03 June 2013

By Jove. A £22m signing of Jovetic? The Arsenal site does seem to--nope. Nevermind.

Nope. At least not yet, so don't get your knickers in a twist. A quick search of "Jovetic sign Arsenal" shows us that caughtoffside says we "are set to complete" a deal. However, the same site reports that, 22 days ago, it's a "DONE DEAL (their capital letters, not mine): Arsenal agree £24m fee and personal terms...". C'mon, guys, keep your own rumors straight. If it was a "done deal" on April 24th, it can't be "set to complete" today. I held my nose and clicked the earlier link, and sure enough, the traditional tripe greeted me: we had "reportedly moved a massive step closer to securing a deal". A loophole that big is enough to drive a truck through. Sideways.

This is not a real photo from the team website.
I'm a firm believer in freedom of speech and letting the marketplace of ideas sort the good from the bad, but it pains me to see the same recycled articles draw readers in like moths to flame (or is it flies to shite?). I'm not claiming that I'm any better, more-original, or more-insightful than the sites that peddle rumors all day, every day. I'm still cutting my teeth in this realm, after all, and have a lot to learn about what to say and how to say it. I see the allure from a writer's point of view. The stories practically write themselves to the point that some sites probably actually have a fill-in-the-blank template that they can trot out: just replace the names of the player and the team, add a fresh paragraph about the player's stats and the team's needs (which can be copied and pasted from previous posts, and voilá--article written. 25,000 viewers later, they're laughing all the way to the bank.

At one point, I compared transfer-talk to crack, a comparison that seemed apt: cheap, quick, and exhilarating but ultimately leading to depression, addiction, paranoia...I even feel bad addressing it, not to mention indulging in it or luring readers here. I feel chintzy and slutty. I look back my list of posts and get depressed at seeing how often I've addressed the issue and how many more hits those posts have gotten compare to my attempts at statistical analysis, for example.

It might be the cognitive dissonance talking, but I wish we could round up the rumor-mongers, put 'em in gorilla costumes, slather 'em up with pheromones, and drop them off in the Nyungwe rainforest. I can't stand the idea that leeches and tapeworms and other parasites get to suck and slurp and siphon from this club that I love so much. I hate the idea that, like vampires, they can draw their energies and play with my emotions, my hopes, and my fears, and I hate myself when I fall for their tricks. I'll check in with the BBC and transfermrkt because they'll mention rumors and I can get a summary of the latest from the tabloids without soiling my hands (or clicking the links, driving up their revenue and rewarding their chicanery). However, once in a while, I'll stumble across something that seems real or that appeals to me so much that I can't resist reading the whole article. Bastards. It is like crack. For the two minutes I spend reading the article, I'm excited and thrilled and I start imagining what this will mean for us in the Prem and Champions League. Then, by the time I'm done, I realized what I've just become.

If the crack-comparison doesn't work, the transfer-talk is like seeing a prostitute. Again, cheap, quick, and exhilirating but leading to depression and worse. Sure, you can go out and spend as much money as you want to rent the finest prostitute out there, but the thrill is fleeting and short-lived. There's no anticipation, no deeper connection, no sense of passion. One might as well rent one of those dolls. By contrast, Arsene's approach has been more like building relationships--finding and nurturing younger players who, when they do grow into their potential, is all the more inspiring. Jack Wilshere's goal against Montpelier filled me with a ecstasy that I don't think a goal from Jovetic ever could. I know it's foolish to hope for a squad full of players who have come up through the academy. At some point, at some level, we do have to spend. As sordid as it is to see others pulling away by spending, spending, spending, there are no trophies for balancing a spreadsheet or for taking the high road. I just hope we don't go too far along the low road and lose ourselves  along the way.