Roll up, Roll up…Let the transfer madness commence!

I can see it now; Redknapp preparing speeches on his admiration of everyone else’s players, Pep Guardiola writing his wish list of Arsenal players to Santa “Rosell” Claus, Liverpool preparing £20m cheques for players that aren’t worth five and the media spend hours practicing writing phrases like ‘splash-out’, ‘Man City to pay £200m’ and ‘reported to have agreed’. Yes you guessed it; it’s the January ‘football media circus’ sales. City fans rub their hands together gleefully at the thought of more expensive players to sit on the bench and Arsene Wenger prepares his double bluff about not being interested in new signings. Is he going to sign somebody? Isn’t he? No he isn’t; but that doesn’t matter to the papers who hype themselves and the fans up into a frenzy that resembles the pre Christmas American tradition of Black Friday.

What is it about transfers that we love so much? Sometimes it even seems that fans are more interested reading about which players their team are going to sign rather than actually watching them play. I remember reading a piece about Arseblog in which he revealed that more people visited his site during the summer transfer window than any other period. A sad indictment of football fans perhaps. I’m not saying that I’m not guilty of being caught up in the furor of it all though. I enjoy the idea of going to watch newly bought stars week in week out just as much as the next fan. Who wouldn’t? No team in the league is perfect, even Man City have their flaws. Although it is doubtful that spending more money would particularly help their problems, unless they fancy buying the rights for the Europa League from Channel 5 and giving them to the BBC or Sky just so they don’t have to endure the punditry on arguably Britain’s worst TV channel.
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The best sorts of stories are the ambiguous player-for-sale stories. Take Fernando Torres for example. The rumour that he is available for £20m has got every fan in the world whose club has a spare £20m in the bank thinking this could be their man. It is just too easy for journalists. Where did this rumour come from? Andre Villas-Boas stringently denies this suggestion and like 99% of transfer rumours out there it was probably just some tabloid journalist trying to work out, off the top of his head, what a reasonable price would be for the Spaniard and then pairing that estimation up with the fact that Torres spends quit a bit of time on the bench. Logical yes, truthful no.

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The problem with this sort of behaviour in England is that there are laws protecting the sources that journalists use. They do not have to declare them if they don’t want to and what this leads to is the fabrication of sources, and in turn stories. However, that doesn’t mean that all stories are false. Who knows, maybe Torres does have a 60% off tag tied around his neck.

Every January it seems that we break the record for the amount spent collectively as a league. Last January clubs in the Premier League spent £225m, which was a record. However if you consider that £50m alone was spent on Torres and £35m was spent on Carroll then it seems unlikely we’ll reach those heights again. Maybe I’ll be proved wrong though. I heard from a ‘source’ that Liverpool are interested in signing Jermain Defoe for £25m and then selling him back to Spurs in six months time for half that amount. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? That’s because I made it up, although it does fit with established formula of looking at a club’s recent transfer dealings and adding to it the sensationalist’s solution to a club’s problems. Maybe making up transfer rumours could be my new job, I think I could get the hang of it.

For more news and views follow me on Twitter @H_Mackay
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