It is, or should be, well known ‘round these parts how I feel about transfer season, and transfer rumors. TL;DR - I hate them both. Transfer rumors are like winning the lottery - you have about a one in a billion chance* of winning the lottery, and about one in every billion transfer rumors turns out to actually be true, or to have any substance to it whatsoever.
Additionally, most of them are unverifiable as they’re happening, and almost all of them can’t even be corroborated after the fact; they just float on the wind like leaves, and subsequently vanish down the gutter at the first rain of the season.
Which is why, when one actually does get confirmed/corroborated, my ears perk up. Today, Raheem Sterling was asked about this summer’s rumors linking him with a move to Arsenal as Alexis was rumored to be heading to Manchester City. While not actually laughing the idea off, he was very clear in his thought process and intent, and on whether he spoke to manager Pep Guardiola about it:
“I didn’t need to speak to him because I already spoke to him in the summer,” he added. “I didn’t have any negative thoughts. I just woke up one day with England, didn’t believe a word of it. I didn’t need to worry about it – didn’t think about it one minute.”
I believe this is where #narrative says I’m supposed to write a screed about how Arsenal under Wenger is no longer a preferred destination for top players, and how the fact of a player staying with his club shows that Arsenal are past it and will never be good enough to attract good players again. And that somehow, Raheem Sterling staying put is Arsene Wenger’s fault.
But guess what? It’s not that. If you read the complete quote in the article, it’s a quote from a guy who seems extremely happy where he is and wants to continue to work with what he considers to be the perfect manager to improve his game - and fair play to him for that. He doesn’t say anything negative about Arsenal, he doesn’t take any passive-aggressive swipes at the club. He just likes where he is - and what’s not to like about being at a club awash in money and close to being at the top of the league, a team that’s scoring goals for fun right now?
Sometimes there’s no subtext to things, and this is one of those times. Raheem Sterling wasn’t even close to having his head turned, and it wasn’t because of any shortcomings of Arsenal - he just likes where he is. So, while there’s plenty of outrage to go around at many things Arsenal these days, “WHY DIDN’T YOU SIGN RAHEEM STERLING” shouldn’t get a share of that outrage - it was never going to happen in the first place.
*I’m exaggerating for comic effect, numbers nerd. I know it’s not that high.