25 May 2013

Just don't look; Jovetic, Higuain, and inverse-relationships

I'd like to introduce or at lay claim to a new theory that, after more rigorous testing, could become a law that possesses the same force, authority, and consistency as, say, gravity or evolution, and that is this: there is an inverse relationship between the frequency of articles linking us to a new transfer and the likelihood of us signing him. The power of this proposed theory grows when we add in the factor of time--the earlier such stories emerge, the stronger the theory's power. Consider that many of our signings in recent years have occurred close to the very end of the transfer window. Going by the announcements listed at the team-site, key-signings like Monreal signed 31 January (the deadline), Giroud signed 26 June, Cazorla signed 7 August, and Arteta signed 31 August 2012 (as with Monreal, dead-line day). Only Podolski seems to have agreed to terms any earlier than that. The team-site doesn't specify, but the BBC runs an article dated 30 April 2012 in which Wenger and Podolski both confirm that he has joined the club. It's still May, and stories linking us to Jovetic and Higuain, among others, date as far back as February, if not earlier. If you believe the likes of CaughtOffside, we actually signed  Jovetic in late-March.

Arsène is hardly a manager who does his business publicly. After all, for a man who built his reputation and this team through his ability to discover hidden talent, diamonds in the rough, needles in the haystack, and the like, it hardly makes sense that he'd tolerate, encourage, or engage in speculation. Therefore, I've adopted the mindset that I'm shaping into a capital "T" Theory, soon to be known as Wenger's Law. More rumors, less likelihood. Under it, I've learned to all but ignore transfer stories until the team-site confirms it. A quick search of "jovetic arsenal" yields almost 7,000,000 results, "higuain arsenal" provides almost 6,000,000, and "rooney arsenal" 45,000,000. Under Wenger's Law, then, we're almost seven times more likely to sign Higuain or Jovetic than Rooney. Heck, we're 75 times more likely to sign Michu than to sign Rooney (and I think I'd prefer Michu over Rooney anyway).

The list of players we've been linked to in previous transfer windows is probably longer than the list of players who've actually played for Arsenal. If I'm exaggerating, it's not by much. Transfermrkt.co.uk suggests that we have a 51% chance of signing Jovetic, up three points from a week ago, and a 22% of signing Higuain, unchanged from a week ago. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I do resent the existence of these stories and do feel a little like I need a shower after dirtying my own hands  in dealing with this kind of rubbish. I'm excited for what we can accomplish in the upcoming season, and, sure, bringing in a player or two can boost our prospects. However, as crazy as it sounds, we do have a strong squad, and I'll go so far as to predict a break-out season for at least one of our young men, the kind that sees him make a jump from "yeah, he's pretty good but..." to "wow. I knew he was good but I hardly imagined..." There's no guarantee there, but I'd love to see that happen more just as much as a key signing--maybe even more.

In the meantime, I'm content to sit back and let the transfer rumors do what they're going to do. I won't be reading past the headlines, though. Clicking them only encourages them to spawn, after all.