24 April 2013

No, We haven't signed Jovetic. Calm down.

Reports about Stevan Jovetic signing with Arsenal are flying faster than a 13-year old tweet's about seeing One Direction. What's worse, they're apparently phrased about as breathlessly and excitedly as a ID3D tweet (yes, I do regret that I know what that acronym means instead of knowing something that matters). Click on any number of links,
wait--now I do feel like a 13-year old girl...he's dreamy.
and, yes, the first paragraph is all sunshine and moonbeams about what Montenegrin has accomplished and what he'll mean for Arsenal: he'll be the next van Persie, he'll deliver us to the top of the Prem, he'll restore our former glory, etc., etc. Read a little further and you start seeing words like "reportedly" and "apparently" and phrases like "sources have suggested." By the time you get to the end of the article, you've realized that you've read little more than the latest snake-oil from a suspiciously enthusiastic traveling salesman. I'm not even sure how excited I should be at this point about Jovetic, whom I previously dissected here.

I crave hits and visitors and attention here as much as anyone, but I hate this kind of reporting. Transfer rumors feel like the laziest hackery out thereit's a fill-in-the-blank exercise. Just insert a player's name, make up a transfer fee (probably in the range of 30 million), and attach him to his new club. Done and done. Come to think of it, I feel like I've offered a template. Oh yeah: here. Sure, it's not the sharpest satire out there, but it makes its point, I hope.

I know also that, in the wake of Giroud's three-game suspension, we're extra-susceptible to the latest rumors linking us to the likes of Jovetic and others. However, he's not available for any of our next four games, and Fiorentina is unlikely to be parting with him or even discussing a transfer as they scramble for Champions League qualification (currently 3rd in Serie A, having to win the two-leg playoff to get in). Long story short: don't take the bait. Let's keep our focus on winning our next four games, finish in 3rd (or 4th) to qualify for Champions League play, and assess the market after that. There's no sense in pining away for a Cavani or Jovetic if their current teams qualify for UCL and we don't.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, although it's like spitting in the wind: transfer rumors are a cute way to assess our prestige and direction, but in and of themselves they mean little. How many rumors attached us to Nacho Monreal, Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud, or Lukas Podolski? More than a few, sure. How many rumors linked us to players who never signed with us? A billion. Until it appears at the official team site or I see the player beaming while holding up a jersey with the Arsenal logo while standing next to Arsène, I won't believe it. Let's deal with the realities right in front of us before turning to the fantasies that may never come to pass.