So silly season is well under way. The newspapers are cranking up their fabricated stories to get hits and appease advertisers.
Since the 1st of December, Arsenal have already been linked to well over 40 players. It is almost as if someone is sitting their with a random name generator, hits go, and whatever it comes up with they run the story.
This December it seems as crazy as ever.
As usual, we enjoy logging every player linked with them from reputable sources. What is reputable now is so much harder to define then 10 years ago as it seems you now have main stream media quoting random speculators to get that hit.
I always laugh when I am adding the names. You get players who seem to always be on the list for years in a row. I am still awaiting Arsenal to sign Sebastian Frey.
Recent ones include Bender (Sven or Lars, depending on which name comes out the hat) and the newest media favourite, Adrian Rabiot.
December 2013 was the first time I can find Rabiot linked with us. Since then, he has been an ever present in our A to Z. That is 5 in total. And yet we have not signed him yet. He is one of the names many Arsenal fans add to their personal wish list, despite having not seen him play. They rate him purely because he was always linked with us.
We will not sign him this winter. But we will be linked with him next summer. Rabiot is the new Sebastian Frey.
Than you have players where it is clear that the journalist is being fed information by an agent. The likes of Alexandre Pato and Ezequiel Lavezzi are clear examples of this. Players who are itching for a move. Link with Arsenal in the hope to get a move elsewhere. And more often than not they do!
Then we have the real random ones. Usually kids. It is almost like a journalist is sitting their playing the new Football Manager, discovers a Wonder Kid, so links him to every major club over the course of a few weeks. The hope is that one day he might make it, and make that move, and he can become ITK and tell everyone ‘I told you so’ despite getting another 50 deals wrong and linking that player to 10 different clubs.
Bartlomiej Dragowski is an example of that this year. No one knows who this kid is. Except for him being the best young goal keeper on FM2016. And yet we get linked with him, and people will get excited, proclaiming that he is one of the top prospects in Europe. An opinion based on them playing the same game as the journalist who linked the player.
I also notice a cheeky little link to Yann M’Vila this year. I find that odd considering we signed him a few years ago…
And then we have someone like Reece Oxford. The same person who linked him to Arsenal probably also linked him to X-Factor winner Louisa Johnson. Found to be untrue. And the paper had to apologise.
Imagine if The Sun or The Metro had to apologise everytime they falsified a link to of a footballer to a club? The back pages would be full of them.
One thing we are happy with is the link of Arsenal to sign Granit Xhaka.
A little game we play is seeing if we can get the perfect score. A player linked starting with every letter of the alphabet. We always get close, but never the full 26. With X the one that usually lets us done.
I remember many years ago, when we were a little old forum hosted in the back waters of the internet, we tried our hardest to get a link to Abel Xavier in the paper. Just to complete the list. We failed.
But this year we have a chance. With Xhaka we have our X.
All we have left is A, F, Q, T, U, V, Y & Z. Bring on the links to Claudio Yacob, Wilfred Zaha & Ricardo Quaresma.
The sad thing is, enough people click on the links to the speculation that it makes it worthwhile to continue doing it for both media outlets and rubbish blogs. We have all seen the like. They are always most read on the News Now feed. With titles such as “Arsenal set to sign French midfielder” and an article linking us for the 100th time in 3 days to Adrian Rabiot.
One of the best of these I saw went along the lines of “Arsenal to strike up £30m deal for England striker”. It was about Theo Walcott’s new contract.
The speculation really does my head in. And it also gives people a stick to beat the club in. People moaning that we have not bought a certain player that we were linked with. Well if you decided to believe the speculation, its your fault, not the clubs for not signing him.
As the old saying go’s, believe nothing until you see the player wearing the shirt.
Enjoy silly season.