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Rumour Mongering: Pato, Zapata, and Stewart Downing's Scarf

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If nature abhors a vacuum, then the transfer window abhors a lack of batshit insane rumours to sell papers and drive hits with. And with many of Liverpool's supposed targets cooling down after the more dubious corners of the intertubes had pushed them for weeks only for it to amount to nothing, a new round of insanity was called for.

First off, no, Charlie Adam hasn't signed yet, but with the In the Knows switching to a two-day schedule to save their embarrassment there's probably talk of him signing on Thursday going on right this second. With that out of the way, it's on to the crazy, and so why not start with the big money crazy...


Alexandre Pato

He's 21. He's a regular for Brazil. He's scored 50 goals in just over a century of games with AC Milan already. They paid €24M for him just before his 18th birthday. He's a striker but can also play wide. And he's in a relationship with club owner Silvio Berlusconi's daughter.

So when a few people on Twitter claim that some source somewhere in the Italian media is claiming Liverpool have swooped in with €35M and Alberto Aquilani, and that moreover they're on the verge of securing his services, the only reasonable response is to roll your eyes. Then acknowledge that it's nice to have the batshit crazy rumours involve genuinely world-class payers and not scrubs from the second division in Norway. But that that doesn't make it any less crazypants.

That isn't how a lot of people are reacting to it.

Charles N'Zogbia

In a day or two, there's a good chance that people who make a living repeating unsourced insanity will be reporting the Pato rumours like they're fact, but in the meantime everybody will have to make do with the more reasonable sounding but no more accurate N'Zogbia rumours. On Sunday, a Twitter account of a supposed agent with nobody to corroborate him and no history of even being a right one time in a hundred In the Know said he had big Liverpool transfer news to announce in a hour. A few minutes before that deadline, he changed his name and bio to tie himself to a London agency, attempting to imply legitimacy. He then said that Charles N'Zogbia was coming to Liverpool from Wigan, that the fee and personal terms were all agreed, and that moreover the player was undergoing a medical at that moment.

Soon afterwards he went back to his original Twitter name while journalists hit up their contacts at Wigan and Liverpool only to be met with puzzlement. Then 24 hours passed with absolutely nothing happening—no leaks from other sources, no news from the clubs, no nothing. It was a wind-up. Somebody seeking attention or followers. And clearly there was nothing to it.

At which point—over a day later—certain dubious newspapers and websites began to present this fake agent's fake revelation as meaningful transfer news. So the next time you see a story on N'Zogbia, well, now you know what the "source" of it is. And if you do see such a story on a site like, I don't know, maybe CaughtOffside? Well you might want to stop believing any word they ever have or will say. Like the part where tomorrow they'll tell you that Pato's in the bag.

Cristian Zapata

You want attention seekers spreading rumours for their own ends? You want crazy? N'Zogbia and Pato aren't enough? Well, over the weekend Zapata rumours hit maximum overdrive after Cristian Zapata himself (right) came out in a press conference and said he was probably going to Liverpool over the summer. A few days later and those rumours are crashing into the cruel wall of reality as his agent of all people steps in to dismiss them as unlikely. They weren't wearing their seat-belts. Which probably means there's a lesson in there somewhere for the kids.

cristian zapata liverpool rumours

It all kicked off when Zapata talked about interest from Bayern Munich and Liverpool, with Liverpool being the most likely destination. His wording and the vagaries of translation left it unclear if he meant that a deal was immanent or if it was only that Liverpool was showing more interest than any other suitor, but either way he seemed positive about the idea and had actually said words that were on record and could be read in their context that suggested a strong link existed.

Only later his agent came out and said that though Zapata would like to play in England one day, no big clubs had made any inquiries about his player that would have him thinking about his future. He blamed the distance between South America and Europe for the misunderstanding while everybody else remembered that Zapata had previously talked of non-existent links to Arsenal when he was unhappy with his situation at Udinese.

All of which adds up to a case that's odd only in that it's the player who appears to be running around agitating in the press while his agent tells everybody to just calm down.

Stewart Downing

And moving on to another case of a player doing something dumb that fuels transfer speculation, somebody got Stewart Downing to pose with a Liverpool scarf in a bar in Spain while he was with Andy Carroll. That's the picture up at the top. Whether it means he's totally coming to Liverpool tomorrow or whether it means he was drunk and having a laugh nobody knows, but it's caused some entertaining fallout.

Most of that fallout involves Aston Villa releasing a statement that the picture is a fake and that Stewart Downing claims he never posed for it. Except that if it is a bit of Photoshop work, it's absolutely flawless. Moreover, if you're going to fake a picture of Andy Carroll and Possible Target X posing with a Liverpool scarf at a bar in Spain, is Stewart Downing really who you spend half a day getting the lighting spot on for?

Dejan Lovren

Moving away from England's fine shores to the continent—and away from the unending insanity of the transfer window to something supposedly half-way solid and sourced—turns up Dejan Lovren, a 21-year-old Croatian defender who plays for Olympic Lyon. His name has been added to the mix in the wake of Phil Jones going to United and with talk that Scott Dann could end up at any number of other English clubs that aren't Liverpool, and a number of journalists have come out to say the links are in fact quite solid. How solid those links are remains uncertain, but by most accounts there is something there.

He's been at Lyon for a season and a half now and has secured a starting role and the number five for them while making eight national team appearances. As a young defender who has recently established himself as a starter on a Champions League qualified side and for his country, and with three years remaining on his contract, it's hard to imagine he'd be especially cheap. Then again, he's not English, which has led to rumours not too far away from the financial neighbourhood of three years older, twice internationally capped, and starting for Birmingham City Scott Dann.

Well, there you go. After a brief lull that saw many of Liverpool's past rumoured targets cool, this has been one of the most bizarre, ridiculous, poorly sourced, and just flat out crazy set of rumours we've had to pass along so far in rumour mongering. Which perhaps gives it all a bit of entertainment value. As long as nobody takes the thought of Pato and Zapata and Downing showing up at Melwood tomorrow seriously.