Lets just get this out of the way first, there is nothing wrong with a bullshit transfer rumour. Bullshit transfer rumours can be excellent for taking the piss out of gullible friends, for getting more followers on Twitter, or even for sparking the debate over what what additions need to be made to the team you support. But while a phoney made-up transfer deal isn't the end of the World, falling for one might just be.
It is for this reason that we at Balls.ie feel compelled to bring you our bullshit transfer rumour survival guide so you can keep your sanity this January.
"Sources close to the player..."
This is the first indication that whoever is passing this crap off as news is talking out of their arse. What exactly does "close" mean? If I grab a flight to London and stand at the gates of Chelsea's training ground, when Eden Hazard drives past I am technically close to him, therefore if I tell a tabloid that Hazard is off to Real Madrid, then they can exclusively reveal that sources close to Eden Hazard have claimed he is off to Real Madrid? It certainly seems more plausible than someone the player actually knows and trusts with that information going and blabbing their mouth off.
Reports seem to have more to say about transfer activity than anything else on this Earth. "Reports claim that Manchester United have actually signed Wesley Sneijder after 7 transfer windows of us telling you that it's going to happen." Where are these reports? Who wrote these reports? If it's not clearly available where these "reports" have been taken from, then move on.
Dodgy translations from foreign tabliods.
A Bola and Marca are often exploited for this. When you see a google translate job from one of these editorials, just close the window and forget about it. Wait for a reputable source in a language you actually speak. And Bild too, don't forget Bild.
RANDOM words in CAPS in the HEADLINE of an article.
YOU won't believe which ARSENAL target has been told he can LEAVE!
Well, hopefully you won't anyway, because Sam Allardyce saying Winston Reid has no future at West Ham does not automatically mean he is signing for Arsenal.
This absolute chancer:
This is the twitter avatar for @IndyKaila, a "Twitter ITK" who seems to devote his life to inventing stories on Facebook. He has become an internet celebrity for just how obvious his bullshit is, but we're not sure he's actually a real person. Keep an eye out for him and others of his ilk, and be sure not to fall for any of their crap. They tend to use any or all of the techniques covered in this guide.
"Preparing a bid"
What does this even mean? "Manchester United are preparing a bid for Kevin Strootman." Is Ed Woodward sitting in a room with a piece of paper telling it to act natural and go along with their local customs so as not to offend anyone? Are they designing the bid on photoshop and adding effects in order to improve chances of success? Has a bid ever failed to prepare? So many questions, all of them futile, this is guesswork at it's finest.
Photoshops of the player in a different team's kit.
That is an actual image that popped up on my twitter feed today with the caption "Photoshop of Messi in Chelsea kit leaked by Adidas HQ". Seriously. And there are people who will believe that. Don't be one of them.