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Anatomy of a rumor: Papy Djilobodji’s well-traveled link with Lazio

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Bodji of evidence.

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Here at We Ain't Got No History, we try to keep you up to date with everything Chelsea, from serious and in-depth financial analysis to a plethora of "Silly Season" rumours that should almost never be taken seriously. The latter though can bring up a few mildly interesting things, and often, when looked into a bit deeper, can expose just how "news" travels across the world wide web.

Take today's Daily Express special, which claims that Chelsea defender Papy Djilobodji is a Lazio transfer target.  Reasonable enough.  Citing Calciomercato as their main source, and linking the news to a Football Italia report of the same, the tabloid in 101 words that the Italian Serie A club were looking to bring in Djilobodji on loan, with an option to buy for £2.4 million.  The Italian clubs sure love their options to buy.

Neither the Express nor Football Italia link to their source story.  At Calciomercato, a 114-word write-up reports Djilobodji is Lazio's alternative to their defender Stefan de Vrij, who will be out for the entire season following knee surgery. Presumably, this is the source for the previous two reports. But as it turns out, Calciomercato aren't the primary source either. Their report is based on something called Lazionews.eu — but again, without an actual link — which at first glance looks to be a site very much like this here blog, dedicated to cover one team and keeping fans up to date on news, reports and analysis.

Over at Lazio News, and searching for Djilobodji, we find three articles. The first one is dated from 2013, from when Serbian striker Filip Djorjevic was linked to a Lazio move — which turned out to be his final destination in the end. The second is more recent and is a round-up of recent news reported by the website. The last is what we've been looking for all along: the Djilobodji report! An 'exclusive', even!  Finally!

Here we find the bulk of the story: Lazio's first target to fill De Vrij's place was Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk defender Douglas, but talks slowed down due to "excessive" demands by his current club. As an alternative, Lazio would look to bring in Chelsea outcast Papy Djilobodji on loan in the next transfer window, with the Blues asking for €3.5 million (£2.4-2.5m, depending on exchange rates) as the buy-option for June, €1.5 million less than the transfer fee paid by Chelsea to get Djilobodji from Ligue 1 club Nantes.

This story is dated November 27th.  In the three days since, it traveled from a (small?) Italian blog, to a larger Italian site, then another, and then eventually made its way over to England and the pages of he ExpressWest London Sport and others.  As it then tends to be the case, it traveled back to Italy, to even appear on the pages of Gazzetta dello Sport.  The circle is now complete.  Only Calciomercato cited the original source, and even they did it without a link.

"Silly Season" at its finest; and we're still a month away from the transfer window!

Oh, and as far as the rumor itself:  take him, Lazio.  We obviously djon't need him.