One more game, that’s all that remains. Then the formalities will finally be over and the real business can start. Transfer speculation business. Lets shift some papers and generate some clicks. Yes, silly season is upon us.
It’s a wonderful time of the year where lazy journalists will make up pretty much anything that they want in order to seem in the know. It’s a time full of mystery, intrigue and endless possibilities. It’s a bit like Christmas for football fans, but its better than Christmas cause it happens twice a year, and when its here, it seems to just go on forever.
It’s got its traditions too; for shits and giggles, some will just rehash the same transfer speculation stories that have been doing the rounds for years. Maybe this will be the window where Spurs finally sign Huntelaar and Man United seal the deal for Wesley Sneijder that they have been working on since 2011.
A great example of silly season, and random bullshit, is Rafa Benitez going from being in line to be next manager at West Ham to odds on to be the next manager at Real Madrid in the space of 24 hours. How does that even work? Well, Big Sam and West Ham look destined to part ways, so a journalist will have to draw up a short list of potential replacements. The short list has the following criteria; 1. Are they managing in England at the moment? And 2. Have I heard of them? Point two is key, hence why the likes of Ray Wilkins and Alan Curbishly will still get mentioned for managerial vacancies ahead of some dirty, Latin, sleazy, foreign coach who is doing wonders at some cash strapped midtable side in a dirty, Latin, sleazy foreign league.
It’s not mad that Benitez would be linked with either job on its own, but to be linked with both at the same time is just bizarre. Pure poppycock. Horseraddish even. I mean, West Ham are a famous club, based in London, with a large fanbase and about a enter a 50,000 seater stadium, its not that much of a stretch that they may start to look up in the world and are beginning to get lofty goals and expectations, and a step up in the level of manager would be a great first step. But they are a mid table Premier League side with relegation in their recent history, and Madrid are the reigning European Champions. There is a discrepancy in the level that either club is currently at.
As for Benitez getting the Real Madrid job? Crazier things have happened; Benitez is a higher caliber manager – with a bigger reputation – than Juande Ramos or Manuel Pellegrini, and they both got a year in charge of Madrid. He is Spanish and won two La Liga titles with Valencia in the not to distant past and has won 3 different trophies in Europe.
But he is a bit “Ancelotti lite” and that’s what poses questions over his appointment. A manager with a great cup pedigree but relatively less impressive in the league, being replaced by a manager with a great cup pedigree who is less impressive in league competitions – and Rafa would play a less attractive style of football. I wonder how that will go down wit the Madrid fans.
I’m sure Carlo isn’t the only one raising eyebrows (huh? Heh?) at the idea of Real Madrid replacing a rich man’s Benitez with a poor man’s Ancelotti. But Madrid are a crazy old bunch after all.
Getting back to player transfers for a moment, this is also a fun time of the year where video games break into our dimension and take over our though process. We’ve all played Football Manager and FIFA, so we’re all experts in the finer points of how transfer work between clubs.
“If Madrid want De Gea, tell them its £40 million plus Gareth Bale…..and then we can talk”. Player plus cash transfers happen, they do, but they are so infrequent (especially at the upper end of the market) that it boggles my mind every time a journalist will put his name to a story revolving around one.
I remember one time while playing FIFA; I tried to sign Toni Kroos from Bayern Munich, but I only had £35 million to spend. The asking price was £41 million. You can see the fix I was in. It was only through my Frank Underwood levels of charm and scheming that I managed to force through a deal where I paid them the £35 million I had, and threw in Brazilian wonderkid Anderson to sweeten the deal. If only life was that simple.
United fans wont be the only ones looking for ridiculous deals this summer; Liverpool fans will be looking for cash plus Aguero or Silva in return for Sterling. Just like they successfully negotiated cash push Alexis Sanchez last season in the Suarez to Barcelona deal. Maybe the journalist could apply the “Sneijder to United rule” and run a story that Liverpool want cash plus Sanchez from Arsenal this season. If at first you don’t succeed, and all that.
Cash plus player swap deals rarely happen, because there is a massive variable in the deal. That variable being the player touted for the swap. Liverpool, their fans and the media can say “cash plus Alexis” all they want, but Alexis will have to actually want to join Liverpool in the first place for that to happen. And who would ever want to join Liverpool?
Ultimately, it’s our own fault though. We as a group of people fall for the click bait traps. We follow these journalists on twitter – to be fair some are reliable and then others are indykaila – we buy their newspapers and give their websites hits. We need to pull together and try and slow this train of stupidity down. The season isn’t even over, and none of Real Madrid, Man United or David De Gea has said a single meaningful word regarding a transfer, yet look at how much has been written and speculated about it? We’ve been talking about it for months on end, why not just wait until something actually happens, and talk about it then?
The next time you’re browsing Facebook or twitter, and you see some rubbish headline like “You wont believe who just bid £150 million for Ronaldo. THIS WILL BE HUGE”, you need to not take the obvious bait and you need to not click the link. A general rule of thumb, if the story wont include the bidding party in the headline, then its probably a bullshit story. It’s nothing more than an attempt to get you click the link and find out. A reputable outlet won’t run a story with a headline of “OMG! Sterling agrees to join a new club. Shocked at who.” So lets all play our part and try and try and make news stories actual news again.