on us that will stop any of us from making the costly destiny mistake of selling or exchange our divine destiny for getting a temporary satisfaction in Jesus Christ Name. Amen!

    In this very soon to open football players January transfer window when Arsenal will be expected to switch to the transfer mode after they’ve played against Brighton tomorrow and later WBA all in the PL and have beaten then.

    But since there isn’t any standing law that prohibits doing player transfer hijacking, Arsenal Football Club could do any players transfer hijacking in January that they may want to do whom they’ve considered hijacking them a worthwhile exercise to do.

    But Arsenal are very reknown for their not doing any shady incoming player signings business. The club is not known for hijacking business deals to sign new players in any transfer windows. It is not in the culture of the club to do any kind of shady players transfer business in any window. This can be a tested to from all the incoming transfer businesses which the club has done in the past.

  4. Thanks Nitram – I do indeed know the work of Brian Eno and have been an admirer of his work since his early days with Roxy Music. But I didn’t know the diary – I will indeed dig it out.

  5. I think in a few years time when we look back at 2020 we will have a real case study of what Brian Eno was talking about….and not just related to football transfers (has been for years like this as Tony has shown over the years)

  6. Andrew Banks. You see this is what I find so very interesting. You find my writing boring, and tell me to write about something else. But that raises two points that you don’t deal with.

    The first, quite simply is, why do you put yourself through the horrors of reading such boring material. I mean to say, what is the point of doing this to yourself over and over and over again? For myself, and I think all of the people I know, we avoid things that are boring unless we are paid to do it. This must be some kind of self-punishment I suppose.

    The other is your phrase “get over it”. It is a strange phrase suggesting that one should acknowledge that the media make things up and forget about it. But the media does seem to affect a lot of people and it moves en masse, so that would suggest it should be held to account – but in terms of football journalism, that is not happening anywhere else that I know. Therefore it is a situation worthy of comment here since no one else comments upon it. Seems fairly obvious to me, although I remain puzzled by your readership of something that bores you. For me reading something I find dull and tedious, as you imply this site is, would be like reading Daphne du Maurier. But I don’t have to, so I don’t.

  7. Andrew Banks

    People are racist – Get over it.

    People are homophobic. – Get over it.

    People lie – Get over it.

    People slander other people – Get over it.

    People falsely accuse others of horrendous things – Get over it.

    People steal – Get over it.

    People mug people – Get over it.

    Andrew. I think you’re an idiot – Get over it.

  8. As a more serious response to Andrews unbelievable apathy towards the way the media lie to us on an almost hourly basis, I think the Corporate and political control of our media, with there capitalists agendas dictated by the rich and powerful, is the biggest threat to our Nations well being we have seen for years.

    The maelstrom to come with the loss of workers rights, the destruction of Unions will see the workers of this country suffer to an extent way beyond anything we have seen for over 50 years.

    Still, I’m sure everyone will ‘Get Over It’ !!

  9. Nitram

    As You may see from my subsequent post I was being sarcastic. I find this ‘get over it’ attitude so frustrating. Basically it’s like throwing your hands in the air and saying, do what you want, say what you want, because I’m going to do NOTHING.

  10. @Tony, I think you talk about it too much. I doubt there’s anybody in this world that takes everything he sees in the media (untold included) as 100% truth. you don’t have to be Einstein these days to know that nowadays it’s not always true that there’s no smoke without fire, but most people know that inasmuch as these days there’s plenty of smoke without fire, that doesn’t change the fact that in many cases too, there’s fire behind the smoke. So, untold says only 3% of transfer stories work out doesn’t mean only 3% were true. What about the many transfer negotiations/efforts that ended in failure? For example, the Suarez pursuit, which I remember untold claiming was not true, vapour transfer etc. Some transfer stories will always be cooked up, some will be real, not all will materialize, that is how it is everywhere. Some of the failures will be our fault, some will be due to forces beyond our control. The press will have reports both of the real ones and the cooked up ones, people will believe what they want based on their opinions of how they see the club. I remember untold writing a series of articles claiming that the rvp letter to the fans did not emanate from rvp – untold was 100% wrong but it ran it’s articles based on what it believed about rvp and the club as well as the opinion it wanted to propagate. And for me there lies the key, we must learn to accept that much of what is written in the media/internet is someone’s opinion. No matter the quantity of stats, facts quoted, the deduction is still an opinion, and each person has to decide who’s opinion he agrees with. This was quite long, I just wanted to say I think you stress it too much.
    Secondly, I thought untold frowned against trading of insults? Why do you then allow Nitram to always insult commenters that don’t go with the flow? I think you can disagree with a comment without resorting to insults, I also think insulting someone on the internet is comfortably/safely cowardly.

  11. Arome

    My assessment of Andrew being an idiot is not an insult so much as an observation. In fact I have made the same observation of someone else but at the risk of offending you even more I’ll refrain from telling you who that might be.

  12. Listed here are probably some of the most famous transfer hijacks .

    1. Diego Forlan – Was on his way to sign for Middlesbrough , but was diverted to Manchester Untied.

    2. Robinho – Was supposed to sign for Chelsea , but ended up in Manchester city.

    3. Arjen Robben – Signed for Chelsea after being courted by Man Utd.

    4. John Obi Mikel – Ended up as a Chelsea player after allegedly agreeing terms with Man Utd.

  13. @Nitram I’m not offended, won’t be too if you make your observation known, as I’m sure you won’t also be if I make mine known. But what’s the point? I’m sure we’ve got more important things to do with our lives

  14. Arome

    Maybe not, but you seem offended on Andrews behalf otherwise why have you gone crying to Tony ?

    No matter, I only called Andrew an ‘idiot’ to make a point, because is it okay to call him an idiot ? I would agree with you, no it isn’t. But how would You and Andrew feel if you WERE offended and all Tony said was ‘Get over it’ ! That would not be an appropriate response would it ? And that was the point I was trying to make. To that list of offences above, just saying ‘Get Over It’ is simply not good enough is it ? And neither is it good enough when it comes to media lies and manipulation. If you dumb down your response to all transgressions, verbal or physical to ‘Get Over It’ then we are giving free reign to anyone how wants to lie, cheat or bully their way to power, and subsequently to a hand in controlling society. I just don’t understand the mentality behind the notion that because you know the media lie, that somehow that makes it okay, and even worse, if you don’t think it’s okay you shouldn’t draw attention to it because “it’s really boring”.

    Lies, or fake news as it’s fashionably referred to, is one of the biggest challenges society faces today, because as Brian Eno said in his forward “This confusion – between language as the articulation of meaning and language as trigger – has now penetrated thoroughly in to public discourse.” And that is the problem. Your superstition that ” I doubt there’s anybody in this world that takes everything he sees in the media (untold included) as 100% truth” is completely missing the point, as well as being fundamentally inaccurate. Of course people know that not everything they read is true, but as I say, does that make it okay, or even stop them believing or acting on it? I don’t think it does. That is the power of the media.

    The problem is that what is being said in the News is not a ‘reflection’ of society and it’s ‘opinions’, but rather an ‘influence on’ society and opinion ‘shaper’. My argument is, how can this be acceptable when what is influencing, and subsequently shaping society, is just lie after lie after lie?

    Politicians lie all the time, and what’s more they use a complicit media to do it through. No, he’s not the first and he wont be the last, but we all now know our current PM has told lie after lie after lie, and that those lies have influence millions of people. But hey, we all know MP’s lie. So that’s all right then. ‘Get Over It” ! But is it alright? Honestly? Should we all just all ‘Get Over It’ ? I don’t think so, but unfortunately that is in fact exactly what a complicit media are telling us to do. Yes he lied. Get Over It ! And what is worse is that if anyone dare challenge the legitimacy of this current Government and it’s lying PM they are harangued and abused.

    So in complete contrast to what you say, people are not only influenced by lies, they are critical of those who are not. You couldn’t make it up.

    So I’m sorry but just being told to get over it isn’t good enough. Apathy like that leads down a very dangerous path. Our politicians, and their complicit friends in the media should be challenged at every turn. This also applies to any organisation that wields power, especially when they wield such power illegally, dishonestly and with an over arching agenda of self interest.

    Andrew and yourself may want to put up and shut up, or get over it, if you wishes. Personally I’m going to continue supporting Tony in his efforts to expose these lies, and the endless river of fake news that washes over us every day, as long as he has the stamina to continue to do so.

    Now for your 2nd point. You said:

    “No matter the quantity of stats, facts quoted, the deduction is still an opinion, and each person has to decide who’s opinion he agrees with”

    Which is the bog standard response of anybody who has no, or at least very few statistics or facts to support their opinion, and is of course a complete nonsense.

    Yes opinion is just that, opinion. Mine, yours, anybody’s. Just opinion. And on it’s own, opinion is pretty useless by way of ‘winning’ a debate or attempting to ‘prove’ a point, because who’s to say my opinion is more credible than your opinion, or visa versa. Opinion on it’s own means very little. If you want to win your augment or prove your point you need evidence. Evidence can come in many ways. Eye witness. Expert witness. Technology. Finger prints. DNA. Statistics. You know, that sort of thing.

    As such, and with the use of a couple of analogies, I’m going to show just how opinion alone, as opposed to opinion supported by evidence’, can see you end up in a whole heap of trouble:

    A driver gets pulled up by the police at the end of the high street. P = Policeman D = Driver

    P: Do you know why we’ve stopped you sir?

    D: No

    P: We’ve pulled you over because we think you were doing 50mph in a 30mph speed zone.

    D: No I wasn’t officer I think I was doing 30mph

    Now at this point all we have is opinion. The police say he was doing 50mph, the driver that he was doing 30mph. Who do you believe? Who is right? Who knows.? At this point the driver walks away uncharged. Opinions aye. Not really worth much on their own are they.

    Now how do we move on from this impasse of simply one mans opinion against another’s ? That’s right we use EVIDENCE.

    P: Can you come here sir and take a look at the reading from our speed camera? What does it read sir?

    D: It says 50mph

    Bang to rights. Opinion + Evidence trumps opinion alone, whoever’s it is.

    And just as an aside, do you know why the speed limits in busy high streets are 30mph, now often 20mph? Because: https://www.who.int/roadsafety/projects/manuals/speed_manual/1-Why.pdf

    “Small increases in speed result in large increases in crash risk. Studies provide direct evidence that speeds just 5 km/h above average in 60 km/h. rban areas, and 10 km/h above average in rural areas, are sufficient to double the
    risk of a casualty crash ”

    You see how they use those pesky statistics as evidence. Still, as long as in someone’s OPINION is that doing 50 in a 30 is okay then I suppose it must be okay.

    I am pretty certain you wont be influenced by either argument as you seem convinced that all that matters is your opinion, and that any statics or evidence provided, no matter how credible, is superfluous.

    Dismiss them if you wish, but the fact is society is entrenched in statistics. From how Laws are made to how football league tables are formed. To how Millions are made and lost in the stock markets to how budgets are compiled. To how racing cars are improved to how race horses are trained. Our entire society learns from and moves forward on the acquisition and interpretation of statistics. I’m sorry but to dismiss them as a mere irrelevance is simply wrong.

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