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The four types of transfer rumors

Before the window officially opens, let’s remind ourselves of what we can expect from the press.

ACF Fiorentina v SSC Napoli - TIM Cup Final
This is how we get all our transfer news too.
Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

It’s less than two weeks until the transfer window opens, which means that anyone who’s even remotely adjacent to soccer is going to start hearing rumors. They rise up, insidious, like poisonous vapors from an unseen crevice, and vanish without warning. While paying attention to transfer rumors under Pantaleo Corvino was usually just dumb, as he’d let it leak out that he was interested in a dozen different players before announcing someone you’d never heard of, the Crow isn’t the boss anymore.

Daniele Pradè operates a little bit differently. He’s not as interested in the cloak-and-dagger aspect of the market as his predecessor, which means that occasionally some of the stories you hear about Fiorentina’s intentions will wind up being sort of true. Even so, though, it’s not like he’s out in front of the Franchi wearing a sandwich board to announce his plans. Even so, some of the whispers about new players will prove quite seductive, so here’s a quick guide to the four types that we’ll be running across this summer. Consider it a bucket of cold water to douse your head in when you get too carried away.

1. The “that’s not even remotely possible”

These are rumors generally started by teenagers who played FM for a month or by numpties like Tancredo Palmieri. The point is not to provide a look into a probable, or even possible, transfer scenario. The point is for the person who starts the rumor to yell something as loudly as possible over the internet in search of retweets, thereby adding to their own personal “brand.” Being wrong doesn’t matter at all, as everyone’s eyeballs have already scanned the initial report. By the time the “rumor” has been disproved, they’re already propagating something else ridiculous. There are no real-world parallels to this, of course. Welcome to hell.

Examples: Alex Meret to Fiorentina from last year, Mario Balotelli to Fiorentina for like the past half-decade

Warning: The reason this works is because sometimes they actually come true, allowing these knobs to pretend like they’re real access merchants and spawning thousands more of their ilk like budding polyps. That still doesn’t mean you should ever believe them. In 9,999 cases out of 10,000, you’ll be right; in the other one, you’ll be shocked and excited. Give yourself a chance to feel those emotions.

2. The “eh, why not”

This is probably the most common transfer rumor available, and all it takes is “X player to Y team is technically possible.” There doesn’t have to be any evidence behind it, really, or even any common sense. The only difference between this and the “that’s not even remotely possible” is that the “eh, why not” doesn’t usually include big names. It’s usually just some journalist playing mercato mad libs and publishing the result during a slow day. While the move may not be terrible for either the club or the player, it still lacks a shred of evidence other than the ever-mysterious “sources.”

Examples: Yann Karamoh to Fiorentina, Luca Antonelli to Fiorentina

Warning: Just because they’re so innocuous, these can start to pile up and seem believable, especially when the ouroboros of the mercato internet gets ahold of one.

3. The “it makes sense so it must be true”

These are the ones that hurt, because they usually involve a player who fits Fiorentina’s needs like a glove and probably won’t be super expensive. You’ll hear these from all sorts of sources—often citing an agent who’s transparently trying to drum up interest in a client—and slowly start to believe that it’s set in stone. Sure enough, there’s an announcement a week later making the player’s transfer official. Only problem is that it’s from Napoli or Southampton or something, and you suddenly remember that other clubs also like to buy talented young players too.

Examples: Arber Zeneli, Yusuf Yazıcı

Warning: Correlation does not causation make. To rephrase, just because you’d try to make the deal on FIFA19 doesn’t mean that the club is going to do the same; there’s a lot more to running a club than offering a fee and a wage to a player.

4. The “Rolando Bianchi

A personal favorite, this is the rumor that has stood the test of time. It’s like a pair of old sweatpants: broken-in, comfortable, familiar, maybe a little bit smelly, and perhaps with some holes. You know that, no matter what year it is, someone will dig up this old story that had no truth to it at the time and will continue trotting it out there as if it’s a red-hot story, and that this process will repeat until at least a year after the player has retired. It’s like a nice mug of cocoa on a cold day.

Examples: uh Rolando Bianchi, Pedro Obiang

Warning: If any of these ever come true, my head will explode and you’ll need a new VN editor.