July has arrived, Wimbledon has ended and the rain is pouring down outside – it must be time to return to the football. Of course if I were only to talk about what was actually happening then this might be a somewhat short blog, instead I find myself compelled to encourage you to never, ever, under any circumstances, buy the Sun again.
They really are a tiresome lot. It is one thing to make up outlandish rumours – they do that every summer, and aren’t even necessarily the worst offenders, but to revisit the same old tired nonsense over and over is just downright pathetic. Cesc has come out numerous times to say, unequivocally, that he will not be leaving Arsenal this summer, countering every ‘story’ the day after it breaks, but still they persist.
Today, apparently, we’ve placed a £40m price tag on his head (the image of that is amusing in itself, by the same token Adebayor must be doing the bleep test with a green ‘Star Buy’ sticker on prominent display). The quote looks fairly convincing, until you realise that it came from ‘A Gunners insider’. More reliable than ‘a source close the the player’, but one step down from a columnist’s ‘understanding’, this is yet more evidence of a slow summer at the Emirates, with the papers desperate to fill pages previously reserved for a summer-long Ronaldo saga.
Even the reasoning is laughable – apparently the sale is to provide Wenger with the funds to make a challenge for the Premiership this season, as if selling your best player and replacing him with those that take a while to settle in immediately improves the side. Ah yes, Sun logic, the greatest oxymoron of them all.
But so far, nothing out of the ordinary – we’re used to seeing this level of garbage, and we’re also used to the depressing tidal wave of repeat stories on Newsnow, as the internet goes wild with panic and anger. What is slightly different this time is how the Telegraph have done what so many blogs do, and that is simply reprint the story despite its obvious absence of reality.
The Telegraph is a weird beast. Portraying itself as a respectable paper, it does deliver it certain aspects – its cricket coverage, for example, is actually very insightful – but when it comes to football rumours it is nothing more than the worst kind of tabloid masquerading as a broadsheet, willing to plumb the depths of its long lost cousins to bring in the readers desperate for a dose of transfer excitement.
On to brighter things, and the one transfer story that does appear to have legs, that of Brazilian Felipe Melo. The story seemed to be over when Melo signed an extension last week, but it seems that was an automatic clause the club simply invoked, according to the player:
“I have a contract with Fiorentina in which it was written that should I have a good first season, the club would have the possibility to extend my contract automatically from five to six years.”
Fair enough, and with that extension comes a buyout clause of €25m, roughly £21m in our money, and excitement flew around the Arsenal wires with the news that we had indeed placed a bid, with Fiorentina willing to reduce the price if Eboue was included in the deal, as stated on the Italian’s website:
“Fiorentina in turn proposed to the aforementioned club [Arsenal] a reduction in the amount set by the release clause by including right-back (Emmanuel) Eboue in the deal.”
It might just be me, but I smell something a bit iffy about all of this. We may have placed a bid, but in reality Wenger is unlikely to shell out that sort of cash on anyone, and given the past tense of Fiorentina’s statement, it seems like this deal is already dead in the water – we offered, they counter offered, and there was no meeting in the middle. Given our stance of silence in these matters, it wouldn’t surprise me if this were old news, both clubs having already moved on.
Still, we can but hope, it certainly is better than reading about Cesc’s imminent departure every week in the gutter press.