While Premiership footballers are working on their tans, the businessmen within football are busier than ever. Silly season has well and truly begun as football agents, chairmen, publicists and executives burn the midnight oil.
As we’ve seen in the past few days, it’s not been just player transfers that clubs have been dealing with (such as Aaron Ramsey moving from Cardiff City to either Manchester United or Arsenal). The executives have been dealing with manager contracts too, whether they’re coming or leaving at clubs such as Chelsea, Blackburn and Manchester City.
But perhaps the busiest professionals involved with these negotiations are the press. The hacks that write about the latest transfer negotiations from a tip or an agent who is trying to create a bidding war for his player. The executives at newspapers know that transfer speculation drives up the sale of newspapers. They know that football fans lick their lips in anticipation of reading the back page of their newspaper to find out what the headlines say about who’s joining their club.
The amount of transfer talk in the press is increasing daily perhaps more than ever before in the history of English football. Goodness knows how much additional transfer talk there’ll be in July and August this summer after Euro 2008 has ended and new players are the target of the top football clubs.
To give you a sense of how ridiculous most of this transfer talk is (other than to create hype, sell newspapers and keep people addicted to Sky Sports News), Aston Villa has been tracking the number of times a player is rumored to be interested in signing for its club. It’s only June 3rd — very early in the silly season — but Aston Villa has named 85 players rumored to be joining its club.
To me, the whole transfer talk is interesting if there’s some validity in it, but in the secret world of transfer dealings, how are we to know what is real and what is imaginary? All I know for a fact is that the newspapers are loving the attention and we’re eating it up.
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