We’re at that time of the year where clubs worldwide are trying to make fresh signings in preparation for the season ahead.
And social media rumours mean that fans get excited about players that they either have never seen play, or they dream of playing for their club.
It’s silly season.
By Conor Carroll – @mrstability
Two years ago, a Twitter account was created called “Agent ITK (in the know)”. It produced some astounding stories, and gained a lot of credibility due to the accuracy of many of the reports.
I remember following this individual with a degree of scepticism.
How could he be calling transfers months before newspapers and TV stations got a sniff of them?
It turns out he wasn’t. It was all pot luck.
At the close of the window he announced himself as a fraud. A prankster who gained thousands of followers by creating interesting transfer news.
To his credit, he did a marvellous job.
Salomon Kalou. The gift that keeps on giving.
— Dominic Campbell (@dom_campbell) July 14, 2014
Recently described by Campbell as “the gift that keeps on giving”, Kalou has apparently attracted attention from clubs all across Europe.
The attention was so great, in fact, that the Lille chairman slapped a massive price tag on his forward.
Of course, the story turned out to be nonsense.
A club were made to look fools by a simple, yet brilliant, transfer rumour.
And this summer is no different with regards to audacious transfer rumours.
The best example concerns a German star who failed to light up the World Cup.
The club has no idea where the link came from. The player and his agent have so far remained quiet.
The bookies, however, are purring at the thought of thousands of Reds fans throwing their money behind the speculation. Who are they to argue with talk of one of the world’s best players turning up on Merseyside?
All three of these stories have one vital thing in common — besides appearing on Twitter — and that is no solid evidence in any case to suggest a transfer is/was ever likely to happen.
And in each case Sky Sports News has perhaps been the biggest victims.
Reporting the stories each year and claiming they were discovered through their own ‘Sky sources’, the sports media broadcasters have found themselves the puppets in numerous internet trollings, and will likely continue to do so.
The upsurge in transfer news from the likely to plain old ridiculous has spawned numerous accounts claiming to be ITK — the most famous of which is Indy Kaila News (@indykaila).
If Manchester United decide to end Arturo Vidal chase due to transfer fee, you will see leaks by club first. Standard stuff. #MUFC
— indykaila News (@indykaila) July 15, 2014
The proper art of journalism is being decimated as the use of social networking increases.
So some words of warning — don’t believe everything you read on the internet.
People lie and joke, and it’s all too easy behind a screen. Wait for stories to hit reliable sources, and be happy (or sad, depending on the player) when a transfer is made.