Transfer rumors have begun. Here’s how to decide if what you’re hearing is bollocks.
I’m a member of multiple CFC communities and already things are getting out of hand. We’re buying Mandzukic. We’re buying Costa. We’re buying Luis. We’re selling Lukaku. Cole, JT and Lamps are gone. Sideshow is off to Barca, while Hazard and everyone else of any value is going to be sold to PSG.
Simmer down, Beavis.
Silly Season is upon us and over the next three months you’re going to hear rumors about every single goddamned player in football, and the more likely their coming or going is to arouse joy or anguish, the more you’re going to hear.
See, too many of us – okay, not us, you, because I know better – too many of you still think that it is the job of the press to inform you. It is not. It is the job of the press to make money. Sell papers. Attract eyeballs to TV shows. Suck you into their Web sites where you might accidentally click on a link to an advertiser site.
Now, these goals may be accomplished by presenting the facts, but if they tell you the truth that’s coincidence, not design. And in a world where, frankly, explosively riveting developments don’t happen every day, they have to do something to hold your interest. Understand: given the choice between reporting accurate but meh facts and spectacularly interesting but utter hogwash fiction, they publish the hogwash. Every. Single. Time.
So they make shit up. They cultivate “unnamed sources” who feed them the most astounding insider information and they pass it on to you, the unsuspecting mark. And you read it and share it and if it’s good news you get all excited and if it’s bad news you’re ready to lynch Mourinho for being the Chelsea-hating, no-talent moron that he is.
You know who you are.
So take a deep breath and calm the fuck down.
While we can’t know for sure which rumors are true and which are fiction, there are some handy tips you can follow that will help keep you on an even keel and out of the cardiac unit.
1: Most rumors are false. Go back through the archives from the last few years and read all the rumors that were reported. Most turned out to be wrong, and that will be true this year, too.
2: Consider the publication’s credibility. There are reputable reporters and publications out there. There are also a zillion less reputable places. If you never heard of them before, odds are good they’re wankers. If their URL is really long – as in, OMGTheLastestTotallyInsiderFootballScoop.com, they might need to be ignored. If ESPN or the Beeb or the Guardian report it, then it’s more likely – although nowhere near guaranteed.
3: Consider their sources. If they’re citing a well-placed source by name, that’s a plus. If the source is anonymous? Well, that may mean it’s a sensitive situation and the insider in the know can’t afford to lose his/her job. Or the anonymous source might be this kid I know at school whose mom knows a secretary at Cobham. It also might be a case of gamemanship. Say Player A wants to go to Chelsea. Chelsea is interested, but isn’t offering enough. So the player’s agent – anonymously, of course – tells a reporter that his client is really interested in playing for Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool. This is a tactic he hopes will scare Chelsea into responding with a better offer. Clubs do it, too. So never rule out the possibility that you, like the reporter, are being played like a cheap banjo.
4: Consider the plausibility. Some rumors make more sense than others. For instance, consider a story that CFC is maybe signing a French holding midfielder that you never heard of before. Hmmm. Well, CFC is really deep at holding, so why would they do this? You check and it’s a 17 year-old. Aha – developmental player. Fine. Or you check and he’s 25 and an established starter. That makes less sense. Unless maybe we have credible rumors – reliable sources, etc. – that say Mikel and Ramires are on the way out. If so, then the rumor is more plausible.
Plausibility means you keep other factors in mind. Financial Fair Play means we’re less likely to spend big in areas where we don’t have a huge need. If you hear that we’re pursuing an attacking midfielder who’s known for not being a terribly committed defender, ask yourself why Juan Mata is playing up north right now. If we’re rumored to be buying a player who’s always been exclusively a second striker in a 4-4-1-1 set-up, ask yourself if Mourinho is likely to be changing the shape of his team for this player.
Unless, of course, said player is someone Roman is known to have wood for. There is a history of that, and it wouldn’t be unreasonable to factor that knowledge in.
And so on.
Some of the stories we hear this summer will be accurate – maybe Diego Costa is London-bound and maybe Filipe Luis is coming with him with Torres heading the other way. Or maybe not.
All I’m saying is, take a deep breath and think about it before you start spamming your listserv, Google Group or Facebook community with a bunch of wack shit that some 14 year-old troll posted on his Tumblr. I don’t expect you not to be passionate about the Blues. I don’t expect you not to talk with your friends and speculate. Hell, I do it, too.
All I want is for us to filter out the patently stupid. Is that asking too much?