Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughThe anatomy of a modern football transfer rumour - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough The anatomy of a modern football transfer rumour - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

The anatomy of a modern football transfer rumour

Modern day transfer rumours have something of the whiff of the chicken-and-egg situation about them when it comes to the question of where does the waves of gossip come from?

A perfect example is today’s episode in the ongoing Robin van Persie saga.

At around 2pm, Twitter exploded into life with rumours that the Dutch striker was on the verge of signing for Manchester United.

Various unconfirmed reports stated that the player was on course to sign for the Old Trafford outfit as soon as this afternoon after the Red Devils had made an improved offer for the striker to Arsenal.

At a similar time, the odds from most bookies on van Persie joining United plummeted to odds on levels.

After these two events, the national newspapers and Sky Sports came into play and built on the story all without real basis for their stories seeing as United are currently away on tour and were preparing for a friendly against Barcelona.

Thus, no chance to get player quotes and it being too early to quiz Sir Alex Ferguson to get information outside of idle speculation and the ubiquitous “unnamed source”.

Therefore, the chicken-and-egg conundrum comes from where did all of this start?

Everyone knows there is no such thing as a poor bookie so perhaps they culled the odds on the striker joining United after a tip-off and Twitter users put two and two together and assumed a transfer was on the cards and it snowballed from there.

Or, perhaps one influential Tweeter posted the rumour and the way the social media platform works led to the reaction of the press and bookies?

Perhaps more far fetched but agents are known to leak information to the press to attempt to engineer a move so a new tactic for them is to do the same to influential Tweeters and bloggers and thus spreading the rumour like wildfire as happened today?

In theory, the odds on van Persie joining United should have plummeted in the wake of Roberto Mancini saying the Dutchman would not be joining Manchester City as the three widely recognised options for the striker are City, United and Juventus.

As it happens, van Persie has not joined United yet (despite Sky Sports News building up the inevitably of the move to stratospheric levels), Ferguson not confirming a new offer has been made and suggesting the ball is still in Arsenal’s court and the odds on van Persie joining United standing at 1/5 at the time of writing.

In essence, very little would appear to have changed in the situation, on the face of it at least, apart from lots of Tweets, column inches, broadcasting minutes have been filled and we’re all left just as confused as where van Persie will end up and where this huge tidal wave of speculation came from.

One thing is for sure, however, and that is we can fully expect a similar situation to happen again at least once this summer.