By Sir Hardly Anyone
There is one transfer story that is dominating all others it seems and that is Saka going to Manchester City. (Or in the last couple of hours, Liverpool). Indeed so certain do some of the “journalists” (I use the word in its broadest sense to include writers of fiction) seem that they have moved on from talking about Saka to Manchester City and are now debating who Arsenal are going to use to replace him: Marcelo Flores. Or Charlie Patino. Or Omari Hutchinson. Or Folarin Balogun.
The Daily Mail scribblers are strongly suggesting that both Manchester City and Liverpool are trying to get Saka onto their books, and by and large suggesting that Arsenal will completely struggle to hold onto him. Others are reporting this, and citing the Mail as the source, although without mentioning that the Mail’s failure rate in transfer predictions last season was 98%.
Caught Offside is saying that Manchester City aren’t interested and that it is all Liverpool, and they say that “Arsenal’s continued struggles” mean he could move, implying the player is not interested in a second rate team.
So what is the truth?
First, with Financial Fair Play regulations having more or less collapsed Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City in England could afford the player, as could a few overseas clubs such as Bayern Munich, Real Mardid and maybe a few more.
Second, Arsenal don’t have to sell the player. His contract runs to the summer of 2024 and Arsenal are already said to be offering him a contract extension. So even to think of selling him now Saka would have had to have said that there is no way in a million years that he will extend his contract. That seems unlikely. Even if that is the case the temptation would be to keep him for one more year.
Third, we know that 97% or more transfer stories turn out to be untrue, so the odds are against Saka being transferred this summer, on that basis alone. And given that 97%+ of all transfer stories are untrue, would you trust a football journalist with a news story if you met him or her face to face?
Fourth Arsenal don’t seem to need the money. The club is improving, and is thought to have several additional players to add to the squad this year.
The club scored eight more points this season than last and another step forward like that would see the development continue. There’s more on this theme in Arsenal on track for third next season by scoring just seven more goals
But above all, moving involves uncertainty, and the guy is only 20 years old. He’s had the humiliation of being racially abused by England fans so he knows what the downside of life looks life and may well feel that another season with Arsenal is exactly what he does need.
However if all this is so clear and obvious where has the story come from that he might go to Liverpool or Manchester City?
Quite simply from the ceaseless search of so-called journalists who don’t have any insight of their own, and so make things up.
If you look at any of the transfer rumours doing the rounds today you will see that the in most cases the journalist is not claiming that he or she sourced the story, but rather than another paper or TV station or website is cited as the source.
Go to that source and you will find it quotes another source – sometimes even the one you have just come from. No one admits to being the original source because if they did they would not be allowed in the press conferences any more.
No, the issues is that the media needs stories to get clicks on its websites, and this is as good a way as any to run. There are no moral scruples about truth, or the harm that can be done to a club or a player from running a load of lies. Once made up the story can be made to run and run for days, weeks or months. The only time you can be sure you won’t hear about it is the day after the window closes. Then there will be a total absence of “Why didn’t Saka go to Liverpool?” (or Man C or Real Mad) stories.
In my view, the one thing to remember is that the failure rate of transfer rumours to come true was 97% last season. And that was their best season on record.
After all, if you had a job as a football journalist, and could write anything you like, and had no time or money to do research, what would you do…
a) Make up transfer stories
b) Spend your own money doing research
d) Spend days doing some proper research, write it up and know that quite possibly when you got back the editor would spike it.
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