Five things... That will drive you mad before the transfer window closes


De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Stones, Shaw, Schweinsteiger, Schneiderlin, Rooney, Depay, Neymar, Bale. This is just the random scribble of a Man Utd fan who has worked out how the Red Devils can regain the Premier League title this season. Granted, it involves them making three pretty big signings within just a few days. But United have been linked with all these players recently, so it’s not as if those names have just been plucked out of thin air. Moving Rooney back into midfield is perhaps controversial, while persuading De Gea to stay Old Trafford could be tough. But then again, who wouldn’t sign a new contract after seeing Bale and Neymar walk through the door? As for Stones, getting revenge on Chelsea for Pedro will be oh so sweet. Somewhere, there’s another United fan scribbling down a completely different perfect XI. The same goes for fans of Liverpool, Norwich, Derby and everyone else. And while every line-up falls within the realms of possibility, it will never become reality. The transfer window shows us our dreams are possible, then it crushes them.

We all want our club to snare the best players available in its affordability bracket. We can even describe those players: under-25, fit, determined, limitless potential to get better but good enough to go straight into the first team, preferably Belgian. So when you read during your lunch break that a player fitting this exact profile has signed for a rival club, the sense of missed opportunity is so intense it can completely put you off your Tesco meal deal . Even the crisps. But getting upset because you didn’t sign Adama Traore or Andre Ayew is pointless. At least wait a few weeks to see if they can adapt to the rigours of English football. Plus you never know, they might do their knee ligaments.

The window isn’t just about the thrill of buying players; it’s about the relief of selling them. A transfer rumour linking your deadest dead wood with a move to Turkey or Saudi Arabia or League One can put you in a good mood all morning because it might save your club a couple of million quid in wages. It’s not even your money, what do you care? But it’s not just about the money. It’s about that niggling, dirty feeling of having an unused squad player in your ranks. A daily reminder of failure and the bitter regret that comes with it. The window provides an opportunity to cleanse yourself of this poison. But if your misfits and flops can’t agree personal terms or their wives don’t fancy it, you’ll be stuck with that feeling for at least another four months.

Carlton Cole
There’s a good chance your club will be linked with Carlton Cole in the coming days. And even if they aren’t specifically linked to Carlton Cole, it will be suggested by someone that he could do a job for you up front. This will either send a chill of terror down your spine or make you wonder whether he might provide the physical presence you need in attack. It doesn’t matter much either way, because he can only sign for one club, and the chances of it being yours are therefore slim. But it’s Cole and countless others like him - Adebayor, Borini, Jonny Evans, Richard Dunne, Gary Taylor-Fletcher - who will seep into your mental space purely because they’re available.

The internet
It’s well-known that the web can effortlessly obliterate your free time more devastatingly than a fresh bag of Walter White’s blue crystal meth, but football transfer rumours take the infuriating futility of virtual existence to another level. The proliferation of fanciful tales on dubious websites (never this one, obviously) linking your club with a “transfer swoop” wouldn’t be so bad if you didn’t find yourself reading every single one of them. Promising young winger at Championship club, experienced full-back with two caps for Italy, holding midfielder you’ve never heard of from Ligue 1 (the new Vieira?)… you lap it all up. The chances are you’d be happy with two or three signings before 1 September, yet your club will be linked with 30 players. The vast majority won’t be - and never were - realistic targets. Yet you still click each link with your club’s name hovering near it, fully aware that you’re 90 per cent likely to be reading pure fantasy. And now you’ve read this too.



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