Hope Springs Eternal: The Annual Summer Transfer Window Rumor Mill

The rumor mill that comes around every summer is an exciting time fraught with peril. The moves a team makes during this transfer window can doom a team to mediocrity or carry them to the top of the table. Unlike the January transfer window, there is a lot more room for interoperability between the clubs in the summer. In January clubs are still making a push to salvage their season so there is a lot less openness to selling one of their best players while he can still help the team win trophies/avoid relegation. However, in the summer teams are looking to rebuild their squads. In order to do this, they sometimes must sell some of their best players in order to finance deals for a better player or sell one great player for a few good players to fill out their squad. It is during this window that a lot of players force their employers hand by stating their unhappiness at a club and a desire to move. Once this is done it is up to the club to decide whether to deal with an unhappy player till he leaves on a free transfer or sell him for a substantial amount of money and buy players who actually want to be there; they almost always choose the latter. The most notable exceptions in the past few years are when Borussia Dortmund refused to sell Robert Lewandowski and let him leave on a free transfer this year or when Liverpool refused to sell Luis Suarez, made him sign a new contract with a higher buyout in the release clause, and then sold him to Barcelona during this summer transfer window. The strategy worked for Liverpool, but Borussia Dortmund did not win any important trophies with Robert Lewandowski in the 2013/2014 so they probably are regretting letting Lewandowski walk for free (It could be argued that without him they wouldn’t have qualified for Champions League).

With so many players looking to leave clubs, and so many clubs looking to add talented players, it is no wonder that there are so many rumors floating around to entice fans into believing that their team is the destination for one of soccer’s superstars. The problem with these rumors is the fact that most of them are fabrications. A lot of the rumor fires are stoked by players agents looking to drive up the price of the player they represent. For example, if Antoinne Griezmann wants Paris Saint Germain to pay up for him then it helps the player if PSG believes that Liverpool, Chelsea, and Juventus are looking into him as well. This will pressure PSG into not only over-paying for the player but also accelerating the buying process so Chelsea does not get an opening to purchase the player. That’s why there are so many top players connected with so many top clubs without reputable sources to back up the claims. Most of the rumors fans hear are false. Mario Balotelli is not going to Liverpool, along with a whole host of equally preposterous rumors. There are some rumors that are real but there are so many fake ones that it is hard to tell from the agent-generated ones and the ones generated by journalists with a very extensive network of inside sources.

At the end of the day, fans probably do not care about the fake rumors. Of course it is disappointing to find out that a top player was never even considering your club, but deep down most fans probably knew the rumor was false. The summer transfer window is the one time of the year where all teams and their fans are on equal footing. Every fan can pretend this is their year that the club turns things around or continues their streak of excellence. Most teams will never get a Gareth Bale or James Rodriguez. A lot of the players a team acquires will fall flat on their face and become a waste of money. There is always the risk the a summer transfer window actually hurts a team rather than propels them to victory. During the summer transfer window acquiring subpar players remains a constant risk but it is pushed beneath the surface in exchange for hope. Hope that the players a team buys/sells will bring the team to the next level. That is why the summer transfer window is so much fun. The rumors may not even be remotely accurate but for a small window of time your club is a contender for not only the best players in the world but also future trophies. Ignorance is bliss.

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