It is that time of year again. The time of year when websites and back-pages are dominated by transfer rumours. When the on-the-field action stops it is inevitable that writers will have to fill the blank pages with stories of which players are going where.
Attempting to decipher fact from the vast amount of fiction becomes near impossible. Each newspaper, journalist or website reports different stories about the same player or club. It is clear at times that the writers are clutching at straws to make their quota. If Fernando Torres is seen wearing a blue t-shirt people will say he is destined to join Chelsea.
It seems that the perennial list of players go on a regular cycle of being linked with any club with cash to spend. Ribery, Fabregas, Gerrard, Torres, Angel Di Maria, Rooney and others will be connected with a new team every day of the week over the coming months. Thankfully David Villa can be taken of this list as it seems that his move to Barcelona is close to being completed for £34 million. When Ronaldo cost £80 million and Ibrahimovic set the Catalan club back around £40 million and Samuel Eto'o this deal taking Villa away from Valencia seems a steal, especially considering the number of clubs who were interesting in the Spanish striker.
At least every other year we have a major summer tournament that replaces the need to churn out the tenuous transfer rumours, if only for a few weeks. It seems that Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea and now Manchester City are ready to bid for any player who comes with a high enough reputation. The majority of the stories that are printed will be proved to be nothing more than gossip-mongering but with the money that is flying around these days you never know. I thought nothing of rumours that Ronaldo was going to Madrid last summer as the story had been reprinted for the previous three years but the record breaking transfer fee proved me wrong.
Alex Ferguson has tried to separate his side from these stories as he has come out and said that Manchester United will not be active in the transfer window this summer. He insists that he will make do with the squad that he has even though this season seemed to make it clear that the team lacks sufficient quality and depth to challenge in all competitions. Rooney's 34 goals helped to paper over the cracks created by the loss of Ronaldo and Tevez and the ageing legs of Neville, Scholes and Giggs. With £700 million of debt the decision to stay out of the market will have certainly been somewhat forced upon Fergie but if the team fails to bring in some new faces then I would expect to see them struggle to get their hands on any silverware next season.
With no Champions League football for Liverpool next year the rumours surrounding Torres and Gerrard will be more regular than ever. According to the papers there are clubs lining up to tempt either of Liverpool's star duo away from Anfield. Carlton Cole is set to leave West Ham. Buffon wants a move to a Premiership club. Joe Cole is out of contract this summer. Ribery is on his way out of Germany and Fabregas looks destined to go to the Nou Camp. The list goes on and on. Papers print stories that managers and clubs deny. I often wonder if the writers pick the stories out of thin air or if they actually have any basis in reality.
We are only in the middle of May and the transfer window does not even open for another 42 days and yet it is already impossible to escape the endless reel of factually void transfer stories. It is a part of the game that wont go away but nevertheless it is tedious to see the back-pages and websites become the sporting version of Heat Magazine.
Thoughts, comments and opinions please...