On Monday, Fortnum & Mason unvieled their Christmas windows. It is still 2 months till Christmas. I had my first mince pie of the Christmas season in the middle of October. Asda (I can not afford Fortnum & Mason) were selling mince pies, Christmas Puddings and Christmas Cake from the first of October. I have yet to hear the first Christmas song on BBC Radio 1, although it can not be too long until this landmark. The Christmas season has started. 2 months before the big day. And in the same way, silly season has started in football, despite the transfer window not opening for 2 more months. How I love November.
The month had barely begun and already the journalists were getting excited. Finally they no longer have to write real stories, no longer have to report the truth, instead they get to fill their papers with inches and inches of mindless transfer speculation. Quiet day and in need of a back page story? Lets make up transfer gossip involving a top Premier League club and a top player from Europe. Got 3 inches to fill, write something quickly about how a League Two club are thinking of taking a league one player on loan. It is easy for them.
And editors and the finance men rub their hands in glee. A simple article about how a club has agreed terms with a certain player will get a lot more hits, and therefore generate a lot more in advertising revenue, then a proper piece about how Liverpool’s 3-5-2 formation does not work against top sides, or how Chelsea might have the players, but have not yet forged an identity under Mourinho.
And blogs also get in on the act, knowing that a made up article hitting NewsNow can generated 100,000 hits, or $50 in AdSense advertising. Not bad for a days work.
Add in the Twitter ITK’s (I will not name them) who see it as a chance to add thousands of followers, in the hope enough stay around after (have we signed M’Vila yet?),justifying their existence, the days up to the transfer window are tedious, at best. And it is still 2 months to go.
We have already agreed terms with Karim Benzema, in a bidding war with Chelsea over Diego Costa and Robert Lewandowski (I thought he had already agreed to sign for Bayern Munich?) and about to sign Alexandre Pato – What a front 3 we will have! On top of this, we are going to get Fernando Llorente on a free transfer, renewing our pursuit of Clement Grenier and scouting Christian Benteke and West Ham defender Winston Reid. Add in our long term interest of Ilkay Gundogan and things are getting exciting.
Unfortunately, we have suffered a set back in our pursuit of Hernanes although a deal is not compeltely ruled out, and are also struggling to sign Martin Montoya, whilst we have been dealt a huge blow in the pursuit of Lars Bender. Good news is we have in the race to sign Jorginho, and Gokhan Inler looks set to finally sign after 10 years of us scouting him.
‘Out of favour’ Stephan El Shaarawy is looking for a way out of AC Milan (although being injured this season is not exactly being out of favour), the Yohan Cabaye deal is very much still on, whilst attacking midfielder Javier Pastore is looking to end his PSG hell by joining the Gunners.
We are on red alert to sign a pre-contract deal with Kasper Schmeichel, mulling over a deal for 18 year old Angel Correa (who?), sniffing around Saido Berahino and Basel’s Fabian Schar is on the radar.
I am writing this on the evening of November the 5th. In 5 days, we have been linked with over 20 players already. In just 5 days (I had to reiterate it). How many will it be by the time the transfer window slams shut on January 31st? Probably north of 100.
These links are not from blogs, nor are they from the ITK twitter tossers. They are from papers. From journalists. From professionals. People are paid to write the stories on these links. At no point do they try to explain where they will fit in to the Arsenal squad. It is almost as if they play ‘pin the player on the Premier League side’ of an evening to decide which players they are going to link to which club.
My advice, ignore it all. Until you see that player holding the shirt, ignore it. Even the usually reliable BBC have messed up recently, with their involvement in both the Nuri Sahin drama and Gonzalo Higuain fiasco.
Christmas is not nearly here, nor is the transfer window yet close to opening, yet the silly season for both is already in full swing.