There are the common bullshit transfer rumours. The rumours started by a club looking to drum up business for a sale or the agent in search of either move or a new deal for his client. The rumours where somebody on the inside leaks information to a favoured journalist in the hopes of encouraging a desired outcome.
Then, of course, there are the rumours started by those without sources; those making obvious or sensational connections in an effort to fill column inches and quotas and to draw in eyeballs. Often these, then, get picked up and amplified. A paper in Spain picks up some English trash, which then returns to England looking better than when it left.
But there’s another flavour of bullshit rumour. One not often seen. One involving a club leaking information about a rival to a trusted journalist. A rumour meant to unsteady and sow discord. For the most part, these rumours are rare. With Jose Mourinho and his grudge settling in at Manchester United, though, we’ve now got one to look at.
On Sunday, the Times’ columnist Duncan Castles suggested Barcelona had been offered Nathaniel Clyne. That Liverpool, unhappy with the right back who played more minutes than any other outfield player for them last season, were actively shopping him. That Clyne, for his part in the simmering affair, didn’t much like Jürgen Klopp to boot.
The only problem is Castles has no Liverpool links. He’s not exactly a Spanish football expert, either. He does have connections at Manchester United, though, and is making a strong case for being the club’s go-to journalist now that Mourinho has arrived. What James Pearce at the Echo is to Liverpool, Castles is to Manchester United.
A United journalist with an unlikely rumour that, should it gain traction, would only serve to unsteady a rival club and a key player. These, then, would be the mind games of Jose Mourinho. The outbursts of a five-year old given too much juice. A man who, like so many children, is convinced his petulance represents great and special genius.
Liverpool fans who thought it was bad while he was at Chelsea are about to find out how bad it really gets having Mourinho set up at the club’s greatest rival. Meanwhile, for their part, Pearce and the Echo checked at Liverpool and got the expected response: puzzled bemusement and confirmation that they hadn’t offered Clyne to Barcelona.
Clyne being offered to Barcelona; being on the outs with Klopp; being unhappy at Anfield. All of it was complete and utter and total bullshit spewed forth as from a burst sewer main by a United-connected journalist. Just as it was always likely to be.