09 June 2015

The Silly Season heats up: does anyone know what they're saying?

With the silly season upon us, we will have to gird our loins and steel our nerves against an onslaught of stories, fueled by our own ambition and stoked even further by our FA Cup success and brush with second place. With no less an authority than 'Arry Redknapp attesting to our Prem title ambitions, the usual flurry of folderol has already started flying. Does anyone outside of the club actually know what they're talking about? Below, I present to you some statistical-ish breakdowns of the major rumour-mongers. Who's making a meal of it, and who's letting actions speak louder than words?

The Times3912431.50%
The Independent218125.90%
Daily Telegraph3714425.70%
The Guardian197625%
Daily Mail12756322.60%
The Sun9041521.70%
Daily Mirror18188220.50%
Daily Start5934916.90%
The Express4535612.60%
El Metro3128910.70%
Using statistics compiled by the website Football Transfer League (FTL), we can get stronger
sense of just which sources to pay a little attention to. This breakdown doesn't claim to offer 100% accuracy, but it does put into perspective who is peddling clickbait and who is perhaps covering
stories that might actually come to fruition. This table shows the number of transfer-rumours
linking players to a move to Arsenal since the summer of 2006. A few disclaimers from FTL
(their words, not mine):
  • We do occasionally miss rumours
    (websites get updated after we check them).
  • Sometimes, rumours don't have a clear source. In this case, we do not record the rumour.
  • We do not record gossip of transfers 'not happening', e.g. 'so-and-so denies link to football club x.'
There seem to be some over caveats; for example, it seems that FTL lumps together all stories about one rumour together. If The Metro runs several stories a week about Gonzalo Higuaín joining Arsenal, these are combined into one story

Each of these probably serves to inflate the accuracy of certain sources, so treat these numbers as ball-park figures or trends rather than statistical certainties. The Times clocks in as the most-accurate with a 31.5% rate of accuracy while The Metro brings up the rear at a measly 10.7%.  None of them, however, inspires much confidence.  By now, I'm sure all of us have learned to treat any story about a player joining Arsenal was little more than gossip, and we each have our own gut-feeling about which sources to rely on and which to ignore. Thanks to FTL's research, those of us with a deeper craving for numbers to corroborate that gut-feeling now have something to gnaw on.

As we ponder the possibility of signing Schneiderlin, Kondogbia, Čech, Martinez, and more, we know that most of the rumours are easier said than done. Who among these named (and many more as yet unnamed) might actually join Arsenal? Being realistic, who would you most like to see join the club?