I hate the transfer window, or rather what it has now become. A period of the season where emotions reign supreme over logic and any factual presentation or expectation of events is replaced with second by second heavily opinionated content across various new and traditional media sources.
For footballers, it’s the offseason, a time to alienate yourself as much as possible from the weekly pressures of the game or as it is now, a time to get married or engaged. For football clubs, it’s a time to take stock, appraise and prepare for the new season which negotiating and acquiring players is a key part of. For fans, it’s meant to be time to breathe and if you are an Arsenal fan, a time to check your blood pressure, heart rate and kidney conditions because we more than others are like a pressurised cabin all through the season.
For sports journalists though, it’s a time when their most treasured commodity (content) is in a scarce state. No match reports to send, no player attitudes to analyse, no touch screen coaching to carry out, no post-match interviews to review but they have salaries to be earned. Website hits cannot go down, advertisers’ money must be made. Newspaper back pages need to be filled so if the content doesn’t generate itself, you generate the content.
Aside from the journalists and Twitter ITKs, three other factors do not help the cause to have a saner transfer window. We the fans and our overbearing need to consume every bit of information on transfer dealings, the football agents who purposely feed this information to online and traditional media folks to either activate deals for their clients or create a sense of panic that can force actions from several parties and thirdly the blogs, the bedrock of all conversation, Lord and Master of opinion making, refurbishing and changing.
My mental picture of the transfer window is the scene in the movie World War Z where Brad Pitt flies to Jerusalem to find out how they had protected themselves from the Zombie infection. Then a little girl breaks into a song which gets the crowd going, a megaphone gets used which unfortunately acts as a catalyst, activating the full powers of the Zombies outside the fence. The ensuing events quickly turn the location from one of peace and joy to full blown chaos and hell. I know it’s an extreme comparison with a football transfer window but follow me on this journey and make up your mind on if there is a semblance. (See video at the end of the post)
A football ITK usually affiliated with a traditional newspaper concocts an Arsenal related story, for instance, Arsenal considers Aguero/Sanchez switch, usually based on very little facts, unidentified sources and lots of extra information remotely linked to the story. When you click the link the real facts that might be the underlying core of the headline might struggle to fill a paragraph. The Sanchez/Aguero switch story broken by David Woods of Daily Star is a typical example. The writer himself describes the possibility of this occurrence as possibly the most stunning straight exchange in the premier league but his story hangs only one sentence in his opening paragraph
Discussions have been held about the South Americans switching clubs this summer.
Who held the discussions? Who were the representatives of the clubs? Who was/is the source of the story? Where did the meeting or conversation take place? Are the players aware? Who is David Woods himself and what relationship does he have with the clubs to be the source of the information which might help with the credibility of the story? None of those exists? The post doesn’t end with the writer even saying it’s a developing story with more facts to be released as it unfolds. Nothing!! But like the girl in World War Z, one song or in this case, one paragraph of a thirteen-paragraph post is enough to set the whole internet ablaze with opinions and blog posts on a possible switch which might never have been discussed. All David Woods has to do is create a story. No one is going to hold him accountable at the end of the window if nothing transpires, it won’t win him a Pulitzer for investigative journalism but it would have earned him and his website some valuable internet clicks.
What happens immediately after stories like these break is every media house runs it and references the source of the story, imagine their own series of possible events to add spice to the story, throw in a few pictures of both players and managers and then add a survey at the end. Who is better between Aguero and Sanchez? Click Yes or No. (This is the part of the movie where the Zombies have crossed the wall)
Then Twitter picks it up, now its annihilation. The big Twitter accounts, tweet the story also referencing the initial source and then all Arsenal blogs populate their news columns with the story and if you follow several of them, it starts to pour across your timeline with the ferocity of a virgin volcano. As expected, everyone starts to share their opinions on the issue, some respectfully, others not so much. Overall, a click bait inspired figment of one journalist’s imagination has spiralled across Arsenal internet with the club itself having possibly nothing to do with it.
So how do you stay sane in all of this
- Realise that a journalist’s job is to break news and in their desire to do that they compromise of many truths.
- Arsenal especially more than other clubs like to keep their negotiations away from the public. That there isn’t an official statement does not mean there is no movement.
- Transfers by their very nature take time. There are several angles to cover. The player’s availability, negotiation with the selling club, negotiation with the player’s agent, possibly personal discussions with the player himself on fees, playing time, endorsements, playing positions, performance bonuses etc.
- I have no right to determine who should follow but I always recommend, follow only one ITK related account if you must. They are designed to spew lots of bullshit and amplify to the nth degree the one time they get one deal right. The fact is if there is really any truth to a story, it will get around enough for it to show up on your timeline. Follow one official journalist account that over time has shown to have some real insight into the club. Again, I have no right to tell you who to follow but these folks have shown to have some insight into the club (bbcsport_david, @jwtelegraph and @gunnerblog). Follow one blog news feed, I recommend (arseblognews). Do not follow blog aggregators.
- Have a small circle of friends who you can discuss transfers online with in a decent and civil manner. There is no need responding to everyone who tweets something not in agreement with your opinion on a transfer. You will burn out.
- We all do not know everything. Once you approach a discussion from that perspective, you go in with a willingness to learn as much as share. Your quick YouTube video search of a rumoured deal should not be the core basis of your complete knowledge of a player’s ability.
- Most clubs engage in lots of discussions during the window, all the data they sit on is not for nothing. Clubs have primary targets, secondary and backup targets based on how various cards fall in place. If the club enquires about a player you like and does not follow through on it, it does not mean advanced discussions failed, sometimes they purposely open those windows should a primary target fail.
- A lot of deals are dependent on other deals. Some clubs go the Spurs route, buy a dozen useless players before the sell their prized possession (Bale) which meant Madrid could release Ozil to us without too much of a dip in their finances. Or in the Juventus case, they ensured the money from Pogba was well enough to cover the substantial cost for Higuaín. All these kinds of deals are sometimes connected and they take time. The selling club might be waiting on another club to finalise a deal before releasing their own player. In some cases, all clubs can do is wait. Not all deals will be fast as your Twitter timeline, patience is a virtue and abusing the club’s official Twitter account and everyone associated with the club will not help you feel better or move the deal any faster. Breathe people, breathe.
- The most effective, just find something else to do. Read a book, watch some series, visit friends, travel, work on something else. Go on a mental vacation from football and its related worries. It will still be there when you return.
If you have any more ideas to share, please add it in the comments section or lets on engage respectfully on Twitter, @canoncrested.
Lacazzete Photo Credit : lacazette_to_arsenal_wallpaper___2016_by_mitchellcook-da9afwv
Thank you for visiting.
World War Z, Jerusalem scence