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Arsenal lead chase for Chelsea’s Willian but not by much, claims inside man

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Loose lips sink ships!

Chelsea FC v Valencia CF: Group H - UEFA Champions League Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

During World War II, US intelligence services warned against careless talk undermining the war effort with a series of posters that featured the phrase “Loose lips sink ships” (or some variation of that). An alternate reading of that campaign was to instill fear in the populace, and control the spread of anti-government propaganda (and/or truths). Hashtag-fakenews, 1940s-style.

The stakes are a fair bit lower in the world of transfer wars, but there are plenty of similarities. It’s often tough to tell whether news is real or fake, planned and planted or accidentally revealed. Media is often used as a pawn between the various movers and shakers dug in on either side of the line, firing blind over the top of the trenches to try to control the situation.

So when Yahoo! Brasil claim that someone on Willian’s “personal staff” has leaked a bit of juicy transfer goss, questions must be asked about not only its veracity but its intent. The baseline assumption is that journalist Jorge Nicola didn’t just make up a quote from an anonymous source (otherwise there’s no point to any of this). Someone told him this, and he’s reporting that information.

A second source is usually not a requirement in football journalism, especially transfer rumors, but this one does fit parts of the previous narrative, so it’s got that going for it.

“Arsenal today are a bit ahead, but every possibility remains open. Especially because the pandemic affected football’s financial state in the entire world.”

-A. Nonymous, Willian “staffer”; source: Yahoo! Brasil

Perfectly played by Mr. Nonymous, leaving open the possibility of a different outcome than the one stated and enticing others to jump in.

Only one thing seems certain at this point, Willian will not be a Chelsea player next season. (Then again, in football and the rumor mill, how certain can we be even of that?)