If there is one undisputed winner from this whole summer-long love affair with rumormongering and assorted nonsense, it's Mr. Tancredi Palmeri. Wielding the megaphone of Sky Italia and La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Italian journalist became a bit of an Internet cult hero with his irreverent shouting about all things football along with a healthy dose of sexism and politics.
I admit, I fell for it at first, too, thinking he was someone with actual connections. Chelsea were (supposedly) knee-deep in hunting big game, and Palmeri seemed to be right on cue with all things Edinson Cavani. Bids of €50m+ were relayed in hushed, excited tones. Hilarious part-exchange offers, including the ones with Fernando Torres and Ramires were offered up with all seriousness. And then came the big one.
There are reports of Chelsea having found an agreement with Cavani over personal terms, pending an agreement with Napoli -1— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) June 29, 2013
No, not that one. The follow-up to that one. The one that wasn't just a parroting of something from Sky Italia or Gazzetta or some other thing he may have seen on TV. This was the one, the one straight from the source. This was Tancredi's Neil Ashton moment of calling the lineup in Munich or the sacking of Di Matteo. This was, Tancredi time. Barry, hit the lights:
Checking my sources, from my side I can confirm that Chelsea had many talks with Cavani entourage in the very last days— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) June 29, 2013
He made a list and checked it twice. Confirmation! Personal terms! Done and done. Surely, a difference of a few million between Napoli and Chelsea would not take much long now.
Eighteen days later, Edinson Cavani signed for PSG.
Nineteen days later, Aurelio Di Laurentiis revealed that Chelsea "never came forward."
Twenty days later, Tancredi was dead to me.
To be fair, the signs of Palmeri simply being the loudest person in the room had been there for some time. I chose to ignore them, as I'm sure so did many others. Joke's on me, really. And on many others, as evidenced by the tenfold increase in his retweet counts.
All that said, Mr. Megaphone is just another symptom of the self-feeding, self-perpetuating media circus that has helped propel our humble blog (and several others at SB Nation, not limited to the trio of The Busby Babe, Cartilage Free Captain, and The Liverpool Offside) to yet another record-breaking day. Everybody loves a good transfer rumor. Well, I don't, but that's just because my default setting is grumpy. But excuse me if I don't get enjoyment out reading the same formulaic claptrap over and over and over again:
- Make up rumor
- Deny rumor
As I cast my eyes over the smoldering ruins of Chelsea, post-Transfer Deadline Day (and the summer months that preceded it), I can't help but notice that a certain big-haired Brazilian defender and his facebearded hobbit-wizard compadre are still here.
All summer long, the media bombarded us with article after article of rumors, conjectures, understandings, and near-certainties about David Luiz and Juan Mata leaving for greener, non-Mourinho pastures. Not Special Juan enough, they screamed. Homie don't play no Sideshow games, they asserted. Yet, lo and behold, here they both still are! What an absolutely shocking development!
With untold amount of resources devoted to covering metric tons of crap that at best can be described as adult fairy tales, how is it possible that we still get surprising transfers? PSG came quite literally out of nowhere to buy up Cavani. Willian was stolen from Spurs before journalists could even fire up their laptops. Romelu Lukaku was shoved off to Everton faster than you could say "just another fine chapter in the life of Torres FC." Where were you at, dear media, on those? So busy chasing useless stories and ideas that lack even the most basic measure of common sense (Torres to Barcelona! Mata to Madrid! Torres & Adebayor swap! Mikel to Galatasaray!), you almost missed the boat on anything with actual substance. And the ones who did guess correctly to which boat to hitch their ride were drowned out by the noise and general misinformation.
I'd ask what is the point of it all, but I already know the answer to that. So, same time, next year?
Actually, give it a couple weeks and we'll all be back at the trough already, waiting for the next scrap of juicy rumor or controversial epithet to drip down from the pens and keyboards of "SportsMail Reporters" and "ESPN Staff." And we'll dive in mouth-first and gorge ourselves on fantasies and delusions. And when we are fat and happy and can suckle no more, then, maybe then, we'll be free.