|Fans? The fish. Rumors? The bait. No fish, no fishing.|
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again. Rumors are rumors, and this means that they are not yet true. “News” refers to things that have happened and have been confirmed by some outside source. The same news source that “confirms” that we have signed Gonzalo Higuain, sport.es, is running a newer story claiming that Juventus has launched a bid for the same man. They can’t both be true. If we’ve signed the man, is Juventus approaching us with an offer? Here, if you care to look, is what you’ll see at sport.es if you enter a search for “Higuain.” Newest headline: “La Juventus inicia su ofensiva por Higuain” or “Juventus begins its offensive for Higuain.” Preceding, earlier headline: “Higuain está a un paso de fichar por el Arsenal,” or “Higuain is one step away from signing for Arsenal.” Technically, they are both true. The man might be one step away from signing while Juventus tries to pry him away before he takes that last step. However, it’s pretty clear that we, along with Juve’s fans, are being hustled. Neither story is more true or more false than the other, which is to say, they’re both equally neither. They exist in the limbo, and, like a horoscope, are just vague enough for any reader to pin hopes and dreams on to make it seem true: “Hey, look–my horoscope says I will go on a difficult journey. I do have to take the train to work today…”
I understand the seductiveness and the lure. We all want to know who’s joining the club as soon as possible. However, there’s little point to reading story after story that follows the same formula: an unconfirmed source says that a player’s agent or brother or chlidhood coach has confirmed that the player has agreed to terms or is close to signing , and then peters out with a brief run-down of the player’s exploits and how he’ll enhance his new club’s prospects while being the best _________ since the previous bloke to play the position.
Of course, I slum around a bit as well. I’m excited for what our squad will look like. However, I don’t really want to reward the sites that entice us with these recycled stories (and yes, I’m aware of the irony of commenting on transfer-talk in order to decry it, so don’t bother to point it out). Here’s what I recommend. Limit your time to a site like transfermrkt.co.uk, who offer odds on who will go where. First, I owe them after mocking them for mis-spelling “mrkt”. I didn’t realize it was German, okay? Second, they offer such excellent stats on just about every single team that exists that they deserve the attention. When it comes to the transfer-talk, they simply suggest that there’s a 52% chance that Higuain will join Juve and a 22% chance he’ll join Arsenal. There’s a 53% chance that Jovetic will join us, 47% he’ll join Juve. That’s all I really care to know at this point. Everything else that we’re going to hear is just part of the negotiation process as everyone’s agents and entourages look for leverage, players pitting teams against each other, teams pitting players against each other, all of them seeking the best deal. There’s nothing wrong with them doing that, but it seems silly to pay it so much attention.
Of course, having said all of this, my most-popular posts to this point have all addressed transfer talk, so I should mind my manners until I figure out if I’m a hypocrite or the last angry man. Just do me a favor and don’t try to do the figuring for me…