Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughTis the season for speculation - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Tis the season for speculation - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Tis the season for speculation

June to August; the time of the year where the words “exclusive”, “a source” and “the breaking news yellow ticker bar thing” (seriously, what is the name for that source of misinformation?) are used as liberally as fake tan at an Only Way is Essex convention. Yes folks, its transfer rumour silly season.

It’s like Christmas everyday only with a marginally higher chance of disappointment as you open up the papers or listen to Jim “Three Phones*” White tell you who your club is going to say, only to reach the end of the day with no new signings. Or worse, you’re club has signed Luis Boa Morte.

Anywho, here is your copy-and-paste guide to transfer speculation and rumour and stuff. 

Basically, transfer gossip can be split down into three groups; the ‘leftfield space filler’, the ‘saga’ and the ‘plausible but pinch of salt needed’. Using examples from today’s (Friday 1st July) papers, let’s put some these groups into context.

Firstly, the ‘leftfield space filler’; hese are the lowest of the low rumours. Often taken from an internet forum or perhaps just put together using a similar device Family Guy use to make their jokes, this rumour involves outstanding player ‘X’ to join big, rich club ‘Y’ from smaller, less rich club ‘Z’. The likes of Javier Pastore to Chelsea (The Mirror), Giuseppe Rossi to Spurs for £35m (Mirror again) and, in a slight deviation from the norm, John O’Shea to Arsenal (Mirror, once again). Insert your own joke here about the words “Big John” and “outstanding” in the same paragraph.

Chance of these deals taking place; 0-5%.

Next up, we have the ‘saga’. Pretty simple one this; long standing interest in player ‘X’ coupled with agent seeking a pay day and/or plenty of club sources for quotes to rock the boat equals plenty of column inches. In to this category come your Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona rumours, your Charlie Adam to Liverpool gossip, your Alexis Sanchez to any club with a chequebook in Europe hearsay, your Gary Cahill and Gervinho to Arsenal speculation and so on.

Chances of these deals taking place; 35-50% just don’t hold your breath until they are actually confirmed.

Lastly, we have your ‘plausibles’ which combine a little bit of the previous two groups as they have something of the drawn at random element to them but they can also envisaged happening. For example, Fernando Llorente to Spurs (Mirror) as *cliché alert* Harry Redknapp likes a deal and likes a striker even more. Or Steve Bruce signing Wes Brown for Sunderland (Mail) or Charles N’Zogbia to Aston Villa.

Chances of these deals taking place; 10-20% as they all make sense for their respective clubs to make them happen but whether they will or not remains to be seen.

In many ways, the latter are the hardest to gauge as you know they conform to the plausibility rule and are often rubber-stamped with words like “sources say” or “insiders tell us” to give them a glean of respectability.

Here however, is the rub. A source will never be named at a football club as that source may lose their job as a result of their leaks to the press and an unnamed source is about as trustworthy as those Wonga loans adverts. Furthermore, a ‘source’ may just be the teenager who works in the club store ringing up a red-top to say he saw someone who looked like James Milner strolling into Anfield. Again, not that trustworthy. Lastly, it is not beyond the realms of possibilty that football clubs may have their own interests at heart (shock and awe) and deliberately leak information in an attempt to unsettle players.

In conclusion, rather than waiting on Sky Sports News’ yellow ticker or the papers to tell you who your club is going to sign, wait until the news is on your club’s website. What to do to pass the time until then? Ring up The Sun and say you’ve spotted Titus Bramble outside The Emirates stadium. First person to get their rumour published wins the contents of my right jean pocket (NB, it has a hole in it).

*Interesting sidenote, White does not actually have three phones. Phones from the production team are placed on the desk to create the ‘iconic’ image. TV fakery, albeit not on the scale of that BBC one where the Queen stormed out of a room or the one where that guy landed on the Moon.

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