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OPINION: Isn't there anything more interesting to write about than ten updates a day on transfer rumours?

17 August, 2017 — By Richard Osley

THERE is some good sports journalism out there. Investigations into match-fixing, vote-rigging, doping, and how finance became the real lever of success shine much-needed light on what goes on in the shadows, but chances are you won’t have read much of it this summer. To get to the bottom of important stuff takes time, money and resources, and news sites – including some connected to some of our most famous newspapers – have discovered that you can get a mass of clicks in a far cheaper, more direct way: by simply relaying one transfer rumour after another, all summer long.  Whatever the time of day, somebody or something in the world – possibly a semi-automated gossipbot – is filing a story about how one club is “ready to test the resolve” of another, a chairman is “preparing a shock bid”, and a manager who has been “tracking” targets, as if hiding behind the beans aisle in Sainsbury’s noting down what Kylian Mbappe is putting into his basket. As quantity replaces quality, any sensible analysis of what makes football tick is swamped by articles which are designed simply to be first for anybody searching the internet for the words “Arsenal” and “Thomas Lemar” and so on. We get the journalism we deserve, so don’t complain if there is some hidden scandal deep in the game which remains concealed for months and years to come. We know, after all, many of football’s most rotten storylines in recent times flourished for longer than they should have done, sometimes in plain sight while we all Googled who Alexis Sanchez may or may not be joining.

* ARSENAL fans worried about the lack of new recruits, particularly in midfield where the ponderous partnership of Granit Xhaka and Mohammed Elneny could quickly become frustrating, should perhaps be more concerned about the exit policy. This doesn’t simply mean the minute by minute watch on Sanchez, twirling his big watch in the stands and looking like a disapproving Soprano every time Jamie Vardy outjumps a five-man defence, but was it really an ace move to let Wojciech Szczesny leave? If a club like Juventus wants to acquire him, was he really so surplus to requirements he could not have challenged Petr Cech for the No 1 spot? Although injury prone, the talented Jack Wilshere and Joel Campbell also seem to being unwisely eased to the exit door.

* IF you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true? That’s how Eden Hazard should look at life after Chelsea registered a defeat in the first match of the season. He said last year: “Everybody wants to be champions and why not unbeaten? It’s a good dream if we can stay until the end of the season with zero defeats.” Happy talk.

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