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Arsenal linked with Antonio Conte as Mikel Arteta replacement

Come on, y’all. That rumor ain’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Do better.

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Juventus v FC Internazionale - Serie A Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Arsenal “would consider” hiring Antonio Conte should the club sack Mikel Arteta according to relatively unreliable Italian sports outlet Tuttosport. Read that again, slowly. Think about what that sentence actually says and does not say.

It does not say that Arsenal are planning on firing Mikel Arteta. It does not even say that Arsenal are thinking about firing him. That particular rumor in Tuttosport (that everybody went a bit bonkers over this morning — if you can even call it a rumor) gives precisely zero insight into the club’s thoughts on Mikel’s job status. In fact, reports out of England are that Arteta has the support of the club, with the expectation that he provide results.

It does not say anything about whether Antonio Conte would be the first, second, or third choice if the thing (firing Arteta) that it provides no information about were to happen. It does not say whether Conte would be interested in the job should Arsenal hypothetically offer it to him after hypothetically firing Mikel Arteta.

Do you catch my drift?

To recap: Mikel Arteta is Arsenal’s manager. He is expected to win football games. If he doesn’t win enough football games to satisfy ownership, they will probably sack him at some point. When they do, they will consider Antonio Conte, who is another football manager to replace him. They will also consider other football managers.

Remember, generating clicks and engagement for those sweet, sweet page views (which in turn drive ad revenue) is the primary goal of most sports “media” outlets. Accurate reporting of the news — and on a more basic level, distinguishing between what and is not news — is a secondary goal at the very best. A lot of places have the laxest of editorial standards and will print rumors based on what a player’s father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate says. So before you mash that retweet button or frantically text your mate,

This has been a lesson in reading comprehension. It should also serve as a lesson in critical thinking and not jumping to conclusions.

And a note on Antonio Conte: do you really think he’d come to Arsenal? The guy plays a specific brand of football that requires a particular set of players. He has left clubs where he won league titles over transfer disagreements with ownership. He’s not coming to a club that has spent gobs of money this summer on not-his-type-of-player when he’d have to spend even more to bring in what he wants (in part because the . He’s a control freak and a serial winner. I’d doubt he has any interest in the Arsenal rebuild.

This is the first post this season about out-of-work managers being linked with a move to Arsenal to replace Mikel Arteta. It won’t be the last. And I’m already dreading the deluge of links and having to decide whether to cover them, especially if the season goes poorly like so many are clamoring to say that it will after one match.