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How to read summer transfer rumors

From “linked” to “done deal”, we decode the headlines!

Yuki Abe Presentation At Leicester City
Probably the only Yuki Abe photo you’ll see today.
Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

With the international transfer window set to open on 11 June, the transfer rumors are going to start flying faster than anyone can reasonably keep track of them. Every good Leicester player (all of them) will be linked with a move to a “big” club, and Leicester will be purported to be spending their presumed windfall on every player who has an agent (again, all of them).

How can you make sense of the madness? Fear not! Here at the Fosse Posse, we have a foolproof system for evaluating which rumors are baseless and which will end with an awkward photo of a player in their new club’s shirt in an empty stadium.

Honestly, an awkward shirt photo is the best-case scenario.

Without further ado, here are the headlines you’re likely to see and what they really mean:

Leicester City MUST sign X player!

Rating: Complete rubbish

These headlines are nothing but click bait. There are no sources, no rumors, no anything beyond the writer wishing to get some traffic by proposing a signing. Here’s a great example: Why Leicester City must sign Salif Sane to partner Harry Maguire at the back. There’s no hint of actual interest by any party here.

The “Leicester City should sign...” articles are just a slightly more polite version of the same thing. I should know, having written one myself. They’re just fun discussion points for fans, but there’s connection to reality anywhere to be found in them.

Leicester are rumored to be interested in X player.

Rating: Largely rubbish

The only difference between these and the above is that there is ostensibly a source for the rumor. The source is almost never named. The source could be the player’s agent, or the club that is trying to offload the player, or some rando I, er, “the writer” met in a pub. It could be my cat for all anyone reading the article knows.

On the plus side, he’s far better at this than I am. Naim Sliti? What was I thinking?

Here’s a good one we’ll be seeing a lot of this year: Report: Leicester City interested in Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend. This isn’t really news for two reasons: One, there’s no plausible source for the story, and two, we are linked with Andros Townsend every single summer. This is more plausible than the “must sign” articles because Townsend is the kind of player Leicester are likely looking for, but this says more about how astutely the writer has been following football than about the likelihood of the deal happening.

X team wants a particular Leicester player.

Rating: Too silly to consider

I added this one to point out a singular feature of transfer rumors. When a Leicester-supporting site is reporting on the rumor, the price will be absolutely astronomical. When the article is written from the perspective of the team who supposedly want the player, the price is comically low.

I couldn’t ask for a better example than this: Report: Liverpool want £22.5m Leicester star James Maddison. I am quite sure that, if they could get him for 22.5m, every club on the planet would be knocking our door down to get James Maddison. Maybe they’re talking about the agents’ fees, or Madders’ salary, because a 22.5m bid wouldn’t even get a response.

This kind of pandering to a particular fan base is a sure sign of inferior journalism. We would never do that here as Leicester City fans are far too intelligent to fall for that sort of thing. Attractive, too, if I’m being perfectly honest.

X club have tabled a (highly dubious amount) bid for City player.

Rating: Dubious to the extreme

Now we’re getting more interesting. However, until both clubs confirm that a bid has been made, take this kind of headline with all the grains of salt you can find. This is often just in the fevered imagination of the writer or, in some extremely-hypothetical cases and with no one specifically in mind, a player’s agent.

Here’s the kind of thing I’m talking about: Atletico Madrid bid £71m to land Man City defensive target from Leicester. This doesn’t exactly, pass the sniff test, does it? Atletico are offloading Griezmann, but they’re going to break the bank for a left back (who, in my opinion, is worth far more than this, but that’s another story)?

The most interesting case of this sort of report is when one club confirms it and the other denies it. What this means is that the first club has offered what they feel is fair amount for the player, and the other club found it so insulting they’re denying that a bid was ever made. These kinds of stories can be a lot of fun.

Done deal! Player X has put pen to paper and signed for Leicester City.

Rating: Cautiously optimistic

Once a rumor reaches this point, you can probably get your hopes up.

Yuki Abe Presentation At Leicester City
Hah! Just kidding! Here’s another Yuki Abe photo with bonus Paolo Sousa!
Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images