The possible deal for Cesc Fabregas is quickly developing into the most irritating transfer saga of the summer so far. What with unconfirmed medicals, and players’ vague off-the-record comments, and misleading reports in the Spanish media, we now have to add to that the tweets of his team-mates’ wives which are currently fanning the flames of intrigue and speculation.
A possible move to Chelsea for the Barcelona midfielder has been in the headlines for about a week now. At the time, it seemed like the latest baseless rumour being ground out by the press both here and in Spain, but it quickly became more apparent that it was Barcelona spreading the stories and hawking the player around the top Premier League clubs.
It also emerged that Chelsea might seriously be interested in him. Jose Mourinho has said as much, in one of the very few on-the-record, unambiguous comments about the situation. But any other real facts in this tale soon became lost among the bilge spouted online and in the papers.
Let’s have a look at some of this bilge. Several media sources have already reported that this is a “done deal”. It’s not. The more reputable journalists have counseled caution, saying at the very most that a deal is “close”.
Some have said that a medical was carried out last week. It clearly wasn’t, as according to the most reliable sources, the two sides were still negotiating over the fee until today.
One national English newspaper claimed Manchester City had also made a similar bid for Fabregas, matching Chelsea’s offer. But this appears to be false too. Indeed a couple of days before, Sky TV had quoted sources saying City were not interested. Sky’s sources on football are generally pretty accurate.
The Spanish newspaper Marca not only said a deal had been done, but carried the details of transfer fee and Fabregas’s new contract. It would seem unlikely that they knew this. Marca specialises in Real Madrid’s affairs, and usually only comments on Barcelona players in a bid to undermine their hated Catalan rivals.
If any Spanish newspaper knows the truth, it’s more likely to be Deportivo Mundo, based in Barcelona. Twitter was on fire on Friday, claiming that Deportivo had said Fabregas would be unveiled as a Chelsea player that day. In fact, they hadn’t. They said it would happen “soon, perhaps as early as that day”. Which isn’t the same thing at all.
Now we have more wild comment on both social media and its mainstream equivalent that a deal must have been done because Messi’s partner has tweeted an emotional message to Cesc’s missus, implying that she is leaving Barcelona and returning to London. This is really transfer speculation gone mad, taken to its ultimate ludicrous limit. It has to stop. Please?
Coincidentally, on the same day, one of the more knowledgeable football journalists, Duncan Castles, has said that the two clubs HAVE agreed a fee for Fabregas, and that it is “understood” he has agreed terms. Castles is usually reliable, and has a good reputation with Chelsea stories as he is very close to Jose Mourinho. It was Castles who first suggested last summer that Mourinho wasn’t too keen on Mata or Luiz – a suggestion that many Chelsea fans dismissed at the time.
If Castles is right this time, the truth should emerge within the next week or so. In the meantime, it would be good if everyone could stop speculating about every half-baked report and rumour that emerge about Cesc Fabregas.