Sometimes there are rumours that are interesting, but don't seem overly likely to happen. Sometimes there are rumours that are sceptical, at best. Sometimes there are rumours that are very, very difficult to believe. And then there is this.
John Terry to Valencia? If that were to go through, I'd have to admit that not only was this a fantastic scoop by the media, but also Lucy Pevensie was right about what she found in the cupboard.
'Valencia are negotiating, and I am involved in person, with the signing in the winter transfer market. The offer is on his table. The player is out of contract in June and will not renew there for several reasons at Chelsea and he wants to come to Spain. 'Terry has problems. They are insulting him and he is not taking it anymore. He asked to leave, not us. It’s real. This has been going on for 15 days and two meetings have already took place. The deal is already on his table - a year and a half plus one. I think he will accept.'
Let's put this rumour, now being circulated in national publications following its initial release on Radio Intereconomia, through some bullets:
- The report credits the source, Francois Gallardo, as a 'FIFA agent'. If you search Google for that term, you'll find that in the preview for the second link, you'll find the following quote: "Players' agents have not been licensed by FIFA since 2001. Players' agents are licensed directly by each association. Therefore, there is no such thing as a FIFA players' agent." That kind of puts a nice big line through Mr Gallardo's credibility, doesn't it?
- If you do a little more prodding, you'll find on the FIFA website a player agent under the name of 'Francisco Jesus Gallardo Serrano.' According to his FIFA profile, he lives in Madrid, which based on my excellent geography skills, which are largely guided by my knowledge of football leagues, is somewhere in Spain, which is where Valencia lives. Hey, that's plausible! We'll give Mr. Gallardo the benefit of the doubt.
- But then I thought "it's a little unfair to suspect that Gallardo might not be a FIFA agent based on the written word of the official website." So I did a little digging, and found that our friend Gallardo was also the one who whipped up the hooplah about Drogba moving to Barcelona in the summer. At this rate, Gallardo's going to end up with a record as good as Harry Harris's.
- The report quotes Gallardo as saying Terry only has one year left on his contract. The media outlets currently running the story are using the line that the contract runs out in 2014. Now, the latter have got it right, but you do wonder how many of them picked up the contradiction between the source and the facts and could manage to put two and two together.
- Gallardo also says "they are insulting him and he is not taking it anymore." That's interesting, because he seems to be referencing the current racism scandal engulfing the captain, where Terry has admittedly has copped a lot of flak. But I find it difficult to see why Terry would be so upset at what other fans think of him that he would driven to such drastic measures of leaving Chelsea, especially when Terry's been at the club for seventeen years and has already been subject to some absolutely torrid abuse as a result of other controversies.
- Maybe Gallardo is suggesting Terry is upset at the fine Chelsea has dished out on him, but this seems unlikely: there's been little suggestion to the contrary from any other sources while Terry surely recognises the pressure on the club to act following his use of that particular language. Without drifting into another tedious Terry debate, I personally think the fine was more than adequate to deal with what was said.
- My next thought was to investigate the source of which this whole business came from, Radio Intereconomia. I managed to find a list of their upcoming programmes, including a recording of Parliamentary Procedures and a discussion on Agroeconomics (on Monday and Sunday respectively, if you're interested). Although that sounds utterly fascinating, it doesn't seem like this channel is going to be discussing John Terry's tactical fit in a Valencia side already boasting Adil Rami and Victor Ruiz.
- That brings me to my next bullet. Even if we somehow, using our wildest imaginations, accepted this rumour had a kernel in truth in it, it's difficult to see Valencia suddenly scrambling to get their hands on a player in a position where they already have reasonable depth, and especially a player like John Terry, hardly a bearer of hope and love to football fans.
- Again, consider the basic tenets of this rumour. John Terry - one of the most loyal, determined and devoted football players in existence, leaving Chelsea? The man who wears his socks all the way to his knees, such is his diligent desire to promote the club's brand? To Valencia? The club forced into selling its prize assets off year after year as it tries to pay off loans concerning their mammoth Mestalla stadium? In the summer, Graham wrote a very good checklist of things to think about concerning transfer rumours. One of them what's in it for the player? The most Terry stands to gain from this is a change of environment, which I'm sure would be nice: but will he really enjoy an environment where the best chance he has of winning a trophy is by winning Valencia's darts competition? After years of extraordinary success, I don't see why Terry would suddenly decide it's better to join a self-destructive league in which only two teams win anything and the rest struggle to keep their heads above the water. Besides, Terry's not very good at darts.
- You have to take into account financial considerations as well. By all reports, Terry's the highest earner at Chelsea (although Fernando Torres might have won himself a well-earned wage for winning that corner in the Champions League final) and it's hard to see how Valencia could afford to pay his enormous wages, especially considering their aforementioned troubles.
I think we can safely say that these bullets have shot this rumour to pieces. Let's move on to more important things, like whether Ashley Cole will shake Rio Ferdinand's hand on the weekend.