The English transfer window is well and truly upon us and, despite only officially opening at the start of July, newspapers, websites and social media have been rife with transfer gossip since the final whistle of last season.
With most clubs, especially those in the top four, still holding their cards close to their chest and coveted players refusing to commit to where their future may lie, it is left up to the media to speculate on their behalf. And oh, do they speculate.
The buzz created by all this wild speculation is what generates interest, gets people talking and ultimately sells newspapers. Without any actual play taking place between the end of May and the middle of August (disregarding the huge cash cows of pre-season tours to Asia, America and – in the case of Crystal Palace – Crawley), media outlets have to find a way of talking about football without talking about any actual football.
Compared with last year’s stunning Olympic Games and European Championships, 2013 hasn’t really been a year for Britain in terms of football events (I won’t go into the gruesome details of England’s Under-21 European Championship campaign). This lack of action has meant that transfer headlines have been the main footballing feature on the back pages day in, day out. And we love it.
The back page interest doesn’t stop at tenuous and questionable rumours. It seems every year there is the perennial ‘transfer saga’. I don’t really know any other time the British use that word (other than to advertise insurance for over-50s) other than to describe the ongoing, drawn out tease that legally has to occur at least once a year with at least one player from at least one of the top four clubs.
Last year, it was Luka Modric’s move to Real Madrid and Robin Van Persie’s eventual transfer to Manchester United. The year before that it was Cesc Fabregas’ fairytale return to Barcelona. This year we have a double-whammy in Premier League pair Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez.
Of course, no one but the players and their agents know what exactly will happen but (without adding fuel to the fire) the storyline will almost certainly remain the same as every year. The duo’s respective crises will no doubt last right up until the transfer deadline, when Suarez will leave Liverpool for [INSERT RICH CLUB WITH SHORT MEMORY] and Rooney will yet again commit his future to Manchester United. Maybe.
Suarez has made it clear to Brendan Rogers and the media that he wants out of Liverpool. The Uruguayan striker hasn’t been the biggest fan of the British media, and equally they haven’t been his. It is therefore funny that Suarez is being linked with Premier League sides Arsenal and Chelsea, as well as his admittedly preferred buyers Real Madrid.
Should Rooney stay, it will be interesting to see what David Moyes can bring out in a player he brought into the public eye as a 16-year-old. Moyes has been quick to heap praise on Rooney, claiming he is in the shape of his life (and before you say it, no, that shape is not a circle).
The new Manchester United manager has reiterated on numerous occasions that the England striker is not for sale.
This is the second time Rooney has shown his desire to leave Manchester United. In 2010, Rooney made his first transfer request and explained that the reason for wanting out was not because of money (honest!), but due to a lack of ambition regarding the club’s future. He then signed a five-year contract worth £60million, and United won the league that season.
The champions have certainly shown Rooney their ambition since that time, most notably through reclaiming the Premier League title, and are now joint-favourites to win next season’s campaign along with rivals Manchester City and Chelsea. To see which bookmaker has the best odds for the upcoming Premier League season check out Wincomparator, a sports betting company that compares odds on over 20 sports in nine languages.
Only time will tell if these ‘rumours’ are anything more than stories made up to sell a few newspapers or to gain a few more followers. One thing is certain: like it or not, the Great British transfer saga is here to stay.