Every year, twice a year, friends of cousins, mechanics and the local airport run taxi driver become so “in-the-know” they are second only to the lovechild of Graham Carr and Willie McKay, when spotting talent and thus predicting and even claiming that transfer deals have been sealed.
Twitter is a hotbed for it with the “Fourth_Official” and “footballagentPM”, just a few of the “in-the-know” or claimants to be, that get the plaudits if they get it right and the pops at if they are well off the mark. However, everyone’s at it come January 1st and some of the rumours are truly bizarre, if not admirable for their audacity.
As a Southampton fan, I have obtained an automatic response to transfer rumours or news that appears anywhere other than the official site, “not happening,” and with good cause: at the time of writing, it is midday on Thursday 29th December and I have already read at least 3 accounts of players joining us with so-called “credible” sources. Firstly, and perhaps most realistically, (I use realistically loosely, in the same sort of way that I’d use it to describe what is more likely to happen, “living on Mars or becoming Prime Minister”) is the alleged free transfer for of Stern John back to us.
“[It] came from a member of his close family,between us and Brum apparently: “I am very sceptical but this person should know! I wouldn’t post this if it had been from mate in the pub.” That was the justification and as another poster pointed out he, “was last seen in the Trinidad & Tobago Pro League; hardly the edge of the EPL.”
However, what is possibly up there with past Southampton January transfer rumours, such as Oliver Bierhoff in 2001, is the announcement one poster on my beloved Saints Forum made, [I’m] being told by another colleague that he has a very reliable source [and] that we have made a rather shocking and bold bid for FC Basle star Xherdan Shaqiri.”
Yes, that is right, Xherdan Shaqiri, a player dubbed by some as the “next Messi,” playing for the team that has just progressed in the Champions League knocking out Manchester United en route: however, it is justified, of course: “Just passing on the info and yes I do realise how unlikely this would be, however this rumour comes from another club.” That must be that then: I’m excited already.
While we are more likely to secure a player on loan and make one or two rather low key signings in the grand scheme of footballing economics, there is sure to be a melee of over-priced bartering going on further up the footballing ladder and for every Rafael Van Der Vaart bargain there will be an Andy Carroll rip-off. However, what is the silliest and most unrealistic transfer rumour you have heard this season, for your club, or any other?
Last year we were blessed with Blackburn’s pursuit of Ronaldinho, to entertain us through a rather predictable and quieter January transfer window, unless you were a Liverpool fan, and this year, there is sure to be many a story on par. In the summer transfer window, an equally silly season, especially with the heat, Michael Owen was apparently set to move to Brighton joining them in their new funky Amex Stadium and Carlos Tevez was going to have a reminiscent love affair with the East End of London, playing alongside the likes of Abdoulaye Faye under the leadership of Sam Allardyce at West Ham.
To get your silly senses shooting off down all synapses, here are some of my favourites that I have already bore witness to: Liverpool F.C., not content with having a prolific Andy Carroll, a banned Uruguayan, an abusive Welshman and a Dutch model up front, are interested in Stoke striker Jonathan Walters and are set to table a bid of around £8 million for the Irish striker.