It’s mid-June and we are deep into transfer bullshit season. I don’t really mind — the papers and clickbait websites have space to fill, and no one is really harmed by made-up transfer stories. It’s a bit of an artform though, because when it’s done well, a good rumour can sneak through the gate and get you either hugely excited or worked up in fear.
I remember last summer when Spurs were linked to Antoine Griezmann. It was just the perfect rumour — an almost realistic target and an almost ideal fit for what Spurs almost needed. To this day, I have no idea if Spurs ever bid for him, ever spoke with him or his agent, or he for any moment ever thought that he might be on his way to White Hart Lane. But whenever I see him for Atletico Madrid, I think back to those heady summer days and what might (or may not have ever) have been.
This summer, there’s a story that is tapping the other transfer dimension, the slow-mo car crash sensation of an absolute shocker of a deal that has been repeated so many times that I’m starting to fear there may be some truth. The rumour: Spurs want to sign Yannick Bolasie from Crystal Palace for £20 million.
One outlet, The Sun, has repeated this rumour time after time. Obviously they have no shame, but it is getting to the point that they will look a bit silly if it doesn’t happen. Worse, this morning Bolasie himself retweeted one of those Twitter aggregators who scoop up all the Spurs gossip about the possible move. Talk about fanning the flames, even if it is just stating the obvious that he’d fancy a massive pay rise and cut of a huge transfer fee.
Bolasie had a good season, to be sure. He’s capable of unpredictable brilliance, and he had a great game at White Hart Lane. But, he’s not that young and so isn’t going to improve much. He’s technically average, and his effectiveness is quite low despite all the excitement he can bring. And, in a long career, he’s had just one very good season, so it feels like to buy now would be to buy right at the top of the market.
So why do I fear that this rumour may be true? Because he is exactly the sort of flash-in-the-pan, high risk/low reward signing that Spurs have wasted money on for years and years. This one would be a bit like the signing of Roman Pavlyuchenko after he’d had a decent Euros, in my view — just a sure-fire disappointment at a massively inflated fee.
Please, Daniel Levy, do not sign Yannick Bolasie, and if you could come out and say as much, that would save me from clicking on any nonsense stories about him coming to the Lane.
(First published as a letter on Football 365 on June 15)